curriculum reviews

Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner Review

If you are like me and prefer paper and pencil when making lesson plans that you need to check out the Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year with devotions written by Gena Suarez and published by The Old Schoolhouse®.  This is soft cover planner is  8 1/2 x 11 inches, spiral bound, and has 188 pages. The front and back covers are nice and thick.

This is the planner that I used when I first started using a planner specifically for my homeschool plans.  I had used some generic forms that I created in the past, but I love using a homeschool specific planner.  You can read my review of the 2016-2017 one here.  Now I’m hooked and will always need a homeschool planner when planning my kids school year!!

This planner is more that just your regular homeschool planner, it’s also a devotional written directly to the Homeschool Mama.  The author, Gena Suarez is a homeschool mom with 7 children.  She’s been there and done that and is still doing it!!  She knows what we are going through.  Mrs. Suarez wrote 21 devotionals about real life things: squabbling kids, God’s provision, joy, trails, field trips and many more.  Her writing is very encouraging!!

Below is a picture of the pages right before the July 2019 calendar.  I like that there is a place for notes before each month.  I can write things I plan to accomplish or write things we have done after the fact.  I always look back at my previous planners while I’m setting up the new one.  The notes I make help me to plan for the year.

In the planner you will find yearly and monthly calendars, weekly planners, help with making a transcript, checklist form for skills learned and planning spaces for five children.  Each child has a section that includes a page for notes, curriculum planning, attendance, books read this year, yearly goals, first and second semester goals and another blank page for notes.

I love being able to plan far in advance.  This has been very beneficial for us.  Many years there are things that I really hope to get to but can’t.  Instead of feeling bad about it, I open my planner for the next year and pencil it in.  I have found there is a much better chance of getting these things done if I can plan ahead for it.

Here is the weekly planner. I use it a little differently. This format works very well for us.

If you are interested in getting this planner don’t hesitate!!!  Almost 98% of their print run is sold out already!!  They will not be doing another run this year.

You can find The Old Schoolhouse on these social media sites:

Twitter:  @TOSMag

Many other families on The Homeschool Review Crew had the opportunity to review this planner also.  Click on the graphic below to see what they had to say about their experience with it.  I bet they love it as much as I do!!


Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year {The Old Schoolhouse® Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer 

Bible, curriculum reviews, homeschooling

God is Better Than Trucks: Picture Book Review

Today I want to introduce you to the delightful children’s book God is Better than Trucks published by Christian Focus.

This book is a great size for reading aloud to little ones.  This hard cover book has a sturdy binding and 48 nice thick pages.  I shared this book with my 6 year old son, Thomas.  He loves trucks and construction vehicles.  He’s also learning his letters so this was a great book for him.

Each letter has a “vehicle” to go with it.  Best of all, you learn how God is better than each vehicle.  All of these are strong and mighty, but God is bigger and stronger than all of them.  This was a great message for a truck loving boy.  Each page has a Bible verse.  These would be great as memory verses.

The pictures are bright and engaging.  The text is short enough on each page that Thomas didn’t get bored.  I enjoyed sharing this book with him.  We were able to talk about God’s strength in a way that we hadn’t before.  This is a nice addition to our library.

Since the early 1970’s Christian Focus Publishing’s purpose has been to share the gospel.  They have produced books in more than 70 languages from many different authors all around the world.  They have a few series available.  The books that The Homeschool Review Crew got to review are from the CF4K series.  These are for children.  Great for homeschooling and Sunday School.

You can find Christian Focus on these social media sites:



Many other families on The Homeschool Review Crew had the opportunity to review this book and a few others:

Big Bible Science

Elizabeth Prentiss

God is Better than Princesses

Click on the graphic below to see which book they received and what they thought about it.

Big Bible Science, Elizabeth Prentiss, God is Better than Princesses, God is Better than Trucks. {Christian Focus Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Bible, curriculum reviews, homeschooling

Nothing (Nothing can Separate You from God’s Love ~ Book Review

Today I want to introduce you to the delightful children’s picture book titled Nothing by Natalee Creech and published by WorthyKids, an imprint of Hachette Book Group.  We received a beautiful 32 page hardcover children’s book. It has sturdy, glossy pages and a nice binding.  This book was built to read over and over again.  We read a lot of books together and thought this would be a great addition.  I was right!  We loved it!  This would make a great addition to anyone’s home or church library.

This sweet rhyming book goes through all the things that you may think separate you from God. Then reassures you that NOTHING at all can separate you from God’s love!!!

I read this with my 8 year old daughter. She really enjoyed it. We talked about how we might think during these trials that God is not with us, but that He really is.

We also spent time looking at all the detail in the illustrations.

Look at the camel’s face!

We have read some great books from WorthyKids and have loved each and every one of them.  Here are a few reviews of other ones we have read: The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls (book 1 and 2), The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls (book 3 and 4), Planet 316 Story Bible.

You can find WorthyKids Book on these social media sites:


Many other families on The Homeschool Review Crew also had the opportunity to review this book.  Click on the graphic below to hear what they thought of this book.


Nothing (Nothing Can Separate You From God's Love) by Natalee Creech {WorthyKids, an imprint of Hachette Book Group Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

curriculum reviews, homeschooling, math

The Critical Thinking Co: Middle School Math Games Review

I am a huge fan of The Critical Thinking Co. so I was thrilled to receive a digital copy of  Middle School Math Games (Grades 6-8) to use with my son.  I love playing math games!  I think this is a great way to work on math without the stress of books and workbooks.  I’ve used math games to help many children reinforce math concepts that were hard for them.

I have used many of The Thinking Co.’s books over the years. This is the first time I have received a digital product. If you have read any of my other reviews you know that I’m a physical book person.  I had a small learning curve (because I’m old) trying to figure out how to print certain pages, but I quickly figured it out.  It was nice to be able to print one game at a time.  This was helpful with the games that have pages to write on.  If I had the physical book I would have had to make a copy.  It was very convenient to print just what I needed from my computer.

We played a new game each week.  This was a great pace for us.  It gave us time to really understand and enjoy the math skilsl in the game.  One of the games we liked was called “Greater than, Less than”.  This one was challenging and fun.  We used randomly chosen numbers, randomly decided if they were positive or negative and put them on the worksheet.  This set them up to figure out if the sum, difference or product were greater than or less than in the equation.  We even did this with fractions!  This was a great way to review many math concepts.  I will be using this again for many grade levels.

Another game we liked was called “Guess my Operation”.  You had to figure out what operation the mystery symbol represented.  This was fun!  The mystery symbol idea is brilliant.  We will definitely use this again too.

There are 16 games in this book. Here are a few other titles: What are my Coordinates?, Stand Up and Be Counted, Bingo Anyone?, Go With the Flowchart, and XYZ

I loved that these games target middle school students.  This is an age where math is getting hard.  Since these games are fun, it’s a great way to learn mastery!


We have enjoyed many other books from Critical Thinking over the years.  Here are the links to my reviews.


You can find The Critical Thinking Co. on these social media sites:



Interested in trying something from The Critical Thinking Co or have you had your eye on something for the summer or next year?  Here’s a great deal for you:

Free Shipping + 15% Off Any Size Order!

Coupon: TOSCREW19

Expires: 12/31/2019




Many other families on The Homeschool Review Crew had the opportunity to review this book and others from The Critical Thinking Co.

We had the opportunity to pick from these titles:

Pattern Explorer Beginning (Grades 3-4)
Elementary Math Games (Grades 3-5)
Critical Thinking Detective – Vocabulary Book 2 (Grades 5-12+)
Dare to Compare: Math Level 2 (Grades 6-7)
Middle School Math Games (Grades 6-8)
Building Writing Skills – Essential Tips & Techniques (Grades 6-12+)
Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 1 (Grades 8-12+)
Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 2 (Grades 8-12+)

Click on the graphic below to see what they thought of the product they received.  So far I loved everything I have used from The Critical Thinking Co.

Critical Thinking, Math, Vocabulary & Writing Skills {The Critical Thinking Co. Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer 

curriculum reviews, history, homeschooling

Pathway to Liberty History Review


We recently started using Pathway to Liberty’s US History, part of Pathway to Liberty’s History Curriculum, from Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum.

We use history as our “spine” for our curriculum.  Meaning all of our assignments and different subjects come from what we have learned in our history lesson.  I have spent the past three years in an in depth study of American History with my 7th grade son.  This year my 2nd grade daughter had an American History overview so everyone would be ready to start something new next year.  I had planned on finding a curriculum that had a series of four years that would take us from ancient times to the present with a Biblical worldview.

When this review became available I was excited and torn.  I didn’t know what to pick!  Should I look at American History or World History or the Middle Ages?  Which level do I choose?  Next year I will have a young 2nd grader, a 3rd grader and and 8th grader.  That’s quite an age spread!  I chose American History, level 2 (grades 4-6).  I thought I’d teach to the youngest children and add more for the older one.  If I needed to simplify for the younger ones I could, but I would not be starting at the youngest level.  I should have chosen Level 1.  Level 1 has more age appropriate activity for younger more hand on students.

I liked that all levels were laid out together.  It was easy for all of us to see what to do for the day.  For some of my children this is very important and helps get through the lesson easier.  It was great for me since I didn’t need to flip through pages and try to come up with what other children should be working on.  The student guide only has the workbook pages for the one level.  Each week is structured very similarly: there is a principle theme, videos, discussion questions, vocabulary, scripture, questions to answer and writing assignments.

For my auditory children, this was a great.  Lots of great history information that tied together the importance of our American history and freedom to the Bible.  I am much more kinesthetic learner as is one of my other children.  We did not prefer all of the book work.  Again: I should have picked level 1.

Pathway to Liberty’s American History only goes to the Civil War.  This was a little disappointing as we were studying World War II and was planning on jumping straight to that.  Since we couldn’t do that we decided to start near the beginning with Jamestown.  It was a nice review.

I think this is a great curriculum with solid Biblical instruction.  Their motto is “Teaching American’s Principles of Liberty”.  They do a great job with that important truth.

Pathway to Liberty also offers these titles:

  • Pathway to Liberty’s Universal History (Year 1)
  • Pathway to Liberty’s Middle Ages (Year 2)
  • Pathway to Liberty’s World History (Year 4)

You can find Pathway to Liberty on these social media sites:



Many other families on The Homeschool Review Crew had the opportunity to review items from Pathway to Liberty.  Click on the graphic below to see what they had to say about it and how they used what they received.

Universal History, The Middle Ages, US History & World History Curriculum {Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

curriculum reviews

Hamelin Stoop Series: The Eagle, The Cave and The Footbridge Book Review

I have been reading the first two books in the brand new Hamelin Stoop Series from 12 Gates Publishing.  We received both Hamelin Stoop: The Eagle, The Cave, and the Footbridge (Book 1)and Hamelin Stoop: The Lost Princess and the Jewel of Periluna (Book 2).

I had planned on my kids reading these books but it didn’t work out. So….. I had a rare opportunity to read a book for me. I don’t usually take time to read for pleasure, but I carved out a chunk of time and dove in.  I am a slow reader so I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to read the books.  I was very pleasantly surprised that I moved through the chapters quite quickly.  The book is very well written and it is very suspenseful.  I kept going to see what was going to happen next.

The story begins with a young couple, Johnnie and Simon, and their baby boy.  They are being hunted by trackers from another realm.  The couple knew that the trackers were after their baby.  Simon faked the baby’s death, while Johnnie left the baby in a tomato box on the porch stoop at the children’s home.  Johnnie knew about this home as she had lived there herself.  She knew they would take care of her baby.

The parents were captured by the trackers and taken to the other realm.  We learn that Johnnie had escaped from this place years ago.  The captors wanted Johnnie’s baby because he would have been from both worlds.  They demanded another child from the couple.  Simon and Johnnie did have a baby girl, that was taken away from them at 3 days old.  They said they needed a male child.

In the meantime, we watch as their baby boy grows up in the children’s home.  They name him Hamelin Stoop.  Hamelin was the only name-like word they could make out on the note left with him and Stoop because he was left of the stoop.  Hamelin does pretty well until his 8th birthday.  Many of the people he loved at the home had moved away and no one was left who remembered his birthday.  He ran away and found a cave.  He didn’t know at the time, but the cave would lead to where his parents where.

The chapters go back and forth between plot lines.  You get to see what is going on in both realms and where they will eventually collide.  The Eagle comes to Hamelin in the cave and they come to a footbridge.  Hamelin can not bring himself to cross it and eventually goes back to the children’s home.  His time in the cave never leaves his mind.  He will come back to it later and cross it.  The second book picks up right where the first leaves off.  I’m glad I already had the second book and didn’t have to wait!

There are many entwining stories in these books.  It was definitely a page turner as I was quickly reading to find out what would happen next.  These are the first two books in a series of 6 or 7.  The author’s plan is to follow the entire story of the Bible in his books.  They are listed as “Young Adult Fantasy “, but are a great read for adults too.  I’m looking forward to reading more and seeing where he takes these characters and how the Bible is woven through.

You can find 12 Gates Publishing on these social media sites:



Many other families on The Homeschool Review Crew also had the opportunity to review these 2 books.  Click on the graphic below to read about what they thought about the books.

The Eagle, The Cave, and the Footbridge (Book 1) & The Lost Princess and the Jewel of Periluna (Book 2) {12 Gates Publishing Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

curriculum reviews, history, homeschooling

Techie Homeschool Mom: Ancient Egypt Online Unit Study Review

Today I want to introduce you to the tech-based learning discovery experiences of the Ancient Egypt Online Unit Study from Techie Homeschool Mom.  I have been making a great effort lately to use more online curriculum.  We don’t usually prefer them, but there are so many these days.  That being said, yes, I’ve been homeschooling forever now.  We started homeschooling in 1997.  There was hardly even an internet then!  Homeschool curriculum was just starting to be written. There were not a whole lot of choices then.  Now there’s so much to choose from!  I hope my blog posts can introduce you to some new things or maybe how to use things a little differently than you originally thought.

From the beginning of our homeschool journey, unit studies have been one of my favorite ways to teach my kids.  They are great for kids with different learning styles.  We can all learn about the same subject and follow as many bunny trails as we would like.  I love to watch my kids learn and love to see them find out about new things. It’s precious to see their eyes light up with wonder at what they have discovered!

We chose to review the Ancient Egypt study.  We will be studying ancient history next year so this was a great introduction for my kids.  They are definitely looking forward to learning more.  I am glad to see that Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece are available through this company too.

I used this study in the afternoons, right after lunch.  I call it my “afternoon basket” time.  It’s the time we all come back to the table to do the subjects we all do together and also a time to do things that we don’t get to do very often.  We worked on this study 3-4 times a week for the past few weeks.

I would go to the website and it directed me to the next thing.  I was so nice not to prep anything!  I just clicked the button and my kids watched!  My students for this study were my 2nd grade daughter and my 7th grade son.

After we watched each video we did the quiz together.  There are some great suggested activities: books to read, games to play, and projects to make.  There is even a suggested final project.  I liked that we could pick and choose what we wanted to do. Most of what we chose was online, so I didn’t need to search for anything!

I’m starting to like online products more and more.  My kids are getting used to them too.  We all liked this study.  It was interesting and easy to use.  The kids liked the videos and listened closely so they would know the answers to the questions.  We will be sure to come back in the fall and do some of the activities we haven’t completed yet.

Here are the other Unit Studies available from Techie Homeschool Mom:

Ancient Greece Online Unit Study
Ancient Rome Online Unit Study
Famous Artists Online Unit Study (Vol. 1)
Famous Artists Online Unit Study (Vol. 2)
Famous Inventors Online Unit Study
Solar System Online Unit Study


You can find Techie Homeschool Mom on the following social media sites:



Many other families on The Homeschool Review Crew had the opportunity to review one of these great unit studies.  Click on the graphic below to see how they used theirs and what they thought about it.

Solar, Ancients and Famous People Unit Studies {Techie Homeschool Mom Reviews}Crew Disclaimer