Disclosure of Material Connection:

Some of the links on this blog are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and/or believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Field Trip #212 Friday Blog Hop–Six Flags, Maryland


Blog Hop designed to share 'FIELD TRIP' related Blog Posts(does not have to be a 'home school field trip', can be any trip to any place with your children!)

**NOTE:  Before linking up please review guidelines HERE!

we participated in the Six Flags reading program:  Read to Succeed and the kids and I all got FREE tickets!  My mom and brother came along with us (they bought tickets) and we had a great time! 

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Review: Star Toaster - Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree (TOS Review) #hsreviews #readingsupplement #readingapp #readinggame

Star Toaster Review

For this review we used the app Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree by Star Toaster on the iPad. 

This is our second review of a Star Toaster product.  This product was different, in that it is designed as an application for iPad and it was geared towards younger children (a lower reading level than the other product). 

I used this product with my 7 year old.  He loved it!  Unfortunately, he is not reading at the level this program required, so he was not able to use the product on his own.  (It would be great if the app read to you!).  His comprehension is on par, so I read the story to him and I read the questions and answer choices….he answered them.  If there was a vocal option, we would have loved this app even more!

Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree is a story about a flying squirrel named Abba.  The nearby town has been flooded when a dam broke and she is searching for her friends and family.

orphs sample_zpssicmp4ng

The story has highlighted words as you go along, which can be clicked on and that is where the lessons are given.  As you read through the chapters, you can perform jobs to earn items that are needed to take care of the orphans that Abba finds as she searches for her family and friends. 

2 Chapter 1 Orphs_zpsnyhvrjk1

We found it a tad distracting and that it broke up the story to click on each highlighted word, instead at the end of each chapter, we would click on the star at the bottom and then do the ‘training’ for the jobs before doing the jobs.  (If you clicked on the words during the story, the training would show as already completed, so either way works).

Orphs Job training_zpssaytevoj

The pictures for the training and jobs match, so you know which training to do before which jobs.  The jobs consist of multiple choice questions, and points are earned.  You need a certain number of points to earn each necessary item.  Pictured above you need 20 points to earn the water barrel.  Items vary, and so do required points.

Orphs job_zpsx6lumni5

These are the types of items you earn to take care of the orphs (orphans)

Orphs Goals 2_zpsfdsduzhaOrphs goals_zpsr28nclou

At the end of each chapter you click on the star at the bottom and you are taken to a Stumptown, you can tell if their are jobs available by the numbers above the houses.

Orphs Map_zpsvytirgyq

You do not need to complete jobs after each chapter, but my son liked to do it that way.  They just add up over time, some chapters end with more jobs than others. 

Some of the job trainings are audio/video based, but most are reading.  Again, an audio option would be awesome!  That’s the only thing missing from this!

The jobs cover a wide range of subjects, from science to language arts and more!

Work list Orph_zpsd6qojfnu

You can assign more than one user to the program too, which is great.  My 10 year old also has an account on the program, and while he found it interesting, I think he found it a bit simple for him.  He enjoyed the program we reviewed last time better, it was a higher level.

This type of program is perfect for my 7 year old, because he is one that digs his heels in when it comes to ‘school work’.  In this program he is learning and having fun and has no idea it’s ‘work’. 

The app is only $1.99, and is made for iPad or iPhone.  Parents are able to see their child’s work report too!  It’s designed for ages 9-11, but my 7 year old was able to do all of the jobs without a problem (minus the independent reading).  It’s a cute story and it’s filled with humor, which make it even more fun! 

We are huge fans of Star Toaster here!


Find them on Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/startoaster4kids
Twitter: https://twitter.com/StarToaster

Orphs of the Woodlands at Tanglegate Review

Crew Disclaimer

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Review and #Giveaway All Things Bright and Beautiful #AllThingsBrightAndBeautiful #FlyBy


All Things Bright and Beautiful by Cecil Frances Alexander is a beautifully illustrated children’s book with a wonder message.  A great reminder and teaching tool for small children of the wonderful things in this world that God created for us all!

About the book:

First published by Cecil Frances Alexander in 1848, this favorite hymn has become a mainstay of churches and Sunday school classes everywhere. Here artist Katy Hudson brings new joy to the words with her fresh and bright watercolor style. Readers can join in the fun as they follow two little girls and their brother on a day filled with the discovery of “all things bright and beautiful.”

About the artist:

Katy Hudson was raised in Middlesbrough, England, and started her career as a small child drawing on freshly painted walls. Her parents quickly encouraged drawing with pencil and paper instead. The idea stuck, and after earning a degree in illustration, Katy is now a freelance illustrator. Katy works at a desk in a studio within Old London Library and likes to tap dance in her spare time.


Jacketed hardcover

Page count: 32

Reading age: 4-7

Category: juvenile fiction/Christian

Retail price: $15.99, currently $13.59

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Field Trip #211 Friday Blog Hop


Blog Hop designed to share 'FIELD TRIP' related Blog Posts(does not have to be a 'home school field trip', can be any trip to any place with your children!)

**NOTE:  Before linking up please review guidelines HERE!

To end our Medieval studies we headed to Medieval Times.  We got a group discount.  It was the first time we have ever been, but we enjoyed it!

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Review: Heirloom Audio Productions, Beric The Briton (TOS Review) #hsreviews #HeirloomAudio #BericTheBriton #LiveTheAdventure #BringingHentyBack #AudioAdventures

Heirloom Audio Review

For this review we listened to Beric the Briton by Heirloom Audio Productions.  Like previous Heirloom products, this one did not disappoint!

My kids are huge fans of Heirloom Audio Productions.  We have previously enjoyed

The Dragon and The Raven

With Lee in Virginia 

(and we have purchased others, as well)

We also received the study guide and other extras with this review.

Heirloom Audio Productions are great for homeschooling on the go!  As homeschoolers, we are rarely home!  We listened to Beric The Briton in the car as we went from here to there.  The kids were always excited to pick up where they left off on the last trip. 

These are not ordinary audio books… they scenes are acted out, there are multiple characters… it’s like a movie (without the video images). 

All of these audio productions are Christian based, they are adapted from the famous historical fiction books of G.A. Henty. 

Beric the Briton is an Ancient Historical Fiction, which takes place during the Roman Invasion of Ancient Britannia.  Beric and his friend Bodouc are captured and trained as gladiators.  He also becomes a bit of a body guard to Emperor Nemo.  There are rumors of a Christus, so some history on Christianity is also given.  It features some of the earliest events and people recorded in British history, the spectacle of the gladiators, the burning of Rome, and illustrates why Nero was loved by some but despised by many. (Beric is a fictional character in this historical fiction story). 

Beric The Briton Cover Image_zpswtfjirrr

This story (and others from Heirloom Audio Productions) also teaches values and virtues!

I love how engaging they are for my children, they use actors from big name productions like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Dr. Who.  The acting is magnificent.  You are transported there, and my children are enthralled every second!  Most importantly they are learning while they listen and they are enjoying doing so!

We used Heirloom Audio Productions on our recent cross country road trip, my husband equally enjoys them!

The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty_zpsdsyd9xpx

This CD also includes The complete Beric The Briton eStudy Guide and Discussion Starter (50 pages worth), A beautiful, printable copy of the inspirational verse as quoted by Julius in Beric The Briton: “I will gladly die for him who died for me.”, The Official Beric The Briton Soundtrack MP3 download, Unlimited access to the Live The Adventure Letter E-Newsletter, G.A. Henty's original Beric The Briton E-Book with all new colorful graphics, A professionally designed, printable promotion poster (24” x 36”) featuring the star-studded cast of Beric The Briton and A brand behind-the-scenes documentary featuring the amazing cast, crew and actors of Beric The Briton if you purchase the family 4 pack (give some as gifts!) for $99.97.  A single copy can be purchased for $29.97, but only 3 of the freebies are included.  A downloadable version may also be purchased for $19.97, which includes two of the bonus materials.  You can find more details about Bonus materials and how to order HERE.

Heirloom Audio Productions are a great addition to your homeschool studies, or even a ‘just for fun’ in the car or at home!  We have loved every second of listening to them!  They have several titles available.

Find them online:

Beric The Briton FB Page
The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty series FB page
Heirloom Audio Productions social pages
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeirloomAudio
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeirloomStories
Google+: https://plus.google.com/b/114534826166314080647/114534826166314080647
Instagram: @HeirloomAudioOfficial

Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions  Review

Crew Disclaimer

Monday, July 18, 2016

Summer Reading Fun from @ParragonBooks

*Prices listed reflect price at time of posting, please double check prices before purchasing.


Finding Dory Sticker Scenes – Perfect for the younger Dory fan!  My 2.5 year old really enjoyed this sticker book (with a little help from me).  It also is a story book, so you can read the story and place the stickers! On sale now for $2.65!  It also comes with a free digital Disney storybook download!  In this book the stickers included (with the exception of a few) go on designated pages, to complete the pictures of the story.


Finding Dory:  There’s Always A Way – A story book/ coloring book with over 1000s stickers!  This also comes with a free digital Disney storybook.  On sale now for $10.75!  Many of the stickers are small squares, but there is also larger stickers as well.  In this book there are no designated pages for the stickers. 


Discovery Kids Shark Factivity Kit – this is our third Factivity book, and my kids love them!   This one comes with 6 shark teeth (fake) and a fact book with real life photos.  This was another favorite for my kids (5, 7 and 10). 


Discovery Kids Splash in the Ocean! with 10 Sound buttons!  This book was a favorite from my 2.5 year old as well as my 5 year old (though my older two also enjoyed it).  This is a board book, so perfect for younger children!  It’s on sale now for $8.98!


Count to 10 with a mouse sticker activity book, with a puzzle eraser mouse.  This is a great counting activity book for PreK and Kindergarten aged kids.  The mouse eraser is an fun bonus!  The book also introduces math and science concepts (measuring, senses, etc..).  On sale now for $4.75

Disclaimer:  I received these books free from Parragon Publishing in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to give an honest review, nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC Regulations.  This post contains affiliate links.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Field Trip #210 Friday Blog Hop–Calvert Cliffs


Blog Hop designed to share 'FIELD TRIP' related Blog Posts(does not have to be a 'home school field trip', can be any trip to any place with your children!)

**NOTE:  Before linking up please review guidelines HERE!

We got together with some old friends and went to Calvert Cliffs to look for Shark Teeth!  We found a few.  Hubby came along.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Review: ABeCeDarian Company: ABeCeDarian Interactive A Workbook (TOS Review) #hsreviews #reading #phonics #readingprogram

ABeCeDarian Company Review

For this review I used AbeCeDarian Interactive A Workbook from the ABeCeDarian Company with my 5 year old (kindergartener).  We used the program an average of 3 days a week, and used it mostly on the iPad (iPad 2 version, with Google Chrome).  We also received a digital version of the Teacher Manual to use with this program.

Overall this is a neat program.  It’s a bit confusing to get started at first, you definitely need the teacher manual, as it explains bit by bit how to work this program, including a dialogue to follow, and pictures of what the pages should look like.  Start with the teacher manual, or you will be completely lost as to what to do!  It is laid out very easily though in the manual!

The program itself is very slow to load initially.  Be patient.  I also had issues logging in, there is a CAPTCHA, those things can be such a challenge!  I’m not sure the purpose of it, there has to be an easier way! 

Each time you go to the page, it starts at the beginning, you click through the directions and then the table of contents page comes up and you click which lesson you want to go to (it would be really nice if it had a place holder instead!).

I discovered that the way the pages look in the manual are not the same as in the digital program.  If using a tablet browser, it’s best to have it in portrait position, and if you click on the lesson title in the bottom right corner you can scroll through the missing parts of the page (as it’s listed in the manual).  I did not discover this until much later, and honestly portrait position makes the letters appear a little squished, I preferred to use it in landscape with my son.  I was told they would be making a NEW manual specifically for this program soon.  After having these issues, I pulled it up on the laptop and feel that the viewing of it is much better there, but if you don’t have a touch screen, the writing portions could be difficult this way.

The writing portion of the program is a bit finicky, I was told they are working on this problem.  It’s not smooth to write, and if my child rested his hand at any point while writing, it would shoot a line across the screen.  It was a tad frustrating for him.  We did find using a stylus helped a lot with the writing portion.

You navigate from page to page by clicking the upper right corner, this also is a bit finicky but I discovered that it works best if you click precisely in the corner where the white screen meets the blue border. 

So, as you can see there a few ‘bugs’ with the program, but over all, I found the concept of the program easy to use, I really liked the pull down tiles for spelling words in each lesson, that was probably my son’s favorite part.

Here is a screen shot from one of our lessons

2016-06-13 14.08.21

I also found this great YouTube video from ABeCeDarian that really lays out how to use the program, I found it super helpful and wanted to share.

Part 1

Part 2

Overall I think there is some room for improvements in this program, I actually think it would work better as an actual app, as opposed to in the web browser, but I think the concept and lesson layouts are great. 

The subscription is $14.95 for a year and you can add additional years for $4.95 each year.   The teacher manual is $9.95 for a printed version, the digital version is available for free.  I read the manual from my iPad, while my child worked on another device. 

Find them on Facebook

ABeCeDarian Interactive Reviews

Crew Disclaimer

Monday, July 11, 2016

Review: ArtAchieve (TOS Review) #hsreviews #drawinglessonsforkids #ArtAchieve

art achieve review

For this review we used Entire Level 1 of ArtAchieve; an online art video based art curriculum.    I used this program with my 5, 7, and 9 year old; though my 7 year old mostly chose not to participate (he is my difficult one, if you have been here before you have heard of him in my reviews). 

ArtAchieve was very easy to use!  There were a few items that needed to be printed off for each lesson.  These included a warm up page and a copy of the project for that lesson (a reference to look at when drawing).  Most lessons had video or PDF option for instruction.  We used the video version, it was easy to pause the lesson when needed, or back it up to see something again. 

product image_zpsabnfluqg

Each lesson does call for specific art supplies, but they are typically common materials and can also be easily substituted, if needs be.  For best results, I recommend using the suggested materials, however. 

Our markers came up missing when we first began this review, and we used colored pencils instead, the results were not as bright and bold, but the kids still had fun drawing!

2016-06-02 16.50.51

All of my kids didn’t like the warm up exercise for the lessons, after a few lessons, we started to skip over this part, it was easy to do, and I don’t feel like we lost much from it.  I can see how it could be beneficial to some, but my kids didn’t care for it.  It really depends on  your child. 

art achieve review 2

My 7 year old is a perfectionist and the lessons really frustrated him.  I will say the instructor repeats several times that it doesn’t have to be perfect, you can always start over or draw it differently, but that didn’t help him.  The instructor also uses a black marker to draw, we opted to use pencil, so they could erase if there was something they ‘messed up’ on. This eased the stress of mistakes in my oldest, but didn’t help with my middle son.

My 5 year old really enjoyed the lessons as well, though he didn’t always participate, he occasionally asked to do lessons, and he was always so proud of his accomplishments!  He loved that they were animals that we drew (he is a huge animal lover). 

2016-06-02 16.28.142016-06-02 16.50.27

It’s also great that each project has a bit of a science and geography lesson to go with it! This program also made it a bit easier to squeeze art into our routine (if you are like me art is usually put off until last, and often dropped and forgot about ).  It was really easy to just pull up the video, grab the supplies and GO!

art achieve review 3

This program also really sparked an interest in drawing for my 9 year old, he realized that he could draw things by looking at them and has been drawing like crazy!  I love it!

There are a couple free lessons for each level available online, I highly suggest you check them out and see if this is something that would work for your child(ren).  You may purchase individual lessons for $4 ea or buy the entire level for $27.  Purchases expire after one year.

Social Media Links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Artachieve
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/artchieve  @artachieve
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/artachieve/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+artachieve
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/johnahofland/

Art Lessons for Children ArtAchieve Review
Crew Disclaimer


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