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.

You can find on these social media sites:


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}

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.

You can find Teach Sunday School on these social media sites:


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

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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curriculum reviews, homeschooling

God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn Book Review

As homeschool moms we all need encouragement from time to time so I was excited to read God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn written by Julie Polanco.

Author, Julie Polanco, is a homeschooling mom of 4.  She has been homeschooling for 15 years.  Mrs Polanco has done extensive research in writing this book.  As most homeschooling moms, she wanted the best education possible for her children.  She sought answers from the Bible and from many, many studies on child development, brain development and how people learn and respond to different techniques.

I love to read books about how to do things a little better around here.  I’m constantly learning and re-evaluating how and why we do our schooling and what we choose to do as a family.  I love to learn about different methods of homeschooling: Classical and Charlotte Mason, unschooling and child led, textbooks and school at home, morning baskets, loop scheduling, workboxes and many more.  I can find something in everything I learn to apply to our homeschooling experience.

We are heading into our twenty first year homeschooling.  We have graduated 4 children who have all gone on to higher education.  I currently have 3 students, a 12 year old in 7th grade, 7 year old in 2nd grade and a 6 year old in 1st grade.  We have 12 more years and I’m looking forward to every one of them!!  I have learned so much about my children and their very unique learning styles.  Each one has been so different and I hope and pray that I have been flexible enough with their education that they learned how to learn and kept their curiosity and love of learning.  There are certain things that I know work for the flow of our lives and I’m so glad for the wisdom I’ve acquired through homeschooling all of these years.

Mrs. Polanco has found that they do best by unschooling and backs up her decision Biblically.  I agree with some of what she has to say, but it looks very different in our house.  We are not a strict textbook family, but I do plan extensively to have goals met by certain times throughout the year.  If we don’t meet them all it’s fine, but if I fail to plan then I’m planning to fail.  Yes, God has intended children to learn through their environment, but he’s a God of order too and I lean a little more on the order part.  We don’t use a certain curriculum, we are very eclectic and pick and choose.  We do as much in the house at the table as we do outside.

One thing that I need to remember is not to compare myself with others.  I do believe that God gave us the children he did for a reason and trusts us to raise them up in the way they should go.  My way may look totally different than your way, but they both can be God honoring.

I feel this book is worded in a way that the author feels what she has learned, and has worked for her family, is the only “right” way and the only way God intended children to be taught.

I’m glad I had the chance to read what she has to share and evaluate whether I would like to implement them in our home.

You can find Julie Polanco books on the following social media sites:

Facebook: @juliepolancobooks

The e-book is half price sale through August 22, 2018.

Many other families on The Homeschool Review Crew had the opportunity to review this book too.  Click on the banner below to see what they thought of it.

God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn {Julie Polanco Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

art, curriculum reviews, geography, homeschooling, science

Branch Out World: Paddington Bear Review

We have been learning so much while having fun with the Picture Book Explorer Pack Paddington Bear from Branch Out World. This is a fun unit study based on the book Paddington.

This was a fun first for us: this is a British product!  It was one of those great timing things.  We have done a few things this summer that made this the perfect study for us.

  • We have been focusing on geography and learning about the different continents and people and cultures all over the world.
  • This is the first year we ever got a membership to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg.  The park is based on European countries which the kids quickly noticed and picked their favorite things from each.
  • We have spent every night we have been home this summer watching past episodes of Doctor Who which is a British show.  When the Doctor and his companions are  on earth they are in London and Cardiff in England and also in Scotland and Wales among other places.

Since we have spent so much time being in “virtual England” I thought that it would be great time to do a familiar picture book study from a company in the UK.

We loved reading through the study picking out all the differences in vocabulary.  We have been familiarized with them so it was great to pick them out. One being queue for a line of people and some variations of spellings like coloured.  We loved it since it brought together everything we have been learning.

I decided to use this study with Evie.  She is 7 and going into 2nd grade.  She LOVES the Paddington movies so I knew she’d like this!  This curriculum is written to be used in five days.  Each day you read the story followed by and activity or two (or more).

  • The first day explores the setting, looking at England and Peru on a map and also their flags.  It introduces migration and when the story took place.
  • The second day teaches you about the author, explores vocabulary, grammar and writing.  We talked about the author with the information given.  We also talked about the time period this was written.  Evie imagined being an author and coming up with a story for a book.
  • The third day is about the illustrations, the artist, and design

We looked at the illustrations in the book taking notice of pictures that have things in the foreground and background.  We also looked at lines and shapes.  I put together a bowl of apples and Evie drew them.  We also looked at some famous artists works to see what we could notice.

  • The fourth day is science day.  It talks about bears, shaving cream, steam and nature/garden.

We talked about chemical reactions and made a volcano with yeast and hydrogen peroxide.

We talked about the shaving cream in the book and made some shaving cream slime.  Evie’s brothers joined in.

  • The fifth day is math and craft day.

There is so many great activities to pick from! We didn’t do them all, but I would like to definitely come back and do this one again and also try some other book studies from this series.  There are so many to pick from!  There are also some for chapter books and lapbooks!!! I love that I can get these digital products from another part of the world and expose my kids to another culture’s perspective.  Even though the differences were slight we loved it!!  We have been very intentionally seeking out things like this all summer!

You can find Branch Out World on these social media sites:

Facebook:    @BranchOutWorld
Pinterest:   @belzibow
Instagram:   @belzibow
Twitter:  @belzibow

Many other families on The Homeschool Review Crew had the opportunity to review this book study also.  Click on the box below to see what their families thought of Paddington Bear.

Paddington Bear {Branch Out World Reviews}Crew Disclaimer