ArtAchieve Review

Art is such an important way of working the mind and using your creativity in new ways! I firmly believe that homeschool families should be teaching some form of art in their curriculum. But, if you are like me and DO NOT have an artistic bone in your body, how do you teach art exactly? I always felt at a loss here. I’m very crafty with my hands, but I never felt like I knew how or what to try to teach. When the opportunity came along to review the Entire Level I course from ArtAchieve I wondered if this would be a good fit for us. Read on to see what I thought!


Art Lessons for Children ArtAchieve Review
ArtAchieve is an online art curriculum. The lessons are presented to you and all you need to do is print out the things you’ll need and supply some very basic art supplies. We gathered up black fine tipped markers, crayons, markers, colored pencils, oil pastels and acrylic paint. We had 90% of it in our home and during a trip to town I was able to pick up the couple of things that we didn’t have very inexpensively at our local mega mart. No expensive or hard to find items needed! I really loved that.

Art Lessons for Children ArtAchieve Review 
Something I want to be sure to point out is that there are several FREE lessons in each level available that you can try out and see if you like available when you click on the link above. We decided to do level I because I consider everyone in my home an art beginner. There are two additional levels that you can choose if you have more advanced art abilities. The free lessons are a great place to decide what lessons will be best for you. The lessons are aimed at people 6 to adult, so they are really something the entire family can be involved with if you wanted (and we did!).

Each lessons works the same way. It takes about 45-60 minutes to complete. First, you print off the warm-up exercise and the print of the drawing for the lesson.

Next, you watch the lessons. Each comes as a video or as a power point. We watched the videos. Mr. Hofland will give a little talk about the subject you are working on (there are several- geckos, cats, bugs, etc) and shows you the original work that inspired the lesson. Our favorite parts were seeing the original artworks and the relaxation exercises! It was a lot of fun.

The printed off warm-up is done first. You will copy lines into a blank box, trying to copy the lines in the box above you. This gets you ready to make the shapes and lines that you will need to do the lesson. The next part is doing the actual lesson and coloring or painting it in.

These turned out so amazing! My girls were so proud of themselves for the art that they were able to create all on their own.

As a mom who is not artistic in this way, I was very appreciative for all of the tools and ways that making and teaching art to our kids was offered in this curriculum. It was so effortless and it didn’t cost an arm and a leg, which I have been afraid of when looking at other art curriculum options.

This was fun, it was relaxing, and it was hugely popular with the whole family. I was very pleased with this and we have been having a blast using the courses this summer. If you’d like to see what the other levels looked like and what my fellow reviewers thought of ArtAchieve, you can click the banner below.

Art Lessons for Children ArtAchieve Review
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Patriotic Penmanship {Transitioning to Cursive} Review

We feel that teaching cursive is important in our homeschool and so, we were very excited to have the chance to review this fun workbook. Patriotic Penmanship (Transitioning to Cursive) by Laurelwood Books is a fun and exciting way to transition from manuscript to cursive.

This workbook has a unique way of teaching cursive that I just LOVED! Instead of just having the copywork in cursive, this book has the copywork for your child to copy in plain manuscript, then on the same page it will have the same copywork in cursive. This helps kids actually read what they are copying. I know when we have tried to teach cursive, our kids have had a hard time reading what they have written. That’s the hardest part of it for them it seems so this is a nice way to teach it and to have the children actually know what they are writing.

This book doesn’t have a specific grade assigned to it specifically, so you would need to judge if it is right for your child. If you don’t think that it’s a good fit- that’s ok! Patriotic Penmanship is a series of books with offerings from Kindergarten through High school, so there really is a book for everyone at any stage along the way. I loved that!



Latin and Penmanship {Laurelwood Books Review}

This book has 20 lessons and each lesson is 2 pages long. For the duration of this review period, we chose to do two lessons a week with one page per day. So we used this 4 days a week and took Friday’s off. You could do only one lesson a week or one lesson (both pages) a day depending on how fast or how slow you wanted to go through this. Since it is summer, we took a more laid back approach than I would have during the “regular” school year.

Why is it so important to teach cursive? I hear and see this question get asked a lot and I’m often surprised by the numbers of people who don’t think that it is something important to learn. My answer is simple. How can we expect children (or anyone for that matter) to read and understand the documents that are so important to our country if they cannot read cursive? How can they sign on the dotted line to buy a house or sign any other legal document? It’s so important that children learn to read and write cursive so that they can read and interpret important pieces of history for themselves.

The passages in this workbook are a mix between quotes from famous people, including Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Hale and bible verses. I understand why the bible verses were in there and I am usually a huge fan of scriptures as copywork, but I would have loved to have seen this be all quotes from people who were instrumental in the United States’ history in some way. I think that was more of what I expected, so although I wasn’t disappointed I did feel like it could have been more patriotic in that respect.

I did LOVE this workbook and intend to order some more of them for our homeschool. If you would like to see what other Laurelwood books fellow members of the Review Crew had a chance to try out, you can click on the link below.


Latin and Penmanship {Laurelwood Books Review}
Crew Disclaimer Lifetime Membership Review

I’m very excited to share with you a fantastic resource for your homeschool! offered the Review Crew access to their Lifetime Membership for review and boy, did we use it a lot. There are notebooking (and more) pages for just about anything you can think of, which is good when you are trying to add to or flesh out a topic you’re working on. But it’s more than just notebooking pages and I’m so pleased to be able to share with you about them today.


Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership Reviews

For some of my kids, this was a first. For others, they were old pros and these pages worked equally well for both. The account set up was simple, and after I had that taken care of I hopped on to do a bit of looking around. The first thing I noticed was the massive amounts of topics and styles there are to choose from. There are totally blank pages, pages with borders, coloring pages, pages that have some info on them already, copyworking pages, and more! There are pages that are just lined and pages with a place for a younger child to draw a picture to illustrate a thought, person, or as an answer.

There are even 3-D pages, but we haven’t tried one of those out yet, but I’m planning on fixing that soon.

To get started, I let the kids pick out a few things that they were interested in and a few things that they were interested in for fun. Now, notebooking isn’t going to be for everyone. I had a feeling that some of my kids would do better with notebooking than others and I wasn’t wrong. However, I do think it’s important to occasionally use them in our homeschool for the kids that DON’T really like them because they need to learn to use all sorts of resources in their learning. That being said, we were split down the middle with 2 kids loving these and 2 kids rushing through them to get done as quick as possible.


Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership Reviews

If you’re wondering what notebooking pages actually *DO* in your homeschool, let me fill you in! If your child uses notebooking pages during their study of a topic, they can create a spectacularly BEAUTIFUL portfolio of a subject. This could be really helpful if you need to turn in samples of work or create portfolios in your homeschool anyway.

Be forewarned! There are A LOT of choices and the website is GIANT. You can feel pretty overwhelmed with choices, (or at least I did), so try to focus on one subject or topic at a time while you’re looking through and try not to get bogged down from all of the choices.

I’ve been printing pages off almost daily for the kids that dig them and we have been trying all sorts of styles and types. Coloring pages have been popular with the kids who aren’t fans of the writing and typical notebooking pages, so we have had those in the car for road trips, so that has been a lot of fun.

I encourage you to look through the website and see if you think it will work for you. If you feel like it does, you may want to consider purchasing the lifetime membership. For $97, you can gain access to all of the material that is currently available as well as any of the new material that is added in the future. This would be a really great deal if you are just starting out or are new in your homeschool journey.

You can visit the site and try out the FREE sampler (over 600 items in it) to see if it would be a good fit for you!

Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership Reviews
I’ve enjoyed using in our daily school and if you’d like to see how other reviewers liked and used the pages, you can read through some more reviews by clicking the link below.

Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership Reviews
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Forbrain- Sound For Life LTD Review


Forbrain – Sound For Life Ltd Review
We had the unique opportunity to try out and review for a product called Forbrain from Forbrain-Sound For Life LTD. This is a headset that uses some pretty amazing technology. Through brain conduction and dynamic filters, it helps to retrain your brain to hear and speak more clearly. This headset can help with so many things! From improving pronunciation (which is where we were looking for help!) to improving long term memory, this headset is built to use your own voice and the vibrations through the bones just in front of your ears to reprogram your brain.

The twins have some speech issues that we have been working on, but that seem to be very slow to improve. The idea is that with this headset, the user will wear it 15-20 minutes a day, every day while doing their normal activities. We chose to have each of the twins wear it for the specified time each day during school hours so that they could do their everyday activities and work. Over the course of the review period, we have seen improvement!

The headset is simple to wear. It looks and feels just like any other set of headphones, with the exception that the earpieces go in FRONT of the ear, and not into the ear itself. The headset also has an adjustable microphone that sits at the mouth level and when you speak, not only do your HEAR yourself, but you also FEEL yourself speak. This was the most amazing part for our kids. They would say a word, then hear me say the word correctly and they could not only hear the difference, but also feel it. This made trying to understand how to form the words and speak them with correct pronunciation easier and less frustrating for them. A lot of the time, we wouldn;t even have to point out that it was spoken incorrectly, they would say, “No, that’s not right.” and try again.

Forbrain – Sound For Life Ltd Review
We will continue to use this headset, and not just for the kids! My husband spends a fair amount of time with customers on the phone and knows that he tends to speak too quickly. After using the headset for a while at home, he is improving his customer service by recognizing when and how he is rushing through and speaking too quickly. I have used the headset and know know that I tend to speak too quietly and string a lot of words together! It’s really an amazing tool that is beneficial to my entire family. The twins look forward to using it during the day and often ask for a little extra time later in the day.

If you would like to see what others members of the review crew thought about their Forbrain, and how they used it, you can check out their links by clicking the banner below. I have read through a few of them and I am amazed at the creativity and the many, many ways this product can be used and even enjoyed while helping your brain to train itself. It’s honestly just amazing!


Forbrain – Sound For Life Ltd Review
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MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs Review

Over the last few weeks, some of my kids have been using the MaxScholar program. This program offers many activities to build and solidify reading skills within the MaxScholar Reading Intervention Program.


MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs Review
MaxScholar is a unique program that focuses on helping children improve their reading. I don’t really think any of my children *need* reading intervention, but I do have two who are having a difficult time moving on past some basic words and their phonics just never really took off the way I had with my previous kids. So, because of that we chose to use the MaxPhonics K-2 program to specifically address those concerns I was having.

However, MaxScholar is a comprehensive, multisensory program that uses the Orton-Gillingham approach to phonics, which has been wildly successful for many years making it a perfect program for those children who DO have learning difficulties, auditory processing disorders, Autism, ADHD, or dyslexia.

MaxScholar was super simple for me to set up, and I loved that we could use it on any device we had. That made it easy for me because I could get each of the two kids going on their Kindles while we used the laptop for other schooling needs. Win-Win for everyone!

Most of our time was spent on the MaxPhonics area of the lessons, because that is where the need was, and each lesson was broken down into several short segments. The phonics lessons are very good about focusing on the letters and not rushing through them too quickly. I really appreciated that since we had used a program that rushed through the phonics sounds without waiting for mastery and this caused so much frustration. It was very difficult to go on when you didn’t understand what you had just been taught, so I loved that MaxPhoncs takes it’s time and includes so many elements to each lesson.

For example, each lessons starts with showing the child a letter or letters on the screen on what looks like a flashcard and tells them what the letter s and what sound it makes. Next, it will show them a picture of something that uses those letters, like a picture of an Apple for the letter A. The lady will again tell your child what sound it makes. After this they are asked to use their finger or mouse to write the letter or letters on the screen.



The writing part was so helpful for my kids because they were DOING it and SAYING it and it helped to cement into their brains that A says AHHHH and it’s written like this. The multi-sensory approach really helped to make it make sense this time around and I absolutely loved it!

After they did the letter writing practice, there was a game. For the letter A, the children were asked to pick out the pictures that started with letter A. My girls thought this was the most fun and they just loved doing it. I thought it was an excellent way to cement in the concept while having fun, too.

Because we aren’t quite reading yet, I didn’t spend enough time over on the MaxReading side of the program, but I am so looking forward to seeing more of that in  the coming weeks as we advance out of MaxPhonics. I was overall very pleased with the program. It’s simple to set up, it’s very easy to use, and it kept the attention of the kids so they looked forward to it rather than dreading it. In some ways, it seemed like more of a game to them than actual school work so they have been “playing” with it outside of the required time as well.



MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs Review
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