Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar Review

Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar Review
All kids learn so differently, and what has worked in the past for our others kids doesn’t necessarily work for all of our kids…..or so I have learned. Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar by (from just2ducks LLC) have been a JOY to use in our home. Sometimes, you have to take a step back and realize what you are doing isn’t going work and you need a change. For me, Jolly Phonics was the change I needed.

Some phonics/reading programs can be bulky and expect an awful lot of teaching, prep, and hands on instruction from the teacher. Jolly Phonics is NOT one of those programs. Lessons take about 10 minutes, with some it that time being spent in review. I have been so pleased with how excited and enthusiastic our kids have been to use this. Instead of feeling like I am forcing them to do their work, they are happy to spend those minutes doing it. They really do love it and the lesson length is perfect for them, they can get it done and have full focus on it without it being too tedious for them. Their level of retention has been simply brilliant with this program. How could THAT not make you happy??!!

Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar Review

You may be wondering what the set consists of. Here’s what we received:

  • Jolly Phonics Teachers book in print letters
  • Jolly Phonics Student Book 1, 2, and 3
  • Jolly Grammar 1 teachers Book in print letters
  • Jolly Grammar 1 Student Book
  • Jolly Songs in print letters

Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar Review

There’s a lot to this set and it is so well thought out for the parent-teacher, I just love it. There is a brief section at the beginning of the teachers book that instructs you how to teach the letter sounds and how to teach the lessons. I highly recommend that you read through these before starting. It’s not a difficult program to teach, but knowing how they expect the lessons to go really helps you teach it well.  Next are the daily lesson plans- they are so simple to follow! Each lesson is divided up into a short story, an action for the letter (my wiggly kids’ favorite part!), then writing the letter, blending the letter with previous lessons, and then further or optional ideas. It’s amazingly simple easy to use, and fun for the kids.

We started with book 1 at the very beginning, so we didn’t get a chance to move into the other books or into Jolly Grammar, but we are loving this and are so looking forward to using them. However, we are nearly done with book 1 and my kids have retained the letter sounds and are reading simple words or phrases. That is so much progress for us!

Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar Review
We will be moving through the end of book 1 and moving into book 2 at the end of this week, and we plan on just continuing through! I really, really, REALLY love this program and sincerely wish I had known about it years before when I had to struggle through teaching my older 2 girls to read. It’s working fabulously, my kids love it, and this homeschool Mama loves it, too! In case you haven’t noticed, this is a very glowing review 🙂

If you would like to see what other memebers of the crew thought about Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar (some of them got much further into the program if you were wondering about it), you can click the link below!


Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar Review
Crew Disclaimer

Enlivenze FlipStir Puzzles Review

Who doesn’t love a puzzle??!! We are huge puzzle fans at our house, but you know what can happen…..pieces get lost or bent, someone puts it somewhere and you can’t find it, or there is a request to take it with you that you just can’t grant because all of those tiny pieces in the car spell disaster. Enlivenze LLC has solved this problem for us by creating FlipStir Puzzles and we have been having a blast trying to solve our Tyrannosaurus Rex one over the last few weeks.

FlipStir Puzzles Reviews<
There are a few options on these puzzles that makes them especially fun, like 5 different pictures and two levels of dificulty to choose from. These puzzles are also unique in that they are 3-D and completely self contained within a plastic tube. That’s right- no losing pieces with this puzzle. Everything is right there in the tube, ready to go when you are.

You may be wondering how the puzzle works if you can’t manipulate the pieces by hand. Each puzzle has it’s pieces inside the tube. You give the tube a shake and then use the wand that is inside of the tube to manipulate the pieces around to put them in place. The wand has a foot on the end of it, so you can push and pull the pieces into place more easily.

When we first got this, I had doubts that my girls would want to stick with it log enough to solve it. It took me a few tries to get the method and get the puzzle solved (I’m not super strong in the patience area when it comes to sitting down and doing something like that.) But I handed it to them and showed them how to shake it up. I didn’t need to give them any more instructions because they were off like a shot! The girls had no problems at all figuring out how this puzzle worked and although there were moments of frustration, those little pieces slide around when you least expect it!, there has been a lot of fun had with the puzzle.

FlipStir Puzzles Reviews

If you are feeling the need to really challenge yourself, you can choose to grab one of the level 2 puzzles with the wavy edges. These puzzles will be a little more challenging. I haven’t had the chance to try a level 2 puzzle, but they look amazing!

I have loved this puzzle, my kids have loved this puzzle, my husband has loved this puzzle, and we have had visitors pick it up and play with it as well. We have had a lot of fun racing each other to see who can solve it the fastest, we can take it in the car and it was a lifesaver on a recent log trip out of town. You can use this puzzle just about anywhere with just about everyone! We have had a lot of fun and look forward to purchasing a few more of these so we can have more variety to play with.

If you would like to see what other members of the crew thought of the puzzles, you can click the link below. There are different types of puzzles to look through that were reviewed as well!

FlipStir Puzzles Reviews
Crew Disclaimer

Foreign Languages For Kids By Kids Starter Set I Review

Beginner Spanish Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids Review

We’ve been spending some hot, boring summer afternoons doing something fun and educational! Adding a foreign language has been something that we have wanted to do for a couple of years now, so I was more than thrilled when I got the chance to try one that we have had our eye on. Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids could not have come at a better time, so I snapped up Starter Set I and set off for some foreign language fun!

The set included:

  • 20 Week Curriculum Guide
  • DVD with 3 videos
  • Workbooks for each video
  • Stickers for use within your home
  • Flashcards (sets for each video)

This is conversational Spanish and is suitable for kids of all ages, although I feel it’s probably best for younger kids and/or older kids who have had no teaching in Spanish. Ages 5-14 are the official age ranges. The videos are Spanish speaking only, so don’t worry if your kids have no idea what the video is saying….they’ll get it and it’s all part of how the program works.

Students will watch the videos and do the corresponding lessons in their workbook for each lesson, and you can feel free to watch the videos as many times as you need for your kids to catch on. We generally watch each one two or three times, and I find that my kids have a pretty good grasp of the words for that lesson by that time.


Beginner Spanish Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids Review
The curriculum is simple and easy for both kids and parents to use. It requires little to no set up time for the teacher, so that gets it a big plus from me! We start out by watching the video each day. The 3 videos are divided into “flights”, the first flight is to Lima, Peru. The workbook is referred to as “in flight magazines”. During the video, there is a fun little skit with words illustrated on the screen as the words are used. This helps kids associate words with objects and learn the words more easily.

We take each day and work through it, going over any new or challenging words as they come our way. Because most of my kids are younger, we tend to watch the videos more than an older child probably would, but that is part of what makes this so ice- you can customize it for your family and do whatever works best for you.

After we go through the video lesson and go over any new words, we do the workbook activity for the day. My younger kids aren’t doing the flashcards, but my older girls use them in the afternoon to either quiz each other or to play the games….the Go Squish is a favorite for all of them and something that all 4 can play together.

We have found this curriculum to be effective for teaching us so many new and fun Spanish words! We often refer to things around the house by it’s Spanish name for practice and have had a lot of fun catching someone using the wrong word 🙂

If you’d like to see what other TOS Review Crew members thought, you can click the link below to read more reviews of this curriculum. As for us, we count this as a winner and something that we look forward to using!


Beginner Spanish Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids Review
Crew Disclaimer

CTCMath Homeschool Membership Review

CTCMath Review
My kids have been using the CTCMath Homeschool Membership from CTCMath this summer to get ahead and to stay active with their math skills. CTCMath offers math instruction for grades K-12 and you are given complete access to all of the levels, tutorials, worksheets, and more 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As I understand it, the curriculum for grades K- is considered complete while the curriculum for grades 9-12 are more of a supplement or extra help. I wanted to mention that right off of the bat in case you were thinking of this for high school maths.

You can visit the FAQ page to see some of the most common questions answered, and you can also find a complete lessons list to take a look at to see where your child will fit in. This curriculum is not common core aligned, so if that is an important factor to you, you might want to take a look at it and see if you think it will work for you even though it teaches in a more traditional manner.

CTCMath can be used on a variety of electronic devices (i.e iPhones, iPads, Android devices, laptops, and the like) There are also several very cool features you have access to as well, like setting up lessons for your child and giving them a due date to complete them. You can customize each child’s screen with fun colors, something I know my girls really loved!

Another amazing feature is that you can purchase a membership for 1 child, or 2 or more- up to TEN children! That is just beyond awesome for families like mine that tend to be considered a bit non the larger side 😉 All of the kids using just one curriculum can be a life saver- I just go to one site and get everyone set up for the week and off they go I love that about CTCMath. Very, very user friendly as well.

Setting up an account was easy, and you’ll need to set up both student and parent accounts. I love having a parent accout where I can check in and see how everyone is doing all in one place. Next, you get started with your lessons. First you’ll watch the short instructional video. The videos can be watched and re-watched as many times as the student needs to, so if they aren’t quite grasping something the review can be very helpful. After the video portion of the lesson, you have a couple of options. You can either do the questions online and the program will tell you which you got wrong/right or you can print off a worksheet to do offline. We chose to print the worksheets, complete those, and then do the questions online to show me what they had (or hadn’t) grasped).

We have really loved this curriculum. I have had a few times where I wish there were just a few more worksheets for each topic available when we had someone struggling with a specific operation, but I was able to find or create my own that would work to give that little bit of extra help to my struggler. That’s absolutely my only one wish with the entire curriculum. Other than that oe tiny thing, we have loved it and very much enjoyed using CTCMAth.

CTCMath Review
Crew Disclaimer

Asian Dumplings Cookbook Review

I loved this book, I had absolutely no idea that there were so many dumplings out there in the world! I was sadly mistaken about the possibilities, so I am very happy that I picked this book to review. It’s laid out very well with a very nice introduction that covers equipment is essential to have and which is not necessary but nice to have on hand. Then there is a breakdown on ingredients, what they are, how to get them and so on. I found this especially helpful. Moving on there is a section explaining and over viewing cooking techniques that you will need to use and finally some tips and tricks to ensure successful cookery. 

From there you travel through the many shapes that dumplings come in and explore their many fillings. We tried to make a new recipe at least once a week and had fun not only trying to make them, but tasting our way through the world as well. Wonderful book, fantastic recipes, many amazing memories made.