Small People

Small People

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Writing with Sharon Watson Review

One of the most intimidating aspects of homeschooling for me is homeschooling my high schoolers. Trying to make sure they get a strong foundation in the courses required for high school graduation and college admissions can be quite daunting. I truly appreciate good quality curriculum that will help me teach my high schoolers what they need. The literature aspect of the English credit is extremely important so I was excited to have Ballerina use Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis from Writing with Sharon Watson.

Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Thin Stix Creativity Pack Review

My girls love being creative - drawing, painting, basically any kind of crafting makes them happy. I don't mind the creativity (in fact, I encourage creativity), but I do mind when that creativity leaves a crafting mess in its wake. Anything that helps lessen the destructive mess that my girls "create" makes me happy, which is why I absolutely love the Thin Stix Creativity Pack from The Pencil Grip, Inc.

Thin Stix Creativity Pack

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Kid Niche Christian Books Review

One of the most important things I want to instill in my children is the desire to want to know God. Spending time in God's Word as well as in prayer each day is a critical aspect of our homeschool. It is my job as their mom to teach my children how to study their Bible and how to pray. A helpful resource for doing that is Weave Your Word in Me - Part 1, a prayer curriculum for upper elementary and tweens from Kid Niche Christian Books.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review

*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting our homeschool by purchasing through these links.**

Sometimes I wish I had small children around my house all the time. Not because I don't like my children and the ages they are now; trust me, I am LOVING their ages now. And not because I'm ready for grandchildren; I'm not that old. No, it's because there are so many fun products out now that I wish had been available when my children were small. Thankfully Sassy is still young enough to get to enjoy some of these, like The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors and The 3 Step Pencil Grip Training Kit from The Pencil Grip, Inc.

For this review, we received
  • The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors
  • The 3 Step Pencil Grip Training Kit, which contains 3 grips: The Crossover Grip, The Pinch Grip, and The Original Grip
The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors
Let me just say, I wish the Ultra Safe Safety Scissors had been available when ALL of my children were small. These things are amazing! The blades are completely encased in a plastic shield so there is absolutely no way that a child can cut his/her fingers. There is also a blunt tip so they can't hurt themselves by accidentally stabbing themselves with it either. There is a relatively narrow area to slide the paper into to be cut, which would have made it so much more difficult for my children to cut their own hair if we had had these way back when they did things like that. (Oh the stories I can tell about those haircuts...)

Sassy really likes how easily they cut. Because of the design, the blades stay sharp.

The 3 Step Pencil Grip Training Kit

I really appreciate the 3 Step Pencil Grip Training Kit. The 3 steps are
  1. The Crossover Grip - The finger guard on this grip keeps the fingers in the correct position for writing, keeping them from crossing over each other.
  2. The Pinch Grip - This grip has a smaller guard that keeps the fingers in the correct position and allows for good control of the pencil.
  3. The Original Grip - This grip helps prevent the bad habits from forming during early writing instruction. 
Had we had these grips when Sassy was younger, I would have had her using the Original Grip when she was learning to write, and I'm sure her handwriting would be much neater now. Thankfully, though, the Pinch Grip is working well for her. She's been using this on her pencils and she likes it. Eventually, I think she will be able to move to the original grip.

According to her, the Pinch Grip is helping her keep her fingers from crossing over. It keeps her thumb resting in the right spot and from pressing into her other fingers when she writes. It has made writing much more comfortable for her, and she feels like she writes much better now. 

You can learn more about The Pencil Grip, Inc. on social media:

Are you interested in what others have to say about The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors and The 3 Step Pencil Grip Training Kit? Check out more reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew.

Ultra Safe Safety Scissors & Pencil Grip Training Kit {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Reading Eggs Review

My children, like most children, love to spend time on the computer. When I can pair their love for computer games with my need for them to get an education, it's a win-win. I really do want them to enjoy reading since that is a skill that will take them far in life. Sassy has really enjoyed doing online reading and playing reading games using Reading Eggs.

Reading Eggs*

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

CTC Math Review

While I love the math curriculum that my girls use, I always think there is no such thing as too much math practice for them. We have been using the math videos and lessons from CTCMath's Family Membership to help supplement our math curriculum. Homeschoolers can receive 60% off + 6 bonus months from now until November 15, 2017!


Monday, October 9, 2017


Education begins the gentleman,
but reading, good company and reflection must finish him.
~John Locke

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Life Quote

Life is 10% what happens to you
and 90% how you react to it.
-Charles R. Swindoll

Monday, October 2, 2017

Living Well Quote

God gave us the gift of life;
it is up to us to give ourselves
the gift of living well.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Smile Quote

Because of your smile,
you make life more beautiful.
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Captain Bayley's Heir Review

With all of the traveling that we do for soccer, track, and cross country, we spend a lot of time in the car - and I mean A LOT! Just a couple of weekends ago, The Boy had a soccer game in a town about an hour and a half west of where we live. After his game, we left and drove an additional hour west to go to a cross country meet for Sassy. That evening, we had to drive the two and a half hours back home. One way we occupy ourselves during these trips is listening to audio books. One of the latest audio dramas we've listened to is G.A. Henty's Captain Bayley's Heir from Heirloom Audio Productions.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Monday, September 18, 2017

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Dr. Seuss Quote

“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
-Dr. Seuss

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Charlotte's Web Progeny Press Review

When you think of schooling, what comes to mind? For me, it's the 3 R's - reading, writing, and arithmetic. (On a side note, why are they called the 3 R's when only one of those actually begins with an R?) Any way, I digress. Reading is an important part of schooling, but not just reading; I want my children to understand what they read. Working on comprehension skills is a necessary component of a reading curriculum for me. I love adding the Progeny Press guides to our reading program so I was very excited to receive Charlotte's Web e-guide to review.

Charlotte's Web - E-Guide

Monday, September 11, 2017

Today's Quote

“Let God’s promises shine on your problems.”
–Corrie ten Boom

Friday, September 8, 2017

Books Quote

“Sleep is good, he said, and books are better.”
― George R.R. Martin

Friday, September 1, 2017

Quote for Today

Walking with a friend in the dark
is better than walking alone in the light.
-Helen Keller

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Quote for today

”Attitude is the difference between
an ordeal and an adventure”
– Bob B.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks Review

Since my oldest was 5 (and he's now 17!), we have been using the Apologia science books for the basis of our elementary science curriculum. I've found that my girls sometimes needed a little more than just reading the text together with me for them to grasp the concepts. Lapbooking is a great way for them to do more with the information that we've read about and helps them make the connections in their brains for learning to be more permanent. I was very excited to get to review the Apologia Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day Lapbook from A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks. This lapbook is one of several available at their Apologia Curriculum page.

Apologia Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day Lapbook

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Everyday Cooking Review

Sometimes, the thought of trying to get food on the table three times a day for my family can be daunting. With our busy schedules, we seem to always be heading in different directions. I was really excited to review Everyday Cooking from Everyday Homemaking so that I could get some new perspective, tips, and recipes to use with my crew.

Everyday Cooking

For this review, we received the Everyday Cooking e-book by Vicki Bentley. This is a downloadable 198-page pdf  file.

Like I mentioned, I was very excited to see the tips in this book. Mrs. Bentley shares a ton of time-saving tips to help meal prep go quicker so that making dinner each night doesn't become a time consuming chore. I know that we are much more likely to eat together on our busy evenings if I don't have to spend a lot of time prepping and cooking.

One of my favorite tips is to go ahead and chop an entire bag of nuts or several onions and peppers all at one time while I already have out my food chopper. Then I can put the extra in baggies to pull out for the next time. It saves me a lot of time in the long run!

In addition to Timesaving Tips, she also has sections for:
  • Breakfast ideas
  • Appetizers and Dressings
  • Bread and Grains
  • Main Dishes & Soups & Sides
  • Desserts & Snacks
There are also instructions for making homemade vanilla extract! 

Some of the other tip sections include:
  • Basic Measurements and Helps
  • Meal Planning and Shopping Hints
  • Low-Carb and Gluten-Free Pantry Helpers
I also plan to have Soccer Girl use this book as part of a Home Economics high school credit. One of my favorite helps in the book is the Basic Cooking Skills checklist. This is a list of food items that she should be learning to make, with columns for writing in the source of where she learned it and the date.

We have a new favorite recipe from the book - Chicken and Noodle Casserole. She has instructions for how to make it in the oven, but she also includes instructions for making this in the slow cooker. I've mentioned how chaotic our evenings can be, so the slow cooker is usually my go-to when we'll be getting home later in the evening from sports practices.

This dish was absolutely delicious! Even my one child who normally doesn't eat meat liked this because the chicken turned out so juicy.

You can learn more about Everyday Homemaking on social media:

Are you interested in what others have to say about Everyday Homemaking? Check out more reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew.

Everyday Cooking and Chores Systems for your Family {Everyday Homemaking Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Quote for Today

Strive not to be a success,
but rather to be of value.
–Albert Einstein

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Quote of the Day

Man is a strange animal. He generally cannot read the handwriting on the wall until his back is up against it.
- Adlai E. Stevenson

Monday, July 24, 2017

Road Tripping - Day 2

The 2nd day of our road trip seemed much longer than the 1st. Driving across Missouri and Kansas seemed to go on forever!! The massive areas of farmland, while pretty for a while, tend to become monotonous.

I have to say that the girls and I were quite happy when we finally made it to the apartment we were renting for the trip.

We then went over to the track to get some racewalking in so the girls could stretch their legs after having been in the car for 2 days.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Road Tripping - Day 1

I'm on my way to Kansas with Little Red and Sassy so that they can compete in the USATF National Jr. Olympic Track & Field Championships. We decided that driving there would be cheaper than flying so I'm doing a road trip farther than I have ever driven before. (I've road tripped before, just never as the driver.)

So far today, I've learned a lot.
1) Music is key! Good music that I can sing and dance to while I drive made it much easier to stay awake and alert for the whole 8 1/2 hours today.

2) I need to go back to the mountains in the fall. Driving through NC and TN mountains today, my first thought was "This is pretty, but I can't imagine how gorgeous it is when the leaves are changing colors."

3) There are a lot of drivers in Tennessee who can NOT drive. Please don't be offended if you're from Tennessee; not all of them were bad, but there were a lot who were.

We stopped in Clarksville, TN for the night, and we'll finish the trip to the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas tomorrow.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Hewitt Homeschooling Review

Homeschooling at the high school level can be overwhelming. The future of my children is in my hands, and I definitely want to make sure they receive a quality high school education. One of the most important decisions I have to make is what to use for their core classes - English, Math, Science, and History. I loved English when I was in high school because of the wonderful literature I was exposed to, and I want my children to also have an incredible literature experience during high school as well. With American Mid-Late 19th Century from Hewitt Homeschooling, high school students read great literature, explore literary themes, and develop strong writing skills.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Heading to Regionals

It's been a busy few weeks. A couple of weeks ago, we had our state track meet and the girls did amazingly well.

Little Red broke the state record for 1500m race walk and came in 2nd. Her friend came in first and gets the title of state record holder, but both girls have the knowledge to say they broke the record. Red also came in 2nd in javelin with a great new personal record.

Sassy also came in 2nd in her age group for the 1500m race walk and for javelin. 

Soccer Girl came in 8th in the 3000m run, which was enough to qualify her to compete at the regional meet in a couple of weeks.

I am super proud of all of them.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series Review

I am a huge American history fan, and I am trying to instill that love in my children as well. Thankfully two of them seem to have developed interest in American history as well - Ballerina and Sassy. We were really excited for the opportunity to review the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series from Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Internship for High School Credit Review

One of the benefits of homeschooling is having the opportunity to customize each child's schooling. With the twins entering high school this year, I've been doing a lot of thinking about what I want them to achieve during their high school careers. When I heard about the resource Internship for High School Credit from Apologia Educational Ministries, I was definitely intrigued.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Racewalk Fun

Little Red and Sassy have really improved in their racewalk technique, and this weekend they had the opportunity to get even better.

We spent yesterday and today at a racewalk camp with a couple of other girls from neighboring states. Although I was excited about them improving their skills, I was more excited about the friendships they formed with the other girls. They are looking forward to seeing these girls at regionals and nationals. I love the opportunities that track has provided for my children to meet new people and make new friends!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

YWAM Publishing Clara Barton: Courage Under Fire - A Heroes of History Book Review

Ballerina loves all things history and loves to read. Give her a book about history or an historical figure, and she is one happy girl. She was very excited when we got to review Heroes of History - Clara Barton, which is part of the Heroes of History series from YWAM Publishing.

YWAM Publishing

For this review, we received:
  • Clara Barton: Courage Under Fire by Janet & Geoff Benge - This is a 191-page paperback book
  • Clara Barton Heroes of History Downloadable Study Guide - a downloadable file containing both pdf and html files
I mentioned earlier that Ballerina loves history; she especially loves reading about the Civil War. She finds it fascinating and also sad that the most deadly in American history was fought within our own country because of disagreements among fellow Americans. Clara Barton: Courage Under Fire documents the life of Clara Barton, who organized the American Red Cross. In the book, Ballerina learned how Clara Barton's childhood affected what she decided to become when she grew up. Her courage and kindness helped many men to survive during the Civil War. By collecting donations of food, blankets, medicine, and more, she braved the battlefields to carry the supplies to men who needed them. After having read how timid Ms. Barton was as a child, this was pretty impressive. 

Now that I've shared a little about the book, let me share with you about the accompanying study guide. There are two pdf-file guides to download. The first one is a unit study guide that provides ways to use the book across the curriculum including activities for history, geography, essay writing, creative writing, reading comprehension, public speaking, drama, and art. Some of the sections of this study guide include:
  • Seven Key Quotes with suggestions for using them for memorization, conversation starters, dramatic interpretation, and artistic display. 
  • Display Corner ideas for how to collect and display objects related to Clara Barton's life and the time period in which she lived.
  • Chapter Questions with six questions for each chapter that focus on vocabulary, comprehension, and opinion and interpretation.
  • Student Exploration activities including essay questions, creative writing, hands-on projects, audio/visual projects, and arts and crafts.
  • Community Links with suggestions for how to plan for guest speakers and field trips to related places as well as suggestions for where to find good resources within the community.
  • Social Studies section divided into six categories: places, journeys, terms/vocabulary, geographical characteristics, timeline, and conceptual questions. 
  • Related Themes to Explore provides a visual concept map of other related topics to study.
  • Culminating Event suggestions to wrap up a Clara Barton unit study.
  • Related Books and Resources list books, videos, articles, and websites that can accompany a unit study on Clara Barton.
The second pdf-file guide contains the following printables:
  • Clara Barton fact sheet
  • Map of Central and Eastern United States
  • Map of Virginia, Maryland, and District of Columbia
  • Timeline
Clara Barton: Courage Under Fire is one of many books in the Heroes of History series. We have also had the privilege to review Ben Carson: A Chance at Life and Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Storybook Life.

I love that the study guides provide plenty of activities and ideas to turn reading one of these books into an extremely interesting and engaging unit study.

You can learn more about YWAM Publishing on social media:

Are you interested in what others have to say about some of the other YWAM Publishing books? Check out more reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew.

Christian & History Heroes {YWAM Publishing Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Monday, May 29, 2017

End of the Year

I have been looking forward to the end of the school year for a couple of months, and once it got here, things have been so busy that I haven't really had time to think.

The past few weeks have been spent trying to get The Boy's paperwork in to our homeschool accountability group, working on paperwork for the soccer club for tournaments and tryouts since I'm the club registrar, and working on track registration for meets since I'm the track club secretary.

I'm hoping to catch my breath this week and maybe actually get to relax a bit.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Typing Coach Online Typing Course Review

The Typing Coach

I remember taking a typing class when I was in junior high. Back then, the class used manual typewriters, and if I made a mistake, I had to use either liquid white-out or those little white out tabs. I credit that class with my ability to type at a fairly fast rate without having to look at the keyboard. Today my children don't use manual typewriters, but they still need to know how to type. Keyboarding skills are a necessity in today's digital society. I was excited for us to have the opportunity to review The Typing Coach Online Typing Course created by The Typing Coach.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Pencil Grip, Inc. Thin Stix 6 pk of Classic Colors Review

Sassy loves to color, paint, draw - if it's creative and crafty, she enjoys it. I like it when that creativity doesn't create a huge mess. The Pencil Grip, Inc. provides mess free, fast drying tempera paint in their Thin Stix 6 pk of Classic Colors.

Thin Stix by KwikStix

For this review, we received a 6 pack of Thin Stix solid tempera paint markers in classic colors - yellow, red, green, blue, brown, and black.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Another Meet in the Books

Today was the 2nd track meet of the season. It was a LONG day! We left the house at 5am and got back after 10pm.

Little Red only competed in 1 event at this meet - javelin. She came in 2nd and had a new personal record.

Sassy competed in long jump, javelin, and 800m. She doesn't normally practice 800m but wanted to do something for her 3rd event. She struggled but it was a good experience for her. She had a pretty good day at long jump, coming in 18th out of 42 girls her age. Her best event was javelin. She came in 2nd and had a new personal record by 2.5 meters.

Soccer Girl ran the 3000m and 1500m. She came in 4th in the 3000m. The 1500m was late in the day (around 5pm) and she didn't run as well as she wanted.

I'm super proud of all 3 girls!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Help Whip Cancer

I am holding a Pampered Chef fundraiser to benefit the American Cancer Society.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Track Meet Time

It's that time of year again! We had the first track meet of the season today. It was a long, HOT day, but I wouldn't change it for anything (well, maybe the hot part).

I am so proud of all of my girls!

Little Red and Sassy both competed and had personal bests in all of their events. While I'm excited when they place and earn ribbons, I'm just as excited when we see how much their hard work has paid off because they have improved. It's one of the things I like most about track - the emphasis on competing against yourself.

The twins volunteered to help at the meet and worked really hard. They ran results from the different events all over the complex in to the timing tent and the awards area.

All four girls displayed good attitudes most of the day (they aren't perfect LOL), and I couldn't be more proud to be their mom.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Daily Bible Jigsaw App Review

I love doing jigsaw puzzles. I know they aren't for everyone, but personally, I find them relaxing. Trying to figure out where each piece fits allows me to relax and focus on that instead of whatever might be going on in my "real" life. Unfortunately, due to space issues, I'm not able to work on physical puzzles very often. Since it might take me several days to complete one, I have to leave it out on a flat surface, and with homeschooling, there are very few flat surfaces that are available that aren't used for eating or schoolwork. Now, thanks to Planet 316, I can get a daily puzzle fix online with their Daily Bible Jigsaw.

Planet 316

Friday, April 21, 2017

SpeedyPrep Review

As hard as it is for me to believe, college is right around the corner for The Boy. Having to eventually pay for five children to attend college means that many discussions have been had about how to reduce the costs for us. One of those ways is for The Boy to try to earn college credit from home before he goes off to school. By taking CLEP exams, The Boy could potentially earn many of his general education requirement credits if he earns high enough scores. He has started working on College Algebra CLEP prep using SpeedyPrep.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth) Review

Apologia Educational Ministries Readers in Residence

One of my goals for my children is for them to be good readers. The ability to fully comprehend what they read is a skill that will take them far in life. Simply being able to read the words on a page isn't helpful if they don't understand the meaning and intent behind those words. Apologia Educational Ministries offers Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth), a homeschool reading curriculum intended to help teach those critical reading skills.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Spring Break Fun

The girls and I decided to spend one day of our spring break at the zoo. We hadn't been there in a couple of years, and they had updated many of the exhibits. It was a very fun, family day.

The rest of spring break we spent hanging out at home. Definitely a relaxing spring break.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Digital Savvy Review

CompuScholar, Inc.

In today's digital world, having computer skills is a necessity. While my computer skills are decent, I know they aren't at a level where I feel comfortable teaching computer science to my children without having a good curriculum. The new Digital Savvy course from CompuScholar, Inc. provides excellent instruction in fundamental computing topics, making it much easier for this mama to feel confident that my girls will get the computer science knowledge that they need.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Spring Break

Yay! The girls and I are finally on Spring Break! (The Boy is taking a class at the local university so he already had his spring break.)

Now I'm hoping I can use this week to rest, clean, and get caught up on life in general.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Shepherd, Potter, Spy -- and the Star Namer Review

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer {Peggy Consolver}

Ballerina is my resident bookworm, and she's also our resident Bible enthusiast. This girl loves, loves, loves learning about the Lord and can answer just about any Bible trivia question you can throw at her. When you combine her love for reading with her love for the Bible, it's definitely a win-win situation. That's why we were so excited to be able to review Shepherd, Potter, Spy -- and the Star Namer by Peggy Consolver - Author.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Don't Mess With My Cub

Sassy had 2 soccer games today. And my mama bear had to come out during the 2nd one. I can get pretty animated at my children's soccer games, cheering for them and their teammates, but today I got HOT. Sassy was getting repeatedly shoved to the ground by a girl twice her size, and the final time she elbowed Sassy in her spine and Sassy collapsed on the ground sobbing. I managed to limit myself to just yelling at the ref that he needed to do something to keep this from continuing to happen. It's crazy how physical a 9 year old's soccer game has become since this isn't the first time that Sassy has been targeted by players on the other team. I try to tell her to just get back at them by playing good soccer, and today she did - scoring 3 of the 5 goals.

So yes, today I was a crazy soccer mom, but my first job is to protect my cub. 😉

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Crazy Season

I'm beginning to think that every season is a crazy season at my house.

Right now we are smack in the middle of high school soccer season. That means practices every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday for The Boy and Soccer Girl and games every Tuesday and Friday night.

Soccer season for Sassy is still going on as well - practices on Mondays and Thursdays and games most weekends at least an hour away. Today she played with one of the other teams in our club and she'll have 2 games for her own team tomorrow.

Most days I'm not sure if I'm coming or going. I keep reminding myself that this is just a season in my life, and that one day I will miss all of the craziness.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Circle C Stepping Stones Books Review

Kregel Publications

My girls love to read, which makes me extremely happy. Finding wholesome books for them to read, however, can sometimes be difficult. Sassy has been enjoying reading Andi Saddles Up and Andi Under the Big Top by Susan K. Marlow from Kregel Publications. These books about faith and family definitely qualify as quality reading material that I feel comfortable allowing her to read.

Andi Saddles Up
Andi Under the Big Top
For this review, we received Andi Saddles Up and Andi Under the Big Top. Both of these are softcover chapter books written by Susan K. Marlow with black and white illustrations done by Leslie Gammelgaard.

These books are the first and second books in the Circle C Stepping Stones series. This series is aimed at ages 7 to 10 and is set in the late 1800s. To begin the series, Andi is nine and her horse Taffy is three. This series includes six books in all and is a continuation of from the Circle C Beginnings series that focuses on Andi at age six. There are also two other series that focus on Andi and Taffy - Circle C Adventures for ages nine to twelve and Circle C Milestones for ages eleven and up. Ballerina had the opportunity to help me review the first book of the Milestones series - Thick as Thieves - a couple years ago.

To accompany the Circle C Stepping Stones books, there are coloring pages, activity pages, and lapbook activities. The coloring pages are in downloadable PDF form, and there are six detailed pictures for each book. The activity pages include vocabulary, comprehension questions, maps, writing, math, history, hands-on projects, and more. There are twehty-six pages of activity pages for Andi Saddles Up, which include topics on cinquains, circus train routes, horses, obedience, and ballads. There are twenty-seven pages of activity questions for Andi Under the Big Top, which include topics on circuses, how God wants us to approach fear, and telegrams.

My Thoughts
I like how these books address issues that are age-appropriate and show how to make good choices. For example, in Andi Saddles Up, Andi has to work through a friendship when her family and her friend's family are arguing about land boundaries. This was a sweet way for Sassy to read how a character who is her age worked through a difficult situation.

I also like the variety of activity pages available to accompany the books. It allowed for us to expand the topics that were discussed in the book to do more in-depth learning. I also appreciate that the activity pages offer opportunities to discuss character issues - obedience and relying on God during times of fear.

Sassy's Thoughts
I like these books. Andi faces things that are difficult and gets through them. She also helps people become friends.

You can learn more about Kregel Publications and Susan K. Marlow and the Circle C Stepping Stones books on social media:
Facebook (Kregel Publications)
Facebook (Susan K. Marlow)
Twitter (Kregel Publications)
Twitter (Susan K. Marlow)

Are you interested in what others have to say about the Circle C Stepping Stones books? Check out more reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew.
Andi Series {Kregel Publications and Susan K. Marlow Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Creative Freewriting Adventure Review

Home School Adventure Company

It is important to me that my children be able to write well since that is a communication tool that will assist them in all areas of their lives. So many times, though, I am met with comments like "but I don't know what to write" or "I don't know where to start." Ballerina has been exercising her creative writing skills using Creative Freewriting Adventure, which includes the Creative Freewriting Adventure Coloring Book Edition, from Home School Adventure Co.

Creative Freewriting Adventure Coloring Book Edition

For this review, we received
  • Creative Freewriting Adventure: A Journey into Freewriting
  • Creative Freewriting Adventure: A Journey into Freewriting Coloring Book Edition
Creative Freewriting Adenture

Both of these are downloadable PDF files. The only difference between the two editions is the availability of coloring pages in the coloring book edition. We chose for Ballerina to use the coloring book edition because she enjoys coloring and adding illustrations to her writing.

The Creative Freewriting Adventure book contains ten freewriting exercises. Each exercise includes background on a philosopher, story background to help set the stage for the freewriting activity, a freewriting assignment, a page on which to write, and (in the coloring book edition) a page to color that accompanies the assignment prompt.

Some of the philosophers she learned about were Democritus, Xenophanes, and Thales.

Ballerina used these freewriting activities to balance out her regular writing curriculum. I found that, by allowing her a couple of days a week to depart from the structured writing assignments to complete a freewriting activity, her structured writing became less tedious for her. It sort of helped her to know that she would have some days to write "from her heart."

The premise of Creative Freewriting Adventure is for the student to simply write - not worry about punctuation, grammar, etc., but to get pen on paper and allow ideas to flow. Ballerina would read through the background information and the assignment. Each assignment provides several questions to facilitate the imagination. These questions helped her to establish a background, to think about possible dialogue, and to incorporate her senses into her writing. After reading through all of that, she would set a timer for 15 minutes and start writing. 

I have loved seeing the creativity that has flowed from her freewriting. She has incorporated various voices into her writing; for example, in a couple of the exercises she addressed it in first person, a couple were written in second person, and a few were in third person. 

Once the timer went off and she completed her writing, Ballerina would color the coloring page to help illustrate her story more. In this one, she wrote about a world where everything is bathed in a purplish tint and animals can talk. 

Ballerina's Thoughts
I like the fact that this gave me mostly free range to write whatever I wanted in response to the prompt. The exercises were inspirational and helped me think of story ideas that I might not have thought about before. The coloring pages gave me a broader view of what I was writing about and helped me get into the story more.

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Monday, March 13, 2017

D.E.A.R. Monday - March 13

Between time change and the freaky weather we've had this weekend, I'm all messed up! (Who'd have thought we'd have snow in SC in March???)

I apologize for no post today for Drop Everything And Read. I have nothing new to share and my morning escaped without time to get it done. I promise to have one next week!

Monday, March 6, 2017

D.E.A.R. Monday - March 6

Sadly, this week looks just like last week. 😔 I'm still plugging away at these same books. I am at least making progress on them.

Monday, February 27, 2017

D.E.A.R. Monday - February 27

I decided to add a "fun" book to my currently reading pile so that I could take some breaks from struggling through Don Quixote. What authors do you read for fun?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Home School in the Woods Review

My favorite subject to teach is history, but sometimes learning it can be a little dry. In order to help my girls enjoy our history time more, I love to have them do hands-on history projects. This is one reason why I have really enjoyed our time reviewing HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: Middle Ages from Home School in the Woods.

Monday, February 20, 2017

D.E.A.R. Monday - February 20

I'm slowly but surely making my way through Don Quixote. What are you struggling to get through right now when you Drop Everything And Read?

Monday, February 13, 2017

D.E.A.R. Monday - February 13

I've added some new books to my LONG TBR list and 1 to my short one. The one I share here is my short one that lists the 3 or 4 books at the top of the TBR list. Some of my homeschooling mama friends and I have decided to read through the list of books suggested by Susan Wise Bauer in The Well-Educated Mind. We're starting book 1 (Don Quixote) today.

I used to enjoy reading the classics, but I've developed swiss-cheese brain over the past years and now don't always seem to have the attention span needed to read them. I'm hoping that the fact that I have really begun reading a lot more non-fluff recently will help me with this. Do you enjoy the classics?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Do All Things Without Complaining

Have you been following along as my bloggy friends and I have been blogging through the alphabet? I've chosen to write about Bible Verses Through the Alphabet. This week's verse is brought to you by the letter

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