Tag Archives: curriculum

Logic of English-Essentials Curriulum: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Logic of English-Essentials Curriulum: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

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Sacha’s<25:  A complete program for Reading, Spelling, Grammar and Writing geared for ages 7 and up, including learners beginning to read and older children needing spelling help and all in-between.

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time? 8 stars
Did it help us learn? 8 stars
Is it worth the money? 7 stars
Is it useful to me? 7 stars
Practicality- 6 stars
Quality- 9 stars
Kid Rating- 7 stars

We received Essentials from Logic of English to review with my kiddos.  Due to the nature of this curriculum it is able to be used in a variety of ways with different ages and different learning needs.  For example I have one child Faith (6) who is a beginning reader.  She knows all of her letter sounds as well as about 10 phonograms.  I also have Matthew (13) who is a struggling speller.  This program can be used with both of them.

What we received:

Essentials Teacher Manual

Essentials Student Workbook

Basic Phonogram Flash Cards

Phonogram and Spelling Game Set

Spelling Rule Flash Cards


Our Experience:

Yes, this is a lot of curriculum!  To be honest it was very overwhelming opening a big box with so much in it and knowing that we needed to figure out all about it.  And I still sort of feel that way.  There is so much to this curriculum and can be used in a variety of ways with different children at different levels that I still am overwhelmed with it all.  With that being said, I think that it has a lot of information and is a quality program.  Part of my being overwhelmed may be that I was trying to use the program 2 different ways at the same time.  My oldest needs spelling help, My 1st grader and I were mainly going to use the program for phonics instruction.  Because the program can be used a variety of ways the teacher’s manual has a few different plans laid out near the beginning to help you know how to use the lessons for your specific needs.  You can see more information here about this and see some sample schedules.

I would highly suggest not starting out trying to do 2 levels at the same time.  This added to my confusing.  It is suggested that children needing spelling help do one lesson a day, whereas my beginning reader would be doing 1 lesson a week.  I just found it to be too much while trying to learn and understand  how it works at one time.    I ended up  emailing back and forth with someone at the company trying to figure out if I was using everything correctly.  I still just didn’t feel comfortable with the flow of things.  I know that starting a new curriculum can be challenging and take a few weeks to get into the groove of things.  Problem was I still never felt like I found my groove.  Finally, I messaged back and forth with another mom who is using the program with multiple levels of children as well as speaking by phone with a wonderful lady from the company.  Much to my excitement I found that I don’t have to be trying to do everything in the lessons with each child.  Also, I found that there are advanced spelling lists for older children on their website.  I am not sure why this wasn’t mentioned in the book (or just have the spelling lists in the book!).  These lists are perfect for the older child. Finally I feel like this spelling program might just be what we need to get Matthew over the hump!

Before finally getting to the lesson instruction the book has lots of introductory information before you get started…70 pages worth.  This is a lot to take in before you ever start teaching a lesson.  ( I had a hard time remembering it all and had to flip back plenty of times to see what was in this section regarding the portions of the lessons.

One of the favorite portions of the lessons was game time.  There is a separate Phonogram and Spelling Game Set, which has plenty of games to reinforce the lessons. Matthew was willing to play this game  (The Dragon Game)with his younger sister.  This was like old maid but matching phonogram sets.  Faith really liked this game!

Logic of English-phonogram games

In this photo below I am quizzing the kiddos on the phonogram sounds that they have learned up to that point in the curriculum.

Logic of English teacher manual

You can see this is the Teacher’s Manual as well as phonogram cards.  These cards are introduce in a logical way throughout the course.  I really liked the spacing of this.  However, they are not introduced in the same order as other phonics based reading curricula that we have used.  Not a big deal, but do not think that you can switch over and that the introduction of these will line up with what you have been doing.  Great thing is that you can go at the pace you need to with your student.  This is where I was hung up….normally I don’t get stressed about this but I really wanted to try to follow the curriculum the way that they advised.  I found it best to just work on Phonograms and spelling with Faith….we didn’t work much on grammar at this point.  We talked about nouns and verbs…near the end of the book you would be having your student labeling all kinds of parts of speech….we do this around 4th and 5th grade….I think this would be very overwhelming to do with a first grader….she doesn’t need to know objects of prepositions just yet.   Presenting the grammar interspersed daily with the other portions of the curriculum just doesn’t make sense to me.  I wish that the book had this laid out differently, and that it was all together in the back.  Then we could easily go through the grammar portion at our own pace without having to flip back and forth through the lessons.

Anyways, I digress.  This next photo is the workbook that Faith used to record phonogram work, spelling lists etc that we worked.  There was more than enough to do in each lesson.   Here is some phonogram work…

Logic of English student workbook

This is her spelling list for the 3rd lesson.  You will notice that the teacher’s manual has her underline the phonograms that we have worked on….


She looks like she is having fun here….Logic of English..having fun

Here we are working on syllables….I even learned a lot about spelling rules! I was taught whole language in school so learning all this phonics stuff has been interesting….yes, I have taught 3 other children to read with phonics but this is the first phonics program that covers them in such depth.


I really enjoyed this portion of the program and we will be working through it with my older kids especially.  Did you know that there is a long vowel sound at the end of syllables?  I didn’t!  It is Spelling Rule #4.


What I liked:

  • The is a one stop shop for everything related to English!  You really wouldn’t need anything else to teach your children grammar, spelling, phonics/reading, writing.
  • The game book offers plenty of suggestions to help reinforce and learn all things phonograms.  Faith enjoyed playing the games we had a chance to try out.
  • The advanced spelling lists make this a great way to teach spelling rules/phonics to older children.
  • This program teaches phonics in depth…more so than any other program we have used.  I really love this and loved learning the spelling rules with the kids….It makes the English language make sense…
  • There are downloadable versions of most of this curriculum for use by the family.  If you have more than one student this will be more economical for you! Thank you Logic of English for thinking of the larger homeschool families!!!!

What I didn’t like:

  • Trying to figure out how to use this curriculum was challenging.  I think with some better instructions I would have been able to figure it out more quickly.  
  • The layout of the teacher’s manual.  I think it would have been better to have separate sections for reading/phonics, spelling and grammar.
  • The student workbook looks like work…it is all black and white…no graphics.  This can be good or bad depending on how your student learns.


We also were able to try out the Phonograms App. This app is a great addition to the Logic of English program.

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 This app verbally says a phonogram and then the student has to click on the correct match.  Very simple to use and a great way to reinforce the learning of the program.  At $2.99 I highly recommend it! It can be found in the iTunes store.  I like that it gives another method to learning…my kids love being able to do anything on the iPad!  It is also completely customizable to have your children work on whatever phonograms you are currently teaching them!


To sum it up: We will be continuing to use this curriculum for my kids for spelling.  I appreciated the spelling rule approach and the advanced spelling lists.  I will probably refer to this and use the phonogram games for my younger children.  Please take some time to explore their website. They have lots to offer and plenty of free resources as well!


The important information:

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Order from:  Logic of English


Essentials Teacher Manual-$95

Essentials Student Workbook-$25

Basic Phonogram Flash Cards-$18

Phonogram and Spelling Game Set-$45

Spelling Rule Flash Cards-$15
Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew. The Crew had the opportunity to review a few different curricula.



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In the Hands of a Child: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

In the Hands of a Child: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

In the Hands of a Child

Sacha’s<25: Learning about Dolphins, Porpoises and Whales has never been easier or more fun with this Project Pack product from In the Hands of a Child.

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time? 8 stars
Did it help us learn? 8 stars
Is it worth the money?10  stars
Is it useful to me? 9 stars
Practicality- 9 stars
Quality- 8 stars
Kid Rating- 9 stars

We received Dolphins, Porpoises, and Whales Project Pack from In the Hands of a Child. This is geared for children in Kindergarten to 4th grade.  I chose to use it with my 4 and 6 year olds.

What is a Project Pack:

A Project Pack contains both the activities and the lesson plans or research guide needed to complete the activities.  Students aren’t just reading about a topic, but “doing” along the way as well!

Read more about What Lapbooking is here.

Our Experience:

I found it very easy to download this specific product and get started.  While I don’t know that I would always print out the entire Project Pack in the future I decided to do it this time.  I printed out the entire pack and bound it with my binding machine.  I found this to be an easy way to see what it was all about and to be able to flip back and forth between sections.

Other than the downloadable Project Pack there are a few other things that you need to get started:

  • File folders
  • colored paper and cardstock
  • tape
  • glue
  • scissors
  • stapler
  • items to color with-crayons, colored pencils or markers
  • Pencil

Hands of a child1

Once I had the Project Pack printed and bound it was time to get started reading and figuring out what I had to do to get started.  What I found upon opening the pages what the Table of Contents page, a Planning Guide (with a suggested 7 day schedule), a related reading page (with book suggestions to check out from the library), Instructions for the 20 Activities, How to page on making the base of the lapbook, Research guide-which gives you what to teach in each lesson, as well as the printables for each of the activities.

It is suggested that if you have a group of younger children that you cut out all the graphics ahead of time.  If I was using this with a coop group of younger elementary students I would definitely do this!  Since I was just working with my 2 girls I decided I would print out just the printable pages we needed each day to go along with the lesson.  Once we were done with that portion of the activities for the day I stored each girls papers in their own gallon sized ziplock bag.  My 4 year old just did the gluing while my 6 year old was able to do more of the cutting and gluing by herself.  While we worked on the activities I would read what they said and reinforce what we had just read in the research guide prior to starting the activity. We had the choice of using printables where your student could copy over the text for handwriting practice or everything was just printed out for you and all you did was cut, assemble and paste.  I started Faith out with copying the text but we decided it was too little for her and ended up just using the printed out option.

We chose not to do all of the vocabulary words, there were a lot of them and I didn’t feel that they were necessary for my 1st grader.  However, I was glad to see that they were in there for older students.

Hands of a Child Project Pack

My girls enjoyed doing the activities but they weren’t begging for more.  I ended up splitting the unit up over more than just the 7 days.  I couldn’t hold their attention that long to cover everything suggested for one day.

Faith loved the drawing portion of the activities.  She sat for hours (literally) drawing all kinds of dolphins from one of the recommended books!


Hands of a Child 2


What I liked:

  • I liked the information that it came with on each of the topics presented.  You could learn a lot about the subject without needing other resources.  Of course, we love reading books and loved going through the provided book list and checking books out from our library to supplement.
  • I like that there is a lot of depth to the unit.  It can easily be adapted to a Kindergardener by not doing all of the activities and that there is enough for a 4th grader as well!
  • There wasn’t a lot of extra work for me to do to teach a unit on this topic.  Well worth the money to have it all put together in one place for me.  I didn’t have to search for more information!

What I didn’t like:

  • The font used for the dotted line letters has the letter e starting in a weird place.  Faith noticed it and it bugged her! Also the font size was really too small for a Kindergarden or a first grader to trace over easily.  And too many words.  We ended up choosing to just cut and paste and not copy over the writing.  I wish that there was another option for font size so Faith could have written more of it.  
  • We found an error and therefore were missing one of the parts of the dolphin that we needed.

To sum it up: In the Hands of a Child has over 450 different lap books  available.  I would definitely suggest taking a look at their website to see all the different topics for various ages they have available.  We will be using more from this company to add some variety to our school year!


The important information:

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Dolphins, Porpoises, and Whales Lapbook

Order from: In the Hands of a Child

Price: normally $12.  Currently it is just $5!!!!!

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew. The Crew reviewed many different options of lapbooks and project packs for all different ages and subjects!



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The Art of Poetry: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

The Art of Poetry: A Schoolhouse Crew Review


Sacha’s<25: The perfect curriculum (student book, teacher edition and DVD set) to teach your student poetry and grow a love for understanding the art of poetry. 

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time? 9 stars
Did it help us learn? 9 stars
Is it worth the money? 9 stars
Is it useful to me? 9 stars
Practicality- 9 stars
Quality- 9 stars
Kid Rating- girl (11)–10 stars, boy (13)–6 stars

I totally do not get poetry…I know, it sounds so shallow.  I like poetry when I understand it, but I have some bad memories of high school and college classes where we would have to discuss a poem and I would feel like we were pulling ideas out of the air.  So now I am supposed to teach poetry?  Oh goodness, can I just run the other way?  If I can be totally honest, I was fearful of reviewing this product.  I did not want to review it.  I have really been happy to just hand the kids a poetry book each year and have them read the poems from the book over the school year.  I didn’t know how to teach poetry….I didn’t even understand it myself!  UNTIL…….

We received The Art of Poetry from  Classical Academic Press to review.  When it arrived I was kind of dreading having to figure out how to teach poetry now.  You know what….this curriculum gave me just what I needed to start teaching poetry and to continue teaching it.  Yep, you read that right….CONTINUE….we are enjoying this curriculum and are excited to be able to use it more!  This curriculum will last us a couple years. This is also “out of the box ready” for your student to pull out and use on their own if you want.

Here’s a description of The Art of Poetry from Classical Academic Press:

If you have ever felt mystified by, or unable to enjoy the significance of poetry, this book will lead you step by step to understanding and love of this branch of literature, guided by a gifted poet and teacher. The Art of Poetry is an excellent middle school or high school curriculum; it will teach the practice of reading a poem slowly and carefully, introduce students to the elements of poetry (such as imagery and metaphor) and the many forms that can make a poem, from sonnet to open verse. In the belief that practice is the best way to learn, this book is rich with explications, exercises, and activities. A biography of each poet is also included, and we are providing audio files of many of the poems.

My 13 year old son and 11 year old daughter both sat down with me to look at this curriculum.  We decided (or should I say I told them) we would work through the first chapter of the book.  The great thing about this curriculum is you can go at your own pace.  It is suggested in the teacher’s manual to decide what you want to do with your student…either a month long intensive course, a school year or you can do it over multiple years. It is totally up to you!  Since my kids are at the young age of the suggested age group (6th-12th grade) we decided that we would focus on just one chapter to start. You can check out their suggested schedules here!

We read through the beginning portion of the 1st chapter and then headed into looking at some of the poems within the text.  One of the great things about this curriculum is the teachers guide.  Love it.  I would have been totally lost without it!  With it I was able to feel like I had an idea of what to talk about when discussing each poem!

The greatest thing about this curriculum are the DVD’s. We were given the DVD just covering Chapters 1 and 2 in the curriculum.  I will be purchasing the rest of the set!  We loved watching the instructor (Christine Perrin) speaking with 4 eighth grade students about the poetry.  Joy (11) commented about how much she loved hearing the students speak about their ideas of the poetry meanings and that they weren’t afraid to say something.  I can’t recommend the DVD’s highly enough!  Yes, they are the most expensive portion of this curriculum but I know that without them we probably wouldn’t continue using this curriculum.  They make it so easy to teach with and understand poetry.  You can really just pop it in the DVD player and have your students watch it!  They will learn so much.  Even better is to watch it with them and then discuss afterwards! It’s like having a college professor teaching right in your living room…and she is easy to understand and makes it fun and painless!  What could be better than that?

The 1st chapter of the DVD has the instructor and students do an exercise where they tell each other about an image that had some significance to them.  This was a great way to warm them and us up to discussing images in poetry. This was the topic of the first chapter of the book! We also enjoyed listening to the instructor explain how to do some of the additional exercises at the end of the chapter.  This really took the mystery out of what we were supposed to be doing!

What I liked:

  • This is a go at your own pace curriculum…you can do a month long intensive study or do it over a couple years.
  • This is written to be simple for someone new to poetry and in depth enough to be an intensive poetry curriculum.
  • The DVD’s….a must have!!!!!
  • The activities at the end of each lesson.  Joy asked to do them on her own…I was not going to assign them, she wanted to do them.
  • There are references to Christianity and seems to come from a Christian worldview while discussing the meanings of the poems.
  • I didn’t realize how important it is to read poetry aloud and also more than once.  It is an oral art!

What I didn’t like:

  • I wish I had something to tell you here…other than that my son didn’t jump for joy about poetry after we finished the first chapter….LOL….not sure a lot of 13 year old boys would.

To sum it up: Want to have your students study poetry but unsure how to do it?  This curriculum is a great way to not only start the study of poetry but really go in depth and understand it!  Comes with a high Home in the Trenches recommendation!


The important information:

The Art of Poetry–$24.95 (as a side note….this is also available as a kindle edition or Apple iBook)

The Art of Poetry Teacher’s Edition–$29.95

The Art of Poetry DVD Set–$69.95

The Art of Poetry Bundle–$99.95

Order from: Classical Academic Press

To read other Schoolhouse Crew reviews of this product click here.



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Modesty Matters:You Can Sew!: A Molly Crew Review

Modesty Matters:You Can Sew!: A Molly Crew Review



Sacha’s<25: A complete sewing curriculum for ages 13 to adult (younger with a parent’s help) teaching you all you need to know about sewing and how to actually sew!

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time? 6  stars
Did it help us learn? 7 stars
Is it worth the money? 5 stars
Is it useful to me? 7 stars
Practicality- 5 stars
Quality- 5 stars
Kid Rating- 6 stars

What is Modesty Matters?

Modesty Matters, LLC is a home-based business with multiple resources focused on creating modest clothing styles for today’s young ladies and girls, as well as enabling others to do the same through simple, step-by-step “how-to” video lessons, patterns & instruction kits, available on CD-ROM and/or DVD, or by simple download (aka digital download). We make sewing SIMPLE!

You Can Sew! consists of 65 video classes where we walk you step-by-step through each portion, integrating four major projects along the way. It comes with five DVD’s, a written text, and a CD-ROM containing exclusive simplified patterns in PDF format that are used to expand and develop your skill set.

Click here to see a quick video describing the course!

Our Experience:

My daughter Joy and I are quilters.  She has been sewing on and off since she was 5 and we bought her a sewing machine when she was 6.  However, both of us really don’t know a lot about actually sewing clothing!  I was so excited when this curriculum came up for review because I have people ask me all the time if I can teach them or their daughters how to sew.  I can teach quilting and in fact taught 7 girls how to sew and make quilts this year.  However, I did not feel comfortable trying to teach anyone how to sew clothing.  I don’t know all about reading patterns etc.

Here is where You Can Sew! enters the picture.  I was thrilled to hear I would get to review this with Joy who is 11.  She is actually on the young side for this curriculum as it is recommended for ages 13 and up.

We started by pulling out the DVD’s and started watching the lessons.  We realized that the DVD’s do not work in one of our DVD players.  There is no way to see on the menu which lesson you are choosing.  This became very frustrating to us but thankfully we tried them in a different DVD player and the menu screen worked.

The lessons vary in length from 1 minute to much longer. (The longest we watched was less than 15 minutes and it completely covered making the skirt)  After we watched the video Dee, the instructor on the video,  would tell us what our homework was.  It might be something that only took a couple minutes to do or it could be taking a trip to a sewing store to look at fabrics or purchase what we needed for our next project.

Since we both knew how to use our machines and the basics about them we whizzed through the first videos.  I felt they were very informative.  If you had no idea how to use a sewing machine you would learn a lot.  All machines are different but she does a great job of giving you the basics and with your machine manual you would be able to figure it all out with ease!

If you follow this course from beginning to end you will learn how to sew and make the following projects:

  • pin cushion
  • apron
  • A line skirt
  • A line dress or nightgown

Here is a quick run down of what is covered in the first 10 lessons to give you a feel of the flow and speed in what is covered.  I also have included a few notes I had made while we watched the DVD lessons:

Class 1:Short class video goes through items needed for sewing…then tells us homework of learning names of items and being able to label them in the homework sheet. Worksheets went very well together with class instruction. Also tells us to read assigned reading before starting next video portion.  After each portion there is text to remind us of what we need to do!

Class 2: Reviews sewing items quickly…field trip or by Internet to see some items and prices. Show and tell binder. Sewing machine diagram for homework.  Videos are edited…spliced together. (This became very noticeable early on as you can see.  The editing at times is a bit distracting from the lesson)
Class 3: Parts of the sewing machine. Show them on paper diagram then on a couple machines. I liked that she showed these on a couple machines because everyone’s machines are a bit different.
Class 4: Threading the machine.  Great to be able to see on video on different machines.
Class 5: Bobbins …We learned about bobbin types, how to wind them etc. I don’t think that she explained part of this quite correctly! There are 2 different types of bobbin housings.  She left out an important part of this lesson!
Class 6: Presser feet types and installing a needle. She says for homework to practice with different stitches. Hmm…we haven’t learned how to operate the machine at all yet!  Didn’t talk about putting Presser foot up and down yet or tension. This is where I felt the lessons came out of order.  We shouldn’t have been practicing sewing yet.
Class 7: Posture/position–only 1:30 long, Same info as in text.
Class 8: Speed v accuracy–practice going too fast and at good pace. Now she reviews how to stitch 2x in same video. 4 min video
Class 9: Safety. Really after she has already had us sewing? Once again I felt this was out of place in the lessons.  Should have been earlier on. Locking the stitch. Confused on placement of this video? 3:15 in length.
Class 10: Straight and zig zag stitches…practice on wide ruled notebook paper. Mentions proper hand positioning. Says to zig zag with line in middle but she doesn’t do this on the sample. Bit confusing?
It is recommended that this course take a semester to complete.  However, we only had about 6 weeks to review this so Joy and I watched the videos and then jumped ahead to the project that her sewing skills were ready for which was the skirt.  I ran into multiple problems at this point. Nothing which couldn’t be worked out.  But, if I were a new sewer I would have been totally confused!  Anyways, they are listed below, but I wanted to show you a few pictures from this part of the process.

This is the pattern for the skirt.  You have to print out the pattern and then tape it to a window to line it all up.  A little bit time consuming, but here it is!

Here Joy is sewing the hem on her skirt.  The project probably only took her 2 hours total and that included taping the pattern together.

Look at that huge smile. I am so proud of her for completing the project.  She wore the skirt the whole rest of the day.  She said it was very comfortable.  I like the length of it. She felt that it got in the way at times and would like to make another one that falls just below her knee.

What I liked:

  • This concept of teaching with DVD and instructional manual is great!
  • The lessons are very short manageable segments.  We combined a few of them at a time when we felt we could.
  • Love that Joy was able to sew a skirt.  Gave her great confidence!
  • It is very informative for the very beginner sewer to the intermediate one!
  • Good customer service.  When I had problems  (see below) they were very helpful to get them resolved.
  • I learned some great tips.  Wash your fabric in salt water in order to seal the colors in the fabric.  Helps with fading!!!
  • If you can’t find someone to teach you how to sew or find a sewing store with beginner classes this is a great way to learn at your own pace.

What I didn’t like:

  • Unfortunately, it seems to me that they needed someone to go through and make sure things were in the correct order for the lessons and to make sure she didn’t give contradictory instructions between the text  and video lessons.  I found this numerous times in the instructions for making the skirt. The written text instructions would say to make a rolled hem with 1/4″ seam and then she would tell you 1/2″ in the video, another time it was a 1″ difference.  That can be huge when you are sewing a clothing pattern.
  • DVD menu didn’t work on one of our DVDs.
  • All 65 video lessons begin and end with the same music.  Oh my, I really don’t ever want to hear that music again.  And the editing of the videos is too much.  Within a 2 minute lesson it is faded in and out or over the speaking multiple times.
  • The original CD rom, which comes with the curriculum with all the patterns, was missing the child size skirt pattern.  They have since fixed it for all future buyers.
  • The original pattern for the child size skirt was not correct I had to call them and let them know that the pattern actually didn’t fit the width of fabric that is standard in stores today.  This would be a huge problem for a new sewer.  They had to redo the patterns and email them to me again.  OOPS.

To sum it up: This could have been the best curriculum ever for learning how to sew.  With some production work and someone making sure lessons flow in the correct order and things aren’t contradictory at times I would love to highly recommend it.  Right now though, I think it would be frustrating to use straight through as a new sewer–there are just too many quirky things in it as I mentioned above. I have enjoyed the few times I have spoken with Dee and love her heart. I hope that they will fix these problems and that I will be able to give this curriculum all 10′s in the near future!

The important information:





Home Economics: You CAN Sew Curriculum

Order from: Modesty Matters- http://www.modestymatters.net

Price: $159 for the complete package

To read other Molly Crew reviews of this product click here.


Disclosure/Disclaimer:  I received the above product free of charge for review purposes.  I am only expected to give an honest review.

CreateBetterWriters.com: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

CreateBetterWriters.com: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

CreateBetterWriters.com: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Sacha’s<25: CreateBetterWriters.com offers quite a few products to help homeschoolers overcome some of the “typical” problems we experience in teaching writing!

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time? 8 stars
Did it help us learn? 8 stars
Is it worth the money? 9  stars
Is it useful to me? 9 stars
Practicality- 8 stars
Quality- 7 stars
Kid Rating- 7 stars

Our Experience:

We were given 3 different items to review from CreateBetterWriters.com.  We received downloadable PDF’s of The Homeschool Writing Action Plan, How to Teach The Paragraph, and The Five Paragraph Essay. I found The Five Paragraph Essay a great resource for all 3 of my school aged kids (3rd, 6th and 7th grades).

The writing curriculum that we had used in the past really taught them well how to outline from a source and then rewrite and add dress ups to the new paragraph.  What it didn’t teach well was how to take a topic, come up with a main idea and then write a paragraph from that.  How to Teach The Paragraph was perfect to get this under my kids belts!  We worked through it over about a week with my oldest 2.  I spent more time on it with my 3rd grader.  After we finished with the Paragraph my older 2 and I worked on The Five Paragraph Essay.

My thoughts?  These products give a great foundation to writing paragraphs and essays. I thought that they did not have as much information or instruction on writing good quality sentences and paragraphs.

Below is the Table of Contents from the Homeschool Writing Action Plan:


What I liked:

  • This program easily taught how to write a clear paragraph in simple, memorable steps!

What I didn’t like:

  • There were typos in the guides.  I find this to be a bit crazy since this is a writing program.  Makes me wonder on the validity of the program?
  • It tended to be repetitive.  What they tell you on one page may be repeated just a page or two later!
  • While this program brags that you can teach all levels from 3-12 with The Homeschool Writing Action Plan, I found it to be a little confusing.  I understood that to mean teaching all my kids at the same time with varying degrees of difficulty depending on the age level.  It might teach all those levels, but not at the same time! Maybe it was my wishful thinking!

To sum it up: These products filled in some of the gaps we had in our writing skills, overall though I am not sure that I would use it solely as my only writing curriculum for my homeschool.


The important information:


Order from: Createbetterwriters.com


How to Teach the Paragraph–$7.99 eBook Only  (Free with the purchase of How To Teach the Five Paragraph Essay)

How To Teach the Five Paragraph Essay eBook– $17.95 (download)

The Homeschool Action Writing Plan-$15.95 download, $19.95 softcover.


To read other Schoolhouse Crew reviews of this product click here.


Disclosure/Disclaimer:  I received the above product free of charge for review purposes.  I am only expected to give an honest review.