TOS Sweet Critique: Heritage History

PhotobucketWHAT:  Heritage History British Empire

COST:  $24.99

RECOMMENDED AGES:  Fourth grade reading level through high school



Heritage History offers a number of products, to include CDs containing living books, study guides, maps, and more.

The British Empire CD, specifically, has 57 books, over 50 maps, a study guide, and more, and covers 18th and 19th century world history.

All of the books on the CDs were published prior to 1923 and are living books, meaning they’re not written from an analytical, fact-driven perspective.  They’re written more as a narrative.

The curriculum is designed to cover the major and important parts of history, not every little mundane fact.


This was an entirely new way of teaching for me.  I just recently learned about living books, and I have to say it was intense for me!

That’s not to say I didn’t like the curriculum, it’s just a stretch for me right now.

What I did love about the CD is the wealth of information contained.

It contains maps {a ton!}, a timeline, a compendium of “characters” from the British Empire, information about battles, etc.

So, even if you’re someone like me who prefers a less living books approach to teaching, the CD still has an amazing number of resources that would likely come in handy.

Plus, since the books are meant to be read for fun, your avid reader might still enjoy reading the books as supplemental material.

I appreciate the fact that Heritage History has taken the time to provide an extensive study guide and curriculum guide so that you can really understand the purpose and method behind this type of education.

They really do give you all you’d need to successfully teach this for an entire year, even if you’d never heard of a living book.

All that said, I’d recommend it regardless of your teaching style.  At only $30, you’ve got an extensive library of resources that can enhance any history curriculum.


See what other members of the Crew thought by clicking here.

True Confessions:  I was provided with these materials in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

TOS Sweet Critique: WriteShop Junior Book D


WHAT:  WriteShop Junior Book D

COST:  Teacher’s Guide:  hard copy {$39.95} OR eBook {$34.95} AND Activity Pack:  hard copy {$39.95} OR eBook {$29.95}

RECOMMENDED AGES:  Grades 3 and 4, although it can be used with reluctant writers in grades 5 and 6 {reluctant 3rd graders might want to start with Primary Book C}



WriteShop Junior is a homeschool creative writing program for upper elementary students.

Using fun graphics, engaging games and activities, and age-appropriate methods, WriteShop Junior helps you teach the writing process and self-editing skills to your child.

The program comes with a teacher’s guide and activity pack {student worksheet pack AND Fold-N-Go grammar pack}.


Oh man, I love it.  LOVE it!

Babydoll can’t stand writing, and the writing program we originally started with didn’t do much to make her like it either.

I think part of the problem is my inability to teach the process.  I’ve never been a follower of the actual process, although after going through it in college, I see the benefit.

While I know how I sit down and write, I can’t communicate to Babydoll, who hates to write, how to sit down and write something.



The teacher’s guide does a phenomenal job of walking you through the entire process of teaching your child to write.

It doesn’t just tell you which lessons to do on what day.  You are given ideas to create a portable or permanent writing station, several sample schedules to follow, tips on how much you should help your child, and more.

After just reading through the first portion of the teacher’s guide I felt like I would be better equipped to teach Babydoll the writing process.

You are given an easy breakdown of advanced prep, materials needed, and other helpful tips for each lesson.  They’ve designed it in a way that allows a more confident teacher to take what they need and go, while someone like me who is a little uneasy about the whole process can really get the guidance they need.



The activity pack is full of everything your student will need to complete WriteShop Junior.

The fonts and graphics are fun; Babydoll was quickly enticed.



I definitely recommend trying this product if you’re looking for a writing curriculum.

I had all but given up, hoping that as she progressed through her other studies we could find ways to tie writing in.

I am so happy that we had the opportunity to give this a try!

Want to purchase for yourself?  They’ve kindly given us a coupon code for you!!!

Use CREW15 for 15% off any WriteShop Primary or Junior purchase now through June 15th!


Find out what other members of the Crew thought about WriteShop here.

Several different levels were sent out to Crew members, so if your child is not in this grade range, you might find an appropriate level in another review.

True Confessions:  I was provided with these materials in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Sweet Critique: “Sadie, The Paper Crown Princess”


We love books in our household.


I was a huge book nerd in high school {Vince can vouch for that}, and Babydoll absolutely loves reading too.  Vince is a big Stephen King fan.

We have an over-abundance of books here.

Add to that our love for all things pink and sparkly, and well, we’re super-duper in love with Sadie, The Paper Crown Princess.

NOTE:  Sadie, The Paper Crown Princess isn’t actually sparkly, but it definitely should be.  It’s just that cool.


Princesses, duh!

OK, so without being so vague…  The book is abso-freakin-lutely phenomenal!


It’s the perfect marriage of girly, princess-y stuff and do-good-for-others, be-whatever-you-want-when-you-grow-up stuff.

I’ve often had this struggle since having Babydoll:  I love girly things.  She loves girly things.  But there is another side to us as well: playing outside {her}, reading {both of us}, science and math {her}, and other “non-girly” stuff.

Our society often makes it seem as if you have to pick between the two, but as this book points out, you can be a girly girl and have a love for non-girly things.

You can want to be a princess but still have a desire to do for yourself.

Sadie is headed to princess school and while she has great manners and is smart, she doesn’t seem to do well at being a princess in the traditional sense of the word.

Will she be able to get her tiara and become a full-fledged princess?

You’ll have to read to find out!


You do, trust me, you do.

The awesome author of the book has given me a discount code for 20% off {pre-order it here} AND she is giving away a Sadie t-shirt and paper crown set!!!

Use code “sweetphen” {no quotes} to get 20% off any Sadie purchase, and use the Giveaway Tools form below to enter to win your Sadie set!

Also, don’t forget about the Sadie Twitter party I’m co-hosting on Wednesday.  Details here!

True Confessions:  I was provided with a copy of the book for review purposes.  All opinions are my own.

I’m linked up over on Hip Homeschool Moms!

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TOS Sweet Critique: Homeschool Library Builder



What:  Homeschool Library Builder

Cost:  Membership is free, price of books varies

Recommended Ages:  Various



From Homeschool Library Builder {HSLB}:

Homeschool Library Builder is co-owned by two veteran homeschool families dedicated to Christ-centered education.

Our desire is to help homeschool families affordably collect books for their literary-based educational needs.

We stock both new and used books found in popular literature-based homeschool curricula, as well as select titles to supplement your unit studies.

Whether you’re looking for educational or leisure, inspirational or reference, self-help, activity, or classic reading, we are committed to providing wholesome materials that will enrich the entire family.

Basically, the site has tons of new and used books available for purchase.  You can search by curriculum, see what’s new, search by subject, and more.

Each book listing details the author, reading levels, book type, condition, a brief overview, retail price, and HSLB price.

HSLB also provides ways for you to earn points toward free books and provides a monthly newsletter full of promotions.  May’s promotion is 25% off all books!


I have never personally purchased from HSLB, but they do have a decent selection of hard-to-find books.

The prices are very reasonable, and they make every effort to find something for you if they don’t have it in stock.

I have it bookmarked for future use!


Find out what other members of the Crew thought by clicking here!

True Confessions:  I was asked to provide an information review of this website.  All opinions are my own.  I was provided with a 10% off coupon code if I chose to use it.