July 27, 2016

Fresh from the Bookshelf: Kissed by a Cowboy by Debra Clopton {Book Review}

It is very hard to find CLEAN contemporary fiction books. It just is. I'm not a huge fan of contemporary novels, but every now and then I get a "wild hair" and go for them. Because picking up a novel free from the world's smut is very important, I tend to stick with Christian Fiction for my contemporary reading selections. There are a few authors in this genre that I have come to love for their skill in writing contemporary novels--one of these is author Debra Clopton. I was recently given her latest novel to review from the Fiction Guild, and I dove into it.

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About the Book

Kissed by a Cowboy is the third book in the Four of Hearts Ranch Romance series. The series focuses on the three Monahan brothers living in Wishing Springs, TX. Book 3 gives us a story about the oldest of the three brothers, Jarrod. Jarrod is your typical oldest child--burdened with heavy responsibilities in taking care of family including his grandfather Pops who is succumbing to dementia. Trying to keep the family ranch afloat after his dad bankrupted it to pay off gambling debts has been a long hard road, but he's finally moving ahead--except there are rustlers to deal with. Dealing with all of that keeps him way too busy to take time to seek a romantic relationship. He was in love once, but he ran scared and lost his shot at happiness.

Enter Cassidy Starr. She grew up next to the Monohans, living more often than not with her Aunt Roxie at her strawberry farm. Now after a painfully dreadful divorce, she's back in town and ready to pick up where her aunt left off running not only a successful organic strawberry business, but opening a bed & breakfast. She is absolutely 100% done with love and ready to live like her aunt as a happy, independent SINGLE woman. Trouble comes in the form of former sweetheart, Jarrod who has decided to change her mind.

My Thoughts

Oh my. I fell in love with Cassidy from the opening scene where she gets herself good and stuck in the pet door of her new home in the middle of the night. I mean seriously. HILARIOUS! And then to make matters worse, the person who finds her is no other than her old sweetheart Jarrod. My what a pair. I definitely enjoyed the chemistry that flew between these two.

As someone who prefers to purchase organic products, I enjoyed the bits about Cassidy's challenges with becoming an organic farmer. It made me understand even more why there is such a cost difference in the two types of products.

This is the third book in the series, and while I think it stands on it's own perfectly well, it definitely made me want to go back and check out the first two books. I wanted to see the behind-the-scenes pieces that brought the other couples together and set the stage for this book.

Characters in this book were delightful. I enjoyed the bantering between the brothers and sister-in-laws, and the challenges of having to take care of an elderly grandparent suffering from a mental illness like dementia. My grandpa suffered from it, so I absolutely related to the portrayal. I think that the hesitation on Cassidy's side for any relationships was also well done. Some might thing it was over exaggerated, but I have a brother-in-law who has a girlfriend so much like Cassidy--predominately in her leeriness of relationships, based on her parent's example.

I give Kissed by a Cowboy by Debra Clopton a solid four star rating. It was very enjoyable and i enjoyed the setting and meeting the characters. I thought the story was very flushed out and made you relate to each character very well. I highly recommend it for anyone seeking a heartwarming, happy ending type of romance. I look forward to seeking out the rest of the books in this delightful series.
Kissed by a Cowboy
by Debra Clopton
ISBN #978-1401690533
Available in Paperback and Kindle

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July 26, 2016

A NotebookingPages Back-To-School Giveaway and 3-Day Sale!

In my recent review of NotebookingPages.com, I shared how it changed how we will be homeschooling this coming year. I also stated that I couldn't think of any style of homeschooling where the pages WOULDN'T be a great addition. I also encouraged you to watch for their sales events in order to take advantage of their membership...well, guess what?! It's TIME FOR A SALE!
Back-to-School Membership Sale
The links on this blog and in the posts may be affiliate links
Please see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!

I am so happy to share that NotebookingPages.com is having a special THREE DAY sale event that kicks off TOMORROW, July 27th and runs through FRIDAY, July 29th. During this three day sale, you will be able to get the LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP (which is a FOREVER membership!) for just $72! That's a $25 savings! And this membership means that you will have access to everything that has been created or will ever be created...forever! How many other subscriptions and memberships offer you that?

But you know what? That's not all! There is a ONE DAY ONLY GIVEAWAY going on TODAY too! Running from 9am-9pm CST, you can get entered to win one of the very awesome prizes from NotebookingPages.com AND you get a FREE sampler pack from NotebookingPages, just for entering the giveaway! A great way to "try before you buy!"

Back-to-School One Day Giveaway

I URGE you to get entered into this giveaway, because the prizes are simply marvelous!

1 GRAND PRIZE WINNER receives ...
Notebooking Pages LIFETIME Membership
plus 12 sponsor gifts ($780+ value)

24 WINNERS receive ...
Notebooking Pages LIFETIME Membership

And EVERYONE who enters gets the FREE product sampler! Woot! Woot! Don't waste time wondering if you should enter--it's going to be over at 9pm CST--so go enter the giveaway now!

I am so excited that we will be able to use this fabulous resource in the coming school year and I need to sit down and plan out what all I want to do with it, including printing out the catalog listings to keep in my binder for easy access. If you have been eyeing them for awhile, or if this was your first introduction to this company, I hope you will at the very least enter the giveaway and to snag that sampler pack!

Have a BLESSED day!
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July 23, 2016


As I sit here this evening, I am caught up in the sounds around me. The hum of the crickets and cicadas outside. The tick of the clock. The drip of the faucet in the bathroom (gotta fix that). And then I hear the sound of motors running. Closer closer. Closer they come. But never fear, it's just the two boys "working" on their "farm".

"We've got a big load to do, Mommy! Make sure you watch where you step!"

And they parcel their land out between them, and work independently at their "job". Back and forth. Up and down. Mouth motor never stopping. Gotta get that hay in. Gotta plow that field. The will sometimes spend two hours like this.

In their eyes, the laminate floor is a ripe wheat field, ready for harvest. They have jumped into their combine and are hard at work bringing it in. Or they have their haybine hooked up and the field of clover ready to be cut and baled. And so they mimic what they have seen and heard around our farm. I hear my husband's words coming from their lips as they strive to get done before the big storm arrives.

You don't know HOW much a child can learn outside of the classroom, until you watch them caught up in their imaginary world. It's the beauty of letting children PLAY freely. I love watching them play when they are caught up in their own special world. And it doesn't take actual toys. Give them sticks, and boxes, and dirt and they will make something magical!

Don't forget to let them have time to just BE and to just PLAY. Their brain will be working harder than ever, as it weaves figments of imagination together, bringing it to life in their eyes and hands. It's what they do best. And why seeing the world through the eyes of a child is so coveted. We have lost our skills with imagination, because we want to quantify what we know. We've lost much of our own imagination, but if you sit down with a child, I promise you will be able to find pieces of it again. 

Now excuse me, but I've been summoned. Apparently some cows got out and I need to go drive the small tractor and herd them up again. If you need me, I will be on the floor relishing in their imagination.
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July 20, 2016

Live the Adventure and travel to Ancient Rome with Beric the Briton {Product Review}

Ever since we were first chosen to review an Heirloom Audio Productions audiodrama, we discovered that they were a perfect match to our family. We love HEARING the adventure as we travel in the car and it's something we all enjoy. We've been blessed to have been on the review list for ALL of the audiodramas they have produced thus far, and I was so glad to once again be able to review their newest product Beric the Briton!
Beric the Briton from Heirloom Audio Productions {a review}

About the Product

Beric the Briton is the FIFTH installment in the audiodrama collection of adventures based on the classic adventure books by G.A. Henty produced by Heirloom Audio Productions. Beric the Briton takes us back to the days of Ancient Rome during the time of the Roman conquest of Britannia during the first century AD. The story follows the life of Beric the Briton, a young man who takes on the incredible power and might of the Romans. Rising to fame in success in battle against the Romans, he then is captured and rises to fame again in the gladiator world in Rome itself. Conflict arises when he is introduced to the forbidden Christian faith and he must decide how far he is willing to go for what he believes in. 

Beric the Briton has the voice talents of greats like Brian Blessed (Star Wars, Tarzan), Brian Cox (The Bourne Identity, Braveheart), Tom Baker (Doctor Who), Honeysuckle Weeks (Foyle's War), Cathy Sara (Downton Abbey), John Rhys-Davis (Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones) and more! Emmy-Award winning composer John Campbell contributes a fabulous original soundtrack. With full movie sound effects, this isn't just any old audiodrama--it's an ADVENTURE!
Beric the Briton is a 2 CD set (2 1/2 hrs of story) for $29.97 and comes with instant access MP3 download. You will also receive the following bonuses:

1. The complete Beric The Briton eStudy Guide and Discussion Starter (50 page PDF)
2. A beautiful, printable copy of the inspirational verse as quoted by Julius in Beric the Briton which can be framed.
3. The Official Beric the Briton Soundtrack MP3 download.
Perfect for ages 6-100+, this is a high quality production, you don't want to miss!
We were given the 2 CD set, and the bonuses to review with our family.

Our Thoughts on Beric the Briton

When I showed the boys the audiodrama package, they immediately noticed the lion on front and were asking if it was going to have lions in it! Because I didn't know, I simply said that we would just need to make sure we listened to it to find out. LOL. We prefer to listen to the audiodramas in the car where I can make sure we have everyone's attention for a period of time. Needless to say it was the listening choice for our very next trip into town. 

As before, the story opens in "present day" with Mr. George writing to the characters Ned and Harold--two boys he met back in the first audiodrama (Under Drake's Flag)--about how he was on his way to a new adventure in Egypt and couldn't wait to tell them all about it--but in the meantime was going to share a story about Ancient Rome...and that's how the story gets started. 

As usual, the high quality of the audiodrama sucks you in immediately. We love the soundtrack with its movie quality effects that surround us with the sounds of a swamp or the clang of swords in battle or the roar of the crowd in the Colosseum. The actors and actresses are so talented and bring us into the story so well. 

In this story, we were able to introduce the boys to Queen Boadicea and Emperor Nero in this story. I was so excited when I heard Queen Boadicea in this adventure! I LOVED learning about her back in world civ in college, so it was cool to hear her play a part in this drama. The historic characters involved in this audiodrama really opened up some conversations. We spoke about who was fictional and who was real. We spoke about the challenges of being a Christian in Rome and what the Apostles were going through living during the time of persecution. 

The boys both agreed (me too!) that the most exciting part of the audiodrama was Beric in the Colosseum as a gladiator. Oh how we waited with bated breath as we listened to the scene play out! It was simply fabulous and I think that particular portion is what made it the "best one yet". 
Both boys agreed that this was their favorite audiodrama because they said it had "way more exciting adventure stuff!" I think it was the best so far because it really made some fabulous rabbit trails. My oldest wants to know more about Ancient Rome and especially about the gladiators.

Now, Beric the Briton also comes with a downloadable eStudyGuide. While I don't choose to use it WHILE we are listening, I do like to pull it out and pick some questions to ask them after we listen to chunks of the story. They are great for checking comprehension. I also love the "thinking further" sections which take it beyond the story--like reading a poem about Boadicea, reading biographies, going to maps, recipes (!!), and more. I enjoyed having it accessible on my Kindle.

Another thing that I really liked, was being given the mp3 version of the audiodrama as a bonus and I was able to have the audiodrama with us everywhere without having to keep track of the CDs. I played it on my Kindle during lunch a couple days to catch us up!

Would I Recommend Heirloom Audio Productions?

100% yes. It is a great product for all ages and it will be enjoyable for everyone. Not only does your child get to enjoy a great story, but they get to dabble their toes into history and meet some historical figures for the very first time! We have consistently found that the audiodramas were things we spoke about months after we listened and especially when we ran into a similar topic later. For instance, somehow my oldest learned that there was a movie called Braveheart and it was about William Wallace--and he remembered that this was what our In Freedom's Cause story was about. Recently he saw a preview to the new Ben-Hur movie and recognized the Colosseum and Rome thanks to the descriptions of it in Beric the Briton. So it's a great way to bring history to LIFE for your family!

Want to Know More?

We absolutely enjoyed our review of Beric the Briton from Heirloom Audio Productions! I hope you will pop over and check out what the other 99 reviewers thought about it!
Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions  Review
Heirloom Audio Productions is ALWAYS chatting about their fabulous audiodramas and are quick to spill the beans on any of their new products, so make sure you follow them on these social media outlets:

We just love the audiodramas that Heirloom Audio Productions creates and I do think that Beric the Briton has moved up in the ranks as being our favorite. I know it definitely opened up some rabbit trails for us to follow, and Little Britches is eager to learn more about Ancient Rome and the Gladiators because of it.
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July 16, 2016

Nature and Verse Graphics to Snag for Saturday 7/16

It has been awhile since I shared any of the nature and verse graphics I like to put together. It is always fun to sort through photos and then match them with scriptures. Sometimes the scripture come first--other times the photo. Today, I have two graphics to share with you--and in both, the photo came first. 

Please feel free to use these on your social media sites if you desire, but as always, I'd love a nod of some kind to let people know where you found them. 

This one will fit a cover photo for Facebook.
Aren't they just lovely? I especially love the cover photo. So much peace in that scene. And the world needs peace. Lord knows we do. 

May you have a beautiful and blessed Sabbath today, and a gorgeous weekend!

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July 15, 2016

Watercolours Made Easy with Aquarelle {Product Review}

Art. We love it at our house. We even have three drawers full of all sorts of mediums. One of our favorite mediums to work with is watercolor paints. When I was given the Aquarelle Monet set by Timberdoodle to review, I looked forward to exploring watercolors with Claude Monet as the inspiration.

Product Information

Aquarelle is a company trying to take the guess work out of watercolor painting for beginners. They have designed pictures to color with a water-resistant technique--the paint flows off the wax barriers and adheres only on the coloring spaces. This in turn allows for the painter to create a masterpiece and explore their colors with guaranteed success.

Aquarelle Monet set ($28.50) explores three paintings by Claude Monet--one of the greatest artists of all time. With this set, the painter gets to paint three images from the series of water lilies images that Monet did. 

Included in this set:
*three pictures to paint
*high-quality, washable, liquid-watercolor paints 
*a standard pipette plus a sturdy dropper 
*a quality double-ended paintbrush 
*plus a color mixing guide

The Aquarelle Monet Set is part of the Timberdoodle 4th Grade Curriculum Package and geared for ages 8+.

How Did We Use the Aquarelle Set?

When I got this set I explored it on my own and decided that I wanted to do the review myself! I knew that if I gave it a go, it would inspire Little Britches to try it himself later because he was overwhelmed when he first looked at it. LOL. 
The supplies
I kicked it off by reading through the included color mixing guide which gave a great introduction to using watercolors, including tips and tricks for getting the colors and designs you desire onto the paper. I especially like the page that gives by drop by drop color matching for creating your own mixtures.
I admit I was a bit intimidated by the big blank paper, even with the raised wax borders as my "lines" color color inside. But I just took a breath and picked a couple colors off the chart to create. I kept looking at the box for reference of the types of dark and light colors and came up with two blues and a green to get started with.
The colors are very rich indeed.
I did notice that there was going to be a LOT of painting of water, and the brush that was included was a very fine tip brush. I wanted something bigger so I grabbed one of our own paintbrushes and used that. It covered WAYYYY more ground. And so with mixing different colors and just taking a deep breath and giving it a go, I completed one of the pictures.
my palette and testing piece
Not bad. I like it more now that it has dried. I wasn't sure about the waters since I had to keep lifting and reloading my brush, but I think it looks pretty good. The shapes of the lily pads and flowers were what were protected with the wax edges. So that gives you "lines" of sorts.

But since I don't always like to color in the lines, I was inspired to create my own mini painting using the back of my scratch piece...

Would I Recommend Aquarelle?

Yes I would! I enjoyed using it and I think creating the colors were the best part. I appreciated that the company includes not just the primary shades (red, yellow, blue), but also throws in magenta and black to make the color mixing even easier. The color mixing is so much fun as you get to test and see what different combinations of the primary colors made. It was very interesting to color the painting and have to think in my head how the waters and such would be. And with this be the Aquarelle Monet set, it is an ideal art set to have on hand if you are studying Claude Monet!

I also really appreciated the quality of the paper. Some watercolor paper is good, but still seems to be too thin if you are trying out new techniques like laying down multiple colors. This paper was top of the line quality--some of the thickest I have ever used.

Anything I would change? I think I would like to have them include the bigger brush. These pieces they have given to be colored are 11.8" x 9.5". With so much open space, the fine tip paint brush included, wasn't going to cut it. It was very useful for the detail work, but I just couldn't use it for anything else. Another idea is to include MINI versions of the paintings to paint. I was intimidated at first--and I'm an adult. I would guess that most 8 year olds would be too. A mini set would be very cool.

And as for the age thing--I know this is for grades 8+, but I don't know if this is really something for that young of child to do. Like I said, even I was intimidated by it. CAN an 8 year old do it? Absolutely. But I would definitely gear this at more of a teenage level unless you have a very art loving younger child. 

Lastly, I would not recommend this set, if you are wanting it as a long term investment. The paints are only going to last for about these three paintings and there are only 3 painting canvases included. So don't get it if you think it's going to be something you would use over and over. It would make an awesome gift though for the painter in your family.

I definitely enjoyed this product and look forward to letting my oldest (age 10) give it a go. I don't know how he will like it...he might be too intimidated by it...but that will just mean more painting for me to enjoy myself! Remember that the Aquarelle Monet set is available through Timberdoodle, and is an element in their Timberdoodle 4th Grade Curriculum Package. You might also want to check out the other line of Aquarelle sets that they carry, as some aren't as "fancy" as these and might resonate more with the younger age.

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July 13, 2016

Fresh from the Bookshelf: An Elegant Facade by Kristi Ann Hunter {Book Review}

Historical fiction is my favorite genre. Lately, I prefer the "clean" style of Christian Fiction. Fortunately, this is an area where there are THOUSANDS of historical fiction options. The regency era is a special favorite of mine with the lords and ladies, debutantes, incredible wardrobes, and fancy balls galore. An Elegant Facade by Kristi Ann Hunter put me right in the middle of this delightful setting, and I was happy to review it for NetGalley.

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Please see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!

About An Elegant Facade

An Elegant Facade is book two in the Hawthorne House series by Kristi Ann Hunter. This book picks up before the events of book one have completed, so there is some overlap as Georgina's story is told. Lady Georgina Hawthorne is the younger sister of Lady Miranda Hawthorne from book one (A Noble Masquerade). Georgina is young lady ready to kick off her debut season and has worked tirelessly to be labeled an "incomparable" and is ready snag herself an earl at the first London ball. Everything rides on

July 12, 2016

ArtAchieve~ Art Lessons Inspired by Art Around the World {Curriculum Review}

We have always enjoyed art in our home. Both boys have sketchbooks and regularly fill the pages with their drawings. Sadly, I don't always find time to teach art in our homeschool for one reason or another. Usually, I am just responsible for too much of the lesson, or it's too time consuming. When I learned about ArtAchieve and their video lessons, I was very interested. After trying out a sample lesson, I couldn't wait to review the Entire Level I with my art loving boys.

ArtAchieve~ Online Art Lessons: Level 1 (A review)
Product Information

ArtAchieve designed their art lessons for children in order to help them be inspired by art around the world, and to enable teachers without art backgrounds to still be able to teach exciting art classes. ArtAchieve isn't just focused on art--they also include mini social studies lessons with their lesson as they explore the part of the world the inspiration came from, dabbling in social studies, science and language arts!

ArtAchieve believes that drawing is a skill just like math or science and that by honing skills, anyone can draw! Their lessons build on the previous themes and always include warmup pages to break the skills down into bite size pieces again.

ArtAchieve provides online art lessons with a couple downloadable components (just the drawing samples and warmups) and provides the complete supplies lists ahead of time. 

ArtAchieve currently has five levels of lessons available that range from grades elementary to adult. They also have some free lessons which you can snag to try them out for yourself. The lessons can be purchased individually or bundled by level. The bundles range from $27-$66 for the 1 year license to any of the five bundles.

We reviewed the ArtAchieve Entire Level I with both of my boys (age 10 and 5).

How Did We Use the Product?

July 8, 2016

Patriotic Mini-Math Unit and FREE Notebooking Pages

The links on this blog and in the posts may be affiliate links
Please see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!

Because it was July 4th this week, we spent the holiday morning going over where the holiday originated, and had a mini lesson about the American flag. I just love using the Alice Dalgliesh book The Fourth of July Story for my lesson because it puts it so simply and has simply fabulous illustrations. Once we completed our lesson, we followed it up with a reader that outlines the history of the American flag and how it has changed over the years. It was only natural that I then used some patriotic printables that I had worked on over the weekend.

July 7, 2016

Evan-Moor Daily Geography and Critical Thinking Activity Books {Product Review}

My first experience with Evan-Moor educational books was back when we were working in first grade with Little Britches. We were told about how awesome their Beginning Geography book was by more than one friend, so we gave it a try and loved it. I then used one of their Daily Word Problems for math books with great success. When Timberdoodle offered me the chance to review the Daily Geography Grade 4 and Critical & Creative 4 books from Evan-Moor, I jumped at the chance to try two other branches of their activity books with our family.
Evan-Moor Daily Geography and Critical & Creative Books~ A Product Review

The links on this blog and in the posts may be affiliate links
Please see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!

About the Product

The Daily Geography series picks up where the Beginning Geography ends. Because the Beginning Geography is for grades K/1, the Daily Geography starts with grade 1 and continues through grade 6. Each book is based on the eighteen National Geography Standards and is designed to support any geography and social studies curriculum that you might be using.

There are 36 weekly sections which contain a teacher page, map page, and question pages. 
The teacher page provides everything you need to know to work on the lesson for the week from the background information to introduce the skill, to vocabulary words, to the answer key. The map page illustrates the geography skills that have been introduced for the week and goes with the question pages. There are two geography questions for each day of the week and they increase in difficulty from Monday to Friday. There is also a challenge question at the end of the map which has them put to practice what they learned to the map page. Sometimes outside references are needed to complete it. 

The book also contains glossary pages for your students to use as an easy reference throughout the year. 

Timberdoodle carries Daily Geography grade 2-6 and they retail for $26.99 each. The books are consumable, but they are designed and approved to be reproducible, making them GREAT for using with multiple students at one time. Daily Geography 4 is also part of the Timberdoodle Curriculum Kit for 4th grade

The Critical & Creative books are perfect for helping your students engage in a broad range of thinking skills. There are 46 themes, each with a three page unit. Pages one and two of the unit encourage students to use a variety of thinking skills over the topic. Page three contains different formats like logic puzzles, riddles, and secret codes in which they can use their knew thinking skills. 

There are Critical & Creative books for grades 1-6+ that are grade appropriate in their difficulty and activities. 

Timberdoodle carries Critical & Creative 1 through 6+ and they retail for $19.99 each. As with the Daily Geography, these books are also reproducible. A bonus for using with more than one student.

We were given the 4th grade level in each series to work through with Little Britches.

Our Thoughts

Little Britches definitely enjoyed the Daily Geography book more than the Critical & Creative book, simply because he didn't have to "think" as hard. LOL. He's always loved geography, so he eagerly pulled out his book for his daily lesson which he always quickly completed in 10 minutes or less. He was very independent on it once we had done the initial lesson for the week and needed little assistance. Critical & Creative however, required me to sit near him to help him work through the different activities. Some of them he was able to get right away, and some things he needed me to help him get started. I would say he successfully completed 80% of it independently.
Working out a logic puzzle

Finishing the week's challenge geography question.

I definitely love both of these books. We have morning work every day school day which is just a collection of workbook like materials to get our brain started. These two books fit perfectly into that slot. I am always seeking out critical thinking materials, and really appreciated how the Critical & Creative was put together. I think there was a good balance of low and high brain power activities to be completed. It was definitely grade appropriate and I didn't think it was every too hard. 

Would I Recommend This Product?

I happily recommend both of these products to any one for home or classroom use. They are the perfect supplement to what you are already doing. I think one of my favorite aspects is the ability to reproduce this so that I can use it for multiple students at one time. That makes the price of each book even more reasonable. 
I am so glad that Timberdoodle gave me the opportunity to review both of these books! It reminded me again how much I enjoy their books and I plan on continuing to add them into our morning work. I probably will continue to look into especially the Critical & Creative books to help with building critical thinking skills in a quick manner. 
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July 6, 2016

Patriotic Penmanship from Laurelwood Books~ A Copywork Book for Cursive Writing {Product Review}

We believe that copywork and penmanship are very important aspects of education, and provide daily copywork exercises for Little Britches to complete. He is also working in cursive, so I try to find copywork that lets him see and then practice his skills. We were recently given the chance to review Patriotic Penmanship: Grade 4 from Laurelwood Books, which combines copywork and cursive practice in one book. I was curious to see how he liked this book compared to his current copywork book--would he like this one more?
Patriotic Penmanship from Laurelwood Books~ A Review

Product Information

Patriotic Penmanship, is a series of copywork books from Laurelwood Books. The series is a collection of penmanship books that incorporate everything from A-Z dinosaur names (for the lowest level) to famous quotes and scripture (high school level). Level K-2 is designed to practice manuscript, while 3rd-high school is in cursive. The books even include the transition stage from manuscript to cursive at the 2/3 grade levels. The books are paperback and retail for $13.95.

We were given the Patriotic Penmanship: Grade 4 (cursive) to use with Little Britches, age 10.

How Did We Use the Product?

The book arrived, and because it was just a workbook this time, I was able to add it in with little effort. I decided that with our summer schedule he would complete just 1 page a day, two lessons a week. This is a good speed for us and lets him break down the two page lesson into one per day. The two page lessons are broken down as such (using Lesson 9 as an example):

Letter Practice: practicing particular strokes of letters for the first 26 lessons, one letter per lesson. (ie. I and i)

Key Words: focused attention to words from the quote usually about three of them (ie. Nothing, politically, right)

Word Pairs: as it says, they practice word pairs from the quote (ie. politically right, Nothing is)

Full Quote: focused attention to a full phrase from the quote (ie. Nothing is politically right)

After the first 26 lessons, there is no more Letter Practice as part of the lesson.

What Were Our Thoughts on the Product?

Little Britches says that since he's only ever required to do a page a day, it's not too bad. He also says he likes the quotes and reads them even if he doesn't copy them all the way yet. He recognized some of the hymn lyrics like Amazing Grace when he got to those lessons.

My thoughts:
This is a quick and painless (though he might disagree!LOL) product for him to work on for practicing cursive and copywork. The quotes and phrases are quite meaningful and lovely, and I like that he's practicing "real" words and phrases taken straight from them. The pages are very easy to assign, and I think that the lessons are kept concise which is perfect for Little Britches attention span and hatred of copywork. LOL. I also like that these lines are smaller than other lines we have written on, helping him bring down the size of his letters. With our background in cursive, this book has been a very very good review and has brought to my attention letters and cursive strokes we should review.

I will note that because the quotations for each lesson are relatively short (2-8 lines), I wish there was the portion where they copy a full quote, was indeed the FULL QUOTE, not just one phrase. By grade 4, I think they should easily be able to copy a full quote down without issues. Perhaps the next level (grade 5) has more comprehensive quotes for copywork.

I will also note, that though I missed it the first few lessons, I discovered that at the bottom of the first page of each lesson, there is a vocabulary word and definition (for lesson 9, that word is political). I think this helps the student with expanding their knowledge as some of these quotes are older and not as known.

Oh, and as one last thing--I think it would be a great idea if the book listings on the website, gave at least a one lesson example (preferably one from the middle), so that a parent/teacher could look at the level they think they need, to see how difficult it is. I know that I would appreciate that. I also MAY have decided to request the next level up had I known this wasn't going to have full quotations in it.

Will I continue to use this product?
Oh yes. No-nonsense when it comes to a simple cursive assignment is the right style. His cursive has become more neat and legible, so I know it's working.

Would We Recommend the Product?

It is a very basic level 4 cursive book. I think that if someone is looking for a straight forward book for their child to continue to practice their cursive, this works great. All of the words in the writing comes straight from real quotes, hymns, scripture and more. There isn't any cutesy illustrations, and the writing space is smaller in the size of the lines. It's a more "grown up" copybook sort, something that I really don't mind.

If you want a fun, eye catching cursive book, you may want to pass on this. While the quotes included and style is excellent, it could be seem "dry" or "boring" without any illustrations, and being in black and white. If your child is ready for full length quotes, and not just phrases, you also may want to try a different level.

Want to Know More?

We reviewed the Patriotic Penmanship~ Grade 4 (Cursive) from Laurelwood Books. You have read about what we thought about it. But go check out the rest of the books that they sent the crew! There are some for Latin, states, and scriptures too.
Latin and Penmanship {Laurelwood Books  Review}
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We now have two different cursive copywork books that we can use throughout the summer and into the next year. Since Little Britches feels the same about either book (he strongly DISLIKES copywork) I think I will let him choose whether or not he would like to get the grade 5 level in Patriotic Penmanship or his other book. One way or another, his penmanship is bound to continue to improve!
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