Simply Classical Spelling {Memoria Press Review}

My sweet daughter struggles with reading and writing; not sure why either because she can do both quite well. It seems to be more of an issue of confidence than ability. Because of that I am constantly looking for ways I can encourage her in her reading and writing – building confidence with simple skills, progressing to those more complex ones as she is ready. We were very excited to review Simply Classical Spelling Book One: Step-by-Step Words and Simply Classical Spelling Book Two: Step-by-Step Words, recommended for 1st-3rd grade created for special needs learners, from Memoria Press. I just love this company! We have been blessed with so many of their materials and every one of them has been a hit with my kids!

What do I love about this company? Maybe it is how simple their materials are to uses. It could be the way in which they train the mind; these materials aren’t about reading and reciting information so much as about developing care and concentration for the work at hand. Even something as simple as spelling can help our kids learn so much more: concentration, memory, attention, executive function skills (something new I am learning all about). With these materials my daughter is training her mind, word by word. Every page requires her to read, remember and recite.

There is a suggested pattern for how to use these workbooks (in case you need a little help getting started). These have fun names like:

  • Memorize Monday
  • Hands-on Touch Tuesday
  • Write High Wednesday
  • Thursday Quiz Day
  • Optional Fifth Day

My daughter was SO excited when these books arrived and she learned that there were all for her! She got to work right away; I actually had to stop her so we could go over everything together. I love when I see enthusiasm like that in my children. Especially when its in one who tends to get more anxious when it comes time to work. Book One contains 34 weeks of instruction with 30 spelling lists. Only 70+ pages, this book introduces basic sight words; this is a simple start that, for my daughter, was more about confidence building than anything else. Four days of lessons, with an optional fifth day, each week had its own list of spelling words for her to master. There are so many creative ways to be able to learn and master spelling and reading!

How do we get started using this? There is a spelling list for each week that we start with, reading those words, then moving on to write them. We moved through these pretty quickly; Since a lot of this involved words she already knew, she was quite eager to do her pages each day. I love that this really built up her confidence, making her more sure of her abilities. Each day’s lesson was short and simple so she wasn’t overwhelmed or overworked. She had a great time reading and spelling words both on the pages and out loud. Other days were dedicated to remembering how to spell the words – some days she would spell them out using playdough or tiles from our bananagram game. It was fun to use our whiteboard too and make games for her to play as she practices remembering the words and the letters in them. We also had fun each week quizzing the words she learned. She could sing them, write them or just shout them out while playing outside.

The second book challenged her a bit more (in a much needed kind of way). Book Two contains 34 weeks of instruction and focuses on words grouped by vowels, consonants, and other sounds. Here we began to really focus on proper capitalization and punctuation in writing. For this book we worked for four days on spelling words (five days if there were some words she was struggling with). There were also flashcards and games that were played to help make remembering the words much more fun! One of my daughters favorite things to do was to bounce her ball or jump rope as she spelled out her words for the week. A great way to get that extra energy out while still working on the things we need to have done for the day! This book also includes pages for dictation and assessments. There is even a certificate of completion of the book.

This is such a fun and simple too, way to learn and grow in our vocabulary. I know my daughter daily looked forward to doing her pages. She is hoping for the chance to do some spelling bee so I am thrilled that she is enjoying and wanting to do more! I think the multisensory approach that these books take is a real benefit for any struggling learners. For us mommas, this is so simple because all you need is right there. This really is a simple, gentle approach to spelling that helps to build their confidence with small lessons, slowly building their abilities. I cannot say enough how pleased we have been with these books. We will certainly be continuing to use more of their materials with our daughter. What a wonderful way to encourage our younger, or struggling, learners in a fun and gentle way.

There were quite a few different materials the Homeschool Crew received from Memoria Press, so be sure to stop by and see what they reviewed and their thoughts on all the other amazing materials!
Classical Writing & Spelling, American History & Jewish Wars {Memoria Press Reviews}

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Questions We Don’t Ask

I have been asking a lot of questions lately.

It’s been a dark time. One of those days where I feel like everyone around me is just fine and I kind of wish I could be too. But then I began to wonder why….

I have always Penny Black sheep. While everyone else was chasing the latest fad I was enjoying something a bit more unknown.

I guess I have always sought after that which is unpopular and unknown .

I guess I have always lived by the secret rule that if the masses are for it I have been warned.

I think of so many things that we do simply because everyone else is doing it.

I think I prefer that which is uncommon.

I sat last night listening to the concert that our church put on… I couldn’t help but wonder why do we really do this?

It seems now it is everything has to be louder, bigger, busier. The idea of simple, small, quiet…

My Bible says be still and know that I am God.

It’s it’s hard to know and it’s hard to really be still when there’s too much noise. So many distractions.

My favorite style of music has always done acapella and acoustic. I firmly believe that it is in these forms of music which really see someone’s ability.

It is in the little things that we can see the detail and care that was put into the bigger picture.

Anyone can make noise. Anyone can run and shout and clap and jump. It takes so much more to be still and to wait. To be intentional in your seeking.

In my search for more I find but I am alone more. With my thoughts, with my God.

It requires and almost ugly kind of honesty. The kind that requires me to admit I don’t like where I am. That while I do belong to Christ I don’t belong where I am. This is not my home. I am not a part of the church, I am the church.

I tell Jesus how tired I am; fellowship and worship services make me weary. I do not enjoy the songs we sing; it’s all too much for me.

I don’t want to hear about my problem being but I am not giving enough or doing enough. It is enough. We love because He first loved us.

I want simpler times. I want times really are all about Jesus. I don’t want to sing to God about everything I’ve done or plan to do.

I want something real. But the world is in the church. I know the church is in the world; I fear we are not guarding our hearts and our minds as we should.

How many things do we do because it’s what everyone else is doing? It’s what we’ve always done?

I know I am not where I should be. There is a better way. But it requires me to trust and wait for Him.

My path has always looked different. I need to embrace it. I need to trust in my fortress and my rock. Follow where He leads no matter the cost no matter the lost.

Virtual Refrigerator Link Up

Hello again!

Okay I am a day late here.

It’s a good thing I recently received an amazing planner from The Old Schoolhouse for review because I really need to get organized!

I recently became a part of this art link up because…we love art. And there are so many different types of art.

Baking and decorating in the kitchen …

(Okay those are made of playdough … Still, so cute and creative).

So often we forget that art is one of those things we can think outside the box of. Is t it great when our kids create?

Photography…My oldest has been studying at our local Creative Center and being both the photographer and the subject. Quite the lessons!

(Our dog’s name is Barclay so this was so cool to the kids!)

We didn’t make this but what a cool piece of art to enjoy. One of our favorite stories too!

And how about leather working to make your own journal? Just some leather and a needle and thread. Cool!

Lots of fun creating going on. How about you?

Come link up and share all the fun and inspiring things happening in your home.



Link party ends in a month.

Add your Link  

Sanitizing Our Kids

I noticed the other day sanitizers have become a really big deal.

I’m not just talking about the kind we use on our hands.

As my boys get older I noticed things I didn’t before. How quick people are there to tell them they shouldn’t say that or do that or play like that. (Sometimes that voice is mine).

When my younger son got into trouble for a little bit of off-color humor I had one of those aha moments. He shouldn’t have said what he did but he was trying to be humourous … Imitating the grown folks he sees.. What a moment to reach a heart. Or not.

So many different places we go. In some of those places I see adults encourage my kids. They try to gently correct any misbehavior and sincerely try to know my children.

Then there are those who clearly want to just do what must be done and move on. There is no desire for relationship. They see in only one way.

I get it though. In so many places we have certain expectations about kids. How they will talk and how they will play and behave. We don’t want to be embarrassed by bad behavior or inappropriate words. And when we are (aren’t we sometimes) we respond without really understanding.

My kids are oddballs. I am an oddball. It’s okay. Not everyone gets us. Not everyone wants to.

There are so many of us who clean up nicely; we cover our sin well. With it pretty and use all the right words; we are a picture of all that we wish we were. But only for a time.

What if we were willing to be honest? Transparent? I imagine how much easier it would be for everyone if we just stopped. What if we stop telling others what they should and shouldn’t say and do.

What if we treated people like people? What if we treated our kids like people?

I am not discounting the need for our kids to be respectful of others but when they aren’t… Can’t we try to understand?

We can sanitize things all we want to but nothing is really clean. Sanitize there is only good for the short-term. We use it when we can’t wash ourselves properly.

I see more and more who go in the right way but only because they were told they must. They have never claimed it or understood it.

Truth is truth no matter how we feel. But there is a difference in the power of a truth that I own for myself. Our children need to know for themselves and choose for themselves.

When the words come but we know they should not speak; when there is fighting and bad decisions are made, how we reach out tour children makes all the difference. We can sanitize them because easier or we can help them to search their heart and seek their God.

We desperately need to stop hiding our mess and start sharing our life. The real life because we all struggle. We all need truth. We all need love more. For love covers a multitude of sins.

She Dreams {We All Dream}

I was a daydreamer when I was child. Always in my own little world. We all need to dream just a little right!

I never actually thought of Moses as a dreamer so reading Exodus from a perspective was quite a challenge. Can I see the inspiration and the message to say yes and follow God wherever He has for us to go.

With four children I have learned this lesson rather quickly. There’s so many thing that are exciting and the call you to follow after them but not every one of them will lead you closer to God. Wisdom and prayer, following the steps that God has ordered for us.

I don’t know that I dream as much as I did when I was younger. I admit to being guilty of reminiscing on those “good old days” now and again.

I’ve been looking very closely at those bricks. Long forgotten friends and experiences that I miss but also recognized as being a part of the system.

We need to dream big and live boldly. Isn’t that what we are called to do?

God designed every one of us for good works. If we are bogged down with fear and worry we cannot fulfill the purpose He designed us for.

Who are we becoming? Let us pursue God’s purpose so that our cup will run over as we pour out God’s love and wisdom into those we meet.

It is so easy to just throw in the towel. Stop believing that there is more then the mess but may be today. Yet when we trust God, when we allow his word and his way to direct our paths, our dreams are His dreams and those are always victorious!

Whatever may be, right now, stop, stand tall, dust yourself on and let’s move forward dreaming some God things! Moving forward with boldness and joy and greater faith be side He inhabits the praises of His people and He says, be strong ,be bold for your God is with you!

Heart & Home {Review}

Our house is in a bit of a shambles. It isn’t going to get better anytime soon.It’s not all bad though. It’s time we finally began. when we moved in we had one child and we’re looking forward to all the work to be done on our house. Four kids later we are finally getting started.

As we go about building walls and tearing things down, I no as we put it all together we need a better design. One that will feed our soul. So I was excited to get a copy of this book because I am so not skilled in anything design.We all know that our home should encourage and grow us spiritually. Home is to reflect the life we are living for the Lord. When it doesn’t… It makes it hard. Especially for those of us who really live in our home.This book is short but simple, with 90 days of devotions that help us to see the connection and design our home in a way that connects us all the more to our Lord.

Every every page of this book just so inspiring! I see the beautiful designs edit inspires me to try myself.If I am honest right now there are things here and there. Little knick-knacks, inspirational scriptures for decor, but there is no real rhyme or reason to the placement of anything.

There are design tips throughout this book; they are simple and not at all overwhelming. Baskets and boxes for cleanup and storage. We have a small house for our large family sew creative ways to hide the mess can be a plus.We are not in a place yet where we are designing and decorating but as we complete sections of our space I do look forward to using the tips within this book to make my place a place to glorify the Lord. A place of rest and renewal for my myself and my family.

For more information about the series and for links to purchase, visit

Coming this fall..

As a writer, teacher, and speaker with a busy work and family life, Victoria Duerstock understands that all the tasks of the holiday season can make it easy to forget the true joy that Christmas can bring. In Heart & Home for Christmas, Duerstock brings her mission to inspire hope for God’s purpose, and her 20 years of experience in the furniture and design industry together, connecting Scripture with design elements and easy decorating tips in a way that reflects the true spirit of Christmas. The devotions and holiday decorating tips will encourage spiritual growth and inspiration to have both a captivating heart and home at Christmas.Click here to view a sample of the book.

Something Beautiful

I have been thinking a lot as of late about what a mess things are…

Our house…

Our attitudes….

Yep…we are not looking where we ought to.

Isn’t it so easy to see all the yuck?

Just the other day…. Outside trying to figure out what and if we will have a garden… Looking and thinking it’s all such a mess…

My daughter proclaims, at first sight of the mess.. “so pretty”.

A flower in bloom. Bright and beautiful.

How how did I not see that?

In so many situations we focus on what isn’t there. We just caught up in the things that aren’t. The things we think should be.

And we only see that dirty yucky mess.

We we need fresh eyes.

We need to be like a child.

That curiosity and joy that is so natural to them. They see good things in all things.

There are times when we feel like we are surrounded. It’s all going wrong. We cannot get ahead.

Perhaps we don’t need to get ahead. Our finances are a mess; it feels impossible to just break even.

Yet always we enough. For the moment. For today.

I was missing a very dear friend the other day, not sure why she came to mind after so long. Wishing we could connect again.

God clearly reminded me that this, my friend, would have kept me from where I am today. I would not be, perhaps, wife or momma.

There’s a purpose for everything; very good plan in every situation. God is always in control and there is always something beautiful.

The question is are we willing to see?