Art That’s Kwik (Stix)

My oldest son is very talented artistically. He loves to draw and sketch and paint. The problem is he gets so involved in that he doesn’t realize the mess that he leaves behind. He makes the most amazing drawings and I am always so encouraged by his heart!



Kwik Stix is his favorite medium right now. And I’m pretty fond of them too. They are easy for all four of my kids to use. My littlest one is 2 and my oldest one is almost 12. Every one of them makes amazing pictures with these.



My two girls are six and two. Both love to draw hearts and flowers. These are perfect for them because they are super easy to use and for my littlest one especially she can hang on tightly while she works. ūüėä




We have tons of fun with is. Lots of creative energy gets out. The colors are vibrant and they’re super easy to clean up. Isn’t that a huge bonus? Especially when there are so many kids and only one momma. ¬†Little hands work hard and fast! (Can we say BIG mess?)



Makes for One Happy Mama!



This is a wonderful tool for helping your kids to create. And you won’t have to worry about spilled paint all over their clothes and all over your floor.



And¬†Kwik Stix are now available at all BJ‚Äôs Wholesale Clubs! We don’t have one near us but if you happen to have one in your area, don’t forget to look for your Kwik Stix while you are there.

Classical Academic Press‚Äô French for Children {With an Amazing Giveaway!}

My eleven year old son has quite the love for foreign languages. Since we hosted an exchange student from France, he has been studying French informally, using various online videos and podcasts. He even started a notebook of his own with the words he knows but I know from my own experience studying languages, that at some point we need to formalize our learning. There is so much more than just memorizing words and having a proper pronunciation (as important as those things are).




In the last few years we have got through quite a bit of materials because of his interest in languages. We have studied Spanish, German, Chinese, Japanese and a bit of Hebrew, some Latin and Greek…I was wary to invest in more materials for him while at the same time eager to encourage this interest of his. So when I happened to see that¬†Classical Academic Press¬†(whose materials I really do love!) had a program,¬† French for ChildrenI had to learn more. ¬†Perhaps this would be “just right” for him.




Their motto is “Classical Subjects Creatively Taught,‚ÄĚ which is something that really strikes me because, that is how I want to see learning happening. There is such power in learning that is engaging, and encourages creativity. ¬†This kind of learning is what inspires and makes kids into lovers of lifelong learning too. And I want to see that as much as possible with my children.



The complete program of French for Children Primer A includes the following:


French for Children Primer AFrench for Children Answer KeyFrench for Children DVD




Classical Academic Press was so very generous in giving me a copy of this curriculum for review purposes, and so I here I am, sharing our experience with you!  French for Children, Primer A is recommended for grades 4 and up. There are 17 Chapters and they offer a variety of weekly schedules to help you complete this program in half a year or an academic year (thirty weeks).  We appreciated having these to use as guides as we study.  Especially since we tend to be so relaxed in our schooling; without incentive we can sometimes park on a topic for weeks! And while I love to encourage that too, there is great value in learning how to complete things in a timely fashion!




French for Children¬†has a very immersion style feel to the program! They use lots of¬†dialogue, translation, vocabulary, dictation, grammar, and there are quizzes too. We used this quite a bit since my oldest son really needs this kind of thing to reinforce what he is learning. Plus it encouraged him to start his own little “Book of French Vocabulary” to track his learning for himself. He even began to record himself “teaching other kids French” as he learns. Now they may seem impossible, too much – but it really isn’t at all. This is all presented in such a way that it really is quite enjoyable!




French for Children Primer: Chant and Audio Files contains all of the pronunciations as well as dialogues, grammar chart chants, complete vocabulary, conversation journal words and phrases, Say It Aloud exercises, dicteés, and lots more! These files are great to load onto an mp3 for listening to or even as we are in the car, for some of our longer drives. (And right now we do have a few of those!)  This was an especially great resource for my son!


This is a very involved and very thorough course. I admit when I saw everything that this was made up of, I was a bit concerned that my son was going to be in over his head. ¬†I admit, I was not sure this would inspire my son to continue learning. I will say, I was thrilled to find my son eagerly completing lessons and watching the videos each day. Often I would even find him repeating lessons previously completed; again the fact that he chose to complete lessons repeatedly even, its a huge compliment to this program. ¬†In a season in which he has really been struggling with a desire to learn those beautiful and good things, seeing this light a love within him, it warms this momma’s heart.



We jumped right in when this arrived. And we learned after the fact that it really is important to watch the first DVD before beginning. This will give you a better understanding of this course while helping you to understand the structure of the lessons and explaining all of the different aspects that are a part of it this program.


We really are enjoying our use of this program,¬†there are just so many wonderful things about it. The level of immersion that is used within the program; the depth and yet the simplicity and fun that is had in the learning process too….It’s refreshing to see children having so much fun learning.



Listen to the Dialogue¬†‚Äď There is a story being told; as you listen to the audio follows along while listening to the audio. This is partly in French, partly in English and introduces new vocabulary. She gets an idea of what the new words mean from the context and tells me what she thinks is happening. The dialogue translation is in the back of the Student Text.



Chant¬†‚Äď phrases & sets of words to learn proper¬†pronunciation.¬†My son will put on his headphones and listen. I love hearing him speak he has quite good pronunciation if I may say so myself.



Vocabulary ‚Äď There are about ten new words to each chapter.¬†My son writes these in his notebook of French words he knows and he likes to go over these throughout the week.
Video¬†‚Äď The videos are about¬†45¬†minutes long; these are full of¬†information. There are times my son will watch one video in one sitting; other times he may watch a little here and there throughout the week. These are very helpful to my son (me too!) and there are times we will watch a video again because there really is so much you can get out of these.


Grammar¬†‚Äď There is¬†grammatical instruction¬†involved in this course; this¬†is taught very creatively so its not overwhelming at all.


Worksheets & Quizzes¬†‚Äď Within these are exercises in¬†translation, verb forms, grammar exercises, charts to complete.These are all great for reinforcing what is being learned.


La dict√©e¬†‚Äď The dictation exercises¬†are all on the CD. Interestingly, in France dictations are done similar to our version of the¬†spelling bee. Sounds like a really fun thing to me!




I have been trying to be diligent in practicing more the methods of Miss Charlotte Mason in our home education and I have to say this is something that fits into her ways so very well. We are reading right now too (because it was mentioned in the Introduction, The Fables of Jean de La Fontaine) and seeing as we go along how the dialogues within this program weave together into these tales. What a wonderful and creative way to help engage our children as they learn!




As you begin your studies¬†in¬†Primer A¬†learning subjects and verbs; infinitives, verb conjugation, tense and noun gender you not only learn these things but you write them and read them and say them. You use them so that they are more than just another lesson to complete but are a¬†cultural immersion experience. As a former exchange student and a host mom to many exchange students along the way, immersion is a wonderful (probably the best) way to learn any language. And as you learn, you create your own conversation journals and fun dialogues to practice conversation, letter writing and so much more! I haven’t fund yet a better and more enjoyable way to learn than this.





Since we have been using this we have also been encouraging regular use of additional songs and stories in French, to listen and read along. We even have a couple primers we are using to read, online, in French, that my son is really enjoying.  I remember reading not long ago that if you really want to learn a foreign language, reading and writing it and hearing it again and again, is the way to go. This program is just that.




Classical Academic Press has for your review a 64 page pdf from French for Children: Primer A  the student text you can download and try out if you want to learn more about this program. There is also a free audio MP3 sample and the you can watch the video below, this is the first chapter in the program  (it is about 45 mins long). If you have a student who is interested in learning French, maybe they even learned a bit already, this is a wonderful program to consider.  And there is always for some fun practice!





You have a chance to win!

Classical Academic Press are giving away two French for Children: Primer A bundles for USA residents! Just use the Rafflecopter form below ‚ÄĒ

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Who Needs a Brain Break?


It wasn’t long ago that I stumbled across the series 10 Days of Boosting Brain Power.¬†¬†I was excited to be given¬†the opportunity too (bless her heart) to review The¬†Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks. As you read ¬†The¬†Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaksyou learn how and why¬†movement matters so much for our kids when it comes to their learning. There are also 60 Brain Breaks for you to start using, and this book even¬†helps you to recognize¬†the signs of when a brain breaks is needed. I mean, I have begun to see myself, since using this, how often I simply need a brain break myself. And my kids get it! Even my 4 and 6 year old at times see and say “my brain needs a break”. ¬†Its especially cute weeny four year old daughter comes to me holding her head because her “brain is achy”.


Some of this really mad my head hurt, I admit the science of it all can be pretty intense. But understanding the science, even just a bit, helps you to really understand and embrace this concept. It also encourages us to look for active engagement when it comes to learning. Trust me, the difference it makes its huge! Now much of this I didn’t completely understand myself: the vestibular system being enhanced by movement. However Heather includes diagrams, in this case of the anatomy of the ear, to help guide any who are science – impaired as I am – through her explanation. Did you know the inner ear is considered the entryway into the brain for the senses? Its a unifying system influencing everything we do. Turns out all that rough and tumble play our kids (boys especially) do really does have a purpose beyond sometimes driving us mommas a bit batty! ūüėõ


So we learn as well read how movement promotes bilateral integration (making the left and right brain able to work together); this helps integrate logic with intuition. Movement all activates the cerebellum; this helps to make learning occur faster. And movement also gives the body and the brain a boost of oxygen. If we don’t have enough oxygen, our brain is simply going to go to sleep and that’s no good for learning. When we get ourselves moving, we wake up and so with these brain breaks we are able to quickly invigorate the mind and get that blood pumping to help us learn better. And faster!



A couple things that you will learn (or have reinforced even, in my case!)


‚ô¶ WHY movement is so critical to learning.

‚ô¶ HOW to spot when your children need a brain break.

‚ô¶ HOW to help your children discern when to utilize a brain break and regain focus.

‚ô¶ 60 amazing brain break exercises {with detailed instructions, pictures and printables/cards}


Check this out:





There is even one that is specifically for our littlest ones. I have not had a chance to get a copy of this one yet but I am definitely hoping to soon since this may be a great asset for them. And the ideas within the first were so good, I can’t see how this one wouldn’t be just as great. ¬†Especially since my kids are all about singing and dancing, my daughter I think would so enjoy many of the activities in this one! If and when I get this, I will definitely share all the details with you too ūüôā


What were some of my kids favorite brain breaks?


  • Toe Writing (my daughter loves to see all the other things she can do with her toes now too Lol)
  • Dance and Sing (we crank up the worship music and that sure gets everyone going!)
  • Cartwheels and summersaults are another favorite of my daughter
  • High Kicks and Jumping Jacks are great for the little ninjas in your house!
  • Crazy Eights writing is one of my oldest son’s favorite ones (he is my little artist)


There are also lots of fun and inspiring¬†Imagination Brain Breaks.¬†Doing this is fun because our kids can be a Billy Goat or a Flamingo; they may gallop like a horse or inchworm their way across the room. There are even exercises for them to imagine they are a sprouting seed and a popcorn popping (my little guy loves this since he is our popcorn connoisseur). And they love balloons as much as mine do, there are even exercises for them to do which include balloons. Who doesn’t love playing volleyball with a balloon? And handsfree is even more fun!


These are just a few of the great exercises that are in this book! There are tons more! And so many of these you can tweak and change up a bit to make them your own. My daughter loves hula hoops so there are lots of fun ways we have used them since we began using this program (instead of using rope or bean bags in some cases). This really is fun~ and it works too!



Finger Plays and Preschool Song Cards




Nw I know that none of us¬†need one more thing¬†‚Äúto-do‚ÄĚ in our days, but when it seems to be falling apart; when it just isn’t working,¬†¬†The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks¬†really helps bring us back together. Its like a super glue. ¬†Maybe not all the time, but most of the time. And that definitely¬†is worth making time for.


My kids do better because they have energized their brain; they have learned too how to see for themselves the need to wake up and refocus!

That’s a powerful tool for us to have! Every one of us ūüôā



Get lots of great ideas to enrich the learning within your home by getting your own copy for only $7.99 of The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks.




The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

See The Light – Creative Fun!

See the Light; Drawing Children to Him.

When it comes to art I have zero talent! Zip … zilch … I had a three year old tell m,e recently that my “sun” was nothing more than a “bad square” haha

My oldest son, who is soon to be eight, on the other hand is very talented already. He loves to draw and paint and can sit for hours sometimes with colored pencils and a paintbrush …

I can only dream of having that kind of skill myself. But I do love encouraging his creative spirit. And so when I had the chance to review the See the Light DVD I was beyond thrilled (as was my son) In fact Tyler himself chose the Joseph video to review and did he hunt down our mail man. Every day. Until it arrived. ūüôā

I love the Biblical story woven into the lesson – each piece of the process goes along with a portion of the story of Joseph itself. Very accurate too. I like that! A lot.

The directions are simple – it moved a bit too fast at some points for my son so we did do a lot of rewinding and pausing but that is a definite perk to lessons in this format too. As my son would progress, there were some things he struggled with a bit more than others. They could have broken down a bit more, some of the images (the corn and the stars) for helping little hands to really get how to draw them (stars are hard right?)

My son was so busy with this though – he made his own way. Loved the variety of colors he was encouraged to use – the coat of many colors – how he loved that part especially!

spring in 032

I really do love this as a tool for learning and am hoping we can come by a couple more of these as time goes by. My son was actively engaged and that can be hard to do with a little boy. He was fascinated by the process and quite pleased with the detail he put into his work of art!

Its a start that’s for sure. And the variety of programs that this company offers – WOW – all I can say is just WOW. A wonderful tool especially for those of us who are artistically impaired! haha

spring in 019

spring in 030

As you can see even the little ones find a way to See the Light ūüôā


Posted in Product Review, Un School Home School

Engino Structures And Bridges Review

My son and I were recently blessed with a wonderful set for building from Timberdoodle. And this came at just the right time too. ¬†A time when my son has begun to explore and imagine…building many great things big and small.¬†


Personally I love the insstruction/activity book that comes with this because frankly, I cannot build any thing….nothing…I am completely incapable….no matter how I try…..So my son loves the fact too that I can build with his assistance (with these detailed guides of course) haha¬†


As you can see my son got right to work building – no instructions needed. The blocks hold together very well – they are a bit harder for smaller hands to lock together in some cases but for the most part….”gotta use your muscle” as my little man says. I loved how creative he was able to be with this set. Buildings and bridges….lots of different creations that I would share but for a camera blow up that left us with only a few photos (all of which I am sharing here).¬†

Anyway my son was a bit young to grasp many of the teaching concepts and the reading within the books but we will be bringing it out again (the books I mean) when he is older to review and I just know that he will thoroughly enjoy these as a part of his “school” as he gets older. However just based on the building abilities with this set alone we are very pleased. Lots of pieces and lots of different ways to make them work together. ¬†What could be better for a growing boy?¬†

I do wish I could show off his final project ~ Need a new camera. Then I will be sure to load photos en masse once again. In the meantime, any child who loves to build this is definitely something they should have. So many fun ways to learn as they build and grow through the years too! I know I cannot wait to teach with this in the coming years. 

Thanks Timberdoodle for a fun opportunity!