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1.15.2016

The Thinking Tree--A Rose Academy Review

We have found a fun way to do school around here. When our box of homeschool journals and coloring books arrived for us to review, it felt like Christmas! The Thinking Tree (Dyslexia Games) offers Do-It-Yourself homeschool journals. Each day the student completes a given number of pages. The first page is where the student records the current date. The following pages instruct the students to work through each school subject: spelling, reading, math, etc. My kids are still completing their Math-U-See lessons, but when they come to a math work page in their journals they draw and write several math problems as a review. (This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase items using my affiliate links, I earn a percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my homeschooling and creative efforts!)
Lexi is completing one of the reading time pages in the Do It Yourself Homeschool Journal & Delight Directed Learning Handbook . The instructions say to read for 15 minutes from each of 4 books and then draw and write about what they learned. This is an excellent form of written narration and I really like this approach to reading/literature. I like the freedom it gives the students to choose their own literature at their own reading level. No more battles. I am thinking about making a few suggestions as there are specific titles that I would like for her to read this year.

These journals are so unique because the students are engaged in delight directed learning--the student chooses what they would like to learn about. The teacher could also assign a few specific topics if they would like. My kids chose to read and learn about several different topics: money, China, Ben Franklin, Minecraft, Abraham Lincoln, life in colonial times, and the list continues. We had a really fun trip to the library where they chose all of their books for their journals.

Alivia is completing a page of art and logic games. These pages are similar to the dyslexia games pages, but I think they really help the student to pay close attention to details in order to complete the pages. These are from the PDF file that I purchased as a download a few months ago.
There are several different types of journals available. Some journals contain Bible passages to read or copy and some do not include any Bible quotes, so depending on your goals for educating your children, you can choose something that complements your educational style.
Each journal is just a bit different. Caden is using the Homeschooling Boys - Library Based Curriculum Journal: 60 Day Plan - For Active and Adventurous Learners (Volume 1). The boys homeschooling journal is perfect for my son. Instead of completing 10 pages each day, like his sisters, he completes 6 pages. I feel like this is reasonable for him and still allows him time to play and be a boy. Of course you could totally customize the journals however you would like. Each day's worth of work offers some creative pages where the students can draw and doodle or color in addition to covering the basic subjects. My 14yo especially enjoys the creative writing pages. 

We also have several coloring books from The Thinking Tree. These are all hand drawn pages with beautiful detail. Coloring books are becoming so very popular today and I love that these are printed on high quality paper so that the pencils or markers smoothly glide onto the paper without running together. Many of the pages are also printed on one side only so the artist doesn't need to worry about color bleeding through to the other picture.

Here Caden is working diligently on a coloring page in the Secret Village coloring book--we ended up coloring this page together. It was fun deciding who got to color what and what color everything should be. Last year I invested in a few really good colored pencils: Prismacolor Premier Soft Core Colored Pencil, Set of 24 Assorted Colors and we really love to use these for the coloring pages. I'd really love to have this set of markers too: 

We recently were blessed to spend some time in Florida. On one of our beach trips, we took some time out to relax. It was a perfect time to spend some time coloring. My daughters loved working together in the sisters coloring book. There are 2 similar pictures side by side in the book--one for big sister and one for little sister. This seashore page seemed like the perfect one to complete.


Coffee Time - Quiet Time Journal: A Coloring Book and Inspirational Handbook For Women is a special journal just for moms. It is a fun way to keep your day organized and spend some time in reflection. Or just a place to jot down a few notes and ideas as they come to you. My 16yo daughter swiped this one from me, she liked it so much. I think I will need to purchase another one for me. 

The Favorite Things coloring book is a small square book, which just so happens to be the perfect size to tuck in your purse and pull out when you need keep someone occupied while waiting. Just be sure to stash a few colored pens or markers in your purse as well.

My favorite book that I have seen so far from the Thinking Tree is How To Homeschool: A Purse-Sized Guide to Getting Started. It is a tiny square book to keep in your purse. Don't underestimate its size though. It is a powerful book that will help moms identify the ways in which their children learn best. It also has places for you to write down your goals for your children and reminds you to stick to those goals as you plan your school year.

My kids really love learning while using products from The Thinking Tree. Each journal contains sixty days of independent instruction. The best part about the journals is the independent part. As my children have been using them, I have actually found myself just a bit bored since they are so diligently involved in their studies. However, I also realize it is a nice change of pace instead of needing to be so mom directed, they can take charge of their own education just a little bit.

Read more about The Thinking Tree and DIY books for the whole family!

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