Category Archives: Middle School

Z – Middle School Book ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet

Z

We are at the last letter for this round of ABC Blogging or Blogging Through the Alphabet (whichever you prefer to think of it as).

Z

Oh, this one was actually kind of easy to find a book for.

Zlatas diary

Zlata’s Diary: a child’s life in Sarajevo by Zlata Filipovic
introduction by Janine Di Giovanni
translated  with notes by Christina Pribichevich-Zoric

I have tried to persuade my girls to read this one and have not yet succeeded. I may end up assigning it just to get them to take a chance on it.

This is a true diary, along the lines of Anne Frank. Zlata is 13 at the start of the diary, right before Sarajevo was blockaded and war broke out in 1991. Zlata’s family were not poor but money did nothing for them when there was nothing to be had. These are the thoughts that fill the head of a young girl who should be running around, visiting friends, and having fun, yet cannot leave the “safe room” in the building for fear of the shelling and shooting. As the war continues, thing deteriorate further and Mimmy (the name of the diary) is a friend when no others are there. Zlata is able to be evacuated safely a couple years into the war and so her story – and the story of so many other children trapped in war zones – is able to be heard. It is a tremendous read, full of life and emotion.

I will take a couple weeks break from the ABC series but will be back when the new round starts.

Blessings,
At Home.

blogging-through-the-alphabet-300x300

The ABC linkup is hosted by Hopkins HomeschoolDoodleMom’s Homeschooling Life and Biblical Womanhood.

My previous posts in the series:

A – All-of-a-Kind Family and Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse
B – Ballet Shoes and A Bear Called Paddington
C – Counting by 7s and Cheaper By The Dozen
D – Door In The Wall & D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths
E – The Endless Steppe & Ella Enchanted
F – Family Tree & Fog Magic
G – Great Turkey Walk & The Great Brain
H – Half Magic & Horse Diaries
I – Indian in the Cupboard & Island of the Blue Dolphins
J – Journey to America & Julie: An American Girl – 1974
K – Kite Fighters & Key to the Extraordinary
L – Little Women & Long Way From Chicago
M – Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle & Mistakes That Worked
N – North Child & Number the Stars
O – One and Only Ivan & Our Only May Amelia
P – Pollyanna & Prism of Wings
Q – Quanah Parker & Quake!
R – Robin Hood & Rilla of Ingleside
S – Sisters Grimm & Singer of All Songs
T – Thick as Thieves & Twinkle Tales
U – Under the Lilacs
V – Valkyrie & Voyage on the Titanic
W – War That Saved My Life & Wonderful Wizard of Oz
X – Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters & Betty Before X
Y – A Year Down Yonder
Z – Zlata’s Diary

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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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Making Edible Cells

edible cells

We have been working on a review for Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Anatomy and Physiology. One the appeals of this curriculum is the hands-on learning that is built right into the curriculum.

Recently, we made an edible cell. Cells are the first lesson in anatomy and physiology and this really helped the girls see what all is part of these tiny little building blocks that we cannot see with our eyes.

Using jello as the cytoplasm and various candies to be the different parts of the cells, the girls created an edible cell. After we reviewed what each of the parts was and its job in the cell, the girls ate the cells. I thought they looked too, um, interesting to eat. They, however, thought the candy and jello looked too yummy to not eat. Edible cells, it is then.

This is a don’t miss activity with this curriculum. If you buy the pre-assembled kit that includes everything you need for the hands-on activities, you are good to go and can just open the packet for this lesson. You’ll have the jello and candy you need. It included almost enough to make two complete cells. We had to rummage around the kitchen to find a few bits of candy for a few of the things but overall, it was a simple and fun (and evidently yummy) activity with that pre-assembled kit.

Blessings,
At Home.

Watch for the review coming in just a couple of weeks with the Homeschool Review Crew.

Y – Middle School Books ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet

Y

Y-titled books are not easy either. This is a book that I just adored from an author that is just tons of fun to read.

A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck

This story takes place at Grandma Dowdel’s once again. Due to the hardships of the Great Depression, Mary Alice goes to live with Grandma. The year provides a tons of activity and laughter. From turning the tables on the local bullies to doing good while no one is looking to making every season one to find hilarity in, Grandma gives Mary Alice an education she’d never get in Chicago. It turns out to be a wonderful year full of the kinds of memories we all wish our children would be blessed with.

As always, I definitely recommend Richard Peck as an author. I have yet to read anything that I wouldn’t share with my girls, though I keep finding new ones, so I obviously have not read all that he has written.

Got any Y-titled books that you adore? Please share their titles with me in the comments.

Blessings,
At Home.

blogging-through-the-alphabet-300x300

The ABC linkup is hosted by Hopkins HomeschoolDoodleMom’s Homeschooling Life and Biblical Womanhood.

My previous posts in the series:

A – All-of-a-Kind Family and Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse
B – Ballet Shoes and A Bear Called Paddington
C – Counting by 7s and Cheaper By The Dozen
D – Door In The Wall & D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths
E – The Endless Steppe & Ella Enchanted
F – Family Tree & Fog Magic
G – Great Turkey Walk & The Great Brain
H – Half Magic & Horse Diaries
I – Indian in the Cupboard & Island of the Blue Dolphins
J – Journey to America & Julie: An American Girl – 1974
K – Kite Fighters & Key to the Extraordinary
L – Little Women & Long Way From Chicago
M – Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle & Mistakes That Worked
N – North Child & Number the Stars
O – One and Only Ivan & Our Only May Amelia
P – Pollyanna & Prism of Wings
Q – Quanah Parker & Quake!
R – Robin Hood & Rilla of Ingleside
S – Sisters Grimm & Singer of All Songs
T – Thick as Thieves & Twinkle Tales
U – Under the Lilacs
V – Valkyrie & Voyage on the Titanic
W – War That Saved My Life & Wonderful Wizard of Oz
X – Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters & Betty Before X

X – Middle School Books ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

X

What to do? What to do? I just can’t come up with anything. Goodness! Harder and harder!

There were several suggestions for books that had an X “in” the title but only one that started with X.

So, for the pleasure of sharing something, here are some titles with X that look pretty interesting.

This book looks interesting to me –

Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz

It is about a young black girl in the 1940s in Detroit. It shows the difficulty, the challenge, and the heartbreak. Betty grows up and becomes the wife of Malcom X, which influenced the title.

Read a full review of this book by A Net In Time.

Soldier X by Don L. Wulffson

This book is a look behind enemy lines during WWII. As a teenager, Erik goes as a soldier for Germany, experiencing the horrors of war and the Third Reich. The story looks interesting and difficult at the same time.

This book was suggested by Hopkins Homeschool.

Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters by Margaret Dilloway

6th grader Xander is looking forward to a break and spending the time with his friend and his comics. He will be thrust, instead, into a dramatic and challenging adventure.

This book was suggested by Walking Fruitfully.

Hopefully you saw one that looked interesting and will explore it. If you have other suggestions for the letter X, I would love to hear them.

Blessings,
At Home.

 

blogging-through-the-alphabet-300x300

The ABC linkup is hosted by Hopkins HomeschoolDoodleMom’s Homeschooling Life and Biblical Womanhood.

My previous posts in the series:

A – All-of-a-Kind Family and Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse
B – Ballet Shoes and A Bear Called Paddington
C – Counting by 7s and Cheaper By The Dozen
D – Door In The Wall & D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths
E – The Endless Steppe & Ella Enchanted
F – Family Tree & Fog Magic
G – Great Turkey Walk & The Great Brain
H – Half Magic & Horse Diaries
I – Indian in the Cupboard & Island of the Blue Dolphins
J – Journey to America & Julie: An American Girl – 1974
K – Kite Fighters & Key to the Extraordinary
L – Little Women & Long Way From Chicago
M – Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle & Mistakes That Worked
N – North Child & Number the Stars
O – One and Only Ivan & Our Only May Amelia
P – Pollyanna & Prism of Wings
Q – Quanah Parker & Quake!
R – Robin Hood & Rilla of Ingleside
S – Sisters Grimm & Singer of All Songs
T – Thick as Thieves & Twinkle Tales
U – Under the Lilacs
V – Valkyrie & Voyage on the Titanic
W – War That Saved My Life & Wonderful Wizard of Oz

W – Middle School Books ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet

W

The letter W was actually quite easy to get a list for. We probably have too many titled for it but that’s okay. I’ll share them anyway.

Wonderful Wizard of OzThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

This is the book that the wonderfully imaginative movie was created from. The story is a glorious read with tons of opportunity for the reader to use their imagination. It has all the elements you would expect if you have seen the movie – Dorothy being swept away in a tornado, landing in a strange village, befriending the tin man, the lion, and the scarecrow. Even the flying monkey are included. But the book is vastly different from the movie in the way the story runs along. It was a fantastic read aloud for our family and we definitely recommend it. The following books in the series were not quite so interesting for the girls so I think we only got through two additional books and they were quite different.

War That Saved My Life
The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Summary provided by Miss L: This was a book about Ada, who is 10. She was born with a club foot and her mother did not like her. When WWII started and the government began evacuating children from London, her mother decided to send Ada’s brother to the country but not her. Ada decided she was going to go to, even though her mother had not given her permission. In the country, she gets to live a very different sort of life with all these luxuries and all the food she wants. Her mother comes back to get her and life changes again, leaving Ada wanting to return to the country.

Wrinkle in Time
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

Summary provided by Miss L: Meg is the main character, along with her brother Charles Wallace and their friend Calvin. They go on a voyage with three old ladies who have magical powers to a bunch of different planets in the solar system. They are on a search to find Meg’s father.

Wings of FireWings of Fire: The Dragon Prophesy by Tui T Southerland

This is book 1 in the series.

Summary provided by Miss E: It is about dragons and there are humans that are called scavengers. The dragons see them as animals. In this first book, it is centered on Clay, a mud-wing dragon. He and four other dragons are trapped under a mountain by three other dragons, the Guardians. The Guardians keep telling them that being kept there is for their own good. The dragons have not ever seen the outside, except small peeks through the sky hole. They come up with a plan to escape and they succeed. In the process, though, they get captured by the queen of the Sky-wings, who are involved in a war. According to a prophesy, Clay and his friends are supposed to stop this war. Once in captivity, Queen Scarlet likes to watch dragons fight and kill each other and this is what Clay and his friends are captured for. In the end, they are able to escape, with the help of the queen’s “killer dragon”, and they take off to find their parents.

 

Wide Awake Princess
The Wide-Awake Princess by E.D. Baker

Summary provided by Miss E: The Wide-Awake Princess is about a girl named Annie. Her sister is Sleeping Beauty. When Annie was a baby, she only got one christening gift – magic could not touch her, whether good or bad. When the curse on Sleeping Beauty takes effect, Annie is not affected. She and her friend Liam, one of the guards, go to find all the princes so that one of them can reverse the curse and wake Sleeping Beauty. This is the story of their travels.

There are several other books about Annie and they are fun books to read. The last couple in the series about Annie include characters from the Frog Princess series so the stories overlap a bit, sharing character. This is fun and now that she has shared the summary with you, Miss E wants to read it yet again. (I think we know what is going on her library check-out list for next week!)

 

There are two other W-titled books that I want to put on your radar. I am not providing a summary for these but they are ones that we keep on our shelves.

Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

The Wouldbegoods by E. Nesbit

Hope you have some good reading time this week and find some titles that bring you joy.

Blessings,
At Home.

blogging-through-the-alphabet-300x300

The ABC linkup is hosted by Hopkins HomeschoolDoodleMom’s Homeschooling Life and Biblical Womanhood.

My previous posts in the series:

A – All-of-a-Kind Family and Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse
B – Ballet Shoes and A Bear Called Paddington
C – Counting by 7s and Cheaper By The Dozen
D – Door In The Wall & D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths
E – The Endless Steppe & Ella Enchanted
F – Family Tree & Fog Magic
G – Great Turkey Walk & The Great Brain
H – Half Magic & Horse Diaries
I – Indian in the Cupboard & Island of the Blue Dolphins
J – Journey to America & Julie: An American Girl – 1974
K – Kite Fighters & Key to the Extraordinary
L – Little Women & Long Way From Chicago
M – Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle & Mistakes That Worked
N – North Child & Number the Stars
O – One and Only Ivan & Our Only May Amelia
P – Pollyanna & Prism of Wings
Q – Quanah Parker & Quake!
R – Robin Hood & Rilla of Ingleside
S – Sisters Grimm & Singer of All Songs
T – Thick as Thieves & Twinkle Tales
U – Under the Lilacs
V – Valkyrie & Voyage on the Titanic

 

Lost Civilizations Unit Study

Lost Civilizations Study

We strive to meet the interests and needs of our girls individually. When chatting with Miss L about what she wanted to take a look at for history this year, she said she wanted to study lost civilizations. When we went a little bit further in the discussion, I determined that this meant the civilizations that just kind of disappeared from a very long time ago. So, that is where our name came from. This does not include ancient civilizations such as Egypt, Rome, or Greece. Those are a different category for her.

So, what we did first was to list the group she knew about. Those were:

Aztec
Maya
Inca
Viking
Cliff Dwellers in American SW
Anasazi
Mesopotamian

Then we listed out what she wanted to know about them. Here is the list of questions:

  1. Where did they live?
  2. What were their homes like?
  3. What did they eat?
  4. Do we know of any myths or legends surrounding this civilization?
  5. What is their lifestyle – agrarian? nomadic? village? hunter? gatherer?
  6. What type of climate did they live in? How did that affect their lives?
  7. Did they have a known family structure? Was there a patriarch? A matriarch?
  8. Find a map that includes the area(s) they lived and mark it with what you know, both from their time and present day.
  9. What did they wear? What was their clothing made of and look like?
  10. When did their civilization begin? When was its peak? When did it disappear?
  11. What are the theories of why the civilization disappeared?
  12. Are there any remaining important landmarks or ruins? What are they? Describe and/or draw them. Mark them on the map.

Lost Civilizations plan

We found some websites and bookmarked those but our greatest reliance has been on physical resources from the library. We have checked out several books for each different group, though some of them overlap. I can list these out but it is really quite dependent on what you have access to. There are none that are just fantastically detailed, extremely helpful. What we have found is that there are several good bits of information in several different books but none are a complete resources. So, find what you can around you, use the internet, and enjoy the process.

Miss L is taking notes along the way. Then she is writing a report in a notebook on each individual civilization. She likes having all her research in one place and since she enjoys writing, this is perfect for her. And it was her choice.

This process has been interesting and, I hope, fun for her. I know she has learned quite a bit about different civilizations. It has been a good process and I hope this gives you some ideas about creating a study about something that has piqued your student’s interest.

Blessings,
At Home.

 

 

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