Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Super Beads by Zirrly ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

I love when we have something to do with arts and crafts up for review! This week we have been using the Mega Pack Super Beads by Zirrly. The day these came in the mail the kids jumped right in and started making crafts!

If you have ever heard of fuse beads then it will give you a good idea of what Super Beads are. The problem with fuse beads is that you have to use a hot iron which can be challenging and dangerous around children. All you need with Super Beads is water!

What did we receive for this review?

There are a few different choices of Super Beads to choose from! I chose the Mega Pack because my children are older and I wanted them to be able to try out their own creations. Zirrly also has these fun packs available:

With the Mega Pack you will receive everything you need to get started. Just add water and you will be on your way to creating almost anything you can imagine! You will receive 4 interlocking puzzle trays, 2 small spray bottles, 1 plastic tool for removing beads from the tray, 20 pattern cards, and instruction manuals!

How did we use the Super Beads?

Well like I said, the kids couldn't wait to get started as soon as they came in the mail! We put on some music and used our new craft as some relaxing down time from the day. 

Gavin chose to do the turtle first. He carefully took the turtle pattern and placed it underneath one of the puzzle trays. It fits perfectly underneath and doesn't come out until you are ready to take it out. 

Gav then started placing the beads one by one on the pattern until he completed it.

After he completed his piece, he carefully removed the pattern from underneath, laid it on a towel, and we grabbed our spray bottle. This is where it got a bit tricky.

He sprayed his turtle lightly because the instructions did state to not over wet it, and to let it dry for an hour. We tried that and realized that it did need some more water as some of the beads did not stick together. So, we sprayed it again, and used a little more water this time concentrating it on the places that needed to be attached. This worked perfectly. We let it dry for a couple of hours while we were out and about and it pulled off of the puzzle tray just fine! Once you do a couple of pieces, then you will get a feel for how much water to use. Even if you have to add a little bit more, it works just fine. 

Edyn started her project and she wanted to create her own design.

Before long they were creating things left and right! 

Gav even put three of the puzzle boards together to create one of this favorite game logos. 

What did we think of Super Beads?

I have to say, I knew they would love them but I never thought they would go through almost the entire bag in just a few days! I didn't even post all of their creations because there were so many! They are already begging me to order more! 

I would definitely say that you could use the Super Beads as young as five years old, but they may require a little help from an older child or a parent. They are a great tool for hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

If you are interested in the Super Beads then head on over to Zirrly and check out the Mega Pack or one of the other fun packs they offer!

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Super Beads {Zirrly Reviews}

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Monday, March 19, 2018

Á La Carte products by Home School in the Woods ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

We love anything to do with American History, and this week's first review is about having a little fun and learning all at the same time. We have been having so much fun playing two file folder games from the Á La Carte products by Home School in the Woods.

If you have been following me for some time then Home School in the Woods is not new to you. I have reviewed for them twice before and they never disappoint. They take a lot of great care to insure that you are getting a quality product from them at an affordable cost. I love that they are a Christian based company, and also a homeschooling family.

Home School in the Woods has a lot of complete set type of products, but they are also offering what they call Á La Carte in case you only want one small part of a particular subject. These are hands-on activities that can include anything from timelines, games, arts and crafts, lap booking and so much more. They have so many to choose from and they are extremely affordable coming in at under $10 each. There are quite a few under $5! I love that they make it easy to add in some fun things to your current study.

What did we receive?

The first file folder game we received is called Liberty at Last! This game is for 2-6 players and geared for 3rd through 8th grade. This is a digital download product so you can be printing the game in minutes. All you need to get started is some paper, card stock, a file folder, some colored pencils or crayons if you choose to color it, and one die. You will also want to have your favorite scissors handy to get this all cut out. We chose to color our game board, and use some colored card stock for the game cards, and it turned out great! I also printed out the markers on card stock so that they would be a little more durable. I love that the markers are all famous people! Gav had a good time picking a new person each time we played!

The object of this game is to move across the board, but during your journey you will learn facts about people and events along the way. If you roll a 1-5, you just move across the board space by space. If you roll a six, you get to draw from the card stack and read about that person or event. You also automatically move your marker to that space on the board. It can be great if it moves you ahead, but it can also hurt you if it moves you back on the board too much. We liked this one a lot because after playing a few times, Gav was starting to memorize the cards, which means he was memorizing important parts of history!

The second game that we received as a digital download is called, Battle Blitz! It is also set for 2-6 players, and for grades 3rd through 8th. Again, you will need the same supplies as before, but make sure you have at least six different colors of card stock in order for everyone to have a different color army (marker).

Now this Revolutionary War game takes a little more thinking to get across the board to the finish line! Each player chooses an army and battles it out down the board. You will have to answer questions all about the American Revolution! I realized real quick what facts Gav remembered from our studies, and some he didn't. After playing a few rounds, he was remembering them better and better! Again, what a fun way, to remember interesting facts about the Revolutionary War!

What did we think?

We are always happy with anything we get from Home School in the Woods. They always go above and beyond with their illustrations, and making sure that everything looks professional. We already have our eye on this WWII: Military Weaponry Notebook Project, and the Science, Invention, and Mathematicians Timeline! Go check out the Á La Carte products, and see what fun and hands-on activities you can add to your studies!

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À La Carte Projects - Individual projects designed to enhance your studies! {Home School in the Woods Reviews}

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Wordless Wednesday ~ Yard Work

Today's Wordless Wednesday is a just a proud mama moment. This sweet boy went outside today and just started doing yard work. I didn't ask, he just went and did. So thankful for that!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack and The Art of Cursive by CursiveLogic ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

I have heard through the years that a lot of the public school systems no longer teach cursive. I guess with all of the computers taking over, then maybe it's a lost art to some. I however, believe that it's extremely important to learn cursive for many reasons. So, for the last few weeks, we have been working on Gavin's cursive with the CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack and The Art of Cursive by CursiveLogic.

I'm going to be honest, we have tried another cursive program in the past. In fact, it was the same company we had used to improve his handwriting after quitting public school. As much as he loved the handwriting program, the cursive program just wasn't a great fit for him.

With Gav being older at 12, I knew that the program would have to be something he enjoyed because otherwise he wouldn't really "want" to do it. I was pleasantly surprised that he was eager and ready to get into this program. He has always had issues with his handwriting, and I am really hoping that mastering cursive can give him more confidence in himself.

How does CursiveLogic work?

The entire program is based on shapes and having the student learn those shapes to form the letters and letter strings. The student will start making connections from the first day that they start. Each letter string they learn, will have a different "catch phrase" to help them memorize how that shape connects to the letter string itself. In all, there are four different letter strings for the student to learn, but they will start writing real words the very first week! It's honestly a very simple but extremely logical and effective method!

One thing that grabbed me from the start is that it's not just a humdrum boring set of letters thrown at the student to remember. They use a multi-sensory approach that uses a number of things including color, movement, verbal and auditory tools. When all of these different tools are used it will trigger your child's memory each time. This is one of the reasons that this program is great for a wide range of different styles of learning!

Before starting the lessons, there are a few things that you might need to know to help teach your child this program. When you order the CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack, you will also receive an instructional webinar. The video is about an hour long, but is full of information to insure that your child is successful with this program! She gives information on everything you need to know from why they use the letter strings to how your child should be sitting and holding their pencil. She goes over every aspect of CursiveLogic so that you can have all of the tools you need to help your student along the way.

How did we use this in our school?

Like I said, Gav was eager to get started so we jumped right in. I watched the webinar that I spoke about above, and we were on our way. Before we ever got started we worked through the intro and talked about the proper way to hold our pencil, and also paper placement.

The first lesson, Orange Oval Letters, will give you an idea of how CursiveLogic uses the shapes and letter strings.

The lesson starts explaining what the basic shape is that your student will be working on, and in this case it's a right-slanting oval. The catch phrase that goes with this letter string is "Over back-trace {letter name}." Each Lesson is then broken down into 4 days. Each day will offer another skill to tie into the shape and letter string for that lesson.

Here you can see Gav working on the oval letter string for the first lesson. 

I also wanted to mention that the workbook is designed so that it works perfectly for either a left handed or right handed student. I can definitely appreciate this being a lefty myself. The spiral is at the top of the notebook rather than on the side, so the student works through one entire side before flipping it to the back.

Your student will work through and learn all of the lower case letters first, and then will flip their notebook over and move on to capital letters. We have gotten through almost all of the lower case letters so far in the short few weeks we've been using this program.

What do we think?

I think this is the best cursive program we have used. I didn't have a good picture of Gavin's before handwriting and after, so I am just going to show you his print writing, which he's always struggled with and still does. The next picture is his cursive progress in just the short time we've been using this program.

I really feel that knowing cursive is going to give him an advantage in his handwriting. He won't get as frustrated with all of the writing he has to do because it will go faster if he's using cursive. I think that anyone wanting to teach their child cursive will be happy with this product. Since it caters to all styles of learning, pretty much anyone can use it!

I also want to mention another beautifully illustrated product that they offer. It's called The Art of Cursive, and it's an adult coloring book that goes right along side the program! It uses the skills that they've learned and turns them into beautiful pictures that can be colored. Gav is going to get the coloring book as kind of a reward for finishing the program. He loves to be creative so it will be right up his alley!

Again, if you are looking for a solid, easy to understand program, I highly recommend the CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack by CursiveLogic. I definitely think you will be happy with it!

Last but not least, CursiveLogic is offering our readers a limited offer of 20% off so take advantage while you can! Use the code CREW2018 at checkout!

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The Art of Cursive & Quick Start Cursive {Cursive Logic Reviews}
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Monday, March 5, 2018

Meal Plan Monday!

This week I shopped my freezer and pantry for most of these meals in an effort to save at the grocery store. We had a few extra bills due this week, so I wanted to at least save that much, and I did pretty well!

Monday ~ Left over brisket with corn and coleslaw
Tuesday ~ Turkey Taco Bowls
Wednesday ~ Chicken Fajitas
Thursday ~ Hashbrown potatoes and bacon
Friday ~ Burgers and Tots
Saturday ~ Honey Soy Chicken and Rice
Sunday ~ Leftovers or fend for yourself night

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Drive Thru History Adventures with Dave Stotts ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

I am super excited to bring you this week's review because it's one of our favorite products we have reviewed so far. I love anything to do with history, and Dave Stotts brings it to life with his amazing videos from Drive Thru History Adventures.

I was not a history fan growing up, and especially in high school, it was my least favorite subject. It was normally reading from a textbook, or listening to a teacher read from one, and then proceeding to work on a fill in the blank worksheet. You know what I'm talking about. Blah blah blah...write write write. There was no life brought to what was being taught. Maybe a picture or two, but it never actually put me right back to that time period.

I have since found a love for history for all time periods, and I am always looking for ways to make it fun and interesting for my children. I don't want them to have the same ill feelings towards learning history as I did when I was in school. I want them to develop a love for learning about the past, so that they can appreciate it's importance and what it has taught us.

With this review we have been introduced to Dave Stotts, and literally his adventures through history. He is passionate about history and has traveled the world for 15 years to bring us Christ centered, fact filled, fun information to help our children fall in love with learning history!

How does Drive Thru History Adventures work?

The main idea of this curriculum is video learning, but there is so much more to it. This works perfectly for my kids, because it keeps them engaged and interested in the subject they are learning.

Starting off, the website is extremely easy to navigate and use. It is also packed full of additional information other than that of the main curriculum!

As you can see in the screenshot, the curriculum is easy to find in the drop down menu.

With this program you are offered three separate curriculum choices.

  • Bible History
  • American History
  • Ancient History
Since we are working on American History this year, we chose to start with the American History Adventures. Every adventure is divided into episodes, and then within each episode is the components that go along with it.

You can for sure just watch the videos and gain so much valuable information from them, but Mr. Stotts has gone above and beyond to bring you a well rounded curriculum with this. Within the episode is the video which is approximately 30 minutes long in each adventure. Like I said, this is the meat and potatoes so to speak of the curriculum, but if you are wanting to really dig in, then he has given you the resources to be able to do that.

I want to talk to you a little bit about the videos and what they include. Dave really does travel around the world to bring you to places that maybe you can't just hop on a plane and visit. He is informative about each place that he brings you to, but also makes you feel like you are right along side him. Whether he is at the birthplace of Christopher Columbus or walking the Boston Freedom Trail he brings you factual information while even adding in a little comedy to keep you on your toes. Yes, he's pretty funny, and my kids love him! I love that we have already been able to see amazing places such as Plymouth Rock and the Old North Church.

If you are wanting to take this video and turn it into a complete lesson, he includes the resources that help you do that.

Within each episode, he gives you extras such as quotes, pictures of the people you are discussing, and also suggested readings such as Paul Revere's ride by Henry Wadsworth. He offers up discussion questions for you to go over after the video, and also printable worksheets with answer guides. He also has a Dig Deeper section that brings you even more resources to add into the lesson.

How did we use this program in our school?

I actually stopped all other curriculum while using this, because I was quite impressed with it from the start. We have been watching one to two videos a week, and also using all of the resources that I spoke of earlier. We will normally start off with the summary that he provides and then watch the video. We do the discussion questions together, and then we will do some of the extra resources and reading each day. It's easy to do one episode a week, and have plenty to discuss.

What else does Drive Thru History Adventures offer?

As I mentioned earlier in addition to American History, also offered is Bible History and Ancient History. I can't wait to start the Bible History next! Dave travels to 50 different sites in Israel to teach us all about the life of Jesus that is recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

We will finally be learning about Ancient History which covers "Christianity and the Birth of Western Civilization".

Also offered is the Adventures TV which is a multitude of videos that can be watched on many different devices such as your TV, tablets or phones. All of the history videos can be seen from here, but in addition, you can also watch videos Dave has made such as Weekly Updates and behind the scenes!

What did we think?

We have loved this history curriculum from Drive Thru History Adventures from the start, and I believe that it's perfect for all ages! It has been an invaluable source for me because it has been one more key to making history fun for my kids! I could honestly go on and on about this remarkable product but I would highly suggest you check it out for yourself!

Drive Thru History Adventures is offering some pretty great specials right now! Those who sign up for the annual membership will receive a set of The Gospels DVDs. Click HERE to get the code!

Also, they are offering 20% off to the readers of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine! Here is a link to the latest digital issue.

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Drive Thru History Adventures - Subscription {Drive Thru History Adventures Reviews}

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