Fun things for Homeschool

I was recently given the opportunity to review a few products for You already know that I love their hands on learning products, so when given this opportunity, I jumped at it.

Weelll, the first product that I was asked to review, I just found “okay.” So….I will tell you about a few of the new products I loved!

1. THINKING PUTTY-  We give it an A.

I got this item with Holly in mind. She is my little mosquito… always moving. She is happiest on the swing, riding her bike or climbing a tree, or crazy fast fiddling on her violin. So, when I saw this “Thinking Puddy” I knew she’d love this. It keeps her moving in a controlled way during listening times, like family read aloud time or during educational movies. I need to buy more, though, because Hope also loves it. You can squish it, bounce it, pull it apart, etc…and it doesn’t dry out or stick to clothes. A great friend of the mother of a kinesthetic learner!!

2. SMENCILS– We give it an A!

When I was a kid, “smelly stickers” were all the rage. I loved the bubble gum and pizza scented ones. Any one else remember these? We used to make our own smelly stickers by drawing on labels and smearing scented lip gloss on them(orange soda and rootbeer come to mind.)

Well, these are on the same idea. They are Smelly Pencils that smell like your favorite candy or food. Holly and Hope both loved these. They came in a 10 pack of  different fun scents, and I let my little girls choose  a scent before Math and Handwriting. They love them.

3. BIOLOGY 101 DVD- We give it a B! 

I loved these because they give a gentle overview of the classification system used by Carl Linnaeus and were simple enough for our younger children to understand. The narrator is humorous and entertaining, and although this is by no means a Hollywood quality production, it is still enjoyable. The price tag is steep…nearly $50, I believe, but it is a great tool! This is not a full curriculum, but a supplement to a Creationist viewpoint Biology Curriculum. I am giving it a “B” because in my opinion, it is an expensive supplement!

4. PIANO FOR QUITTERS- We give it a C. 

I was excited to review this, because I was  a piano drop out. We have raised a fairly musical family. Our kids have had the opportunity to take lessons at a local music conservatory, they play regularly in church, town events and have made Massachusetts District and All State Orchestras. (Emily is practicing her violin for Mass. District Orchestra auditions as I type this.) But I am not personally proficient in any instrument.  I took 6 years of piano lessons and then just quit. Although I do play today for fun and enjoyment, I thought that this may give me a deeper understanding of what was lacking. I did come away from this series knowing a few tricks for playing using chord progressions, but that was about it. In my opinion, it is for the person who just wants to fool around and make beautiful music in their homes, but not for the person who wants to accompany or read music to perform.  So, I could take or leave this video. I am giving it a “C.”


*Disclosure– I am being compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are solely mine.


  1. Debbie Smith says:

    I just might try some of that “Thinking Putty” for Noah (3 1/2) for times when I need him to settle down during read-aloud times, especially times that are boring to him because they are for the older girls! And I am sure Olivia would absolutely love the “Smencils”…even though she loves to write, and does a lot of it, there are those times that a little incentive would help!

    • SJBeals says:

      Debbie, it keeps your hands busy. I find myself snapping and pulling it when I am putting it away. Kinesthetic kids are not known for being super organized or for putting their things away. :) lol

  2. You’re being compensated to review stuff for TIMBERDOODLE?? How fun!!! We adore Thinking Putty (lots of kinesthetic learning going on around here; your Holly and my Lucy sound a lot alike!) but it is rather pricey. How fun to get to blog about it, and to enjoy the perks!

    Smencils sound fun! I think my kids may like those, too. The dvds sound significantly less fun–so I think we’ll stick with the art/creative supplies :)

    • SJBeals says:

      YES! I own half of the stuff in their catalog already, and have always loved their recommendations. Do you use their recommendations?? Holly and Lucy will have to meet some day…they can swing to their hearts content. :) I love the math wrap ups that they used to sell…we took those everywhere when the kids were little.

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