Creating Art with Kids {Homeschool Review Crew}

Creating Art with Kids

Homeschool Review Crew

As a mom of 10 kids age 12 down to under a year I have a hard time getting crafts and art into our homeschool day.  After all, creating art with kids is messy and takes forever.  Or at least that’s what I used to think.  Join us in learning about Creating a Masterpiece online art lessons that we’ve been reviewing thanks to the Homeschool Review Crew.  We received the Monthly Plan which gives us access to all the levels and all the lessons.


Creating a Masterpiece

Working on creating art with kids has been my goal for the past month.  I personally have not done so well.  I’m not artistic at all.  Really.  Truthfully.  So when people talk about how some of my kids don’t draw at grade level I shrug it off because I certainly don’t either!  Stick people.  I can do stick people!!


Right now we’re still working through all the lessons involving oil pastels.  I wanted to work on one type of drawing at a time so that it was easier to manage the art supplies.  I love the oil pastels that I got off Amazon.  It’s a HUGE classroom size box and really perfect for my needs as a homeschool mama.  Oh and guys that’s not an affiliate.  I can’t do affiliates with Amazon due to the state I live in so you’re just getting a tip of advice there.  :)  


Creating Art with Kids


When I knew we were going to be incorporating more creating art with kids in our homeschool through this review I also knew we’d need paper.  Again Amazon to the rescue!  I bought this ream of drawing paper and we’ve definitely been using a lot of it.  I know there are actual art stores out there, but when you live out in the middle of nowhere Amazon Prime is your friend(or is that just me?)!

Our Thoughts

My kids have LOVED using this art curriculum.  I’ve tried a few of the lessons as well and it really is easy to understand and do.  However, I have no artistic talent so I’m not sharing my masterpieces here.  

As the oldest child keeps telling me, “Mom art is communicating just different than writing.”.  And she’s right of course.  Kids who can’t express themselves always through writing can do so in words.  Those who have no artistic talent for drawing(like me) are creative in other outlets.  I love to knit and crochet and sew, etc.  I do have to say that this program is amazing and I’ve even impressed myself with the fact that I did a nice picture.


Creating Art with Kids


My fridge is always full now of gorgeous art pieces and my computer is almost always going with some art lesson or another.  Different kids have lists of which projects they’d like to do next so I have a nice list of all the other art supplies I need to be purchasing.

About the Curriculum

Creating a Masterpiece is online through video instruction.  The goal of the creator, Sharon Hofer, was to guide students in creating excellent artwork on par with kids who were in a fine art school that they would be proud and willing to display.  This program contains step by step instruction to create high quality artwork in the comfort of your own home at your own pace.

There are 15 different types of art or media to choose from.  They include:

  • acrylic painting
  • soft pastels
  • oil pastels(our main focus)
  • sculpture
  • watercolor(our secondary focus)
  • block printing
  • ink
  • silk dying
  • pencil
  • bombay ink
  • colored pencil
  • charcoal
  • glass mosaic
  • gouache
  • balsa carving

With this many areas to choose from there is bound to be something that will interest them.


creating art with kids


Within the art program there are also levels from Beginner, Level 1-5.  There are so many art projects as well.  You’re not going to get bored creating art with kids with this program!

Learn More

If you’d like to learn more about creating art with kids and Creating a Masterpiece please go to the Main Blog Post over on the homeschool review crew blog.  All the crew review posts will be linked up.  Since we all had free reign over what we decided to create you’re going to see a great variety!  Enjoy! 


Creating a Masterpiece

You can also find more about Creating a Masterpiece and their monthly plan subscription by checking them out on facebook as well as their website.



Homeschool Crew Review Disclaimer

Elementary German {Homeschool Review Crew}

Elementary German

Homeschool Review Crew

One of the many many languages I have always wanted to learn is German.  I want my kids to learn several languages as well.  Recently through the Homeschool Review Crew we got access to an elementary German course from Middlebury Interactive Languages.  Their German Courses are available for grades 3-12.  We received online access to their Elementary German program for grades 3-5.  


Spanish, French, German or Chinese {Middlebury Interactive Languages}

While this course is for Grades 3-5, I find that my younger children can also learn from it.  We love to listen and practice this together as a family during our homeschool mornings.  Even my three year old is picking up short phrases and words.  It’s so fun to see the kids interacting and using German words during our days!

The program itself is fun and engaging.  It uses fun stories and videos to teach language.  It’s a bit of immersion since they tell a story fully in German to start the lessons.  But the stories are ones that everyone will know so you can get the gist and make your own inference as to what the words mean.

My thoughts

I love that at the beginning of the course you have access to a list of all the stories that are going to be used.  This list allowed me time to make sure that I had the English versions in our house.  I’m a bit of a nerd and love to add more literature into our homeschool day so I made sure that we were reading the same books in English and in German at the same time.   Fun for me and the kids!  

Also, when you go back to the section mentioned above, you can click on a button that allows you to see all of the German phrases they’ll show on the screens and the English next to it.  I LOVE this!!!  It’s printed and in a binder for my use with the kids.  This way I can write some of our phrases on a blackboard or whiteboard throughout the house for practice away from the computer.


Elementary German (Homeschool Review Crew)


Another fun feature I took advantage of was the list of vocabulary for all 15 units at the beginning.  I printed those guys off too!  I have a chalkboard sticker on my refrigerator door.  Yeap vocabulary words in German get written on there!  It also let me plan ahead.  If I knew say we’d be learning fruit words one week I can make sure I have the fruit in question in my refrigerator so we can eat an apple while we learn the word for apple.  I’m fun like that!!

About the Program

Lesson 1 is all about family.  We learn the names for brother, sister, cousin, etc all while listening to the German version of Rumpelstiltskin.  It’s such a cute and fun way to learn the words!  Be prepared for your kids to run around calling each other brother and sister in German.  It’ll happen.  Ask me how I know.  

We’re working through the program doing one unit per week currently.  Though there have been a few weeks we did two units because my kids really got the words learned quickly.  It’s self paced though.  All the lessons are available when you’re ready for them and you can go back and do them again if you need to.

I highly recommend using Middlebury Interactive Languages Elementary German program.  Again, while it says grades 3-4 I personally am using it with some kids who are in Kindergarten, first, and second as well as a few preschoolers in addition to those grades and they are doing really well learning the words.

Learn More

If you’d like to see more about the other languages that are offered from Middlebury Interactive Languages make sure to check out the Main Post on the Homeschool Review Crew blog.  You’ll also find other levels of German and more reviews about Elementary German as well.  Middlebury Interactive Languages can also be found on social media through their Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  



Homeschool Crew Review Disclaimer

Printable Homeschool Worksheets {Crew Review}

Printable Homeschool Worksheets

Homeschool Crew Review

Join me in exploring a new to us site!  I’ve been enjoying our last days before we hit our more structured school time with some printable homeschool worksheets and videos over on!  We received the Help Teaching Pro Subscription to review as a member of the Homeschool Review Crew.


Printable Homeschool Worksheets {Crew Review}


We received a one year subscription to the online Help Teaching Pro Subscription from for the purposes of this review.  On this site you find worksheets and helpful teaching videos focused on math, English language arts, and science.  You can also make your own worksheets and tests through the site.

For this review we’re focusing on the younger grades(elementary) which works wonderfully for me as that’s all I currently have!  My oldest is only in fifth grade this year so we didn’t use anything about the sixth grade level on the site.  Each course is listed with a corresponding grade level so it’s easy to see what might fit for your student. The site does provide lessons/worksheets/etc for grades kindergarten through 12th though so if you have older children this will still work for you.


Primarily, we have been using the science section.  There are some great resources hidden in there.  When you login and head to lessons you’ll find a key to guide you to where the lesson is and what company has compiled it.  That’s the fun thing with this printable homeschool worksheets site.  They give you access to specific lessons that you can only access through their site plus lessons from other places like Khan Academy and YouTube.  We steered clear of anything YouTube just because you never know what those will lead to.

We started out doing six lessons in Biology.  These are between 15-30 minutes long for the lesson portion plus however long is needed to answer the worksheet questions.  There are also tests available to go with the lessons.  These particular Biology lessons are listed as third grade but my older children were able to do them as well as we had not studied these subjects yet.

We did not do a lot of the tests as I’m not a huge testing person.  The tests that we did do I approached more as a “review” than a test.  I have a few children who will get very anxious when they know it’s a test and then you have no idea what they really are remembering.  They can’t focus and take the test as a test.  Thus, why we do a lot of reviews around here.  Another great thing we use is having them teach the lesson to a younger sibling.  You will find now that even my three and five year olds have a passable knowledge of what we studied simply by being taught from the older siblings.

We explored Earth Science as well as that is what we are studying this school year along with Astronomy.  I’m looking forward to adding these in as we go along to supplement what our current curriculum is teaching.


Help Teaching Pro Subscription {}
We explored the math section a bit as well.  This I used more with my younger ones.  The ages for these are three, five, and six.  Grade wise I’d say we’ve got two preschoolers and an advanced kindergartner.  

In exploring the math section it is set up like the science in that you’re being told what grade the lesson will correspond with.  Again, there is a video to watch and then questions to answer.  For these children a lot of the questions I was asking them instead of them reading them.  

There are fewer lessons in the math section.  We exhausted the kindergarten level ones though we could watch them several more times without my kids complaining.  They really enjoyed being able to do “big kid school” and I love that I can give them review worksheets using the printable homeschool worksheets that go with the lessons.

Learn More

Interested in learning more about these printable homeschool worksheets and  Simply head to the Main Blog and check out all the reviews or find them on facebook, twitter, and pinterest


Homeschool Crew Review Disclaimer

Homeschool Supplements {TOS Crew Review}

Homeschool Supplements

TOS Crew Review

As part of the TOS Crew we get an opportunity to review lots of products.  Recently as I was thinking of what homeschool supplements I was going to need to purchase this year a new review through came through.  We received an annual subscription(so a year subscription) to the CHSH Download Club.


Christian HomeSchool Hub {Download Club}

As evidenced by it being a download club, these homeschool supplements are downloadable and entirely online.  It’s really simple to use.  You go to their website, log in, and browse.  Find something you like and you can just download and print it off.  Easy as can be.  

I was pleasantly surprised with the vast amount of downloads that had available for us.  There is a vast array of different subjects and subject matter that can be used.  If a homeschool parent wanted to create unit studies using the resources on CHSH Download Club, they could!

My favorite discovery when browsing through all the downloads was that they have the McGuffey readers on there!  I love these readers and have the complete set on my school set of bookshelves.  In my mind these are still a great resource for us to use when teaching our children to read.  If you don’t own a set the option to download them through here is wonderful.


Homeschool Supplements {TOS Crew Review}


Back to the homeschool supplements.  My favorite section to use and print off for my children now is the holiday studies.  Through the summer and fall we aren’t hard-core into school due to the weather being nice and living on a farm.  We’re still doing school, don’t get me wrong, but we’re not in our books all day everyday.

Holiday studies are a great way to be learning in addition to your regular studies and covering fun things.  We could go outside to do these or take them with us when we walked out to find the horses.  A great spot for schooling is a small area we have set up in our wooded bluff area.  We have benches to sit on and it has a natural cathedral type effect to it.  So peaceful.  Well, peaceful when there aren’t ten kids there maybe.  

The other section that we have used the most during our review period is the Bible section.  I’m loving using their Bible memorization sheets with my kids.  I want them to have a large memory bank of verses when they leave my house and this gives me a great place to start.  Right now we’re working through the A-Z memory verse cards though I’m looking forward to using their Bible copywork pages for the holidays they correspond with too.

I’ve discussed the homeschool supplements that I’ve used and found on the CHSH site.  What I haven’t mentioned is that this is more than just a spot where you can go to find curriculum.  It’s also a community where you can add curriculum or worksheets you have created as well.  You can find help and support through this site in addition to the homeschool supplements.  There is a forum available to chat with other homeschool parents who utilize the site as well where you can find friendship and moms in your situation can offer helpful hints and tips.

Personally, I have not had a lot of time to chat with others in the forum, but I have browsed some of the topics for special needs homeschooling and found them helpful.  The forum has lots of different topics or threads that you can browse such as groups by student grade/age or laws that homeschoolers should be aware of.  There is also a section for unlimited downloads which is where you can find the resources that other homeschool moms have decided to share.

If you’d like to learn more about and the homeschool supplements they offer make sure to head over to the Main TOS Crew blog and look at all the other reviews.  You can also find them on their facebook page or group, twitter, pinterest, google + group and page, Linked-In, and Tumblr.  

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Increased Reading Comprehension {TOS Crew Review}

My kids love to read.  Some take longer to learn to read than others, but they all have loved to read or be read to from the start.  One thing I’ve been working with them is on having increased reading comprehension.  I want them to understand what they’re reading and retain it instead of just reading.  Recently I was aided in this goal with two of my girls through the TOS Crew.  We got to review Reading Kingdom Online.  This is a program online from Reading Kingdom.  

The Reading Kingdom Online teaches six areas to children ages 4-10.  These areas they work on are sequencing, writing, meaning, grammar, sounds, and comprehension.  My girls could already read.  They already had sounds mastered.  They pretty much knew grammar.  It was increased reading comprehension that I really wanted them to work on.

Reading Kingdom Review
We worked on this through using Reading Kingdom Online three days a week.  Each girl used it on separate days since we only have one computer that the kids can use.  Both girls are at the same academic level though one is 10 and one is 9.  They both read at a 2nd to lower 3rd grade level.  We’ve battled learning delays and slow progress over the years but I’ve always been encouraged that they have made some progress!  

I didn’t expect to see their reading comprehension increased by 200% in the time we’ve used this program.  That would have been unrealistic for my girls.  However, I am very pleasantly surprised with the amount of progress they have made.  

Reading Kingdom Review
Because this program is online it can be geared towards your child. It’s interactive.  The first thing you’ll do is have your child take a placement test.  This will determine where they are academically and what areas they have weaknesses and strengths in.  My girls were placed just a smidge lower than I would have thought they were.  I think some of that is due to the whole being on a computer thing.  My girls are not good with computers.  Like I stated above we only have one computer that the kids can use and they don’t use it very often.  A touch screen device would inevitably be easier for them to use these programs on, but the Kindle we were gifted is for reading only.


increased reading comprehension


After the placement test your child can begin to learn, grow, and play.  Really this is  learning program, but it acts like a game.  They’re going to think they’re playing at computer games really.  My kids think learning is fun, but can get frustrated at times when they can’t seem to grasp a concept.  This program doesn’t make them feel like they’re failing to grasp something and doesn’t seem like it’s repeating itself even if they ARE repeating the same concept several times.  I think it has worked very well for my girls and they have enjoyed using it.

If you look at the program it will tell you it’s for preschool through third grade with ESL and remedial available.  It also has a program available just for children on the autism spectrum.  I think this is a reading program that many can use and enjoy and it gets our approval!

Want to learn more about the Reading Kingdom Online program?  Or maybe the other program for kids on the autistic spectrum that Reading Kingdom Online has to offer?  Check out the Main TOS Crew Blog for the other Crew reviews.  You’ll get more of a feel for the program with all of our opinions!  You can also visit Reading Kingdom Online on facebook, twitter, and pinterest.  


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Learn a Foreign Language Online {TOS Crew Review}

Have you or your child ever wanted to learn a foreign language?  Now you can learn a foreign language online with Middlebury Interactive Languages.   We recently got to review Elementary German 1: Grades 3-5 through their online program and the TOS Crew.    

 Middlebury Interactive Languages Review
Why German?  German is a language I’ve always wanted to learn and one that we do hear spoken around us occasionally.  I took one semester of it in college and loved it.  I knew then that I was going to want my kids to learn German as well as expand my knowledge.  But, when you live in the country near a small town, there aren’t many language instructors available.

I was thrilled when I learned that you could actually learn a foreign language online.  But then there were all the different courses!  And they of course all had varying costs and reasons that they were the best.  I was so relieved when we got offered this review so that I could stop researching them all!

The course we received is the first semester of the year one German.  You can take Elementary German I and II(so a full year), Middle School German I and II, and High School German I and II.  So all in all they offer three years worth of the German language.  Each course is paid for separately, but that’s a lot of foreign language!


 Middlebury Interactive Languages Review
This is an immersion based program.  Middlebury Interactive Languages is different than other immersion based programs in that they bring world culture into their lessons.  So really you’re not just learning a language, you’re learning about a people and a culture as well.  You’re going to get experience and reinforcement in learning how to listen, read, speak, and write the language as well as the cultural enhancement.  It’s really a well rounded program.

We used this program three days a week.  There are 45 lessons.  I would have loved for us to be able to use it more, but it just didn’t fit into our schedule.  When you use this way to learn a foreign language online, you’re not just watching videos.  You’re getting much more.  You’re watching videos, being exposed to the written German, hearing it, and seeing images.  It helps to make sure all the senses are engaged and ensures more children learn!  We were right on with using this three days a week as the suggestion for grades 3-5 is 2-3 lessons a week.  So doing three lessons a week with 45 lessons it will take us 15 weeks to finish one semester of German!


 Middlebury Interactive Languages Review
I have to say that I may have loved this program just as much as my kids and I could easily see us continuing with the German course.  I learned some new things and would love to take some other languages myself!  My kids are also really excited by it!  They for one really love being able to use mommy’s computer as it’s not something they do everyday.  They also like knowing that they’re learning a new language.  While learning this language they can pick up bits and pieces of other conversations!  They also think they have a secret language that they can talk to each other in.  I hated to burst their little imagination bubble and tell them that there is a whole country that speaks their secret language!  They were shocked to say the least.  

Oh and hey mom this is for you.  You don’t have to grade their work!  The computer does that!  Your child will love this.  Well at least mine have!  The student using this is in 4th grade.  Really all of my kids were crowding around to listen and learn.  But only one got to control the keyboard!

Make sure you check out all the other Crew Reviews on the Main TOS Blog Page.  We got to choose a language and a level so there is going to be some variety available to help you choose which language and level is right for you.  Also check out Middlebury Interactive Languages on twitter, instagram, facebook, pinterest, and google +.



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Mayan Mysteries {TOS Crew Review}

I don’t often let my children play games on the computer.  They never do so on my phone.  But recently we were allowed to review Mayan Mysteries from Dig-It! Games with the TOS Crew.  This is definitely an exception for me and a learning game which puts it more in the school category!

Dig-It! Games has created online games and apps to help your children learn.  Their main course is history with a side of puzzle solving, math, geography, and adventure!!  These games will keep your children entertained while also working their minds and broadening their horizon of learning.  Right now they have several free apps that you can download!


Dig It! Games Review

The online version of the games can be purchased for a single user or an entire classroom.  We were given the single user version of Mayan Mysteries to review.  My son who is 8 has enjoyed doing the game himself as well as with his daddy.  I’ve never been big on computer games myself but loved watching him learn!  In fact, we have had to have the whole family research and learn more about some of the artifacts and sites of the Mayan people he has learned as well as more about the Mayans themselves. 

Mayan Mysteries will introduce you to seven different unique Mayan sites.  While looking at these places you’ll face 25+ challenging puzzles that will stretch your mind and improve your problem solving skills.  With this online game you get 9+ hours of unique game play.  Depending on the age of your child they may have more play time as well as it takes them longer to solve the puzzles.  The game has wonderful graphics as well as great music that does not detract from the game.


Dig It! Games Review

This particular game is designed for grades 5-9.  My son who is 8 is doing fourth grade work.  He required minimal assistance with this game.  Mainly, he worked on the game himself but often called his daddy over to work with him so he could show him how the game worked and what he was working.

A quick overview of the game simply put is that you are to discover who is looting artifacts from the ancient Mayan culture and put a stop to them.  You work alongside a team of others known as Team Q.  It’s a great educational game!

You can also download and print off lesson plans to go with the game.  Because I wanted to use this with all of my children in a way(not actually doing the game but learning none the less) I did create my own set of lesson plans to incorporate the knowledge from the game.  However, my son using the game used the lesson plans.  They are well written and do help cement the learning as well as allow your child to dig deeper and explore more.


Dig It! Games Review

To make more of the game and to improve the minds of all of my children, we began small unit studies on each of the artifacts and Mayan sites that were visited in the game.  We also researched the Mayan people and how we came to find them in the new world to correlate them into our history time table.  

To help build excitement and a sense of accomplishment before mastering the entire game, achievements are awarded along the way.  It’s always fun to see how you’ve progressed and what you have left to win over!  


Dig It! Games Review

I love that in their description of this game they tell you that it is for history, geography, social studies, math, language arts, and critical thinking!  Oh and to help enrich their reading and vocabulary!  So many things being done with just a game!  Great reminder that nothing is just a game or just a book when you homeschool!

Within the game is an encyclopedia with a score of knowledge that your child can call on to help them solve the mysteries.  If your child is anything like my son, they’ll love the independence that being able to use and look things up in their own little encyclopedia can create.


Dig It! Games Review

If you’d like to learn more about Mayan Mysteries or Dig-It! Games please read the other reviews of Crew members over on the TOS Blog Main Page.  Also feel free to check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!  Members of the TOS Crew were allowed to choose between reviewing Mayan Mysteries and Roman Town!  My son now wants to play all the other games that Dig-It! Games has to offer.  They really are a great learning resource.  I hope you’ll check them out.


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World History: Renaissance and Reformation {TOS Crew Review}

I’ve mentioned before that I love history.  It’s a passion for me.  I want to instill that love of history into my children as well.  Because of this I was pleased that we were going to review Project Passport World History Study: Renaissance and Reformation (1100 AD-1660 AD) from Home school in the Woods.


World History Renaissance and Reformation


We were given a choice of three time eras but I really wanted to focus on the Renaissance and Reformation this time.  The other two time frames were Ancient Egypt and The Middle Ages.  We were tempted by Ancient Egypt but the world history we’d been studying lately led us right into the Renaissance and Reformation and I felt it would be the easiest and best transition.

The world history studies from Home school in the Woods that we were sent to review came in download form.  They are also available in CD form to purchase on the website.  We received the download.  This world history course is geared for grades 3-8 though as I did you can use it for younger grades with some tweaking.  All of my children used it together so we had preK through 4th grade learning their world history together!  Always fun to do a study together as a family.

Some of the events that we’re studying about in our world history with the Renaissance and Reformation are Everyday Life, Art and Music, Inventions, Exploration, Martin Luther, and the Counter Reformation.  There are 25 stops along the way and you’ll meet fun people like Martin Luther!

This world history course is very unique and unlike any I’ve used prior.  It’s such fun!  It’s no wonder that my kids adore this program!  They get to go on an exploration of a different culture and time.  Basically they are travelling through the world history using their PASSPORTS to make stops and have a little tour around.  

Now because they are doing stops and having fun there is some prep work for mom or whoever is teaching.  You have to print off and then set up their stop for the day.   You can prep as many or as few stops as you would like at a time.  I’m one of those that likes to print off everything at once, separate it, and then go back each week and finalize what is needed.  

Home School in the Woods Review
The directions of what you as the parent need to do and what happens at each stop are very clear and easy to follow.  It’s all set up for you on the paper you just have to implement and do it!  I’m a very non crafty type person but even I found this easy to do.  Seriously.  I’m not crafty at all.  I’m an awesome baker but a horrible gluer!  

The good news about all the craftsy stuff is that your kids can do it and you can help them.  You will want a basket for this study that has all the necessary supplies like glue, scissors, scrap paper, construction paper, colored pencils, crayons, etc.  Also make sure you plan accordingly, there will be a lot of printing for this course unless you have it all printed from the CD somewhere other than your home.  I had the download and have printed it all at home.  Like I said I printed out everything at the beginning, then I put it in a binder.  As I needed it going along I could pull them from the binder, copy what was needed, and then we were ready to go!  I’m horrible at finding the right spot when needed so this really helped me to be able to mark where we were.



Home School in the Woods Review


Let’s talk time really quickly.  We have been spending about two weeks on each of our stops.  I find that it goes faster and smoother for us if I add some supplemental books for my younger ages.  I’d go to the library at the end of the week prior to a new tour stop and find 4-5 books that were related to the topic so that my younger children would have something we could read to help them understand.  

My youngest at two would listen to the supplemental books being read and do the coloring, that’s about it.  I didn’t expect her to understand or even really listen to what we were doing but she is all about doing what the big kids do.  

The next age using this in our family goes to my 4 and 5 year olds(well she turned 5 while we were doing this).  They again listened to the supplemental books and did the crafts with us but they also did some of the activities with us too.  They could comprehend and tell me about what we were studying but not do all of the activities or really understand the older aged reading in the course.

Going on up in the kids we hit my two 7 year olds.  These two are boys and they are 1st grade level.  They’re some smart little and really picked up on  quite a bit of the study.  They along with my 8 and 10-year-old girls who struggle(they’re both doing 2nd grade work) were able to do everything except where there was a lot of writing involved.  I was already doing the reading out loud or having one of my older kiddos read it so they didn’t have to do a great deal of reading.  When there was writing involved I just had them verbalize to me what was going on and what they would have been writing.

The last two children who were using this world history curriculum from Home School in the Woods on the Renaissance and Reformation are my kiddos in 4th grade.  They are ages 8 and 10 and it really fit them well.  They were able to do all of the stops and work on their own with minimal help from me.  There were of course some words and concepts that we spent time discussing because they were unfamiliar with them but all in all they did really well working through this.  

I can say after using this with so many age groups that it is geared towards the older middle school type grades but it also can be modified and used with other ages.  If you’re not interested in modifying you will not want to use it with anyone out of the recommended age range.  

If you’d like to learn more about Home School in the Woods or their online world history courses please visit their social medias of facebook, twitter, pinterest, and google +.  Also make sure to go over to the Main TOS Crew Blog Page as you’ll find the reviews from other TOS Crew members who were able to review their choice of the three time periods as well.


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Online Media Library for Homeschoolers {TOS Crew Review}

Have you got the summer blues?  Not sure what to do to help make your kids excited for school?  We get that way in the summer sometimes because it’s just too hot to do a lot of outside things.  But this summer is different!  We discovered an awesome online media library for homeschoolers!  As part of a recent Crew review we have a year subscription to SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers which is a part of Smartkidz Media.


online media library for homeschoolers


We don’t normally watch a lot of television in our house.  We don’t have cable or satellite or anything so our television is rarely on unless we’re watching a movie.  But this summer we’re hooking the computer to our television via a HDMI cable so that we can all watch the same video at the same time.  Most of the videos are short at only half an hour-long.  So I don’t need to worry about being in front of the television for hours and retaining nothing.

This online media library for homeschoolers is designed for your children over the age of 13 to use independently.  None of my children are at this age yet so of course we’re watching as a family and I’m previewing what they’re watching.  With kids from the ages of 2 up to 10 I still feel it’s very important for me to know exactly what they’re viewing.


Online Media Library for Homeschoolers


Some things that make this wonderful for us as a homeschooling family who is very careful at what we let our children watch.  We love that these are all child appropriate.  I haven’t watched every single video on the site(there are way too many) but they are purposely uploaded and made available for homeschool children and that says a lot to me.  I have not watched any yet that I would not want my children watching.

Let me take a moment to say that while we love this online media library for homeschoolers because of the educational videos it offers, it also offers so much more!  There are also interactive ebooks, study guides, games, music, and more!  Over the course of the summer they are expanding this by adding 100 more hours of video as well as more games, etc.  I don’t think we’ll get through the entire video library this summer or even in the entire year subscription we’ve been given!


online media library for homeschoolers


I do want to note that there is a special area of the online media library for homeschoolers for special needs learners.  We have explored this section somewhat but not as thoroughly as I want to.  I do have some special needs learners and I’m sure this will be a great resource for us.

The main area of the library we’ve been using so far this summer is the Documentaries and Cultures section.  We’ve been doing some geography and history learning about other cultures and where they live.  Most of these are cultures of ancient times.  There are three videos in the Ancient Cultures series.  Two are 25 minutes long while the third is only 10 minutes.  


online media library for homeschoolers


Did I mention that you don’t have to be using your laptop to access this wealth of videos?  You can use any device!  I’ve heard some good things about Roku and you can access your SmartKidz Media account through that as well as your TV, PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Tablet, or mobile phone.  So you can essentially take it with you where ever you go!

We are anxiously awaiting for the study guides on foreign language to be available!  They’re marked coming soon.  We can’t wait to try out the French.  There are study guides available covering other topics though and we are trying some of those out.  Right now we have access to Shakespeare’s Language Art Basics(love the tying in of Shakespeare and grammar), Newton’s Genius Math Basics(levels 1 and 2), Ben Franklin’s Social Studies Basics, and Einstein’s Genius Science Facts.  These are not your normal study guides though.  It’s not a pen and paper with black and white words type of boring mindless work.  These make learning fun by having fun covers and allowing you to choose which area you’re looking at.

The series we started after our cultures series is all about animals!  Over the summer we take a few trips to the zoo.  It’s always fun to research and learn all about an animal before we head to the zoo to see it.  And then while there we can choose a new animal to research and learn about!  There are lots of great animal related videos on here!  

You can find out what others thought of this wonderful online media library for homeschoolers by visiting the main TOS Crew Review page for other reviews.  We all received access to the same video library with our year-long subscriptions but of course we all have different interests.  You can also connect with SmartKidz Media through facebook and twitter


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Online Homeschool Math {TOS Crew Review}

I have to say my oldest son loves math.  He takes after me this way.  I always loved math and even went to State Math Contests!  He was beyond thrilled when we got to review an online homeschool math curriculum through CTCMath.  We received their 12 Month Family Plan which allows for up to 10 students to use it!  Only having 9 children and one not even doing anything with school yet this is an awesome thing for us!


Online Homeschool Math CTC Math


This program is great for homeschoolers as it covers Kindergarten through High School so you don’t have to find another program after one or two years.  There are over 1300 videos over the entire course of the years that can be watched and learned from.  Best of all is that your child is not locked down by a certain grade but can move around as they want to.  If they need easier they can go down a grade level or go up one if it’s too easy for them and not challenging them enough.

Because this is an internet online homeschool math you and your child can access this anywhere you can get an internet connection.  So you can easily use it on your home computer, laptop, tablet, smart phone or whatever other devices there are out there these days that I have no idea how to work!  I’m a bit behind the times.  


online homeschool math with CTCMath {TOS Crew Review}


Some fun points we love!  The instructor on the videos has a cute Australian accent.  If you’re Australian it’s nothing out of the ordinary but for my born and raised in the Midwest kids, this is something uncommon and holds their attention.  The videos are short and easy to understand.   The problems grade themselves as they’re being done so they don’t have to wait for you to grade them and you don’t have to grade them!  I love not having to grade things!  They do have worksheets you can print off to work on as well.  And the best part for me is that everything is recorded so at the end of a year all I’ll have to do is print off the record pages to show what they have done at what grade levels for that year.

If you want you can assign a grade level to your student.  I prefer to keep it open.  I have some children who have delays.  They learn slowly.  And on any given day they may not remember what they learned the day before or the week before, so they need the flexibility to go back a few lessons or a full grade if necessary to where they do feel confident.  All students should feel confident and smart in my opinion and this program allows for that.


online homeschool math 1


Another fun thing is that each child has their own login.  You may not find this fun, but trust me when you have a lot of kids they love knowing that they are the only ones that can get into their account.  Of course, they know that mommy knows all the passwords and can CHANGE them, but they’re okay with that.  I’m okay with the fact that they see this as fun play time and not do homework and math time.

Another customization with CTCMath is the fact that you can decide how often they let you know what your students are doing.  You can get a weekly report on each student.  This tells you what they’re doing, how well they’re doing, etc.  


online homeschool math with CTCMath


I love that the questions require your student to input their own answers.  No multiple choice here.  They have to do their own work.  Each of my kids has their own scratch paper notebook that they can work their problems in if they need to show some work.  I can look at these then if they’re not getting very many right in an area and do some problem solving.  If they just don’t get the concept, the videos can be watched again and again.  There is no limit to the number of times your student can redo a lesson.  This is another aspect that is wonderful for delayed or special needs learners.  It gives them a margin of error.

As the mom and the teacher I love that I have my login while the kids have their own.  I can go into my parent area and see what each of the kids has been doing.  I can get detailed views of the questions they’ve answered and what topics they struggle with.  I can then assign them to do more in that area.  I love the flexibility of being able to move them from one topic to another or one grade to another if necessary.  


online homeschool math with CTCMath


You can find out more about CTCMath by checking out their facebook page.  Also head on over to the Main TOS Review Crew page for all the other reviewers thoughts.  We all reviewed the same program though different grade levels!  Don’t forget to sign up for a free trial too!


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