Category Archives: curriculum

A Site With Something For Everyone: SchoolhouseTeachers.com ~ a Crew review

This review contains affiliate links.

If you have read much of my blog at all, the name SchoolhouseTeachers.com comes up a lot. We use this site for tons of different reasons because there is SO MUCH there. When you purchase an Ultimate Annual Yearly Membership, you have access to everything.

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What does this mean? For the single price (which is currently on sale for Crew followers! see later in the post for the code), you get access to every single thing on the site. This includes curriculum, review materials, printables, planners, meal plans, videos, encouragement, World Book, specialized sections for specialized needs, and tons more. This access can be for one person or for the entire family. The price does not change.

There are currently over 450 courses on SchoolhouseTeachers.com. This ranges in age from preschool materials to those for adults. We are using things from all over the site, it seems like.

My high schooler enjoys using the Daily Writing and This Day In History writing prompts. She uses these every day and follows those prompts. She has a notebook full of interesting writing samples because of the variety of materials there. She doesn’t write every single day but when she does, there’s no stopping her. Today, she wrote over a page on Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Another course my high schooler is using is Speech. She doesn’t love this course but it has been a good one for her. She is working on it two days per week and some of the assignments take her several days worth of work. It is challenging, such as asking her to create and present on a product she would create after having her watch an episode of Shark Tank.

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She started off her chemistry class on SchoolhouseTeachers with Friendly Chemistry. She understands so much chemistry and she is really thriving with it.

My middle schooler is using Elements of Literature. She is currently reading and writing about Peter Pan using this course. A lot is packed into each of these lessons and she is now working on writing a story with the characters she has created over the past few weeks.

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The middle schooler is also using Drive Thru History American History for her current history explorations. The videos are solid information and she prints off the review sheet to go with each one. She prints it prior to watching the video so she can read through it to know what to listen for in the video. These are wonderful videos that teach so much.

My elementary student is using Daily Puzzlers. This is a new one for her to help continue the critical thinking she loves so much. The strategy for this is great for also challenging her spelling.

I am using one of the printable and editable planners to keep track of my girls education this year. It is wonderful to be able to print exactly what I need and to edit and personalize it to my needs. I pop it into a three-ring binder and can then add to or change as needed. From the weekly pages to the calendars and the monthly notes, this planner is just perfect for me.

Don’t forget that there are also some additional resources that you have access to when you become a member of SchoolhouseTeachers

  • World Book – There is an access code and link for members of SchoolhouseTeachers to be able to go to World Book online. There are spaces that are directed at different ages or topics. There is a search function and fabulous timelines. Readers, advanced non-fiction books, and more is all available for members of SchoolhouseTeachers.
  • Video Library – Members of SchoolhouseTeachers also have access to the wonderful video library. There are many videos that are related to the courses but Right Now Media access is also a part of this. There are well over 400 videos to be accessed. Parenting, faith, kids, science, history, and the list goes on.
  • Members Forum – This is a place where members can go to chat and encourage each other, ask questions, or get advice.

There is so much on the site that I felt like I should share, again, about this fabulous resource. If you haven’t yet, now is a great time to check it out. The price for Crew followers cannot be beat. I don’t know that I have ever seen it lower. Please check it out. I don’t think you will regret it.

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Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Click on the banner below and go read other reviews from Crew families, many of whom have been experiencing SchoolhouseTeachers.com for the first time. They have all found different parts of the site a good fit for their families and you might find that, too.

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GrammarPlanet ~ a Crew review

GrammarPlanet online

A new website to assist with grammar is available – GrammarPlanet. This site is a complete grammar, punctuation, and usage curriculum. GrammarPlanet is truly a complete curriculum, including formal parsing and diagramming of sentences.

The folks behind this free program (free version supported by advertising) want everyone to learn how to correctly use the English language and so they have created this curriculum. This program is based upon the teaching methods of Analytical Grammar, which has been on the homeschool market for around 20 years.

Easy to use, it is aimed at students aged 10 and up. This is a fairly solid age to begin. We did try to have Miss J use it but at age nine, she was not ready for this program so I took over her account to see how the program worked. Miss L is using it and at age 12, she is able to benefit from the program. Challenging? YES! But she can do it.

student dashboard 2

So, how does this work? Let’s use me for an example, here. Each student has their own account with their own login. When I am ready to work, I login to my account and then click the bright green button in the upper left that says “continue progress.” That takes me right to where I left off last time and I can continue on. Each unit begins with a set of notes to print and a video to watch. This video is interactive and pauses periodically to have the student answer a question, ensuring attentiveness during the lecture. After the video is over, the student clicks the button to move them into the practice questions.

screen shot of video

Each practice is a sentence. The student reads the sentences, ensures they understand it, and then begin parsing, or marking, the sentence – nouns, adjectives, articles, pronouns, etc. This is done on the computer with a point and click setup – click the word you want to mark and a pop-up box appears with the choices in it, click your choice and the pop-up disappears but your choices is now marked above the work in the sentence. After you have marked everything you feel is needed, you click the continue button. You get immediate feedback on what is correct or incorrect.

sentence example with selections madeselections popup

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Continue on through the practice sentences until the program has determined you understand enough. Then it moves you on to the test. The test is the same set-up as the practices. If you have mastered enough of the unit test, then you will move on to the next unit. This program is a dynamic program, designed to give you more practice questions if you are struggling and fewer if you are answering correctly.

test image of question

It is recommended that the student be working on this program around 15 minutes at a time, every other day. This is to allow the brain to focus and really absorb the material.

At this time, there appear to be 13 units. The schedule on the website indicates that there are plans for 60 units when all is said and done. You can see this schedule by visiting the main website page and scrolling down to the bottom right. In the question “How does it work?” there is a link for the unit outline.

Now for the nitty gritty – do we like it? Yes and no.

Yes

  • this is a rich, challenging, growth-producing program. The units are rigorous. They do not allow for half-way and GrammarPlanet pushes the student hard. There is no easy way out with this program.
  • If you want to strengthen your English language skills so that you become a better writer and more confident in your usage, this program is going to be right for you.
  • If you are seeking a formal and classical usage program that will teach diagramming and all the skills that go along with that, this program is what you are looking for.
  • Resetting the unit is an option when the student is struggling and needs to repeat from the beginning to view the video again.
  • Notes are available for reprinting or viewing (opens in a PDF) while in the practices.

No

  • It is difficult to begin this program when you have not had already had a rigorous grammar program but understand a good bit about the subject. Even with the nouns, there are words used in a way that is different than I have ever been taught, or taught my girls. Add in things like the pronouns and it is a whole new world. I understand that there are not “different rules” that govern these things but it certainly feels that way when you get things wrong that you feel certain you understand.
  • It is frustrating to the student to be told over and over that they have gotten all of the questions, or even most of the questions, in a set wrong. When this happens, the student is locked out of the program until it is reset or unlocked by the parent or teacher managing the account. Requiring this gives additional teaching a chance to happen.
  • It is a difficult program to work through when you do not have an explanation of why you got something wrong. We referred back to the notes, over and over, but still end up guessing about why things are marked wrong a lot of the time. It is difficult for this program to be able to give individual feedback but at the same time, not having that kind of feedback means that there is no growth in understanding of the mistake so it will not be made again.

GP OK ku revision

Overall Thoughts –

  • You need to check this program out. GrammarPlanet is free and it might be just right for your family. If you love it, you might want to pay for the upgrade so that you don’t have to deal with the advertising that helps keep the program free and your students can focus on their learning.
  • View the welcome video on the page to experience an interactive video and learn more about the program.
  • There is a link on the main GrammarPlanet page at the top for Frequently Asked Questions. Definitely check that page out as there is some information there that is not covered in this review.
  • Miss L will probably continue using this, at least for a bit, if she still continues to make progress. We will discontinue it when the frustration overrides the progress made.

Visit their site and see what they have to offer. It just might be the program you are looking for.

Blessings,
At Home.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew anchor post to read additional reviews of what some other families thought about this program. There are a wide range of families using GrammarPlanet so please visit some of them.

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Take a Look at Curriculum ~ 5 Days of Homeschool Encouragement

Take A Look Tuesday
Curriculum is such a personal choice – not just from parent to parent but child to child. Each child may need something completely different for the exact same subject and grade level. That can be challenging. But I have found that taking a look at things others have used and reading their honest comments about it can help get me some ideas to discuss with my girls and give them options.

When it comes to curriculum, we have some non-negotiables. But there is plenty for them to have a say in and help make the decision of. So, as I go through this list, I’ll share with you the input that we had and the input the girls had. Maybe it will give you some encouragement to include your children more as they get older, giving them more say in what they are interested in.

morning time

Morning Time –
This is a non-negotiable time. We sing a hymn and work on Bible memory work. We do some folk music and poetry. And we have at least one read aloud going on. For now, that is plenty. Our hymn comes from Hymns of Faith, which is an Ideals book. We also have several hymnals that we keep in our stack for use. The Bible memory work is from the KidSing cards. They are important things from the Bible and memorizing where to find different things. For example, Acts 2 covers the birth of the church and Hebrews 11 is about faith. Acts 20:7 gives us the example of Sunday worship and preaching and I Timothy 3 discusses the qualifications of elders and deacons. We are using Diana Waring‘s history through music to do folk music for now. We are currently using the one about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s musical experiences. Our poetry work is coming from Poetry Memorization from IEW. Our current read-aloud is A Tree for Peter by Kate Seredy. These are all things At Home Dad and I chose for us to do as a family.

9th Grade Curriculum 2018

9th Grade
Math – No Nonsense Algebra – algebra I program that is both book and video based. At Home Dad did the majority of the evaluation of this program but with the video aspect, Miss E was okay with it. We knew that she wanted video based learning but that wasn’t so advanced that she couldn’t understand it. So far, so good.
Science – Friendly Chemistry – She loved this program and asked if there was a follow-up to it. When I did my research, we found that we had completed about 1/3 of the actual program. So, I contacted the company to find out what we needed to continue on and it arrived yesterday. She is very pleased to tackle this course and she chose it. Obviously we had the final say but it was easy – begging to do a chemistry program? We’ll take it.
History – timeline – We decided that everyone would tackle American History this year. For Miss E, we found timeline books that give dates and events from about 1100 to the present time. She is using these to research each event and write a summary of the important information from each one. She has a notecard binder (a cute little thing!) that she is keeping her notecards in. So, this gives her both history, research, and writing experiences.
Language Arts – She is finishing the Characters In Crisis book from last year. Then she will take on Learning Language Arts Through Literature – American books (Gold Book). She attempted Grammar Planet but that kind of fell through for a number of reasons (review next week). She is also completing a daily writing assignment from the Daily Writing and This Day In History prompts on SchoolhouseTeachers.com. She has loved the writing and is keeping it all in a single notebook. Again, she has to research for a lot of the history prompts so she is hitting several areas that she needs skills in. She wanted to do some daily writing this year and when we came across these prompts, she feel in love with them. Do note – we had tried these before and they were a complete fail. So this is something she grew into – don’t give up if your child doesn’t like the writing early on. Maybe it will come. She loves it so much that she writes every day, even Saturday and Sunday, most days completing more than one prompt.
American Sign Language – She adores sign class with Mrs. Pat and is looking forward to it again. She chooses sign but Mrs. Pat chooses the curriculum course.
Logic – Miss E is not terribly excited about the Logic course from Memoria Press that she is continuing but it will be beneficial to her in the long run so we are enforcing this one.
Speech – When told she needed to work on a speech class, she wasn’t excited. Until I showed her the class from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. She is really liking the speech class offered there and I know it will benefit her when her debate class begins meeting in the spring.
Latin – Miss E is working on PictaDicta, a website based program for learning Latin vocabulary. So far, she isn’t loving it but this is a call I made that she would do and continue. I believe she will be tackling Latin once more before too much longer through Memoria Press’ First Form Latin so we are starting back to it with this program. Review to come.
PE – Miss E is taking 5 – 6 hours of dance a week so this is a solid PE credit for her and she loves it! Ballet, tap, and jazz are what she is taking but she enjoys tap most.
Code for Teens – I thought she had a pretty full course load until she asked if she was going to get to continue this book. Well, when I said something about not scheduling it, she was very disappointed. So guess what? We changed course and added it back in.
Extras – She also wants to take voice lessons, so we are looking into that right now. We’ll see. Another option that she is really considering is volunteering at the library during her sister’s violin class.

What happens when you schedule the courses that the student is interested in? Yes you may get some pretty long looking lists but guess what? When they are interested and their input is given weight, they feel valued and things just work better. Our original list looked quite different for the first year of high school. But, by taking her input into consideration and having conversations with her about her needs and requirements, we came up with a program for her freshman year of high school that makes tons of sense and is of interest to our daughter.

Definitely, I encourage you to have conversations with your students about their course of study. Take their ideas under advisement and pay attention. They may be telling you a whole lot more about themselves than just what book looks interesting.

With this getting so long, I will share our 7th grade and 4th grade curriculum choices in another post. (Hope I don’t forget!)

Blessings,
At Home.

There are more than 40 homeschool moms writing encouragement posts today on this Take A Look Tuesday – from school rooms to curriculum to a bundle of ideas, go take a look! I encourage you to visit the anchor post for the Crew and also some of the ladies’ blogs to gather more encouragment to yourself. You can do that by the linky on the Crew blog or by visiting some of the blogs below.

Nicole @ Bless Their Hearts Mom
Patti @ Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy
Rebekah @ There Will Be a $5 Charge For Whining
Rodna @ Training Children up for Christ
Stacy @ A Homemakers Heart
Tess @ Circling Through This Life
Wendy @ Life at Rossmont
Yvie @ Gypsy Road

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Code For Teens ~ a Crew review

learning coding with Code for Teens

A while back, Miss E had opportunity to do some computer coding. She realized that she really enjoyed it. Code for Teens then asked for the Crew to review their new book on writing JavaScript – Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner’s Guide to Programming (Volume 1). This has been a great book to get to use and learn some new skills.

Code For Teens is the brainchild of Jeremy Moritz. Mr. Moritz and his wife (the illustrator) have extensive home education knowledge, as they educate their own six children. Mr. Moritz has been a software engineer and developer for over a decade. Thus, this book comes straight from his knowledge and background. And, with his experience of working with children (he also coaches chess and has directed lots of musicals), he knows exactly what will catch the student’s attention.

Code for Teens

Written in a conversational and humorous style, the information is clear and easy to follow. It is written directly to the student so that she is teaching herself. Each chapter has plenty of explanation and exercises to help gain experience and understanding. The student is encouraged to type the exercises right along with the book, being given the exact information to input and the exact expected outputs. Sometimes, the book encourages wrong inputs so that the student can experience how to problem solve the situation. (That’s fantastic since they won’t always have a step-by-step guide telling them where the problems are in the code.) By the time the end of the chapter is reached, the student will have worked with the code quite a bit through exercises and drills, helping cement the concept. There is a quiz, an overview of the key concepts for the chapter, drills, an aggregate review, and a DIY project at the end of each chapter.

If for some reason, you reach the end of the chapter and still don’t quite understand it, you can go back and do it again. The concepts and skills build on each other throughout the book so it is important to understand one chapter before moving on to the next. But with the variety of exercises, and being encouraged to change bits of the code to see what happens, the student should be able to get it figured out. There is no expected pace, so take the time you need to learn it right.

The ten chapters cover all you need to learn JavaScript and you finish with programming a game. The back of the book contains an answer key to help the student if they get stuck. There is also a glossary of terms back there with the definitions for some words that the student might need, as well as the symbol.

Code for Teens - working on the chapter

My Thoughts:

I like this book. It is a nice weight and high quality printing. The glossy pages are not going to tear easily and the print is easy to read on them. The humorous style makes it a pleasant read and easy to follow. The instructions are extremely clear and well written. A lay-flat binding would be a fantastic addition to the next printing of this book, though it worked well with the book stand that Miss E has.

I have a friend who is a graduate student working on a doctorate degree in mathematics. She has quite a bit of programming experience. One day while over at the house, she saw this book and picked it up. She was immediately interested and spent some time reading through the book. She commented quite a bit about how well written this was, how easy to follow, and how much clearer it was than many programming books she has worked with. She was very impressed with this book and hopes that this company will continue to come out with more programming books because there are a couple of language she wants to learn.

Miss E’s Thoughts:

It was really good so far. I like that they had the exact things you are supposed to type highlighted and colored and the responses highlighted and colored differently. At the very beginning, it gave instructions for more than just using Chrome and it is nice to know that those instructions are there for others who might need them.

It is very funny and I like the way it is written. It feels less like a lesson and more like someone is actually talking to me. Some texts are just “blah-blah-blah” and this is written more like a conversation. This makes it easier to understand and also to feel less boring and classroom-ish.

One thing that I didn’t like was that in the first chapter they had me do things wrong that were obviously wrong. I could tell it was going to be wrong before I did it so I didn’t see why I should do it wrong on purpose. There was one thing that I couldn’t find how to do in the chapter, though it was in the quiz, but I had someone here who could help me with that so I was okay. (Mom edit: On the quiz p 24, question 11 – had to do with the single = implies what?)

When a student wants to use a book and they don’t have to that day, you know it is a good product. Miss E picked this up more than once late in the evening just to work some more on learning to use JavaScript. Code for Teens really hit home with her and she has enjoyed it quite a bit.

Blessings,
At Home.

Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read what other families thought about Code for Teens and find out how they used this program.

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Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology ~ a Crew review

We have been using Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology
in the past month or so. This is another very good science program from Apologia and we are pleased to review it.

Written by Jeannie K. Fulbright and Brooke Ryan, M.D., this program is a great and easy program to use. I was impressed that Mrs. Fulbright ensured that her information was accurate by having a co-author that was an M.D.

Apologia-Anatomy-Family

We received:

  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Text
  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Junior Notebooking Journal
  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Notebooking Journal
  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology MP3 Audio CD

reading text

Let’s start with the text. Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Text is a hardback text. It is full color textbook and is not too heavy. The pages are sturdy without being too stiff to easily turn. The print is of a good size and is easily read by these “old eyes” of mine. The text is written to the student so it is not difficult for an elementary aged student to understand. It is intended for the student to be reading the text, allowing them to more engaged.

The text is broken up periodically by some blue lettering that is a time for the student to review what was just covered. Whether it be a narration assignment or a written one, it is intended that the student take just a few short minutes to help cement the information better in their understanding. This allows the student to improve their ability to clearly and effectively learn to communicate their learning.

skeletal system activity

Throughout the chapter, you will also come across Try This! These are hands-on activities that go with the reading just finished and allow for the student to participate in the scientific method. For example, when we had read about the purpose of bones, there was a Try This! activity that had the student make a clay figure and try to stand it up. edible cellsThen they added toothpicks in place of some of the bones and tried to stand it up again. This time, with “bones” in place, the figure stood. What a great visual and hands-on activity that shows exactly how bones and the skeletal system benefit the body. The number of activities vary in each chapter and the types of materials needed will vary as well. Some only need things from around the house (such as a tape measure for comparing arm span to height) and others will need quite a few things that you might not have sitting around (such as lemon jello and lots of different candies to make an edible cell). These hands-on activities are what take this program from another good text to one that is over-the-top fantastic.

Each chapter closes with a What Do You Remember? section of questions. These are questions designed to jog the student’s memory and help them recall information. There are answers to these in the back of the book. There is a reminder of the notebooking activities to go along with the chapter or suggestions of some to do if you prefer to make your own notebook. There is also a Personal Person Project. This project is pretty cool. It has the student make their own person shape and overlays to show each of the systems that are studied in the text. The Notebooking Journal has the pieces for this project with the plastic overlays printed in color to glue down on top of the person’s shape. We decided we wanted to be able to see single systems and also to overlay several at once so Miss J created a little pocket on the page next to the person and will leave her different systems pieces there.  

The Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology MP3 Audio CD that is available has been very interesting. It is read by the author so it has purpose and inflection and understanding that a “hired” reader just would not accomplish. Mrs. Fulbright’s voice is calm and pleasant. It is a pleasure to listen to her. This audio book includes the entire text of the course. The CD is best used with the student listening while viewing the text and following along. Mrs. Fulbright explains this early on the CD. It is helpful for most students who are using the audio to also have the visual to reinforce what is being talked about. Also, there are times when Mrs. Fulbright refers to diagrams and images in the text. If the student does not have those to view, the understanding will be hampered.

image of controller for audio book

image of control for CD on the computer

The audio CD would be of great benefit to a student that struggles with reading and comprehension, especially of scientific texts with so many new words and pronunciations. This would be of benefit to a student who is an auditory learner, as well. I can also see this being useful to a visual learner because the student is following along while someone else is reading. Thus, they are getting the visual while not having to struggle with pronunciations. We have had audio books for texts before and they were dry and boring. This is nothing like that. If you have a struggling reader, this might be just the thing.

Note that this is an MP3CD, not a regular CD. It must be played in an MP3CD-compatible CD player or on a computer.

We received two notebooking journals to go along with the study

Generally speaking, the regular journal has more writing than the junior one does and the lines are printed differently. For the junior notebooking journal, there is generally the three-line formation for the student to write on. Not always but for a number of the activities. The junior notebook also has coloring pages for each chapter while the regular notebook does not. Both journals are spiral bound and designed to complement but not replace the text; you must have the text but the journals will provide additional practice with the information.

Each chapter in the text has a corresponding section in the notebooking journals. The beginning of the chapter section in the journals is generally fairly open for the student to write about what was learned or better understood in that chapter. This space also includes boxes for the student to illustrate things of interest or worth remembering. Following this, there are different activities. There are scripture copywork passages that enhance the chapter and each one is generally in both print and cursive so that you can choose which style is best for your learner. The copywork is longer in the regular notebooking journal than it is in the junior notebooking journal. There are sometimes fill in the blanks or perhaps a crossword puzzle. There are matching activities and vocabulary work. There are also miniature books that are pulled out from the back of the notebooking journal, completed, and then placed with the chapter. You will also find project pages, more to explore suggestions, and field trip sheets. There are a lot of different ways to track and reinforce the learning.

working in junior notebooking journal

Each of the notebooking journals have a lot of activities for each chapter. It is definitely a place where you can complete them all but it may not be best for you to do so. I have one daughter who does everything in the regular notebooking journal. My youngest daughter is working in the junior notebooking journal and she does not do everything. It really depends on your student and how they learn.

The front of the notebooking journals is where you will find a suggested schedule for the anatomy and physiology program. Their suggested pace is two lessons per week. At this rate and following their schedule of activities, it will take 28 weeks to complete the program. Each lesson takes approximately 4 days/2 weeks to cover. It is restated here that you do not need to feel compelled to complete every activity. Pick and choose those best suited to your learners.

We have found that the junior notebooking journal actually has more learning for the anatomy and physiology course. If I were going to be purchasing this for my middle school student and my elementary student, I would purchase them both the junior notebooking. Below you can see a comparison of the same “pages” of learning in the two journals.

notebooking journals comparison

We used this two different ways. My 9 year old used it approximately 4 days per week, because we found early on that two days a week was taking too long for my daughter’s attention span. We did every single one of the Try It! activities, mostly as we came to them. Sometimes they had to wait for a different day or until the end of the reading. We read the text together and she did the blue review sections out loud. After doing our planned reading for the day, she would open up her junior notebooking journal and complete her activities in it. We prefer to do a little bit every day so this worked well for us and allowed us some flexibility in our plans. We broke up the schedule that was printed in the notebooking journals into two each and it has worked well. It provides a good bit of reading and activity, without overwhelming, and takes between 30 minutes and an hour. If it weren’t broken up, I think that 1 -2 hours of science work would be too much for my 9 year old.

mummification of apple slices

My 11 year old has been using it, also, though with the regular notebooking journal. She knows that she has to do everything on the week by the end of the week and is a very independent learner. She has generally done her reading all at once and then done the activities and the notebooking journal over the next 3 days. It has worked well for her since she prefers to get up and get her work done early on in the day. If your child is self-directed and an independent learner, this format works well.

We have enjoyed every Apologia review we have been blessed to participate in and we tend to fully complete them. If you would like to read about other product from Apologia that we have used, please visit the following posts –

Exploring Creation with Astronomy
Field Trip Journal
Writers In Residence
Ultimate Homeschool Planner
iWitness books
Flourish
What On Earth Can I Do?

Blessings,
At Home.

Please check out additional reviews and how other families used this program by clicking on the Homeschool Review Crew banner below.

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Flash Sale ~ SchoolhouseTeachers.com ~ ends Friday, 2/16/18

This post contains affiliate links. It does not cost you more to use them but it can give our family a small payment or benefit.

SchoolhouseTeachers.com Flash Sale information – ends tomorrow 2/16/18. I would hate for you to miss it!

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Tricky Subjects and Starting the Decision Making Process ~ 2018 Virtual Homeschool Fair

There are so many options, so many curriculums, so many good things! How do you decide?

It can be tricky to decide what to cover and with what company and with what add-ons. But I would like to suggest to you a way to start your decisions on tricky subjects. It is not the process, not even close, but it is a start and it will reap great benefits in your home and your children’s lives. I promise.

So what is the key?

Tricky Subjects

Conversation.

Yep, that simple. Have a conversation. Start it simply – What do you want to learn about? What is of interest to you? Do you have any ideas about what you want to do?

No time frame, no curriculum boundaries, just simply finding out what each student is interested in.

When we began these discussion with each of our girls, it was somewhat eye opening. Miss J wanted to learn more about birds. She also enjoyed cutting things out and gluing them into notebooks, simple lapbook style. She also talked about wanting to read the American Girl books. So guess what? This directed us to think about how we could accommodate her interests and we came up with a few wonderful ideas.

Miss J’s personalized curriculum?

  • Birds study – This is a study that I was able to create from notebooking pages I had and handwriting quotes I found. I also included some bird coloring pages I found. I will share a post soon with more specific information about this book she created. Doing about 3 a week, it was a semester long unit.
  • Grammar Interactive Notebook – Again, this was created just for her. I found a number of resources that fit what she needed to work on or review for her grade level. I printed those on various colored pages and she created her own grammar notebook. I plan to share this soon, as well, since she has recently finished it. Again, this took about a semester.
  • History with American Girls – World War II is her favorite time period right now and she has read a number of books on the time. But with her comment about American Girl, we zoomed in on Molly. We are using a lapbooking set that I had found and saved several years ago, specific to Molly. We are also going to be making a few things that are mentioned in the Molly books. She is finishing up the reading right now and then we will have another conversation where she will share what she read about that she wants to make. I am certain food will be part of that discussion!

What did we find out in the discussion with Miss L? That she was really interested in civilizations that vanished. She was enjoying a couple of books that we had to review. She wanted to not be focused on writing all the time and she didn’t like her math. Well, the math was one we are not changing because we are seeing the need to just push forward with what we have been using (Horizons). The others, though? That we could accommodate.

  • Lost Civilizations – We determined a set of questions about each civilization that she needed to answer. They did not have to be written out but they did need to be answered so that I knew she had retained information from her research. We checked out books on one civilization at a time and she would read, write notecards, and draw pictures. She then decided she wanted to create a notebook of just the Lost Civilizations so she started one with all of the information from her previous notecards in a composition notebook. She spent time on some interactive websites and created something physical for some of the groups. She is still working through this study.
  • Girls In Science – This is the series of books that we got two of for study originally. We received architecture and meteorology. We found astronomy a few weeks later. Each book not only covers a ton of information on the branch of science but it also includes three biographies of women who are using this type of science in three different ways. She has been making notecards of information in the books as she reads and at the end of each book, she compiled that into a notebooking page that she put in a binder she keeps.

And for Miss E? Well, she pretty well had most of her subjects as a continuation of the previous year when we had this conversation (one of the year-round home school benefits and disadvantages – you have to adapt your time frame to what is needed!). But she gave good input on things and we knew what to change and what to continue, as well as allowing her to determine her own science.

  • We found that she loved the hands-on aspects of the Ancient Greece program she was using. She finished that out.
  • Since she loved the Ancient Greece so much, she will be able to continue learning about that at her own pace by using SchoolhouseTeachers.com and the Drive Thru History courses.
  • She also wanted to learn about chemistry this year, not the lab part of it but what it was. So, we went looking for options. We found a few a let her choose. She chose Friendly Chemistry, which we access through SchoolhouseTeachers.com. This is a video course that we are able to print off the textbook for. She also gets worksheet practice on electron notation and the like. There are printable tests and the course will count toward her high school credits.
  • One thing we hear each time we continue the conversation is “sign language.” She is taking her third year of instruction in sign language and loving it. This is a pretty intense course with a teacher from our congregation who really pushes her to do well. She is in the class with her best friend, which is a good incentive to work even harder. This is a point where hearing what she wants helps us to keep on track with her interests.

So, as we move forward, we have these conversations. Over and over. These discussions allow us to make decisions for the girls that not only get their basics covered but do it in a way that they find interesting. One of the reasons we are continuing geography with a 3rd grader is that she loves it. It is the first program she wants to do each day. So, Let’s Go Geography is on her schedule and she is thrilled. These are the things that make education fit the child, rather than fitting the child to the education.

I encourage you to do what you can to tailor your child’s education based on their interests. This doesn’t mean you skip the important stuff. There is plenty that is dictated to them because they don’t have a preference so they do what we require. But, when we can choose something that is of particular interest? We do. Because the girls really respond to the options.

This post is part of the 2018 Virtual Homeschool Fair, hosted by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds. Tomorrow (Sunday) I will update this part of the post with the listing of all the others who are posting on the topic of their method of homeschooling.

Blessings,
At Home.

2018 Virtual Homeschool Fair button

Looking for more curriculum ideas? Visit my fellow homeschool bloggers!

Note: all posts will be live after 8 am EST on Monday, Jan. 22nd.

Our Homeschool Plan for 3rd, 6th, 8th, & 12th Grades by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Our 10th Grade Plans by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

Planning Out Our Unschooling Studies by Jen @ A Helping Hand Homeschool

The Details of Curriculum by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays

Reflections of a Curriculum Junkie by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart

Freedom through nature journaling. by Kim @ Good Sweet Love

How I pull together a homeschool curriculum without packaged curriculum by Dana @ Life Led Homeschool

Our Favorite Curriculum and Resources – An Annotated Bibliography by Sabrina @ Kids, Crunch, and Christ

Our 2018 Homeschool Curriculum Choices by Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool

Top Home Educating Resources by Sarah @ DeliveringGrace

Homeschooling Curriculum We Are Using This Year by Laura O @ Day by Day in Our World

Use the Force and Complete the Course by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

Choices, choices – how to choose your curriculum wisely by Lizzy @ Peaches@Home

Our Curriculum Needs – grade seven by Annette @ A Net in Time

The Heart of Our School by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

What We Have Loved Using – Virtual Homeschool Fair -Week 3 by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

How to Avoid Gaps in Education by Kristen H. @ Sunrise to Sunset

Tricky Subjects and Starting the Decision Making Process by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens

High School Syllabus by TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy @ GoldenGrasses

How We Homeschool Together (Our Curriculum Choices for Preschool, First, and Tenth Grade) by Jeniffer @ Thou Shall Not Whine

 

 

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