Apologia Creation Astronomy ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Who created the moon and the stars? Who made the universe? Who made the sun? Questions that I have heard from the kids, especially Ray Ray. I love these questions, and I love when I can find a great curriculum to help me explain all of this! We had the chance to review Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition from Apologia Educational Ministries and I can't wait to tell you all about this curriculum!


What Is It

Exploring Creation with Astronomy is a full science curriculum for grades Kindergarten up to 4th depending on the Notebook Journal you pick. For this review, we received the Student Text, Notebooking Journal, Jr. Notebooking Journal and Audio CD. The Notebooking Journal is geared towards 3 or 4th grade or higher. The Jr. Notebooking Journal is great for Kindergarten up to 2nd or 3rd grade.


The beginning of each Notebooking Journal has a suggested lesson plan to follow. If you follow this and do 2 daily lessons a week, it will take you a full year to complete this curriculum. Each lesson includes a reading, an activity and/or a notebooking entry. If you have a student who doesn't like reading (like Ray Ray), the audio CD has every lesson read by the author, Jeannie Fulbright. These readings include what is in the book so your child can follow along. Ray Ray learns better by listening while reading silently in his head. This CD has been my lifesaver for this curriculum!

Each of the two Notebooking Journals are similar, but contain age appropriate activities. Both have a copy work page, in the Jr. notebook the lines are more appropriate for an early writer versus the simple single line in the regular journal. One difference that I have found, at the end of each lesson, the Jr. notebook has some coloring pages while the regular notebook has What Do You Remember pages that has some basic questions that will check your child's understanding of the lesson. These notebooking journals are spiral bound and are a great keepsake for the years to come as to what your child learned.


The actual textbook for Exploring Creation With Astronomy is a hardcover book filled with beautiful pictures to help your child understand what is being taught. This book is not a book filled text that is boring for your child. This book is engaging and beautiful. The lessons include bible quotes and Think About This sections that have your child slow down and make the lesson real for them.

How We Used It

We decided to follow the suggested guideline to this curriculum and kept it to two lessons a week. This allowed us some time to digest what we were learning and build from it. Using this schedule, we had fun with the first two lessons in this book. The daily lessons were fun, simple and a combination of reading and notebooking. We enjoyed doing the experiments and calling in the other siblings to make some of them work. I had Ray Ray explain to the siblings what he was going to have them do and what they were representing. This made him recall what we were learning. Win-win for this mom!

We started off with Ray Ray reading each of the lessons, but quickly found out that he didn't like the reading part. He would complain about reading, and not want to do the lessons. As soon as I pulled out the audio CD he was once again draw in. He would follow along with the lesson as he listened to it being read to him by Jeannie Fulbright, the author.


While following the two days a week plan, we have found that we can space these out for Ray Ray. When doing this, we could make each daily lesson last two days and have something each day to learn about or do. We would do the reading one day, followed up by the Activities or notebooking the next. This kept our lessons short and at the level that Ray Ray loves them. Even when a lesson was done in full, they were short, only lasting up to 30 minutes depending on how long Ray Ray would take doing his notebooking.

What We Thought of It

This was a program that was more than I had anticipated! I knew from hearing others that Apologia has great science programs. We have used other programs from Apologia and loved them. But this, this was all of that and so much more! The pictures in both the textbook and the notebooking journals are beautiful! They show the beauty that is astronomy! The textbook itself is so full of information, yet can easily be understood by the younger readers. The activities that are chosen are fun, hands on and full of learning!

The two levels of notebooking journals take the learning to the level of the user. The lower level has all that the younger learners need without overwhelming them, where you can take this same text and use it with the older learners and learn something new! The daily readings for both levels are the same, so this is a great option for family learning and not having to worry about more than one textbook!


We loved the audio CD that came with this. Jeannie reads this text with so much enthusiasm that you can tell she enjoyed writing this as much as we have enjoyed learning from it. This is no boring audio with a monotone speaker. This audio has music and life to it. In fact, Ray Ray loved this audio CD so much he wanted nothing to do with the textbook and just wanted to listen to the story at hand. That is what makes this CD work for him, he thought it was a story, not school!

This is a science curriculum that I would recommend to anyone looking for creation based science. The notebooking journals are a must and if you have a student like Ray Ray, you need to grab the CD as well. You will not be disappointed with this at all. I haven't been and I had some high expectations before getting this!

Want to know more? Check out these other reviews and see what you think!

Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition Review

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Jolly Phonics ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Kindergarten, that time when little kids grow up. When they learn their letters and start to read. But there is one problem. Have you looked into programs for learning to read? I have! There are a lot! When I say a lot, I mean, you will get lost in trying to find out what you want to use to teach your child how to read. I have had the chance to try out Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar from just2ducks LLC at jollyliteracy.com. This program has been wonderful for Little Miss!
Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar Review

What Is It

Jolly Phonics is a phonics program that works with your child to teach them words as soon as possible. You will not be teaching your child the phonics in alphabetical order, rather in an order that allows them to form words right away with what they are learning. Jolly Phonics has a multi-sensory approach, so they can reach as many students as possible.

Jolly Phonics teaches five skills to your child.

  • Learning the letter sounds: Children are taught the 42 main letter sounds. This includes alphabet sounds as well as digraphs such as sh, th, ai and ue.
  • Learning letter formation: Using different multi-sensory methods, children learn how to form and write the letters.
  • Blending: Children are taught how to blend the sounds together to read and write new words.
  • Identifying the sounds in words (Segmenting): Listening for the sounds in words gives children the best start for improving spelling.
  • Tricky words: Tricky words have irregular spellings and children learn these separately.

Jolly Phonic and Jolly Grammar

The Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar set comes with;

  • Jolly Phonics Teacher's Book in print letters
  • Jolly Phonics Student Book 1, 2 and 3
  • Jolly Grammar 1 Teacher's Book in print letters
  • Jolly Grammar 1 Student Book
  • Jolly Songs in print letters

How We Used It

As with every program, mommy spent some time reading the beginning of the teacher's book before allowing Little Miss to work on this. I needed to know what I was going to be teaching and what tricks I would need to know. After reading through the explanations of the 5 skills, I got to the daily guidance section and was ready to get started. With Little Miss, we started on Book 1 of Jolly Phonics. This books starts us off with the letter-sound group of "s, a, t, I, p, n". These letters/sounds are able to make numerous different words. This alone made Little Miss want to come back the next day.

Jolly Phonics Teacher's Book

Once we tried the first day and found out how much fun we had, we decided to do one page a day. Every day we would start by practicing our previously learned sounds. After we practiced the sounds, we would move on to a story. This story would introduce us to the new letter/sound that we would be learning about that day. This story would use the sound over and over again. It was fun to hear the sound in a story and watch Little Miss picking it out.

After we worked on the story, we would work on an action to help us remember the sounds. These actions also went along with the fun Jolly Songs. Little Miss would listen to this CD over and over again, even listening to the songs we had not gotten to yet, this made it easier when we were learning those letters later. We would move on to learning how to write the letter and even blending it with previously learned letters. We would finish up the day by doing the activity on the workbook page and coloring the picture.

Jolly Phonics Book 1

We have almost finished book one. We look forward to book two. This is where we take what we learn and actually work with the words instead of just the letters. Not only that, but we continue to work on practicing our writing of the letters. By the time your child has reached the third book, you are watching your child write and read. They will have built confidence in a fun and easy way.

What We Thought of It

This has been such a fun program to use. It has a simple layout and moves easily from one day to the next. Little Miss enjoyed being able to learn to read right from the beginning. There was no waiting for a week or two. This program allowed her to start reading right away. This gave her excitement and confidence to keep on going. She loved listening the songs, and I love how these songs have such catchy tunes to them!

Jolly Phonics Songs

The teacher's book is laid out wonderfully. I was able to understand it, and could use it without spending a lot of time studying it each morning. I knew that I would go to the day, go through the activities, and that was it. I didn't have all sorts of prep, yet Little Miss was having fun. We even had Baby Girl joining us from time to time with the songs that we were singing.

Little Miss loved her workbooks. They were simple for her to understand, and she could do most of them on her own once she understood the new sound. This was fun for me to watch, but I had to keep an eye on her. Some days she wanted to keep working in the workbook without me, then we would have to redo the lesson so she could hear the sound!

Little Miss Jolly Phonics

After using other programs for Ray Ray, and knowing that Little Miss was a different learner, I was happy to find Jolly Phonics for her. I can't wait until we make our way into the Jolly Grammar book and learn about parts of speech in the same fun way we have been learning the phonics.

We were not the only family to try this program out. Head on over and see what the other families on the Review Team had to say about this program!
Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar Review

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FlipStir Puzzle from Enlivenze LLC ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

"But I am bored mom. What am I supposed to do?" This is a common statement when mom decides that video games are not an option in the house for the day. So what does mom do? She hands the bored child a Tyrannosaurus Rex FlipStir Puzzle from Enlivenze LLC.


What Is It

What the heck is a FlipStir Puzzle? It is just that, a puzzle that you have to put together by flipping and stirring! What? Yes, you heard me right. This puzzle is 10 pieces and put inside a tube with a wand to help you flip and stir the pieces.

Flipstir Mess

There are two different levels of these puzzles. Level 1 is 10 straight edged pieces within the tube to put together. Level 1 has two different options and Level 2 has three different options right now. Level 2 also has 10 pieces, but they are curved instead of straight.


FlipStir Puzzles are battery free, small, compact and easy to take anywhere. You have no worries about losing the pieces since they are all contained in the tube. This puzzle will help your child with hand eye coordination, just like video games, but better!

How We Used It

Well, we flipped, shook and stirred the pieces until we could solve the puzzle. Or at least tried to! Even the Level 1 puzzle took some time and work, but when you got the hang of it…you didn't set it down!

LM with FlipStir

We did not use this as part of the homeschool day, rather we used it when school was over and kids were bored. Everyone who came into our house was subject to trying to solve the puzzle. There was a lot of shaking, stirring and flipping with the wand that was inside the tube. 

FlipStir Wand

Anytime a child in the house had finished school and chores, yet was still bored, they were given this puzzle to work on. Sometimes I even had children grab this off the shelf just because they wanted to. And it was always a challenge when a friend came over to see if they could solve the puzzle.

What We Thought of It

This puzzle opened our minds to a new way of putting puzzles together. We had so much fun trying to outsmart these pieces, and figuring out how to move them around with the silly wand. The kids had so much fun trying to be the first kid to put the puzzle together. Even Baby Girl had a fun time trying to solve this puzzle. Actually, I think she just liked being able to play with something like the big kids.

FlipStir BG

We had so much fun introducing this puzzle to our friends as well. They could not believe how much fun one tube of puzzle pieces could be. This has been a hit around the house for everyone of all ages. This is just as difficult for the adults as it is for the kids. We are excited to add more of these to the house and really have fun racing each other to finish! What a great idea for hand eye coordination without video games!

FlipStir Solved

Want to check out the other reviews? Click below and see what the other families had to say!
FlipStir Puzzles Reviews

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Crew Disclaimer


Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Learning a new language should be fun. It should be entertaining and should be able to be used in daily life. You do not want to have a boring textbook with lots of writing and little actual speaking. Where do you find something like that, especially for the younger ages? We have been having fun with the Spanish Starter Set 1 from Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids (FL4K) these last couple of weeks and we can't wait to tell you about it!

A Schoolhouse Crew Review

What Is It

The Spanish Starter Set 1 is a 20-week course in beginning Spanish. Included with this is a DVD that covers the first 3 units, if you want to call them that. They are Basketballs aren't for Breakfast and The Little Magic House Part 1 and 2. Along with this are three workbooks and teacher's guides that go with each video. Each video covers anywhere from 11 to 20 lessons. There are also fun lesson extenders included to help you have even more fun with what you are learning. With this set, you will also get a sticker set (you won't believe how fun sticker are until you see these), flashcards and a fun game to play!

FL4K Stickers

The lessons are set up to be short, sweet and fun. You should be working on 1 lesson twice a week. The video lessons are only in Spanish, but you don't need to panic. This is a great way to learn a language, by using it! Each lesson has at least 2-4 activities to go with it, meaning you can watch the video segment for the lesson each day and do a different activity each day.

How We Used It

Frist things first, mom read the How To Get Started Guide. This gave me many great tips and helped me to help the kids not be frustrated with the all-Spanish speaking video they were about to watch. Each short video is broken down into shorter segments. These shorter segments built into each other, so as we went along, we were able to watch the whole video and actually understand it as we went along!

FL4K Teacher's Guide

The first day, I let the kids watch it the whole video. While this is not recommended, I knew that if the kids didn't get to see it all, they would be more frustrated. We didn't do any lessons with it, just watched it and talked about it. The next day we just watched the first segment and went on to the lesson for the day. And this is how we continued. As we went along, we were able to start some work in the workbooks, but we were already using words in our everyday life.

The workbooks are broken down into 4 different sections, Activities, Culture, Squisher Says and the Answer Key. We used the workbooks throughout the lesson. Ray Ray and I would work together on these workbook pages while Little Miss looked on. They were easy to do and introduced us to the words we were learning on a worksheet. Oh, and the stickers…how we used the stickers! These were stickers with the words we were learning on them. We got to go around the house and sticker the house up with Spanish words. Even daddy, who wasn't taking the lessons with us was learning Spanish by seeing these stickers!

FL4K Stickers Everywhere

What We Thought

I took two years of high school Spanish and 1 semester of college Spanish in my school years. Guess what? I didn't learn near as much as I did from watching these lessons with the kids! Yes, I can count to 10 and know a few words here or there when I see them, but FL4K has taken teaching a new language to a whole new level! We loved the funny storyline that was used to teach us Spanish, and we loved how easy it was to pick up on words that were being spoken.

While the kids didn't love the workbooks as much as I did, they were still easy enough to do without much argument. The stickers and videos have been the highlight of this program for the kids. At the end of each video segment, we had a Rapid Review section. This is where we would see what we remembered. This is also where the kids had a contest to see who knew the words first. This makes it fun for them and that makes it fun to learn. When you are having fun, there is no time for being bored!

FL4K Workbooks

We have been having so much fun with FL4K and we have been known to walk around the house or even the store talking about the food we need or want in Spanish! My kids love it and I love it!

We were not the only family to check out this fun Foreign Language program. Check out these other reviews and see if this is something that will work with your family like it did for ours!

Beginner Spanish Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids Review

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Crew Disclaimer

Talking Shapes ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

What do you do with a 5-year-old who loves to play games, and learn at the same time? You have to find a program that will give them the fun and learning that they need. What program could that be? Little Miss had the chance to check out Talking Shapes: A Supplemental Curriculum for Early Literacy from Talking Fingers Inc.

A Schoolhouse Crew Review (1)

What Is It

Talking Shapes is a fun way to learn that letters are actually just talking shapes. This is a great program for ages 4-5, or even more advanced 3 year olds, or struggling 6 year olds. Talking Shapes is an interactive computer learning game that can be played on any internet device. It is a series of 7 books about two sisters who invented the alphabet. Each book will introduce your child to new letters and the sounds they make. They will build new words with those sounds.

Ideally you would be able to use this on a touch screen computer, and your child would be able to draw each letter as they learned them. You are able to use a "regular" computer and your child can use the mouse, but they won't get the feel of writing the letter this way.

Within the 7 books in this series, you will find a full phonics curriculum for your preschool child.

Talking Shapes

How We Used It

Little Miss has been using this program as a summer phonics program, preparing her for her kindergarten year. We did not have a touch screen computer, so Little Miss used a mouse to write her letters. This was a little tough at first, but as she practiced, she got better at it and was happy to show me when she could trace the letters correctly. Little Miss spent some time each day working on this and I noticed her looking at letters in a while new way. I have even started seeing letters in a whole new way thanks to this program.

After we logged in Little Miss would be able to click on the book we were working on. This helped us see how much we had done and how much was left to do. Once in the book, we would work through the different chapters. Little Miss loved the games that were played as she learned about the different letters. It is not every day that you look at a butterfly and think of the letter B, but now we do!

Each lesson, we worked on earning 4 gold eggs. If you had an issue with one of the words, you would have to redo it to get that golden egg. After you completed your four words, you would move on to reading the words in sentences. This was also made into a game of clicking on the missing words.

At the end of each book, your child will go through an assessment to see what they can remember from all they have learned. No, this is not like a test and they won't even know that they are taking a test! It is just like the rest of their games and just as much fun!

Talking Shapes Games

What We Thought Of It

While we loved using this program, the loading time was a little slow on our computer. I would get it set up, let it load and then call Little Miss over to do her work. This did get a little frustrating, but we used this time to talk about patience and what a great virtue that is. We live in a "right now" era, and when something takes a minute, it bugs us. After learning about patience, we had no issues. This wasn't any crazy long wait, and never took more than 1 minute.

Little Miss was able to play on the computer and do her school. She loved the games and they kept her interested. There was no boring game, and none that were too hard for her. They were just the right amount of challenge with a great reward for completing each one. This was the perfect summer program for her, and I could see this being a great supplement for the preschool age to use for a whole year.

We were not the only family to spend time playing this program over the last six weeks, check out these other reviews and see what other families had to say while using this with their kids.

Talking Shapes {Talking Fingers Inc. Review}

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Heirloom Audio Beric the Briton Audio Drama ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Are you ready to be taken on an adventure? One of mystery, revenge and possibly even true forgiveness? Do you want to know more? You can simply read the story of Beric The Briton by G.A. Henty, or you can check out Heirloom Audio Production's Audio Drama and be entranced from beginning to end by this wonderful story!

Beric the Briton A Schoolhouse Crew Review

What Is It

Heirloom Audio has added another title to The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty with Beric The Briton. This 2-CD set has over 2 hours of entertaining, attention grabbing story to tell you about the history of the Roman invasion of Britannia happened. I will tell you right away that this, like other Heirloom Audio Dramas is not like any other as there is a different actor for each character.

Beric the Briton

Not only did we get the physical CDs, we also got access to the bonuses with our review, which include the MP3s of the audio drama, the PDF of the story, an inspirational quote poser with a quote from Julius and a study guide to name a few. These bonus items make this Audio Drama a history lesson happen in an instant.

How We Used It

Like previous Heirloom Audio Dramas, we first listened to the whole story first, usually while we ate lunch. I love having noise in the house besides the kids, and this was a great alternative to the TV or music. After listening to it, we would talk about what we had heard each day.

After fully listening to the whole story, we listened to it again. This time as a history lesson. This was easy to do with the bonuses that were included. We would listen and use the PDF of the story each day for history. After each session, we would go over the study guide. Each track on the CD has a matching study guide page. Each page includes Listening Well Questions, Thinking Further and Defining Words.

The Listening Well Questions are fun to use in two different ways. We tried to answer them after listening the first time. I found that the kids didn't quite get the answers the way that I would have liked. The next day, we read through the questions first. We talked about what we thought we would be hearing and then we listened. As we were listening, the kids were picking out the answers as they heard them! These questions helped us to be better active listeners and we enjoyed using them in this way.

Beric the Briton Study Guide

What We Thought Of It

As always, Heirloom Audio has blessed us with another wonderful audio drama! We have loved every one we have listened to so far and Beric the Briton is no different. In today's fast paced, loud world, it is sometimes hard to find an audio book that catches the attention of our busy minds. However, while this was based on a book, this is anything but an audio book. With different actors for each character and all the other sound effects, this is TV on a CD!

My kids loved to pull this out when they were "bored", and we enjoyed sitting down as a family and pretending to be old fashioned while listening to this. There is no physical screen to watch with this "movie", but the mind is a great screen as you listen and picture everything that is happening.

While the recommended ages is 6 to adult, Little Miss and Baby Girl have enjoyed listening to this as much as the rest of us. Now when it comes to mommy reading aloud, I get asked to use different voices like the CD does. Yeah, mommy is not that good, but we can always listen to Beric when we need that kind of action!

We were not the only family who had time to enjoy listening to this audio drama. Head on over here and check out these other reviews with me!

Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions  Review

Have you listened to any of Heirloom Audio's Audio Dramas? Which one is your favorite so far?

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ABeCeDarian Company ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

What is ABeCeDarian? ABeCeDarian is: 1. One who teaches or studies the alphabet. 2. One who is just learning; a beginner. Once you know this, you will begin to understand the concept behind ABeCeDarian Company and the Interactive A Workbook they have available for you and your children.

A Schoolhouse Crew Review (8)

What Is It

ABeCeDarian Interactive A Workbook is just that, an interactive workbook. This is just like any print workbook that you would order and have your child work from, only this is available online. We have used it on the laptop and the iPad. I personally loved the iPad better because Little Miss was able to use the stylus when she needed to write instead of the mouse. ABeCeDarian is a multi-sensory approach to learning how to read, and Little Miss loved using this program as a part of her "new" kindergarten program!

The Level A Interactive Workbook gives you one year of access to this workbook online. After you finish the first year, you are able to purchase additional years for a discounted price. The one thing you need to know about this interactive workbook is that it will take up to a minute to load and during this time your screen will be black. No big deal? Have you stared at a black screen for a full minute? In our fast paced world this is a long time. We did not have an issue with this, yes it took time to load, but we weren't worried. I actually didn't call Little Miss over until it had loaded so she knew nothing of the "slow" loading time.

ABeCe Word Puzzle

Each lesson incudes at least three different learning activities. These include things like word puzzles, tap and say, say and write and people talk to name a few. These are a great way to mix up the lessons and allow for all styles of learning. Your child should know basic sounds, as they will use those sounds to learn how to build words. This seems simple enough, but when you are doing a "game" style workbook, it is fun and not just simple.

There is a teacher's guide that you can get to go with this workbook. This helped me to understand what we should be doing with each page. Not only that, but you have about 50 pages that will help you, and me, as a teacher learn how to better teach your child each of the different ways of learning included in this workbook.

ABeCe Teachers Guide

How We Used It

Mommy loves the old fashioned workbooks, yet the kids in this house love the technology they are growing up with, so this was the best of both worlds. I could follow along with the workbook style and Little Miss loved the fact that she was on the iPad versus a piece of paper.

Each week, I would plan to work through 4-5 lessons with Little Miss. Each of these lessons lasted us about 20 minutes. Little Miss was able to sit through this most of the time, but on the days she was overly active, we would split them in half. The lessons are set up where this is possible with no negative effects on the learning.

That is it. It is simple, yet effective to use. It is fun and engaging. This is the best of both worlds.

ABeCe Writing

What We Thought of It

Well, in a nutshell, we loved this interactive workbook. There are so many good points to this workbook. Little Miss was happy to grab a stylus when it came to the writing portions and I loved that we had an iPad to do this on. When we tried to do the writing portions on the computer, it was frustrating for her to control the mouse, so we just skipped that. I loved that when using the stylus, it was still like writing with a pencil.

ABeCe Spelling

I loved how simple it was to teach Little Miss her reading skills, and how different each lesson was. This made it fun each time we sat down to learn. The teacher's guide gave me the confidence to know that I wasn't going to screw up teaching this important skill to her. Knowing how to work each page was important to me and this guide was perfect at explaining each step of the lessons.

Teacher Manual Level A_zpsxa0kw2qq

If you are looking for an old fashioned style workbook that catches your child's attention like a video game, I think you need to look at this Interactive Workbook. You don't have to take my word for it, check out these other reviews and see what they think as well!


ABeCeDarian Interactive Reviews


What is your number one fear when it comes to teaching your child to read?

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Crew Disclaimer


ArtAchieve ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Art, it is one of those subjects that has a love-hate relationship in our house. The kids love it, and I, well I hate it. I was never good at art, I love looking at it, I love watching other people do it, and I want my kids to be good at it. So how in the world am I going to make that possible? Well, I find someone else to teach it for me! We were given the chance to check out the Entire Level I from ArtAchieve and Moe Man jumped at this opportunity.

A Schoolhouse Crew Review (5)

What Is It

ArtAchieve is in an online art program. The Entire Level I has 9 lessons. They start at lesson 3. You are able to try out lessons 1 and 2 for free right here. With the purchase of Level I, you will have a one-year access to these lessons on the website.

Each lesson contains a PowerPoint presentation of the lesson, a printable warm-up sheet, a video of the lesson and a print out of what your child will be drawing. Your child has the option to click through the PowerPoint or watch the video. Moe Man has done both with great success.

ArtAchieve PowerPoint

When you start each lesson, whether as a PowerPoint or as a video, you will learn a short history of the subject that you will be drawing. You will learn what your goals are for the lesson along with the supplies that you will need to make this art happen.

When you are ready to start the art part of your art lesson, you are given some tips on how to warm up. These include ways to relax your eyes and the suggestion of music to play in the background as you work (I like these ideas for when I work also). Once you have your eyes ready and the music going, you get to warm up with your drawing. You are given squares using the shapes that you will need for the actual art project that you copy into an empty square.

ArtAchieve Dragon

Now that you are completely warmed up, you are ready to get started, but first, the rules! I love these rules. They remind the child that they are drawing for themselves, they don't have to like what they draw and to actually wait until you are all the way done before you decide if you like your art or not.

Once you start drawing, you are taken step by step through the picture. In the PowerPoint (Moe Man's favorite) you see the new pieces in red and green. This way you know what you have done and what you need to do. Once your line drawing is done, you add color! Most of Level I can be done with items you most likely already have in your house.

ArtAchieve Dragons

How We Used It

I let Moe Man use this at his own pace. I knew that he would be working on at least one or two lessons a week. He loves to build on his drawing skills and this really helped him. He tried both the PowerPoint and the video versions of the lessons. He personally preferred the PowerPoint since he did not have to hit pause and play each time he was drawing.

I would require that he did one lesson a week. I would put it on his weekly lesson plan, but if he wanted to do more because he was bored, I didn't stop him at all. When it came to "grading" I would simply look to make sure it resembled what he was supposed to draw and that he had added some color and patterns. Remember, I never liked art and really disliked the grading process. I promised myself I would never deter my kids with poor grades in art, unless they didn't try.

ArtAchieve Drawing Bugs

What We Thought Of It

Moe Man loves his art. He loves to draw…but he doesn't like being told what to draw. He likes learning new techniques, but wants to use them in his own images. I noticed that he really enjoyed this program, if I didn't require him to watch the video. I loved having the two options of how to learn the lesson, and noticed that he did also. Where I would have liked to watch the video and pause as needed, he preferred the PowerPoint and not having to worry about the pausing after every step.

While this level was just the drawing and adding different elements of color, this was something that Moe Man loves so it fit perfect. The pictures were not hard, but they also required some work. This took Moe Man from simple line drawings to more curves and circles, finding the right size proportions and adding in different patterns and colors to make his picture unique instead of just the lines.

ArtAchieve Bugs

This was a great art program for Moe Man, and I can't wait to move him up to the next level! These were great for building his confidence in his drawing and took 20-30 minutes depending on the details he put in.

There were other families who reviewed this level and others, check out their reviews by clicking here:

Art Lessons for Children ArtAchieve Review

Stop by ArtAchieve on Social Media and show them some love!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Artachieve
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What do you like to do for your art lessons in your homeschool?

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Laurelwood Books: Patriotic Penmanship ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Momma, I want to write like you. How many times have you heard your little ones say this? How in the world do you teach a very independent 5-year-old girl to write like her momma? I love the Kindergarten Patriotic Penmanship in manuscript from Laurelwood Books.

A Schoolhouse Crew Review (4)

What Is It

This is a paperback workbook that takes your child through the alphabet. First we practice the letters and phonemes alone, followed by adding in short vowels to make simple words. There are 24 lessons in this workbook. Each lesson will usually last about a week, but you will decide for sure with the level of your child. While this workbook focuses on the short vowel words, you can easily add in long vowels if your child is ready for them.

Patriotic Penmanship

The Patriotic Penmanship series starts in Kindergarten and continues all the way up to high school. Each level adds more words and eventually famous Scripture, hymns, and quotes from the Patriots that helped to form our nation. There are both manuscript and cursive versions. While we are starting with manuscript, I will move Little Miss up to the cursive very soon!

How We Used It

Little Miss is super excited that she is able to start joining in more on these reviews. This was hers for writing skills since she wants to write like me. This was a great way for her to practice her letters. We started working on Lesson One right away. This was a great way to get to know the vowels. These were also simple letters to write. Lesson Two introduced the constants to Little Miss. Once these were introduced, we were now able to start working on words.


We are falling in love with the Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling, and that includes daily copywork to improve our handwriting skills. This workbook works perfect for Little Miss to do this. There are no, "finish this much each day" sections. We just work on a little bit each day with the goal of finishing the lesson at the end of the week, sometimes sooner.

After practicing each letter or letter combination, Little Miss is given the chance to write them on her own. While there is a lot of space, and I will start making her do more on her own, I have just made her write it on her own once or twice each time. While we write, we are learning the phonemes of each letter, and adding them together when we add another letter to the word we are working on. So not only does Little Miss work on her handwriting, she is working on her reading skills as well!

Patriotic Penmanship Review

What We Thought Of It

We loved this program. The letters were simple enough to trace and Little Miss had no issues with that. We were able to have a guideline of what should be done and do them at our pace without worry. Little Miss is able to practice on her own after tracing yet it is not required as to how many to write.

Patriotic Penmanship2

I loved finding the Scriptures and reading them to Little Miss as we went. I am excited to see how much she will learn to write as we progress into higher levels of this series. I loved finding a simple writing program that doesn't have all the extra silly stuff that is not needed.

We were not the only ones to review a book from Laurelwood Books. There were different levels of Patriotic Penmanship along with other workbooks that were sent to Review Crew families. Check out these reviews by clicking here:

Latin and Penmanship {Laurelwood Books  Review}

Will you stop by and show some Social Media love with me on their Facebook Page?


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NotebookingPages.com ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Are you frustrated with your current curriculum? Are you looking for something fun that will help your kids learn at the same time? Instead of being frustrated and tied down, why not use some fun journaling, and why not make it pretty, or handsome, with the notebboking pages that are designed for them. The Notebooking Pages LIFETIME Membership at NotebookingPages.com has everything you need for just this!

Notebooking Pages LIFETIME Membership

What Is It

NotebookingPages.com is a website that has a notebooking page for almost everything, with new ones being added. The different topics are A-Z, Bible/Character, Famous People, Fine Arts, Geography, History, Holidays, Language Arts and Science/Nature. Oh, and there is even a section call Any Study. This is where you can pick and choose what you need for your homeschool if it isn't already listed in any of the other sections!

Debra, the owner of NotebookingPages.com, is a homeschool mom herself who wanted something better for her kids. When she wasn't able to find, she made it. And I am thankful that she did! This is our go to page for all things notebooking!


How We Used It

There is no right or wrong way to use this site, just so you know right now. You will decide how you want to use it, and that is what you will do. We have used this site for YEARS, and each time I find something new to use in a new and different way. Each one of my kids use the resources here in different ways and each one loves what they do.

Little Miss

Little Miss is busy learning her letters. I am able to hop on in and find the letter we are learning about in the A-Z section and we can use the pages to go with that letter. We love coloring the big letters and making the fun little books. We are able to draw a picture(s) of things that start with letter and practice writing words that start with that letter. She loves just having her own books to read to Baby Girl.

Ray Ray

Ray Ray is busy learning about birds and clouds this summer. We are finding out that the Charlotte Mason style homeschooing is best for him, and these notebooking pages help us to learn in a different way. I simply printed up some pages on the different birds in our area and let him find the information he wanted to learn about them. He is busy making his own bird book, and loves watching the birds with his book. We have also had fun simply staring at the clouds. The nature study section has a great collection of pages on clouds and we are able to write about what we see and find the difference in the clouds to the weather and how they both seem to change at the same time.

Moe Man

Moe Man is even busy with these pages. He has found a style he liked in the Any Study section and used this as a way to take notes for his government course. He takes one page per lesson and fills it full of what he is learning. There are some really neat little squares on some pages, and he is able to use those to draw what he has read about. This is a fun way of notetaking that you would not get from simple lined paper. I love seeing what he comes up with each day!

What We Thought

I love these pages. I love having that one site that has what I need to make a boring subject fun. That one site where I can replace the worksheets with fun sheets. I love that there are two different styles of lines with each unit and that I can pick and choose which one will work for us each day. The Lifetime Membership has been worth it to our family and we will continue to use these pages long into the future of our homeschooling days. If you have to pick one thing for your homeschool, pick this. This is essential in our homeschool and I think you will feel the same way about it in yours.

A Schoolhouse Crew Review (3)

Want to see how other families have put these pages to use? Head on over and read these other reviews with me. I can't wait to find new ideas to use in our homeschool!

Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership Reviews


Stop by and show some social media love to Debra!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/debrareed.notebookingpages/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NotebookingPgs  @NotebookingPgs


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