Category Archives for Review

Wildcraft! An Herbal Adventure Game for Kids Review

Teach Herbs to Kids with Wildcraft {Review}

Several years ago, I became fascinated with herbs.

I wanted to learn all about them … how they worked, which ones did what, and how I could use them to help and heal the body.

We were struggling with several pretty severe health challenges, and as I dug deeper, I learned more and more that told me that herbs might be a fantastic part of the solution.

I was not disappointed … but that story is for another day.

Because — in the process of all my research, I stumbled across the most AMAZING game for kids.

A game that teaches herbs to kids.

I waffled for a bit about getting it — but ultimately, I’m glad that I did because my kids have played with it for YEARS (which I can’t say for a lot of the other things we have in our house).

So I’m super excited to share it with you today.

CLICK HERE to check it out for your homeschool:

Use Labyrinth to teach problem solving the A-MAZE-ING way {Game Review}

We all sit down together — the readers and the non-readers — and we want to play together.

But it’s tricky … the teenager wants something challenging. The youngest wants a fighting chance.

And my non-readers don’t want to get bogged down with words.

I’d even like it to teach while we play (multi-tasking!)

That’s why when we want a game for all of us — we pull out Labyrinth.


CLICK HERE to check it out for your homeschool:

Can grammar make you giggle? {Review}

Do your kids (and you) moan when it’s time to do grammar?

What if I told you it was possible to actually laugh out loud while learning about nouns and verbs and phrases and clauses … ?

Well … it IS possible.

Because this book that I’m going to share with you does just that.

It will make you laugh and giggle and guffaw … all while teaching your kids AND you everything you need to know to write a flawless English sentence.

CLICK HERE to check it out for your homeschool

Student Edition:

Teacher Edition:

Help reluctant writer motivate to write homeschool

How to help the reluctant writer

It can be soooooo painful!

You sit down and ask your kid to write ONE sentence … one little sentence …

And it turns into begging … “PLEEEEASE … anything … something …”

Help reluctant writer motivate to write homeschool


It can be soooooo painful!

You sit down and ask your kid to write ONE sentence … one little sentence …

And it turns into begging … “PLEEEEASE … anything … something …”

And they look at you like you with a blank stare -- or they start to cry -- OR they throw their pencil across the room.

BUT - it doesn’t have to be that way! You can work on “writing” without having it turn into a battle or a cry fest.

To do it, you have to break writing down into its parts and pieces, figure out what’s working and what isn’t, and then focus your efforts on what’s going to make the most different.

And today -- I’m going to tell you how to do just that!

NOTE: I mention LOTS of different resources in today’s video. If you want to check them out, here are some links:

Spelling Resources

Sequential Spelling Books

Sequential Spelling Online

All About Spelling

Handwriting Resources

Handwriting without Tears

Storytelling Resources

Tell Tale Game

Rory Story Cubes

Ready to feel Confident and Successful as you homeschool?

Register below to watch my FREE CLASS

Confident Homeschool Secrets

7 Ways to Create a Homeschool That Works (and you LOVE!)


Hello, my name's ToriAnn Perkey, and from my homeschool to your homeschool, today I want to talk about what you can do and think about if you have a reluctant writer.

I'm talking about those kids who are in elementary school particularly who you say, “Okay, just write a sentence. Just write a sentence.” And they're like, “Oh, I don't want to write a sentence.” And it feels like you are extracting blood from a stone if you ask them to write anything.

Or they get started, and they just seem to sit there forever, and you know that they have great ideas because they can tell them to you, but they won't write them.

Well, today I want to talk about how writing is actually divided into four different sub-pieces that all have to come together to make a writer who can write. And sometimes what happens is developmentally a kid will be ready for two of the four but not the other two. 

So even though you know they can write, they're actually not ready to write.  So, we're going to talk about that today. This is a topic I feel really passionate about because I know that if you push writing too soon, and you're too hard on it, you'll have a kid who - when they hit an age when they might have an amazing thing to say - will hate writing, and they'll just say, “I hate it. I don't want to do it.” And you don't want that to happen.

You want your kids to graduate into an age and a mental space where they like writing and they're excited to write because there's so much good that happens with writing.

So, let's talk about this. What are the four different subtopics that go into writing?

They are spelling, handwriting (or typing is kind in there) … but spelling, handwriting - because most kids don't type at this age - sentence and paragraph structure, and then ideas. And as you can see, you need all four of those to be able to write a sentence on a piece of paper.

You say, “Hey, tell me a sentence about what we did yesterday.”  They have to be able to spell - or at least they think they have to be able to spell - but they have to be able to spell to some extent or you won't have any idea what they're writing. They have to be able to write it - physically write it. They have to be able to structure the sentence in such a way that it actually translates from their brain into something coherent on the page, and they have to have an idea of what to write.

That's a lot of different skills for kids to wrap their brain around, and you might have a kid who's fabulous with ideas. I mean, FABULOUS with ideas, right? They will tell you stories and their dreams and this happened and this happened, but when you ask them to write, they can't because handwriting is hard. Or maybe they're worried about their spelling, even though you've told them it does not matter what it's spelled like, you just want them to put it down! You don't know.

And so my recommendation is this. If you have a kid where these four skills are not coming together seamlessly -- and it does happen -- some kids just kind of pull these skills together and they just write. Yay, for happiness and easiness! But for the kids where it's a little bit trickier, my recommendation is to pull the skills apart and work on them one-on-one, because you don't want to have ideas stagnate while handwriting is being worked on.

So you want to be able to work on them separately, have ideas continue to grow, have the handwriting catch up, or get to the point where the kid can type and then that helps, and then you can put all the skills back together.

There are resources that specifically target each one of these. You don't need to do all of these resources if things are working or if you see that the skill is already developing, but if it's not developing, then finding a resource that specifically targets one of these skills is a really great idea.

For example, if you're working on spelling, then you're going to go find a curriculum just for spelling, and there's a couple that I'm really, really fond of.  One is called Sequential Spelling, and you can do that with workbooks, or they now have an online version. Yay, that we're using.

I really like sequential spelling - and this isn't a review about that - but I like it because it just approaches spelling in a different way for holistic learners, and I guess I'll leave a link to that so you can go check it out. Another one that's super popular with spelling is "All About Spelling," which is a very different style of teaching spelling, but it uses a method that works well with dyslexics. So, these are some different resources. 

If you're struggling with handwriting then the bar none hands down best way to work on handwriting for a kid who's struggling is a program called Handwriting without Tears, and I'll leave a link to that as well. In Handwriting with Tears, we have now been using it with just a couple of my kids. The other ones didn't have any trouble, but a couple needed to work on handwriting, and it is definitely the best program I've seen. I don't get any pushback. Super, super simple, and I'm not even using the teacher guides. We're just using the student manuals. Just a little side note.

If you're working on sentence and paragraph structure, then the best way to work on that is to actually practice having them tell you the sentences and then watch you write them or type them. Have them practice speaking the sentences before they have to write the sentences.  Say, “You know what? I need you to say that in a complete sentence.” Help them learn to structure. Correct their grammar. Correct those things as you're talking to them. So, narration and dictation - and there's lots of resources out there for that, and you can even just use the scriptures or a picture book.  Narration and dictation are really, really good for that. I don't have a specific curriculum for that. I just wanted to let you know.

And then ideas - oh my goodness - I don't know of anybody really struggles with kids having ideas and things to write about when you pull these other skills out. But on the off chance that you want to just burnish those skills a little bit, I love using storytelling games for this.

Storytelling games are all verbally done. They're not written, and they allow the kids to definitely, definitely, definitely practice creating stories, being creative, pulling their ideas out of their head and into a space where they can be enjoyed and experienced together without all of the other things. I have reviewed several storytelling resources over the course of doing this - making these videos - and I will link to those so you can go check out my reviews in the review section, and my videos that specifically talk about those resources.

So, there you have it. There you have it. Break down those writing skills into four separate distinct categories, and if you do that, you are definitely going to find that you can augment the ones that are working, take away the ones that aren't - not take them away, but actually focus on them and help supplement them and bring them up so that in good time all of those skills will come together and take a reluctant writer to a writer that's actually writing.

I'm ToriAnn Perkey, and I make these videos every week so that you can be a super successful and confident homeschool mom.

Save for later by pinning to your favorite Pinterest board!

Help reluctant writer motivate to write homeschool
Help reluctant writer motivate to write homeschool
Help reluctant writer motivate to write homeschool
writing for dysgraphia and dyslexia
The Extraordinaires Design Studio Pro - Game Review

The best design game EVER {Review Design Studio Pro}

I have a problem …

I’m part of a program that reimburses a TON of my school expenses … in exchange for a few, minor requirements from us.

It’s called My Tech High, and actually in most ways, I absolutely love it. Manageable oversight (read … very little), maximum flexibility, and extra money that makes it possible for to do school “stuff” that we wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.

BUT … one requirement is that we HAVE to have a technology or entrepreneur class every year.

For one of my kids, this is not an issue …. He’s headed into a tech or engineering field, and he already shows LOTS of desire to be an entrepreneur.

For my other three — it’s super tricky. They love art and music and books.

And they are almost ALLERGIC to anything related to tech or design.

But every year we have to do this class. So what’s a mom to do?

Well … this year, I found THIS game that I’m sharing with you today.

It marries art and creativity and everything that I need to work for my “non-techy” kids —

It teaches out-of-the-box thinking (which is good for ANY kid headed out into the world) —

It allows us to play cooperatively without being competitive —

My kids can play without me, but it’s so much fun, I always want to play (BONUS!) —

AND it has turned out to be one of the major highlights of our week.

What if you DON’T have to do a tech or design class for your homeschool?

I STILL recommend you check this game out … it will enhance your child’s creativity and it works for ALL ages … and you can play with all your kids OR just one.

I think it’s the perfect addition to any homeschool. 🙂

CLICK HERE to check it out:

Learn Math Multiples with a Twist - Blue Orange Sumoku Review

Learn math multiples with a TWIST {Review}

Brain bending math with a dash of Scrabble …

That’s how I describe this latest game that we love to play at our house.

It’s not the easiest game in the world, but I love how it makes my kids … and ME … think when we play!

CLICK HERE to check it out for your homeschool.

I’m excited about these Horrible Science books

I’m HORRIBLY excited about these Science books {Review – Horrible Science}

What if Monty Python met Bill Nye the Science Guy …?

You would have the books I want to share with you today.

I’m excited about these Horrible Science books


These books are full of solid science, but with all the “gross” bits left in. But I find that even my girls enjoy the humor and style.

And I enjoy how easily the content is absorbed into their brain. 🙂

CLICK HERE to check it out for your homeschool.

Want tons of FREE resources to
help your homeschool?


Hello, my name's ToriAnn Perkey, and from my homeschool to your homeschool, I want to tell you about why we're horribly excited about science.That's because we have this really cool series of books called "Horrible Science." Have you heard about these? First of all, I have to show you -- we have a lot of them. 

Look at all those titles, you guys. I love these books! They come from the same people who do "Murderous Maths" and "Horrible Histories." I don't know you may have seen their videos on YouTube. "Horrible Histories" has videos, but today we're going to talk about "Horrible Science" because we are doing science right now in our homeschool, and we're specifically focusing on chemistry. So, I wanted to show you the chemistry book.

Let me tell you a little bit about why I like the "Horrible Science" series. First of all, they're all about making things really funny, and they don't take themselves at all seriously. In fact, if Monty Python could meet science, this would be the book. They actually do come from England.

That's where the author is from -- Nick Arnold. And these books are full -- I'm going to show you -- full of -- let's see if I can get that to focus -- full of really silly pictures. It's not one cohesive story. There are little bits and pieces.  Think of it like a television show that's broken up into bits kind of like a "Bill Nye the Science Guy" television show.

There are pages that have lots of pictures, and they read more like a comic book, and then there are other pages that do tend to be a little denser in the content. Now, the content is solid. You're going to be learning whether -- and I'll go through a couple of these titles.

Whatever the topic is you're going to be learning solid, solid science, but in a way that appeals particularly to boys or girls that like kind of squishy stuff. Because it never ever ever talks about things in a super serious tone. It's always about why things explode, or why things are kind of gross, or why things are different. And whether they're talking about the history and the scientists who were involved in major discoveries or they're talking about how in this case atoms and molecules come together, they're going to tell it in a way that makes it super engaging and super fun.

Oh my goodness, we have read multiple versions of the series "Horrible Science," "Horrible Histories," and they make us laugh. And any time your kids are laughing … WIN! ... that means learning is happening.

So, the chemistry one is called "Chemical Chaos," and I love that they also do a lot of alliteration. So, we have "Painful Poison," "Killer Energy," "Fight for Flight." There's one here about "Ugly Bugs," and that's going to be all about the microscopic.

What are some other ones? Ooh, here we go "Bulging Brains: I'm a Bundle of Nerves" and the puns. It says "100 Percent Horrible." I love these books.

"Deadly Diseases: Evolve or Die," and obviously this is going to be a very traditional evolution book. So, if that's something that bothers you, you want to be aware of that.  "Fatal Forces" here's one. "Fatal Forces" it's all -- what does it say? "It's Crunch Time," and so here we are forces, and he's going to step on the snail. I wish I could just sit down and read this to you guys. It's just funny.

So, the forces one is going to be all about like Newton science and the different Newton's forces and physics. That's the word I was looking for ... physics … but again it's just -- there are quizzes, there are games, there are horrible health warnings. It's just really fun.

So if this looks like something that would be interesting to you, I will link you to the best place to buy these. It's actually not Amazon, surprise! It's a different website. That's where I buy all my "Horrible" stuff, and the link will be up above or down below. I highly recommend you check it out because it's going to be horribly awesome.

I'm ToriAnn Perkey, and I make meet these videos every week so that you can be a super successful and confident homeschool mom.

Save for later by pinning to your favorite Pinterest board!

I’m excited about these Horrible Science books
I’m excited about these Horrible Science books
I’m excited about these Horrible Science books
Horrible Science book review to supplement homeschool science curriculum
Happy Atoms Review - Magnetic Molecular Modeling Set

Finally! The Chemistry kit I’ve been looking for YEARS! {Happy Atoms – Review}

Atoms … molecules … for kids!

I know there are kits out there, but I didn’t like how they were put together or I didn’t like how they didn’t feel durable and kid friendly.

Well …

I finally found a kit that meets all my requirements.

I found it while I was presenting at the Winter Homeschool Conference this last weekend, and it’s going at the TOP of my Amazon Wish List.

AFTER I made this video, I did more research and I’m even MORE excited … because they have an app that will help kids of all ages engage even more.

(Forgive the quality of this video … the noise at a conference can be pretty crazy!

And, if you’re in Utah and are interested in getting help with school expenses and want onsite classes, check out Education Evolution that I talk about in the video.

CLICK HERE to check it out for your homeschool:

Ignite the Love for Science! The Disappearing Spoon Review

How to use a disappearing spoon to ignite their love of science {Review}

A little dash of history … a sprinkling of periodic table … and a great story … all mixed together —

THAT’s what makes this particular book that I’m sharing with you today such a great way to mix things up for science in your homeschool.

CLICK HERE to check it out for your homeschool:

Kids motivated to learn with sharpie in homeschool

How a Simple Sharpie Can Make Your Kids WANT to Learn

There are moments where I have despaired of EVER getting my kids to want to do something.

Practice handwriting … nope!

Do math problems … nope!

How a Simple Sharpie Can Make Your Kids WANT to Learn


practice spelling … nope!

And then there are times when a kid will sit down and just do their assignment.

No whining. No crying. No begging.

I wish I had a crystal ball to explain why sometimes it’s easy … and sometimes it’s not.

But I don’t!

What I DO have is a simple sharpie trick that seems to help (at least some of the time!)

(P.S. This trick ALSO works wonders if the Sharpies get into the hands of your artist 2 year old!)

CLICK HERE for some cool, colorful sharpies for your homeschool.

And if you a whiteboard like the one I show you, you can find it here.

Want tons of FREE resources to
help your homeschool?


Hey guys, I'm ToriAnn Perkey. From my homeschool to your homeschool, today I want to talk about the simple Sharpie. Sharpies are permanent markers and, oh my goodness, they can be the bane of every mom's existence. If you've ever tried to get Sharpie off the wall or anything else, you know that this sucker is very, very permanent. I know this because I had a certain daughter who wrote all over her bedroom and all over my sheets and her sheets with a Sharpie.

Yeah, not fun.  

But today I want to talk about how you can use a Sharpie, a simple little Sharpie, to make homeschooling so much more fun. Your kids will want to learn. As I'm doing that, I'm going to show you a little trick that's like magic. It seems like magic, and it's made such a difference, and we've used it tons in my homeschool.

So, the cool thing about a Sharpie is it is permanent … except if you apply alcohol to it, you can get it off, which is why you may know that if you take a Sharpie and then you draw on something and then take a dry erase marker and draw over it, it will often pull the Sharpie off.  I know, super cool. So, I decided that I would figure out if I could use a Sharpie on a whiteboard without the dry erase marker and have it work -- and it does.

So, let me show you. So, I have these cool whiteboards, and this side is plain and this side is lined, and we have used these tons because they have the line size we've done a ton of our handwriting assignments on these and my kids use this side to do math. It's a lot like having a slate from like 120 years ago -- little chalkboard slates they used to carry around -- only we have these whiteboard slates. What's really fun is I can take the Sharpie and I can draw all over the whiteboard and because it's Sharpie it doesn't come off. It's permanent.

My kids can do a handwriting assignment or a math assignment or whatever they need to do, and they can then come show it to me ... particularly the handwriting side but either way … they can show it to me, and it doesn't rub off accidently. And particularly for lefthanders when they're writing, and they will write this way, right? And then their hand will smear it while they're writing.  

But then if you take rubbing alcohol -- and I just bought this container to put the rubbing alcohol in. You do have to have the highest concentration of alcohol you can get. So, you want a 91 percent alcohol.

You take the rubbing alcohol, and you take either a rag or a paper towel, and you can put the rubbing alcohol on the rag or the actual whiteboard and then you go like this. Do you see that?  Do you see that? It's like magic, and off it comes. 

What I love is that Sharpies have this amazing kinesthetic feel. So, not only do we use black ones, but we get all the colored Sharpies. And my kids who maybe were a little resistant to do handwriting or were resistant to do math when you can write on a surface there's something about Sharpie or dry erase marker on a whiteboard surface that just is so fun and so tactile, and it shifts the learning, and my kids want to do their assignments because they're drawing with colors and they're drawing here. 

You can get Sharpies in fine point as well as in the -- well, fine point and then extra fine point. And now that I can buy even extra point, we can do even more complicated math and things that take a much finer writing because you have even just a finer point that you can write with.

So, there it is -- the Sharpie with a dry erase board. So much that we've done in our homeschool with those two humble tools. Ninety one percent alcohol, use a paper towel or a rag.  Simple, simple, simple. (Just so you know 91 percent alcohol also gets Sharpie off bunk beds. Who knew?)

So, I'm going to give a link up above or down below. You can check out the Sharpies. You can check out the whiteboard that I recommend on Amazon, if that's something you want to incorporate in your homeschool. Really, really fun. Super cool.

I'm ToriAnn Perkey, and from my homeschool to your homeschool, I bring you these videos every single week so that you can be a super successful and confident homeschool mom.

Save for later by pinning to your favorite Pinterest board!

Kids motivated to learn with sharpie in homeschool
Kids motivated to learn with sharpie in homeschool
Kids motivated to learn with sharpie in homeschool
sharpie and whiteboard homeschool hack