Saturday, 29 September 2012

Sin will take you further...lessons from blackberries

This time last week, I was having a lovely day with my sister, and her family.  They came up to bring Abi's birthday present, and just to visit in a general sense.

Visitors = baking.  Angela kindly brought dessert for the evening meal, but I baked for lunch time.  Raspberry frangipane tart.  Yum-my.  First time making it, and it will NOT be my last.  It was sooo tasty, and far, far nicer than anything that a certain man by the name of Kipling could rustle up.  All credit to the recipe, which I simply followed.  

For those who this will make any sense to - it didn't have a soggy bottom, but the edge had a few "over-bake" issues.  The flavour, however, was brilliant, which made up for the crust issues.  Yes, you know what I watch.  I love Mary and Paul. *grins*  For those of you who have no idea what i am talking about....Sorry.  

Moving on.

We went blackberry picking in the afternoon.  I LOVE blackberry picking and it evokes a multitude of memories.  Polo neck sweaters.  Welly boots.  Prickled arms.   Cold, frosty, autumn days.  Big, fat, juicy blackberries.  

Hang on.

COLD, frosty days?  It was STUNNING here last Saturday.  Did I grow up in a colder climate?  You betcha!  Scotland's blackberry season did NOT include warm, balmy afternoons, with summer clothing.  And, I tell you, that makes blackberry picking FAR more treacherous.  We have the prickles and scratches to prove it. It was fun, nonetheless!

Especially for Josh.  He was climbing fences, clambering on gates, having me hang on to his arm whilst he stretched over to get the big, juicy ones that were a bit tricky to reach, and sitting on his aunties shoulders.  Yes, ON her shoulders.  You see, when your auntie is, as any other picker, determined to get the best that nature can offer, she is willing to go to such extreme lengths as putting her almost 11 year old nephew on her shoulders.  I mean, obviously, I WOULD have done likewise, but I had a baby sleeping in his carrier on my back.  So, unfortunately, I couldn't help with such antics.  *aherm* 

It was worth it, though.  We got enough to then go home and make some home made blackberry jam!!

Look at that gorgeous colour!

As so very often happens, I got to thinking about some spiritual applications from our blackberry picking.  Two were negative, one was positive.

Negative first.

Do you find that when you pick berries, that the nicest, juiciest, biggest and absolutely best looking ones are out of reach.  Out of reach, with prickly brambles in the way.  With ditches between you and the berries.  With nettles in the way.  But, nonetheless, you stretch, try and get scratched and prickled, only to still not be able to reach them.  It could be done, but you would get fairly damaged if you tried.

Oh, how like sin is that!! The things that we are tempted to do will usually result in getting hurt.  Whether just a little "prickle" as we nudge a little into that sin, or seriously hurt as we launch ourselves to get that thing that we so desperately want.  Getting deeper into sin rarely gives us what we want, and only gets us hurt in the process.  What we see as something worth having, will only wound up with us getting hurt.

The other thing we found with the picking, was this - we kept getting further, and further, and further away from home.  We kept seeing some more nice looking fruit, just a bit further down the road.  It was so tempting to just keeping going on and on, and forget what the time was!

That is so like our sinful hearts, that so easily wander away from the Lord.  Again, sin tempts us - we see things that we want to indulge in, and we hardly realise that they are taking us gently, slowly and subtly away from "home" - from our Lord.  It's such a subtle and slow process, and before we know it we are far, far away from where we were.  We need to turn around and go back to where we should be.  Back "home".

"Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer
than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay"

Then, the positive.

We had been learning, in family devotions, about having a co-operative spirit.

"Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour."
Ecclesiaistes  4:9

I think we had several ways that this worked out well for us!  I held onto Joshua, so he could climb the gate and reach for the best fruit.  Again, I held his hand, to provide counter balance, so he could reach further to fruit over a ditch.  The, the epitome of this proverb was Angela putting Josh on her shoulders!! That was a definite "2 better than 1"!!!  We most definitely had a better reward for our labour, working together!  it was especially lovely to be able to show the children, in a practical way, that the truth we were learning, THEY were putting into practice!  God's Word is filled with practical and helpful truths for us, even on a very simple level.

So, a "fruitful" day, all round! Now to finish off the jam we already had, so we can crack open the home made jam.


Thursday, 20 September 2012

The joyfully long-suffering parent

Are there times when you find it hard to be patient with your children?

Wait, don't answer....'re going to say "yes" - am I correct??

How did I know, you ask?

Because I find it very hard myself.

Knowing children as as I do, and knowing parents as I do, patience is a toughie.  We have challenges, pretty much on a daily basis, that test our patience.   That make that particular fruit of the spirit, a hard one to put into action.

Whiny children.

Squabbling children.

Children who drag their heels when they are supposed to be getting on with something.


Childish behaviour.

The list is long, and probably varies from family to family.  But the truth is still the same.  We need a heaping dose of patience to deal with children the way we ought to.  That's why I think the KJV using the word "long-suffering" gives a more accurate picture of how this plays out.  It's not just being patient - like you want your children to be when their Birthday is approaching, or a special trip is due to happen.

Where does the Bible mention this "longsuffering"?

First of all, we are told that it is how the Lord deals with us.

"But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth."
Psalm 86:15

Do you see that description?  The ways in which the Lord deals with us?





If these are the ways that the Lord deals with me, sinful as I am, can I show any less to the children God has blessed me with?  My heart sinks when I read these, because I know that I am so often lacking in these things, when I deal with my children.

So, we have the Lord as an example in long-suffering.  Then, we are directly told to have this very same thing in our own lives.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering"
Galatians 5:22

"With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;" 
Ephesians 4:2

"Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; "
Colossians 3:12

We have been told that long-suffering is something we must possess.

So, what IS it?

It is from the Greek  "makrothumia" (that is, (objectively) forbearance or (subjectively) fortitude)

This is the same as "makrothumos" (with long (enduring) temper), or slow to anger.

Slow to anger?  Again, this brings us back to how we hear the Lord described in the Old Testament - the Psalmist, Nehemiah, Jonah, Joel and Nahum all describe the Lord in this way.

He doesn't get angry quickly.   Despite our failings, and our lack of love and obedience, He doesn't get angry with us in a hurry, because we are His children and He is gracious.

Did I mention children somewhere?  We are God's children and He deals with us with long-suffering and grace.  Our sinful nature, that requires God's patient dealing with us, somehow prevents us from showing the same to those around us, and so often, our own children.

It was this verse that got me thinking about it today, as I am studying through Colossians with my Good Morning Girls group.

"Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness"
Colossians 1:11

I knew already, obviously, that I was to have long-suffering.  It's part of that fruit we are to show as believers.  It seems to be that we think of putting it into practice with more ease with everyone other than our own children, or indeed our husbands!

The great encouragement I took this morning, when trying to apply it to my own life, was this.  I struggle day in and day out with showing patience and long-suffering with my children.


Because I am not trusting in God's might and power to accomplish it.  I am not leaning on Him enough - not having Him rule in my life enough - not having the thought of pleasing Him come before all else - not relying on His unfailing strength to achieve a patience of spirit.  We are told it is ours - we just need to claim it!  We need to throw ourselves upon the Lord and by so doing, show our children an example of a gracious and loving parent - and example of how the Lord Himself deals with us in our sin.

The thing, though, that really struck me were the words at the end.

"with joyfulness"

The number of times when I have had to try and be patient, and it's almost through gritted teeth that I try and smile and deal with them gently, without lashing out in anger.

This "almost tipped over the edge, not very cheery" response.

The "I know this how I should behave but it's a struggle" kind of way.

But, we are told here that we are to have JOYFULNESS in how we do it.  With cheerfulness and calm  delight, which is what Strong's concordance translates this word to incorporate!  

Calm delight.


When our children are clamouring, bickering and being childish.  When we are weary with discipline and chastisement.

We are to have cheer?

How on EARTH can we have calm delight?

Well, I got to thinking about that and came to this conclusion. We can delight because we HAVE our children to deal with at all.  We can delight because we have God's grace in our lives that gives us the desire to train them up in the right way.  We can delight because this stage of life won't last forever. We can have delight because we know that if we are faithful to deal with our children the way that God expects us to, we will reap the benefit as they grow older.  We can delight because we know that God will continue to help and strengthen us if we cast ourselves upon us.  We can delight because these same children give us endless joy in the moments when they are not being a test to our patience.

We CAN be a joyfully longsuffering parent.  We just need to rely on God's strength and seek His help every moment of every day, and it can be ours to experience.

Now, off I go to put it into practice!

"He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city." 
Proverbs 16:32  

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Remembering, with thanksgiving

Happy birthday to my Abigail.

This time, 4 years ago, I had an emergency c-section to deliver Abigail.  The long and the short is that she had got in a tangle with her cord, was trying to get out hand first, and her heart rate was dangerously low and disappearing.  The cord was around her neck THREE times, and wrapped around her wrist.  We didn't even have time for and epidural before being whisked off to theatre.  I was given a general anaesthetic, and it took only minutes for her to be born.  It took me a lot longer to come around, and I was under for about a couple of hours.  It was a very weird and confusing experience to waken up in a bright recovery room, with a midwife handing me a baby!

It had the potential for being a traumatic experience.  I know others who have found and emergency c-section like that to be traumatic.  I, however, was given from the Lord and incredible sense of peace.  There was only a fraction of a moment, as they wheeled me off to the theatre, that I suddenly thought "I hope the baby is ok".  The Lord gave me what is described in Isaiah.

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee."
Isaiah 26:3

I just kept reminding myself that God was in control, and it would all be fine.  I knew right from when the student MW picked up Abi's heart rate that it was going to be a c-section.  I had already given birth to 4 others and KNEW it was too low.  I think I just simply knew that it was what NEEDED to happen, so I had to accept it.  

Undeniably, I felt awful, physically speaking, for quite a few weeks afterwards, and certainly for the first 48 hours.  Every time I looked at Abigail, though, I just felt an incredible gratefulness that both she and I were ok.  In another century things would have been very different.

She ended up being my most relaxed and laid back baby, who just sat sucking her fingers for her first year or so.

Then, this amazingly cute and mischievous little girlie appeared, and has charmed us ever since.  *smiles*

She still sucks her fingers, but we love her to bits.  As we love all our children, of course!!

I learnt that God does not always answer our prayers  how we expect Him to.  That we need to trust His plans as better than what WE think is best.  I had prayed and prayed for a better labour than I had for the first 4 children.  I prayed I would not even need to push at all, as it was that stage that always gave me bother.  I didn't.  I didn't need to push at all!!! *chuckles*  It wasn't QUITE the "not pushing" that I was thinking of, but God knew best.  It was a special time of learning.  I had to sit back and let other people do everything.  I had to learn to do nothing.  It was hard, but it was nice - and more so, it was important for a good recovery.  It was touching and wonderful to see my husband so capably take over and get everything done.  For all my family who came and helped so willingly.  Especially my Sister-in-law Anna, who had been through a c-section herself, and knew what it was like.  There were some tough moments of tiredness and pain, but I got through.  Best of all, the Lord has blessed me with 2 of my best "normal" deliveries since then, with far less pushing than the first 4! Although, more than the 5th! lol  

God answers prayer, but we need to trust that He knows what is best for us in that answer.  That we need to accept, with peace and grace, the outcome of our prayer requests. Allow His peace to rule in our hearts.

 "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. "
Colossians 3:15 

And, above all else, finding thanksgiving in all circumstances. 

I am undoubtedly, and unbelievably thankful for our Abi-Dabi-Doo.

I don't have any pictures of Abi as a small baby on this computer, so I will have to start from when she was older.  Here goes....

Happy Birthday, Abigail Faith.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Anxiety and thanksgiving

Last week was one of those weeks when being a mother was demanding, intense and stressful.

Not because, on any level, I was unhappy in my role, or wished I didn't have to do it, or resented it at ALL.

It was simply the amount of incidents that raise my stress levels.  Lots of them.  One after the other.

I don't know about you, but there are certain things that make me feel stressed, as a parent.  I am not stressed by general squabbles, noise, rabble, spills, messes or minor injuries.  I am not stressed by volume of work (well, most of the time), that others think should bother me - or that they wonder how I manage it.  It certainly doesn't bother me.

However - illness in a baby, unsettled baby for an unknown reason, and injury - they DO stress me.  I think it's because it is the one area that I am bothered about having no control over.  As a mother, i want to know my children are all well.  That are not ill or injured or in any danger.  And, when something crops up, of that nature, I struggle to have peace and calm.

Simeon had a high temperature for 2 days this week.  4 1/2 month old baby, with a raised temperature bothers me.  Why?  Because he can't tell me what is wrong, what's making it worse or better, or how I can help him.  It's just this mystery that you have to deal with and not know what will happen, nor why it is happening.  Others may not notice, but on the inside I am all wazzed up.  He was better by Friday, and had no other symptoms.  Just a random virus, and not the worst case scenario that my vivid imagination had conjured.

Then, on Friday evening he woke at about 11pm.  so, I fed him, which normally settles him.  He decided to waken up, instead of going back to sleep, and would not settle.  When the moaning got too much for me, I brought him to my night owl husband, who took him for a drive to get him to sleep.  3am, he woke again and he would not feed - he just screamed, and screamed, and screamed.  High pitched.  Wailing. NOT happy, and to my mother's ears, something not right.  We had an hour of that, when Robert FINALLY managed to get him to stop crying, and settled enough to feed.  He fell asleep and slept until gone 7am.  But, all in all, it wasn't many hours sleep for me. WOW, was I tired the next day. Thankfully, I was able to take things fairly easy, and managed to get through the next day and get to bed relatively early.

Then, the king of all the moments.

Joshua was very lovingly, with the best of intentions, giving Elijah a back carry - just outside the front door of the Church.  Elijah decided to let go, and fling himself backwards, right off Joshua's back, with head hitting the stone step behind him.  I saw it happen, but I was putting a sleeping baby into his car seat, and would have NEVER got there before the head hit the stone. He was crying so hard, and just clung to me.  He was pale, and had a nasty bump on his head.  My mind started thinking of all the terrible things that could be going on under the surface of his head.  Fractured skull, clots, bleeding.  He was so pale and I imagined the worst.  However, level headed husband took over, and put something cold on his head and calmed him down.  I was all for rushing off to hospital, but we decided to see how he was.  It took a whole, but he got his colour back, at home, and finally started to get back to his normal Elijah-ish self. No visual disturbance - no vomiting - no confusion - no balance issues. Nothing to warrant a trip to hospital.  But, boy, did I not like the incident.  I keep asking him how his head is (which isn't going to receive a wide variety of answers, from a 2 year old!).  I kept thinking about how I would cope if there was some terrible damage done.

Then, at the end of it all, my mind has been drawn to Philippians.

"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." 
Philippians 4:6

Careful?....means anxious.  We are not to be anxious about ANYTHING?



That's what it says.  Nothing at all.

That's HARD.  My sinful soul wants to be in control of everything, and when things don't go the way I want or plan, I get anxious.  I am taking my eyes off the Lord, and planting them firmly upon myself and my circumstances.

How do I remedy this?

By prayer and supplication.  To have my cry rising to the Lord, above all else that is going on around me.  Trust me, based on today, I don't have that nailed.

Really, really don't.

If only my continued thought had been prayer and supplication, I could have possessed the promise of this verse.  The peace of God that passes all understanding, KEEPING my heart and mind.  Not concerns, worries and thoughts of the worst case scenario dominating my mind - but peace.  A peace that allows me to leave it all in the hands of God, who has everything worked out perfectly for my good and His glory.  That peace being the controlling factor - not my fears and anxieties.

I love being a Mum.  Thankfully the moments where my heart swells with thankfulness, outweigh the moments where I need to pray and ask God to give me that thankfulness, in a moment of crisis.

I'm thankful that God is gracious and good in those times of learning, and leaning more upon Him.  That those moments of crisis are not true tragedy that many others are called to experience.  That I don't have to take any thought about how I would cope if such a real tragedy arose, because I am not there yet.  And God is. He knows the end from the beginning.

As the hymn says

"God holds the key to all unknown, and I am glad."

So, I will end on a thankful note - some little snapshots of the joyful moments, captured on camera.

I am thankful for the 7 years that Daniel has now reached.  All the blessings he has been to this family - his fun, his boisterous nature, his cheeky little grin.

I am thankful for Elijah.  He is such a little character - how he's learning to talk, saying cute little things, running of to do helpful little jobs, saying he loves Daddy and Daddy loves "'Lijah".

For Simeon, who brings a smile every day.  His little dimples, his infectious giggle, his chubby legs, being able to cuddle him and feed him.  

What a cutie!

Over I go...

Nearly there....

yay!!!....first roll over! *grin*

How can I see these, and not give thanks, and have peace about the trials?

God is so very good.

(I'm linking up with Darlene at Time Warp Wife)

Revive your marriage - revive you friendship

There is a well known saying

"Friends are family we choose for ourselves".

You see it on fridge magnets, plaques and cards.   With the friendships that we build in life, there has to be  some sort of commonality, whether it was in interests or pursuits, or things you like or admire. There had to be something likeable about them, that made you think that you could have a good friendship with them.   The best of friends tick the boxes of "things in common" in as many areas as possible.  Views on Church, views on family, views on schooling, views on lifestyle choices.  The fewer things you have in common, the less likely it is that a true and good lasting friendship will form.

However, did you ever stop to think that this is true of your husband? There must have been a level of friendship that was established, before the thought of marriage even occurred.   The elements that make a good friend must make a good partner in life?!

I think we can easily forget all the special things that caused our friendship to initially form, and then to follow on to marriage.  Life becomes busy, we have children, we have extra commitments. We stop making time to enjoy the "friendship" part of our marriage.

I read on Courtney's post for this week, something I had read before but forgotten.  When we read in Titus of the instruction to a wife to "love her husband", it is the root for "love" that comes from "phileo" - that love that is a friendly and affectionate love.  It's not the love of passion, or the deep love that is reflected from God's love for us - it's a friendly love.

Do we connect with our husband in the way that attracted us to each other at the beginning.  Those fun times, pursuing things that you both enjoyed?  I know that when you have a family, it can be tough to make the same time that you had before children came along.  However, with some thought and determination, we can pursue those fun times, even in our own home.

WE love playing games, but life gets busy, and often we are exhausted at the end of the day.  I am determined to plan in that we set aside some time to play games on a regular basis.  Many fun games don't even require much brain power (but the ones we love best do - Scrabble and Boggle!!).  Many don't even take long to play.  But, I know we have so much fun and laughter when we make the time to play games together.   Inevitably I have to plan a late night into the equation, too, because Scrabble and Monopoly can take a mighty long time to play.  I was also thinking of branching out and finding some new board games.  Something we can learn together, and then enjoy for years.  So, any suggestions for games that stretch the mind, and you can enjoy over and over, would be warmly welcomed!!

Something else that revives that friendship part, is just to take the time to chat and reminisce.  Look at old photographs, or sit snuggled up chatting about the recent events in your life.

Plan something together.  I know we always loved to plan for a day out, or a trip somewhere. Maybe you want to redecorate, or plan something else.

Simply, find something to do together, that was one of the things that sparked your friendship before marriage took place. It may take some deep thinking to remember back to what started your friendship, or it may be very easy.

Then, think as well about our behaviour when we were getting to know each other.  We put every effort into BEING friendly.  To make sure we were always loving, kind, gentle, sweet and lovely.  When you begin a friendship, you are "on your best behaviour" so you make the right impression.  I don't mean that you are false, but you make every effort to be what you should be.

The same should be true in our marriage - we need to make every effort to BE friendly.  To be loving, sweet, kind, fun and gentle.  Our behaviour should be friendly, and not an attitude that drives our husband away.  Being attractive in our speech and manner will show a "friendly" attitude.

The over-riding thing is this, as we read in Proverbs.

"A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly."
Proverbs 18:24

If we want to get back to those times when our husband was our best friend, we must show ourselves friendly.  Take the initiative to plan something that reignites that first stage that came in our relationship.  Find something that strips away all the extra layers of our marriage, right back to the basics that brought us together in the first place! Be that person that your husband fell in love with!  As Heidi St John says in her book "be THAT girl".  That girl that was willing to go the extra mile to make her best of friends happy, and show her love in every way possible.

It seems like my thoughts are similar to the other ladies today, because I have just found their tip for the week, and it's very like mine! *grin*

Don't forget to go and see what the other ladies have to share at Women Living Well, To Love Honour and Vacuum,  Time-warp Wife and Unveiled Wife

Saturday, 15 September 2012

All About Spelling - our new spelling curriculum

Before I even start, I am now paranoid that I will make some dreadful spelling error, in my post about our spelling programme.

With that thought hovering, I will begin!! *grin*

Since we started our home schooling journey, we have tried using various different spelling programmes.  Our first curriculum had its own spelling/word building programme, but the 2 children who used that curriculum seem to struggle with spelling.  I don't think it really taught them the rules very well.  We tried a workbook type programme, but my oldest became overwhelmed with the 20+ words to learn per week, and the amount of writing and memorising he was to do.  I tried using a plain old, simple, spelling list - from a published list of spelling words.  Again, it was based on write/cover/check style learning, and memorising.  It wasn't really working, either. They didn't get any teaching of rules, with that, at all.  I was kind of at my wits end, because I really want my children to be able to spell well.

I came across All About Spelling, whilst looking at a spelling programme via IEW. I looked at both the one from IEW and AAS, and after asking some advice from those that have used both, decided to go with AAS.

Another bonus is that there is now a UK supplier - Conquest Books!  They only have a few products up on their website, but they are adding more in the next week or so.  They will be able to provide most things that are available from the US website.

So, what is it?  This is a great video, which tells you a bit about it, and who this programme would be suitable for.

Yes, that's right.  Anyone!

Several of those descriptions certainly summed up my children.

So, what does a lesson look like?

You can see samples of the lesson plans on this page, about half way down.  But, I will give you a glimpse of my lesson with Daniel, yesterday.

Before starting, we have the letter tiles all laid out alphabetically, ready for action. (Apologies for the blurry day over the rainbow, I will have a good camera)

To begin the lesson, you usually review previously taught concepts/words/sounds/rules.  There are 4 categories used in AAS - Phonograms, Sounds, Key cards & Word Cards.  There are cards for each of these areas, which are yellow, red, blue and green - as illustrated below.   And, yes, I found a Really Useful Box that was the perfect size to store them in!!! You didn't know I was obsessed with this brand of box?  Read here to see how much I love them!   If I remember correctly, this one is a 1.6L box.

You can also see, inside the box, that there is another, smaller box, which contains the letter tiles.  I will be needing a bigger one, soon, as there are more letter tiles to add, as you go along. The letter tiles have magnets on the back, so you can use them on a magnetic white board, if that suits your home-school environment.   If you look on Pinterest, you will see examples of people doing this.

Isn't it cute? 

We also use these in some lessons - they are used for segmenting words, or counting syllables, as well as other things, I am sure! As we haven't been using it long, I am sure I have not found all the uses for these counters!

Moving on....

So, having reviewed the previous lessons, you start by teaching the new concept.  All of the lessons are scripted, so it is easy to know what you are doing, and simple to follow on from the previous lesson.  

The child will have a new set of words, to go with each newly learnt concept. After being taught the new concept, they will be told a word to spell out.  They may use the counters first, or may go straight to the letter tiles.  They say the word, sound out the sounds in the word whilst pulling down the appropriate tile, then verbally repeat the word.  

Having done all of that for each new word, they will then have the same list, but this time they write it down on paper, saying each word once written.  

Very studious looking fellow, don't you think?! *chuckles*

You can see here, one of the words he has just gone through the process with. Here is the card I read from.

Here's another - THIS is one we have arguments about in this house.  If you don't know why, you don't know about the accent difference we have going on here.....

Once they have done, you file the cards away - either to be reviewed, or once they have it nailed, you put it in the section for words they have mastered.

You can see, then, that it is incredibly multi-sensory.  I can already see it working, only having used it for 3 weeks!  They may then be dictated 2 or 3 words to spell on paper, which will include previously learnt concepts.  So, there is also more than one method of review. Plus, for each concept there is a secondary list of words, which reinforces the concept, in addition to the list which are the core spelling words.  You can use it if needed, to build on the concept they have learnt, or as extra review. 

My oldest was a little reluctant with AAS at first, thinking the words too simple, but he soon saw the benefit of the process, as he found the odd word he hadn't learnt a rule for! They recommend, you see, that you start ANY child at the beginning, due to it being a building block plan, where you need to learn the first concepts and then build on them as you go on.  With the oldest two (who are learning at the same pace and level), we are whizzing through the easier levels, and will soon be on the Level 2.  

What are the Pro's and Con's then?

Pro's = multi-sensory; fun; bright; interesting; based on Orton-Gilllingham approach; access to a forum of other AAS users; covers "sight" words; easy to teach; you can reuse the cards for younger children as they start to use the programme; cheaper than buying each child a consumable workbook programme.

Con's = you have to purchase quite a few bits to get started; it's American, so there may be a few alterations required in some sounds or words; it's teacher-led, so more time consuming for the parent; some of the extra  bits are not available in the UK (they are not essential for using AAS, though); you have to get all the materials ready - pull apart the cards on serrated sheets, put magnets on the back of letter tiles and separate them, get boxes to file the cards into.

I did have a slight panic about the teacher-led aspect - imagining how many hours a day I would need to spend, one-to-one with each child, doing spelling (plus our Writeshop curriculum is one-to-one!).  Until I realised that, as they get older, they won't need to do spelling any more (I certainly don't remember doing spelling in high school!!), and will take less time with the older children, too.  Panic over. I have actually found, contrary to what I expected, that they get their work done FASTER, as I am supervising them.  They are all, most of the time, spending more time doing independent reading and learning, whilst they wait for me to do their one-to-one work in the mornings! Win-win!

If you like to send your children off to work on their own, and you feel you don't want to have to get so involved, this is not for you.  

If you like to see your children learn, get involved with their learning and encourage multi-sensory and thorough learning, then give it a try. They have a money-back, trial type system, where you can return it if it has not worked for you.  Personally, I doubt I will be returning anything in a hurry! Hmmm, I guess that's why they can do it - very few people return it?!

Oh yes, just remembered - the website has a spelling resource centre to help your child with spelling - useful, no matter which curriculum you are using! 

*I must let you know that I am an Affiliate for AAS, so if you are in the US, go to the website through one of my links on the side, and I get paid a small amount for any purchases you make.*

I hope I have not missed anything out, but if I find I have, I will come back and add it on to the bottom of the post.