Category Archives: curriculum

Using what works and working what we use (curriculum) ~ Back to Homeschool Blog Hop 2017

curriculum

As is common, we have rethought seriously the plans for this coming school year. While we are keeping our focus the same (faith, family, fun – with lots of books thrown in), we are trying to simplify and hone down.

This is mainly my problem – not the kids. It is so easy to look at programs, say “it only takes five minutes” and then end up with so many things that you feel burdened. Even though most of them only take a few minutes a day – thinking spelling and poetry specifically. So, I kicked those to the curb (holding onto the right to retrieve them in the future).

We are focusing on core this year: Bible, math, literature/writing, history, and science. There will be some music, languages, and dance in there as well. These lessons are four days a week, Monday to Thursday. So, what exactly are we doing with each?

Oh, and for reference, these are for:

  • Miss E, 8th grade
  • Miss L, 6th grade
  • Miss J, 3rd grade

Bible studies

Bible – I and II Corinthians will be our focus this year. We will be using our Bible bowl materials, Bible Road Trip, and various other videos, worksheets, and games to go with it. The girls are expected to read some each day and we will have Bible bowl meetings once or twice a month. We use Quizlet to do online drills, as well.

math studies

Math – This is broken down by grade. Miss E, in 8th, will be using UnLock Math‘s pre-algebra program. We reviewed it a while back and she still likes it! She actually got upset when she heard me comment that I needed to go buy math workbooks and she thought I was taking her off UnLock Math! Win-win! I did go buy Horizons workbooks, though. Miss J is starting level 3 and Miss L is finishing up level 4.

literature

Literature/writing – You may have seen my post about Story Spiels. This is our literature curriculum for the year. Each girl has a book list to choose from and must make measurable progress in her book from week to week. (Not that I expect this to be a problem – two of them may fly through the entire book list this year and we will have to find more.) On Fridays, we will have a time where the girls will take turns presenting what was read that week and hosting a discussion about the topics and ideas of the book. They will also either do a notebooking page or a project about their book. If a project is chosen, we may relax the reading requirement for one week while the project is completed. Miss E may also be adding a fairy tales based literature program if it comes through but it is still in the works, so I am not counting on it at this point.

history studies

History – Miss J is going to be doing Let’s Go Geography. This is a new product and we will have a review of it up in about 6 weeks. I am really excited about this simple curriculum to take us around the world. Miss L is going to be combining her history and science as she is studying some books about women in various fields. Right now she is working on women in meteorology.  Next she will be doing women in architecture. These are books from Nomad Press and are in a series. I think we will probably purchase some more following these two if her interest holds. Miss E is working on finishing up her study on Ancient Greece. We had some things come up late in the spring and she didn’t get to finish it so she is tackling it again this fall since she enjoys it so much.

science studies

Science – Miss J is going to start with a study of birds. Her fascination has remained so we will study them using the Memoria Press program What’s That Bird? Our library has most of the literature books from it and I have the teacher’s guide. It is technically for an older student but we are going to adapt. After that we will tackle the Apologia Young Explorer’s program on Flying Creatures. Miss L is working with the books I mentioned above, completing notebooking pages to show what she is learning. The books do a great job of combining some history and science together. Miss E is going to do Friendly Chemistry from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. She is interested in the chemical structure of things, as best we can decide after much discussion. Nothing is clear cut in what interests her but she was able to state some things she did not want. So, we’ll give these lessons a try and see what she can do with them. After that, I am hoping she will feel like taking the geology course from SchoolhouseTeachers.com.

Electives –

  • Dance – all three are taking dance again
  • Sign Language – Miss is taking year 3 of sign language classes
  • Music – Miss E is working on recorder this year. Miss L is continuing violin. Miss J is learning piano.
  • Other? Probably but they are not strictly scheduled in as are these others. I would love to see Miss L and Miss J continue working on Spanish. We will throw some poetry in on Fridays. There will be some cursive work for Miss J and we will do art on Fridays. Miss L asked for a copywork packet so I printed one off for her with poetry. Things like this come up and I am more than happy to accommodate. 🙂

Fun Fridays – I am hoping to schedule some fun things for Fridays, such as art lessons and STEM building projects. Perhaps an inventors workshop or a DEAR day (Drop Everything And Read). We will still do a family devotional and our Story Spiels will fall on Fridays.

All in all, I am shooting for less stress, fewer structured programs, and more time for rabbit trails and interest led activities. Any suggestions and encouragement is appreciated, as I am really struggling to not include more (and more and more).

At Home.

Back to Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017

This is the first day of the Back To Homeschool Blog Hop with the Homeschool Review Crew. Be sure to visit the other bloggers, too. Here are a few for you to start with.

Annette – A Net in Time

Ashley  – Gift of Chaos

Betty – Let’s Get Real

Chareen – Every Bed of Roses

Christy  – Unexpected Homeschool

Crystal – Living Abundantly

Desiree  – Our Homeschool Notebook

There are about 30 more so don’t stop here! Head over to the Homeschool Review Crew blog to find the rest. 🙂

A Little House on the Prairie study ~ a review

little-house-title

The youngest giggly girl, Miss J, has just turned 8 and while she likes books, she does not have the huge enjoyment of books that the other two giggly girls have. So, when I heard that In the Hands of a Child was looking for families to try out some of their project packs, I sent them a message and told them I was definitely willing and would love something for Miss J. After a short email discussion to decide on a title, they gave us their A Little House on the Prairie curriculum download to try.

project-pack-cover-little-house

Miss J saw me downloading it and printing it off, just before bedtime, and came over to see what I was doing. When she realized it was a “Laura book” study, she got kind of excited. When I showed her what it was, she got really excited and wanted to start right away, regardless of the fact that it was bedtime. So, when you are homeschooling and you find something that excites the learning in your child, what do you do? You start right away.

lapbook-pieces-little-house

We began reading the first chapter that night and doing the corresponding activities. We marked a map and wrote some of the biographical highlights of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life. After the first night of excitement, I kind of expected there to be a tapering off of the joy of reading the book and working on the corresponding lapbook parts. But there has not been. Miss J has enjoyed working on this every time and it is the first school work she wants to do each day.

Well, except for the chapter summaries. She is getting tired of those but I don’t really blame her. She was doing a summary per chapter but we have moved to a summary for every couple of chapters or just a sentence about the chapter. Twenty-six summaries is quite a few. 🙂

folder-2-little-house

The variety of activities included in this lapbook keeps the interest level high. From learning vocabulary words (which Miss J begged to do as often as possible, including writing the definitions) to summarizing a how-to from the story to thinking about all the daily chores required for a pioneer family, the activities have been interesting and exciting for Miss J. She has learned a lot and enjoyed it.

The activities included by In The Hands of a Child do a great job of extending the learning to parts of a story, character and setting, writing, history, geography, and other skills. We have been very pleased with the activities and learning, especially for our child that doesn’t just jump for joy every time we mention reading time. Now, she asks to do her literature study more often than almost any other part of her school work. That is a great move forward for her.

There is a suggested schedule but we found that, in addition to our other schoolwork, this schedule was just too rigorous. So, we pulled it back to reading one chapter a day and completing one or two activities a day. This made the Project Pack much more manageable for our 2nd grader. I also found that if Miss J dictated and I wrote some for her, she got much more informative in her narratives and summaries. So, we did quite a bit of that, as well.

keeping-track-little-house

We definitely can recommend checking out In The Hands of a Child and their lapbooks. The digital download via CurrClick was simple and gives me easy access to the instructions without having to print them out. I can print out the parts we need to create the lapbook and leave the others stored electronically. We actually moved the download onto the Kindle to make it easier to access while the other giggly girls needed the computer.

Lots of fun is to be found in the use of a lapbook and In The Hands of a Child has done a nice job of including a variety of activities. Please visit their site to learn more and see their many, many options.

At Home.

Disclaimer
I received a FREE copy of this product from In The Hands of a Child in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Visit the World Through Video

visit-the-world-through-video

This week on the Virtual Curriculum Fair, we are talking about Exploring Our World: Social Studies and the Exploratory Sciences. Be sure to visit the Homeschooling Hearts and Minds to catch all of the posts related to this, and all, themes of the 2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair.

week-4-exploring-our-worldSocial studies, history, geography – these are all favorite topics of mine both for teaching and learning. There is so much to be gain from any contact with these. Whether it be  reading a difficult text and getting through it or just having fun with a simple game, I enjoy just about every aspect of learning about the world. One of my favorite ways is to watch a video about it.

We keep our Netflix handy and have recently added Amazon Prime. We have shelves stocked with documentary videos and a library system that we pull videos from often.

Nothing can bring you more information about a place than seeing it. But what do you do when you cannot visit in person? Watch a video on it.

smartkidz-media

Other than the previously mentioned resources, we have a couple of other that have proved to have a lot of fantastic videos for learning about our world, geography, and cultures. SmartKidz Media Library has been one of those. We reviewed it a couple of years ago and we still find things on there that complement what we are reading and learning about. Recently it involved castles. I am currently browsing for things on Greece. They have a couple that we will check out soon. Another fantastic resource for video based classes is SchoolhouseTeachers.com. We are so blessed with this resource. They include Drive Thru History as part of their course options and these are going to be fantastic! A third resource that we have access to (through SchoolhouseTeachers) is Right Now Media. There is a large variety of religious resourced at this site, some of it highly applicable to a middle school or high school level history. Missionary stories make a wonderful cultural resource, as well.

schoolhouseteachers-geography

some SchoolhouseTeachers.com geography courses

schoolhouseteachers-history

some SchoolhouseTeachers.com history courses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delving a bit into the science end of the topic (which really isn’t where this week goes but fits with the theme of visiting the world through videos), we have a number of interest DVDs that we enjoy pulling out. Titles of some of our favorites are:

  • Planet Earth
  • Flight
  • Metamorphosis
  • Living Waters
  • Curiosity Quest

Each of the previous resources also have a number of options for science titles.

I just think there is no substitute for seeing something. And when you can do so in person, it is a great option to pull out a video that will show it to them. So, don’t be afaid to pull out those videos and spend some time exploring that place you just read about in literature or a history text. My girls always remember more when it is tied to something else.

At Home.

Please visit my fellow homeschool bloggers who are talking about Exploring Our World this week:

Note: all links will be LIVE by Monday 1/23 at noon EST.

Notebooking Our Way through History by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Studying the Where and How by Michele@Family, Faith and Fridays

The History of Our Mysterious Struggle With History by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

Social Science, Science and Exploring our World – Our Path by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

Learning History Through Fiction by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset

History in Our Homeschool by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool

Exploring Our World Through History And Science by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

Bringing History to Life! by Yvie @ Gypsy Road

History, Living Books and the Imagination by Sarah @ Delivering Grace

Exploring our world comes in many different forms. by Kim @ Good Sweet Love

Bible, History and Geography by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home

Beyond the Books – Social Studies and Science by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed

Exploring the World with Living Books by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart

High School History & Science without Textbooks by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

Exploring the World Starting with Canada by Annette @ A Net in Time

Visit The World Through Video by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens

Nature Study is Our Favorite Way to Do Science by HillaryM @ Walking Fruitfully

What A Wonderful World by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

The Time we got Lost in the Woods by Dana Hanley @ Roscommon Acres

What A World by Jennifer King @ A “Peace” of Mind

If you have written a post related to the theme of Exploring Our World, please link it up!

An InLinkz Link-up

Blue Ribbon Awards – Our Choices

family-blue-ribbon-awards

If you have been following our adventures for a while, you know that at the end of each Homeschool Review Crew year we vote for our favorite products from all of those that we reviewed during the year. We enjoy sharing our favorites with you over again so that is what we are doing today. When I announced it was time to vote, more than one of the girls hollered “I LOVE THIS PART!”

We truly enjoy these products. Each of these we are either still using or have completed. We would recommend these products to our friends to use (and have often with some of these). When people ask for ideas for curriculum, these are the companies we share.

All three of the giggly girls had input with choosing these companies. And later this week the results of the Homeschool Review Crew will be posting. I’ll let you know when those post so you can read about what the final results were across the board, including categories that are not included here because we didn’t review in that category OR we didn’t care for the product that we did review.

Drum Roll Please . . .

Reading Curriculum: Talking Fingers

Writing Curriculum: Writers In Residence

Spelling Program: Talking Fingers

Penmanship Program: Homeschool Copywork

Literature Curriculum: IEW Poetry Memorization

Literature Resources: YWAM: Clara Barton

History/Social Studies Curriculum: Homeschool Legacy

History/Social Studies Supplement: The Cat of Bubastes (However, it was a close call between that, Beric the Briton, and The Dragon and the Raven.)

Science Curriculum: Apologia Astronomy

Science Supplement: NotebookingPages.com

Math Supplement: Times Tales

Foreign Language Curriculum: Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids

Fine Arts: ARTistic Pursuits: Construct (We are using other books by this company, as well.)

Christian Education: Science Shepherd

Christian Education Product:The Familyman Christmas Treasury

Elementary Product: Apologia Astronomy

Middle School Product: NotebookingPages.com

Parent Product: Hey Mama! Planner

Best Resource I Didn’t Know I Needed: Jolly Phonics & Jolly Grammar

Best Online Product: Homeschool Copywork

Best Book/Novel/Audio Book/Audio Drama: The Glass Castle

Just For Fun: 3 Seeds and Commissioned, both by Chara Games

Personal Favorites:
Miss E: The Cat of Bubastes
Miss L: NotebookingPages.com
Miss J: Talking Fingers
Mom: Working It Out from Everyday Education

Be sure to check out the Homeschool Review Crew post with all the winners from the Crew voting and other families’ favorites. When that post goes live, I’ll put the link here.

Thank your for joining us for our Middle School Monday post and seeing what our favorites were with this year’s Homeschool Review Crew.

At Home.

 

What a Difference

I have posted reviews about SchoolhouseTeachers.com before. They are a fun site and we use them fairly often for various needs we have. But guess what? They are constantly adding material to their site.

New Classes

New Teachers

New, Easier to Navigate Pages

There is so much there. Please go check them out, even if you have looked at them before. There is so much to schoolhouseteachers-9_30_16benefit from on this site.

And right now, it is on sale. You can check them out for only a dollar. That is almost risk-free. But . . .

There is a tremendous sale going on right now. But not for long. You can get two years – TWO YEARS – for the price of one. PLUS you will get a bonus pack in the mail. That is two years of access to complete curriculum options for the entire family (from PK through adults) for $139. In addition to that you will get some printed magazines sent directly to your house for no additional cost.

Y’all – that’s awesome! We love having access to this site. Over 300 courses. 150 teachers. Video or print, online or off. It is all there and fantatic. Check out their scope and sequence.

Want to hear about it? Listen to this 30 second overview.

There is an easy way to get more information if you need it. Head over to SchoolhouseTeachers.com and click on their chat button. They will help you with whatever questions you might have. Don’t delay. This two-for-one sale is only through September 30. That’s tomorrow!

Still wanting to hear a bit more? Here is a one minute promotion.

 

I am not getting paid to promote this. I do not have an affiliate relationship with them. I just really like what we get from them. I do get a subscriptions as part of the Homeschool Review Crew because they are from the same parent company but seriously, there is a lot of awesome stuff on SchoolhouseTeachers.com. So check them out before it is too late to take advantage of this awesome sale.

And if you miss the sale, you can still get a year’s worth of access for $139. That is complete curriculum for the entire family if you want to use it that way. If nothing else, you can check out their site for only $1 for the first month. That will help you see whether it fits your needs or not. But don’t forget the sale ends tomorrow night – Friday, September 30, 2016.

Want to read the previous reviews? Check them out – 2013, 2016.

At Home.

Christian HomeSchool Hub ~ a TOS review

The internet is a wealth of information. But finding it is key. That is when sites such as CHSH-Teach.com come in super handy. Christian HomeSchool Hub (CHSH) is a place where there are tons of digital resources to browse through and for the purpose of this review, our family was give access to the CHSH Download Club for a year. There is so much more there than we could ever use in a year.

Christian HomeSchool Hub {Download Club}
The Download Club was founded by Lynda Ackert. She has spent many years creating online resources and while you can find her materials a number of places on the internet, CHSH has them all in one easy-to-access location. When you subscribe to the Download Club, you have access to all of the materials she has created and uploaded, as well as a number of resources that she has obtained permission to place on the site for her subscribers. In all there are over 50,000 downloadable pages that subscribers have access to.

The content on this site is not static. Lynda is adding more new materials all the time. Just in the last few days, there have been learning packets for K, 1, and 2 added. These packets have hundreds of pages of printable learning for math, grammar, phonics, critical thinking, science, and more. While I am not using all of them, I have downloaded a few of the pages from the 2nd grade learning pack for Miss J to work on some specific areas in math. Also added to the site are various nomenclature cards for geology and history, some reading comprehension, and an autumn mini-book.download-listing-by-grade

The Download Club has a search feature but I have found that the best way to get around the site is just to browse the listings. The downloads are listed by subject, by grade, and by month. There is also a category for organization and one for miscellaneous. I have found some gems by just clicking around a category and seeing what is there.

Some interesting finds?

  • Lots of literature units that employ comprehension questions.
  • A unit study/lapbook on Ancient Egypt which we will use parts of to go with an audio book we just started.
  • A unit on elections, very timely if you are studying that.
  • Various pages on Roman Numerals which we are needing to review.
  • Complete geography curriculum.
  • Classic books that can be downloaded to read, including a number by some of my favorite authors such as Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, Margaret Sidney, and Frank L. Baum, just to name a few.

downloadable-books-image
My biggest disappointment with this site was that so much of it is worksheet based. Even the unit studies seem to be mostly worksheets with minimal hands-on projects or suggestions. Many of the pages have that “school at home” feel to them, which is perfect for student who really enjoy worksheets and pages of practice and answering questions.

labeling-fractions
The other thing that has bothered me is that there seems to be a pretty sizable gap in ability level. For example, with fractions I found the very simple “Color three of the four. What fraction is colored?” and the much more difficult “Add the fractions (with different denominators) and then reduce.” But I really needed the in between of those ability levels. With time, there was working on hours and quarter hours but I never could find anything to help us work on time telling to the minute.

Even with these little hiccups, there have been tons of things that we can use.

working-on-moneyMiss J has been working on some math worksheets that I found in a larger packet to work on money and fractions. Those are two areas that I noticed her struggling and her math book didn’t seem to be focusing on them enough. So, we pulled up some worksheets from the CHSH Download Club and she has been working with them.

For the Olympics, we did a study and wanted a couple of additional resources. We pulled some information on the host country from a geography program. We printed a couple of puzzles and some of the information pages about the history of the Olympics.

For sign language practice, we printed the various sets of flashcards. We found that these really needed a video component for them so they didn’t work well on their own. We were able to pair them with a video from another site and this provided Miss E some good ASL practice.

All in all, CHSH-Teach.com is a place where you can find just about anything to work for what you need, though it may take some digging to find it. You can, however, find some amazing things and complete curriculum here for most everything. The CHSH Download Club  is one we will continue to find gems from throughout the school year.

At Home.

Please visit the TOS blog to read about how CHSH has enhanced other homeschools.

Christian HomeSchool Hub {Download Club} 

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Apologia Astronomy ~ a TOS review

Stars, planets, moons, orbits, satellites, and oh, so much more! The updated Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition by Apologia Educational Ministries has provided fun, very interesting learning opportunities for our family and a greater appreciation of all that is observed in the skies, whether day or night.astronomy set

It is always fun opening a box from Apologia and this time was no different. Except this time? It was better. The girls oohed and aahed over the beautiful, hard-backed text with full color photographs, drawings, and illustrations. The book was passed around and they took turns finding something beautiful to look at. The notebooking journals, too, brought exclamations of interest and joy.

We received:

 

STUDENT TEXT:

Coupling stunning images with scientific information makes this text a beautiful work of art. It is well-written in language that is sufficiently detailed without being difficult to understand. The writing style makes it work equally well as a student-directed lesson or as a read-aloud family lesson. This is highly flexible so you can tailor it to fit your family’s needs.reading text

The text contains 14 lessons and each lesson can be broken up into the number of days you need. Using the schedule in the notebooking journals, the lessons contain from four (4) to seven (7) days of assignments. We have found some of these to be a bit too long for our 2nd grader but they work just fine for our 5th and 7th graders using the program. The text is detailed enough to make it a good middle school course, especially when supplemented with additional reading assignments of your own choosing. (Miss E is checking out additional books from the library each week related to the current topic in astronomy.)

The topics covered are:notebooking journal

  1. What is Astronomy?
  2. The Sun
  3. Mercury
  4. Venus
  5. Earth
  6. The Moon
  7. Mars
  8. Space Rocks
  9. Jupiter
  10. Saturn
  11. Uranus
  12. Neptune
  13. Kuiper Belt and the Dwarf Planets
  14. Stars, Galaxies, and Space Travel

That is quite a lot of information and all of it is beautifully related to God’s design for life. The relationship is not a blatant one, in my opinion, but author Jeannie K. Fulbright does a masterful job of mentioning the relationship of God to each piece of his creation at just the right time to guide the student’s thoughts to why, how, or in what ways God’s design is perfect. An example of this is when the discussion of gravity is occurring and she directs the student to be thinking about just how perfectly the earth is situated to not be pulled into the sun, not be pushed away from the sun, and be exactly where it must be in order for life to exist.

Throughout, there are blue banners that are titled Think About This and blue boxes titled Wisdom From Above. In these, Fulbright is a bit more direct about connecting the topic at hand to the Bible and Christian faith. With a Bible verse and a thought, fact or quote, she directs the students to be thinking more deeply about the connections to God. I personally love these and the girls have really seemed to get a lot out of the connections that are pointed out.

Each lesson has a few experiments/explorations. We did several of the ones that included items we had right here at the house. We did not have to go buy anything in order to complete these. One had to do with creating a model of the solar system. Another dealt with the sun’s heat and rays so we melted chocolate. Making a sun viewer was also one that we were able to do with what we had. Each lesson has several of these types of directly related activities that strengthen the understanding of concepts within the lesson.

Something that is easy to miss but should not be is Apologia’s course website created to go along with this text. Using a password that is found in the front of the text, you can access this course website through their site. There you will find videos, articles, star charts, biographies, and so much more. (A number of the site links are broken but there is still more there than I can possibly absorb!)

The end of the text contains an appendix that has a couple of helpful resources. One is a listing by lesson of all materials needed for the experiments/explorations included in the text. There is also an answer key for the What Do You Remember? sections for each lesson.

NOTEBOOKING JOURNALS:

Our schedule during this review period has been to do at least two days a week of the astronomy course. This is easy to do with the schedule that is set up in the front of the notebooking journals with check boxes next to each day’s activities. For both the teacher and self-guiding students, this is a fantastic help for “do the next thing.” It is all written out for you.daily schedule example

As you can see from the example of the schedule, there are a variety of activities for the students to do in the program: readings, activities (experiments/experiences), minibooks, coloring pages (jr. notebooking), science kit activities, puzzles/games, and writing opportunities. They are encouraged to do additional learning activities such as reading books related to the topic, watching educational videos, and taking field trips. (We reviewed Apologia’s Field Trip Journal last year and it would fit in well here.) Visit Apologia’s site for the astronomy course to download samples from the notebooking journals for more information.

The notebooking journals are a way for the students to use what they have learning in the readings and experiments/explorations from the text. The open-ended response pages allow the students to show off what touched them, what they remembered, what was interesting to them. I have found that these opportunities to share what they found important allows the girls to internalize much more of what they are experiencing. Even the minibooks, as a whole, do not have a lot of specifics to them other than the gist of the topic they are related to.

minibooks on sunIf you have a student who balks at writing, these might be a bit more difficult to use but they would work equally well with the student dictating orally and someone transcribing their words. We have done that with a couple of the pages where Miss J had so much she wanted to share that she couldn’t possibly get it all down on the page. Her mind was just moving too fast for her pencil.

The notebooking journal and the junior notebooking journal are very similar. The biggest difference between the two seems to be the lines are for writing. The junior notebooking journal has the three-part lines: solid bottom line, dotted center line, solid top line. This is great if you have a student who is struggling with penmanship or letter formation. The notebooking journal has single lines. The junior notebooking journal has coloring pages at the end of the lesson while the notebooking journal has a What Do You Remember? page. The journals have a Bible verse for copywork and contain both a print and a cursive example of the verse. The minibooks are the same for both and the activities seems to be the same. This makes it simple to use as a family course. At the same time, these are very easy to use for a self-directed student. So, adapt it to fit your family!

AUDIO CD:

This was our least favorite part of this fantastic curriculum. The audio CD is an MP3 version of the text. It can only be read by a MP3 disc player, such as a computer. It is not downloadable and cannot be transferred from the disc to a portable player. The controls are simple to use and pop up on the computer screen, to be manipulated with the mouse.

This would be great for a student who struggles to read, doesn’t like to, or perhaps can’t for some reason (recovering from an illness comes to mind, here). It reads the text, just as it is in the book.

We thought this would be a great fit for our oldest who has recently enjoyed using audio CDs so she can listen, learn, and do something with her hands, such as cross-stitch. This was not a good fit for her. The reader’s voice is quite monotone. While easy to understand, it is not enjoyable and quickly became hard to follow. The lack of expression and enjoyment in the reader’s voice meant that it was difficult to maintain attention . This CD is not something I would recommend.

ONE MORE THING:

Apologia has recently released a kit to go along with the astronomy course. We did not receive the Astronomy 2nd Edition Science Kit as part of this review, though it would be quite an asset to this course. According to information available, there are additional experiments for the course included in the kit. I cannot speak to the contents of it but it looks like it might be pretty neat.

notebooking work

USING WITH OLDER STUDENTS:

We are currently using this course with our middle school/7th grade student. The text is detailed enough to make this appropriate for this age. The notebooking journals, however, are not a good fit. In order to show understanding and comprehension of what is read and the activities, Miss E is using notebooking pages to document her work. She uses the same reading schedule as her sisters and then prints a page to write about her understanding and interest. The activities are one of the areas where this is very good for her because she is understanding enough of the cause/effect that she is actually able to do a large portion of the explanation for her sisters. This allows her to fill her big sister role and act as a mentor while having to put her understanding into words that someone else can follow is a critical thinking aspect that she is really benefiting from.

CONCLUSION:

Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition brings together the fascination of space and astronomy, clearly written instruction, and stunning photography and imagery then melds it with the understanding of God’s hand in all of His universe. If you are looking an easy-to-use, easy-to-implement program, this is definitely one to look at. With the pieces able to be purchased separately, you can get exactly what fits your family’s needs and your budget.

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