Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Forbrain Review

Does your child have speech or reading difficulties? Could you use some help with improving your short-term memory? Forbrain from Sound for Life LTD may be able to help you!

Forbrain Sound for Life LTD
Forbrain is a headset that uses an auditory feedback loop to correct the way you hear your own voice, which leads to better speech production. A dynamic filter enhances specific frequencies of speech which trains your brain to be more attentive-improving attention, auditory processing and sensory integration.

So what does all this mean? Forbrain headphones use high frequency vibration to help you create and process sound. The sound is delivered through your bones and bone conduction, instead of your ears and air conduction, directly to your nervous system and brain. It allows you to hear the sounds that are involved in the construction of language, enabling you to improve the rhythm and quality of your voice. The dynamic filter also improves your entire vestibular system; managing motion, motor planning, balance, and spatial orientation which gives you improved listening and greater focus and concentration.

How We Used It:
We don’t have any speech or reading difficulties in our family, so I was thinking I’d have to get creative when I first received Forbrain. After doing some research on their website and learning more about it, I realized that we could actually get a lot of use out of this. My 11 and 13 year old girls used it regularly, and my husband has also used it while reading aloud to them. Here’s what they thought:
Francesca, my 11 year old, has some concentration and attention difficulties. In the Forbrain booklet there are training suggestions. For kids 5-15 years old they suggest 15 minutes a day to work on concentration and attention difficulties, reading difficulties, working memory difficulties, and pronunciation and speech difficulties. She has been wearing Forbrain while reading her history book aloud. She also loves to sing, so she alternates between reading aloud and singing. She says it helps her focus better, and has really enjoyed using it. I have seen moments of improved concentration, and think with longer use it will really help her.
Katie, my 13 year old, doesn’t have any specific difficulties, but has seen some definite benefits from using Forbrain. She is doing a program this year that requires her to memorize large amounts of material on a regular basis. During this review period, she has been wearing the headset 15 minutes a day while working on memorizing. She said it has greatly improved her ability to memorize things, cutting down on the time she needs to spend and also helping her retain the information. She also recently got braces. She has been having some trouble giving her oral presentation during homeschool group because of how different her mouth feels with the braces, and Forbrain has helped her to be aware of how she’s forming her words and what they sound like.

My husband had a speech impediment when he was growing up. He said he can see how Forbrain could really help kids with speech difficulties not only improve their speech, but give them confidence.

Other training suggestions include 10 minutes a day for early age kids for pronunciation and speech difficulties, 20 min a day for teenagers and adults for speech and oral difficulties, lack of confidence, lack of energy, poor timbre and vocal quality, and rhythm-related difficulties. For seniors they suggest 30 minutes a day for lack of energy, lack of memory, and speech and fluency difficulties.

To see what my fellow Homeschool Review Crew members had to say about Forbrain, click below.
Forbrain {Sound For Life Ltd Review}

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Thin Stix Creativity Pack Review

Do you know that feeling of excitement you get when you finally discover an amazing thing that apparently the rest of the whole entire world has known about except you? It’s like we’ve been living under a rock here! We recently discovered the Thin Stix Creativity Pack by The Pencil Grip, Inc. and I wonder how we ever lived without them.

Thin Stix Creativity Pack

My girls love to paint. When they were younger, we painted ALL the time. Honestly, I didn’t love it. I may have even dreaded it a bit. Paint smocks,table protectors, messy paints and paint trays, and cups of water for rinsing brushes? It was too much. And the mess! It was only their great love for painting that made me drag all of that stuff out day after day. Oh, if only I’d discovered Thin Stix back in the days of chubby little hands and big, big messes.

Here’s what you need to know. Thin Stix are solid Tempera paint sticks. You literally take the cover off, twist it up a bit, and paint. The texture is closer to a crayon, but it’s paint! It glides on thick, has great coverage, and dries in 90 seconds flat. They’re like a modern miracle. We received the 24 color set that includes 12 classic colors, 6 neon colors, and 6 metalix colors. So far we’ve tried them on paper and wood, and the results have been beautiful.

                           20171103_165138     20171103_165153 
                            20171108_112321     20171108_112410

These are just some examples of the artwork they’ve been been working on lately. I’ve seen their creativity soar using Thin Stix. At 11 and 13 they’re loving the freedom to quickly make some art whenever the mood strikes. No setting up and cleaning up for them. Or for me! Win! The metalix colors, with their shiny finish, have been the favorites hands down. But they also love the neon ones with their bright colors, and the classic colors for the great variety. There’s something so satisfying about drawing with these vibrant colors, and the best part is that they don’t bleed through paper like traditional paints!

            20171107_181927     20171107_185134     20171107_184151

In addition to all types of paper, they’re also great for working on wood! The paint dries so quickly that you can layer the colors for some really nice texture. With Christmas coming we’re excited to explore more opportunities for creativity. Gifts of all kinds, ornaments, wooden signs--the possibilities are endless.

The Thin Stix Creativity Pack is for everyone! If you have littles, I’d say you need to get yourself a set ASAP. Seriously, you need these in your life. Picture beautiful works of art without any spills, without messy hands covered in paint, without all the set up and clean up. Twist and go. It’s really that simple. If you’re like me and don’t have littles anymore, but a feisty pre-teen and teenager instead, you need these in your life, too. I don’t know about you, but my girls sometimes forego painting because they don’t feel like getting everything out. These Thin Stix have been a game changer. Kids grown? You still need them. My husband and I enjoyed them as much as the girls!

Don’t just take my word for it. My fellow Homeschool Reviews members have something to say about Thin Stix, too. Be sure to click below for more reviews!

Thin Stix Creativity Pack {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}


Also, be sure to visit The Pencil Grip, Inc. on Social media!


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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Weave Your Word in Me--Part 1 Review

My sixth grader really has a heart for the Lord, and for sharing the Good News of Jesus with others. She’s very thoughtful and introspective, and it’s been so encouraging to see the teaching she’s had so far begin to bear some fruit in her life. She’s starting to take ownership of her relationship with Jesus, and she’s exploring what it means to have her own faith independent of ours. Weave Your Word in Me--Part 1 from Kid Niche Christian Books has been such a blessing to her.


Written by Susan Case Bonner, Weave Your Word in Me—Part 1 is a Bible study and prayer guide for kids in grades 4 to 6 that arrives printed on heavy paper and three hole punched for a binder. This study has 36 lessons that help kids understand who God is and how to talk to Him using a prayer modeled after the Lord’s Prayer. Weave Your Word in Me—Part 1 is compatible with six major translations: KJV, ESV, NKJV, NIV, NASB, NABRE, and would be great as a single personal devotion, a family devotion, or in a group setting. There are also additional enrichment activities to further enhance learning online that include videos, puzzles, projects, and more. 

How We Used It and What We Thought:

My first thought upon opening the package was how beautiful the pages were. It was also clear that they took great care to protect the pages during shipping. All we had to do was stick them in a binder and it was ready to go. Francesca has been using this daily as her personal devotion, and she’s really been enjoying it. The lessons are short, and include reading some scripture and answering questions. Some are fill in the blank to reinforce the scripture she just read, some are short answer to help her dig in and think about what she read. There are also true and false questions, sequencing, and some drawing. Each lesson ends with a prayer that has sentences to complete. I think that although the lessons are short, they provide some real meat and opportunities for deep thought and reflection.


I have mixed feelings about the prayer this study is designed around. It’s a rhythmical prayer modeled after the Lord’s Prayer called “My Whole Self Before YOU”. I understand it’s purpose, and think it could be a great tool for younger kids to help them learn the Lord’s Prayer. I think for this age group, though, the Lord’s Prayer could have been used. Having a sixth grader, I think it may have been a little on the young side for her. However, Francesca is well above grade level in reading and comprehension, and each child is different, so what seemed a little young for her might be just right for another sixth grader. She has really loved doing this study, and has taken her time to study the Word very seriously. I think overall it’s a solid program, and we will be ordering Weave Your Word in Me--Part 2 so she can continue on. Weave Your Word in Me--Part 1 and Part 2 are also available as a set for a discounted price.

To see what my fellow Homeschool Review Crew members had to say, click below. 

Weave Your Word in Me {Kid Niche Christian Books Reviews}

Be sure to visit Kids Niche Christian Books on Social Media!

Twitter: @susancasebonner

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Friday, October 20, 2017

Opening Night!

Katie and Francesca LOVE the theater! They have been rehearsing three days a week for the past couple of months, and tonight was the opening of James and the Giant Peach! They’re so passionate about acting (and singing and dancing!), in fact, that this is their second production of this show. Their favorite local theater was starting this show after they’d already done it somewhere else, and they just couldn’t stay away. In this day where kids are more interested in staring at screens than anything else, it’s such a delight that there’s no other place they’d rather be!




Friday, October 13, 2017

Meet Lucy!

On September 9th, we added a new member to our family.


I had been feeling like I needed a cat of my own again, after losing my 17 year old Mylo a few years ago. My friend had kittens, so it seemed like it was time. I spent some time with them, watching how they played and interacted together, trying to get a feel for their personalities. I finally chose one, and brought her home and named her Lucy. After a couple of weeks, Lucy chose Francesca. Lucy happens to be the absolute naughtiest cat we’ve ever had in the history of naughty cats, so I guess her choice shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. It’s a good thing we’re fans of feisty girls around here. She fits right in.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: CTCMath Review

I think Math may be the subject homeschool moms worry about teaching the most. As my girls get older, I find myself relearning or learning right along side them. Thankfully today there are so many great resources available for homeschoolers. We received a Single Membership from CTCMath, and my sixth grader has really been enjoying it. Homeschoolers can get 60% off + 6 bonus months! How cool is that?


CTCMath is an online Math curriculum for grades K-12. For grades K-8 it is a complete program, and a supplement for grades beyond that. Instruction is provided through a combination of short video lessons, and online or printable worksheets, depending on grade level. There is a comprehensive placement test for each topic for grades K-6, as well as detailed reports after every lesson. You can view these reports online, or choose to have a weekly progress report emailed to you. With a CTCMath membership you have access to all grades and lessons, allowing you to truly work at your student’s pace and level.

Francesca has been working on the 6th grade level. Some topics in this level include:

  • place value to millions
  • expanded notation
  • rounding
  • primes and composites
  • highest common factor
  • lowest common multiple
  • equivalent fractions
  • improper fractions to mixed numbers
  • multiplication and division of fractions
  • estimation
  • time conversions
  • area
  • angles
  • shapes
  • probabilities
  • and more!


The student dashboard is clean and easy to navigate. The lessons and diagnostic tests are there, and with one click they’re ready to go.

            Capture    Capture2

When the student clicks on a lesson, they’re brought to a page that has a video and questions. The videos for sixth grade average about five minutes in length. Some are shorter, and some are longer, but they’re all very reasonable. The instruction itself is excellent. The lessons are concise and easy to understand. After the student finishes the video, they click on the questions tab and answer the questions right online. When they’re finished, they immediately get their results.

What We Thought: 

There is so much to love about CTCMath! The site is very user friendly, which is a real plus for us. Francesca is really looking for some independence in her day, and this has given her that. When a site is meant for children to use, it’s really important that it’s clean and easy to navigate. CTCMath seems to really get that. 

I’m really enjoying the emailed weekly progress reports. These reports are so detailed. I’ve used a lot of computer and online math programs, and this is by far the most detailed I’ve seen. The report tells you when your student logged on and off, all the lessons they viewed, how much time they spent, and the grade they received.

In addition to enjoying being able to work independently, Francesca is really loving the instant feedback she gets. I don’t always correct her work in a time period satisfactory to her, so she’s really been enjoying that aspect. I’ve seen her confidence soar while using this program, and that is a definite win.

One other thing I thought was noteworthy is that CTCMath can be done on current Apple and Android platforms, making it a great option for on the go work.

Like what you’ve heard? Check out the free trial. And be sure to click below to see what my fellow Homeschool Review Crew members thought.

CTCMath Online Math Tutoring {Reviews}

Visit CTCMath on social media!


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