2nd Grade Curriculum, 3rd Grade Curriculum, Education, Language Arts, Read Alouds, Writing

LitWits Kits Review!

I love reading aloud to my son, this has been one of my favorite things to do with him since birth. There have been some great books that I would have loved to develop into unit studies or just dig deeper into and make the words come alive for us. I am always on the lookout for ideas on how to get the most out of books we read so I jumped at the chance to checkout LitWit Kits from LitWits. We choose to use the LitWits Kit for Roald Dahl’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is one of our families favorite books and we always reread it every year around the Fall time. The LitWits Kit for Roald Dahl’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory comes complete with everything you need to provide a fun filled literary fun.

LitWit Kits includes:

  • Overview
  • Tips
  • Hands On Fun
  • Recipe Ideas (There was no actual recipe included in Chocolate Factory Kit just idea)
  • Take Aways ( Leaving impression on your student)
  • Awesome Pinterest Board

What I really enjoyed about the LitWits Kit for Roald Dahl’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory is that kit included academic handouts and common core standards for grades 3-5th grade. The academic handouts made it possible for me check of some standards for my son. We explored Narrative Arc ( story action) , Vocabulary words, Characterization and Creative Writing. The best part of the academic handouts all it was about the book which made my son eager to do the lessons.

LitWits Kit for Roald Dahl’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory also included author background information and other resources if you wanted to do more historical research.

My son really enjoyed the candy invention project that was included in the LitWits Kit for Roald Dahl’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. We also decided to make some homemade soup one night for dinner and we ate it over the next few days. We didn’t make cabbage and potato soup, but we did make a vegetable soup and cornbread. I decided to stretch it over a few days because I wanted to drive home how fortunate we are that we can eat variety of foods when some families are limited to what they are able to afford. The LitWits Kit for Roald Dahl’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory spark conversations about poverty and gratitude. As a family we made some decisions about how would like to give back to the community during this holiday season and keep gift giving to minimal this year. The way we did the LitWits Kit for Roald Dahl’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory is we did it 1-2 activities a week over a course of month along side reading the book.

LitWit Kits Kits are $18 and they have a total of 45 complete kits and 1 mini kit the can be used at home or in the classroom. The company offers a free sample kit you can review and there is also option to purchase project and activities from the complete kits or just the worksheets. I highly recommend you purchase a complete kit to really get the benefits of the lessons. I look forward to using the other LitWit Kits that the company allowed to us to select. The other kits we selected are:

LitWit Kits are a great way to have fun with books and give your child a more hands on experience of their read aloud and academics at the same time.

Be sure to check out the other Crews reviews of LitWit Kits by clicking the banner below!

Until the Next Time,

Mom and J

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LitWits/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/litwits4kids/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LitWits4Kids
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/LitWits/

Crew Disclaimer

2nd Grade Curriculum, 3rd Grade Curriculum, Education, Homeschool, Reviews, Science

Calvert Homeschool Online Review!

This year I was all set with our curriculum purchases and ready to start our new home school year in late July of this year. I had done my research and was positive that we had everything we needed. What I hadn’t planned on was my son wanting to jump into his 2nd grade science curriculum over the summer. So well this was an epic fail he blew through the entire science curriculum over the summer which left me back at square one. To my luck the Crew was offered an opportunity to review Calvert Homeschool online subscription for Calvert Homeschool Online for grades 3rd-12th grade a 6 month subscription.

If you are not familiar with Calvert Homeschool they provide printed homeschool curriculum for grades K-2 and mobile online curriculum for grades 3rd-12th grade. For this review I will be reviewing the Calvert Homeschool Online. The set up was pretty easy parents can assign work, check daily work and check the report card. Assignments are self grading except for those assignments that are essay format. Parents receive updates when assignments need to be graded and also notifications when student miss assignments. Parents can easily adjust assignment as needed and review assignment questions and topics.

For us the science was of huge importance because at the time of this review we were just winging it. I started my son with the Science 300 which is 3rd grade science and the topic “You Grow and Change” . Calvert Homeschool Online really goes into depth with the lessons they cover it all. My son was completely thrilled with the depth of material because this is something we struggled with other curriculum he wanted more information about what he was studying. Calvert Homeschool Online gives detailed lessons about what your child is study through information they can read to themselves or have read aloud to them from the platform. There are also instructional videos, games and experiments. Students are tested on their knowledge with brief quizzes, projects, test and essays that are graded. For the essay part I would have my son answer the questions orally and I would record his answer and use this time to evaluate if he needed to redo lesson or I need to supplement.

Calvert Homeschool Online offers parents the flexibility to go at the child pace or interest in a lessons. I really liked the ability to be able to assign things at our own pace that we are covering and as he shows interest and we move along in our homeschool year. I also like the ability knowing exactly that the information he is learning can be evaluated and I can printout his reports to slide into his homeschool portfolio without having a collage of papers. There is also flexibility of not having to do all the subjects at once you can select which ones you want to use.

So let me break down key points of Calvert Homeschool Online

  • Mobile Comprehensive Online learning for grades 3rd-12th grade
  • Affordable
  • Self Paced Learning
  • Access to over 45 in depth courses
  • Covers Math, Science, Language Arts, Spelling, History and Geography 3rd-6th grade
  • 7th and 8th grade covers all of the above except Spelling and World Civilization (7th Grade)
  • 9th -12 grade also includes the core subjects and students will be able to study Government, Consumer Math, US and World History, Chemistry and Physics .
  • Lesson Planner, Parent Tracking, Self Grading, Automatic Report Card and Portfolio Builder
  • Single student cost is $39.95 a month or $399.95 for a year
  • Family cost up to 3 students $69.95 or $699.95

Calvert Homeschool Online is a comprehensive online homeschool program if your family is looking for a new curriculum. I feel like the family plan is a great plan for families homeschooling more than one student and need affordable option to homeschool. There is very little prep to be done and you can easily add in some hands on learning, gameschooling and unit study to add more to the lessons. The online dashboard is a great help to parents who are looking for low maintenance portfolio building and transcripts. We give Calvert Homeschool Online thumbs up.

Be sure to check out the rest of the Crews reviews on Calvert Homeschool Online by clicking the banner below.

Until the Next Time,


Social Media Links:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/CalvertHomeschool
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CalvertEdu
Instagram: www.instagram.com/calverthomeschool
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/CalvertHomeschool/

Crew Disclaimer
2nd Grade Curriculum, 3rd Grade Curriculum, Education, Homeschool, Morning Basket, Writing

Channie’s Visual Handwriting & Math workbooks Review!!

My son has never been a huge fan of practicing his writing. As we continue along in our second grade year his feelings about handwriting still has changed. I was excited to have him try the Channie’s Dry Erase Flashcard For Alphabet & Number from Channie’s Visual Handwriting & Math workbooks. With fingers crossed I was hoping that he would change his mind about practicing his handwriting with the Channie’s Dry Erase Flashcard For Alphabet & Number .

Channie’s Dry Erase Flashcard For Alphabet & Number cards are for ages 3+ . They are perfect size for early writers. The lay out of the cards is friendly and color coded to show proper placement of letters and formation. The block spacing encourages consistency of letter and number sizing. I really like the added feature of having pictures to coincide with each letter. On the front of each card alphabet card is the uppercase letter is on and on the back the lowercase. The number cards included I think moms will appreciate that the practice length is perfect for reluctant writers.

We used two different dry erase markers on the cards. We used a high quality marker and lower quality marker and I didn’t see much of difference when we erased them. I used slightly damp rag to wipe them down clearly and my son used his dry eraser to clean them off. The cards are high gloss, sturdy and will withstand the handling of younger student.

Students will cover:

  • Tracing
  • Writing
  • Practice

Channie’s Dry Erase Flashcard For Alphabet & Number worked well for my son because I was able to slide them into his work boxes or folders if I want him to work on certain letters during his writing time. He didn’t put up a fuss about practicing his letters that felt he needed more practice. For struggling writers and those students who are not enthusiastic about writing these are perfect and frustration free.

Be sure to check out the rest of Crew reviews of Channie’s Visual Handwriting & Math workbook by clicking the banner below.

Until the next time,


Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/channiesworkbook/
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/channiesvisualhandwriting/

Crew Disclaimer
2nd Grade Curriculum, 3rd Grade Curriculum, Education, Homeschool, Spanish

Excelerate Spanish Streaming Review!

Many homeschool families look to outside resources such as Excelerate Spanish Streaming from Excelerate Spanish to teach a foreign language. As a Spanish speaking family we have always felt it is important that our son learn to speak Spanish. He learned to speak and understand the language but the struggle is learning to write and read the language.

Excelerate Spanish Streaming is exactly what I have been looking for to give us the in class experience. Excelerate Spanish Streaming is a self paced so there is no rush to get lessons completed. You can watch the lessons receptivity if you need and pause and stop to answer questions. Each lesson is about 30-60 mins long and combines 90% immersion learning approach which is something that I feel is the key to learning a language best.

The teacher speaks clearly and she covers proper verb usage and annunciation. Students will learn how to write sentences, grammar and conversations. The teacher also demonstrates lessons using students and props. We used Excelerate Spanish Streaming videos lessons by lining them up to match the Spanish program we have been using. Pairing the streaming videos lessons were perfect because my son was able to interact and be apart of what looks like a traditional Spanish and it was nice that to have someone else doing the teaching beside myself. The language immersion teaching method I really like because I have a bad habit of speaking Spangilsh to my son which can be very confusing when you are trying to teach how to read and write a language. My son also like seeing and hearing the other children in the videos respond and learn along side him.

Excelerate Spanish Streaming can be used by the entire family and I would encourage a parents to learn along side their child if they are wanting to learn a new language as well. The website has helpful resources including games, flashcards and quizzes. Excelerate Spanish Streaming does have a student workbook ($16.95) which I would recommend if you would like to reinforce lessons learned. Excelerate Spanish Streaming is designed so your student will be able to speak Spanish fluently as well as write and read the language.

We received Excelerate Spanish Streaming 1 and 2 streaming video lessons which is a complete year of Spanish lessons at 24 lesson per session. Excelerate Spanish Streaming for levels 1 and 2 streaming cost $249 there is also an option for monthly cost of starting at $14.97. Families will receive unlimited personal support while using the program.

I recommend this program if your family is looking to learn Spanish, the lessons are well done and students will learn to speak Spanish and proper usage. Be sure to chek out the rest of the Crews reviews on Excelerate Spanish Streaming by clicking the banner below.

Until Next Time,


Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ExcelerateSPANISH/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CarynPowellHomm
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/caryn3360/

Crew Disclaimer
2nd Grade Curriculum, 3rd Grade Curriculum, Critical Thinking and Logic, Education, Homeschool, Math

Smartick Review!

Let me start this review off by saying WE LOVE SMARTICK!! Words can not express how much my son and I both love this online math program!! Like seriously this math online program from Smartick ranks #1 for this schools years best supplemental math resources. When your student is asking to do his math you know you have found something special.

Smartick is no ordinary app it looks at math from a totally different methodology using problem solving and critical thinking skills to teach children. Smartick is for children ages 4-14 and the company is award winning and delivers results.

Each session is only 15 mins long and students should practice everyday in order to see steady growth. We did occasionally skip a day in between in the beginning but now Smartick is a part of our daily math routine. The program does readjust as your child progresses so if it sees mastery in a skill it will automatically readjust the leveling. I personally was very intrigued by the companies use of logic and reasoning skills to teach math. I love how kids are encourage to look at math in a different way then just using traditional math calculations using this online program.

At first glance my son he wasn’t too sure about it. Smartick starts the kids off with an assessment so it will place them in the correct level. The assessment may take a few sessions if the platform senses the child may be in between levels. Once the proper level is assessed the student begins their practice.

One of the things I really appreciated is that no where on the dashboard area does the child see grade level status. I think this is huge plus for children and parents who have anxiety about grade leveling. When my son first started playing I noticed some skills seemed easy for him but then I also noticed skills that were more difficult. I like this mixed skills because I feel that builds confidence. Can I say THANK YOU Smartick for mental math practice! The mental math practice is so present in Smartick that I could just huge the creators. My son has shown rapid growth in his mental math skills and his recall speed.

The skills sets are broken down into 10 areas and within those areas there are several skills When you click on the each the progress details it breaks down into smaller skill sets within the topic areas and you can see more detail progress. Students work through a series of problems and earn ticks to use to buy items in the their worlds. Students are also given opportunities to go back and correct any questions they may have missed at the end of their session to earn a tick. After the students finish their session they can go work in the Smartick Brain area where all the fun games are located. My sons favorite games were Chameleon and Rush Hour.

Smartick Brain Games are also listed in 4 areas of play:

  • Memory
  • Reasoning
  • Attention
  • Flexibility

The parent dashboard gives you detailed information about your students practice sessions, rewards and skills assessed. You also receive email reminders if your student didn’t complete a daily session. Once a student completes a session an email is generated out detailing exactly how your student performed and what they worked on. Smartick also records the time spent on each session as well as the average speed the student took in each area. Students also earn diplomas as they work through the platform.

There are so many wonderful things I can write about Smartick and how it really works with the child and eases math anxiety and improves math skills. Smartick offers a 15 day free trial and as a follower you can receive an exclusive 25% discount on your first subscription by using our referral code (MAMABR8B7369). The app is available on IOS and has been rated as Apple’s number one educational app for Ipad. This is screen time well spent and I highly recommend.

Be sure to check out the other Crew members review on Smartick by clicking the banner below.

Until the Next Time,


Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Smartick
Twitter: https://twitter.com/smartickmethod?lang=en
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smartick/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD_f6FMb0X1QDp5j7puQh1Q

Crew Disclaimer
2nd Grade Curriculum, Morning Basket, Read Alouds, Reviews

Secrets of the Hidden Scrolls: The Shepherd’s Stone Book 5 and The Lions Roar Book 6 Review from WorthyKids Books

We were extremely excited to review Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Shepherd’s Stone (Book 5) and Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Lion’s Roar (Book 6) from WorthyKids Books. You may have recall earlier this year the crew reviewed Book 3 and 4, the books were such a huge hit in our house that my son was eagerly excited to jump into the next two books in the 7 part series.

I was super thrilled that this time around my son grabbed the books off the table and ran into his room and started reading them without me. While I was little sad at the fact that he started without me this time around I was also really happy. One of the things I enjoy about this series is that they are clean literature and age appropriate for 6- 8 year olds.

In Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Shepherd’s Stone (Book 5) our favorite characters Peter and Mary whisked away Bethlehem where they met David. The Shepard Stone is based on the Bibles accounts of David and Goliath. Peter, Mary and David set off on adventure to bring food to his brothers in the battlefield. Along the way the children encounter obstacles and test their faith. This book is such a great way to teach about faith and courage. The book also open the door for discussions about bullies.

Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Lion’s Roar (Book 6) the children begin their adventures in Babylon and they meet Hannah and she introduces Mary and Peter to Daniel who has been appointed one the new governors of Babylon. The three young children uncover a plot to have Daniel overthrown and that’s when the adventure begins. In this books children will also learn about standing firm in their faith.

Along with having clean literature the books are well written and easy for young readers to follow. The illustrations are detailed and there are just enough in each chapter where the children can immerse themselves into the story without being overly distracted. The text of the books are a great size and the paper quality is strong. The paperback cover is thick and sturdy with nice glossy cover.

We really enjoy this series and this time around my son read one book independently and the second one we took turns reading it. My son really enjoys the characters and likes that the book mentions actual countries that we can find out more about. Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Shepherd’s Stone (Book 5) and Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Lion’s Roar (Book 6) 14 chapters long with 120 pages.

I highly recommend these books if you are looking for clean literature. I also recommend these for those chapter readers ages 6-8 years as independent reading. These would great as a family read along side religious study.

I have great news if you want to try out the Secret of the Hidden Scrolls WorthyKids Books is hosting a giveaway of all 7 books and will choose three winners to get signed copies of the entire series so far. Click the below banner to enter….Good Luck!!

Be sure to check out the other Crew reviews of the Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Shepherd’s Stone (Book 5) and Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Lion’s Roar (Book 6) by clicking the banner below.

Until the Next Time,

M and J

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WorthyKidsBooks/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/worthykidsbooks/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/worthykidsideals/

Crew Disclaimer
Critical Thinking and Logic, Education, S.T.E.A.M, Science

Brain Blox Wooden Buildings Plank Review!

My son loves to build things with his hands and the Brain Blox Wooden Building Planks Are perfect for him. I love the Brain Blox Wooden Building Planks because they offer open ended play opportunities. The wonderful people at Brain Blox was so gracious to send the Crew a set of the 200 ct Brain Blox Wooden Building Planks .

The planks are smooth and well crafted and I love the wood smell. They are non toxic and made from natural wood. The planks have no stains and dyes they are really beautiful building planks. Kids and play with them indoors or outdoors.

My son loved them because he was able to mix them in with his other toys and let his imagination run wild. He built towers, mazes, marble runs, mazes and a ton of his own creations. Being a STEAM kid he was able to really apply his engineering skills using the planks.

We used the Brain Blox Wooden Building Planks apart of our math lessons with place value and as manipulative for working on multiplication. We used them in our science lesson to study force and motion by building a chain reaction experiment. He also took them out while we were studying the digestive system so he could use them as a model on how food travels through the digestive track. This week we using them to build the Forbidden City in China along side our unit study!

We received the 200 piece kit but the company also has 100 and 300 piece kits. When you go on the companies website they offer free building model ideas. The website is as equally as wonderful as the planks themselves. I found myself going to the website to get build ideas for my son and learning how I could improve his spatial intelligence. There is a wonderful split level level curriculum the the resource section for those early little stem learners.

Brain Blox Wooden Building Planks start at $39.99 for the 100 Ct and 200 and 300 ct price range for $59.99-$79.99. The Brain Blox website currently has a sale going so you can save some money on these great planks. You can purchase them directly from the merchant or Amazon . These planks will make a great holiday present and did I mention they come with this fabulous sturdy storage bag. We definitely love these and they have replaced our current wooden blocks. I highly recommend you grab a set of these for endless amounts of fun.

Be sure to check out the rest of the Crews Brain Blox Wooden Building Planks reviews by clicking the banner below.

Until the Next Time,

Mom and J

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mybrainblox
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brainblox
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpUttakNtthj_haX8LwRlwA

Crew Disclaimer