Our Family

Our Family

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Schoolhouse Review Crew 2014 Blue Ribbon Awards

The 2014 Crew year has come to a close.  I will be continuing on with the Schoolhouse Review Crew when we start back again in January.  Every year at the end of the Crew year, we have an opportunity to vote for our favorites and give out blue ribbon awards.  We had a wonderful 2014 with 58 vendors with amazing products.  I completed 42 reviews this year and have written 230 reviews for The Crew since I joined in 2010.  You can see the list of all of the winners over on the Crew Blog, but I wanted to share a few of my favorite products from this crew year with you today.

Artistic Pursuits- I have had an opportunity to review 2 different Artistic Pursuits books over the years and have bought another on my own.  They are wonderful for the homeschooling mom who wants to include art but has no artistic talent (like me.)  They even offer art packs so you can buy all of the supplies at once either from them or Dick Blick Art Supplies.  The books are wonderful!

 Link to my Sculpture Technique: Model review.

 Link to my Elements of Art and Composition review.

Learning Wrap Ups- The Wrap ups were a great supplement to learning math facts.  We also received the learning palettes.  These were bigger and sturdier than I had imagined.  We really liked these as well and I purchased another level of them after the review period.  We have not used them much since the school year started, but we will use them again this summer.

Moving Beyond the Page- One of our favorite products ever!!I do not think I could use it as a full year curriculum, but it is great for us for summer study.  We have had an opportunity to review two different sets of Moving Beyond the Page units: Language Arts: Holes with Science: Rocks and Minerals and Language Arts :Ben and Me with Science: Electricity and Magnetism (we reviewed this last year.) Great literature and language arts activities and lots of fun hands on science activities.  My children love these units and ask to do school in the summer!

Hewitt Homeschooling: Lightning Literature- I had an opportunity to review Lightning Lit British Mid to Late 19th Century back in 2012.  I reviewed several different high school literature programs that year, and Lightning Lit was our favorite and the one we continued with.  I was so excited to find out they have started developing literature programs for elementary ages!  First and Second grade are available for purchase right now and the other grades are releasing one per year.  We reviewed the 1st grade this year and then signed up for the field test of the 3rd grade.  We LOVE it!  I will say that the program seems expensive especially if you have to buy the books.  But it is writing, literature, and grammar all in one and if you have a decent library you won't have to buy books (I had to buy a bunch!)  and the second grade and third grade get a little cheaper because they don't use as many books.  My boys that I am using this with love the program and I can't wait for the other levels to come out!

IEW Fix It! Grammar- Loved it!  Easy and painless way for you to teach and your children to learn grammar! We reviewed book one The Nose Tree, but there are 5 other books in the series.  They do recommend you start with book one.  IEW allows copying within families, making it great and economical!

Clued in Kids- My children loved these and asked when we would be able to do one again.  Easy to set up and easy to do with a wide range of ages.

Purposeful Design- Beautiful book!  Great science/bible supplement that talks about and illustrates the seven days of creation.  We read one chapter per day, but the children also liked to just take the book and look at the photos.

The children each get to vote for their favorite throughout the year.  Some of my children voted for Clued in Kids, and some voted for Moving Beyond the Page.  The one that surprised me though was Anthony he voted for Mango Languages.  Apparently he enjoyed learning how to speak Pirate!

That is the list of some of our absolute favorites from the 2014 Crew year.  I can't wait to see what 2015 will bring!
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