Exciting News!

Here is the news I have been waiting to share!!  Life of a Homeschool Momma is moving to a new website!!


Please stop by and check out the new website.


Happy Weekend!

Hello Everyone!

I pray that everyone is having  an awesome weekend!  I just wanted to share some news!

I found out this week that I have been invited to return for the 2017 Homeschool Review Crew Year!  I am very excited and looking forward to another awesome & fun year!!

This weekend I attended the FPEA Special Needs Conference for Gifted and Struggling Learners.  I will have a blog post about the conference coming up soon.

Finally, I have one more update in the works but it needs some finishing touches before I make the big announcement.  This is something very exciting for me and I cannot wait to share it with everyone!!

Everyone have a very Happy Thanksgiving and for those who are travelling have a safe trip!

{Review} Chara Games

Commissioned {Chara Games}
Do you like playing board games?  I have a fun game for you!  The game is Commissioned by Chara Games and my family and I had the pleasure of reviewing this game.

Commissioned {Chara Games}


Commissioned {Chara Games}

Commissioned is a doubled sided board game for 2-6 players ages 14 and older.  With 5 unique scenario cards, various faith and trial cards, and the choice of 2 different degrees of difficulty game play is never the same. Everyone works together in the game, except there are a few situations where talking is not permitted, and everyone has the opportunity to be the Elder.  Game play takes approximately one hour and is over when you have achieved victory conditions, all 5 of the candles are extinguished or the last trial card is drawn.  Do expect for the game to take longer the first couple of times you play the game.

There is a learning curve to setting up and playing the game for the first time.  Chara Games has created a ‘How to Play’ video (linked below) that explains how to set up and play the game.  I found the video to be helpful and I was able to see the game in motion.  Also, included with the game is a Theme Appendix which shares some of the historical background of the people, places, and events that you come across in the game.

How to Play Commissioned Video:


img_2102The game starts off by choosing the scenario card.  The recommended scenario card for first time game players is “Acts of the Apostles” and then suggested the remaining scenarios be played in chronological order (“Peter’s Gentile Outreach”, “The First Missionary Journeys”, “Appeal to Caesar”, and “To the Ends of the Earth”.  The scenario card determines which side of the board you will be using, the setup of the pieces, special rules, victory conditions, and what failure means.  As you can see on  “The First Missionary Journeys” scenario card to the right, we will use Board Side A, the Apostles that we must use, as well as where everything goes.  There are no special rules.  We achieve victory when we have a church established in red, orange, and yellow cities, we have collected the faith cards for Romans, Galatians, Thessalonians, & Luke, and all Apostles must return to Antioch.  This all has to be completed before the 5 candle have been extinguished.  Failure to do this means that the church never reaches Europe.

Commissioned {Chara Games}After you have selected the scenario card, every player choses an Apostle.  Certain Apostles are required per rules on the scenario card.  Every Apostle has their own set of Faith Cards which are different from each other.  For instance if you have Barnabas his cards allow you to remove one growth stop from one church in the Elder’s region and with James you can make an additional move on the board.  Also, every card are worth different faith points.

There are three phases of the order of play: Arm, Live, & Mature.

In Arm, you draw cards based on the number of players playing Commission and prepare for the Live phase.

In the Live Phase, there are five steps (Trials, Pray, Share, Move & Grow).  The current Elder draws a trial card and applies the instructions on the card.  The effect could be losing church members or a growth block (where you cannot add any new members until the block is removed).  After applying the trials the play moves to Pray.  In the Pray step every player chooses 2 cards from their hand to share and then the elder may choose 2 cards out of all of the cards that are face up.  Unless otherwise specified players may offer advice to the Elder.  Once the elder has made his/her choices they apply the steps on both cards.  The final two steps are Move and Grow and they are based .  The Elder may choose to make two moves either moving members to an existing church (Fellowship Move) or establishing a new church (Mission Move) as long as there are no blocks in place.  You also want to make moves strategically as removing the last piece from a city during a Mission or Fellowship will cause the church to be extinguished.  The final step is church growing.  Any churches on the game board that have a minimum population of three will grow by one additional member.  Once all of these steps are completed, the Elder stick is passed on to the next player and they become the new Elder.  After the Live Phase is repeated a certain number of time (ours was 3x since we were playing with 5 players) the play moves on to the Mature Phase.img_1362

In the Mature phase, the players use the 2 remaining cards left in their hands to purchase new Faith Cards.  The total number of faith points determines how many cards you can buy.  You can choose to buy any combo of cards that total the number of faith points that you have or buy nothing at all.

Another round begins in the Arm phase and you continue until all of the Trial cards have been played or 5 candles have been extinguished.

While the game is designed for ages 14+, this game can be played with younger children.  We played Commissioned with our oldest three children (8, 7, & 6) and they have enjoyed playing the game.  I highly recommend playing Commissioned at least once before introducing younger children to the game.  The very first time we played we had the kids join us and we didn’t expect it to take as long as it did.  We also did tweak the game a little, including laying the cards face up on the table instead of holding them in our hands, to allow us to help the children.  We are enjoying this game and are looking forward to introducing others to the game.
Commissioned {Chara Games}
Chara Games has just released a new card game called 3 Seeds which I will be posting a review on it very soon but would like to give you a quick sneak peek.  3 Seeds is a 2-5 player strategic card game that takes about 30-45 minutes to play.  In the game time, money, and labor seed cards are used to complete tasks.


Commissioned {Chara Games}

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CharaGames/
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/CharaGames/ @Charagames


Please click the banner below for more Homeschool Review Crew reviews of Commissioned.

Commissioned {Chara Games}

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{Review} Kwik Stix



When most mom’s hear the question, “Mom, can I paint?” they cringe at the thought of the paint and the mess that comes along with it.  The water that gets spilled.  The paint that gets all over not just the kids but random places around the house.  Then either grudgingly they say yes and pray that the paint stays in one place or they say no, not at this time and have disappointed kids.  Let me introduce you to Kwik Stix from The Pencil Grip, Inc.  Kwik Stix, the paint that you will not hesitate to say yes to!

My family was first introduced to Kwik Stix earlier this year when we had the opportunity to review the product as a part of the Homeschool Review Crew.  The Pencil Grip, Inc. contacted me recently to see if we would be interested in reviewing their Neon & Metalix sets.  We said yes!  My kids love them and so do I!

I was once that mom that I mentioned above.  I cringed at the thought of painting, especially with 5 young children and Kwik Stix changed that!  I find myself now saying yes nearly every time they ask to paint and the two youngest (4 & 3) love to paint with Kwik Stix.

Kwik Stix are solid tempera paint in stick form about the size of a standard glue stick and are perfect for little hands.  You uncap, twist, & paint.  No water is needed so no mess when the cup is accidentally tipped over.  You don’t have to worry about the colors mixing because they do not bleed!  The best thing about Kwik Stix is that the paint dries in 90 seconds!  Yes, 90 seconds!  Kwik Stix are also great for classrooms and co-ops (96 ct & 144 ct sets are available!).  Clean up is a breeze!  Other than putting things away and making sure the caps are on tight so the Kwik Stix don’t dry out, clean up is minimal.

The colors in the Neon set are nice and bright & I love the glittery shimmer of the colors in the Metalix set.  Both sets are a great addition to the classic set we reviewed earlier in the year.

With Christmas quickly approaching Kwik Stix by The Pencil Grip makes an awesome stocking stuffer or gift.  They also make excellent gifts throughout the entire year!  You can find them in variety of colors and sets.  They can be found on Amazon (Metalix – Set of 6
Neon – 6 Pack, Classic – 6 Pack, Classic – 12 Pack, 24 ct Classic, Neon, and Metalix Combo set, 96 Pack, and 144 ct Classic – 12 of Each Classic Color) & at Target (online & in stores).

My older girls recently painted pictures of the characters from the movie ‘Inside Out’ (Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger).






This is a picture that Little Man (4) made for me.


Lil’ Bit made a crown.  Since the paint is dry in 90 seconds she was able to wear the crown almost instantly!!




Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/KwikStixPaint/

Disclosure: I received one or more of the items mentioned above for free in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Psalm 9

Psalm 9

I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart;
I will tell of all Your wonders.
I will be glad and exult in You;
I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.

When my enemies turn back,
They stumble and perish before You.
For You have maintained my just cause;
You have sat on the throne judging righteously.
You have rebuked the nations, You have destroyed the wicked;
You have blotted out their name forever and ever.
The enemy has come to an end in perpetual ruins,
And You have uprooted the cities;
The very memory of them has perished.

But the Lord abides forever;
He has established His throne for judgment,
And He will judge the world in righteousness;
He will execute judgment for the peoples with equity.
The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed,
A stronghold in times of trouble;
And those who know Your name will put their trust in You,
For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.

Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion;
Declare among the peoples His deeds.
For He who requires blood remembers them;
He does not forget the cry of the afflicted.
Be gracious to me, O Lord;
See my affliction from those who hate me,
You who lift me up from the gates of death,
That I may tell of all Your praises,
That in the gates of the daughter of Zion
I may rejoice in Your salvation.
The nations have sunk down in the pit which they have made;
In the net which they hid, their own foot has been caught.
The Lord has made Himself known;
He has executed judgment.
In the work of his own hands the wicked is snared. Higgaion Selah.

The wicked will return to Sheol,
Even all the nations who forget God.
For the needy will not always be forgotten,
Nor the hope of the afflicted perish forever.
Arise, O Lord, do not let man prevail;
Let the nations be judged before You.
Put them in fear, O Lord;
Let the nations know that they are but men. Selah.

{Review} Critical Thinking

Language Arts {The Critical Thinking Co.™}
All five of my kids are enjoying Fun-Time Phonics!™ Software – 2-PCs Win Download which is part of the Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic Before Kindergarten!™ software bundle from The Critical Thinking Co.™.  We had the pleasure of reviewing Fun-Time Phonics!.

Language Arts {The Critical Thinking Co.™}


Fun-Time Phonics!™ is a fun mastery based reading program for Grades: Prek-2.  The program is based on data from the National Reading Commission and you will find the program to be a comprehensive reading program.  Two robots keep children engaged during 126 lessons.  Students will learn through listening, thinking, speaking, and reading activities.  The lessons are not flashy and they are short which is perfect for the younger crowd!

Fun-Time Phonics is a downloadable program available for Windows systems only.  The System Requirements:

  • Platform: Windows® 10/8/7
  • CPU: 1 GHz or faster
  • RAM: 512MB
  • Disk Space: 500 MB

Fun-Time Phonics is composed of four sections:

  • Section 1: Teaches children that words are made up with sounds. Activities include beginning sounds, ending sounds, vowel sounds, and words that rhyme.
  • Section2: Teaches children each short vowel sound and the letter that makes that sound.
  • Section 3: This section teaches consonant-vowel coarticulation, so children learn that each consonant uses short vowels to make different sounds that are used to form words that are read.
  • Section 4: Teaches children to combine their new knowledge of consonant-vowel coarticulation and ending sounds to read their first words.

When Fun-Time Phonics loads, the last student who used the program is up on the screen.  If you wish to switch users you must click on Admin/Score in the lower left hand corner.  Then you have 15 seconds to type in the first three letters of the word teacher to gain access to the admin section.  If ‘tea’ is not typed correctly within 15 seconds, the screen returns to the screen that you were on.  The admin screen can be accessed while the student is playing Fun-Time Phonics.  One thing I have noticed when accessing the admin page while the student is in the middle of playing is that the student is penalized for not answering their question correctly/quick enough.  I don’t like that the student is penalized for not answering the question because the teacher is going into the teacher/admin interface.

The Admin page is simply laid out.  The menu (About, Other Products, License Agreement, Clear Data, Success Percentage, Manage Users, Print, and Exit) is across the top of the screen.  On the main part of the screen is the lesson information for the student that is currently logged in.  This includes what is covered on every lesson, the percentage that the student received, and if you feel a student needs to repeat a lesson, you can select the lesson and click on the Replay Play Lesson button (Note: Your score will reset and the lesson will show ‘incomplete’ instead of the percentage.  You can also skip around in the lessons.  To change students click on ‘Manage Users’ and select the student that you want and click the green continue arrow.  You can print a very simple data record page for each of your students.  The information included is the lesson number, score, and percentage.  If you need to clear the data for a particular student, you click on ‘Clear Data’.  From there you will be prompted to go ahead and clear all of the data for that student and be reminded that it cannot be undone.  As the admin, you can also change the percentage required for moving on to the next lesson.  The options are 65%, 75%, 85%, and 95%.

Fun-Time Phonics!™ Software – 2-PCs Win Download is a big hit with all of the kids.  The older kids have been playing Fun-Time Phonics 2 to 3 times a week and sometimes have asked to play it more.  The first time Little Man (4) saw one of his older sisters playing Fun-Time Phonics he wanted to play it too!  He needs some assistance playing but he sits on my lap with the biggest grin.  Munchkin (just turned 3) likes to do everything that her older sisters and brother do and wanted to try it herself and I set up an account for her as well.

The first photo is Sweet Pea reviewing sounds.  In the second photo below, you can see Munchkin trying to “help” Sweet Pea out while Little Man is watching the screen while she is reviewing sounds.  In the third photo Lil’ Bit is working on rhyming.





Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Critical-Thinking-Co/46128092293
Google+: https://plus.google.com/114500823774999703181
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/source/criticalthinking.com/


For this review, members of the Homeschool Review Crew reviewed various software downloads and paperback books.

Software Downloads:

Alphabet Song Game™ Software – 2-PCs Win Download (Grades: Toddler-1 | New Version 2.0)
Letter Sounds Song and Game™ Software – 2-PCs Win Download (Grades: Prek-1)
Vowel Sounds Song and Game™ Software – 2-PCs Win Download (Grades: Prek-2)
Fun-Time Phonics!™ Software – 2-PCs Win Download (Grades: Prek-2)

Paperback Books:

Sentence Diagramming: Beginning (Grades: 3-12+)
Language Smarts™ Level E (Grade: 4)

Please click the banner below to read more Homeschool Review Crew reviews of  products from The Critical Thinking Co.™.

Language Arts {The Critical Thinking Co.™}

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