art, curriculum reviews, homeschooling

Master Kitz The Starry Night Review

With I can easily add homeschool art to our school schedule.  With Master Kitz The Starry Night even us less artistic can create a masterpiece!  Art and artists are a few of those subjects that totally intimidate me.  Here are a few reasons:

  1. I can’t draw so I don’t think I can help my kids with their   projects.
  2. Time always seems to slip away for “extras” like this.
  3. there’s a lot of prep, researching the artist and getting everything ready for a project, most of the time I forgot I needed supplies

Kidzaw kits fixed all of those problems for me!  We set aside a few minutes after lunch, I opened the box, read the information and instructions on the paper and started our project.  It was all right there, no prep!  It really was just that easy.

We recently watched an episode of Doctor Who about van Gogh.  We were fascinated by his life and his art.  We seem to talk about it a lot recently, so I was very excited to try this kit.

I loved the information that was on the sheet.  There were two different sections, one was in paragraph form with detailed information and one was in more of a timeline and included information about art styles.  I read over it myself and paraphrased for my younger children.  Many times when we read about von Gogh it focuses on his mental illness and says that he cut off his ear.  Here we learned about how von Gogh grew up, we learned about his parents and also about the locations he traveled and lived to pursue his art.  We learned that at one point he lived in a community for artists, it was here that he got in an argument with another artist, Paul Gauguin. Guaguin left this community and this is when von Gogh cut off his ear.  It was from this time forward that plummeted him into a depression that he would not recover from.  This was great information that lead us on a search for more history.  I was very glad to not only have this project to do, but to learn so much about the artist.

The kit contained everything we needed to create two projects.  We now have the rollers and stencils to make more another time.  We still have a little bit on paint left to start with.

First we covered that table with brown paper.  The instructions do tell you to cover your table and encourage you to get a little messy.  We had no problem with the messy part and were glad for the heads up.

Next we added the stickers for the places we wanted stars.  I would have liked some more stars.  We had a total of 6, each child used 3.  The picture in the example does show more that 6 on one project.  We did like our final project though.

We put blue paint on a paper plate and rolled this neat roller all through it and all over our paper.  Then we used this roller with white paint to make the “wind” part.

After that we took off the star stickers and put the big template on and used the foam roller to add the black.  We forgot to put the yellow on the white star area, it didn’t effect the finished project.

After removing the big stencil we let it dry a little and used the pastel crayons on add some detail.  This is the step that my 6 and 7 year old lost interest.  I finished my 6 year olds project since we were doing it together.  I think my 7 year old will come back and finish it in the future.

I absolutely loved this kit and information about the artist. They offer other kits featuring many tinted artists. I am looking forward to adding to our schedule.

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Many other families on The Homeschool Review Crew had the opportunity to use this kit also.  Click on the banner below to see how they used it and what they thought of it.

Master Kitz The Starry Night { Reviews}

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curriculum reviews, homeschooling

Balancing Diaper and Deadlines Review

Lisa Tanner Writing provides work at home moms productivity tips in her Balancing Diapers and Deadlines course.  You don’t have to have your own business or have littles in diapers to get some great information from this course!!  Lisa Tanner writes from her experience of a mom of many getting her priorities done.  She explains how she has maneuvered through many stages and phases of being a homeschool mom, a mom of a special needs child and a work at home mom.  She has so many great ideas and tips.  No matter your stage in life there is something in here for you!

This 30 lesson course is broken down into 8 units:

  • Welcome to Balancing Diapers and Deadlines
  • Building Your Foundation with the Basics
  • Minimize Your Decisions
  • Minimize Your Decisions: The Annual Meal Plan
  • Sustainable Growth
  • Growing a Business with Your Kids Around
  • Boost Your Productivity
  • Closing Thoughts

Each lesson is easy to read with children around you.  It’s short enough to get in a lesson here and there while life is still going on around you.  Many lessons have an action step for you to work on and each lesson and unit have a button to click when completed.  I loved this because I was distracted many, many, (many), times while taking this course.  I was able to easily jump back in where I left off or go back to review the last lesson I did.

Don’t let the unit names discourage you from checking this out.  I don’t have children in diapers anymore, I do have a business at home, but it is very different than hers and my deadlines are much more homeschool and child activity related, but her information was very helpful!

I do have to admit that I’m a planner who is working on productivity this year, so Lisa was speaking my language!  I love how she thinks and plans.  She’s real and has a busy life.  She has taken a good look at what works in her house, homeschool and business and shared that information in this course.

One area I have been working on specifically is reducing the number of decisions I need to make.  At first I didn’t think this was a major stress point for me, but I realized that I was getting frustrated after I have been asked what’s for dinner 17 times, what are we doing tonight 10 times, where’s my “insert clothing item needed” and many other daily questions.  I was not exactly as kind to the last person who asked me, as I was to the first.  I needed to revamp how some of this worked.  Lisa’s chapters on minimizing decisions and annual meal plans were my favorite.

I recently changed from weekly menu planning to monthly plans.  This is working so much better for us because I don’t have to think about it so often and I can work ahead on other months.  Lisa’s step by step guide to annual meal planning was just what I needed to organize what I was doing.

You can find Lisa Tanner Writing on these social media sites:



Many others on The Homeschool Review Crew had the opportunity to review this also.  Click on the banner below to see what they thought of it.

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines {Lisa Tanner Writing Reviews}

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curriculum reviews

CashCrunch Career Survey Review

My son David is looking into many careers and is trying to figure out what would good for him so he was happy to take the CashCrunch Careers survey from CashCrunch Games.

He is only 12 but it’s never too early to see what career you may be suited for.  David loves science and is pretty good at math even though he can’t stand it.  He is creative is can draw quite well.  He can be very responsible and kind hearted.  He is considering being a Navy Pilot.  I think that would be an awesome job for him.

He had never taken a test like this before and wasn’t sure how to answer some of the questions.  He doesn’t always see his strengths so it was hard for him to pick from the two descriptors.

He completed all 75 questions and saw that he would be a great manager.  I always knew he had a strong personality.  He likes to be top dog, but will need to work on his discernment.  I think by the time he graduates high school he will be ready and able to be a great leader and manager.

We also had a few other people in the house try it to see what would best suit us.  It was interesting to see where our strengths were.  My husband is a Construction Superintendent.  So it was no surprise that he came back as a manager also.  We were impressed when we read the descriptions in his report.  They were quite accurate.

The top job listed for him was General and Operations Manager.  It was nice to see a match with the position he currently has.

My oldest daughter took the test too.  Her results were also manager.  She didn’t feel that the careers or the description matched her well.  I know she is a good manager.  She has run a few large kitchens with wonderful managerial skills.  She is finishing up an accounting certificate to go along with her Bachelor’s Degree.  She is looking for her future career path.  Whatever she does I know she will do well.  She’s a hard worker and strives to perform whatever job she’s doing with excellence.

I enjoyed playing the Cash Crunch Game 101 online.  It’s a “board game” that you play online.  The goal is to manage your money well.  I remember in the 80’s when computers were just coming into homes, we had a game called Lemonade Stand.  I loved that game and would play it for hours.  The goal was to efficiently run a lemonade stand.  You had to take into account your ingredients, the weather and the time of day.  If you made too much lemonade on a cold rainy day you would have a loss for the day.  Cash Crunch 101 is very similar.  You have income and expenses.  Things come up to earn more money, but also unexpected expenses come up too.  You need to make good decisions to do better in the game.  I think this would be a great game to play to see how decisions you make with money effect more than just the moment.

You can find CashCrunch on these social media sites:

Twitter: @cashcrunchgames
Instagram: @cashcrunchgames

Many other families on The Homschool Review Crew has the opportunity to use this product also.  Click on the banner below to see what they though of it.

CashCrunch Careers {CashCrunch Games Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Bible, curriculum reviews, homeschooling

Book-By- Book Bible Printables Review

I’ve been using Book-By-Book Bible Printables from Teach Sunday School to see an overview of the whole Bible.  I have found that we are referencing these all the time!

I received this as a digital download.  Each book of the Bible has it’s own page.  I have been printing individual ones as we are needing them.


My son David (12), is taking a Bible class in our co-op this year.  He has been assigned to read different books of the Bible for homework between classes.  He has done the reading on his own, but I printed the sheets for the books he’s reading so he came have a little more information and some background.  He has found this to be helpful when he goes back to discuss what he was assigned.

I have also used these with Evie (7).  She is memorizing the books of the Bible.  These have been fun “flash cards” to put in order.  It’s a bonus that there’s more info on there if she chooses to read it.


I am using these as I read chronologically through the Bible.  I can read through the information for each book and know some key information quickly.  I am fascinated the Bible history, culture and how events and locations fit together.  This has been a great resource for me!

I am enjoying the flexibility I have with this being a pdf file.  I can reference them on my computer or print out what I need.  Books of the Bible At-a- Glance is available for $19.00.  At the time I am writing this it is on sale for $9.

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Many other families on The Homeschool Review Crew also reviewed this product.  Click on the banner below to see how they used it and what they thought about it.

Books of the Bible At-a-Glance { Teach Sunday School Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

curriculum reviews, math

I Know It Math Review

We have been using I Know It to add some supplementary online math lessons to our daily schedule.  This has been a great way for my 2nd grader to get back into the rhythm of doing math everyday.  This has been a supplement/review as we begin the new school year.

There are many pricing options available.   Home/family membership is $90 per year.  This membership is for up to 4 students.  Additional students are $8 each. There is a 60 day free trial if you would like to try before you buy.

I didn’t set up my daughter’s side of the site right away. She jumped right in when we got received access, but she didn’t get credit for it.  As soon as I realized I couldn’t see her progress I went in and set up her assignments.  It was very easy, I had just missed that step in the beginning.  Evie uses this on her own every day as her math review.  She did many lessons at first, but has chosen to only do one or two per day lately.

Evie likes that she can work independently.  She accesses her account on the browser of her Kindle Fire.  We leave a tab open and she does a lesson each day.

Each lesson is 15 questions.  You can set up assignments or pick the grade and let them progress.  Some of the questions were a little hard to figure out what they meant, but we realized that you can have it read the directions to the student and that made it much easier.

This is the screen she sees when she completes a lesson.  She loves to see that she’s gotten them all correct.

Above is a screen shot of the email I received about her progress.  I like that it tells me how much she has done and on what topics.  It also shows me that sometimes she has not done all the lessons that I had assigned to her. She should have had many more questions answered for this time period.   I’m glad this comes as an email because it’s obvious that I fail to check after each lesson.  I would probably also forget to check her progress on a regular basis.

If you have followed my blog for any length of time you can see a trend; that my younger children do not prefer to do school on a screen.  They believe that screens are only for fun and not for school.  The two should never meet.  As they get older they do more and more learning on a screen.  I’m pretty old school too, I like the feel of a book or a worksheet.  We are finding our way through the digital age when it comes to our homeschool.  I Know It math was a nice addition as a supplement.  I did find that Evie enjoyed it enough to be introduced to a few things she hadn’t learned yet and she enjoyed practicing her new skill as well as reviewing some things she knew.  We will continue using this as a supplement.

I Know It is part of the same company as  We have used them in the past, click here and here to see our reviews.  We have enjoyed everything that we have used from this company!

You can find I Know It on these social media sites:


Many other families on The Schoolhouse Review Crew had the opportunity to review I Know It also.  Click on the banner below to see what they thought of it and how they used it.

Interactive Math Lessons K - 5 grade {I Know It Reviews}

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afternoon basket, curriculum reviews

By The Way: New York City Review

My husband and I grew up not far from New York City, but we haven’t been back since our high school days.  My seven year old daughter loves American Girl dolls and said she wanted to go to the American Girl Store in New York City.  I though for a moment and told her it was a possibility sometime when we go to Pennsylvania.  She was SO excited!! Very soon after that I was reminded that By the Way Book publishes wonderful travel books for kids such as the New York City from the By the Way Book Series.  We had the opportunity to review their book about Pennsylvania about a year and a half ago.  We loved that book!  Here’s a link to the review.

I am reading this book to my 12 year old son and my 7 year old daughter during our “afternoon basket” time after lunch.  This is the time that we have set aside to come together and do those activities that we just don’t ever get to and the ones we can do with multiple levels.  So far this school year, we have done geography at this time, Bible devotions and a few chapter books.  By The Way New York City was a great addition to our afternoon basket.  We have been reading a few pages a day and enjoying learning about New York City and planning for our possible trip.

This book is very unique in it’s approach.  It’s not just a story book or a travel guide, it’s both and much more.  We are introduced to a youth pastor and his youth group as they get ready to head to New York City.  This book is woven with Biblical truths and perspective.  It also shows the very diverse ethnic background of the group and the destination.

We learned some very interesting facts about New York City:

  • it has 175 zip codes and you can keep that in mind while planning your visit.  See all the things in the same zip code at the same time.  Sounds perfectly obvious, but I would not have thought to look at the zip codes in my planning.  I also had no idea there were that many or that my kids didn’t really know what a zip code is.  Hopefully they do now.
  • we learned about pigeons and their importance in delivering messages.  Did you know they can see over 26 miles?  Did you know they can fly 700 miles in one day?

We learned about the subway, the Statue of Liberty, immigration, Ellis Island, nature in the city, the 9/11 Memorial, food carts, Wall Street, The Brooklyn Bridge, The United Nations, our military, Central Park, Rockefeller Center, Fanny Crosby, Staten Island, Brooklyn, turtles, Queens, squirrels and so much more!

We had just learned about Balto and how he helped get very much needed medicine to sick people in Alaska.  They kids remembered that a statue of him is in Central Park.  The book talks about it and has a picture of it.

We really enjoyed this book and will use this one and the Pennsylvania one in planning our next trip north.  I’m not sure when it will be, but we will have some great resources to help our planning!!

You can find By The Way Books on

Other families on The Homeschool Review Crew had the opportunity to review this By The Way book and a few others, Ireland, Indiana and Alaska.  Click on the banner below to see what they thought of them and how they used the one they received.


By the Way Book Series: New York City, Ireland, Indiana & Alaska {By the Way Reviews}Crew Disclaimer 

afternoon basket, Bible, curriculum reviews, homeschooling

Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith Review

My kids really enjoyed the comic book, Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith, from The Captain Sun Adventures.

I read this book to my 7th grade son and my 2nd grade daughter during our “afternoon basket” time.  This is the time that I have set aside for subjects that I would like the kids to do together.  I have gleaned some information from people’s “morning baskets” and made this a time for us to come back together, do those subjects that can span many levels and loop schedule some great new things like this comic book.  Our afternoon basket has worked well for the first 2 1/2 weeks of school and I’m looking forward to this time where I can add things that get so easily overlooked.

This was a read aloud while the kids colored.  They enjoyed the story and would, very often, stop coloring to look intently at the pictures.  I read it more like a storybook so they didn’t have to stop what they were doing.  This worked great!  I read it over 3 days, just reading a little at a time.  They looked forward to what was going to happen tomorrow.

My original plan was to hand off the book to my 7th grader in hopes that he would read it, then read it to his 6 year old brother.  That didn’t happen.  It was a beautiful picture in my mind though.  He got busy with other things and forgot he had it.  As my deadline loomed, I requested the book back and read it out loud.  I’m not disappointed at all.  If he would have read it I would have missed out.  I love reading to my kids and getting to enjoy their stories with them.  Reading to my kids has become such a precious time.

The hero in the story is Captain Sun.  He protects Capital City from the evil Black Out.  This is a classic story about good versus evil. Black Out comes to Capital Sun and blocks out all that is good.  Captain Sun rids the city of the evil with the help of a few others: Fogbank, Missile Man, Electro Lad and Landslide.  The story was great and parts were suspenseful as you hope the good guys to win.  But, my absolute favorite part was the newspaper looking article that appeared between chapters.  This brought the lesson of God’s love and salvation in.  God and Jesus are our Captain Sun and Satan is Black Out.  We all need salvation in this fallen world.  This was tied in so well.  I was very impressed with these pages.  The author could have skipped that and gone on with the comic and put in a blurb in the back, but he choose to make the lesson bigger and did a great job!

I had my kids make up and draw their own super hero or villain. I think they did a great job!

You can find The Captain Sun Adventures on these social media sites:


Many other families on The Homeschool Review Crew had the opportunity to review this book also.  Click on the banner below to see how they used it and what they though of it.

Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith {The Captain Sun Adventures Reviews}

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