Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Homeschool Review: The Pencil Grip #hsreviews #pencilgrip #safetyscissors #preschoolsupplies

The Pencil Grip, Inc.

My son had a stroke on Thanksgiving Day when he was only 18 months old.  One of the side effects of that stroke became evident a few years later when it was time for him to learn to write.  Holding a pencil correctly was super tough for him.  He couldn't use scissors and fastening buttons and turning door knobs were almost impossible, too.  We began seeing an Occupational Therapist and she introduced us to the wonderful world of pencil grips to help train his fingers how to hold a pencil so that he could begin to write letters and words.  I had never even heard of pencil grips until then, but am pleased to share them with friends now that they are readily available from The Pencil Grip, IncThe 3 Step Pencil Grip Training Kit makes it easy to help kids learn to write while The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors help children learn not only how to cut correctly, but they make sure that the only thing being cut is paper.  That's perfect for moms who worry their kids might lose curls or their books might lose pictures.
The 3 Step Pencil Grip Training Kit

What I like about the 3 Step Pencil Grip Training Kit is that the shape of the grips makes it easy for kids of all abilities to grasp their pencil and moms with no professional training can help their children succeed.  Although you can begin with whichever step is most comfortable for your writer, the three separate steps can train your little ones to be more controlled as they write.  The first grip is The Crossover Grip.  It is used as the first step in training because its design offers the maximum structure and reinforcement of the proper position of the pencil between your fingers.  Children learn how to hold their pencil because their fingers only fit one way around the grip itself.  The second grip is The Pinch Grip.  It is used as the second training step because it transitions students to more of a pinch with their fingers.  The final step is The Pencil Grip Original.  This is the "graduation" grip because it can be used forever.  The Original offers comfort to the fingers and helps children (and adults) as they control the pencil on the paper. This comfortable grip also helps alleviate the "writer's bump" found on the side of many people's fingers.

The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors

The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors can be quite the lifesavers.  I'll never forget the day I walked into the bathroom and found my eldest child (age 4) poised with a pair of scissors over the head of her younger sister.  Had I not walked in when I did, my daughter would surely have received a new haircut at the hands of her big sis.  Many a doll in our house got the same treatment.  Safety scissors were anything but safe.

I like the Ultra Safe Safety Scissors because they can help train children in proper cutting skills AND they can save the world as we know it with their unique threading-required design.  Paper must be threaded between the guard and the blade of the scissors. These scissors allow for clean-line, sharp cuts but make sure that fingers are safe from nicks and cuts.

The training lever helps teach children the mechanics of cutting by easing the grip through the use of the little yellow spring (pictured below).

Kids with an impaired grip (like my son following his stroke) will find this most helpful.  The scissors open automatically after they have been squeezed to cut.

And can I just mention the safety mechanics once more?  These scissors are perfect for little hands learning to craft and make it impossible to cut bangs or curls or ponytails.  I don't know about you, but that's exactly what I like to hear.

For more information about all of the useful (and fun) products offered by The Pencil Grip, Inc., please visit the following Social Media sites:

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review The 3 Step Pencil Grip Training Kit and The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors from The Pencil Grip, Inc as a member of the Homeschool Review Crew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought of this fascinating audio drama (or just click on the banner below.)

Ultra Safe Safety Scissors & Pencil Grip Training Kit {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}
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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Homeschool Review: The Brinkman Adventures, Season 4 #hsreviews

Sometimes we need to be reminded to serve out of love and not obligation -- even missionary kids can forget  -- but aren't we blessed that JESUS lovingly offers grace to us all?  I love the lessons taught in the audio drama missionary stories of the Brinkman Adventures and the gentle reminders to love like JESUS loved.  I couldn't wait to receive my copy of the newest episodes of The Brinkman Adventures Season 4 and it absolutely does not disappoint.  I personally think it is the very best season yet.  Throughout its episodes you find high stakes adventure, dark prison cells, and heart-warming conversions -- and this season you see love blossom in an entirely different way.  The Brinkman family loves JESUS and shares all that is HIM with every ounce of their being and they make me want to be a better servant of my SAVIOR.  These are exactly the kinds of stories that I want to share with all the people in my world.  How about you?

Brinkman Adventures

Beginning with the adventures of a summer camp designed to teach families more about real life mission work and an exciting birth in the midst of a tornado and continuing through the wilds of Africa, a cold prison cell in Russia, and the streets of Cambodia, The Brinkman Adventures Season 4 shares the dangerous tales of life lived on mission to share the truth that JESUS loves us all and died so that we might be saved.  Each action-packed episode tells about real missionaries and what they face so that all the world might truly know JESUS.  Although the names may have been changed to protect those who serve in the most dangerous places, the lives depicted are real.  Their stories are the ones we absolutely must hear and they are the ones we simply must tell.  We cannot forget that JESUS commanded us to "Go into all the world" and that "GO" is not always easy, it is not always safe, and it is not always fun.  As I listen to the missionary stories, I am often moved to tears and moved to laughter all in the same moment.  I cannot help but remember the many children that I fell in love with in southeast Asia whose families had heeded the call of CHRIST no matter the sacrifice.  My heart swells and my eyes leak as I listen to the true stories of those who are willing to give their all because HE gave HIS all on the cross.

Available as either a download or physical CD set, Season 4 contains four discs and each disc is comprised of three episodes.  The episodes run about 30 minutes each so you have over five hours of excitement to share with your family and friends.  Although these stories are family-friendly, some episodes are intense and begin with a warning that listeners under the age of 10 might should have an adult with them to help explain what they hear.  I found those warnings to be spot-on.  There is absolutely nothing in the episodes that our children should not hear, but it helps us decide which stories I can share in children's worship (ages 3 - 11) and which ones I should save to share in our children's missions classes (ages 6-11).  And there's no need to worry if you haven't had the opportunity to listen to and enjoy all of the previous Seasons or if you've skipped one due to content.  Each episode can stand alone with no worries.  I guarantee that children and adults of all ages will laugh along with the crazy exploits of the Brinkman family -- and you'll all break out into chills when the family prays together and the sisters sing their beautiful rendition of Break Every Chain.  What a moment of worship for us all.

Brinkman Adventures

One of my favorite things about the Brinkman Adventures is that you can find the backstories of each episode on the website, follow the family blog, and meet the real-life missionary family that the adventures are based upon.  There are pictures, videos, and more detailed information about each person and location mentioned.  This is a great resource that helps us put faces to the missionary stories.  It helps us to remember that they are real people sharing JESUS in real time.

Make sure and check out the Facebook page, too.  I know you'll be glad you did.

As always, I'd love to hear how GOD speaks to you through the Brinkman family escapades.  Please, please share with me what HE is sharing with you and yours.  Let's speak life together.

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review The Brinkman Adventures Season 4  from Brinkman Adventures as a member of the Homeschool Review Crew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought of this fascinating audio drama (or just click on the banner below.)

Brinkman Adventures Season 4
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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Homeschool Review: CTCMath #hsreviews #homeschoolmath #mathtutorials #videobasedmath #onlinemath


We were introduced to CTCMath several years ago when we needed a mathematical reboot and my children quickly adapted to it.  It is always a privilege when we have the opportunity to review and share homeschooling curriculum with you and I must tell you that CTCMath's Family Membership feels like coming home for us.  I feel quite confident that you will love it as much as we do -- and the neat thing is that you can try it for free!  If you sign up between now and November 15, you can even claim the great homeschooler special of 60% off + 6 bonus months.  That's a great deal on great math.  So, why do we like it so much?

For starters, CTCMath takes the pressure off of mom (or dad) and puts learning in the hands of the student.  An online program, students log in daily, watch a video lesson, and work through math problems based on the video lesson they've just viewed.  There is something here for every student -- from Kindergarten through High School and those who might need a post-graduate refresher as well.  At Long Leaf Academy, we have a bit of both worlds going on.  My daughter is working through the high school required maths (Algebra 2, anyone?), while my son is using CTCMath as a study guide for the ACT.  Seems the Geometry portions of the ACT were harder for him than he thought they would be, so he's reviewing it now for the test in November.

A typical "day" of math with CTCMath finds my students working on their own, in their rooms, at their computers.  The video lesson usually lasts between 8 and 10 minutes (did I mention that the Australian accent of instructor Patrick Murray is quite charming?) and then they print the corresponding worksheet of problems to complete.  This portion can take my kids anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour before they check their work.  What I especially like is that if they don't understand everything and can't work the problems satisfactorily, they have the option of reviewing the video and trying again.  It is absolutely done at your own pace, so there is no pressure to simply "finish."  This gives my crew time to learn so that they are better prepared for what college will bring their way.

Students also have the option to download and print certain PDF files throughout each lesson.  We use these to create a resource section inside of the notebook where they file their daily worksheets.  I like being able to combine the video component with an in-hand notebook of problems.  Call me old-fashioned, but I'm still a pen and paper kind of girl and I like for my kids to have a place where they can see what they are accomplishing.  I've included a picture from Geometry below:

CTCMath offers a full math curriculum for each level of mathematics.  It allows my kids to learn all they need to know about a given subject to receive high school credit and it allows me easy access to check in and make sure they are doing what they tell me they are doing.  The Parent portion of the website lets me see who logs in when, how long they are there, and shows me the mastery level they have reached for each section of their given subject.  In addition, I receive weekly emails in the form of a CTCMath Weekly Report that gives me a Weekly Activity Log for the previous week and shares a Summary of each student's performance from my Family Account.

For more information about making CTCMath a part of your family and learning how it can help your children succeed in math, please visit the following Social Media sites:

And after you've visited those Social Media sites, you'll want to make sure and take advantage of the homeschool discount.  Remember:  It's good through November 17.


Once you've gotten started, let me know what you think.

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review  CTCMath as a member of the Homeschool Review Crew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought of this fascinating audio drama (or just click on the banner below.)

CTCMath Online Math Tutoring {Reviews}
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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Homeschool Review: The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls #hsreviews #SecretoftheHiddenScrolls

I love it when I find new books and book series that I can share with the children at church.  I was excited to have the opportunity to review the first two books in the series The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls by Worthy Kids/Ideals.  These chapter books are perfect for beginning readers to read alone, but are even more fun to use as read-alouds for your entire family.

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls
The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls

For purposes of review, I received the first two books in the series and I have enjoyed reading them both.  The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Beginning (Book #1) and The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: Race to the Ark (Book #2) take you deep into Bible times through an imaginative time travel adventure.  As children read the escapades of a brother and sister team (Peter and Mary) and their pet dog (Hank), they'll be transported right into the middle of GOD's Word.  How fun is it to learn firsthand about GOD's beautiful creation and see the animals line up for loading onto Noah's Ark?  The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls puts you right into the center of the action and each book ends by telling you exactly where in the Bible you can find the people, places, and events that have taken place in your reading.

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Beginning (Book #1) is 107-pages divided into twelve chapters.  Book #1 introduces us to Peter, Mary, and Great-Uncle Solomon.  Great-Uncle Solomon is an archeologist and he shares his greatest treasure with the children -- ancient Hidden Scrolls that prove to be even better than a pile of gold.   The Hidden Scrolls take the children on a journey of epic proportions as they travel back in time to the very beginning of the world and arrive in time to hear GOD say "LET THERE BE LIGHT . . . IT IS GOOD!"  This begins a beautiful journey as GOD creates and the children experience first-hand the arrival of stars, plants, trees, and living creatures of all kinds including Adam, Eve, and an evil slithery snake.  Just in time, Peter solves the secret message of the first scroll and he and Mary return home to share the amazing journey with Great-Uncle Solomon and await the next time the Hidden Scrolls call to them.

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: Race to the Ark (Book #2) is 118-pages divided into thirteen chapters.  Book #2 finds the children returning on another quest of the Hidden Scrolls.  When they hear the call of the lion's roar, Peter and Mary are transported to the land of the Dark Ruler, meet an unruly group of troublemakers, and come face-to-face with a man named Noah.  After touring Noah's Ark, they help ready it to sail before the flood waters rise and make sure all of the animals are safely boarded.  I like the description of the animals waiting patiently outside as final preparations were made inside.  Of course GOD would have seen to all the details and made the way for the rainbow's promise.

Each of these books offers readers a fresh perspective on GOD's Word.  I can't wait to share them all with the children in my life.

You can read more about Worthy Kids/Ideals and the new series, The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls, by visiting the following Social Media sites:


Let me know what you think!

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls from Worthy Kids/Ideals as a member of the Homeschool Review Crew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought of this fascinating audio drama (or just click on the banner below.)

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls. {WorthyKids/Ideals Reviews}
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Monday, September 25, 2017

Homeschool Review: Captain Bayley's Heir #hsreviews #HeirloomAudio #CaptainBayleysHeir #LiveTheAdventure #BringingHentyBack #AudioAdventures #AudioDrama

You know how much we like all things Heirloom Audio Productions, but I've got to share with you how we gained a new fan in our family with their new western adventure, Captain Bayley's Heir.  We headed out for a last hurrah on Labor Day weekend, and my copy of Captain Bayley's Heir had just arrived in the mail.  I knew we had a 6 hour trip ahead of us, so I brought it along.  I asked the MainMost if he'd like to listen and he said we could "give it a try for a while."  I put the first CD into the stereo and he was hooked -- from the very first note of the overture.  He enjoyed listening to it so much that he made sure that we paused it when he got out for a mini travel break.  He laughed along with us and even shared tidbits of history as the story played out over the speakers.  We listened to it straight through and enjoyed every second of it together.  He actually enjoyed it so much that he asked if we had any more of the Heirloom Audio Productions.  I was happy to share our entire collection with him when we returned home.

Captain Bayley's Heir

Captain Bayley's Heir combines a little bit of mystery, a little bit of Old Western flair, and a LOT of GOD's great grace to make for a superb listening experience for young and old.  In the story, 18-year-old Frank is accused of theft and sets out from school to clear his name.  He escapes England in search of a way to prove himself true and ends up in America.  We enjoyed listening to the southern accents when Frank arrived in New Orleans (by way of a Mississippi steamboat) and were intrigued by the Indian attack as Frank made his way to the California Gold Rush.  Our favorite part was listening along as Frank proved he was a man of character through adversity while helping others to be their best.  From stagecoach battles to helping fellow miners strike it rich, all angles of the western culture were represented in Captain Bayley's Heir. It's an exciting tale of truth and justice that reminds us all of GOD's amazing grace.

I know I've shared with you before about all of the extra digital components that are now available through the Live the Adventure Club, but I would be remiss not to share it again.  The Read Along Script makes sure that you don't miss anything as you listen to the adventure in real time and the sound effects are simply amazing.  The Script even highlights the words as you listen which makes succeeding on the Chapter Quiz easier.   I find that these extras offer a great benefit to learning around here and they are the perfect complement to the Study Guide & Discussion Starter.

The Study Guide & Discussion Starter is a 38-page pdf that aids students in understanding the literature behind the audiodrama.  All of the Heirloom Audio dramas are based off of books by G.A. Henty and the Study Guide helps you find the connection between entertainment and education.  Dividing each track of the CD into three main sections, the Study Guide directs students to Listen Well, Think Further, and Define Words.  Listening Well questions simply ask students what they've heard and makes sure they are hearing key points in the story.  Thinking Further questions take things a step further by asking students to describe and compare what they are learning and require that students move beyond the surface and dig in to the lesson being taught.  Defining Words offers vocabulary words to be learned and studied.  Expanded Learning opportunities are provided which take the small concepts introduced in the CD and give more information and follow-up resources for learning more.  For example, students learn how much eggs cost in the mining camps of California and from how many different countries miners came in search of gold.  My favorite part of all of this is that Bible Studies are included in the back of the Study Guide.  I like that Heirloom Audio Productions makes it a point to share GOD throughout each audiodrama.

Heirloom Audio Productions

For more information about this drama or any of the others lovingly produced by Heirloom Audio Productions, please visit the following Social Media sites:

Heirloom Audio Productions Facebook
Instagram: @HeirloomAudioOfficial 

You know, we've listened to and learned from each of the audio dramas that we've been able to review (Under Drake's FlagIn Freedom's Cause, With Lee in VirginiaThe Dragon and the RavenBeric the BritonThe Cat of Bubastesand In the Reign of Terror), and now we are sharing them with dad.  We've made Heirloom Audio a family affair and you should, too.

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review Captain Bayley's Heir from Heirloom Audio Productions as a member of the Homeschool Review Crew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought of this fascinating audio drama (or just click on the banner below.)

Captain Bayley's Heir {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}
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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

HE Shall . . . {Wordless Wednesday}

Forever and ever and always,
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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Homeschool Review: Carole P. Roman Books (a family favorite) #hsreviews #childrenshistory #historystorybooks #culturalstudies

I have a confession.  I am addicted to books.  I like books of all kinds, but children's books (for the young and not-so-young) are my all-time favorites.  I fell in love with the world as a little girl through the pages of books, and I want my children to do the same.  Author Carole P. Roman has created the neatest series of books that take you on grand adventures and share historical and cultural information in a unique way AND I've recently been introduced to her Oh Susannah series of early chapter reader books that are just plain fun.  For this review, we have been reading If You Were Me and Lived in . . . the Ancient Mali Empire, If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Renaissance Italy, If You Were Me and Lived on . . . Mars, and Oh Susannah:  It's in the Bag.

Carole has a special way of weaving facts together to make for an interesting read.  I have been a fan of the history and culture books for years, and I really enjoyed meeting sweet and spunky Susannah, too.  All of Carole's books are brightly illustrated and invite you in to "sit a spell" and enjoy.   If you will so indulge me, I would like to share these newest four books to join our family library with you.

Books by Carole P Roman

The newest book of the cultural series, If You Were Me and Lived on . . . Mars (A Child's Introduction to Cultures Around the World, Volume 20) blasts you off from planet Earth on an adventure into the future to colonize planet Mars.  This 44-page softcover story is chock-full of information about the Red Planet and explains what life on Mars might actually consist of when/if we ever arrive.  Scientific statistics are weaved throughout as readers learn about temperature, gravity, orbit, moons, and space.  Reading through this book helps you imagine that life really can exist in deep space.  The Pronunciation Guide in the back of the book offers more in-depth definitions of the terminology introduced throughout.  If you like space, this book is for you.  Talk about FUN!

Now, you know how much we love history, so I know you'll understand my penchant for reading these next books:
Books by Carole P Roman

If You Were Me and Lived in . . . the Ancient Mali Empire (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time, Volume 5) takes us back to the year 1332 at the rise of the Mali Empire.  This 78-page, softcover book begins by explaining what the word Mali means (hippopotamus, who knew?) and paints a picture of what it would have looked like 700 years ago.  Wow!  Explaining the government and economics in an easy-to-understand language, Carole truly takes the reader on the trip of a lifetime.  With a look at family life, religious life, daily life, and more, we feel like we've "been there, done that" as we study through the pages of history.  From clothing styles to what's on the table for dinner, we really see the big picture of life in Ancient Mali.  Although they didn't boil their peanuts like we do at our house, we discovered that the people of the Malian society liked many of the same things we do.  The Glossary in the back of the book makes sure that we are pronouncing words correctly and understanding what we read.  This is a great introduction to the Ancient Mali Empire.

Books by Carole P Roman

These non-fiction historical books are really such a fun way to add a personal touch to everyday studies.  If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Renaissance Italy (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time, Volume 7) is a 56-page softcover book that leads you to explore the Tuscany region outside of Florence, Italy over 500 years ago.  My Elisabeth was excited to read that "if she had lived in Renaissance Italy" her name might have been quite similar.  Lisabetta was a popular girl name way back then -- spelled with an "s" and all.  It was interesting to read that most children did not attend school (welcome to original homeschool!) and that peacock was considered a delicacy (no, thank you!).  The clothing styles shared are simply beautiful and makes us almost wish that we could wear such intricately designed outfits.  I especially appreciate the introduction to the new age coming and the study of artists and other people important to the Renaissance period.  The Glossary helps make sure we say names and words correctly.  Again, this is a lovely addition to our resource library.  These books just make me happy.

And that brings me to my newest friend, eight-year-old Susannah Logan.

Books by Carole P Roman

Oh Susannah:  It's in the Bag (An Oh Susannah Story) is the very first book in a series of chapter books about Susannah.   Written with early readers in mind, but applicable to all of us, this 44-page softcover book will make you smile at the antics of a little girl pushed too far.   It's in the Bag shares about Susannah's really bad day and what she does to to make it through.  Although it is written with a younger crowd in mind, even this momma was reminded that we often fill our "bag" with burdens we aren't meant to carry alone.

And just for fun, I found that Oh Susannah is now available in a coloring book.  You (or your littles) can join in her many escapades and color away.  I would LOVE to have one of these for me.  Wouldn't that be a fun Christmas stocking find?

We really do love and appreciate all of these precious books by Carole P. Roman and I've mentioned before not to let the age recommendations scare you.  There really is a way to make them all fit into your family.  Older kids (and parents) will enjoy reading and using the history and cultural books as a starting place of adventure.  Younger kids will enjoy being read to and seeing the lovely pictures while they dream of journeys near and far.  And sweet Susannah has life lessons for us all.  Please do yourself a favor and check them out.

Carole P Roman

For more information about all of the fabulous books brought to you by Carole P. Roman check out the following Social Media Links:

We had the privilege of reviewing the history books last year and still keep them close by as a handy reference today.  You can read about our first impressions of Ancient Greece, Elizabethan England, The Middle Ages, and The American West and see how we incorporated them right into our high school history.  I'd also love for you to visit my earlier reviews of the precious cultural books from the original series.  You can see what we thought of Mexico, South Korea, France, and Norway AND check out the fun we had with Australia, Portugal, and Russia, too.  Good books can take you to places you've never been.  Are you up for an adventure?

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review this selection of books from Carole P. Roman as a member of the Homeschool Review Crew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought of their special books.

Oh Susannah, Bedtime Stories, Captain No Beard, If you were Me ... {Carole P. Roman Reviews}
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