Kinder Cottage Publishing ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

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Peter Rabbit has some of the best stories…and lessons to learn. We have been blessed to be able to read two of Kinder Cottage Publishing’s Peter Rabbit stories. Little Miss picked out Peter Rabbit’s Christmas and Ray Ray picked out Peter Rabbit’s Easter. We apparently like the holidays in our house!

Kinder Cottage Publishing was started in 2012 by Howard and his wife Ann. They have a goal of creating and offering products that parents can use to educate their children with.

Little Miss was so excited to be able to pick out Peter Rabbit’s Christmas. This is the hardback adaption of the 1917 story written by Duff Graham and published by the Henry Altemus Company. This is the third of ten in the American Peter Rabbit series (different author same characters). Peter Rabbit was up to his fun again in this book. After Old Mother Rabbit went into town, Peter went out to explore. When he heard the sleigh bells, he was delighted to take a ride. After meeting Santa Claus and being sent home with presents, Peter is happy to announce that for once he didn’t get into trouble!

Ray Ray picked out Peter Rabbit’s Easter. Once again Peter is up to his adventures. Only this time, it is spring and he is heading to Farmer McGregor’s fields. After being chased into town and almost sold at the toy store, Peter is brought back home by a little girl and has gifts for his mother and sisters. This was another hardback adaption of the original 1921 book also written by Duff Graham and published by the Henry Altemus Company. This is the sixth of ten in the American Peter Rabbit series.

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The day we got these books in the mail was a tough day for us…we had been hit by a flu bug of some sorts and were stuck laying around. There was no school for us. But when the books came, we started reading them right away! What better way to help cure the flu, than to cuddle and read! But that hasn’t been the only day we read them. We love to pull these out at any time and enjoy them together. Honestly, who could get tired of little Peter Rabbit? Even though each of the little ones picked out “their” Peter Rabbit book, everyone enjoys both of them.

I am in love with these books. I loved listening to Peter Rabbit growing up, and I love reading Peter Rabbit now that I have kids. We enjoyed the pictures and lessons in these stories. I agree with the age of 3-9 for these books and have no complaints of the price of $4.00 each (they are 5×7 hardbacks and 50+ pages each!) Both Ray Ray and Little Miss were willing to sit through the whole story more than once. They loved the fact that the Peter was a rabbit and look at the neighborhood rabbits in a new way now. I recommend these books to anyone with young children. All kids should know about Peter Rabbit and these books are perfect! Right now if you use the code TOS you can get 20% off at Kinder Cottage Publishing.

You heard me mention that there are ten books in this series…but I only reviewed two of them. Check out these other ladies and what they have to say about the rest of the books!

 

 



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A Life in Balance ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

a learningbreakthough

 

If you can hop on one foot, skip and tie your shoes, you can master the skill of reading! Did you know that? This is just one thing that I learned while reading A Life in Balance by Frank Belgau as told to Eric Belgau, from the Learning Breakthrough Program. A Life in Balance is a story about the finding of a “learning breakthrough” in educational therapy.

Does your child have a “learning disability” or do they just learn differently from the rest of the crowd? Do you want to help your child with their ADD/ADHD focus, but don’t want to add all the medicines into their lives? A Life in Balance is a large help in finding these and many other ideas!

At the time of my posting, you can order this paperback for $18.95. Not much different than the price of any other book you already have in your collection if your child is one who I mentioned above! Trust me…I know how many books you have on the topics, and this is one you really want!

Frank Belgau starts out by telling us a bit about his past, which is the starting point for his discoveries in learning. We get to know him as a person and see how all of this falls into place. From him growing up in a large family of very smart siblings and feeling left out, to him being in the Air Force and loving the hands on learning of being a mechanic.

Frank tells us a lot about his own experiences and those that he witnessed as he was learning about the multisensory approach to learning. We learn about Edward….how I loved Edward! I cried while reading this chapter. I loved hearing how an “unteachable” child was able to open the eyes of so many people in his school. This child reminded me of Moe Man…it is not the same, but it is the same. The child that everyone looks over, not wanting to work with them instead of against them. The one who loves to work with his hands and be able to see what they are doing.

The North Shore Students were such an inspiration. You cannot expect children to want to read if you do not offer them reading matter that is of their age and interest level. This was proven with Frank and these North Shore Students. Frank never once expected excellence from them, but he expected something out of them. The good days did not include beautiful pictures and students with prefect handwriting…they included days with kids actually working and trying to learn!

A Life in Balance finishes up with the “Space Walk”. A fun way to take some of Frank’s finding and put them into action without the extra investment in extra materials. The result of the “Space Walk” work with the physical workings of the brain. You can group the activities of the Space Walk into the categories of Walking, Hopping, Skipping and Rhythmic Hopping.

My opinion of the book….it NEEDS to be on your book self! You need to learn more about how our brain works, how your child’s brain works. You should see how things work so that you can help your child succeed in life. When simple things can make a difference, why would you not want to try it out? I love the book, I love the stories and examples that are included in this book. I have and will continue to use the Space Walk to help us refocus when the school day gets long.

Make sure you stop by and show some love over on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube! There are lots of other ladies who have read the book also. Want to see what they have to say? Check them out here:


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Progeny Press ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

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Literature is a very important aspect of any child’s education. Take literature and add in some bible study with that and you have Progeny Press and their literature study guides. We were so blessed to be able to review The Giver and Frog and Toad Together from Progeny Press.

These Study Guides are download files and the higher grades are actually interactive guides (you can type right in the file and save it there). Each of these guides has you read and then work on comprehension questions and activities. The bonus of each of these study guides is the bible lessons that are added in to each one. They relate to the reading that was done and re-enforces the learning through the bible. The use of these study guides will help your children learn how the authors write their stories and introduce the themes of stories. On average these study guides can take up to 8 to 10 weeks depending on how long you spend on each section. Although these come as digital downloads, you will need to be in charge of finding your own copy of the book (most libraries do carry the books) and a bible to go along with the bible study section.

The first thing you will see when you download your study guide will be a note to the instructor. This will give you the information you need to prepare you for teaching this to your children. For the higher grades you will be able to determine the amount of High School Credits that would be appropriate to give. Following that is a synopsis of the story. This helps if you have not read the book yourself yet. There are before you read activities that help to introduce the story and the ideas or themes of the book. Each of these activities is based on the grade level of the students that are going to be reading the book.

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Frog and Toad Together is a Lower Elementary grade book study. It is recommended for grades K-2. The digital download price is $11.99 and with this you are able to download and print your study guide for your kids to write their answers on the page. We printed this and I did the writing for Ray Ray as he told the answers…or he and daddy talked about the answers verbally instead of reading and writing them down. After answering all the questions, there are projects to go with each chapter. We loved making cookies and seeing if we could resist temptation like Frog and Toad tried to do. We didn’t do too badly, but we also forgot to take a picture of those cookies!

The Giver is a Middle School lever book. This is recommended for grades 7-9 and the digital download is $18.99. Now this download is the interactive download I was talking about earlier. Moe Man loved that fact that he didn’t have to write anything! I loved that he didn’t complain as much about doing some literature work! We took a little more time with this than what they would recommend. This is due in part to the fact that although Moe Man loves to read…actually answering questions after and remembering the little things while he reads is hard for him. I had him start with the vocabulary section one day. He was able to work through this on his own without any problems. I would than work with him the rest of the week on the rest of the questions. We would first go over them together and then I would read aloud from the Kindle version of the book while he followed along with the library copy. As he heard answers to the questions, he would than tell me to stop so he could type the answers in. We found that this worked for us. It may be different for you, but this was what we needed to do for us.

Both of these study guides were very well loved with us! I loved that there were though provoking questions for both ages. Questions that went beyond, who was the main character and what did they do. I also loved that there were the added in bible verses and questions. What better way to add that into our day without adding another “subject” to the day! Not only were we able to learn about God and what he wants us to know, but we were able to but it into context to what we were reading at that moment. Ray Ray loved his Study Guide just about as much as me! He was able to have fun working on “big kid” work like his brother. Moe Man was frustrated to begin with, but once we figured out our way of doing things, he loosened up and actually began to enjoy it also. The benefits of homeschooling…finding a way to make it work for your kids and not just going with the flow!

Progeny Press can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube. Stop by and give them a like! Tell them I sent you!

Progeny Press has so many good books and Study Guides that even if I wanted to, I would never be able to review them all in a decent amount of time! Make sure you check out the reviews by the other bloggers over here:

 


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What On Earth Can I Do ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Apologia

In the world today, your kids need a good solid bible curriculum. Something that will show them who they are and where they stand in the world. If you are still looking for a good Christian Worldview family devotional, I have just what you are looking for! Apologia Educational Ministries offers their What We Believe Series for just that! We had the opportunity to use the What On Earth Can I Do? hardback book ($39), What On Earth Can I Do? Notebooking Journal ($24), What On Earth Can I Do? Junior Notebooking Journal ($24) and What On Earth Can I Do? Coloring Book ($8).

Each of these four items are sold individually, and sure you could just get the hardback book, but you wouldn’t be able to expand like the notebooking journals and coloring book help you to do.  You cannot just get the notebooking journals and think you can “make it work”. I would highly recommend the hardback book and the notebooking journal for the age you need as a bare minimum! Each of the notebooking journals are spiral bound books which make it wonderful to work in. The coloring book is in typical “coloring book” style with a soft cover. The actual What On Earth Can I Do? book is an actual hardback beautiful book!

What on Earth

Apologia recommends this book for ages 6-14. We used this as a family. Each of the boys had a journal to work in and Little Miss had the coloring book to herself. Upon receiving this set, I sat down and started reading the “How to Use This Book” section. What better place to start! There are 8 lessons in this book, but there is so much information in each lesson, that you can make them “last” awhile. In fact, if you went off the daily suggested lesson plans in the notebooking journals and did three days a week, you would have 16 weeks worth of lessons. However, the beauty of this program, it is designed to allow the children to go at their own pace! We have taken the lessons and stretched them a bit more since we had two younger ones following along with us.

Both of the boys loved having their very own notebooking journals. I loved seeing the Junior Journal for Ray Ray since he usually doesn’t get those “fun” things. The journals help the children take what they have learned and make it their own. We have been having fun adding those in where ever we can. This was no exception.

Each lesson is broken down into about 12 different components. These are usually things like the Big Idea or main topic of the lesson. What Will You Do comes next and this is the learning objectives of the lessons. Each lesson also has a Short Story. These stories contain a glimpse into the lives of children who are within this age range. Words You Need to Know includes the important vocabulary of the lesson. Hide It in Your Heart includes the bible memory verse that takes the idea of the lesson and give the kids a way to remember it. The What Should I Do? section gives the kids a specific godly character trait they should work on and apply to their lives. I really love the Parables of Jesus section when we could read a story with a beautiful lesson that has been adapted from a teaching from Jesus.

The Notebooking Journals also include many different components to each lesson. They range from Blank Note-Taking Pages, Think About It, Words to Know, Word Puzzles and Find Out More. Each of these sections range from the Notebooking Journal to the Junior Notebooking Journal based on the age range. The Junior Notebooking Journal is recommended for ages 6-9, while the Notebooking Journal is best for ages 10-14.

We loved sitting down and reading each section together. We would read as a family and then move over to the table to work on our journals. Because of the length of the readings, we would sometimes split the lessons up and work on our notebook the next day or later in the day. It was nice that the notebooks were set up really similar to each other and each boy could work on their own pages. I loved seeing them remember what we had just read and put it on paper. Each lesson idea is written out in the notebook, including the readings and notebooking pages to go along with them. There was nothing too hard on my part to plan or prepare. It was all right there ready to go. This made it very easy for me to grab it whenever we had the chance and use it when the time was right for us.

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We loved this program. We loved every aspect of it. There was something for everyone, and the lessons seemed to just talk to us. It was easy to see what we were supposed to be learning and apply it to our lives. There were some “dark” stories (for example, about the Nazis and the Holocaust) but the best part of this was that even in the dark, hard times, God was there and working his magic. This was the main point of all the stories. This made those teaching moments of “even when things are bad, look for God” more possible. The only complaint that the children had about this, was the length of some of the readings. I would take notice when they got restless and stop though. For this being the only complaint, it really isn’t that bad! We loved this and do recommend this for anyone who is looking for a Christian Worldview program.

You can stop by and show your love for Apologia on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Also, make sure you check out what all these other ladies have to say about their experience with Apologia’s What on Earth Can I Do?

 

 

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Logic of English ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

LOE

Do you have a child who just can’t sit still for school? You know it’s just kids, but you need to teach them their phonics and writing. Well let me tell you about Logic of English and their Foundations Level A program!

Ray Ray is full of energy…all the time! He doesn’t want to sit still and loves to move, but wants to learn at the same time. I relate this to him being a 5 year old boy! When we were offered the chance to review Foundations Level A from Logic of English, I jumped. I wanted to see if this system would work for him. If you have the child that doesn’t want to sit still, you better read this review!

Foundations Level A is recommended for ages 4-7 and is the starting point to set the stage for reading based on phonograms. The “essential” items to make this program work, teacher book, student book and Doodling Dragons book, are $71. Then you have the fun and almost as essential Reusable Resources are $85. Add in the fun app for $4.99 and you have a full years worth of reading and writing! You “don’t need” all of the items, but I tell you what, you will want them for the fun and ease they bring to the learning of reading and writing. And the nice thing, the Reusable Resources are able to be used through all of the foundations levels and is a one-time purchase, not an every level purchase.

I was so excited to find something to try with Ray Ray and all his energy! Not only does Logic of English use basic everyday learning skills, but they also add in many other fun and multi-sensory ways of learning! This has been the best for a child who learns in more ways than just one!

Upon receiving the package in the mail, I set about reading my teacher’s manual. I fell in love right away! The first thing you find when you look at the teacher’s manual is the scope and sequence of the book. Logic of English shows the Common Core Standards, and I know a lot of mom’s don’t like them. Neither do I. And guess what? I didn’t look at them while using this book and it didn’t affect Ray Ray’s learning at all!  After going through the scope and sequence and using this to plan out our learning experience, I sat down to read the teachers tips.

Logic of English can be used with either manuscript or cursive. I regret that we did not start Ray Ray with cursive. He loves the flow of it, and I think he would love it. It is recommended that if your child has trouble with fine motor skills, to go with the cursive. It is easier and requires less fine motor movement.

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We had so much fun with this program. It started easy…learning the lines, like the base, mid and top lines. And just becoming familiar with the way we speak. Looking in a mirror to compare how we say sounds. Ray Ray loved “seeing” himself speak! Each lesson contains a phonogram lesson and a handwriting lesson. But that is not just that…there are so many extra options to help ANY student learn what they want to teach. There are teacher tips to help you reinforce the topics learned. Each phonogram learned is given ideas to make a “day” out of it, challenges to add some extra fun into what you are learning and of course the multi-sensory fun sections (we love these).

We usually worked on one lesson a day, 5 days a week. However, we homeschool…that means, when something isn’t clicking, we stop and work on it. I love the review lessons after every 5 lessons for this purpose. Ray Ray loves to read, he loves to draw, he loves to do math, but he really dislikes writing! I have noticed that he liked this program better than any other we have tried. Even though he loved it so much, we still took a day or two longer on some to make sure he got it.

So, do I love it or hate it? I LOVE it! I love that they take the teaching of handwriting and break it down into strokes…Ray Ray will say the strokes as he writes the letters. It is so fun to hear, but I know that he is getting it. Ray Ray loves the program too. He is mad when I won’t “play games” with him during the handwriting time, like him quizzing me on what the lines are named. Another thing he likes is the blending games. He is able to listen to me blending the words and either do the action or find the item. He slows down to listen and I see his brain listening to the phonograms and putting them together as words.

I haven’t even mentioned the items in the reusable resources!!! These items include the tactile cards, handwriting reference chart, phonogram game cards, phonogram flash cards and the student whiteboard. All of these have made learning so much more fun for us! The whiteboard alone is much more fun to practice our writing on versus plain paper. Add in those sandpaper like tactile cards and your children will want to write! Learning to write is much more than pencil and paper and Logic of English has that covered!

Honestly, I don’t know why I haven’t used this before! I can’t see teaching my children reading and writing in any other way after this. I recommend this to everyone who has a child who is a little reluctant to pick up that pencil or book. This is what you need for those and all children!

Now, Logic of English has more than just this program available. I am not able to tell you about all of those, so why don’t you check out what these other lovely bloggers have to say.  Click the link below and check them out! Oh, and make sure you stop by and show the love on Logic of English’s Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter. Tell them I sent you 🙂


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Maestro Classics ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review


MaestroClassics

Do you like stories? Do you like music? What about a story within the music? Maestro Classics does just this! We were given the chance to listen to Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Both of these CDs were delightful to listen to!

Maestro Classics is beautiful classical music for children! Their Stories in Music are recordings with a narrator telling you the story and a symphony orchestra to introduce this music to your children. There are three major goals to these CDs. They are to expand the listening horizons, develop listening skills and accumulate musical memories, and to encourage adults and children to listen to music together.

We have always loved listening to music in our house. And stories are a daily part of the household. When you combine the two, it is the best of both worlds! Each of these CDs sells for $16.98 or you can purchase the MP3 download for $9.98. They each come with a cute little activity booklet that goes along with the music.


Maestro Classics Review

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel is recommended for ages 4+. We have previously read this story, and watched the video on it. When the kids heard the beginning of the music, they were excited. They knew right away what adventure we were headed on. What we didn’t know, was how beautiful this story and the music were put together. Add in the fun activity booklet and the sing along song, and we were having so much fun by the time lunch was over!

Maestro Classics Review

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is recommended for ages 6+. This is a remastered edition of the classic. This remastered edition includes a narration on the music. It was so much fun to have someone help paint the picture of the lazy apprentice and his antics with the brooms and water! Not only do you get to listen to this music, but the activity booklet includes things like crossword puzzles, dot to dots and a fun kitchen percussion to add some fun to the “learning” if you call it that 🙂

We have loved these CDs beyond what words could explain. When I was growing up, I would watch Peter and the Wolf. I loved the music and it the movie made me learn how to picture the story of music in my head. I will always remember that music and I wanted something like that for my kids to grow up with. Classical music is so much more than music and having this chance was just want I wanted.

We started each CD during our lunch. Listening to the story and the music. After that we continued and listened to the extras on each CD. By the time we were done eating and cleaning up (40-50 minutes) we were able to move over to the activity book for each CD. We would work on the fun crosswords, or dot to dots and we would read up on the different instruments. Each booklet also included some sheet music of the song and we started learning the notes. Adding in the fun activities like the kitchen percussion, or the Mike Mulligan Sing Along and you have a music course for the week! So simple and yet so fun!

I loved being able to give my children the chance to learn to love the classical music like I did. They enjoyed listening to something other than me eating while reading…and they enjoyed the music. Classical music seems to calm them, add in some learning and they had an awesome afternoon, as did I! This music brought back wonderful memories for me and I hope that this will do the same thing for my kids!

Maestro Classics can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Now, I told you about two of the CDs, but there are more than that and these ladies here can tell you about them! Click below and enjoy!

 

 

 



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ARTistic Pursuits ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

ARTistic

Little Miss is still a little too "little" for real school, but she is my artsy girl. Anything to do with art and she is there. When I seen the opportunity to do a review on The Way They See It (Preschool) from ARTistic Pursuits, I jumped for joy for Little Miss! She was so excited when the package arrived and I told her that her art school was here. 

There are twenty-six lessons in this book. Although this is an art book for preschoolers, it is also an art book for the parents and teachers of the preschoolers. Each lesson starts with "Grown-up Talk" which tells the parents and teachers a little about the child's learning and understanding. It helps us see their art as they see it. The lesson goes next to a work of art from many diverse artists. There are fun little activities that you do with those pictures. Simple, yet fun things that help your little one look at and study the picture a little more than just a fun glance and go. And finally it is time for the kids to have fun! Each art activity for the children is based on the picture they were just studying. You will not be just coloring, you will painting, drawing, molding, and building. You are going to learn the art technique that was used for the picture study in each lesson.

The Way They See It (Preschool) is a spiral bound book. It does not include the supplies needed for the activities. I wouldn't worry too much about those…half of them I already had at home and the other half were not too spendy to grab from the store. You can grab your own copy for $47.95. The recommended age for this book is Preschool (3, 4, and 5).

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I have listened to Little Miss and her desire to be artistic. We took a lesson a week and included Ray Ray with us on these fun "school lessons". I would take the time at the beginning of the week and read the Grown Up Talk for the lesson. I loved reading and having my eyes open to how my kids were seeing all the art around them. We would than move over to the kids paying attention to the different pictures for the week. We would study the picture one day, talk about it and do the activities talked about below it. The next day we would talk about what we remembered with the picture and talk about how they made that. We would than do the art activity that is listed in the book.

Ray Ray watched us one day and had to join in right away. These two kids of mine love their art and for them to see play doh pulled out made them smile! We would play with whatever technique we learned about for the rest of the week. We would only take one lesson and just stretch it out for the whole week. This was the perfect schedule for our family, and I am sure you could do more or less for your family.

So what was our final decision on this product? We loved it! And continue to love it every week! I loved reading about what my kids see. I loved seeing their art with new eyes. My kids just like when I let them pull out the art supplies 🙂 ARTistic Pursuits lists where you can find all the supplies if you can't find them at a local store, which I can see for the older programs. Like I mentioned, we were able to find the supplies we didn't already have at the local store and it didn't set up back any major funds. Why wouldn't you let your kids have fun?

If you are looking for an art program for your kids, I really think you need to stop over at ARTistic Pursuits. They have something for all ages. Don't believe me? Check out the other reviews!

 


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The Brinkman Adventures ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

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What do you do for long car rides? Do your kids get bored with doing nothing? What if you could have a family adventure about Christian stories? The Brinkman Adventures offers just that for you! These stories are just what my family needed for our trips of driving daddy to and from work. The Brinkman Adventures Season 2: Episodes 13-24 were so fun to listen to together!

There are 4 CD's with 12 episodes on them, totaling 5+ hours of fun, wholesome stories! This family seems to find an adventure in everything they do! This isn't a homeschool curriculum, it is a set of radio drama stories that sure are fun to listen to. Daddy's main office is an hour and a half away from our house, so we are always looking for things to keep us busy in the car. When this came up for review, we were happy to try something new. Not only are we able to listen to the stories, but we are able to talk about them together as a family.

The episodes included in The Brinkman Adventures Season 2 are:

1. The Mystery Ring

2. Blue Hat & T-Shirt Bible

3. How Big is Your God, part 1

4. How Big is Your God, part 2

5. Mexico by Bus

6. Treehouse Academy

7. Pirates of Mayan Island

8. Sapphire Slaves, part 1

9. Sapphire Slaves, part 2

10. Hadi’s Choice

11. Castle of Secrets

12. On the Run

All of these stories (and the stories in Episode 1) are all based on true stories. These stories last about 25 minutes each. This was just right for sitting down to lunch, and a couple of these worked great for the drive to or from daddy's work. We really enjoyed listening to The Mystery Ring and how even after "selling" the ring, the right things happened to the family! After listening to the stories, you can go the the Brinkman's website and read the real story that each episode is based on. 

The CD's are recommended for the entire family…there is not a too old or too young age for this. Even Little Miss loved the stories…especially when they talked about castles 🙂 The Brinkman Adventures runs on a donation basis. They want everyone to be able to hear their stories! The suggested price for the 4 CD's is $25. Where else can you buy 4 CD's with 5+ hours of family fun for $25?

All of the stories have a very strong Christian message in them. They are showing us ways to bring the Gospel and Word of God into everyday experiences. This is a way to show your children that no matter what happens, God is there. I was thankful for the disclaimer at the beginning of the episodes where the content was a little strong for the younger children (child slavery), but with a parent sitting there to help them understand, Ray Ray had no problems with this. He did have his eyes opened a little more by listening to those stories, but knowing that God does have a plan is always nice.

We really loved these stories. The underlying story under them, and the Gospel in them. I would say that everyone needs to listen to them at least once in their life…and than again when you're done! The kids loved the break in the day and to have something different when they were bored. I loved knowing they weren't staring blankly at a TV, rather they were using their minds and listening to real life adventures!

Check out Brinkman Adventures on Facebook and don't forget to check out the other reviews by clicking on the banner below.


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Curiosity Quest ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

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Curiosity killed the cat…but what child is not curious? If your children are curious, why not feed off of that and let them learn while they can. Let them lead you in the direction of the fun they want to have. Curiosity Quest is the best way to help with that!

As a part of this review, we were given a copy of the DVD Combo Pack – Produce and the DVD Combo Pack – Swimmers of the Sea. Each of these DVDs sell for $24.95 and include three episodes on each one. 

These DVDs are not a curriculum. They are just a fun way to work with your child's natural curiosity. There are no quizzes or worksheets…although you can add in notebooking pages or unit studies if you would like. They are recommended for ages 7-14, but I can tell you that Little Miss (2) and Ray Ray (5 1/2) loved them more than Moe Man (13).



Curiosity Quest Review



The DVD Combo Pack – Produce has three episodes on it. The episodes include Cranberries, Mushrooms and Oranges. We love to eat mushrooms (Ray Ray HAS to have them with his steaks) and oranges in this house, and cranberries are always on our radar every since we learned about them at Thanksgiving. Joel has enough enthusiasm to grab anybody's attention and add in the funny things that happen? Yeah, the kids loved this DVD! We were able to learn about the growing and harvesting of these produce items. As much as we enjoyed these episodes, we are going to enjoy them again in the fall when we really focus on harvesting crops with our gardening unit.



Curiosity Quest Review



Of the two DVDs, the DVD Combo Pack – Swimmers of the Sea was the favorite of the two at our house. We have watched this DVD so many times I have officially lost count! This DVD Combo Pack includes Salmon, Penguins and Sea Turtles. There was actually a fight over which episode we would be watching first, Ray Ray won with Sea Turtles 🙂 



Curiosity Quest Review



Ray Ray had to of course grab every turtle in the house and set them up while watching about turtles. Every few minutes I would get the "Wow, did you know…" comments from him, but other than that, he was loving the video. As much as Little Miss did not want to watch this episode, I witnessed her being a little more happy about it as she was brought in with Joel's great attitude and the fun questions from the kids. 



Curiosity Quest Review



Little Miss wanted to watch the Peguins episode. After our Sea Turtles we were happy to watch this one with her. We had fun learning about why the peguin doesn't fly and how many feathers they have.



Our use of these DVDs were very easy…when the kids were bored, or I needed some one on one time with one of the kids, we popped in a DVD. We got these DVDs during a time when we couldn't run outside to play, and mommy was getting sick of the boring TV shows and didn't want them anymore. These DVDs were a great life saver that grabbed the attention of the kids and helped them learn through their own curiosity. 



There is no right or wrong way to use these DVDs and that is nice. All you need to do is have fun! They now have a spot on the movie shelf and the kids will pick them out on their own. 



The episodes are all unscripted…some viewers have sent in questions to go with the topics, but that is the most of it. Joel takes the kids (and adults) into a fun and educational view of the different topics. Joel takes us on location in each episode to make sure that all the questions of the curious viewers are answered on the current quest.



My Honest Opinion



We loved watching Joel and all the fun that he brought into our house. We love the Fun Facts that were given to us, and we loved how these DVDs were geared to grab our attention and make us learn and laugh with them! I loved that my kids pick these off the shelves themselves now that they have seen them once. I love knowing I won't have to worry about what the kids are watching when I need to be busy. I can see us using these videos with upcoming unit studies. This makes them that much more valuable to us. Do I have any complaints? Not really…with how interested my kids were and how much they seemed to take in, and continue to take in, these are a good addition to our video shelf (heck, learning vs cartoons…yep I know what DVD I would buy first!).



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Victus Study Skills System ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

 



Victus Study Skills Review


 


What do you do when your child asks you how to study? When do you learn how to learn? When it comes to teaching your kids study skills you need a good study skills program. That is where Victus Study Skills System comes in with their Student Workbook and Teacher Edition.


 



Victus Study Skills System is a system of skills that work together to help equip our students for success in their academics and their everyday life. This is not a program of hearing the same old thing over and over again. This study skills system works on things you and your kids may not have heard of before. And this is not just for homeschoolers…this is a good program for anyone with a child between 5th and 12th grades.


 


Victus Study Skills Review


 


Victus Study Skills System Teacher Edition and Student Workbook both come as spiral bound paper back books. The books, although pape back, are very sturdy and have held up to our daily use for two weeks straight. The covers are beautiful and the writing within them are very easy to understand. These two books are all that you will need to help teach your kids to study. There are no "extras" that you need to buy to make this work for you.


 


The Teacher Edition is $40 and tells you all that you need to know to teach the study skills. You get to start with a nice introduction to the philosophy of the Victus Study Skills System. After reading about the four concepts and previewing the three foundational cornerstones, you get to the four objectives of this program. Section One is the teacher instructions. Yes, you will need to learn to be able to teach 🙂 You will want to make sure you read this, because as you are told "You are teaching concepts that students will apply to academics and to life." There is a sample 5 day course plan to follow, but we did change ours up a little. Section 2 is the lesson plans. The teacher edition gives you the three P's to each lesson, Purpose, Preparation, and Procedure. A nice "student view" shows you what the kids will be seeing in their book and will also give you the answers. Section 3 is the wonderful Appendix. Please, do not wait to look at this until the last minute like I did. This is a wonderful resource to help reinforce everything you are trying to teach!


 


The Student Workbook is $20 and gives your student all they need to achieve the study skills they need in life. The student workbook starts out telling the kids the four concepts as well. There are the three foundational cornerstones that we will work through in the student text, "Where am I now?", "Where do I want to be?", and "How do I get there?". Once the kids can answer these questions, they will be able to make progress in the right direction!


 


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Although it is recommended to complete this program within 5 days, we took a little longer with Moe Man. They do say to pay attention to your kids and do what is best for your kids. We did do this and spread this out over two weeks instead of one. And we still use this to this day to help us in our learning skills. We started using this program as recommended, doing up to two lessons a day. But we found out that we wanted to use these new skills before moving on, so we slowed down a bit and did one lesson everyday…sometimes two with a day off inbetween. 


Starting off, one of the first things we did was to find out the learning strength of the child. This was so much fun for both me and Moe Man. Where I thought Moe Man was an auditory learning, we found out he was more visual/kinesthetic learner. This in and of itself has helped us out so much! I would have been happy to just stop right there, but we got to learn more! 


After finding out where the kids are now…they get to decide where they want to go. This was hard for Moe Man, but we made it through. With Moe Man being adopted, and the story behind that, we have a hard time working and planning for the future. Once I made him understand we are ok and that he can look towards the future of his school and what he wants to do when he "grows up" we were able to make it through this section. Goals are fun for most people…they are even more fun when I am able to read them and see that the goals Moe Man has are the same that I have for him…those ones that I don't voice out loud, but pray about…yeah, he wrote those down on paper and I cried. 


Goals in mind, we get to move on to the "How do I get there?" section. Time management, organization, note taking…you learn it all! This section helps the students to actually work for their goals. Working towards goals is not just for school…it is for real life too. 


You get to finish it all up with a quick study skills test to see how well your kids actually retained what they were learning. 


 


I learned so much about Moe Man using this program. I could not have been happier! I loved learning about how to help him learn and study better with his ADHD and FASD. This is simple enough to use with him, but also challenging enough to push any kid past their comfort zones to make positive changes in their study skills. When I asked Moe Man for his opinion of this program I was told "I like the fun activities that teach me about learning." I than asked him what he didn't like…expecting something from him…but I was surprised… "Nothing. I kinda like it." Ok, coming from a 13 year old boy, "I kinda like it" is a good thing 🙂 Now for the mommy opinion…I liked it. I liked learning more about Moe Man's learning styles. I loved seeing him explore his learning and finding out how to improve. The only thing I didn't like was the idea of different classrooms, and different teachers. It works awesome for a public school child, but we just had to improvise on those parts. Did it hinder our learning? No way! Does it make me like this any less? No way! I still recommend this for any parent or teacher of a middle to high school student, homeschooled or in the public school. 


 


There are many others who have reviewed this system. They have their own opinions on it also. I recommend you check them out if you are having doubts and see for yourself what we all think about this system!


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Victus Study Skills System is on Facebook and Twitter…make sure you stop by and show them some love 🙂


 


 


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