Category Archives: TOS

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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Princess Cut ~ a Crew review

Princess Cut movie

Once in a while we get a simple review to promote with the Crew. Princess Cut , a movie from Watchman Pictures, is one of those. Yet it is much more than just a movie.

Princess Cut is a family-friendly movie that promotes relationship and God’s plan for love and marriage. Grace is a young woman who has been struggling with love. She has been hurt and characterizes her heart as having been “passed around like a football.” She has begun to feel that God does not want her to find love and happiness.

In the midst of these struggles, Grace knows who she is and what her parents and God expect of her. But she struggles with that and finds that when she is not honest, it is very hurtful. After yet another hurt, Grace turns to her parents to guide her more directly. Her dad tells her that perhaps their priorities have been wrong and they have been trying to reap a harvest before planting the seed. This illustration is perfect since the family grows and harvests soybeans for a living.

When Grace decides to focus on getting her own life right and building up the family relationships she has, God brings a neighbor into her family’s lives. Clint becomes one the family trusts and cares for. Their friendships grow and Clint approaches Grace’s father and mother to ask their permission to pursue more of a relationship with Grace.

Through a friendship approach to getting to know each other more, Grace and Clint come to care deeply for each other. When someone from Clint’s past shows up, things become complicated. When it looks like Grace is about to be hurt yet again, her mother and father guide her well. The ending of the movie brings things pretty well full circle and we end with a smile on our faces and a warm feeling in our hearts.

waiting on God's timing for true love

What I thought:

I really enjoyed the movie. It is a make-you-feel-good kind of movie. There is much in this movie that is fairly true to life, especially when young women look around and see so much “love” and “romance” happening around them. It is easy to have your focus swayed away from God’s will for your life. The themes of this movie bring us back to God and allowing Him to move in your life, bringing about the love and faithfulness in His plan.

The theme of this movie is “True love is worth waiting for.” I like that but it needs a bit more since this phrase is often directed towards the physical parts of a relationship. The movie’s theme is more – true love is worth waiting on God’s timing for. Grace is urged and guided by her parents to wait for God to direct her path and in doing so, she finds a man who will walk beside her the way God designed marriage. That is a beautiful picture.

My girls really enjoyed the movie. Miss E has watched it more than once, also wanting to share it with her friends. I appreciate the quality of the movie and the focus on God’s will in Grace’s life. I also really appreciate that Grace turns to her parents for guidance. These are good models for the girls as they approach and move further into their teen years.

We had some really good discussions about love and friendship and relationships in watching this movie. The girls had a few questions and the movie provided a framework to look at some ideas through. My youngest asked questions about why the boy was mad that Grace did not feel he was the right person for her to date. My oldest had some deeper questions about how to follow God if someone is not a Christian. Lots of good discussions can come out of this.

There is a scene that I want to warn you about because it is unexpected and my youngest would hide her eyes. Towards the end, there is a scene in the barn where the jilted man decides to attack someone with a shovel. There is no contact and everyone is safe in the end but it could be scary for a younger viewer.

The extras will provide some hooting laughter, too. My girls have watched, over and over, the extended versions of the men who came to the door to answer the want ad in the movie. These are hilarious and lots of fun. These are the types of things that help a movie become a family favorite and I think Princess Cut is going to make that cut.

Overall, we were very pleased with the quality of the movie – from the themes to the real-to-life family scenes (big sister/little brother – bet you can imagine!) – we would not have a problem recommending this movie to others.

Blessings,
At Home.

Want to read other families’ reviews? I know I always appreciate multiple viewpoints when trying to decide whether to show a movie to my girls. Head over to the Homeschool Review Crew blog and pick a few of the other reviews to read.

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Creation Illustrated ~ a Crew review

Creation Illustrated review

I am so thrilled to share this new review with you guys! Creation Illustrated is a new company to me that I have just fallen in love with. They have a beautiful quarterly magazine and  in-depth unit studies that correspond to the magazines.

Creation Illustrated 

Creation Illustrated has been around since 1993 and has a mission to share biblical truth through their work. The company is dedicated to the eternal impact that sharing this truth has. They also want to share character-building lessons through the blessings we have with God’s creation. These are simple, yet impactful, ideas that will touch any who choose to listen and hear.

Creation Illustrated is edited and published by Tom and Jennifer Ish, a Christian couple. They are a family who chose homeschooling for the education of their daughter. They understand what many families are looking for in unit studies and science curriculum. You can read much more about their lives and their mission on the Creation Illustrated website.

GrandCnyn-Spread-F17

The Creation Illustrated magazine is stunning and gorgeous. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time reading these magazines and since I like print copies of magazines better than digital ones, I am ordering a subscription. The photography is just beautiful and a joy to look at. More than that, though, articles that have a biblical base and bring creation into focus on God are what I enjoy reading and having around for my girls to read. The articles are well-written and interesting. This is a magazine I would be happy to have around all the time.

The unit studies that are available are interesting and quite different than other studies we have used. Snow Unit Study and Pine Trees are the two we have been looking at and using recently. Well, we have completed Pine Trees and hope to work fully with the snow study soon. These correspond to the Winter ’18 Digital Edition and  Fall ’17 Digital Edition of the Creation Illustrated magazines. When you purchase the unit study, there is a link to the digital edition of the magazine on the resources page.

Creation Illustrated Unit Study Pine TreesWe took last week to use the Pine Trees unit study. It worked perfectly for us as we needed something different for school as we prepared for a leadership convention. We spent about an hour a day with the unit study and completed it in about three days. The time varies a bit from child to child. My 13 year old and my 11 year old were able to do this independently except for the math page and a tad bit of the vocabulary. My 9 year old needed assistance with most of the study.

Fall 2017, Vol. 24, No. 3The unit study is correlated with an article on pages 6-10 in the Fall ’17 Digital Edition titled “The Enduring Pine Tree.” This is an article that discusses not only the scientific side of the pine tree but also the biblical side. Included in the article you find much information on similarities and differences of pine trees. There is information on how to identify the type of pine tree. From the early stages of growth to Miss E reading the magazine article on pine treesthe fully mature tree, we learn much about the pine tree. Alongside the scientific information, we learn about many biblical references to pine trees. The scripture is quoted and cited, which makes it easy for the student to follow up with the scripture in their own copy of the Bible. The article is a very enjoyable read. When you pair it with the stunning photography, it is just a beautiful article. (There are many other articles in this edition of the magazine – the Grand Canyon, kangaroos, and recipes to name a few.)

After reading the article, we opened up the pages for the unit study which I had printed for each of the girls. The unit study consisted of a page with resource links, vocabulary, spelling, a Bible study, a geography study with mapping exercise, identification of three types of trees, scientific information activities, comprehension questions, a math page, an art/drawing activity, a creative writing exercise, and a word search. There is also an answer key. The resource links are for the Miss L working on pine trees unit studymagazine, articles, and videos that will help the study complete the study. I actually missed these when I printed the study because I was so excited to get to the pages and we worked harder than we had to on some parts of the study that first day. That’s okay – we got internet search practice in!

While the girls were not thrilled with having to do a unit study during this particular week, I did catch from them that it was a pleasant one to do. They seemed to enjoy it pretty well and I know they learned a lot. I learned a lot, too, and I grew up around pine trees with a forester dad.

I liked that the more difficult parts – the classification of the tree with Miss J working the pine trees word searchLatin names, for example – were an easier activity, such as matching. The vocabulary was a challenging activity because the words were difficult. I did have to help all three girls with this, even with an electronic dictionary at hand.

This is a great study that really helped us grasp a lot about the physical characteristics of pine trees but I really liked the Bible study that was included. I did not realize that pine trees were specifically mentioned so many times in the Bible. The students are asked to look up several scriptures and note the mention and what the tree was used for. It was an interesting look into God’s word. It would have been great for the scriptures used to be included in the pages to print, though it wasn’t hard for the girls to just look it up on their Bible app.

Creation Illustrated Unit Study Snow There is also a unit study on snow that we will be using before too long. It corresponds to an article on pages 19-22 in the Winter ’18 Digital Edition titled “The Intricacies of Snow.” The activities in this unit study are much the same as those in the study of pine tree, though, of course, related to snow. I can’t wait to see my girls complete the art activity where they draw the different snow crystal shapes. The Bible study will have them looking at the references to snow in the Bible and evaluating their favorite verse. The creative writing activity will correspond to fun in the snow. There is much more there, too.Winter 2018, Vol. 24, No. 4

The unit studies created by Creation Illustrated are such fun and they have more than just these two. There are studies on bears, manatees, fragrance, badgers, dragonflies, and the Joshua tree. They are aimed primarily at grades 5 – 8, though they can easily be used in grades 3 – 8. The studies are mostly independent for grades 5-8 but there is much that will be interesting and beneficial for the 3rd – 4th graders. These studies are downloads and are able to be used for multiple students – always a bonus!

CI Sum15 Cover Pages

I have really enjoyed getting to know Creation Illustrated better and am pleased to be able to share this company with you. I look forward to seeing more from them. Their newest edition, the Spring 2018 edition, is on the presses now and will soon be out. The corresponding unit study will be on butterflies and should be available on the website soon.

Blessings,
At Home.

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Carole P. Roman books ~ a Crew review

author Carole P. Roman books

Whenever I think about reading a book on another country or culture, the first books that come to mind are by author Carole P. Roman. The Carole P. Roman books and collections are award winning books about lots of different people and places, as well as fiction stories (some with great morals), and we are blessed to review these three this past month:

If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Russia

If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Poland

If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Germany

We were asked which books we might be interested in and these were our top three choices. Why? Because each of these countries were affected by World War II and Miss J has been studying WWII. This gave us yet another literature correlation to our study and I knew for a fact that they were quality literature. In addition to have an easy-to-read text, the If You Were Me series are written from the viewpoints of children and are written in a way that children can relate to them well. As you open each book, there is a map (not drawn to scale but still helpful) of the country, followed by a page with a globe that shows where the country is located. The books are well-researched and a pronunciation guide with definitions are provided with each one to help the readers understand a bit more about the culture. The illustrations are engaging and colorful, enhancing the enchanting text, bringing it all together.

Carole P Roman Russia

If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Russia

The book about Russia covers a lot of family words, like mother and father. As you read along, words are incorporated naturally. In talking about going to the store, the book mentions the word for a fur hat and that you would use rubles to purchase it. Major landmarks are included such as St. Basil’s Cathedral, Red Square, and the Kremlin. Food is not left out and descriptions of borscht, piroshky, caviar, samovar, and more are included. Favorite pasttimes for children are mentioned and include chess, playing with kuklas (dolls), and ice hockey. The new year is a big holiday and much of the details of it are included, from the gift bringer Ded Moroz to the New Year tree, favorite foods and the fortune teller tradition.

This was a simple look at a complex society so it is definitely not comprehensive. Yet, it is a good way for children to get a look at another culture and some of the ways in which children from there are like them and different from themselves. The text itself is not difficult but because there are a number of Russian words with pronunciations included, I would not recommend a child try to read this book alone. Guidance would be greatly beneficial for children under the age of about 10.

Carole P Roman Germany

If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Germany

The book on Germany actually begins with a bit of history about the country itself, where it and its name originated from. There is also information about the city of Berlin and its importance. Boy and girl names are shared, as well as other family names including mother and father, grandmother and grandfather, and aunt and uncle. The beautiful castle Neuschwanstein is pictured (an actual picture, not a drawing – I like that it shows it accurately this way) and the history is shared. Euros and marks are talked about and why the change was made. Food, of course, is covered including hunger-inducing dishes such as sauerbraten, sauerkraut, dumplings, and apfelstrudel. (This made Miss J ask her daddy to make her some apple strudel and it was yummy!) Activities such as fussball (soccer) and going to Oktoberfest are part of their lives. It closes out with a bit more history and several interesting facts about Germany.

Carole P Roman inside Germany Book

I like that this story contains so many bits of the history of the country, as well as the information on the actual culture that we would expect. Between the history, the food, and all the words, I feel like this is a good book to help someone know a bit more about Germany. The story is engaging and easy to read, though the pronunciations of the foreign words will make it a bit more difficult for a child.

Carole P Roman Poland

If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Poland

Poland was one that I chose solely due to the involvement of the country in World War II. It is often mentioned so I felt it would be a good one for Miss J to know a bit more aobut. This book definitely did its part for that, without getting so much information that she didn’t understand any of it. One of the fun bits about this book on Poland is that backgrounds of almost all of the pages are actual photographs that have drawings on top of them. This allows the beauty of the country to be seen clearly.

The book, like the Germany book, give a lot of history about the country. From the various names for Poland itself to a legend about how the city of Warsaw got its name, the text is engaging. Because much of Poland’s interest includes famous people, the book includes people such as the composer Chopin and the astronomer Copernicus. Sports are important to these people and so football (pilka nozna), skiing, and sledding are featured, as well as ice hockey. Food is shared through a trip to the grocery store and dinner at the grandparents. From mleko and hleb (milk and bread) to rosol broth, makaron, sledz and pierogi, hunger creeps up reading about the food. Bird watching and a game called “spot the gnome” are fun activities for all ages in Poland.

Carole P Roman books

Overall Thoughts

While each book contains many of the same types of information, each one seems so very different. That is partly because of the different culture of each book but I also feel that Carole P. Roman does a great job of writing the differently, with a slightly different focus that helps you get a feel for things that are important to that culture. For example, Germany seems to have a big focus on history while Poland’s focus in on activity and outdoor sports. This keeps each book in the series fresh and new and exciting, even when you are reading several of them back-to-back.

This is a wonderful series for children to learn more about other cultures around the world and is a great supplement to any country or continent study that you may be doing. As I mentioned, we pulled a bunch that we already had on the shelf for our WWII study and then added these when they arrived at th house. A couple of years ago when we were doing a continent study, I put the various If You Were Me books that went with the continent in the basket along with the other items to help us get a feel for what the continent was like. These are so very flexible and packed with such good information that I highly recommend them.

And one of the best parts – they get read and enjoyed! When these three books arrived at the house, they disappeared into one bedroom and the another and were read by two of the three girls within two hours of receiving them. The other young lady had read them in a couple of days. The appeal of these books is strong and since the content is quality, I don’t mind giving them free rein to read them.

Blessings,
At Home.

Be sure to read more about the Carole P. Roman books and collections that Homeschool Review Crew families were reading. We have read and reviewed books by this author before, both 2017 and 2016, and always enjoy them. Some of our past reviews include

 

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Carole P. Roman books and collections {Carole P. Roman Reviews}

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Zirrly Super Beads ~ a Crew review

Zirrly Super Beads bird set

Creating and crafting are something that happens often, if not daily, in our home. We all enjoy different forms of crafting and so when Zirrly came up to review their Super Beads, we were more than happy to try out the Super Beads Bird Set. Since it arrived just as Miss J was finishing up her unit study about birds, this made a nice final project.

Zirrly is a company that creates various crafting items and kits. Whether you are looking for bead crafts like these, wood crafts, ceramics, fabric projects, or dough/clay, there are lots of options. They also have a selection of materials to purchase. This is a great crafting site to go to when you need something.

Zirrly Super Beads

We received the Super Beads Bird Set. This kit arrived in a box, with all the materials tucked inside in a plastic divided holder. Each color of beads was individually packaged and it included two pegboards for making the creations. We also received three patterns, a spray bottle for the water, a tool for removing errant beads or pulling the creations off the pegboard, and instructions. We were warned ahead of time that the included instructions were not quite right and how to adapt them to work better.

Miss J jumped right in, wanting to create her birds right away. We talked about what to do, but it wasn’t really needed since she has used a different brand of water-fusing beads before. She placed the pattern beneath the plastic tray and started adding her beads. After just a short while, she noticed that some of the beads had lines at one end and went into the tray best when those were all lined up at the top. Sure enough, that was in the instructions that I just thought I had read.

Zirrly Super 3D Beads owl

She got her beads into the pattern and then we took it to the sink to spray. She sprayed it lightly as the instructions implied, tilted it to drain any extra off (there was none), and set it to dry over a paper towel since there were drain holes in the boards. After a couple of hours (the instructions said 1 hour), we checked to see if it was dry. It was but when we pried it off the board, it came apart. So, we put them back in the right place and resprayed it. This time we REALLY sprayed it so that there was water that drained off. And we left it to dry overnight (partly for the time and partly because it was time for bed). When we took it off the board in the morning, the side that had been against the board was sticky and wet. So, we just took it off the pegboard, turned everything over and let it dry again. We did not re-secure it to the pegboard but should have because it warped a bit as it dried.

Once we knew the process, Miss J was happy to create her other two birds from the kit. She did them both at once. She put them together following the pattern, sprayed them well, drained them, let them dry several hours, turned them over, let them dry some more. Finally, she took them off the pegboard for the final time and put them together. Their little stands were cute and worked well.

Zirrly Super 3D Beads parrot duck

These were a fun activity and the kit came with several extra beads. Not enough to remake any of the bird patterns but enough that a child could create their own project or pattern with what was there. We did end up with a number of broken beads in our kit and if we had had any additional ones broken in one of the colors, we would have had to adapt the pattern because we did not end up with any extras after making all three birds.

The water-fusing beads do well and Zirrly’s are sturdy after they are dry. Other brands we have used are round and come apart much more easily than theses. The Zirrly creations are also a bit flexible when dry, part of what makes them less prone to breaking apart. This is certainly a company we would be happy to use a kit from again. It was fun.

Miss J’s take on them:

It was okay. I kind of like Zirrly beads but I kind of thought that for as long as it took to dry the first time, it was crazy for it to fall apart. I really liked the parrot; it was very colorful. I would recommend a bag full of mixed colors rather than the kit because the kit only makes a few things and we couldn’t be very creative. I would recommend these for about age 6 and up.

Blessings,
At Home.

Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read more reviews on the water-fusing beads from Zirrly. Some members received other kits:

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Home School in the Woods Á La Carte projects ~ a Crew review

Home School in the Woods is a tried and true company in our home. We were thrilled to be able to take a look at two of their Á La Carte products for this review

Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte productsHome School in the Woods  Á La Carte products

The  Á La Carte projects are small chunks of a study – a game, a timeline, a short lapbook, a project. These small chunks of learning are great for when you are looking for an extension of a study you are doing or wanting a hands-on project of some sort. They cover some really good information but are not long, extensive studies. The Á La Carte projects are often included in a larger, more in-depth study if you are looking for more.

Home School in the Woods is a company that creates digital, downloadable projects and studies dealing with history – from ancient history to present day. Each project is well researched and you can feel confident that the information given is accurate. The projects are all downloaded to your computer so you can print at home and get started right away. The instructions for each project are included in the files and are very understandable.

On to the projects!

HSITW completed WWII timeline

Miss J has been studying World War II and we were just finishing up the unit study we were on when this timeline from Home School In The Woods arrived. It is fantastic!

A Timeline of World War II is a downloadable product, purchased directly from HSITW. Once you download it, you can print it directly from your home. We chose to print it on colored printer paper, using blue for the timeline and neon green for the pieces we were glueing on.

HSITW timeline of WWII ready to go

To get started, I followed the printing directions and then the cutting and taping directions to get the long timeline put together. We taped all the pieces of the timeline together and the it folds compactly for storage. It goes neatly into the notebooking notebook that each girl keeps. So Miss J has a wonderful timeline to add to her notebook now.

Each day, we would pull out the timeline and look at the dates. We started back in WWI and looked at people and events that impacted the start of the war. It really did start back at the end of WWI, as the policies put in place then impacted various countries and caused hardship and discontent. Miss J would give the date and then read the placement on the timeline. She then got the pages of the pieces to cut out and glue on, searching for the right piece. She cut it out and glued it on. Then we would do an online search to find a short article or video on that event, place, or person. We would watch it or read about it. After that, we moved on to the next spot on the timeline. We would do six or eight items per day. It was a manageable amount for a 9 year old.

HSITW timeline of WWII working and watching

This was a wonderful resource to learn a lot about WWII. In doing the timeline this way, combined with the research, Miss J had a very thorough grounding of the causes, actions, events, and people that influenced the war around the globe. I learned a ton, as well. There were a number of people I knew of but didn’t know their exact contributions to the war. I highly recommend studying history this way. It was a manageable chunk of history, yet it was very in-depth.

What Miss J thought about the timeline:

It is lots of fun. I got through it kind of fast. It was kind of fun to learn about the people (like Hitler and Anne Frank). And it is fun to learn about people I didn’t know and didn’t know were there (like Joseph Stalin who was a very bad man).

Now that we have finished the timeline, I am considering purchasing one I just noticed: WWII: On the Home Front Lap Book/Notebook Project. It is right up Miss J’s alley and continues on with the time period we have focused on for the past little bit.

HSITW finished quilling projects

We also chose The Art of Quilling project to try out. Quilling is using paper strips, curling them, and then gluing them into a pattern. I have always wanted to try quilling because I remember a beautiful quilled piece that hung on the wall of my home growing up. We read a bit about quilling from the file and I talked about remembering the hanging growing up. We took the time right then to call my mom and ask her about it. She talked with Miss J about it, remembering creating it, and finishing it the way she did. She told Miss J about the process and what she remembered. It was a neat family connection that brought this project to life.quilling project start

After the phone call and getting a text with a picture of the piece, we printed the quilling pattern, and then got started. I had purchased a quilling tool at a local hobby store for just a few dollars along with pre-cut strips of paper. It took a few tries to figure out how to curl the strips and then to adjust them to various sizes for the pattern. We learned a lot as we went along such as

  • You have to have a liquid glue that comes out well.
  • Curling tighter is not necessarily better.
  • Curling, adjusting, and shaping is all something that has to be worked on and manipulated for each place on the pattern.
  • Age 9 was good for trying this out, with a simple pattern. If it were much more complicated or detailed, it might be a bit trying for Miss J. I would love it, though. We plan to try out more patterns if we can find some online.

We chose the quilling project because it fits with the time period and activities of some of our reading and history lessons. From the 1800s – 1970s, quilling was fairly popular in various places. Since we were working on WWII and had just finished a book about pioneer times, it fit well. And it was fun to try something that people would have done during those times, as well as something that grandma had tried.Home School in the Woods quilling project

What Miss J thought about quilling:

That was awesome! It was fun. It took a long time, forever! But it was fun. It took two days; my final project was pretty.

The Penny Rug Notebook/3D Project looks like another project that would be fun to tackle while sticking to the theme of WWII and thriftiness or using what you have.

Home School in the Woods has wonderful  Á La Carte products and these  Á La Carte projects are often part of a large study, if you are looking for more. We have used Project Passport: Ancient Greece, Project Passport: Ancient Egypt, a la carte Erie Canal, Make-A-State, and more. Other Homeschool Review Crew families were trying out various other Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte projects. Definitely go see them. These are an easy way to find a project that fits right in with a subject you may be studying without committing to a full year curriculum or a long-term study project.

 Blessings,
At Home.

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À La Carte Projects - Individual projects designed to enhance your studies! {Home School in the Woods Reviews}

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Parenting Made Practical ~ a Crew review

Being a parent is hard, so resources to help us along the way can be terribly beneficial. Parenting Made Practical strives to help parents raise their children well through materials such as the DVD and workbook combination  Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate… What Works?

parenting made practical

Parenting Made Practical was created by Joey and Carla Link. The Links are parent educators who have worked for many years in various ministries and educational settings. Much of the material they have created and share have been developed because of needs that they saw and dealt with during the ministries, as well as how they handled the parenting of their own children, now grown. The goal of Parenting Made Practical is to “encourage, equip, and empower parents to raise obedient, respectful, and responsible children in today’s challenging world.” I love this goal! This is what every parent I know wants to do and the Links have set about helping parents the best ways they know how.

Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate… What Works? is part of the Parent’s Night Out workshop that the Links present. It is presented here separate from the rest of the workshop and is directed both at parents and at teens/young adults old enough to be thinking about dating, in any form.

Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate...What Works? DVD & Workbooks

The DVD and workbooks are set up in two sessions, each running approximately 50 minutes. The first session is titled Developing Your Dating Philosophy. The second session is titled How to Make It Work.

In Developing Your Dating Philosophy the Links present three different dating “philosophies” or ways of getting to know someone of the opposite gender. They share what they see as the pros and cons of each philosophy. After looking at Cultural Dating and Courtship Dating, the Links present Friendship Dating. This is, obviously, their preferred approach to dating. They spend quite a bit of time presenting the framework for how they approach this type of dating. They explain the four corners of growth and then define the levels of a relationship leading to marriage within each area. They also look at the areas of concern to address, and how the couple in the relationship take responsibility for growth in all of the areas.

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In How to Make It Work, the Links present ideas about how to approach Friendship Dating with young adults, and how to put this process into action. They review the four corners of growth and the levels of the relationship. Then they share possible goals for each area. This is the “practical application” part of the DVD and workbook. The Links walk parents and those in the relationship through setting up goals, putting a plan into place, and getting affirmation by parents.

Due to the background of the Links, I expected there to be a much more direct biblical approach and application to this workshop. I was disappointed that the biblical direction was not very strong.

As parents, we had really looked forward to this DVD, hoping that it would give us more practical information on how to develop a philosophy on guy/girl relationships before our oldest daughter reaches the age at which she wants to talk about it. The session about Developing Your Dating Philosophy did not actually guide us in developing a philosophy. Rather it was expected that you would adopt the one presented on Friendship Dating. We did not feel that there were any fresh, new ideas presented here and the guidance for parents to create their own philosophy was missing.

This DVD did not resonate with us and seems very difficult to implement. It is not realistic to expect a couple to begin their relationship by mapping out a series of goals and lists, ignoring emotion and feeling. When there are so many lists to check and goals to meet, the human element and emotion is missing. Yet that is what drives deep and meaningful relationships. Why would we choose to hide this part of God’s plan?

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If you choose to purchase this, be aware that it takes some work to use the workbook alongside the DVD. There are paragraphs of additional information shared in the workbook, which is good, but makes it difficult to follow. Not all of the important ideas from the video are shared in the workbook and they flash on the screen fast. The workbook is a useful resource and could be used without the DVD, though it doesn’t appear to be sold that way.

The video quality of the DVD is very good. The lighting, video quality, and camera angles were well done. However, the sound quality was disruptive. There were significant variations in the voice levels and I had to constantly turn the volume up and down, depending on who was speaking. I normally listen to things with our volume level at 15. I had to turn Mrs. Link up to 35 most of the time but immediately turn it back down when Mr. Link began speaking. Addressing this would definitely help make the DVD a much more pleasant workshop to view.

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This could be a good program for parents who are confused about what they want to present to their children about dating. The examples on types of dating and the issues/concerns about them are helpful. There are good examples of how to deal with questions children may have and ideas of how to guide students as they grow into the area of wanting to spend more time with someone of the opposite gender.

In closing out this review, I want to share a thought that has stuck with me since I watched the DVD. I think it is a highlight of their video, though it really doesn’t have anything to do with dating philosophies.

If a teen doesn’t trust parents for help in guy/girl relationships, the bigger question is this – will they trust God?

Blessings,
At Home.

The Homeschool Review Crew was able to review several different materials from Parenting Made PracticalPlease take a look at some of their other materials, as well as find other families who looked at the DVD  Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate… What Works?. The other programs reviewed include:
Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think (book)

Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Behave (book)

Navigating the Rapids of Parenting (video)

Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think (Video) 

What Every Child Should Know Along the Way (book)

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Parenting Made Practical {Reviews}

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