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Reading opens new worlds for all of us, but many times we can’t seem to get our children hooked. We try to find things to help them read better and enjoy it more. Sometimes it just takes finding something they like. Hank the Cowdog series of books and audio books written by John Erikson and published by Maverick Books might just be the hook you are looking for. This little dog and all his misadventures will slide and woof his way into your child’s heart with quite possibly the love of reading right along with him.

Hank is a dog if you hadn’t quite guessed it. He is a cowdog to be exact. Hank lives on a ranch and has taken up the position of head dog. If you ask his owners, you might think that Hank has a little over inflated sense of self, but read Hank’s stories, and you find he is a valuable pup. He gets himself into lots of trouble, but he always saves the day. Any child can learn to love reading in these lovable stories. The audio tapes and cds bring the stories to life with good quality and the songs are delightful adding more charm. Regardless to reading ability, your child will find a way to enjoy this world of Hank’s. There is also a website with a virtual world to explore that provides a memory game, math skills fun and practice, and silly fun with a Hank the Cowdog theme. That is just another plus. The books, audio tapes/cds come in packages from large to small beginning at $19.99 with individual paperbacks for $4.24 and hardbacks for $12.49.

The Hank the Cowdog Tornado game is a cute game similar to Parcheesi in play with a tornado spinner instead of dice and Hank the Cowdog characters for game pieces.  It is a game suitable for play by most children. It can be tactilely made easily with a few different shaped and textured bumps and the use of a brailled six-sided dice, so the blind and DeafBlind can play, too. That is a game that I can always back. Game play teaches so many skills for children of all ages and abilities.

Bring the world of Hank the Cowdog to your child. Reading can be full of giggles and gasps. Check it out at

Web Design for Kids and Curious Grown-ups created by Brian Richardson of Click Drag Solutions is a great tool for teaching kids of all ages how to make web pages in HTML. Umm, you don’t think it is easy to program in HTML, do you? Well, with Brian’s help, you will be well on your way to web designer pro status in a flash.
Brian does an excellent job explaining clearly the concepts of basic HTML programming from the simplest to the more complex. He smartly included a section on basic file management in the Windows system, but also smartly chose not to place in his main tutorial chapters. It is placed where those who need it can easily find it, but those who don’t aren’t bored having to listen to the information. His file cabinet analogy was superbly done by taking the time to demonstrate each step with an actual file cabinet placing paper files into a folder in the drawer. He took the time to demonstrate how one might accidentally place a file in the wrong place and how to find it and place it properly. His coverage was not overdone and boring, but it was right on target for full understanding. His topics covered Basic HTML from basic code to backgrounds to fonts to pictures. Everything you need for a good foundation in proper web design is here. Brian’s “sandwiches and stop signs” techniques to handle complicated terminology are a great idea. Additionally, a good thing from my point of view is that he describes his steps so clearly that my blind students didn’t need to see what he was doing to follow his steps. They learned just as well as my sighted students. My Deaf students also saw and understood everything he did clearly despite no captioning. That is very unusual. Don’t worry about my DeafBlind students. The blind students learned so well that they were excited to braille all of the steps and explain it just like Brian. Now last but not least, Brian’s humor is lame enough to interest the elementary student, but not so lame as to turn off the teenager and adult. (Sorry, Brian, I couldn’t resist.) Everyone smiles as you and your kids will learn the basic knowledge you need to conquer web design and web design programs like Frontpage and Dreamweaver even when their “wysiwyg” formats and wizards won’t do what you want.

To make it even better, the price is fantastic at $19.99 plus $3.99 shipping and handling. Part of your purchase price also goes to one of several charities like American Foundation of the Blind, The Smile Train, Ronald McDonald House, Children’s Miracle Network, and The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. Brian even has some sample clips on his site for you to view before you buy at Do your family and others good by giving this DVD a try.

Finally there is a homeschool manual!
Have you ever wished there were some instructions to homeschooling your child? Now Terri Johnson of Knowledge Quest, Inc. has done just that with her Homeschooling ABC’s. In approximately 26 lessons (I wonder why?), she helps you find a curriculum, set up your classroom, write lesson plans, do labs, find resources, give assessments, evaluate your student’s progress, and your school year with other special topics along the way. You can’t find a better set of suggestions anywhere much less in one place.
The lessons are all in .pdf format easily read by Adobe Reader which is a free download. Ms. Johnson writes clearly and dynamically to give any new homeschooler the confidence they need to begin their first year, but she has so much good information and helpful hints that even an experienced homeschooler will learn a thing or two! Following the guidelines is easy. She has also provided many resources and given many helpful hints on how to find your own as the years go by.
We at Wynfield Christian Academy were so impressed that we have added it to our required Parent/Mentor Development classes for beginning homeschoolers enrolling in our umbrella program. We are also making it available for credit for our other more experienced homeschoolers simply because it is full of such good, useful information.
If you want to reduce the stress of your homeschooling life, check out

The Quarter Mile Math Logo
And they’re off! You can soon hear that in your household when students fall in love with The Quarter Mile Math software program where they can challenge themselves and their family members to a good race. Parents will be happy because they will be improving their math skills.
Math is a subject that needs a lot of practice, and motivating students to practice is difficult. This software helps to make that practice fun. Students can compete against their own progress record because the software saves the top five performances and uses those to create virtual competitors. Or, they can race against other students, siblings, or even Mom and Dad which is way more fun, of course. Either way your students are improving their math skills at any grade level from Kindergarten to ninth grade. The concepts are covered from numbers to fractions to percents, to equations covering almost every topic within each concept you can find.
Enjoyable practice is what they will get with this program. The graphics are simple and in a lower resolution making them large and bold for even my low vision students. The problems pop up below the racers which can be chosen as race cars or horses. The problems are bold and large making them easily legible for many low vision users. Parents have two options to purchase this grade program. If you have internet access, the Deluxe version comes with student progress tracking and includes all levels from K-9th. They have three payment options for this subscription based program of $2.95 per family per month, $19.95 per family for one year, and $34.95 per family for two years. There is also a Standard CD version that is $39.95 per level. The internet is not necessary here, but it does not track progress automatically for your student. You can, however, save progress manually for each day worked. However, it can be loaded on multiple computers, so that your students can play at different times. They can’t race together, but they can compare their progress to fuel the enthusiasm. For tips and helps, they have a website with a special homeschoolers section with Getting Started information, printable progress chart, and a user’s forum. They also send out an email newsletter loaded with additional tips and information.

Now they have gone and made it an even sweeter deal to for you, my readers!

Use the Referral Code below and you will get $5 off any product–Standard or Deluxe.

There is a place to input this code on the order forms. This Referral Code will be good until September 30. Now is a great time to try out The Quarter Mile Math.

Check out their website for more information or try out a

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