Crafty Classroom {Review}

It is so fun when my kids can learn in a way that allows them to do! Creation and inspiration are must have ingredients when it comes to growing a love of learning in our kids. The Crafty Classroom is one of those resources that really knows how to make learning tons of fun for our kids who are pre-K to Grade 3. since my girls are younger (seven and four) and love to read and write, I was really excited to have the chance to review Fables & Tales. We received this as a pdf download and my daughter got right to work once it arrived. ūüôā

I am not really one of those crafty mommas. I wish I could be but its just not in me. At least not at this current season I am in. My children however (especially my daughter) loves to create and I certainly want to encourage her love of drawing and storytelling. As a struggling reader too, it is always a blessing to find materials that she can enjoy, while also being challenged and inspired!

This is a super fun workbook with eight weeks of Fables and Fairy Tales for our kids to enjoy. A few of those included in this are: The Ugly Duckling, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Little Red Hen, The Gingerbread Man, and Hansel & Gretel. There are 133 pages of activities from reading to coloring, writing, comprehension and more. This is super easy to use because it is all right there; there is even a weekly outline in case (like me) you need someone to really break it down for you.

My daughter got right to work when she saw this. She really struggles when it comes to reading and writing but her eagerness to master these tasks is so encouraging. She is determined and she never gives up. We begin by reading the story together (the goal is to read it fluently by the end of the week). Each day there was is are different activities to complete and each one is presented in a really neat way:

  • Character Profile: Answer questions about the characters in the story (descriptions, name, personality, etc)
  • Story Starters: Answer questions based on the image shown from the story
  • Character Feelings: Based on the scene, how do characters perhaps feel?
  • Compare & Contrast: Consider characters in the story, one and another
  • Story Sequencing: Cut and paste images into the proper order
  • Story Sticks: Cut and paste onto popsicle sticks to tell a story of your own
  • Problem and Solution: Using picture prompts write a solution to a problem
  • Foolish Fairy Tales: Using nouns, verbs, adjectives fill in the blanks to make a silly tale
  • Story Circles: Choose a character and setting to brainstorm your own fairy tale
  • Write Your Fairy Tale: Use your ideas to write your own fairy tale with a beginning, middle and end.

It certainly seems like a lot yet it is all done in a way that, at least for my girl, she didn’t want to stop working. She loved all of the fairy tales and fables that were a part of this and most importantly she really enjoyed completing the different worksheets. I have even found her making her own story circles in her writing book since we began using this. I think I have a budding writer on my hands. ūüôā

If you have younger children then I definitely recommend that you consider Crafty Classroom. There are even more amazing products that they have to offer; whatever your needs these are quick and easy while also packed with lots of great learning as our kids have so much fun!

Be sure to check out the other Crew reviews below! There were so many different products our team got to review and I am sure you will find at least one so fun!

Crafty Classroom can be Found on Social Media:



Posted in Virtual Curriculum Fair

What A World

Can you believe this is the 4th week of the Virtual Curriculum Fair?

This is probably one of my favorite weeks because I love learning about all the different places around the world. We love to study their languages and cook their foods and play their games and sing their songs… there is just so much you can do when you are learning about all the places there are to go in this big little world!

We have had a number of foreign exchange students stay with us through the years. We have a son and daughter in China as well as a couple daughters in France and Spain and Brazil. This has been such a wonderful way to encourage our children to really get to know those places that we may not see.

One of our favorite ways to learn about different parts of the world is through cooking. We do love to play around in the kitchen and so we spend a lot of time trying different recipes from different parts of the world.

We love to work our way through the United States of America this way to! Things like Sunflower Cookies or Boston baked beans. Blueberry cobbler and Vermont maple candy!

And there are lots of great food facts throughout these cookbooks. You can learn interesting facts like how Hawaii is the only state that grows cocoa beans to produce chocolate. ¬†Or learn of the Spanish tradition to eat a grape each time the clock chimes midnight on New Year’s Eve… a dozen grapes as your ring in the New Year.

Games… what a fun way to learn! We use games for so many things when it comes to our home education. I know I find with my children that learning happens best when it’s fun. Plus we really do love to play games and our home and we’re always trying to encourage our kids to come together around the table and play. There is so much more we can learn this way.

My oldest son also loves to do unit studies and lapbooks.  In this way he can learn about those places he is most interested in and also keep notes specific to those things he finds most interesting. As he was studying the state of Arkansas he learned that you can actually mine for diamonds there. And if you find one you get to keep it! Details like that help encourage our kids to want to learn more about these places that they are learning of.

And how about having fun with the language as you study different countries? It can be so much fun to listen to different languages being spoken. My oldest son who loves learning languages and is currently studying Chinese and French. But he’s still really enjoyed hearing the different languages spoken as we are studying other parts of the world.

As we study this great big world let us look at it with the eyes of a child. Let us be eager to learn all that there is to learn. Take the time to make a craft or cook a meal. Spend some time learning some basics of the language. You can even have fun drawing your own Maps of certain geographic areas. Enjoy the music. Certainly it’s a great big world full of amazing and beautiful things!

Posted in Virtual Curriculum Fair

Math (doesn’t) Stink!¬†

I cannot believe it is week 3 of the Virtual Curriculum Fair. Every week we have been touching on a different topic and this week it’s time to talk about my favorite (NOT) subject of all.
Did anyone else giggle just a bit? Or maybe you chuckled? Or groaned?




I admit this is not only my least favorite subject to teach but it’s also the one that I struggle with the most.
Of course we can’t just pretend that math doesn’t exist. We cannot skip over such an important topic. Soho do we make math something that our kids both understand and appreciate?


Especially when we don’t!?!?


I may have mentioned before how much we love to read!
Let me rephrase that. It’s how much I love to read. And my kids certainly don’t mind having time to paint or draw or build while I read aloud.



I believe that like all things when it comes to learning our kids need to see that what they are learning matters. And so even with math we try as much as we can, to bring it alive.





My oldest son is both a little magician and a little musician. And my younger three certainly enjoyed making their own music too! There are so many ways that we can use and practice our math skills while having fun doing magic tricks and making music!




We love playing games too! Some of our favorites are: Risk, A Ticket to Ride, Monopoly, Dominos….even games like Candyland and Monopoly can encourage our kids to have fun while learning at the same time. We are working with numbers and patterns in so many ways.






I often think about how much I just don’t like that. Some days I even think I am really good at it. But then I have one of those light bulb moments…. I realize that while I’m baking a cake I am doing now. Well my daughter and I are so we are doing needlepoint or crochet, we are also doing math.



Don’t be so often take for granted those simple little tasks that we engage in each day? How silly are we at times when we forget that there was so much learning that happens all around us every day. In so many things that we do. ¬†I often have to remind myself slow down and to open my eyes. Because learning is all around us and there are so many opportunities that I fear we miss because we weren’t really looking.



I still cannot say that I like math. But when I have the right perspective I see how there is so much that we do each day that involves math. I cannot say that I always do, but certainly I always try, to see the opportunities around me and take hold of the learning that can happen in each of them.



I also strive to remind myself you guys each one of us is so very different. We are on our own Journey and learning takes time. My younger son Garden Atticus when he was five. He requested it and he used it diligently for so long. She loves numbers and now and they just naturally makes sense to him. My older son on the other hand struggles in so many ways to really understand and master even the most basic of mathematical concepts.



And it is here that we remember the greatest blessing of home education.  It is the ability to take our time and to let our children move forward as they are able. To encourage and inspire them!



Loving Languages Every Day

Welcome to the second week of the Virtual Curriculum Fair. I am so excited for this week because language is probably one of our favorite things. Whether we are reading, playing games, writing or learning another language there are so many ways to have fun, and learn, with languages! The possibilities are endless I tell you.



I always LOVED to read when I was younger. And its still what I would rather do than anything else. I have books everywhere (to my husband’s chagrin! Lol) and I still have a wishlist a mile long on Amazon. Maybe two miles long. ¬†LOL



But with four kids ranging in age from 11 years to¬†20 months old, only one an independent reader and a very reluctant one at that, it seems a challenge to find time to really enjoy all those good books. ¬†There are the classic ones I grew up on and then the new one that I see and hear about¬†from others…..So many good reads. How can we possibly enjoy them all?


I am convinced that the story formed childhood my parents gave me was one of the greatest gifts I have ever received.‚ÄĚ

‚Äď Sarah Clarkson,¬†Caught Up in a Story¬†(p. 6)


My mother instilled such a love of literature in me when I was little; I want that for my children. Even though I know my oldest may never love these books that line our home as dearly as I do, I know that he cherishes that time when I am reading aloud. And I love to hear him ask me, as he has come to do, when we are going to read together!


In fact I read the other day, at Simple Homeschool that:

“…¬†if you read aloud for just five minutes a day (and not a minute more!), you will read more than¬†30 hours over the course of a year.”



That‚Äôs a lot of reading aloud! Thats all of¬†the¬†Chronicles of Narnia, David Copperfield, the whole collection of¬†Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, hundreds of picture books….I imagine all of the things that are learned from that time. ¬†History, science, geography, grammar, art and music, languages…..Ah the languages…



Have I mentioned we even enjoy reading in foreign tongues? My oldest loves languages and has learned Chinese, Spanish, French…..Is still learning them. One our favorite ways to encourage learning is by reading books in those languages. When you read the right stuff, you are never just reading a story! ‚̧



read aloud every day

I have found a TON of inspiration at the Read Aloud Revival where there are so may great tools to help you become inspired and accountable to reading aloud every day with your children. Here you can find a wonderful guide to help you engage in conversation about whatever you happen to be reading! And for us there are always a variety of materials we are reading.




As my children get older I think it is especially important for us to read, every day, a bit on our own and a bit together.  There is nothing better either than seeing the four kids all curled up under a home made fort, together, with a pile of books. The older ones read to the younger, the younger learn to read as they enjoy story time. And then they read to their younger siblings.




Words are so important. I think of the scriptures which often remind us to be “slow to speak.” How we are reminded of the power of our words to give life or death. With language comes inspiration; a love for learning. It grows our curiosity and our imagination. When our children have these, in great strength too, there is nothing that they cannot learn. ¬†Let us always seek to build them up!




Ephesians 4:29 – Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers

Posted in Virtual Curriculum Fair

Loving the Moment! 

Its a new year! So many things to be excited for right? ¬†I am especially excited to be a part of this. The Virtual Curriculum Fair. Whether you are new to homeschool or have a couple years under your belt this is truly a wonderful treat. ¬†A homeschool convention….but you can stay in your jammies. Hehe

The one thing I love most about home education is also the one thing that I struggle with the most when it comes to home education. Can I hear an amen?

I love how free we can be. Here in Wisconsin there are very little requirements so we really do have so much freedom when it comes to learning at home with our children.
The challenge comes in not allowing ourselves to become overwhelmed¬†or controlled. by¬†all the good stuff that’s out there!


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Our first year or two as home educators we stuck to a very strict schedule. We got our curriculum in the mail every year (Love My Father’s World). ¬†And while it was a wonderful program and I still use some of their materials to this day, at the same time it was stressful trying to keep up some days. Especially as I went from having one child to two and then three and then four!



As the years have gone by we have gone from box curriculum to classical schooling, Charlotte Mason style, unschooling and delight led learning. All of these are wonderful ways to encourage and inspire a love of learning in our children. And as each one of my for gets older and their needs change it is good to have so many different options out there. Again that is one of my favorite things about home education!



As we have grown and progressed Through the Years I have learned and I’m still learning how to use those materials we do invest in without thumb controlling our learning. ¬†I have learned to slow down and worry less. It truly has been an exercise in my faith. ¬†Most importantly I have learned to teach from a state of rest.




In the last few days I have pondered and prayed over what are home education ought to look like in the coming year. And if I have prayed again and again God has placed in my mind the value of rest and the value of mastery. ¬†So this year as we slow down I’m focusing on living and loving and learning together as a family. I am focusing on stronger relationships and building greater character within my children ( and myself too)!




We will still do math drills and we will still do copywork each day. ¬†We will study together and memorize from the Bible the Book of Acts. ¬†We will read together draw and paint. ¬†My girls and I will spend more time baking and learning to sew. ¬†My boys will spend more time on coding. We will draw our way around the world. ¬†We will do all kinds of crazy experiments and handicrafts. ¬†We will write poetry and make music and go for a walk exploring God’s creation.




We will not be bound by a schedule or curriculum. Instead of worrying about staying on track instead we will learn together in a state of rest. We will not be afraid to take a day off to go to the museum or to explore a local park.  We will strive to have more conversation about what we are learning together.





For my oldest son I seek to become more of a mentor and less of a teacher. To inspire him instead of require of him.  In an attempt to encourage him to learn a bit more independently and to become a bit more responsible for his time we are setting goals. We are making a roadmap. In this way see how making his own video game or his own app really is possible by breaking it down into simple steps.




There’s so much for our kids to learn and aren’t kids naturally curious and eager to learn? ¬†I think of the many things that I have learned simply by having the time to explore them on my own. ¬†And I know that this is something that my children can getting a great deal from. Therefore in the year to come they shall have more time to really explore their own interests. And who knows what could happen when they are given time to find those fires within!





It has always been my goal¬†to inspire my children to see learning as something that is life-long. And for them to see the great value and the opportunities that surround them everyday. ¬†Because learning isn’t something that only happens for 12 years and it isn’t something that we can just fit in the hours of 9 and noon. ¬†Learning is a blessing and a joy. It is a lifelong pursuit.. ‚̧




As you begin your New Year going home education be sure to take your time and enjoy the journey!





An InLinkz Link-up

Get Encouraged in Your Homeschool!

Join us for the 2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair, opening Monday, Jan. 2nd—with plenty of¬†time for you to get inspired and¬†encouraged in¬†the new year. ūüôā

Each week at the Virtual Curriculum Fair, a group of 20+ bloggers will share how they live and learn in  their home. This is so much more than just a show-and-tell of homeschool materials; at this fair we will get down to the nitty-gritty, no filters, as we show you how its all done!


 2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair starts Jan. 2nd!

2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair Themes:

Jan. 2—See How We Learn, the Nuts and Bolts of What Makes Our Homeschools Come Together

Jan. 9—Playing with Words, the Language Arts

Jan. 16—Discovering Patterns, Math and the Mathematical Sciences

Jan. 23—Exploring Our World, Social Studies and the Exploratory Sciences

Jan. 30—Seeking Beauty, the Fine Arts and Everything that Brings Beauty into our Homeschools

As we are all different in what we do¬†and how we teach, there is a wealth of information you can gain from each¬†blogger¬†as they share how they¬†approach these topics. Experience¬†a ‚Äúday in the life,‚Ä̬†chew on a new¬†educational philosophy, tackle practical logistics, enjoy resources shared….there is just so much to enjoy here!

We invite you to join us on our January journey through home education!



Be sure to check in often!¬† This is an event you do not want to miss. Sure to be a blessing to you and your family and home education. ‚̧

Homeschool Encouragement for the New Year!


Do join all of us!




Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Laura H. @ Four Little Penguins

LauraOinAK @ Day by Day in Our World

Lisa N. @ Golden Grasses

Jacquelin C. @ A Stable Beginning

Jennifer King @ A Peace of Mind

Michele Pleasants @ Family, Faith and Fridays

Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool

Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

Brittney @ Mom’s Heart

Kym Thorpe @ Homeschool Coffee Break

Yvie Field @ Gypsy Road

Dana Lambert @ Luv’N Lambert Life

Debra B. @ Footprints in the Butter

Sarah J @ Delivering Grace

Annette @ A Net in Time

Lori H @ At Home: where life happens

Jeniffer @ Thou Shall Not Whine

Lizzy Peach @ Peaches @Home

Meghan W. @ Quiet In The Chaos

Amy L. @ Adorable Chaos

Kristen Hamilton @ Sunrise to Sunset

Kim @ Good Sweet Love