Creative Writing – A Review

I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

Writing is critical in the house. Finding an excellent program to help spark creativity in writing is not always easy. Creative Word Studio has given Little Miss a great start on being creative with Sparkling Bits of Writing Book 1.

What Is It

Sparkling Bits of Writing Book 1 is a spiral-bound workbook with 75 lessons. This is not a complete language arts curriculum; instead, this is a resource for extra practice. Book 1 is recommended for grades 5-6, and Book 2 is recommended for grades 7-8.

There are three different types of lessons that rotate through the 75 lessons. The Free Writing lessons are just that. There is a starter question or topic to get the student going on the writing. They are not left to figure it out.

Reading Response lessons start with a reading passage for the student to read. The passage is usually about one page long. After the student reads the passage, they answer about four questions about the passage.

Mini Writing Lessons are the final type of lesson. These are the lessons that have your student trying new things in terms of writing. They vary in different styles to help with varying styles of writing. Some of the Mini Writing lessons will be marked with a symbol meaning they are a gold piece.

A gold piece lesson is a lesson that the writing will be edited and rewritten. These will also be the lessons that will be graded. There is a grading chart at the back of the book to help with grading these lessons.

How We Used It

Little Miss is in the 4th grade this year. While Book 1 is recommended for grades 5-6, I wanted to have her try this. She did not have an issue, and I am glad we went with this book for her. We have been adding Sparkling Bits of Writing in with her current language arts curriculum on average three days a week.

For most of the lessons in the workbook, she can complete them on her own without a lot of help from me. I am available to help her when she needs it, but I love seeing her take the workbook and walk away to complete the assignment. There are a few lessons that allow working together with a friend. When these lessons come up, I allow her to pick someone in the house to work with. She has fun picking different people depending on the assignment.

What We Thought Of It

I love the simplicity of this workbook. It is open and go. Little Miss has not struggled with this at all. It has added a lot to our current language arts curriculum without being too overwhelming. The lessons don’t take too long to complete, but they are complete in what they are teaching. 

We enjoyed that each lesson was different in style from the previous one. Having them change up styles made the lessons fun and not monotonous to complete. This is an issue that Little Miss struggles with. She likes things to be different, and Sparkling Bits of Writing has done that for her.

We would recommend that every family use Sparkling Bits of Writing in conjunction with their current language arts curriculum to help with creative writing. You can find out more about how this works with other families and more about Book 2 by reading the other reviews right here.

Creative Word Studio Reviews


Find a King James Version Bible for You! – And a Giveaway

I have always had a bible handy, but it wasn’t until recently that I fell in love with the King James Version of the bible. This version of the bible has been around since the early 1600s. I had the chance to review three different King James Version bibles, and I have the opportunity to give one away!

King James Study Bible

I love a good bible study, but I have never really had an official study bible. I was so pleased to open this to use during my daily bible study. This study bible has everything! Notes at the bottom of each page explaining the meaning of what I am reading, introductions to each book in the bible, color pictures, and maps. The Study Bible is a bible that I am fully in love with and can’t set down.

King James Ultrathin Reference Bible

This is the size and style of the bible I am used to using. I can throw this bible in my purse and take it anywhere I need to go. However, I decided it was time to update Ray Ray’s bible and gave him this one. The two-toned, leather-bound bible is excellent for a young man. 

One Big Story Bible featuring The Gospel Project

Out of the three bibles I received, this is the only hardcover bible. I love that this means the cover will hold up to the wear and tear that Baby Girl will put this bible through. This bible is full of so many extras, full-color illustrations, digital pop-ups, big words, big questions, Christ connection, memory verses, and seeing the big pictures. These resources help bring this bible to life and allow kids to ask questions, find answers, and see how the bible is a part of our daily lives.

What I Thought

These bibles are amazing. I am in love with them, and I love that we are reading the exact version of the bible together that was read many years ago. I love the quality of these bibles and all of the extra information in each one. There is a bible for everyone in the King James Version.

From a simple text Bible to fit in your pocket or purse to Study Bibles with award-winning study tools, the process allows you to find what you are looking for quickly—and weekly specials with up to 50% off are easy to find too!


Enter Here for your chance to win your choice of one of these three bibles.

*For the USA only. Winners will be notified by me via email on June 2nd, 2021 and must respond with their choice of bible and mailing address by June 3, 2021.

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Books on Migration – Online Book Club

For April, we read some books on migration for our Online Book Club. It was a great way to get ready for spring and to learn more about how animals migrate to other climates at different times of the year.

One of my favorite authors for children’s books on learning about nature is Gail Gibbons. Her books are full of information that kids can take in and process. We read Migration by Gail Gibbons for our April reading prompt.

We had so much fun with this book. I decided to read it first and then dig deeper into it, researching more about the animals who migrate. 

This book was packed full of information about migration. We could print some simple notebooking sheets up and use those to help us organize our data. If you haven’t noticed, we love to use notebooking sheets. These are such a fun way to take any book or activity and turn it into a learning activity.

Baby Girl just did many drawings or copying of words from the book, but I made Ray Ray and Little Miss do a bit more. They had to take what they learned in the book and find more information online.

Not only did we use the book to learn about migration, but we also went outside. It is spring, so that we can see the animals, primarily birds, migrating back to our neighborhood and backyard. We were able to talk about the geese that we saw fly away last fall and how they are back now. Also, we could speak of the robins, as those usually mean that it is finally spring.

Hopkins Homeschool
The Life We Build
A Net In Time
Homeschool Coffee Break 

What are some fun books you have read about migration?


Ronald Reagan: Destiny at His Side – Book Review

I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

We love adding books into our learning whenever we can. When given a chance to pick a book from YWAM Publishing and their Heroes of History, I let Ray Ray pick one. He decided he wanted to learn a little more about Ronald Reagan. For the last few weeks, he has been reading Ronald Reagan: Destiny at His Side.

What It Is

For this review, we got a copy of Ronald Reagan: Destiny at His Side and the digital unit study guide. The book is paperback and just over 220 pages in length. The study guide is packed full of ways to use this book as part of your school curriculum. The beauty of these books, you can use them for school or just for fun reading.

This book starts with an exciting first chapter on the attempted assassination of President Reagan but then brings us back to his beginnings as a child named Dutch. As we read the book, we follow the life of Dutch as he works his way to becoming president. For my history buff son, this was fun and interesting to learn about Ronald Reagan’s life.

Going through the unit study guide, you can find ways to use the Heroes of History series as a complete history curriculum. Books like Meriwether Lewis: Off the Edge of the Map and Abraham Lincoln: A New Birth of Freedom allow you to move through the history of our country through the eyes of those who lived it.

How We Used It

As I mentioned, Ray Ray is my history buff son. He loves to learn on his own about events that have happened, so a standard history curriculum is rather dull for him. I allowed him to pick the book of the person he would like to learn more about and used the unity study guide to use this for his history. With the unit study guide, we took a simple book and were able to add in history, geography, and writing, among other things.

There is no right or wrong way on how to schedule this unit study. I opted to have Ray Ray read a chapter every other day. On the opposite days, he would work on the chapter questions. I had him keep a notebook where he could take notes and write out the answers to the questions. As we went along, I would also grab an idea from the student explorations, either writing or a hands-on project, to have Ray Ray complete.

What We Thought

Ray Ray is in love with this type of history learning. I love that I can pick and chose the different things from the unit study guide to enhance his knowledge of Ronald Reagan. Honestly, even if we were not using this for history, I can see Ray Ray just grabbing one of these books and reading it for the fun of it.

I love that the books are easy to read yet full of information. They are well laid out and work for family read-aloud or independent learning. The unit study guide is full of beautiful ideas that check your understanding of the book and bring it to life.

If you are looking for a change in your history curriculum or a way to add to it, I recommend the Heroes of History series. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Check out the other reviews right here.

YWAM Publishing


Famous Figures of Ancient Times – Our Review

I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

History can be boring. But, it doesn’t have to be! We have been using Famous Figures of Ancient Times from Figures in Motion to add some hands-on fun with Little Miss’s history lessons.

What Is It

Famous Figures of Ancient Times is a paperback book containing 21 famous people from ancient times. There is a short description of each person along with a reading list that can go along with the book.

Each of the figures comes in two ways and all the paper is a heavy cardstock. The first version of the character is just a line drawing for your kids to color themselves. The second is a full-color version that just needs to be cut and put together.

The putting together is very easy, as all parts are labeled on the back. You simply match and attach. It is really that easy!

Famous Figures of Ancient Times can be a stand-alone history curriculum or it can be used as a resource to add fun to your current curriculum.

How We Used It

Our current history curriculum has reading that I read aloud to the kids. During this time, Little Miss would get the character that we were learning about that day (if there was one), or would catch up on some that we had already learned about.

After making her figures, Little Miss would be able to go around and create scenes with them to show dad and big brother what she had learned. This was a fun way to see if she was listening while I was reading.

While we used this as an added resource to our current curriculum, you could easily use this as a stand-alone history curriculum. With the information on each figure, you have a great base. There is also a great book list to add more learning for each time period.

What We Thought

The quality of this book was great! The figures are very sturdy and hold up to use after making them. It was fun to see those we were reading about come to life for my daughter. 

I really like that there are two options for each figure, so my daughter can decide if she wants to be creative or just give herself something to do while listening. Seeing that the list of figures included all the major ones from our history curriculum.

Little Miss used to be bored during history, but now she wants to do it first so she can make more figures. This is a great addition to our homeschool history lessons!

Figures in Motion have other time periods also. If you want to see those and see how other homeschool families used Figures in Motion in their homeschool, check it out over here.

Figures in Motion


Mastering Multiplication with AIM

I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

Multiplication can be hard for children to learn, but it is a skill that needs to be learned. When children struggle though, they may just pretend to know the skill to keep moving forward, I know mine do. Math-U-See has come up with Accelerated Individualized Mastery (AIM) for Multiplication with a Bridge to Division to help children who struggle with multiplication.

What Is It

AIM for Multiplication with a Bridge to Division is not a full math curriculum. Instead, it is a way for students 10 and older who are looking to increase their confidence in math and retention of multiplication facts.

AIM for Multiplication with a Bridge to Division uses the Math-U-See manipulatives and varied instructional methods. The lessons are student-centered with the instructor helping to guide.

Not only do we have the manipulatives that make Math-U-See different, but we also have an instructor resource guide, fact check cards, math facts strategy posters, and digital resources like videos and activity pages/worksheets.

How We Used It

Ray Ray is great at school. He has always been above his age in learning. However, multiplication has hit him. He struggles with this part of math. I don’t want him to struggle, so we added this into our school schedule.

The first thing started with was watching some of the videos and reading through the resource guide. This allowed me to get the idea of how we would be doing this. Since this is student-centered and focuses on mastery, I did not “plan” any lessons. Each day, we just do the next thing or focus on mastery when there is a struggle.

We used this every day with our regular school schedule. We made sure to not exceed 15 minutes of practice at one time. Some days we would watch the video introducing the new concepts or practice the new strategies that were presented. If the strategy was not mastered right away, we would spend more time on it. While there are worksheets to help practice with the digital pack, we also made some of our own, it was not hard to do.

What We Thought Of It

I really like the approach of AIM Multiplication with a Bridge to Division. Ray Ray is a visual, hands-on learner. Flashcards have never been a strong practice tool with him before, so learning his multiplication facts a different way has really helped him.

I love that there are many ways to practice each new strategy. It is nice to have the manipulatives, and they were gradually removed from practice, but I could tell he was still picturing them as we worked without them. Since he really enjoys building with similar blocks is a major thing for him. This really made it a fun way for him to practice math.

Ray Ray only had one complaint, the manipulatives didn’t stack as nicely as his blocks would. I had to remind him these were not for building with! But, honestly, if that was his only complaint about math, that is a huge compliment for Math-U-See!

We have not reached the bridge to division section yet, we have been working on the mastery and enjoying the fun games that are in the appendix. I did check this section out, and I really love the way that it is explained. This will really help Ray Ray when we get to this point and I really look forward to seeing more understanding of math in his future!

If your child is struggling with multiplication facts, loves visual and hands-on learning, I would recommend Accelerated Individualized Mastery Multiplication with a Bridge to Division from Math-U-See. 

If you want to see what other families thought of this program, check that out right here.

Math-U-See Accelerated Individualized Mastery (AIM) for Multiplication with a Bridge to Division Reviews


Learning About Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day

March’s Online Book Club theme was St. Patrick’s Day. The kids and I had a lot of fun not only reading some good books on St. Patrick’s day, but we learned a little about Ireland as well.

I have used affiliate links in this post. To learn more, head over here.

O’Sullivan Stew

Ok, this book has nothing to do with St. Patrick’s day, and very little to do with stew, but it was a great story! We had fun reading this one. Our imaginations were put to work and we were pleasantly surprised by the end of the book.

I loved how this showed bravery and compassion on the part of Kate O’Sullivan. The girls loved seeing a girl as the lead, not only teaching the town what it meant to be a town but also saving her family!

Cute books with great life lessons.

A Fine St. Patrick’s Day

What a cute little book this was! Two towns competing to be the best-decorated town for St. Patrick’s Day. When a man comes looking for help, one town shuts him down while the other drops everything to help.

This book was not only about St. Patrick’s Day but also a great lesson in what matters most, others around us and helping. We enjoyed talking about this book and the lesson we had learned.


Since we homeschool, I love to take every opportunity to find learning opportunities. Well, that is doable with Productive Homeschooling’s Notebooking pages. They had a full unit of notebooking pages for Ireland, and many other countries as well.

With some books from the library and these notebooking pages, we were able to add some geography lessons into our book club this month.

At Home: Where Life Happens
The Life We Build
A Net In Time
Homeschool Coffee Break 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter



Everybody, Always for Kids – Book Review

I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

“By this, all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” John 13:35

My goal with raising my children is to show they love God by their actions to others. Bob Goff makes it easy to show love, always in the book Everybody, Always For Kids.

What It Is

We got a hardcover copy of the book and a five-day lesson plan of ways to bring the book into our daily lives. The book contains 40 chapters. Each chapter is a new story about how Bob brings love into what he does and shares personal stories about how these worked for him.

The five-day lesson plan picked out five of the stories and had different teaching points, questions to talk about, and ways to make this happen in your life.

How We Used It

There are different ways that you can use this book. You can just read it one story at a time and in order. You can read other stories that seem to fit what you are learning about or dealing with in life at the moment. You can follow the five-day lesson plan and build off of the ideas from there. You can have your kids read the stories, or you can read them aloud together as a family.

We decided to start with the five-day lesson plan. We followed the lesson steps in the lesson plan. We would ask a question first, read the story related to the lesson, ask questions as we were reading, and finish with an activity. After using the lesson plans, we used a similar style while reading the rest of the stories.

What We Thought

The book was a beautiful hardcover book with colorful pictures. The stories were fun to read aloud, and everyone enjoyed listening to me read them. 

My kids loved listening to me read these stories and found it easy to relate to them. It was easy for us to find some new ways to show we are Christians by our actions every day. This book is a beautiful way to learn how to show love in your everyday actions, from being patient to seeing past things and into people’s hearts.

We will be reading these stories over and over again. They are a great reminder that loving everyone isn’t that hard at all.

There are other families who have had a chance to use this book in their homes also. Check out their reviews right here.

Everybody Always for Kids Reviews


March Online Book Club – St. Patrick’s Day

When did it become March already? This year is moving fast, and I am looking forward to the warmer weather! But, first, let’s talk about the online book club for this month!

Being March, the topic for the online book club is St. Patrick’s Day. While we do have a few books about St. Patrick’s Day picked out, I also grabbed a few books on Ireland.

I figured, as we learn about St. Patrick’s Day this month, it would be fun to learn about Ireland also. This will help us to add some geography to our lessons without adding in a whole new curriculum.

We have four simple books picked out to read this month for the book club. The first two are fiction books that will help us learn about Ireland as a country. The two fun books we have picked out are O’Sullivan Stew by Hudson Talbot and A Fine St. Patrick’s Day by Susan Wojciechowski.

We will be having fun making a stew and using our notebooking pages to help us learn more about this holiday and the country of Ireland. Check back with us at the end of the month to see what we thought of the books and how we had fun with them!

Everyone is welcome to join us in this book club, as long as you keep it family-friendly. Grab some books about St. Patrick’s Day (or Ireland) and have fun with them. Share with us about what you did with them and link up to the linky.

At Home: Where Life Happens
The Life We Build
A Net In Time
Homeschool Coffee Break 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


We look forward to hearing what fun you have this month in our Online Book Club!


Observant – Five Minute Friday

I am back to do a Five Minute Friday post again! I love these posts, and I love that I am setting aside time to do them again.

This week, the word is Observant. So, here we go, five minutes, no planning, no editing, just writing!


This is a tough word. There are many other words that could be so much easier for the first time back. 

Over the last year, I have become observant of a lot of things.

I am observant of how my kids are dealing with changes, even though we have homeschooled from the beginning, they are still missing out on things and friends. 

I am observant of my husband and his health. Things have changed, and I need to know what they are and what happened to possibly cause the changes.

I am observant of my time with my family. I want them to know that I am fully present to be with them when they need me the most. 

Finally, I am observant of myself. I have learned that I need to care for myself if I am going to be caring for everyone else. If I am staying up too late, not drinking enough water, or eating crap food, this won’t help me care for everyone else who needs me.

Being observant, in my mind, is making sure that I am quiet and watching. Sometimes asking questions as they come up, but mostly paying attention.

How have you been observant lately?