Review: Thin Stix Creativity Pack by The Pencil Grip, Inc.

Thin_Stix_Creativity_PackI confess, amongst all the art supplies tucked away in our home, tempura paint has not made a strong play. So when we were given an opportunity to review Thin Stix Creativity Pack by The Pencil Grip, Inc. we were beyond excited.

The Pencil Grip, Inc. has been creating quality products since 1992. Amongst their lines you will find pencil grips, therapeutic products and toys, school and office supplies, and fidgets. Thin Stix Creativity Pack is a twenty-four piece collection of tempura paint sticks. No water needed, you simply remove the cap, twist to expose the paint, create to your heart’s content using this vibrant set of colors, and watch it dry in seconds. Thin Stix Creativity Pack comes with primary, neon, and metallic colors. Thin Stix Creativity Pack is washable, and is egg, nut, and gluten-free.

Our family was given a Thin Stix Creativity Pack which we immediately began to use. Our daughters, aged twelve and fourteen, initially tested out colors without a project in mind. Having a better feel for the medium, both set about creating their own piece of work. Each Art_Project_1chose to work with paper, painting a picture with the Kwik Stix. Thin Stix Creativity Pack has since been used when working on nature journal entries, homeschool projects, and personal creations.

Thin Stix Creativity Pack is a unique product. We had not previously worked with tempura paints in stick form, and were excited to see how they faired compared to paint and brush. Our initial reaction to the Kwik Stix was one of surprise. Considering the name, we anticipated a fine tip to the colors. Instead we found the tips to be as wide as my middle finger. While this did not initially complicate matters, we learned Kwik Stix were better suited for larger projects not involving detail.

Working with the Kwik Stix was easy and clean. The tempura paint went on smoothly leaving texture similar to a crayon. While Kwik Stix are advertised as drying in ninety-seconds, we found ours dried much sooner. Kwik Stix are indeed vibrant in color. What impressed us most was the ability to overlay a light color paint over a dark color without Art_Project_2any issues. No color rubbed off onto our paint sticks and the top color retained its bright hue. We did note neon colors tended to be lighter in opacity, working similarly to a highlighter. Metallic paints did have a glittery undertone to them, but were not as strong as our kids would have hoped.

Overall, we were pleased with the Thin Stix Creativity Pack. We would recommend their use in large projects which do not require detail and for use with little hands. Our kids enjoyed this experiment with color and creativity. Having added Thin Stix Creativity Pack to our supply closet, we’ll definitely continue to use these for larger projects and with friends who come to visit.

If you’d like to learn more about Thin Stix Creativity Pack or The Pencil Grip, Inc. please visit them at their website and on FacebookTwitter or Pinterest! To read helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what Thin Stix Creativity Pack has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

Review Crew Disclaimer

Your Turn!: Do you have a favorite color?

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter& Pinterest!

When Silence is Golden

When_Silence_is_GoldenA friend once commented that my house is frequently a “quiet zone”, meaning I don’t have constant noise running in the background. I don’t know that I had ever thought of this before, but she’s absolutely correct!

It’s not that we don’t listen to music or never have the television on while doing something else, it just isn’t a regular in our world. I doubt there was a lot of thought put into the decision, it just seemed like the natural course of events. The more I think on the topic, I confess there are some valid reasons for having our home be a “quiet zone”.

My children are easily distracted by outside noise (and so am I). One of the few downsides to being OCD, is that my brain functions on all cylinders all the time. Having additional noise entering my ears is overkill. My kids tend to function the same way. While we are homeschooling, we tend to keep the external noises to a minimum. Having a “quiet zone” during formal learning helps my kids’ brains to function better and focus on the task at hand.

My children use their own creativity. My children are very creative. They invent stories, write plays, internalize their lessons through play, and create their own games. If media was constantly being put in front of them or pumped into their heads, I wonder how much time they would spend being imaginative.

My children make their own noise! With four children running around my house (and frequently more), I don’t know that additional commotion is necessary. Even when they aren’t running around just being loud, they are often singing on their own or playing some type of instrument. Again, if music or television were constantly available, I wonder how much of their own noise I would be missing. I enjoy hearing them!

Yes, my family does listen to music. Yes, we do watch movies. It just isn’t round-the-clock. Our “quiet zone” of a house is the perfect place for us; where we can let our imaginations do the talking and our creativity soar.

Trust me, there are days (especially since my guy has recently rediscovered his love for his awesome electric guitar) that the sounds never seem to stop. There are times when my children purposefully pull out their favorite CD’s and spend the afternoon lying on their backs, staring at the ceiling. Even more frequently are the moments when we all get up and groove to a family favorite which happens to be playing on some device. Over all though, our house is pretty quiet. Which, to this mom, is golden!

“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation.”
~ Psalm 62:1

Your Turn!: What is your family’s favorite rendition of a film based off a book?

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter& Pinterest!

Interrupting Creativity for “Real” School

interrupting_creativity_for_real_schoolI should interrupt, really I should. At least that is what I keep telling myself. We were supposed to start our learning day over twenty minutes ago. Yet here we are, the girls working on completely different artistic endeavors all while my son is working off his excess energy from breakfast. I pace back and forth, asking myself this important question, “Should I interrupt creativity for ‘real’ school?”

Let’s face it, those arithmetic lessons do need to be done. At some time. The question is when. I’m looking for an easy answer. Here we go… When the Lord leads. There we have it. But, easier said than done.

My OCD, get-it-done-and-out-of-the-way nature wants to interrupt. My desire is for them to complete that list of tasks I’ve set before them so I can feel secure in my teaching and parenting. No one is going to say we haven’t finished our learning or that we’re behind. No sir! Plus, aren’t I supposed to be teaching my children the value of work ethic; showing up on time, completing tasks in a timely manner, and all that jazz? (sigh)

I’m sure this is a dilemma I am not the first to face. Nor will I be the last. It’s a struggle to find balance between what needs to be done and when it should be done. It’s all too easy to allow tasks to control our day and overlook the beauty of each moment.

Perhaps what I need to be asking myself is, “Might this be what ‘real’ learning looks like?”

Instead of focusing on being behind, and that list of to-do’s waiting for us, maybe God has a bigger plan. What if He is using this moment to reach my children’s hearts, and doing a work in them? It might be that this project is bringing peace to my child, opening their minds to receive when formal learning begins. I do know one thing for certain. If I carelessly interrupt this moment with shouts of frustration and commands to get a move-on, I risk losing a teachable moment for good.

The truth of the matter is, at some point, they are, indeed, going to need to tackle that arithmetic work. I’ll wrangle them to the table and ask them to knuckle down. Just not yet. And when I do, instead of shouts, I’ll gently pat them on the heads or kiss their ruffled hair and remind them we need to get started soon. I’ll give them a moment to adjust their minds and hearts, commending their hard work and rejoicing in their creativity. Then, we’ll work through those lessons which build them in other ways.

As for teaching them proper work ethic and timely deadlines? Occasional moments taken to explore creativity are not going to ruin them. They see deadlines lived daily, both through their father’s work and homeschool opportunities. Work ethic is a way of life. If anything, it is these moments our children need most. The understanding that life is not all about pushing papers. It’s about embracing each moment and giving it to God.

I’ve got this down, right? Never again will I stress over starting on time and finishing X number of pages. (ahem) I wish. No, the bug still bites. But, I am inspired to give this area of our learning over to God. My desire is to finish. If that is also God’s desire… awesome! More importantly, God’s will needs to take precedence. If that means book work, that’s fine. If not, that’s okay, too!

May we stress less about what our learning looks like to the world, and even ourselves; focusing more on hearing God’s call in our day. When He directs our learning, we can never go wrong.

“Let the wise hear and increase in learning,…”
~ Proverbs 1:5a

Your Turn!: We talk about our children being creative, but are you inspired to be artistic?

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter& Pinterest!

Stay Inside the Lines

Stay_Inside_The_LinesJust recently, I found myself telling my son to be careful while working on one of his school projects. “Stay inside the lines,” was one of my instructions. While he happily replied, “Yes, mommy!” and continued on his merry way, this launched an entire debate in my head.

Is it really that important for my children to color in the lines? After all, the purpose is for them to merely identify the colors and use the appropriate one when asked. Do I really need to plague them with more restrictions or should I allow them to be creative and color as they please? I think the answer is yes… to both!

There are some very valid arguments for having our children color inside the lines:

  • Hand/Eye Coordination
  • Developing Dexterity
  • Neatness
  • Patience
  • Adherence to Instruction

When our children are focused on coloring in the lines, they are developing some important skills. They are strengthening their coordination and hand muscles which will assist them with other accomplishments in the future. They are being trained in neatness and patience; not all of life can be chaotic and rushed through.

On the flip side, there is also a solid point for ignoring those pesky lines… creativity! Without all those frustrating lines in the way, we are able to express ourselves through the medium of art. We can tap into the imagination and be free to explore a world of color.

Perhaps both are important! During our learning day, part of my job is to give instruction and help our children develop those important life skills, such as coordination and dexterity. However, when at all possible, I should also encourage my children to be comfortable with the exploration of art.

Like most other things in life, there is a time and a place for everything; art is no exception. So our children can feel free to be as creative as they’d like, with the understanding that sometimes mommy is going to make them stay in those silly little lines.

What can I say? I like to torture my kids!

📢 Chime In!: What’s your take; inside, outside, or no lines at all?

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter& Pinterest!

Summer School: Fair Fun

There is nothing quite like the fair; the sights, the smells, the sounds. For schools, this is a time of discovery and learning. A time to get good and dirty. A time to step outside the classroom and have some real fun.

As in most counties and states, the L.A. County Fair comes every fall. Each year our kids eagerly await the opening week and highly anticipate all the fun to be had. For educators though, the fun can start much sooner!

Did you know that as an educator (and yes, homeschoolers are included) you can sign up for the Fair as early as April? There is a vast selection of educational experiences to explore, with curriculum to help your students get the most out of their day. Bonus: it’s free! Educators and their students enter the fair a few hours earlier than the public and the entire event is free. At our fair, they offer free milk and a Read-to-Ride program (free carnival rides for six books read). Not a bad deal!

So what does a fair in the fall have to do with our summer school? Competitions! Once our family has signed up for the Fair, we make sure to  take a look at the competitions available. How many do we want to work on? Which are feasible for the kids to do themselves (the work has to entirely be done by the students)?

We work on one project a week, making sure that we put them in a nice, safe place until they are ready to be delivered. Through working on their projects, my kids have learned diligence, orderliness, cleanliness, creativity, and much more. They have also learned the value of friendly competition.

Come fall, our family has the opportunity to spend the day taking in the sights, enjoyingsome good food, and the excitement of seeing how well they did in their competitions. All together, the Fair has been a wonderful family experience; one that our kiddos will hopefully look back on with much fondness.


It’s officially hit! The crafting bug has hit our girls and they are working non-stop on various projects.

Most of the gifts our girls received this Christmas somehow involved arts and crafts. We got blank books, lined journals, bracelet looms, jewelry kits, and more! Now, our house is littered with all form of creative projects and we are enjoying every minute.

This afternoon I sat down to work on a sewing project for my father-in-law. He needs a new apron made for when he is working on his welding projects outside. Happy to oblige, I got to work on it this afternoon and was, luckily, able to pop it out pretty quickly.

While I was working, the kiddos were at the table doing some drawing and weaving. It seems weaved bracelets are all the rage right now and my girlies are happy to join in the fun.

It has been so exciting working on a few imaginative projects as a family. Even on our ‘Christmas break’, we are finding time to learn new skills and add some wrinkles to our brain.

Have YOU learned any new skills during your Christmas break or spent any time being creative? We’d love to hear all about it!

A Competitive Spirit

Comic CompetitionWhile September is still a few months off, our family has already begun to prepare for the L.A. County Fair. Registration is complete, events have been outlined, and now for the real work… competitions!

Every year, our family participates in several competitions for the fair. Most of our entries come alongside the America’s Kids exhibit, which features a new theme each year. This year’s theme? A Library of Fun!

The kids and I have perused the (very) long list of entry options and narrowed down our choices. Our problem is not in finding a competition, but in not overdoing it and choosing too many!

After paring things down, our entry list includes nine different competitions. Some of these will be easy to complete (the coloring competition), while others will require more work and patience (namely the shoe decorating and the legendary sword).Color Competition

We have only two more weeks of “school” left and then summer begins. Part of our summer fun will be in getting busy with our projects. One project per week is the goal!

Working on these projects over the summer is excellent. I don’t have to be concerned about balancing these with tons of other responsibilities, it keeps us active during the warmer months, and it helps us include art into our learning (which I don’t always make time for).

Another reason I enjoy working on these over the summer? The competition entry forms aren’t due until the end of June. So, I have plenty of time to realistically evaluate how much we will actually get done, before committing myself to the task. If we do all nine; great! If not, no sweat!

All nine competition forms are currently printed and attached to my clipboard, with a handy checklist on top. At the bottom of the stack are two of our favorite fair freebies. The Read-to-Ride list, where our children read six books and write corresponding book reports to earn free rides at the fair, and our free milk pass! A day at the fair would not be complete without those two.

Decorating CompetitionNow that we have narrowed down our choices (ha, ha) and gotten ourselves organized, it is time to check our list of supplies. Once all the materials needed are gathered (most we already own; thank goodness!), we will be ready to tackle some major fun.

After a cursory glance, our favorite competition so far is the “Magic Shoe”. We are free to find any pair of shoes we like and decorate them anyway we choose. Then, we need to create a short description of who the shoe belongs to and what it does. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Shoe Decorating

Now… which storybook character should we make shoes for? Hmmm…..

Do you compete in your county fair? Which competitions do you like?

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31