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.”

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Review: HomeSchool Scholastics–WAY Comes Home (TOS Review) #hsreviews #WAYComesHome #HomeschoolNutrition #HomeschoolHealth

Way comes home review

We received the WAY Comes Home Kit from HomeSchool Scholastics, an i4 Learning Company to use for this review. 

WAY stands for Wellness, Academics and You and WAY Comes Homes is a family based health curriculum.  It is designed to work with a family of multiple ages (mainly K-5/6).  The kit includes all that you need for 3 kids, one in each grade level (K/1, 2/3 and 4/5/6).  These materials include:  Stock cards for activities, a journal for each level, DVD, teacher manual, 3 baskets, 2 foam balls, ink pad, glitter, balance scale, tape measure, plastic eggs, My Plate packet, stethoscope, and eye chart.


I have to be honest and say when the box first arrived, I was a bit overwhelmed.  Trying to figure out when do what with which items, was overwhelming.  However, the teacher book is laid out fairly well, and as soon as I sat down and took the time to actually READ over it, it became a lot easier.

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There is a module for each grade set, and then optional activities for the other grade sets.  We decided the easiest way to do it and cover all the material was to a module for each grade set on separate days, with the optional activities for the other grade sets along with it.  This is because I have 3 children in the age brackets, and they each fall into one of the grade sets. 

The modules are labeled ending in .1 for the Health Safari or K/1 grade, .2 for WAY Me Mysteries or 2/3 grade and .3 for Innerspace Adventures or 4/5/6 grade. 

So on Day 1 we did Activity 1.1, with the additional activities for WAY Me Mysteries and Innerspace Adventures.

Day 2 we did Activity 1.2 with the additional activities for Health Safari and Innerspace Adventures

Day 3 we did Activity 1.3 with the additional activities for Health Safari and WAY Me Mysteries.

The Day 4 would start Activity 2.1 and so on….

Hopefully that makes sense.  It really can be done any way you see fit for your family, but this seemed to work for us.


My younger kiddos preferred the DVD lesson and the hands on activities over any of the journal work.  My oldest didn’t care much for the journal lessons either, but I have all boys, and they don’t like to write!  EVER!   There are a lot of hands on activities though, and my almost 3 year old liked to join in as well.  So it was fun for the whole family!

I gained a lot of insight into my 10 year old through some rubrics he filled out in his journal, which was a great activity for me to see what he thinks about himself.

I know a lot of homeschoolers in the groups I am in that are always looking for health curriculums… this is a great one!  It requires little (if any) prep, it can be done as a family and there is something for everyone, on every level.

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The curriculum comes at a reasonable price too!  Currently it’s on sale for $39.95.  You can purchase additional workbooks, and card packs (if needed).

I feel this is a really well rounded health program, it talks about taking care of our selves, not only physically, but incorporates some mental health in there (particularly for the older kids). It incorporates other subjects as well, such as writing and PE. 

If you have a mixed age family and want a one size fits all health curriculum, this could be the one for you!

UPDATED 9/8: The cost has lowered to $29.95 (no coupon code required) and free shipping!!

Social Media Links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WAYComesHome
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WAYComesHome @WAYComesHome
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/i4learning/

WAY Comes Home Kit Review

Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Review: jollyliteracy.com–Can Do Cubes (TOS Review) #hsreviews #literacy #reading #phonics #interactivelearning

Can Do Cubes Review

My youngest two really enjoyed using Can Do Cubes by jollyliteracy.com (just2ducks LLC) for this review. 

If you read my Jolly Phonics review you probably saw that I mentioned the Can Do Cubes!   Here is the review I promised on those!

can do cubes_zpseesxem3sR3-2_zpseio8sycy

Can Do Cubes are wooden blocks, about 1 cubic inch in size.  The blocks have a different letter on each side.  They come in sets and are labeled with small numbers as well.

Cube 1 has letters s, a, t, i, p, n
Cube 2 has letters c, k, ck, e, h, r
Cube 3 has m, d, g, o, u, l
Cube 4 has f, b, ai, j, oa, ie


We only used the first 4 sets for this review.  There are 8 sets (27 blocks) in Stage One, and Stage Two includes 32 blocks, but the setup is different than Stage One. 

2016-07-25 10.42.12

We used the Can Do Cubes with Jolly Phonics.  I had my son sound out the letters for the words on the pages, he would slide the blocks closer together with each sound to visualize blending the sounds together.

The set comes with a booklet for each Stage of blocks, it also comes with an instruction DVD that shows you how to implement the blocks.  This was very helpful! There is a sound pronunciation guide in the booklet, and also on the DVD, a good tool to have!

Additionally, it comes with a CD with printable materials and a teacher’s guide. My youngest (almost 3 yo) has wanted to use the blocks every time she has seen my 5 yo use them!  The printable materials CD had some pages that were more her speed!  She was so happy to use them!

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The printable sheets we used had a picture of an object, and a square with a letter in it (the starting letter of the name of that object), they then matched the block with the square and said the letter name and sound, they would also say the name of the picture.  There is a space to write the letter as well (we aren’t there yet). 

These cubes are really great for hands on learning, especially for those kinesthetic/tactile learners!   They are recommended for use by the Dyslexia Action Institute. 

You could make games with them, roll some blocks and then see what words you could make!  You can say words, and have them find the letters to build the word. Use them for spelling tests or other activities in place of writing or in addition to writing… build it first, then write it!  They would work great with these Read, Write and Build Mats from Homeschool Creations.

I love that they also use letter combinations, not just individual letters.  This helps them learn the sounds that letters make when they are together!  It includes combinations like ck, or, ai, ie, nk, ng, th, qu, etc…

There is a sound pronunciation guide in the booklet, and also on the DVD, which is helpful! 

Your imagination is your only limitation for these blocks! 

These blocks are $95 plus tax (shipping is included).  They even have grammar cubes available (at the same cost). 

I would highly recommend them for the tactile learner in your family! 

Social Media Links:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/jollyliteracy
Twitter: www.twitter.com/jollyliteracy
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/jollyliteracy/

Can Do Cubes
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Field Trip #216 Friday Blog Hop–Sandy Point State Park, MD


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 did another Park Quest this week!  We actually hit up two parks Tuckahoe Stake Park and Sandy Point State Park

A photo posted by Jen (@cgroveacademy) on

A photo posted by Jen (@cgroveacademy) on

Tuckahoe was a pretty easy nature trail hike, about a mile.

Sandy Point we had to answer some trivia type questions and draw pictures and then we hung at the beach for a few hours!

These two have been friends since like 4 mos old when us moms met at a roller and crawlers playgroup! 
10 years later!


Monday, August 22, 2016

Review: jollyliteracy.com–Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar (TOS Review) #hsreviews #literacy #reading #phonics #interactivelearning

jollyliteracy review

For this review we used Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar by jollyliteracy.com and just2ducks LLC.

We received the following items:

  • 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 1 Student Book
  • Jolly Songs in print letters
  • We used mostly the Jolly Phonics Student Book 1, Jolly Songs, and the Jolly Phonics Teacher’s Book.  I used this program with my 5 year old/Kindergartener. 

    jolly songs_zpsiyibgm0b

    He really enjoyed the Phonics book, however, he found it difficult to print in lowercase letters, as his writing is not on par with those skills as of yet.  I would have liked to have seen the early books in capital letters, since those are easier letters to form.  Due to this issue, we did the program mostly verbally, using Can Do Cubes (review to follow).  The Jolly Songs were a fun little addition to help him remember the sounds the letters make.  All my children enjoyed listening to this CD in the car, and guessing which letters the songs went to.  Each Jolly Phonics page (in book 1) has a new letter sound, and review letter sounds.  It has a color picture and action to go with the letter sound to help remember it (this also corresponds with the song).  There are writing lines for the new letter and the review letters.  There are color pictures to pick the pictures that start with the sound of the letter, and there are 4 words that contain that letter sound.  The words have dots under each sound made by the letters, to guide in sounding out and blending the sounds.  By the end of the book your child is writing and recognizing words. 

    I have a hard time with phonics books that require writing to read, my boys have always been advanced readers but not as advanced in writing.  I have always improvised with programs, using stamps, magnets, etc… The Can Do Cubes were great in this aspect (more on them later).  I have found that capital letters were a lot easier for their early writing stages, but many early writing books start with lower case, as does this book.

    2016-07-25 10.42.12

    I do LOVE that they did not introduce the letters in ABC order, but in sound frequency order, so that they are learning to sound out words by the third page.  In that same concept, letter s is the first letter, and was a VERY frustrating one for him to write, my 7 year old still struggles with S, so that was hard from the beginning.

    JP teacher book_zpsudbawy13

    student books_zpsdnh5ko2x

    Jolly Phonics book 2 introduces capital letters, it is more word based, as opposed to just letter sounds and combinations. Book 3 introduces bigger words and more writing, including sentences.

    grammar 1 student_zpszwixdf1ngrammar 1 teacher book_zpsdavrvv0c

    Jolly Grammar book 1 introduces a lot more dictation, focusing on spelling, as well as grammatical concepts, such as nouns, verbs and adjectives. 

    All the books include color pictures, to keep your child’s attention.  There are multiple activities for each concept to include all types of learners. 

    I really wanted my 7 year old to try this books, but alas he is stubborn and was not interested (this is a constant struggle).  I will definitely try again, however. 

    All in all, as far as a reading/phonics program goes, I think this is a solid program.  The writing aspect will vary from child to child.  If you have a child that is able to write at the same time they are ready to start reading, this is a perfect match!  If you have kids like mine, who are ahead in one area, and not the other… it makes a program like this one difficult to implement exactly as it was designed. 

    The multi-sensory aspects of this program are definitely a strong point!  I love that there are hand motions, and songs for each letter/letter combo.  The writing (if your child is able) is also a great way to absorb it.  I love that they are ‘reading’ by the 2nd page, which really helps build a child’s self esteem and confidence, which in turn encourages them to continue with the program and keep learning/reading!

    Social Media Links:
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/jollyliteracy
    Twitter: www.twitter.com/jollyliteracy
    Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/jollyliteracy/

    Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar Review
    Crew Disclaimer

    Friday, August 19, 2016

    Field Trip #215 Friday Blog Hop–Philadelphia, PA


    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 went to Philadelphia, PA to attend the open house of the new LDS temple that was recently built.  For a short time after a temple is completed, before it is dedicated, it is open to the public for viewing.  It’s a great opportunity to learn about the LDS faith and why temples are significant to them. 

    If you are near Philadelphia, the open house goes through September 9th.

    You can see pictures of the inside HERE

    It was a really nice day (HOT, but nice).

    Thursday, August 18, 2016

    Review: Enlivenze LLC–FlipStir Puzzles (TOS Review) #hsreviews #shakestirsolve

    FlipStir Review

    For this review we got to check out the Tyrannosaurus Rex FlipSitr Puzzle from Enlivenze LLC

    2016-07-09 13.30.06

    FlipStir puzzles are unique in that they are in a container (reminiscent of an old fashioned straw holder).  There is a stick that goes down the center and is moveable… Using the stick you move the pieces to arrange them in order. This takes a little bit of skill, but is not difficult once you get the hang of it.  You can move the pieces by flipping them, moving them from one side to the other, moving them up or down, etc…

    2016-07-10 09.30.37

    This was only a Level 1 puzzle, and I have to admit it was a bit intimidating for me at first.  I found it very frustrating.  My husband knocked it out, quick and easy…. after watching him, I was able to accomplish the task, but none of my kids have had the patience to mess around with it long enough to solve it.  Level 2 is slightly more complex picture, and the edges of the pieces are wavy instead of flat, making it more challenging.

    Enlivenze LLC has several educational themed puzzles, however, and it would be a fun addition to any study that matches the themes.  Designs available include:  Solar System, Statue of Liberty, Rainbow colors and even the Periodic Table!  The Dinosaur specifically would be great for that budding paleontologist! 

    This would be a great gift for someone who likes puzzles or likes to tinker.  I think they would be a great thing to have in doctor’s waiting rooms, or to take on car rides, or into restaurants….a nice quiet activity that can keep a little one occupied.

    The puzzle is different each time, because the pieces get mixed up into a different order.  So there is always a challenge factor.  Simply shake it up well after you solve it!

    The puzzles cost $24.95 each.  You can purchase them online or at a select few retail locations.  They are recommended for ages 7+ and are made in the USA!  Because they come enclosed, there is no risk of lost pieces or need to replace batteries!  Always a bonus!  (How many puzzles end up with that one or more lost piece?? ).

    It’s great for improving on fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and spatial relations, as well as developing problem solving skills too!  This could be a great Occupational Therapy tool!

    Social Media Links:
    Product Accounts
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/flipstirpuzzle
    Twitter: www.twitter.com/flipstir
    Company Accounts
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/enlivenze
    Twitter: www.twitter.com/enlivenze

    FlipStir Puzzles Reviews

    Crew Disclaimer

    Sunday, August 14, 2016

    Book Review & #Giveaway: I Love You Just Because #FlyBy

    I Love You Giveaway


    Through adorable, cuddly art and fun rhyming text, I Love You Just Because will help little ones understand their parents' love for them and that it doesn't have to be earned. With playful artwork and the same friendly bear family you already know and love from Donna Keith's first two books—I Love You All the Same and I Love You Even When—the sweet story of this book will touch you and your family and will remind you that family members love each other...just because.

    Parents will gravitate toward the felt need and fun messaging of this book as it seeks to help them explain to their little ones that they are truly loved just because.

    My Thoughts:

    This is a super sweet and adorable book fit for the little one in your life!  It’s a board book, so great for younger hands. It’s filled with Bible versus and beautiful illustrations!  It teaches virtues and values to even the littlest tots, in a way they can understand, through life experiences they can relate too!



    Facebook @DonnaKeithAuthor

    Facebook @TommyNelsonBooks

    Twitter @TommyNelson

    Instagram  @TommyNelsonBooks

    Pinterest Tommy-Nelson-Books

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Saturday, August 13, 2016

    Field Trip #214 Friday Blog Hop–Better Late Than Never! OOps!


    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!

    So, as I went to bed last night I realized….ooops!  I never posted FTF this week!  I’ve been so busy getting ready for the new school year coming up, and had no reviews due this week… that it absolutely slipped my mind! 

    So here ya go!

    On Thursday this past week we went to the local fair, it was $1 rides day.  The kids used their own money to ride rides and get ice cream!

    We have been at the fair off and on all week with different 4H events at the fair.  It started with Junior Showmanship, then Robotics, Small Pet Exhibit and today is Rockets!

    2016-08-10 17.26.502016-08-11 08.33.12-1

    We also had Cub Scout camp, and library classes galore!

    2016-08-04 17.50.482016-08-08 15.07.59

    It’s been a fun week and quite the learning experience (as far as fair goes)!

    You can see a variety of pictures on my Instagram (which recently started posted to my Facebook as well).  There is a great video of Z (my 7 year old) on the Ferris Wheel.  It’s hilarious!  Particularly because he is the one that usually LOVES the rides, while C (my 10 yo) does NOT! 

    A photo posted by Jen (@cgroveacademy) on

    Thursday, August 4, 2016

    Field Trip #213 Friday Blog Hop–ParkQuest


    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 are doing ParkQuest again this year,  For this trip we went with some friends to

    Patapsco Valley State Park Quest - Hilton Area


    Wednesday, August 3, 2016

    REVIEW: Talking Fingers, Talking Shapes: A Supplemental Curriculum for Early Literacy (TOS Review) #hsreviews #talkingfingers #phonics #lettershapes

    Talking Fingers Review

    For this review we used Talking Shapes: A Supplemental Curriculum for Early Literacy by Talking Fingers, Inc

    Previously we had reviewed the iPad app version of this program, however, this program was for our PC. 

    My 5 year old used this program.  He enjoyed it a lot.  He worked on it in sections, to fit his attention span, during the review period. 

    The program is story based, and introduces letters and sounds in relation to objects to help remember their shapes and sounds, and help learn to write them.  It was designed to work with touchscreens, unfortunately the writing portion did not work with our touch screen.  I notified them of this problem, and they are working on it. He was able to use the mouse, but, it was difficult for him to draw the letters with it, and ended up really just scrolling over the letters several times until it drew itself.  So because of this the writing portion of the lesson wasn’t very beneficial.

    There were games and activities after each story where they would build words with the letters.  I really feel like this program has helped him learn to put sounds together and give him a stronger understanding of this concept.  He knew most letter sounds before starting, but wasn’t really putting them together or doing much for reading in regards to CVC words.


    In the beginning he would ask for my help quite often, but towards the end of the review he was doing it all on his own!  WIN!

    I wish they used a different object for T then tree, b/c although it does start with T, it doesn’t have a strong T sound (I made this comment on the last review too).  Otherwise, the objects used to go with the letters, were quite fun and creative. 

    This program was very similar to the app we reviewed previously, however it has been built upon.  It takes it quite a bit further (if I’m remembering correctly).  After completion of each level, the next book is unlocked and becomes accessible to the student.

    2016-08-02 (6) 

    The story is based on two girls (Pat and Nat) who invented the written alphabet based off of stories they have told and wanted to write down and preserve.  The place is held where you leave off, so there is not need to complete an entire story or lesson in one sitting. 

    The stories focus on the introduction of rhyming words.  So the first book is words like Cat, Fat, Hat, Sat, etc..  The 2nd book is Hen, Pen, etc.. The 3rd book is Pig, Wig, Jig, etc.  The 4th book is Fox, Sox, Box and so on 

    My 5 year old enjoyed doing the app, sometimes he did quite a bit, other times not so much, but he never complained when I reminded him to do it.  It was hard for us that it could only be used on the desktop/laptop though.  We have 3 kids that have computer work, and juggling the computer time can be difficult, it’s nice when we can use the iPad to spread it out. 

    This is NOT a full curriculum and is designed to be a supplement.  It’s not designed to do one book/lesson all at once, but to be spread out over time.  I think this is a really fun way to supplement for early learners.  It would be perfect for PreK-1st grader range. 

    Social Media Links:
    Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TalkingFingers/
    YouTube:   https://www.youtube.com/user/talkingfingersvideo
    Twitter:  https://twitter.com/ReadWriteType/with_replies

    Talking Shapes {Talking Fingers Inc. Review}

    Crew Disclaimer


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