Review of The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors and The 3 Step Pencil Grip Training Kit

The Pencil Grip, Inc. sent us two of their products to try free for a review: The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors and The 3 Step Pencil Grip Training Kit.

The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors are for ages three and up. The scissor blades are covered with a plastic safety shield to prevent the cutting of anything except paper. When the scissors are all the way open there’s a thin slit between the blade and the protective shield that you can slide a piece of paper into to cut it. The tips are curved to there’s no risk of harm from your child poking herself with sharp scissors, but the blades themselves are actually sharper than most if not all other safety scissors since the protection is provided by the shield rather than by dull blades.

The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors review by Running With Spears #safetyscissors #preschoolsupplies

I wish we’d had these a couple months ago when, after making it through two kids without any scissor incidents, my almost four year old, Smiles, cut off a chunk of her beautiful hair. She didn’t even mean to as far as we can tell. It seems she was trying to cut paper and her hair fell in the way and she accidentally cut it. And then she tried to fix it by cutting some more before she came to us in tears to tell us.

The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors review by Running With Spears #safetyscissors #preschoolsupplies

She unfortunately doesn’t really love using The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors because she’d gotten used to using regular scissors and these take a little more patience I think to insert the paper carefully into the little slit, but at least her hair is safe. I think these would be great as the first scissors a little kid learns to use, rather than re-training to use these instead after the fact.

I asked my seven year old to try out The 3 Step Pencil Grip Training Kit. It includes The Crossover Grip for Training, The Pinch Grip for Transitioning and The Pencil Grip for Graduation.

The 3 Step Pencil Grip Training Kit #pencilgrip

It took us awhile to figure out how she’s supposed to use each one, but after trying them all she settled on the crossover grip as her favorite right now, though she still needs us to help her get her fingers on it correctly every time. She was already holding her pencil well before and doesn’t really love using any of the grips, but I can see that they would be great for a kid who is struggling with proper pencil grip or as beginning tools when first teaching it, probably around kindergarten age (my three year old seems to young to attempt these, but some younger kids may be ready). I’m sure these ergonomic writing aids could be great for someone with arthritis or discomfort when needing to use a pen or pencil for extended periods of time as well.

Be sure to check out the Homeschool Review Crew link-up to see what other reviewers have to say about these products. 

Reading Eggs Review

I was thrilled to receive a free subscription of Reading Eggs to review because my two middle daughters both love the website’s fun online learning games and activities. 🙂

Reading Eggs is an online program to help children from ages two through thirteen develop and strengthen reading skills while having a blast! There’s also a math program called Mathseeds where kids ages three through nine can enjoy fun games and activities that enhance their math skills. In addition to the online content, there are reading and math printable worksheets and coloring pages to accompany every lesson (the coloring pages for reading stop at the eight year old level, though).

Four Week Free Trial of Reading Eggs - online reading program.

There’s also a homeschool guide for kindergarten through second grade that provides a schedule for using the online reading and math programs plus the printables for those subjects in your homeschool, and offers suggestions for using books in their online library to use for science and social studies as well.

My almost four year old, Smiles, has been using Reading Eggs Junior that’s designed for kids ages two through four. She loves the fun games, books, videos and songs. Her favorite activity is the puzzles. This junior program has such a cute design and is a fun treat for littles who like to click around and explore. I love that Smiles can use this site almost entirely on her own and that she’s gaining new skills while having a fantastic time. The only downside is that most of the different activities aren’t specifically labeled so when she wants me to help her find something specific it can take me awhile to figure out where it is.

My seven year old, Boo, is obsessed with Reading Eggs now. She’d actually been begging me for it after we did a free trial some time ago, but I feel like with most online programs like this, as soon as the newness wears off she stops having any desire to play so I hadn’t forked over the money. Since we received the subscription, though, she’s been excitedly spending at least half and hour a day using the program, not counting the time she happily spends doing the printable worksheets.

Boo loves Mathseeds as well and begged to do it just for fun even though she already has another math curriculum she does every day, and of course there was no way I was going to say no to more math practice so it’s a total win-win.

Boo really loves the reward system. She said that she gets a handful of eggs when she completes each lesson and then she uses them to buy decorations to put in her house. The games and play area are both ones that I can turn on or off. Since those spots don’t earn eggs, Boo is motivated to not spend all her time there so I’ve been leaving them on so far.

I love that Boo has not only been having a blast doing educational activities, but she’s really learning as well. During her time using Reading Eggs, she has made significant progress in her reading skills, and her confidence has received a boost as well! I receive emails as Smiles progresses through her lessons updating me on her progress, reminding me that I can print additional resources for her to use, and offering home learning tips, which is a nice bonus.

All in all, I definitely recommend this program to parents of little kids, especially if you have struggling readers at home. For a limited time, you can try Reading Eggs FREE for four weeks by clicking here. But don’t wait, because the offer expires on November 30th 2017. 😀

Be sure to hop over to the Homeschool Review Crew link-up to see what other reviewers have to say about Reading Eggs

CTC Math

If you’ve been around here long, you’ve probably seen me rave about CTCMath, so I was ecstatic to receive a free one-year subscription to the Family Membership to review, and to be able to share with you that right now homeschoolers can get 60% off + 6 bonus months. 🙂


CTCMath is a self-paced online math curriculum for kindergarten through high school. Each lesson includes short, simple video instruction followed by practice problems, and optional printable worksheets and one page summaries of each lesson. There are also diagnostic tests for each area of study, and an easy to use parent section where you can monitor your child’s progress, assign tasks, and view weekly reports.

With our membership we have access to ALL grades, so we can hop down a grade if there’s an area of concern that needs some review, or even whiz through more than one grade a year if that’s you kid’s cup of tea.

We’ve been using this program ever since we had the opportunity to review it last year. When our free subscription ran out, I purchased another eighteen months, because I was done with messing with other math curriculum. This one works for us, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. 😉

This year Evergreen is doing fifth grade math, and Boo is doing second grade. They both like like that the instructional videos are easy to understand and not any lengthier than absolutely necessary to get the point across. They also give you the option to scroll forward and backwards in them to easily skip past portions you already know, or go back to hear again something that was tricky. The practice questions make sense, too. We’ve been using this quite awhile now and still not encountered issues with my girls being confused because the problems are worded oddly or overly complicated for no reason, like we’ve experienced with some other programs.

I really appreciate not having to step in and try to figure out a discombobulated hot-mess of a lesson only to get so frustrated myself that I just can’t even.

Bottom line – I love how straightforward everything is.

Last year, one of the main things Evergreen was working on was getting her times tables down, so she spent quite a bit of time playing their times tables game that’s a fun way to strengthen her fluency with those. (There’s also a puzzle that involves swapping blue and red pieces that I’ve yet to solve, but it’s fun to try, even for me, and a speed skills game that challenges you in addition or subtraction.)

One feature that I was thrilled with when Boo was doing first grade was that the questions have a little speaker she can click to have the computer read her any written instructions etc. so even though she wasn’t reading strongly yet, she was still able to do her math work independently.

CTCMath is currently offering 60% off + 6 bonus months, just follow this link, and  you can get a free trial of the first lesson of each topic by clicking here

As I’ve said before, I highly recommend this program. It’s been a life saver for us. 😀

Be sure to hop over to the Homeschool Review Crew link-up to see what others have to say.