ARTistic Pursuits: The Way They See It ~ Review

Many of the reviews that I do are geared for my older children. My three year old sometimes feels left out. She loves to color, draw, and paint. When I saw that ARTistic Pursuits was an upcoming review, I started praying that there would be something on the list especially for preschoolers. When I actually saw that the preschool book, The Way They See It (Preschool), was a choice, I started praying again. I knew my three year old would love this book.

What is ARTistic Pursuits?

ARTistic Pursuits is an art curriculum designed for homeschoolers. They want children to be creative while also learning how to observe things. They combine all of the components of fine art by engaging the students as they explore the different aspects of art.

ARTistic Pursuits Review

ARTistic Pursuits offers curriculum for Preschool through High School.They have also recently just released two brand new books about Sculpture Technique: Construct and Sculpture Technique: Model.

The preschool book, The Way They See It, which I reviewed with my three year old, is geared for children ages 3-5. It sells for $47.95. This book contains 26 lessons plus 10 additional projects.

ARTistic Pursuits Review

This book is spiral bound, soft cover, and has many colorful illustrations. It includes a table of contents page that lists all of the lessons. It also includes a materials page that lists all of the materials needed for the entire book. You can also purchase a Preschool Art Pack from their website if you are not able to find the materials where you live.

How I used The Way They See It:

When the book first arrived, I glanced through it to see the different lessons. My daughter is a young three having just turned three in March, so I wanted to make sure the lessons would not be too difficult. The only thing that caught my attention was the usage of scissors (I'll tell you about this later). Everything else seemed fun and easy enough for her to do.

 Each lesson has three parts: Grown-up Talk, Picture Talk, and Art Project. (As seen to the left the project is called Discover Art Project.)

I would read the Grown-up talk ahead of time, usually the night before I did the art lesson with my daughter.

The next day, I would sit down with her and discuss the picture under Picture Talk. There are question prompts for you to ask your child. My daughter is observant and could point out most of the things in the picture that was being asked. For example, "A little bug crawls out of one of the flowers. Can you find it?" She looked all over the picture until she saw the little bug crawling out of the flower.

The final part of the lesson was the art project. These can be anywhere from coloring to painting to sculpting with play-dough.  My daughter loved doing the art projects. She would get so excited when I pulled everything out.We did a lesson a week.

This project the child was suppose to draw a picture in the paint with their fingers, but she didn't quite understand even after I showed her. I just let her have fun doing her own thing.

Here she was to create something out of play-dough. We made our own play-dough from a website I found in a Google search. I didn't have cream of tartar so I needed a recipe that didn't use one. I found a fast and easy play-dough recipe on From The Mrs. blog.

Making her creation. And in case you haven't noticed, her favorite color is yellow. :)

Her play-dough creation!

Finally, about the scissors. The lessons at the end of the book are called First Skills. It mentions using scissors, how to hold a pencil, gluing and taping, and paint brushes. I went to the store and was going to just buy some blunt tip scissors. When I was looking at the scissors, I noticed that they had come out with scissors that have a spring action (see below).

I decided to go ahead and buy them and see how she handled them. It took her a few times of me showing her how to hold them properly, but she got the hang of it and can now cut great using these scissors.

My opinion of The Way They See It:

My daughter and I loved this book. She would start jumping up and down getting excited when I pulled the book and the materials out for the day. I liked how the lessons are set up. They are so simple to follow and it gets the parent and child to interact with each other. I also liked that they would ask specific questions about the pictures/paintings in the book that made the child really have to look at each and observe what was going on. I also liked that the art projects were fairly simple. I would definitely give this preschool curriculum 5 stars!

Click to read Crew Reviews


Activities For The Summer

A...is for Activities!

I am (once again) going to try to blog through the alphabet. I tried it a while back, but didn't make it very far. This time, I am going to take the time and write up the post ahead of time and try to get all the way to z.

 My kids like to be on the go instead of staying around the house all day during our summer break. Our number one activity during the summer is visiting the beach. We only live 45 minutes away from the beach, so it makes it easy to go for the day.

Another favorite thing my kids like to do is visit the different play parks in the area and just play. Although as my boys (12 and 10) get older, their interest in going to a playground is getting lower.

I've come up with a list of some activities that I hope to accomplish during our time off of school during June and July.

NC Blueberry Festival in Burgaw. We have attended this festival for the past 4 years and the kids love looking at the old cars and trucks at the car show. We also buy some non-alcoholic blueberry cider each year.

Cheap summer movies for the kids. I am going to let them choose one or two movies that they would like to see.

Visit nearby state parks and do some hiking. Visit Fort Macon in Atlantic Beach and Fort Fisher in Wilmington.

Soundside Park on Topsail Island usually has free movies on Saturday evenings in the summer.

We also love to go to the local spray park when we can't get to the beach. We are hoping to also make it to our local water park sometime this summer.

We like to go to the different museums in the area during the summer. One of our favorites is in Beaufort- The Maritime Museum.

These activities will keep us busy throughout the summer. There is so much fun and free things to do in Eastern North Carolina which is great when you are on a budget.


The Brinkman Adventures ~ Review

 My children love listening to radio programs. Every Saturday morning they wake up early so they can catch the special programs on the radio that are just for kids. When The Brinkman Adventures came up as a possible review, I was happy to see something that my kids had not yet heard. I and my kids were even happier when we were picked to review Brinkman Adventures. We received The Brinkman Adventures Season 2: Episodes 13-24 on CD to review.

About Brinkman Adventures Season 2:
This radio drama series are stories of a large family, the Brinkman's, mixed with real life missionary stories. The stories are told by the missionaries whose names have been changed and some of the events are more dramatized.

Season 2 comes with 4 CD's and over 5 hours of audio.  Each episode is approximately 25 minutes in length. The episodes that are included in season 2 are as follows:
  • The Mystery Ring
  • Blue Hat & T-shirt Bible
  • How Big is Your God, Part 1
  • How Big is Your God, Part 2
  • Mexico By Bus
  • Treehouse academy
  • Pirates of Mayan Island
  • Sapphire Slaves, Part 1
  • Sapphire Slaves, Part 2
  • Hadi's Choice
  • Castle of Secrets
  • On the Run

An overview of the season:
The first episode focuses on the Brinkman's getting ready to visit missionaries in Belize. As they are preparing, they have found an old class ring and want to sell it to buy curriculum for the school in Belize while also trying to find the owner of the ring.

The next few episodes focus on the stories of the owner of the ring who is a retired missionary. The Brinkmans stay with them while in Texas before going to Belize.

Episode seventeen has the Brinkman's bus in Mexico as they are traveling down to Belize.

Episode eighteen through Episode twenty one focus on the missionaries work in Belize.

The last 3 episodes focus on a missionary family who are working in the Middle East.

How we used the CD's and Our Opinion:
As soon as we received the CD's my boys and oldest daughter wanted to listen to them all right away. I let them take an afternoon and listen to as many episodes as they wanted. They ended up listening to all of the episodes in one afternoon. I listened along with them. After we got done listening to all of the episodes, I asked my three older children which one was their favorite. They all told me that all of them were their favorite. They couldn't just pick one. My boys have already asked me about buying season 1. My oldest daughter said she enjoyed hearing the missionary stories.

My 3 year old daughter also listened, but I'm not sure how much really stuck with her. I enjoyed listening to all of the episodes. I love hearing missionary stories and hearing about what they have encountered during their time in other countries.

How much?
The Brinkman Adventures is geared for children and adults of all ages. On some of the more intense episodes they do mention that if you are under 10, you should probably listen with an adult.

The Brinkman Adventures Season 2: Episodes 13-24 are available on CD for a suggested donation of $25. They are also available in MP 3 format for a suggested donation of $17. They operate on a donation basis.

You can also find the Brinkman Adventures on Facebook.

Click to read Crew Reviews


Alone Yet Not Alone ~ Book Review and Giveaway

Alone Yet Not Alone by Tracy Leininger Craven tells the true story of two sisters who were captured during the time of the French and Indian War.

The book is recommended for ages 8 and up. It is 150 pages long and is an easy read. It didn't take me very long to read through the book. My 8 year old daughter has started to read the book, but between homeschool and playing outside, it is taking a bit longer for her to get through it.

One thing I loved about this story is that it shows both of the girls tremendous faith in God. I received the movie edition book to review and I loved looking at the pictures of the movie. I cannot wait to see this movie when it comes out on June 13. I am also going to get my boys, ages 12 and 10, to read the book before the movie comes out. I think that they will enjoy this book. They like true story books the best out of any type of book.

I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader. Just fill out the Rafflecopter below and you are entered to win.

Check out the movie trailer:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.



CTC Math ~ Review

Do you have a child that struggles with math? Maybe you have a child that excels at math and wants to do more everyday. Because my daughter struggles with math, I have been looking for something easy for her to understand and use. We were given the 12 Month Family Plan from CTC Math to review.

What is CTC Math?
CTC Math is an online math program. It is an Australian company. It includes math from kindergarten through sixth grade which can be used as a complete curriculum. Also included for junior high and high school levels:
  • Basic Math and Pre-Algebra
  • Algebra I
  • Pre-Calculus
  • Algebra II
  • Geometry
  • Trigonometry
Each lesson includes a short video introducing the math concept. After watching the video, there are questions that need to be completed by the student. Because it is online and interactive, the student is able to see if they got the answer correct right away. If wrong, the student is able to go back through the lesson and try for a better grade.

CTC Math is geared for children ages kindergarten through 12th grade (and adults too). The cost for the 12 month family plan (at the time of this post) is $118.80 (which is a 60% savings) for two or more students. There are also other membership plans available.

How we used CTC Math:
When we first received the product, I set up a log in for myself and my three children. *Side note: My oldest son didn’t use the product since he is trying to finish another math curriculum before the end of the year and didn’t want to get off track.*

My younger son and daughter used this math program almost daily. I used this program a few times to get a feel for it.

When we first logged in we were given this screen:

We chose what course we wanted, what stream, and what topic. After we chose all that the first time and logged out, the next time we logged in, it went straight to what topic we were working on at the time.

My daughter stuck to doing one lesson at a time under one topic at a time. I started her off with 3rd grade division since that is where she struggles the most.


When she finished the division, she ended up with a 99% average which is a gold certificate. She could have gone back to the division by 10 lesson to redo it and may have ended up with a 100% average which is platinum. She didn’t want to and was just thrilled to have ended up with a gold.


My son has been working on 6th grade math since January and he likes to do things in order, so he began with the first topic and the first lesson under that topic.


He is also one that won’t settle for a low grade. Below you can see that he went back to lesson 5 and redid it and received a better grade.


He is aiming for a platinum certificate.

I decided to use this program to brush up on my algebra skills. I logged in and began working on Algebra I. The first few lessons I didn’t do too well, but after I realized I can use pencil and paper to work out the problems, I started getting a better grade.

Our opinion:
My daughter gives this math program five stars. She use to complain and cry whenever it was math time. Now whenever I ask if she is ready to do her math, she starts yelling “YES!” with a smile on her face.

My son loves going in and working on the lessons to try to get the best grade possible. He loves a challenge and loves using the computer. He also gives this math program five stars.

Some things I really like about this math program:

1. The videos for each lesson are short ~ 5-10 minutes.


2. The children are able to get started without my help. They know their username and password. Since the program remembers where you left off, they can click on the next lesson and get started.

3. The parent receives a weekly email with information about what each student completed during the week.

4. I liked that we could choose any topic to start with within the grade level, especially with my daughter.

There is also a speed skills game, but we did not use it very much. I played it once to see what it was like and my son played it once.

Speed skills

Cons: *These are not really cons for me, but may be for someone else*

1.Since it is based in Australia some of the words are spelled differently (colour instead of color).

2.They use metric measurements.

Overall: this is a great math program. My children have really enjoyed using this program.

See what other Schoolhouse Crew members thought by clicking the banner below.
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Philippians In 28 Weeks ~ Review

Home School Adventure Co. is a company that offers products that will help parents raise their children to be loving and strong. We were given the chance to review the book, Philippians in 28 Weeks (KJV version), PDF format.

What is Philippians in 28 Weeks?
Philippians in 28 Weeks by Stacy Farrell is a program designed to be used over the the course of 28 weeks. In that time, one is able to learn and memorize the entire book of Philippians.
This can be achieved in five easy steps:
  • Read
  • Record
  • Repeat
  • Review and Recite
  • Retain

By reading the book of Philippians every day, it helps you to retain what you are reading and memorize the book. For the record part, you are to do copy work on day one. Day 3, you are given some questions to reflect on. Day 5, you are given the chance to write down what you have learned during the week.

You will need to repeat the verses for the week everyday. At the end of the week, you are to review any previous chapters/verses you have memorized and recite all the verses you have memorized so far. In order to retain what you are memorizing, you are to recite the previous weeks verses at the beginning of a new week before starting to memorize the new weeks verses.

Who is this book for and how much does it cost?
Philippians in 28 Weeks is geared for children ages 9- 11 when used as a read aloud or during family Bible time. Ages 12 and up can use this with parental guidance, although high school students are able to do this course on their own.

Philippians In 28 Weeks is available for $14. 95 in ebook format in ESV.  The KJV version is available for $28.95 in a printed version.

How we used this product:
When we first received the product, I printed off the first few weeks of copy work and questions that we would need for the review period. My 10 year old did not show much interest in this, so my 12 year old and I decided to try this course out by ourselves.

During the 1st week, we read the book of Philippians together out loud. It really wasn’t working out great, so I decided that we could each read the book on our own during our personal devotions. We each had a set of the cards that had our verses on it for the week. We also both did all of the copy work and questions for the week. When it came time to reciting, we recited the verses for the week to each other.

What I and my son thought about this program:
My son thought that reading the whole book (of Philippians) everyday was a little bit too much. He would have rather just read the chapter that we were working on for the week. For instance, it takes six weeks to go through the 1st chapter of Philippians. He wanted to just read the 1st chapter everyday for six weeks instead of the whole book. I do agree with him that it did take some time everyday to read through the whole book, but I could tell by reading it everyday, I was starting to retain some of the other verses in the other chapters as well as the first chapter.

I really liked that this course came with a log sheet. We could just mark off what we have completed each day.


I also liked that the book came with printable cards that has each weeks verses on it.

My son didn’t like all the reading and copying, but he has retained and is able to recite Philippians 1.

Overall, I think this is a great program that will help you to memorize God’s Word. We have finished up the 1st six weeks, and it is amazing that my son and I have actually remembered most of Philippians 1.

Also, Home School Adventure Co. is offering a discount for all of their products.

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Final Curriculum Choices 2014-2015

Back in February, I wrote this post about curriculum planning. After giving it some more thought, I have finally narrowed down everyone's curriculum. It is all ordered and received as well.

 My 7th grader will use:
Apologia General Science
Abeka Pre-Algebra
Mystery of History Volume 1
Sequential Spelling
Abeka Grammar
Abeka Literature
Total Health for Middle School

My 6th grader will use:
Science in the Beginning
Abeka Math (finish 6th then begin Basic Math)
Mystery of History Volume 1
Sequential Spelling
Abeka Grammar
Abeka Creative Writing/ Reason For Handwriting (Penamanship)
Abeka Health

My 4th grader will use:
Science in the Beginning
CTC Math
Mystery of History Volume 1
North Carolina History
A Reason for Spelling
A Reason for Handwriting
Abeka Grammar
Abeka Health

My 3 yr old will use:
Easy Peasy Getting Started 1

I don't have a set Bible curriculum unless I am reviewing one. We just read from the Bible during family devotions and discuss what was read. I also don't have a set art program unless we are reviewing one.


Curiosity Quest DVD ~ Review

Do you have curious children? Are they always asking you how things are grown and harvested? Are they curious about animals and want to learn more about them? Curiosity Quest has several DVD’s available for curious kids. The DVD’s we reviewed are DVD Combo Pack- Swimmers of the Sea (Sea Turtle Rescue, Penguins, Salmon) and DVD Combo Pack-Produce (Mushrooms, Cranberries, Orange Packing).

curiosity quest pin

 About the DVD’s:
Each of these combo DVD’s has 3 episodes on it. Each episode is about 30 minutes long. These DVD’s are geared for children ages 7-14. Each DVD cost $24.95.

Both of my boys love to watch programs that teach them something. When we received these DVD’s, they were excited and wanted to watch them right away. I know I mention this regularly, but my 12 year old wants to be a scientist, so I feel it is important for him to learn as much as he can about different things. He chose to watch the Swimmers of the Sea DVD first.

What is on the Swimmers of the Sea DVD?
The first episode we watched was about penguins. The host, Joel Greene, has a question from a viewer. He then takes us on an educational trip to answer the question. In the penguin episode, we learn what penguins like to eat and where they live.

The next episode was about sea turtles. The host takes us on an adventure to a sea turtle hospital. We learned how the turtles are treated during their time at the hospital and how the goal is to release them back into the ocean.

The final episode on this DVD is about salmon. We learned how salmon are able to remember where they were “born” and are able to find that spot each year. We also learned about the five different types of salmon that are found in Alaska.

What is on the Produce DVD?
My kids are not as curious about food as they are animals, but they did find this DVD interesting.

The episode about mushrooms gave us a closer look at how mushrooms are grown and shipped all over the world.

The orange packing episode was interesting since the kids learned how to carefully pick oranges and how they are packaged to ship all over the world as well.

I found the cranberry episode the most interesting. I guess it was interesting to me because I have visited a cranberry bog in Massachusetts when I was a teenager. My kids enjoyed learning how the cranberries are harvested.

Did we enjoy these DVD’s?
Yes! All of my children enjoyed these DVD’s. My youngest is three and she sat through each episode. I’m not sure how much she learned, but I did catch her walking really slow after watching the turtle episode and saying “Slow like a turtle.”  My other children, ages 8, 10, and 12, enjoyed learning more about the animals and foods than what they already knew. One thing my boys liked was the “Fun Facts” in each episode. I also enjoyed watching these episodes with my children. I would like to have more episodes in our homeschool library.




An Interview With My Three Year Old

My youngest turned 3 on March 2. Here are her answers to some random questions I asked her. I think I'll ask her these questions every year to see how her answers change.

1. What is your favorite color? purple
2. What is your favorite toy? my toys
3. What is your favorite fruit? orange
4. What is your favorite tv show? Let It Go ( I don't think she understood)
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?  banana
6. What is your favorite animal?  cat
7. What is your favorite song? Let It Go
8. Who is your best friend?  Layla
9. What is your favorite dinner? spaghetti
10. What is your favorite thing to do outside? play with sticks
11. What is your favorite drink? milk
12. What is your favorite place to go? home
13. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? a toy
14. What do you want on your birthday?  Barbie
15. What do you want to be when you grow up? an animal


I Will Praise You In This Storm

Going through a storm right now, but this song is helping me.


Victus Study Skills System ~ Review

All of us want our kids to have good study habits. Sometimes, we just don’t know what to do to help them study the right way. That is where the Victus Study Skills System comes in to help. I was given the Teacher Edition and Student Workbook to use with my 6th grade son.


I was looking forward to reviewing this with my son, because I want him to be able to make it in the real world, aka college. He is one of those people who likes to do math problems in his head. If he has to show his work, he gets frustrated because it is hard for him to write it out step by step. I know he is going to need to know how to show his work in high school and college and also needs to be able to study properly for tests.

The Victus Study Skills System is geared for students in 5th through 12th grades. It can also be used for younger children with more parental help. This course is ten lessons that take about 30 minutes each. It is recommended to do two lessons each day for a week, but it is adaptable and can be taken at a slower pace if needed.

Victus book covers, study skills books, photo

The teacher edition has several pages of introduction that tells about the objectives and the course itself. Section one of the teacher manual tells you how to use the teacher edition and gives a course plan and techniques. Section two are the lessons and section three is an appendix that lists some essentials.

The student workbook tells the student the “course aim.” It also lists four important concepts for the student. The book is divided into three foundational cornerstones which are as follows:
  • Where am I now?
  • Where do I want to be?
  • How do I get there?

Each of these foundations takes the student through different goals and objectives ending with the question how do I get there? The answer ~ PQRST (Preview, Question, Read, State, Test). This system is used to help the student in preparing for a test.

The student workbook also has an appendix with different pages for goals, organization, and flashcards.

Click to see a sample page from the student workbook.

The teacher edition is $40.00 and the student workbook is $20.00.

I chose to use this course with my 6th grade son. We did a 30 minute lesson each day which took us about two weeks to complete the course. At first, he didn’t want to do it, because he is not really hands on. This course required him to write some things and also think about things he may not have thought about yet. A few days after we started getting into it, he started to enjoy it. His thoughts on the course: “I liked that it taught me how to manage my time better and how to prepare and study for tests.”

Would I recommend this course? Yes. I would like to go through this course again with my 5th grader next year when he is in 6th grade to prepare him for junior high and beyond.

Be sure to check out the other reviews from my fellow Schoolhouse Crew mates.




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