Disclosure: I received this product free through the Homeschool Review Crew.

I absolutely love to read and to write. However when it comes to teaching these things, I admit that I tend to struggle a bit. Maybe more than a bit? Especially with my older ones, who do not have even a touch of a writing bug, I am always looking for materials that will encourage them to become strong writers and maybe even enjoy writing one day. Having the opportunity to review Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers by Everyday Education came at the perfect time too since my oldest son is in a writing class as I type this (and not doing so well if I may be totally honest).

We received this as a pdf download and were able to get this onto our kindle quickly, to use.

This contains over 400 pages of instruction and resources broken down into two main sections. This begins with an introduction to essays and arguments; this is where we learn how to write a good essay. Quality matters. This also helps them to know the main components of an essay and the various types of essays. Here we learn how to put it all together well, to share our perspective in a respectful and informational way. For my oldest son (15) so much of this was a great refresher as we spent a few years in speech and debate (how he misses it too). I love when there are moments in learning where we say “aha”. or “I remember that.”

“Communication is the great goal that lies at the heart of all literature study and
writing. In order to communicate clearly, we must understand basic principles of
grammar, style, and usage, and learn to use them consistently. I have never met a
writer or editor who does not have an ample supply of reference materials at his or her desk.”

This handbook begins by introducing Essays and Arguments; reading through the first few pages we learn the principles that relate to this before moving into the task of Defining the Argument. We also find examples as we go along so we can see (and read) for ourselves. With my older boys, I find they enjoy having a sample nearby as they work – something they can compare their own writing too and self check as they go along.

As you develop your essay, you find additional examples, sometimes of what you should do and other times of what you should not do. It is helpful, is it not, to sometimes see what a poor statement looks like also. As we explore statements more, we are even given an exercise in identifying statements that are useful.

There is a large section that speaks to Defining Key Terms, This is good because I think even I need that refresher as I read and write. Something that really stood out to me was how she wrote:

“…the analysis of an argument requires you to pay the closest attention to any definitions, simply because a devious or inadequate or misleading definition can produce something that looks plausible but which is, in fact, problematic because the initial definition is self-serving or ambiguous.

Is this not true of so much more than just a paper we write? The power and the impression that our words can have upon others; this is a reminder of how important it is for us to be cautious in the words that we share.

As we move further into this book, we find sample outlines for essays and research papers. These can help our less experienced writers to have a model to work with as they write. The second section of this book is very helpful also as it includes many helpful tools: basic punctuation, phrases and clauses, modifiers, logic – This is really a very thorough book!

There are also paragraphs within these pages for the purpose of rewriting to correct, also to make a sentence flow.

I also need to mention the website which is amazing. There is a very large collection of resources specifically for the study of literature and writing. They also host a library of author biographies, poetry, music, and art, as well as so many articles by professors, scholars, and other experts. You can download some great free resources for teaching classic literature at Excellence-in-Literature.com too! I know I get lost on their site whenever I go there. 🙂

We will certainly be continuing to use this as a resource as my oldest especially, moves through his higher level studies. There are many areas where he has weaknesses when it comes to writing and I do believe this can really help him to grow in this area. It is especially helpful since we can customize how and what we use based upon the needs identified.

Everyday Education is on Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janicepcampbell 

Twitter: https://Twitter.com/EverydayEdu
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jcwords/
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For my middle and high school level students (even for myself) I find this to be a wonderful resource. This is definitely one of those materials that we can use continuously, especially as we become older and more developed in our writing requirements. Make sure to click on the graphic below to see how other members of the Review Crew used this book with their families.

Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers {Everyday Education Reviews}

Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers {Review}

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor compensated in any other way.

We found something new and simply Wonder Full that we have been exploring with our younger daughter for the last month or so. My littlest girl is five years old and full of creativity and curiosity. She loves to explore and read and create and so Wisdom Wonder Project was a welcome addition to our days. We were super blessed to have the chance to explore all of the materials they offer: Little Wonders Preschool  Junior K – Kindergarten, as well as Young Scholars First/Second Grade and because you can’t forget math, we had access to Kindergarten Singapore Math as well. We were given access to this program for a full year; this is all online aside from books and materials that are listed in each month unit.

Wisdom begins with wonder.


Wisdom Wonder Project is an amazing, seemingly endless trove of homeschool curricula designed to bring about wonder in our children as they explore great books while also allowing and encouraging play. This is an amazing program, so many possibilities – I love how even before we got started we were given great wisdom about the need to Set Up Your Space. This gave us all the details; listed all the things you must have (all were simple things mostly that we already had) so that we would have success. I mean, it matters right? Nothing worse than getting a program and then not being truly prepared. You lose your steam; you lose some of that wonder. With this, they want to be sure you are truly ready to enjoy all of their delicious materials. Taste and see. They are available as monthly and annual subscriptions by the way so you don’t have to pay a lot for an amazing education! The Little Wonders (Preschool, Jr. Kindergarten and Kindergarten) Bundle includes Literature, Block Play and Little Masters (Art). The Young Scholars (1st Grade and 2nd Grade) Bundle includes History & Literature, Science and Young Masters (Art).

Three of my four children love math. I have been trying to figure out just what to do with my younger on (five years old) when we received this. So I was thrilled to get her started on Singapore Math. Initially we started out in Kindergarten but she actually complained it was too easy and so we switched to their First Grade program She loves it! She is thrilled to have her own work to do and keeps her supplies together so nicely so when it’s time she can get started. I do believe it is so good for our children when they are smaller, to look forward to the things they “get” to do each day. For certain, this makes my daughter so very excited each day. Something to ponder – what spirit our children work in – do they see it as a joy or as a burden? Let us place a beautiful feast before them so they will be excited and eager to come and see. 🙂

Finding Success in the Journey

  1. Read through the monthly collection.
  2. Create your vision for teaching the collection to your child(ren).
  3. Look at your calendar and plan out your weeks (see a sample
    schedule below for ideas).
  4. Gather necessary supplies.
  5. Read the fairy tales prior to reading them to your child(ren).
  6. Engage in the feast of activities and ideas.
  7. Enjoy these fairy tale filled, summer months!

I know I said this before but there really are so many amazing things within this program! We started out with the Kindergarten Fairy Tales Collection because my little girl loves all things fairy. Each week there is a Fairy Tale to read, and discuss. They provide a couple questions so your little ones even can begin experiencing literary analysis. There is also an art project, related to the tale – Also included is some fun history to learn that surrounds the tale and the author along with cultural traditions that relate. Complete with nature activities and building opportunities there are so many different ways you can enrich the stories being read and help your younger learners to really experience them even more!

We found so many frogs. Crayfish too. But I told her not to kiss the frogs no matter how many books say so.
Some fun hand lettering. It’s great fun!

Our children can learn so much from building whether with legos or blocks or other materials they find around the house. I remember my daughter taking a handful of straws one day to try to build a tower. From boxes and blocks to playing cards and so much more – this is a super fun opportunity for our kids to just do some creative play as they also exercise logic and problem solving skills.

Since my older daughter loves art we were pretty excited to dig into the Young Scholars and explore some artists and famous works we may not know of. Each month includes two projects, inspired by the artist being studied, to complete. There are also great details provided about the artist’s background and the artistic elements being used. As with each portion of this program there is a book (or a couple books) recommended for reading.
While I would happily purchase all of these amazing books (my husband isn’t as big of a fan as I am of books) so we found quite a few on Kindle or on Youtube.

Some painting here. Unicorns!

My daughters love to listen to the books being read to them on there. Aside from a few we happened to have handy, this was how we proceeded for quite a few books as we worked through each portion of this program. Of course there are a handful I plan to add to our library (like it or not hubby). Can I just say, I love how many lovely, living books we were introduced through with this program?

We also used the history, Ancients, unit because history is amazing and I was excited to see how they would bring this to life. This was one place I was so glad to see, we already had quite a few of their recommended reads. Such as Story of the World. We actually have the audio books which we love to listen to driving to and from a hockey rink a couple times a week. In fact, last spring we completed an awesome program with a few home learning friends where we did projects together as we read through this one together. So this was a great refresher for my older kids (this is fun for the older ones too even though it is mostly geared toward younger). So there were items we did not have but we easily supplemented creatively. Instead of a globe my kids loved using google maps and books we have around the house (also a giant map we have to bring out as we need it because I didn’t think to check dimensions and it is HUGE) . When we came across projects we were glad to do them, or to develop something similar – My younger son built a tank out of cardboard and hot glue. My daughter decided to make some dance equipment for her dolls with cardboard and scrap wood – historical and cultural dance is fascinating truly and since it is a great passion for her, why not allow her to explore dance in history as well? I do love materials where I feel like we can explore and go beyond what is on the paper. I mean, this is how the wisdom and wonder stays alive right?

I have to say, I really struggle as I write this, to not go on and on and yet also to help you understand how fabulous all of these materials are! I mean, I am rather shy of curriculum, I have been let down before so I tend to be wary. Plus I am horribly unorganized right now – these are the times that try a man’s soul right – so for me, its all about bringing light to my eyes too.

Beautiful bird sounds. Relaxing!

My daughter asks if I am happy today, as we sit, listening to music of the rainforest (this was a result of our exploration in the Primary Science, Living Things. What does it sound like if you are in the rainforest late at night? Or even in the early morning? The sounds. lose your eyes and listen. Do you recognize them? What are they and what can we learn about them? This breathes life into dry bones – I mean it. So much I doubt we would have really gotten into except for this. It is a reminder that we constantly need to have eyes to see all around us, the opportunities to learn and grow ib this great world.

Her older brother sketched this for her to color in.

I do have to say, in my opinion, this is more of a secular curriculum; there is mention of billions of years in some of the materials. For our family, we see this as an opportunity to explore and ask those questions. Why is it or isn’t it what is said? I truly believe we need to explore these things with our youth so they may learn how to defend their beliefs when they are confronted with a different thought. We must know the truth for ourselves and there is no better way than to have to search for it ourselves (as age allows of course). Suffice to say, this has been, and continues to be, such a pleasure for every one of us. My girls are learning and loving so many of the stories; growing as young artists themselves and seeing other parts of history and geography. In a way that is truly enjoyable for all.

Check Out Wisdom Wonder Project on Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WisdomWonderProject/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wisdomwonderproject/

Make sure you click below to read reviews from other Crew Members who have been using different parts of this program to see all the creative learning that can be had!

Little Wonders Preschool, Young Scholars  & Kindergarten Singapore Math {Wisdom Wonder Project Reviews}

Wisdom Wonder Project {Review}

I tend not to worry too much about my younger kids when it comes to grammar. When they are young I really seek to focus on helping them to just learn to enjoy the experience of writing. But as they get older, there are some things that we need to add to their writing skills. I wasn’t really sure how to do this with my oldest son; he is very active, he is currently on a mission to write his own book, but as he does, I see so many things that need correction. How to do this without discouraging his heart? I jumped on the chance to review Daily GRAMS: Grade 7 from Easy Grammar Systems. Perhaps with this simple material, as he works, he can see and correct for himself, to better his work. Without momma nagging, with dad criticizing – maybe – all on his own, he can see and direct himself just a bit.

I love the concept and layout of Daily GRAMS. Designed specifically for review, these focus on reviewing those important grammar skills in only 10 minutes a day. These are designed for grades 3-7 so even our younger ones can learn in a way that fits their age and ability. We received the Teacher Edition of the workbook which includes everything you need. So quick and easy; no need to prepare or fuss. Just open the book and get to work. There are 180 daily reviews that include working in:

  • Punctuation
  • Capitalization
  • Analogies
  • Roots/Suffixes
  • Fragments/Run-Ons
  • Homonyms/Antonyms/Synonyms
  • Clauses and Phrases

As you can see this covers so much! All in one book too. Since we are doing a bit of a major remodel right now, it is great to be able to do so much with just one book. Add to that, my son not being one for “book work” and the short and simple lessons that are in this one are a real hit. I am still not sure he likes grammar, but at least he is willing to do the work each day. Since the whole purpose of this book is to give our students daily review promoting mastery of grammar concepts, I am happy to have material that we don’t have to fight to complete. In a short time, every day, he is slowly gaining greater abilities and understanding in grammar.

Each page is set up with a specific format. The first sentence includes capitalization for correction. The second sentence requires students to work on punctuation. In the third and fourth sentences we move towards those general concepts. In some cases I found this was a great opportunity for him to do deeper study to gain a greater understanding of the concepts he was working on. In these sections there are at times, definitions, or perhaps I should say a bit of written guidance (example, participle – formed by adding -ing or -ed to verb). Sentence five is combining; so this is where students work on writing more complex sentences.

There are also portions of Daily Gram which include Friendly Letters/Envelopes and Guide Words within the Dictionary. These are good skills for our students to practice at any age. In some exercises he also practiced alphabetizing, locating words, and determining the eight parts of speech. So many wonderful ways to learn and develop grammar skills in a short time!

Since my oldest son prefers to work on his own I would give him the specific page he was working on for the day (the answers are in the book – I prefer not to tempt him by giving it all to him). When he completed the daily gram, we go over it together. Slowly. There were times he would catch something and correct it right away with me. Other times I would need to encourage him, ask questions, try to direct him to a correction that needed to be made or redone.

I think I can speak for my son when I say that this is such a breath of fresh air. We love how simply everything is laid out and my son even says the more he does the easier (and faster) he can complete his gram each day. This is definitely not something that is stressful or frustrating even for students struggling with grammar. When we did start to struggle, we were easily able to locate the answers in the back of the book and often that was all we needed for it to make sense. Seeing can be believing at times. 🙂

Of course if you are looking for something that will teach grammar they have something for that too. However the Daily Grams, these are just for review. My son does four of these a week (sometimes five) and he is completely independent as he works. This is one of those things he can right away in the morning or on days when he works, he can complete one in between things. As we become more “on the go” we really appreciate materials like this that can help to strengthen his skills (communication written and oral are so valuable) without it feeling like we are getting a root canal.

There are a variety of materials that Easy Grammar System has to offer; be sure to read reviews from other Crew members since we all had the opportunity to use a variety of their materials. I am sure you will find one that is just right for you!


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EasyGrammarSystems/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Easygrammar
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/easygrammarsystems/

Crew Disclaimer

Easy Grammar Systems {Review}

GrammarPlanet {Review}

I love grammar. Language arts has always been one of my favorite things. My boys? Not so much. One finds it to be “impossible” and the other one just doesn’t see the point of it all. There are some things, no matter how we feel, that are needful. I find this to be one of them so when I heard about GrammarPlanet, I was excited to give it a try. This is an online language arts curriculum and I was given a one year subscription for my boys, for this review.

GrammarPlanet is an online program meant to be used with a variety of ages and abilities. I received a free basic subscription and the first six units; eventually this will be upgraded to a one-year subscription. Units are being added as we progress.

Each online unit contains video lessons, opportunities to practice and also includes tests.

Once I received the login information for this I set up both of my boys as students. My younger son just turned nine; my older son is soon to be thirteen.

At the start of each lesson we print out a couple pages of notes hopeful references as we proceed through each lesson. There’s also a video (about 5 minutes long) and a short quiz to complete.

There are a number of opportunities to practice what was learned on the program before they finally take a test.

If they do not pass the test they cannot proceed to the next unit. This is one of those things that I really like in a program. The student cannot move forward until we (the teacher) unlock the program for them.

If you have a somewhat reluctant learner who likes to just skate (or skip) through things this will ensure he does not. I know my oldest son well sometimes watch the videos try to move forward without really doing the work. this is a great way to make sure that they understand what they are learning. 😁

One thing that’s really nice is that this program is an interactive one. One lesson builds upon the other moving from simple nouns and pronouns to more complex diagramming sentences and parallel structures, active and passive voice and crazy modifiers. This sure covers a lot, right?

Overall this is a great program for helping her kids to better understand the purpose and use of grammar. The lessons are short and simple, no bells and whistles, just the facts. I know my younger son really appreciates that sort of instruction.

And this is definitely a great combination of online and physical instruction. My oldest son appreciates the online work and my younger son I appreciate having printouts to reference as we go along. I appreciate having paper trail to help me keep track of where we are too.


Loving Logic of English Essentials ~ A Review

English is one of those things I just love! And I love to teach it; my boys however do not enjoy it as much as I have always imagined they would. So there are some struggles we face when it comes to this area. But thankfully there are wonderful materials out there to help us all along, as we journey through home education together. My boys love science and so, being able to share a “science” of reading can sure bring lots more joy to our learning!



Logic of English was designed (simply put) to make it all make sense…my younger son loves because he is big on why. Why is it spelled this way and said that way? This program is a no nonsense approach  to reading and spelling as well as being multi sensory (works great with my night and day boys). As you teach the 74 basic phonograms and the 30 spelling rules…it all begins to make SO much more sense!



The Logic of English program consists of three materials:*Foundations: Complete Language Arts Curriculum for ages 4-7*Essentials: Spelling, Reading and Grammar for ages 7+*Handwriting: Cursive and Manuscript Handwriting InstructionThis review is meant to cover the Essentials: Logic of English Complete Set which includes:*Essentials Teacher’s Manual*Essentials Student Workbook (consumable)*Spelling Journal (consumable)*Basic Phonogram Flash Cards*Spelling Rule Flash Cards*Grammar Rule Flash Cards*Advanced Phonogram Flash Cards*Game Book*Manuscript (or Cursive) Game Cards*2nd Set of Manuscript (or Cursive) Game Cards Boldface*Quick Reference Chart




They also do have The Essentials Reader , this is a digital reader and was not included in our materials, which I stumbled across online. I have been considering getting this myself to go along with this; I do believe that reading is rather essential and think this would be a great addition to this set of materials as, the reading and writing could be a bit more intensive, in my opinion, with this program. I have to say one of my favorite things about this program is the fact that it is multi-level. That means that I can use it for both my younger son (7) and my older one too (11).



Each lesson has sections for A, B and C to strengthen and work at the level of each child using the program. And this program covers so much! There are fun games to play, there is reading and writing, spelling, grammar, vocabulary and phonics! I was totally impressed with the materials when they arrived. Surprised too. So much to do! In a good way of course. 🙂 We began immediately; I was so appreciative of the sample schedule they have available too. While we didn’t stick to it completely, I always appreciate having a little guide, at least when I am getting started with something new. And being that I was using this with both of my boys, it really helped me keep track of where each one was in the program. I am a huge fan of schedules, while at the same time, being a huge fan of teaching from a state of rest. Relaxed home education. That said, this schedule helped to keep us on track while at the same time, allowing us to take our time as we went through the lessons. My younger son particularly loved the games in this program and since he has struggled a lot with reading (he is my “why” boy) and phonics, we definitely wanted to take our time and have fun. Most days we completed the mini-lessons (maybe 20 minutes in the program) using flashcards and games that are a part of this program. There would be some simple teaching in one of three areas: Spelling, Phonograms and Grammar. There is also plenty of review built into this program so on those days that we just don’t seem to complete the whole lesson or in the case of a struggling learner, it is good to be able to catch those areas early and then go back and work a bit more on them together. Most of the time my younger son really enjoyed doing these lessons; there were days though (who doesn’t have them) where he just couldn’t make it through. But that’s okay because this program makes it easy to teach the lessons slowly. There were days too that he would practice phonograms on the App, this was a nice way to encourage learning on those days he just wasn’t up for a lesson (my daughter who is 5, uses the app as well and loves it!).






With my oldest son we really enjoyed the more advanced level built into this program; grammar concepts and mechanics, latin & greek morphemes and of course reading, spelling and writing too. This new edition also includes morphemes (for level C learners) and this is a fun learning opportunity for my oldest (who loves languages) to learn about the words borrowed from other languages and then learn how to apply the roots in both spelling and vocabulary lessons. I was especially pleased with the placement tests, pre-lessons (to help fill in the blanks; get everyone up to speed), and a Spelling Journal to help keep track and master those commonly misspelled words. This was a great help to my oldest son (although lessons went a bit long for my short attention, kinetic learning boy) and really helped us to see where we needed to really focus. And I admit there were time were we had to go back, quite a bit, to cover material at a lower level. Thankfully this program makes it easy to do just that. Can I say this has also really inspired him in writing and cursive?

As a momma of four children, I do love that Essentials includes 3 levels of instruction in each volume!  Thus it can be used with multiple children at a number of stages, you can customize the program for each child, and use it again too to go deeper in understanding!  For me, this is a big advantage. It is flexible while at the same time clearly laid out for you, to make it easy to use!

The lessons are broken into five days of teaching:

Day 1: Essential Concepts: Phonograms, Exploring Sounds, Spelling Rules.

Day 2: Building Words: Spelling Journal, Spelling Analysis (spelling lists for A, B or C)

Day 3: Words in Context:  Grammar and Dictation

Day 4: Words in Action: Vocabulary, Dictation, Composition, Reading

Day 5: Check Your Understanding: Review




There is always something new being learned, so its never a dull moment and at the same time each lesson is a building block, advancing our children in a slow and steady way towards mastery of the material. My younger son will attest to the fact that, with games like Phonogram Tic Tac Toe and Spelling Snap!, its really tons of fun to learn! This program is perfect anyone who is looking for a more classical approach to teaching English, and also I definitely encourage this for those kids, like my own, who need to know “why”. With a younger son who just struggles with the phonics approach, this has been quite a blessing to him. This is not simple, it is also not independent. But it is so well put together, you really don’t need to know much at all yourself to be able to teach. The lessons are all clearly laid out and very easy to understand. As a lover of English, I love being able to just sit down with the books and get to it. Plus, I learned quite a bit from this program myself.Lifelong learning 🙂    To learn more about Essentials: Logic of English Complete Set, visit the Logic of English website with several online teacher training videos so you can see what a lesson looks like.  For those who are overwhelmed by all of this, these videos will really help you to make sense of it all while also inspiring and invigorating you! You can also take a tour of the program, download sample materials and check out their levels and placement so your children start in just the right place.

Classical Academic Press’ 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,” 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – There is grammatical instruction involved in this course; this is taught very creatively so its not overwhelming at all.


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


La dictée – 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 www.HeadventureLand.com for some fun practice!





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Everyday Education ~~ A Crew Review

My older son does not like practicing handwriting; my younger two on the other hand really enjoy tracing and copywork. When I saw Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting brought to you by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com available for review I was eager to give it a try because handwriting matters. I think it says a lot about us and its a great exercise for body and mind in my opinion.  Besides, with three children, all in different places, I am always up for something that can be used with every one of them! And I admit, I kind of saw this as a challenge, for myself mostly, to see if I can get my kids all reading and writing beautifully in 60 days! 😀






I have always considered myself to be a fairly intelligent person. But an intelligent parent? Sometimes I wonder! ha-ha When it comes to reading and writing, I have to say, I always like to stick with something that is simple. Nothing fancy here. Just clear and concise; short lessons each day ranging from 5 minutes to 15 minutes. And of course it all goes so much better when reading is a part of our everyday life. I know I have always loved to read; how I desperately want to inspire my children to enjoy it as much as I do one day!



There are for ways that this book is recommended to be used. I think we used every one of these ourselves as we completed each lesson.



First, this program is meant to teach young children how to reading write. This was the purpose for two of my four (my youngest is 18 months so I won’t make her start yet ha-ha). Using this we go through each letter of the alphabet, learning the different sounds as well as how to write each letter.



This is also designed to teach children with reading difficulties to read effectively. And I suppose this was the main focus with my oldest son (He is very reluctant to read. everything and anything.). Also because he really has a hard time with attention and focus; there are challenges he faces that we have to acknowledge when it comes to reading and writing.



Another wonderful benefit of this program is that it teaches our children how to have fat, legible, attractive handwriting. That is important. No matter how advanced technology may become, it matters that we are able to take the time to write something with our own hand. Whether it is a letter to a friend or family member, a paper for class or copying a recipe perhaps, with the right instruction, our children can write well.  And Italic, which is the style used within this program, certainly is beautiful to look at. And not at all difficult to read.


Lastly, who doesn’t want to have beautiful handwriting? In this program, from lesson to lesson, we can all learn and advance our skills in this area. How fun it is to write in Italics too; pleasing to the eye, and so I am told, great exercise for the mind even!



Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting is recommended for early elementary students, designed to help them learn how to read and write well win only 60 days.  That said there are 60 lessons in all (and if you are wondering this is a phonics based program).  This could be used with older elementary students too, like my oldest son, who are reluctant readers and struggling in this area. This is intended for both children and adults who see and value both reading and writing.



There are lots of great tips she has too for us as we start out. Page after page she speaks to concerns regarding phonics, early learning, what age is the “right” age to begin teaching reading and how to encourage our children from day one to become good readers and writers. She even goes on to explain the great value which handwriting has (even in this day and age) as well as why Italics is a “better”method of handwriting for our children to learn.  As a side note, we did notice that the scriptures used in this are not from the King James Bible, so we did “correct” that as we went along since that is what we are most familiar with.



We started with my two younger ones in Chapter 2 where they learn the individual letters beginning with vowels and then the remainder of the alphabet.  The worksheets all provide plenty of opportunity for them both to practice paper letter formation both tracing the letter and also forming it independently. With my oldest son we went straight to Chapters 3-5.  This is where there are pages specifically for practicing letter formation and also for interaction in reading.  These are  full of words and sentences, each teaching a skill, while also encouraging handwriting practice.  Especially fun are the silly sentences! And then there is Chapter 6 where we find lots of pages for practice.  There is a writing project, the final project if you will, which requires copying “The Night Before Christmas.”  This is also where they learn how to slant letters and join some letters together while writing both legibly and quickly.  That takes some talent and lots of practice right? 🙂



For those who are looking to go beyond, who want a bit more in their and handwriting program there is a special section on calligraphy. You can learn how to use an edged pen; write serifs and flourishes, and join the letters as you write in calligraphy.  This is an area my oldest son is really looking forward as he really enjoys all kinds of artistic pursuits. And I am hopeful that this will help to encourage and inspire him in his own handwriting. And for myself, being that I have always wanted to learn calligraphy, this is a fun opportunity for me to inspire my children as they see me learning something new too!




Beautiful Handwriting, Literature and Poetry {Everyday Education, LLC}Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/janicecampbell/

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Crew Disclaimer

Jolly Phonics & Jolly Grammar ~ Schoolhouse Review

We love to learn, all year round. With two little ones who really want to learn how to read it just doesn’t seem right to me to take a break from things right now. Of course since every one of our kids is so unique and different, I am always eager and happy to review materials that will help one of them, or both of the littler ones, to gain some strong reading skills. And wow, jollyliteracy.com (just2ducks LLC) has a most amazing and comprehensive reading program they blessed us with!  It includes the Jolly Literacy Teacher’s Book (print letters); the Jolly Phonics Student Books, 1, 2, and 3; The Jolly Grammar level 1 Teacher’s Book (print letters); the Jolly Grammar level 1 Student Book; and Jolly Songs (print letters).  We also received My Personal Dictionary from Primary Learning and a catalog of other Jolly Literacy products .  This is some really good stuff!  For this review we received the following materials:

  • Jolly Phonics Teacher’s Book in print letters
  • Jolly Phonics Student Book 1, 2 and 3
  • Jolly Grammar 1 Teacher’s book in print letters
  • Jolly Grammar Student Book
  • Jolly Songs in print letters
  • Jolly Songs CD

Can I say thank you? What a blessing!!!



My kids love this logo! A duck, reading, under an umbrella, in the rain. y kids all agreed this could easily be their momma; if I was a duck! lol  My daughter just turned 5 yesterday.  We did some very basic preschool and even kindergarten for the last few months, and she is still really learning how to read.  My younger son is 6 and a struggling reader although he wants to read and so is eager to do whatever it takes to be a stronger reader.  We began with the Phonics Book 1.  I love how simple and short, the lessons in this book are. My daughter had a blast working through each page since every letter had a corresponding action that went along with it. For “S” we weave our hand about in an “s” shape’ for “I” wiggle fingers at the end of your nose like whiskers and speak just like a mouse would. Even my younger son got a kick out of the actions that they had paired to each of the letters in the lessons.







The Jolly Songs CD is full of fun songs; quite catchy too.  Since my daughter loves to sing and we have found that she learns fast when something is set to music, we definitely used this one a lot. Each son is designed to help teach the sound that each letter makes. I would put this on, often, while working with my other kids and she would sit and just sing along happily!  Can I just say I love how the songs cover every letter with the same action used to teach in the workbook and then also covering sounds for letter combinations like “ou” and “qu” and “ch”.  There is even a song to help recall the vowels!


We have not yet completed the Phonics program yet (there are three books in all) but we are slowly getting there. As we got closer to the end of Book 1 I found that my daughter began to struggle a bit more with remembering and distinguishing the sounds of the letter combinations in the last few pages. So we have slowed down, are revisiting some of them and working on listening and identifying the sounds in words. “Sh” in sheep or “ch” in chain. Once we begin Book 2 I think she will become much more frustrated if we do not strengthen her skills now. We are really looking forward to completing this program together though. She loves having her own “school books” and time with momma. I think this really encourages her too because it is fun! Even as we advance in the program the activities within the lessons are still fun; lots of opportunities to draw and color throughout these books too! And I do love encouraging art so this is great.  As we have not completed Phonics, of course, we did not yet start the Grammar book that was provided but I am quite excited to do so. I have really considered using it with my younger son, who is six, but don’t want to remove him from his current program since he seems to be okay with it for now. But I do love the looks of the Grammar book too! As with the Phonics books, this is full of fun opportunities to learn and strengthen grammar. From dictation exercises, to sentences to be reviewed and then corrected; alphabetizing, blending consonants and plurals. There are even fun activities to help them learn adjectives, nouns, verbs and pronouns. There is an exercise to help our kids familiarize themselves with using a dictionary and then lots of pages for spelling tests at the very end of the book.  This is good stuff!  I cannot wait to get there. 🙂





   Now if you are someone who isn’t very comfortable with teaching grammar or phonics, never fear, the Teacher’s Book is here. And these things are amazing! A bit overwhelming initially but WOW…I love both the Teacher Guides: Jolly Phonics Teacher’s Book and the Jolly Grammar Teacher’s Book.  These are full of introduction and even instruction on how to help our kids learn the letter sounds, letter formation, tricky words, reading and sound identification. It goes on in so much detail to help guide us through every part of every lesson. From the fun but simple story that is included for every letter to helping us to introduce the various things that need to be taught as we begin with each letter. This includes tip on formation, blending, dictation and sounding it out. There are also a couple great ideas shared to continuing to teach for each letter. One idea we had lots of fun with was cutting up an apple and using them to print shapes. Another activity we enjoyed was using the ends of toilet paper tubes to make octopus pictures (we added legs with yarn my daughter found in my knitting basket ~~ I don’t knit ~~ not yet anyway).  These books are just amazing!


This really is such a fabulous program! I love how it is so colorful; so inviting and engaging for our younger ones. My daughter loves and looks forward to doing school each day with this program and that makes me SO very happy! There is nothing greater to me, than seeing my children having fun AND learning. Eagerly. When it comes to reading and writing, too, I do believe this is something that we need to make strong within our kids. If you can read and you can write you can learn to do anything in life. So a strong foundation matters! I am really looking forward to using the rest of this program as we slowly and gently work through it, my daughter and I.  I am very excited for the rest of the Grammar program too. Although we did not receive all of the books for that program, I do plan to use them in the future with my daughter once we get to that place. For now though, I definitely encourage you to consider Jolly Phonic and Jolly Grammar!



Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar Review


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Crew Disclaimer

Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree ~ A Schoolhouse Review

I admit, I am not a big fan of technology. I try to limit screen time as much as I can. While I do see many benefits to some of the stuff that is out there, I really struggle with managing and monitoring all of it.  Often I find too, that there is very little educational content to things (I say its fluff). While I want to allow my kids time for fun, I want to see learning happening at the same time. Because learning can be fun. Last year we had the opportunity to review Star Toaster and we really enjoyed it! This year we have been given the chance to review their new app, Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree. Being that my kids really like using apps for “learning” we did not hesitate to agree to this one! Here is a chance to have an app that is sure to bring lots of fun (and secretly lots of purpose) to our days.




If you are not familiar with this company, Star Toaster creates amazing interactive books for our kids! The stories are so fun to read together and they are full of lessons on a variety of subjects. As you complete each lesson, you are able to care for more and more of these orphaned woodland creatures. A big bonus for my creature loving kiddos!

The app, Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree, is available on iTunes and is only for Apple devices. We used our iPad for this but it also could work on an iPhone; it does require an iOS 8.0 minimum.  This is recommended for children ages 9 to 11. I used this with my oldest son who is 10 and a very reluctant reader. I also used this with my younger son who is soon to be 7 and  struggling but eager to read for himself.


This app is a prequel to the original Star Toaster story, The Treasure of HighTower.  This is a 122 page interactive book telling the story of Abba the Flying Squirrel in the form of a journal, written by Abba himself, telling of his adventures with his friends in their fort called Tangletree. As our kids read there are highlighted words and phrases which they are able to touch and learn more about, expanding on both their vocabulary and grammar too. And there are also lots of great activities for them to do along the way. The Right Writer, encourages them to identify proper grammar (homonyms, compound words, etc) as they complete Job Training and Help Wanted opportunities in their journey. I have to say my favorites were the Cricket Cards! 🙂







What kind of shorts does a cloud wear? Thunder wear..” 

There are so many ways that this app makes reading fun! And this isn’t just a story. It is such an adventure! As they read and gain Job Training, they can become Sound Scientists. or Hedgehog Pro’s.  They can study to become a Load Lifter or a Woodlands Wordsmith. They have such fun titles for every one of the activities that are in this story for our kids. It really makes the story become so much more alive and helps encourage our kids in their reading too! There are even little tips for our kids along the way, like the Memory Tip that encourages them to picture something they are trying to remember in their mind; its a great way to encourage the use of visual reminders!

I truly am impressed with the variety of lessons within this app! I love the story; it has great quality characters. A story line that is truly inviting and really draws you in! The chapters are short enough for my oldest son (who really doesn’t like to read) to enjoy. There are 75 lessons with over 120 tasks for to challenge our kids. Every activity is designed to help our kids learn valuable skills in math and science, character/virtue training, grammar and so much more…. I definitely recommend this app. For both my reluctant reader and my struggling reader this has both engaged and encouraged them!

Orphs of the Woodlands at Tanglegate Review

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/startoaster4kids

Twitter: https://twitter.com/StarToaster

Crew Disclaimer

Let’s Get Frugal~

When we first felt led to homeschool, we had one child, who was four and a newborn baby.

We were both working outside of the home at the time, and my husband had his hand in various real estate ventures – so money wasn’t that big of an issue. We weren’t rich by any means but we weren’t pinching pennies either.


But our first year of homeschooling, I cringe, admitting that we spent a lot. For our five year old son, we purchased the fanciest materials and all the bells and whistles that went along with it. (I loved it, still do!)


Since we began this journey we have added a few more children to our family; I am staying at home and keeping the home.  We now have one income from one job. My husband is also working towards an MBA and so things have gotten tighter than they once were.


(I am addicted to books too ~ have I ever mentioned that challenge I face each day?)


This year, due to so many changes (a remodeling project up and coming as well) we have a bit less and so have to be a bit more creative in what and how we put together our program.


I’ve always believed that the Lord directed us to homeschool, that He would provide and be the center of our homeschool. That said, this is something we have always been completely committed to.  There isn’t any other way.  We believe that He will provide whatever the situation. So whether we can shop till we drop for homeschool materials or we are barely making ends meet, we have faith it will all come together. In His perfect way.


A couple wonderful resources I have been blessed by through the years:




I suppose this is one of those things that makes homeschooling so great! No matter what your budget is or if you have no budget at all, and anything in between there is always a way to make it work!  And this is just for starters – truly there is so much more that you can find.  Be resourceful, be creative, be wise – And of course, let the Lord guide you in all thing, prayerfully, this is SUCH a blessing to families! ❤