Category Archives: curriculum

Let’s Go Geography ~ a Crew review

Let's Go Geography

Geography is a subject that is always fascinating because there are so many facets to it. Whether you are looking for the language, culture, geographical features, landmarks, or other information on a country, Let’s Go Geography has a fantastic program. This has been a fun review that we are planning on continuing long past the end of the review period.

coloring a pageDesigned for K-4th grade, this is an online homeschool geography curriculum. Because it is online, you will need access to a computer, the internet, and a printer. From home, you will probably want a binder to keep the travel journal in and you will need basic school supplies for the activities. This would include crayons, pencils, map colors, scissors, glue, and few other supplies for specific crafts activities.

Let’s Go Geography was created by Carol Henderson. Mrs. Henderson has taught geography in a co-op setting for a while but decided to adapt her lessons to an online format for more homeschoolers to access. (I am so glad she did!!!) The program is a planned 3-year cycle taking the students from continent to continent and country to country. Each year of the cycle takes the students through at least one country per continent (well, Antarctica, Australia, and New Zealand are the anomalies for this).Let's Go Geography

The lessons follow a similar pattern for each country studied in the program:

  • map work, marking the country on both the continent map and a closer-up map when appropriate, which also includes answering some questions related to the maps and the country (mountains, lakes, borders, etc.)
  • a statistics page for the country
  • coloring the country’s flag and adding it to a map and/or passport
  • listening to the national anthem
  • videos that are related to important information about the country – the people, the geographical landmarks, the food, the exports, and more
  • a link for reading more online at a kid-friendly site and information on where to look in the library for printed materials on the country
  • a photo album with pictures from the country
  • a craft or coloring page related to the country

Watch the video of the lessons on the website.

This is a lot of information but it is simple and easy to follow this curriculum. Each country study opens in a PDF and all of the links you need for printing or videos are embedded in the PDF. You can even check off your progress on the website.

HOW WE USED IT

lighthouseMiss J is 8 and in 3rd grade. She has been working, somewhat inconsistently (my fault), on a continent study for the past year or so. This program was a perfect fit for her. We have enjoyed doing a country or two per week. She enjoys it and wants to complete a country each time we open the program.

Let’s Go Geography is written in such a way that you can do one country each time you use the program or you can break it up into several small sections and take several days to study the country. Either way would work well. This means it is an easy addition to your schedule and it takes almost no preparation.

Miss J enjoys studying the countries and we have found several things that have been rabbit trails in this study. What a wonderful things to experience.

  • She asked about maple syrup after studying the US Northeast. We dug ours out and saw it was made in Vermont. Perfect for a taste test.
  • After reading about maple candy and maple leaves with Canada, we found some maple candy at a store and got to eat it.
  • After watching the sugar cane video, she wanted to know more so we spent another 45 minutes finding more videos about sugar cane, how to use it, how to plant it, etc. That really brought Haiti to life for her and connected her to it.

That is what we are looking for in programs – connections! Let’s Go Geography definitely has that kind of connection for her.

volcanoes in Nicaragua

Back to how we used it each time, though. I would go through the PDF ahead of time and print off the pages we would need. I did not print the entire PDF for any of the countries since some of it is a cover page or instructions. She 3-hole punched the pages and placed them in her travel journal in the appropriate section (sections are by continent). We then would work through each of the pages – coloring maps and flags, pasting the flags where they go, answering questions, watching videos, and doing the craft or coloring page. She did either the craft or the coloring page for each country. If she had questions or interests that cropped up in the middle of the study, we followed them. If that meant we didn’t get through the whole country that day, it was fine. We just picked up where we left off.

lei from Hawaii

We often took this with us to her sister’s dance class and worked on it there, since we have plenty of time to sit and wait. It made a perfect project to take with us on the go if I printed it ahead of time. Except for one thing – when I transferred the PDF to my Kindle the links don’t work (we did still have internet access). The PDF reads fine but the links are no longer embedded. This is a fault of the Kindle, not the program. Easy to fix, though. I just planned ahead, opened the links, copied them, and emailed them to myself. We were then able to watch the videos.

While we have not yet reached a review lesson (lesson 12 is the first), the review lessons are really good! They review all of the countries studied thus far for the continents being looked at. There is extensive map work for the older students and plenty of good map work for the younger ones, as well, learning more about maps than has been discussed so far and encouraging as much work as possible to be done from memory. With matching activities and writing activities, the review lessons are packed full.

travel journal and passport

FINAL THOUGHTS:

We really like this program. It is simple enough to follow and do the planning for. But, best of all, Miss J enjoys learning and is making connections with the countries we are studying.

Miss J says:
It is very fun. I have no idea why they did not call it “Let’s Go Geography Fun!” I like that it has fun activities and that you can mostly do them all if you have a printer. I think my friends would like this.

At Home.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read what other families thought about Let’s Go Geography.

Let’s Go Geography {Reviews}

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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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