Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Artistic Pursuits ~ Review


I like to think I am an artistic person so art should be an area that my kids receive regular lesson in, right?!  The truth ~ I have failed in providing consistent art lessons.  What I needed was an art curriculum that provides information about the artists, their artwork, and teaches the techniques used ~ with a reasonable price tag!  Artistic Pursuits Curriculum by Brenda Ellis has been the answer!  I received Artistic Pursuits Grade K-3 Book 2 ~ Stories of Artists and Their Art to review.          Photobucket

About Artistic Pursuits

Artistic Pursuits program presents both the expressive and the technical aspects of art.  The books, which are written to the student, can be used by homeschoolers or for independent study.  They offer books for preschoolers to grade 12. 

Artist Pursuits Book Two ~ Stories of Artists and Their Art contains 32 lessons with projects featuring Gothic, Renaissance and Academy Art of the 18th Century.  Artists featured in this book include:

  • Cimabue
  • Giotto
  • Limbourg
  • Van Eyck
  • Leonardo de Vinci
  •   Michelangelo
  • Raphael
  • Anguissola
  • Durer
  • Bruegel
  • Parmigianino
  • Rembrandt
  • Vermeer
  • Fragonard
  • Turner
  • Millet

The book introduces students to pan watercolors, tempera paints, oil pastels, printmaking, stamping, paper mache, and mixed media.   All of the materials needed are listed, making for quick and easy preparation. 

Each lessons starts out with a short and easy to understand introduction to the artist and their artwork.  Next is a project to go along your artist study, showing supplies needed and easy to follow directions.  Each project contains a student gallery showing actual artwork done by a student.  Following the project is information about a specific piece created by the artist.  Questions provided help the student observe the details of the artwork.  Students are then given another, slightly more complex project.

Our Thoughts

This book has put art back into our homeschooling routine!  The list of supplies needed in the front of the book made it easy for me to see what I already had and what I needed to purchase.  The supplies I needed were easily found at our local craft and art supply store.  If you don’t have an art store near you Artistic Pursuits does offer sets of art supply packs.  Each lesson provided just the right amount of information, but not so much that my busy 4 year old lost interest.  

IMG_5023 IMG_5025  


Artwork by Emily: Age 7

The books, which are $42.95 each, are so worth the price and each book is non-consumable so you can use them over and over.

Find Out More

Visit Artistic Pursuits site to purchase Book Two ~ Stories of Artists and Their Art ($42.95 each) and check out the other books they offer. 


For more Artistic Pursuits reviews click here.

This product was given to me for review purposes, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor. I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed in this post are mine.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Brill Kids Little Readers ~ Aesop’s Fables {Review}


Back in October I did a review for Little Reader from Brill Kids, so I was excited to find out that I would be reviewing their new Aesop’s Fables Volume I Little Readers.   

About Aesop’s Fables Volume I Little Readers

The Volume I set ($37.50 per set) includes:

  • The Lion and the Mouse
  • The Fox and the Grapes
  • The Fox and the Crow
  • The Boy Who Cried Wolf
  • The Turtle and the Rabbit

The books are designed to help small children (3 months and up) to read.  So what makes the Little Reader Storybook series unique?

Each book has large text printed on the left side and illustrations on the right. Photobucket

  A special flap covers the picture as the child reads.  Photobucket

What is the benefit of the flap?

When words and pictures compete for a child's attention on the same page, the pictures invariably win out. What's more, when parents point to words in traditional storybooks, they will often obscure the pictures - resulting in protests from the child.

My Thoughts

The first think I noticed when looking through the books were the colorful illustrations.   I read the books to my son Aiden, who is 4, and he enjoyed the rhyming text.  He was not a fan of the flap ~ maybe once he is starting to read and concentrating more on the words.  My daughter Emily, who is 7, had no problem reading the text while using the flap to cover the illustrations.   Overall, I can see how the use of the flap is helpful in keeping the child focused on the words and I plan on using these in the future with my son. 

Find Out More

For more information visit Brill Kids website.  The Little Reader Storybook series Aesop’s Fables Volume I is available for $37.50.

For More Brill Kid Aesop Fable Reviews click here.

This product was given to me for review purposes, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor. I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed in this post are mine.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Farm Animal Block Mates {Guidecraft Mom Review}

Wooden blocks are played with daily in our house.  They can be used for so many different things.   Our block play has been extended with the addition of Guidecraft’s Farm Animal Blocks Mates, which can be used to transform basic blocks into fun farm animals.


What are Farm Animal Block Mates

Farm Animal Block Mates includes 20 pieces (4 parts for each animal), to make a goat, horse, sheep, cow and pig. 

IMG_4998The pieces slide onto standard wooden blocks and fit snugly into place with a patented "slip-grip" system.IMG_5003

Guidecraft has a great 5-piece block set that works perfectly with the Block Mates.

Our Thoughts

The Block Mates have been a hit in our house.  Aiden immediately starting putting the animals together


and stacking them.


It wasn’t long before he started creating unusual animals and saying “Mommy, what do you think this is called?” 

I have to say that I am completely smitten with the cow who has udders ~ so cute!


Find Out More

The Farm Animal Block Mates and the 5 Piece Unit Blocks can be purchased directly from Guidecraft’s website or from Amazon.

Be sure to check out the Dinosaurs and Safari Animals Block Mates.

image  image

Two new sets are coming soon:  Construction Vehicles and Community Vehicles.


Jodi @ Granola Mom 4 God is giving away a set of Farm Animal Block Mates along with a set of 5 Unit blocks (ends 3/28/11).

As a Guidecraft Mom blogger, I was provided this product to review. I was not paid for this post and all opinions expressed in this post are mine.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Moon Rocks


Have I mentioned how much my kids love to collect rocks?  I found a craft for moon rocks at DLTK’s Kids and decided this would be a great way to use some of the lovely rocks just lying around the house.  Aiden decided he would prefer to suit up in his jet pack and gather more rocks.IMG_4934

 What We Used:


  • rocks
  • small cardboard boxes (I purchased ours from Michaels)
  • paint
  • paint and foam brushes
  • metallic pens

I let Aiden paint the rocks (he had specific ideas on what color they should be) IMG_4912and the cardboard boxes.

IMG_4904When the boxes were dry I wrote Moon Rock on them with the metallic pen. 


The boxes can be used to display the rocks or to store them ~ cause we really need a way to keep even more rocks in the house! 


Monday, March 7, 2011

Space Jet Packs

This week we are traveling around the galaxy!  To help the kids get around while exploring outer space we made jet packs.

IMG_4866   IMG_4869

What We Used:

  • Cereal box
  • colored paper (large enough to cover the box)
  • circles, semi-circles, rectangles and squares cut out of paper
  • ribbon
  • colored pencils
  • crayons
  • tape
  • scissors
  • double sided tape or glue stick
  • red and yellow crepe paper streamers
  • small cups


What We Did:

  1. Cut the paper so that it will cover one side of the cereal box.
  2. Glue or tape it to the box.
  3. We used the shapes cut out of paper to make a fuel tank gauge, on and off boosters, etc.  Aiden and I talked about the different shapes and I let him write the words and add markings with the crayons and colored pencils.IMG_4861
  4. Tape or glue on the gauges and buttons.
  5. Cut a small slit in each side of the cereal box (in the middle) and slide your ribbon through the slits.  Pull the ribbon through until it is even on both sides.  Make sure it will fit your child (like a backpack) and tape the ribbon on the inside or back of the box.  We left the top of our jet packs open so we could put things inside. IMG_4865
  6. Add rocket boosters to the bottom of the box using small cups or rolled up paper.
  7. Add “fire” by tearing up some red and yellow crepe streamers.  Tape them inside the booster.



Put on your jet pack and have fun exploring the galaxy!


Reading Kingdom ~ Review


I’m always looking for fun programs that can help my daughter strengthen her reading skills.  I was offered the opportunity to review Reading Kingdom, which is an online online program that teaches children 4-10 years old how to read and write to a 3rd grade level.

How It Works

Reading Kingdom teaches children the 6 skills needed for reading and writing:

  • sequencing
  • motor skills
  • sounds, meaning
  • grammar
  • comprehension

The program starts with a Skill Survey to show what skills your child has already mastered and which areas they still need more practice.  Once the Skills Survey is completed the program is customized for your individual child.  The program is organized into six levels:

  • Pre-reading ~ letter sequencing, keyboard and mouse training
  • Levels 1 – 5 ~ reading and writing skills

This program is not phonics based.


The program is designed for the child to work at their own pace without adult assistance.

Our Thoughts

After my daughter took the skills survey we discovered she still needed training with her keyboard and mouse skills.  She has not gotten as far as I would like using the program and just recently started Level 1.  I really wanted her to love this program and am very disappointed to say that she did not like the cute little owl who guides you through the lessons and commented that it looked like a baby program

I think as we continue to use the program the lessons will become more challenging and she will start to enjoy the program more.

Overall, I think Reading Kingdom is a good program and we will continue to is, along with our current language curriculum.

Find Out More

The program is available for $19.99 per month, or $199.99 per year.  Additional subscriptions (for multiple children) are available for $9.99 per month.  Reading Kingdom offers a 30-day trail period.

To read more Reading Kingdom reviews click below.


This product was given to me for review purposes, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor. I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed in this post are mine.


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