May All Children Live In Peace …. Sweet Peace on Earth

Music Together MayAllChildrenCoverMusic Together is a wonderful program to introduce children and their parents to the universal world of music. My two older children attended the Music Together classes for a number of years and really enjoyed the experience, especially the songs that we learned.

“May All Children” is one of our favorites, so introducing it to my son, who hadn’t the opportunity to attend the live classes, was something that I was very excited to sing it together as a family. The song/story is a simple one — we all want peace on earth and the ones who deserve it the most are the innocent, the children. The song’s composition evokes a sense of peace and a longing to make the words come true. My son was very touched by the song. Being able to see the pictures from the storybook, I believe, helped him to understand this universal desire for peace.

I believe that this song encapsulates the beauty of their programs — it allows families to enjoy the beauty and the power of music. In addition to the storybook, I was also sent a copy of the Lullabies CD. The songs are simple to learn, but touch the soul. Many moms with infants would take the lullaby segment to nurse their babies or to just cuddle. The lullabies remind us of the love that we feel for our children in a memorable way. I admit to getting a little misty-eyed listening to the songs.

In addition to the CD and book collections that are offered on the main website, you can also purchase instruments designed for little hands so that you and your children can accompany the lively songs that are another component of their program.  Music is something that is best experienced both physically and emotionally. Their books, CDs and classes are all designed to decrease the fear of performing music incorrectly while increasing your connection to our sadly neglected musical muscles.

As one of our Music Together teachers told us, music is everyone’s inheritance and not just those who get recording contracts. I highly recommend both their live classes, as well as their other resources.  Music is a gift for everyone — especially our children. May all children one day live in peace and music.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of Music Together’s book in return for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received.

Reading a Gift for All Seasons

Couth Buzzard BooksThe term “Summer Reading Program” always make me chuckle. As an affirmed bibliophile I can’t imagine any season that shouldn’t be full of reading. Books have been my life-long friends. I can’t remember not being able to read and can’t imagine what life would be like without my daily reading fix.

However, for many people reading is a chore that you do because you “have to” while you’re in school. And this chore can be tossed out the window once you’ve graduated. For many, reading is something that you do for practical purposes and never for simple enjoyment. How sad. I personally don’t like “Summer Reading” programs because it sounds like a homework assignment. Yuck! Reading should never be a chore, but a grand adventure to undiscovered destinations.

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Four Seasons of Faith

This beautifully illustrated  four book series “Seasons of Faith” is based on four of the best Children’s Bible Hour (created by CBH Ministries) radio scripts. The four books that I received for review were:

  • You Can’t Come In (Summer)
  • Braving the Storm (Winter)
  • Race with Midnight (Spring)
  • Seventy Times Seven (Autumn)

Of the four, “Seventy Times Seven”  was my favorite with with “Braving the Storm” a close second because they were the most realistic scenarios for me. “Seventy Times Seven” illustrated the point that we all struggle with — learning to be empathetic and forgiving others in the manner that we wish to be forgiven.

My daughters were split on their favorite. My older daughter enjoyed “You Can’t Come In” while the younger daughter really loved “Race with Midnight” (she’s an animal lover so I think that was the deciding factor). I guess our choices also reflect where we are on our journey of life.

My oldest daughter actually was frightened by “Braving the Storm” because it dealt with real world problems such as losing a job, injuries, etc. At 10 she’s working very hard to remain an innocent child and I guess that story had too much realism for her. I on the other hand appreciated the realism in the last two books. The first two books were a bit to pat for my tastes.

One feature that I thought was such a great idea is the inclusion of the CDs with each story. This allows my younger daughter to follow along with the book and get familiar with new words or just enjoy the story whenever she wants. I love reading with my children, but sometimes time is an issue and the CD can be my surrogate reader.

The four book/CD series costs $40 or you can buy individual books/CDs for $10 a piece. I think this is a good addition  the library of  families who want to inspire their children to follow in Christ’s footsteps.

Khalid Family: 4 stars out of 5

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Home School Curriculum: Geography : Teaching Method for Home Schooling

Learn about teaching methods for home schooling with expert tips from an experienced teacher and home school authority in this free homeschooling video clip.

Expert: Jennifer Miller
Bio: Jennifer Miller has a degree in elementary education and has worked extensively within the home school community. She provides educational consulting, evaluations, and educational plans.
Filmmaker: Bryan Powers

Duration : 0:1:59

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Wizz-e: Bringing the Magic of Books to Life

Wizz-e is a magical place where books come to life. They move, they shimmer, they speak and even give quizzes. The  magic has touched the classics such as “The Three Little Pigs.” The magic has affected new books, such as “Hoop-La the Hippo.” Some books count and some books rhyme. But whatever else they do the children always have a good time.

My daughter (6 years old)  is a beginning reader who lacks confidence in her decoding skills. She actually can read better than she thinks, but the second-guessing takes a lot of energy of her. So when I found out about this website I thought it would be a nice change from Starfall.com (another great reading site) since the reading material is for “bigger” girls and boys.  Once I got the site up, she was immediately drawn to the site’s layout and book offerings.

The first book we read together was “The Three Little Pigs.” Actually, she opted for the narrator to read that one and I’m glad that she did. The narration was first rate. And the beautifully drawn illustrations really captivated her. They are beautifully rendered as well as animated. But unlike other sites that really go overboard when it comes to animation and music, Wizz-e is very subtle and calming. No flashing lights to distract the children from what they need to concentrate on — the Words.  Even the music is soothing, creating a cozy and relaxing feeling.

Another great reason to visit Wizz-e is that although most of the books are for purchase, you can’t beat the prices. The books range anywhere from $1.99 to $8.99, are immediately accessible and available for use.  The bookstore offers books that encourage counting, health, classic stories like “Old Mother Hubbard”, alphabet books and bedtime stories. Regardless of the genre, the illustrations brought to life are really a feast for the eyes. And each book comes with the option of reading the story outright, an “assist” mode that allows the child to click on an unfamiliar word and have it read to them and straight reading. At the end of each story there is a little quiz just to make sure that the children remembered the main points of the story.

Aside from the library, which is expanding each month, there are also games, free downloads and jokes for the kids to tell us a million times. The game section is also a work in progress, so the interface doesn’t always work as well as it should. My daughter and I both got frustrated with the “Seek and Find — Find the Teddies”.  Once again the illustrations are beautiful, but when we tried to circle the bears the interface didn’t always acknowledge you and put a circle around the bears.  And since this is a time sensitive game it’s very annoying to know you lost even though you found all of the teddies. So, I would suggest that parents with small children give this a pass for now.

The “Hoop-La the Hippo” puzzle worked very well. My daughter’s only complaint was that there wasn’t a greater variety of puzzles. By that she meant that you weren’t able to choose a 9 piece puzzle versus a 21 piece puzzle. She suggested that I tell the owners that they need to fix that so that older kids could play too without getting bored.  So, if anyone from Wizz-e finds my review, please add more puzzle piece choices. It’ll make Alaya very happy. 🙂

I know that a lot of parents are wary of allowing their children to access the internet without close supervision, but Wizz-e has solved that problem for you. Once you purchase the book you can immediately download it to your hard drive for later use. Although you can’t transfer it from whichever computer you download it to, this is a good way to keep the kids safe. And it’s a great way to entertain the children for a few minutes while encouraging reading and reading comprehension. I think once you take a look you’ll definitely see it as a worthy addition to your teaching arsenal. You can visit their site and get more information by going to www.wizz-e.com.

Enjoy!Free eBooks from the Magical Kingdom of Wizz-e

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