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Reviews

What People Are Saying About Design-A-Study (Previous Page)
Professional/Magazine Reviews

Natural Speller
Comprehensive Composition
Critical Conditioning
Movies As Literature
Maximum Math
Science Scope
Guides to History Plus
The Maya (Unit Study)
Teaching Tips & Techniques
Workshop/Workshop Tapes
Reviews focusing on Design-A-Study
Customer Reviews

Natural Speller
Comprehensive Composition
Critical Conditioning
Movies As Literature
Maximum Math
Science Scope
Guides to History Plus
Teaching Tips & Techniques
Workshop/Workshop Tapes


Customer Reviews

Natural Speller

"My sons dreaded spelling and I could certainly understand why. Each week they had a voluminous list of unrelated words to learn. There were different activities each day, but all of them were pencil and paper work which is discouraging for 1st and 3rd graders who are still struggling with letter formation. By mid-year we had stopped using the spelling book and I started just working on words they had mispelled in other assignments. While this made spelling less of a chore, I was disappointed that they were not applying the correct spelling to other activities.

"This year I used the ideas in the Natural Speller. I made a spiral spelling notebook for each boy with certain words for the week. I began by writing what the list of words had in common, for example: "words that end in 'y' that make the 'long e' sound." We also had some weeks with memory words and some where the boys were spelling detectives and figured out what the words had in common. Each day there was an activity based on the great tips in Natural Speller and some that I came up with after using the book as a springboard for ideas. One day of the week the spelling lesson was done without paper and pencil.

"My sons now adore spelling and ask to do it first each day! They are proud that they almost always get all the words correct on their spelling quizzes. They can't wait for each Monday when they get the new word list and have to figure out what the words have in common. I am thrilled to see them looking for patterns in words away from spelling and applying what they have learned when writing personal letters, writing stories, writing lists, etc. Natural Speller is one of the most dog-eared books in my home school collection! Thank you Kathryn Stout!"
—L. Webb
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"My son did not do well with traditional spelling programs. I tried yours and he can spell now. Thank you. I have enjoyed using your materials…"
—L. Schiessl, NE

"We love the Natural Speller…Thank you for meeting the needs of homeschool families at an affordable cost with this great non-consumable book."
—J. Lamb, CA

"I bought the Natural Speller a couple years ago, but I haven’t used it faithfully until this year. We homeschool our girls and have them tested every year. My daughter, Jamie, always tested high, except in spelling. This is the first year that she was at grade level. I have no doubt in my mind that it is due to me using nothing other than the Natural Speller. This is a note of Thanks!"
—D. Miller, CA

"Natural Speller is the first spelling program that has worked successfully for my daughter."
—Quote taken from Rainbow Resources’ catalog

"We have started with the spelling (Natural Speller) and Critical Conditioning and (my son) is so excited and motivated he wants to continue working well into the evening."
—A. Tappin, Zimbabwe
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"I should mention I have been using the Natural Speller for several years with very positive results. Thank you for putting together these helpful guides!"
—A. Abell, of Buffalo, NY

"…the math and speller have helped my son very much and he’s beginning to enjoy school."
—K. Schlek

The ONLY spelling resource you will need - grades 1-8
"I have been homeschooling my oldest daughter for five years, and, due to her learning disabilities, we have spent alot, and have tried everything available. Natural Speller was a breakthrough for us. It is a parent/teacher resource book, with the parent/teacher pulling together weekly spelling assignments from the Word Lists in Natural Speller, based upon the child's specific needs and areas of weakness - no need to teach what the child already knows!

I know of several other families in our homeschool circle who have very advanced children, and they are completely satisfied with Natural Speller. It presents the perfect approach, for any child, for any ability level. Natural Speller presents spelling in the context that our words have patterns and rules, and when a child knows these patterns and rules, he can figure out a new word that he has never seen, perhaps never even heard, before.

From the Introduction pages "…Gradually, spelling lessons should progress from patterns used in reading to paterns that will extend a child's vocabulary. Just knowing that 'un' means 'not' adds a multitude of words to a child's reading and spelling vocabulary. Use the list 'Common Affixes and Their Meanings' to help a child's vocabulary grow."

There are many helps and lists…How to Teach Spelling; How to Study a Word (Great ideas!); Basic Word Lists - Grades 1-8; Activities: General Practice, Dictionary Skills, Grammar Skills, Building Vocab., Writing; Special Words Lists: Abbreviations, Calendar Words, Homophones, Irregular Verbs, etc.; Foreign Words; Phonics, Spelling and Writing Rules; Teaching Helps: Practice With Rules, Spelling Charts, Common Affixes and Their Meanings, Letters, etc.

That may look a little complicated, but Natural Speller is really VERY easy to use - several very good books have gone by the wayside in our homeschool because they were too time consuming to implement. Natural Speller is well organized, concise, and simple to use.
We highly recommend this resource - as if you couldn't guess!!"
—C. Allen of Canton, NC. Review originally posted on amazon.com
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Comprehensive Composition

"It is incredible how my son’s interest and motivation have increased since I started using Comprehensive Composition… It helped him overcome the ‘hate-to-write syndrome’ and allowed him to express his apparent gift for creative writing."
—K Alexander, SC

Critical Conditioning

"Critical Conditioning [is] not a ‘teach to read’ or ‘what to read’ program, this is a ‘think while you read’ guide. …If you are trying to ‘train up a child in the way he should go,’ this book covers skills that will be essential in life."
—Rainbow Re-Source catalog

“We have started with the spelling (Natural Speller) and Critical Conditioning and (my son) is so excited and motivated he wants to continue working well into the evening."
—Annette Tappin, Zimbabwe

Movies As Literature

"I am a 13 year old boy who used your Movies as Literature curriculum last semester. I really enjoyed it and look at movies in a whole new light. It inspired me to write my own discussion questions for The Lord of the Rings and The Count of Monte Cristo."
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"A group of us homeschoolers did Movies as Literature this year as a group study. We loved it! Do you have any more for us in that line? … We’d like to continue next year"
—D. Bacon

I have your book Movies as Literature which I use with my 8th grade daughter. We adore the lessons and have recommended it to several friends. I use all of your books and could have written pages on how they have improved the quality of our homeschooling experience. I was happy to have the opportunity to tell you of how just one of your books has helped us set up a truly individualized course where my sons actually apply what they have learned and have fun doing it. Since learning is a life long process, I want them to experience the joy that comes with discovery and your ideas certainly help us achieve that goal. Keep up the fantastic work!
—L. Webb

Thought-provoking Movie Watching
"I used this book with a class of 13 year old boys. Finding their powers of perception sharpened after only two sessions, their excitement in viewing old movies was incredibly palpable. Interestingly, black and white movies took on a new dimension with Sam Spade and "The Maltese Falcon". Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, who liven up "The Philadelpha Story", made romantic comedies a new interest for the young men. While watching "The Music Man" they boys were introduced to "Trouble with a capital T" and the memorable "76 Trombones" which they still reference to this day. As a teacher, I learned a great deal of insight about these movies and my class has been trained to watch these old classics in a new thought-provoking way."
—R. Moore, Hawaii. Originally posted on amazon.com
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Maximum Math

"I should also tell you how much I haven enjoyed the materials you create. I think I have now purchased everything in your catalog! Each resource has been tremendously helpful to me in educating my children. For example, the Maximum math resource has allowed me to avoid gaps in teaching while incorporating lots of hands on, experiential learning. My children are really learning the “why" behind math…something I missed even though I majored in Biology and minored in Math in college. When I tell others about your products, I think of the words "flexible structure with emphasis on true understanding." I truly think your materials are the single most valuable materials I have purchased since beginning homeschooling."
—S. Stapleton

"…this may be the ultimate reference guide for teaching math!"
—Rainbow Re-Source catalog

Science Scope

"[Science Scope is] An incredible resource even if you don't teach the unit study method!"
—HIS Publishing catalog
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"An invaluable reference for teaching science without a text! … Also helpful is the introductory section on teaching science and science skills that can help you to understand the process skills used in science and how to develop them in your children."
—Rainbow Re-Source catalog.

"I was totally impressed with your Science [Scope. It] filled in the gaps and I am pleased."
—Customer E-mail

Guides to History Plus

"When my oldest daughter started showing signs of burn-out with our purchased curriculum ("Do we HAVE to do school? I HATE history!"), I knew we needed to take a different approach. Design-A-Study Guides to History Plus was my first purchase, and it revolutionized my entire approach to home-schooling. We now use a unit study approach, and Kathryn's guides make it so easy! I never feel that we're leaving
"holes" in our curriculum, because the comprehensive guides tell me exactly what concepts should be taught for each unit topic and also offer excellent suggestions for how to teach those concepts. My children have flourished with this approach. My oldest daughter now says "I LOVE history!" We also use Science Scope, Comprehensive Composition, and the Natural Speller. Thank you, Kathryn, for a fine series of books."
—J. Kennedy of Bakersfield, CA
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"One of the reasons that I enjoy your books so much is that I lean towards piecing together our curriculum rather than buying it put together for me… I’ll be leaning heavily on Guides to History Plus this year!"
—A. Edmonds

"It is such a thrill to be able to combine writing with history—or whatever subject we please. I would never have the guts to do this if it were not for your books. Thank you so much for them."
—A. Wyckoff, PA

"… the unit studies approach really appealed to us. It is hard, however, to know exactly how to pull it all together… . Thanks for creating such a simple, concise, easy to understand book [Guides to History Plus]. School will be much more fun for all of us now!"
—C. & T. Wegner, MI

Teaching Tips & Techniques

"I just reread your Teaching Tips & Techniques and wanted to thank you for putting your real life teaching experience into a practical guide…
You also helped me get over the schooled (public) need to complete the workbook curriculum phobia. …Your advice is practical, short, to the point, and written from experience."
—M. Capro
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Workshop/Workshop Tapes

"I wanted to thank you for all your wonderful materials. I just finished listening to all the tapes that I purchased from you at the H.S. convention in Winston-Salem. They were exactly what I needed to hear."
—T. Inzerillo

"I can’t tell you how much I love your books and especially your cassettes. I learn something new each time I listen to them."
—A. Wyckoff, PA

"Excellent and helpful. Would like to see more sessions like this; giving principles for teaching. I will use these principles K-12! Essential principles make us successful that we may not think about on our own. This can be applied to any curriculum. Thank you."

"Wonderful workshop. Very practical. We need more workshops like this one…"

"You teach the nuts and bolts, thanks."

"Best seminar/class I have been to ever. She’s brilliant, creative and practical in her applications. Well-informed."
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Design-A-Study offers a money-back guarantee for books returned in resalable condition within thirty (30) days. Audiocassettes are not returnable, but may be exchanged if defective. Please note: when shipping is free due to a special offer, postage is deducted from the price of returned items before the refund is issued.