Tag Archives: PK/K

Reading Eggs for all things reading (plus some math) ~ a Crew review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Reading Eggs is an online program that many are familiar with. It is hard to go very long in the online education world without coming across this program from Blake eLearning Inc. There is a reason for this – their products do a very good of just what they are supposed to do: support students in the many different aspects of reading (aka language arts) and math (for their math component). I was so pleasantly surprised last time we used the program and we were pleased to take a look at it again this summer.

Reading Eggs site has programs for ages 2-13, depending on the child and family choice. These programs can be accessed through an internet browser or their new app, including iOs and Android apps. We typically use the browser but I have downloaded the Android app and it works pretty well. There are five programs in the Reading Eggs company:

1: Reading Eggs Junior – ages 2-4: toddler games, songs, and activities designed to build pre-reading skills such as alphabet knowledge and phonetic awareness

2: Reading Eggs – ages 3-7: games, activities, and books to work on reading and language arts skills such as reading comprehension, phonics, spelling, and vocabulary

3: Fast Phonics – ages 5-10: helps instruct students in all 26 letters of the alphabet and the 44 sounds in English while reinforcing reading and spelling (Note on site says it moves more quickly than Reading Eggs so they recommend not trying this any earlier than age 5)

4: Reading Eggspress – ages 7-13: students build skills in reading comprehension, spelling, and vocabulary while reading real books

5: Math Seeds – ages 3-9: students work on their core math skills and problem solving skills

There are so many highly engaging activities that the students really seem to stay involved in the learning process and are motivated to do their best by an integrated reward system. This reward system allows them to earn eggs for payment towards upgrading their avatar, the avatar’s home, and pets. This is a safe online place for the student to learn while playing.

Miss J has used this some this summer to keep her “thinking cap” on. She is working at a 6th grade level and is 11 years old. She has worked in the Reading Eggspress portion of the program. As you can see, she was on 150 for this screenshot.

She enters and chooses the lesson to work on for the day.

We required one lesson to be completed each time she logged in before she could do any of the other games or spend time on her avatar and home. These lessons could be really quick (15-20 minutes) if the book she was working with wasn’t too challenging. Most times, though, it took a bit longer than that.

Each lesson had multiple parts to it, as you can see on the left hand side of the image below. For examples, on lesson 150, she had to look at the cover of the story and answer questions based on the cover. She had to do a dictionary activity and then work on “who, what, where, and what.” Following that, there was an activity on making inferences and a fill in the blank acticity. Next she had to work on words in context and a reading comprehension activity. Finally, she had to complete a quiz related to all of the previous activities. If she was unable to complete them all during her time, it would allow her to pick up where she left off so no work was lost.

She didn’t mind it too much but it definitely was not as engaging for her this year as it was last time we used the program. She did like the races that she got to do on spelling and word forms in the stadium after she finished her lesson and she absolutely adored getting to play with her avatar’s home. But, she is definitely at the upper end of the appeal for Reading Eggs.

One thing I plan to have her use more often this fall is new to the Reading Eggs family. In Math Seeds, you will find Mental Minute. This is a one minute challenge of math facts. This is an area that most students need to shore up a bit so we will be having her log into this area once or twice a week. She will need to work in both the addition and subtraction section, as well as the multiplication and division area.

Between the programs that have been around for a long time with Reading Eggs and their new ones such as Fast Phonics and the Mental Minute, there is a good bit to continue challenging your student from their very young preschool years up through their middle school years. Add to it the easy access for the parents to see what kind of growth is being made and this is a great program. As you can see, growth is shown from the dashboard in various areas.

The Homeschool Review Crew has had a number of families using Reading Eggs from Blake eLearning Inc. You can read reviews of their experiences with students of all ages by visiting the Crew website and choosing several other reviewers to read.

Lori, At Home.

PandaParents MESSYLEARNING ~ a Crew review


Preschool and kindergarten learning was a few years ago for our family but I am still often asked about programs that are out there. PandaParents is one of those. This company send me three months, or “courses”, in PDF version of their program MESSYLEARNING FOR PRESCHOOLERS AND KINDERGARTNERS.

PandaParents has a few basic ideas that guide their creation of materials. The company wants to promote learning that helps complex brain function. They focus on reading, writing, and STEM activities and building fine motor skills. They do this while working to decrease screen dependent learning and minimize rote memorization.

MESSYLearning is not about creating an area that looks like a tornado has gone through (though it might if your preschooler is anything like mine were at learning times at that age!). Rather MESSY is an acronym.
M – mixed subjects, integrated learning
E – engaging activities
S – simple steps
S – smart designs with creative learning
Y – Yeah! a new way to promote preschool STEM learning

MESSY Learning

Each course of the program has a book, a video, and a workbook. I received PDFs of each of these for three courses: A Jolly Jingling Journey, Mommy’s Baby, and Scotty Skunk Hears a Scary Sound.

A Jolly Jingling Journey – This is the story of Davy and his pets as they travel to the North Pole in search of Santa. After finding Santa, they have to find the reindeer. The story highlights words that begin with the letter J. Each page of the eBook and video have the words of the story at the bottom. There are several sentences per page, which is a bit much and a small font for this age group. Some of the concepts and ideas covered include:

  • letter J
  • migration
  • patterns
  • seek and find/matching
  • science of moving in snow and ice
  • reindeer
  • counting

This story has two videos. The first one focuses on the letter J. It is about 10 minutes. The second is the story to go along with the book. It is mostly the story being read, showing the storybook page and a few animations along the way. It is really quite long for this age at just over 38 minutes.

Jingle workbook pages

The workbook to go along with this is about 40 pages and is full color. It includes activities for

  • story recall
  • counting
  • order, sequences
  • tracing
  • animals and their tracks
  • feelings and emotions
  • fast/slow
  • and much, much more.

Mommy’s Baby – In this story, it is bedtime for Amanda. She doesn’t want to go to sleep but mommy goes through a story with her. The story is made up of the question “Are you mommy’s little ___________________?” and the answer, “I am your little __________________.” At the end of the story there are some “extra credit” questions that have the reader looking for how many of something can be found, looking for shapes, or answering a question about the story. The pages are nice and bright, with a large font that is easy to read and for the preschool student to see. There are just a few words on each page.

Mommy's Baby page

The video for Mommy’s Baby is right about the perfect length at around 5 minutes. It goes through the story and shows the pages of the storybook while reading it out loud.

The workbook for Mommy’s Baby is about 40 pages and is full color. The activities cover letters P, T, X, and B. It covers memory, tracing, patterns, and feelings. In science it talks about living vs non-living and all different kinds of animal tails and their uses. There is some matching, big/small comparisons, and shapes.

Scotty Skunk page

Scotty Skunk Hears a Scary Sound – Scotty Skunk is awoken from his winter sleep when spring arrives by a sound. What sound? The baby birds so he decides he must find a quiet place for his home. As he finds each new home, a new sound startles him and a new season finds him in a new place. This story teaches the letter S and touches on seasons, emotions, and transportation (train, tractor, sailboat, firetruck, etc.). It has bright pages with several sentences per page, written across the bottom of the page.

The video for Scotty Skunk is pretty long at about 32 minutes. It has some introductory material, like introducing the children and going to a classroom, that is about half the video before getting to the story.

The workbook is a 51 page file in full color. It covers

  • S and H
  • colors
  • tracing
  • number sequence
  • seasons
  • story sequences
  • letter mazes
  • animal homes/habitats
  • shapes

There are also some crafts in this workbook such as making a sailboat, painting, and creating a home for Scotty.


My Thoughts:

This is a bright, whimsical program. It covers a lot of material and has had a lot of thought put into each piece of the program. The integration of various concepts and subject areas helps students transfer information better and learn problem solving. Creating a book, video, and workbook also ties in a few of the different styles of learning. Adding in some physical movement activities would be fantastic.

I think this will appeal to many preschoolers but I feel much of the activity is too easy for kindergartners. At least in the way it is presented here. My girls were all beyond this material by the time they were 5 so I feel like this is a good preschool program but it would definitely bear looking at to see if it would fit your 5 or older student.

Also, consider whether this style of animation is right for your child. I had my girls look at it with me to get their thoughts on the animations and drawings since they help care for preschoolers on a weekly basis. I asked them whether they thought the children they work with would enjoy these. They felt like most of the children would not care for it; they felt the videos were silly and wouldn’t keep the kids’ attention. They thought some of the characters were somewhat scary to look at with their lopsided and unmatched eyes.

The workbooks are my biggest hangup with this program. I would not be able to justify printing these workbooks at a office place and we only have black-and-white here at the house. Many of these activities would not work as a black-and-white. Also, I would have to purchase sticker paper for some of the activities or make it work with a cut-and-paste approach. If I chose to print the workbook. But if I didn’t, I would need to do these at a computer screen which brings me to my next concern.

One of the big parts of PandaParents  is wanting to get kids away from screens. As the program was presented to me, at this point, it does not do that. The book is a PDF, the video is online, and because I would not be able to print large parts of the workbook, I would need to do some of the activities with the child at a screen. This program would definitely work better as a physical product, rather than an online/downloadable program. I understand that is in the works.

There is much to be admired in this program and I think it fits a need. The themed story, video, and workbook is a great combo.

At Home.

Some of the Homeschool Review Crew families had kids in the right age for this program and used it with them. Definitely go check out what they and their kids thought of PandaParents.


Night Night Farm ~ a review and giveaway

night night farm giveaway

Sweet bedtime books are just about my favorites. Especially for newborns and infants. I was given Night Night Farm by Amy Parker, illustrated by Virginia Allyn to review for Flyby Promotions.

This board book is just perfect for cuddling with your sweet little one as sleepytime approaches. Featuring bright, vibrant images and cheerful, rhyming verse, Night Night Farm brings nighttime to the farm and to your home. With all the animals small children love – cows, pigs, horses, owls, cats, sheep and chickens – saying good night has never been more fun. Your children will revel in the antics the animal babies go through on their way to bed.

night night farm inside

As the farm says “good night,” each animal prominently takes the time to say good night in their own special ways. From getting their baths (messy little pigs!) to a sweet lullaby (sung by mama cow) to snuggling down with daddy to watch over (as daddy owl does), the farm goes through the same bedtime routine each little boy or girl does.  But my very favorite part is the last page where the reader, or listener, is reminded that God made not only these very special animals who each have their own special place on the farm but he made the special listener or reader as well. And it is important to say “good night” to God, too.

I would definitely be happy giving this book as a gift to a family who is expecting a new baby sometime soon. Vibrant, fun, and colorful, Night Night Farm by Amy Parker is a joy.

At Home.


night night farm win a copy

About the Author:

Amy Parker’s children’s books have sold more than 800,000 copies including two Christian Retailing’s Best award-winning books and the bestselling A Night Night Prayer. She lives outside Nashville with her husband and two children.

You can purchase this book online at this retailer:  http://bit.ly/Blogging-NNF

Facebook @AmyParkerAuthor

Facebook @TommyNelsonBooks

Twitter @AmyParker

Twitter @TommyNelson

Instagram  @TommyNelsonBooks

Pinterest Tommy-Nelson- Books



Want to Win a Copy? There will be one winner of Night Night Farm and this is open to residents of the US or Canada. The form will be open from 8/12/2016 through 8/20/2016. Here’s the nitty-gritty requirements posting:

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Click below to be taken to the Rafflecopter form for this giveaway.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be A Star! Reading Chart

Here is the next installment of reading charts. I have this set for 10 books a week because that is what the goal is for J. Please leave me a comment if you would like for these to not designate a length of time in which to read the books and I’ll leave it off of the next one so it is more useable for you.

Be A Star!

Be a Star Reading chart by At Home: where life happensBe A Star reading chart PDF
(click above for a printable PDF file of the chart)

At Home.

H is for … hear, see, smell, taste, touch

H Christmas senses book

Today, we tackled the five senses with J, who is five. Both of her sisters made a senses book for Christmas when they were about five and she wanted to make one, too. So, we worked together to create a book similar to what they had done.

H layered book


We started off by making the book. We got five pieces of construction paper – red, white, green, pink, and gold. We laid them down in layers so that a small piece of each color was showing. Carefully, we folded it over so that more layers were created. Then, we stapled it.

J chose the words for each sense and I typed them up. H Christmas book words Print your copy by clicking here: At Christmas book PDF


After printing them, she cut the pieces of the sentences apart.

H cutting words


She then put the sentences together and glued them down on pages.

H cut and paste

After gluing the sentences down, she picked items to illustrate each of the sentences.

H items

And here is the finished product.

H Christmas Senses

Finding the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures of the season brought a lot of fun and joy into our day. At Home.

J is for J’s Jewel Box

J - jewel box

No, it is not a box for real jewels or gems. It is a box full of fun, educational activities that J can do by herself. It is full of things that encourage her to use her imagination and play. It is full of toys and books and dolls and games and letters and numbers and whatever else I decide to throw in there for the week (or the month or for however long I leave them in this time).

As we began our homeschool adventure last summer/fall, I was looking for a way to encourage J to entertain herself that would be a challenging, educational “something” for her to do. Some people call these sorts of things “All By Myself” boxes. Or maybe “busy bags.” This is somewhat along the same line but I didn’t want these things to be completely dictated to her about how to use them. So, maybe they are more along the lines of what some folks call “invitations” for play or exploration.

Here, J is playing with dry pinto beans and a tractor. She created a whole story about what she was doing and why and what it was for. No direction for me for her play. Exploration, creativity, imagination.

J - J playing

What all is there –

We bought a large box, probably about 15 gallons, that has easy lock handles on the sides. This was so that she could open it up by herself AND, more importantly, put it away by herself. This holds the big stuff, the baggies of smaller things, the books, or whatever else is going to be in the Jewel Box for now.

In the big box:J - big box

  • Board books with opposites, numbers, letters, shapes, and colors
  • Bible picture pairs game
  • large numbers 1 – 10
  • matching game for numbers 1 – 20
  • Dear Zoo book and giraffe
  • Stamp Marker activity pad
  • jacks
  • little dolls
  • tractor
  • counting bears and cards to work
  • pattern matching cards
  • building set from a kid’s meal somewhere
  • shapes that her older sister made for her to practice with
  • fishing game for ABCs
  • some easy reader books from Reading the Alphabet
  • the letter B matching activity and phonics work

These are the things that are in there right now. These get changed out from week to week or month to month for anything and everything I can find that might encourage J to work on her own or work on a concept that she is about to learn or one that she might need practice with. I find things at the dollar stores, garage sales, the toy box, the bookshelf – everywhere! Just keep your eyes open and you’ll find lots of things in your home that could work for something like this.


We also bought 3 small boxes with the same easy lock handles that hold things like dry beans, rice, cotton balls, pompoms, foam stickers, polished rocks, marbles, and more. I only have 3 of these so that there isn’t too much separation that has to happen at clean up time.

In the small boxes:J - small boxes

  • blue – thick foam stickers in a winter theme (this one hasn’t been changed for a LONG time!)
  • purple – dry beans
  • pink – cotton balls (had some small glittery hearts in there for February)
  • (Middle row left to right) small bits of paper the girls colored and cut to be ice cream toppings
  • pompoms
  • acorns, leaves, and pumpkins – small acrylic things I found at Target’s dollar spot
  • polished rocks
  • (Bottom row left to right) marbles
  • popcorn
  • colored rice

**Please use caution when choosing the items to go in these if they are left where small children are or you have a child who might want to put these things in their mouths. Every child is different and these work for my kids but I do pick them up when we have others over so that the temptation is not there for someone else’s child.**

J - containers

We also collected a mish-mash of containers – old parmesan cheese canister, the little bubble gum egg cartons from Easter, a large dish packer (looks like an egg crate for ostrich eggs!), mini M&M canisters. We put in whatever we could find. I also put in a set of plastic tweezers that had a little red light on the end that lit up when it was closed.

How we used it –

When I needed time to work with the older two giggly girls, J was asked to go play at her Jewel Box. This was time for her to guide her own choices. She could use the items in the box however she wanted as long as she did it quietly. Sometimes, she would ask for help to know how to play a game or do an activity for real and I would tell her and show her. Most of the time, she used her imagination and came up with ways to learn and play all on her own. She seldom had to play there for more than an hour by herself because her sisters really wanted to play there, too. So, they would work harder to get their part done and then ask if they could go play with J in her Jewel Box.

This summer, it is still being used every single day, though it is all her choice to use it for the summer. It is not at all uncommon for all three giggly girls to be sitting around the Jewel Box, creating some play scenario and having a good time. At Home.


This post is linked up with ABC Blogging on Ben and Me.

Ben and Me


H is for Hueco Indians

H - Hueco Indians

We are currently working on a review for Moving Beyond the Page that focuses on Native Americans. In the first lesson, we were asked to explore local Native American tribes. So, we took off to the Mayborn Museum and searched the internet to see what we could find about this little known subset of Caddo Indians.

The Hueco Indians were a relatively small group of Indians. They are part of the Wichita Indians that were pushed south into Central Texas. The Wichita Indians are part of the larger Caddo Indians, if I followed it all correctly. From spring to fall, they lived in large grass huts that were 30-40 feet high and 20-30 feet across. They farmed and raised crops on about 250 acres. These crops included melons, pumpkins, corn, squash, and beans. When the weather turned colder, they closed up their grass huts and became nomadic for the winter. They followed the buffalo, hunting them and moving around as Plains Indians. They lived in teepees and moved their belongings as needed to hunt the buffalo. As the spring returned, they also returned to their grass huts to begin farming once more.

At The Mayborn

H - grass hut

H - inside grass hut 2 H - inside of grass hut

H - computer questH - teepeeH - buffalo

On The Internet

Information on the Hueco Indians is difficult to find, since they were such a regionalized group and very small. The best information we found indicates that there were only about 250 members of this group and they lived in one village of about 150-200 and another small village of about 50 that was close by.

What we did find is located on the Texas Indians site.

We researched George Catlin a bit since he spent so much of his life living with the Native Americans and painting scenes of their lives. He did spent some time with the Hueco Indians so it was interesting to see a painting that documents their life. We found copies of the paintings on the Wichita Indians page of the Texas Indians site.

We also visited the George Catlin Complete Works site. It was interesting to see all of his work, though the paintings attributed to him on the other site is not found on the Complete Works site, which I found odd. Also, a word of caution – there are some graphic depictions of rituals in a few of the paintings so you may want to pick and choose what your students see.


We had fun with this short mini unit on a local Native American tribe. What tribes are close to you? Have you spent any time studying them? We are going to be working on Native Americans most of the summer with mini units like this and are looking for others to study. Please share ideas with us! At Home.


Linking up with ABC Blogging at Ben and Me.

Ben and Me
Also linking up with Field Trip Friday over at Chestnut Grove Academy.

  Chestnut Grove Academy Field Trip Friday Blog Hop

We were featured!

Ben and Me

A Review – LearningPalette.com

LearningPalette title

Are you familiar with Learning Wrap ups? This is a company that created a unique product years ago to help students learn concepts in any area, from math facts to vocabulary words to music theory to Spanish and more. The product is a plastic card, shaped somewhat like a key with a string attached to it. The student uses the string to connect two things that match or the problem to the answer. The student can then turn it over and self-check the answers. This is a fantastic product and we use a number of these in our home.

Learning Wrap-Ups Review

So, when it was announced that Learning Wrap Ups had created a new product, the Learning Palette, and they would be offering an online version so we could have access to all levels of it, we were really excited. We were selected to review LearningPalette.com and the girls were very excited. Jumping up and down excited.

LearningPalette.com is marketed for users in kindergarten up through 5th grade, though the younger end of this group (especially non-readers) will need a significant amount of adult help since there is no audio for instructions. It is a full online family subscription for all levels of reading and math palettes, for up to 5 users, for a full year. The cost of this subscription is $59.99 for the year.

LearningPalette.com works like this. Go to their website and login. The student then chooses if they are going to work on math or reading. From there, the student chooses the level they are going to work on and the card that comes next in their series. Then, click load! and off they go.

The student matches the problem or question from the center of the palette to the correct color marker. The student then moves that color marker to the corresponding answer. For example, using the picture below, the student would determine that 8+7=15 and that problem has a solid red circle next to it. The student would then locate the solid red circle on the left, click it to move it and click it again in the circle next to 15 to drop it there.

palette example

This was easy for the oldest giggly girl, at age 10, to understand and use. It was much more difficult however for the middle giggly girl, at age 8, to use. The youngest giggly girl, at age 5, could not do it without a parent sitting right there helping her know which problem she was working on and helping her check which marker she was using for which answer. Additionally, the instructions are often difficult for the student to see and understand so a parent will need to be close by to help the student know what she is supposed to do on each card.

using palette

The girls were really excited to use LearningPalette.com at the beginning. In fact, I was going to ask not to be put on the review until the oldest giggly girl saw the sample. When she saw it, she got very excited and worked with the sample for a long time, just for fun. All three of the girls were excited to use it for a while. However, the enjoyment of it quickly wore off, especially if it was not a review card they were working on. If the card contained information that was not simple for them, it was not an enjoyable activity for anyone. By the end, the product was one that no one wanted to use anymore.

The concept for LearningPalette.com is a good one, in my opinion. I think what is missing is the ease of use. It takes work, even for me as an adult, to make sure that I am choosing the correct marker for the correct problem and putting it in the correct answer. That work is not “do I have the right answer?” or “do I know how to do this problem?” The work is simply “do I have the right color?” , “is it supposed to be solid or have a hole in the middle?”, and “did I put it in the right place?” That makes it not so much fun.

Another frustration that we encountered over and over was the program marking the answer wrong when it was right. This happened on a number of cards in both the math and reading sections of the program. When the card was redone, with the same answers, it might mark it correct that time. There was no way of knowing if you were going to get marked one way or another and the girls began asking if everything was actually right, even when there were checks on each of the problems to indicate it was correct.

This is a program that might work better for us if we focused on using it only for “fun time” and “reinforcement”.  In my opinion, it does not work as an instructional program but rather as a practice program. We will continue to use it sporadically as a game and something fun to use to do review on concepts the giggly girls already know.

If you are looking for an online program, I encourage you to head over to LearningPalette.com and sign up for their demo. See if it is a good fit for your family. Learning Wrap ups is currently offering a coupon code for 20% off of the full price of $59.99 if you use the code HOMESCHOOL when you sign up for a year. That is a fantastic deal!

At Home.


Others on the Review Crew were given physical products to use and review. You can find reviews for the physical products, as well as others who used LearningPalette.com, by clicking on the banner below and visiting the Review Crew blog.


Click to read Crew Reviews

Crew Disclaimer

A Review – Kinder Cottage Publishing

Kinder Cottage title

Kinder Cottage Publishing presents Peter Rabbit in a new/old way. Using peter Rabbit stories in the public domain from the Henry Altemus Company’s 1927 edition, Peter Rabbit comes to life in an unexpected way. Beautiful pictures and delightful text give Peter Rabbit a whole new life in the Kinder Cottage books.

 Kinder Cottage Review

We were sent two books, How Peter Rabbit Went to Sea and Peter Rabbit’s Birthday, from the set of 10 Peter Rabbit books published by Kinder Cottage. Recommended for ages 3-9, each book is priced at $4, so these beautiful stories are fairly inexpensive. These hardback books are about 5″ x 7″, the perfect size for little hands to hold and look through. These lovely books are well made and will withstand some rougher use, though they are not board books so the pages will tear if handled too roughly.

Sea a

How Peter Rabbit Went To Sea

Not familiar with this particular Peter Rabbit story? I wasn’t either but I kinda fell in love with it. This is a typical Peter Rabbit tale, in that Peter disregards his mother’s warnings, disobeys, and comes into some trouble. In true Peter Rabbit style, he manages to get out of it and regrets making the choices.

sea b

In this story, Peter is warned not to play by the brook but like all little boys, he wants to play pirate and the best place to do so is near water. So, he disregard the instructions his mother gave him. He makes a boat (I love his ingenuity at this point but don’t want to give away how he goes about it) and sails on the river. He gets swept out to sea and encounters a number of creatures. One of the creatures, a sea gull, picks Peter up to show to his children but Peter is able to trick him and end up back in his little boat. He manages to return home, where he is so repentant that he asks his mother to put him straight to bed, declaring “I don’t ever want to try to be a Pirate again.”

Birthday a

Peter Rabbit’s Birthday

This sweet little 64 page book is number 7 of the 10 set series but there is no need to read them in order. Once again we find Peter striving to be helpful and kind, doing exactly what he is supposed to do. It is his birthday and his mother and sisters want it to be a special day. As is typical, we find Peter getting into mischief before the day has hardly begun, tipping over a bowl full of flour. He is sent out to invite his friends to his birthday party that afternoon, so he sets out. Along the way, he encounters many friends and has some adventures. He ends up getting some help to make it home in time for his birthday party, where he and all his friends celebrate with yummy treats and a lovely party.

birthday b

What We Thought

E – age 10 – I liked that the books were kind of like two stories in one. I liked Peter Rabbit. He is funny and he gets into all sorts of funny trouble.

L – age 8 – It was okay. The stories were good.

J – age 5 – I liked them! I liked that he was mischevious. (Yes, she actually said that herself and it reflects very well her own personality.) I like the party, and the boy, and the animals. I liked that he got into trouble. I liked that his sisters helped his mom.

My own thoughts – These are sweet little books that really do a good job of capturing the girls’ attention. After we read them together, the girls would take them out on their own to read. I have caught them reading these books more than once. I am pleased with the text and personally, I love the drawings. They are old-fashioned but I love that! These will stay on our shelves and I know they will be loved.


To Order From Kinder Cottage Publishing

Visit Kinder Cottage Publishing at http://KinderCottage.com. There you will find the Peter Rabbit series. You can order the books individually or you can order the 10 book set. The titles in the series are:
set of 10 a

The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Peter Rabbit at the Farm
Peter Rabbit’s Christmas
How Peter Rabbit Went to Sea
Peter Rabbit Goes A-Visiting
Peter Rabbit’s Easter
Peter Rabbit’s Birthday
When Peter Rabbit Went to School
Peter Rabbit and the Little Boy
Peter Rabbit and Jack the Jumper




Through this review we have found a new company from which to locate unusual but rich books and materials. Kinder Cottage is a company that I am proud to recommend and their Peter Rabbit books are worth checking into. At Home.


Want to find out more about some of the other titles in this series? Visit the other Review Crew bloggers.

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A Review: What On Earth Can I Do?

What On Earth Can I Do title

Viewing the Bible in a new way, with a specific purpose in mind, creates a fun and exciting change in homeschool routine. Apologia Educational Ministries is allowing us to do this with one of their newest products. We have been reviewing What On Earth Can I Do?, the fourth volume in the What We Believe series. We were sent What on Earth Can I Do? (hardback book), What On Earth Can I Do Notebooking Journal, What on Earth Can I Do? Junior Notebooking Journal , and What on Earth Can I Do? Coloring Book.

box of materials

We have been using Apologia’s Exploring Creation science curriculum and thoroughly enjoying it, so this opportunity has been a huge blessing. The What We Believe series has four parts to it:
1) Vol. 1 Who is God (And Can I Really Know Him?)
2) Vol. 2 Who Am I (And What Am I Doing Here?)
3) Vol. 3 Who is My Neighbor (And Why Does He Need Me?)
4) Vol. 4 What On Earth Can I Do?

The What We Believe series is designed to help students in grades 1 through 6 answer the questions that come up in their lives. We want our children to know not just what they believe, the answers to the questions of salvation, but why they believe them and why those beliefs are important. We also want our children to have the confidence to view the world through the lens of the Bible, God’s expectations of us and plans for us, and the belief of things found in the Bible, to stand for what is right. This Bible curriculum is designed to help students answer questions like “How do we know what is true?” and “How must we live our lives in relation to the truth we come to know?”

What On Earth Can I Do? specifically addresses the gifts and blessings that God gives each of us and how we are to use those. The big idea covered in this book is stewardship. This is something we had been working with the girls on for a while and to have a curriculum in hand that addresses stewardship directly is so very nice.

What I Like And Appreciate About Apologia

There are many things that I think Apologia does very well. Of those, my favorite is that the books for this age level are written TO the student but are not simplified or dumbed-down. The content is challenging. It is written in a way that even J, the 5 year old giggly girl, could understand it and learn from it, answering the challenging thinking questions.

Another thing I really like about Apologia is their pictures. They use relevant, detailed pictures that capture the girl’s interest and imagination. Apologia makes the effort to include accurate pictures and illustrations that represent the topic fairly. Some examples of ones the girls really liked include the picture of the half-shekel on page 79, the House of Parliament on page 21, and Maria von Trapp on page 31. This brings up the next thing that I really like about Apologia.

Apologia includes multiple biographies and historical spotlights in each lesson. I really like having the biographies. Real life examples of people, real life examples from history are important. They make a lesson exciting and show the girls a direct application of something that is being studied, whether it is the Christian life that Maria von Trapp tried to lead, the major contributions that George Washington Carver made to better lives, or the work Corrie Ten Boom did to help rescue Jews during WWII. The giggly girls seem to relate well to the biographies and they always seem to want more information about the person, even when it is someone who has been a force of evil like Hitler was. More information makes them better informed and more able to make a Godly choice in their own lives.

hiding space


What The Giggly Girls Liked

E – age 10: I thought this was pretty good. I had a lot of favorite stories. My favorites were the parables and the stories about Collin (World War II stories). Lots of it made sense and when something didn’t make sense, it made sense when mom explained it. I think other kids would like it lots. I would like it better if it were in shorter sections and there were some more hands-on things at the end of each section (like reading about the blueberries in the muffins and then making muffins).

L – age 8: I liked the parables and all the stories. I liked the Notebooking Journal (junior version) with all the activities and writing. I liked coloring while reading.

J – age 5: I liked (coloring) the muffin picture and making the muffins.

blueberry muffins

How To Use What On Earth Can I Do?

Apologia has created this worldview curriculum to be easily adaptable to however you need to use it with your family. You can move at the pace your students need. You can cover the parts that are important to you and move past those that are not a good fit for your family at that point. And later, when they are older and ready to hear about those things, you can come back to it again.

Apologia has set up the beautiful hardback book to coordinate with the notebooking journal and the junior notebooking journal, as well as the coloring book. There are printed schedules in the front of the notebooking journal and the junior notebooking journal. There are 8 lessons and most lessons are designed to take about two weeks to go through, though you will move faster with some readings and slower with others. For us, two weeks was a bit too fast.

How We Used This Worldview Curriculum

We used this curriculum as a family. We tried to follow the schedule printed in the notebooking journal and the junior notebooking journal. We did modify some of the lessons and activities because a few of the readings were pretty long, or the work in the journals took a long time to do or required a lot of writing, especially in the notebooking journal.

collage of working

We used the coloring book in a couple of ways. One was for the youngest giggly girl to be a part of the work when the older two giggly girls were working in the notebooking journal and junior notebooking journal. She would color a page or two when the others were working on copy work or crossword puzzles or something else. Another way we used the coloring book was so that all three of the girls would have something to do with their hands while the story or the parables (the two longest reading sections) were being read. The youngest giggly girl would share the coloring book with the oldest giggly girl and the middle giggly girl would use the junior notebooking journal because it had some coloring pages that matched the coloring book.

What You Need For This Program

To implement this Biblical worldview program, you absolutely must have the hardback book What on Earth Can I Do? Selling for $39.00, this is a beautifully done, hardcover book that will last very well and take a lot of use by the kids, which is good because if they are like my giggly girls, they will pick this us to read and look through just because. I also recommend purchasing one of the accompanying What On Earth Can I Do Notebooking Journal ($24.00), the What on Earth Can I Do? Junior Notebooking Journal ($24.00) or the What on Earth Can I Do? Coloring Book ($8.00). One per child of whichever level fits your students is best. Each child will be challenged by being accountable for their own work. If you don’t have a young child, I would still recommend a coloring book. Even the 10 year old giggly girl wanted to spend time coloring and it helped focus attention during some of the longer readings, as I said earlier.


A Couple of Things

1 – Don’t be afraid to adapt this program to your family. It makes a huge difference when you move at the pace your family needs. We tried to move too fast at the beginning, to keep up with the schedule in the notebooking journals. It was just too fast for our family. We really settled in when we slowed down and the girls got a lot more out of the more focused time each day.

2 – Check out the Apologia website. http://Apologia.com There are extras for the book that Apologia has put on their site, directed at the teacher of the curriculum. It is not quite as good a selection of extras as their science ones but it is still a great resource. Perhaps in the future they will get some web links on there of some material that is related to the stories from WWII and Africa or more pictures and video clips that relate to the biographies. Still, it is good information and help for the teacher, especially if you are one who likes to have more specific detail about how to word things. There is a password in the front of the hardcover text that will allow you access to this part of the site.


We have been thankful to be on this review. In fact, my girls didn’t even realize this one was a review because they enjoyed it so much. When I was asking for quotes to include, two of them said “This was a review?” That, in my opinion, is high praise. I highly suggest that you visit Apologia and check out this Biblical worldview curriculum, as well as their many other materials. You can catch up with Apologia through their social media links here:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/apologiaworld
Twitter – https://twitter.com/apologiaworld
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/105053356034237782125/posts
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/apologia/

We will continue to cover activities we do in relation to this curriculum, so please check back in with us as we strive to learn to be good stewards of all that the Lord has blessed us with, from our time to our talents. At Home.


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