Thursday, March 21, 2019

Tied 2 Teaching STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading Review


Tied 2 Teaching provides a great break from routine with their STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading!  And sometimes I really need a break.


This is a bundle of amazing pdf downloads and there are so many activities to choose from.  Included for each month there are also several seasonal activities to choose from and there are enough activities to do one challenge every week for an entire year plus some!  These challenges are geared toward 3rd-6th graders.

The kids and I have had a lot of fun so far with the STEM activities we have completed at home.  Grant (age 2) had a lot of help but everyone else was able to participate on some level (age 5-15).   Every week I teach a Science class at our CoOp and I have been able to use a few of these activities with my CoOp students as well (average age 9/10).  Obviously, I cannot show you all the challenges so I will show you some of our favorites so far.

Design A Carrot Carriage - I did this one with the kids at home and with the kids in my CoOp class.

Miscellaneous Supplies

The kids designs

A's Carrot Carriage

 B building her carriage.

C's design

D's Carrot Carriage - she named her bunny peep King.

E's design

I was impressed with F, he went for a stretcher design.

G had help from A.

 And I made the Carriagenator 2000, notice the spoiler on the back.

 I added a rubber band seat belt for safety.

These were some of the designs created by my CoOp class!

Pencil Tower Challenge

Each challenge comes with numerous pages and handouts as well as examples of designs created by other students.  I personally didn't show my kids or my CoOp students these designs because I wanted to see what they would create but they were helpful for me to have if the kids needed guidance.

These were some of the designs created by my CoOp class.

I want to note here that the challenges can be adapted as needed.  I didn't have an unlimited supply of pencils so I asked my students to design a tower using pencils and masking tape that would support an apple (I changed it from tallest tower you can make).  Then, they wanted to see if they could create a tower that supported several apples.  You can see their creations in the collage above.

Love Bug Challenge

The reading for each design can be found on wonderopolis.  You can follow the link given or scan the QR code on the question and answer page.

Some of the reading for designing a love bug.

D and C's answer sheets for the love bug challenge text dependent questions.  You can see the QR code at the top right corner of their paper to get to the appropriate reading text.

Spaghetti Tower

These were some of the designs created by my CoOp class.

I love that these activities are an exciting way to learn and they are great for a wide age range.  They incorporate reading, writing, thinking and creating all in one.  They can be used to foster teamwork if kids work together and help boost confidence as students try new things.  You probably have a lot of the materials on hand around your home but I did have to purchase some depending on the specific challenge (especially for seasonal ones).

Be sure to click on the banner below to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read more reviews of Tied 2 Teaching.

STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading {Tied 2 Teaching Reviews}

The kids and I look forward to continuing on with our STEM activities throughout the year.  No more, "I'm bored" from my kiddos.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Apollo 11 in Theaters Now


Our family loves learning about Astronomy and space!  Did you know that the Apollo 11 mission will be celebrating 50 years this year?  I am excited to hear that there is footage of that day that has never been seen before.  Apollo 11 is a 2019 American documentary that focuses on the 1969 Apollo 11 mission (the first spaceflight to land men on the moon) and is in theaters now!  This film consists entirely of archival footage!  I look forward to seeing it.

Check out the trailer below to learn more.



Disclosure:  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing the product information.  I will receive 2 tickets to watch Apollo 11 in exchange for this post.  Opinions are 100% my own and not influenced by monetary compensation.

Drive Thru History® "Acts to Revelation" Review

Drive Thru History

David, the kids and I have been enjoying Drive Thru History® "Acts to Revelation" from Drive Thru History®.  This DVD set includes 18 half hour episodes (~ 9 hours of content) and contains a study guide with discussion questions for each episode (the answers can be found at the back of the study guide).  The target age range for Drive Thru History is middle school and above (through adulthood) but I think many younger kids could enjoy it as well.

Inside the cover

DVD set - this is a 3 disc set along with a color study guide in the middle of the discs.

Disc 3

The study guide contains summaries for each episode as well as discussion questions and answers.

Discussion Example for Episode 2

Discussion Answers

Disc 1 - Episodes

Disc 3 - Episodes

Dave Stotts is the host and your tour guide through each episode.  This series starts off exploring what happened following the resurrection of Jesus using Luke's account in Acts as a guide and follows to Revelation.  Each episode we watch gets better and better.  Dave Stotts is really relatable and has a good sense of humor.  For example, when he disagrees with his brothers on theology he tells them to do it their way while he does it God's way.  This series is down to earth yet gives a faithful account of the Bible.  I really enjoy the visual component of seeing what so many Biblical and historic sites look like today - it feels like I'm there.  This series includes some classical oil paintings with special effects (zooming in and around, seeing the painting from a different view, adding snow to name a few examples).  I love this!

 Here you see an example

Then, they zoom in on the painting

Drive Thru History® "Acts to Revelation" is so informative and I appreciate seeing scripture paired with background history, it adds so much.  I think Drive Thru History® "Acts to Revelation" is not only educational and good family entertainment but it would also be a great, easy curriculum to use in small group study (this would work for youth groups or adult groups).  You could watch an episode and then discuss it.  I think you could use the discussion questions provided as a starting point.  This program is also great for Christian families who want to teach their children history from a Christian worldview.  And honestly, it's been a great tool for myself to learn more about the world of the first Christians.  If you are a believer and want to learn more or even if you aren't and you are looking for evidence for or against the Christian faith, I would highly recommend this series.  

Buckle up and enjoy the ride!  I know I am.

Be sure to click on the banner below to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read more reviews of Drive Thru History® "Acts to Revelation".

Drive Thru History®

This is the 5th Drive Thru History series and the first that we have seen.  I look forward to seeing some of their other sets (Ancient History, American History, The Holy Land and The Gospels).  Check out the amazing trailer for Drive Thru History® "Acts to Revelation" below.



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Friday, March 15, 2019

ARTistic Pursuits Volume 1 Review

ARTistic Pursuits Vol. 1

My kids love art!  They just do.  I love how easy ARTistic Pursuits Inc. makes art instruction for me with their K-3rd Grade Level, Volumes 1-8.  The kids and I have really been enjoying Art for Children, Building a Visual Vocabulary, K-3 Vol. 1.  This book has been a great introduction to watercolor crayons, color application, and paper cutting so far for my kids.  And even though it is geared for K-3rd grade, all of my kids (toddler - 9th) have been enjoying the methods and techniques as you will see in this post!  It's never too late to enjoy art and pick up techniques.

 This curriculum has book lessons as well as video lessons that are watched from DVDs provided.

DVD Instruction

The curriculum has a great materials page discussing all the materials needed throughout the curriculum.  

It also gives brand suggestions and recommendations.  You can buy the supplies as needed or purchase everything at once.  You can also purchase your art supplies directly from ARTistic Pursuits if you wish.  You can check out their K-3 Vol 1. Art Pack.  The book does a great job showing you the materials needed for each lesson.  Following each lesson is also prep instructions for the next lesson, so helpful!

Our art supplies for the first few lessons.

There are 18 lessons in this volume, 6 of which are video instruction.  The videos are short and engaging and really help show the students how to use the materials well.  They help reinforce and teach concepts.

Book Instruction for Lesson 1

Lesson 1 is a video lesson on how to make a picture using watercolor crayons properly.  You can choose some of your favorite items or items around your home for your picture.  I love that the videos are truly visual instructions.  My kids really enjoy them.  There is one page instruction for lesson 1 in the book but it is taught through the video.

Art Instruction DVD Lesson 1

F decided to make a banana

F using the Paintbrush to activate the watercolor crayons.

Finished work

D decided to make school supplies

I love that she is making a ruler.

A working on her drawing

A's dinosaur

B has been working through body systems in her Challenge program.

She drew a human heart.

The next few lessons are book lessons that do not have video instruction.  Each book lesson has several pages of instruction.  Lesson 2 was on composing people, animals, or objects in or outside your home.

A made a picture of our backyard shed.  This is before activating the watercolor crayons.


Finished work


Where A was sitting when she drew her work.


F made a domino


A closer view


C drew a picture of our Family Honor Plate.

Lesson 3 was a book lesson on adding imagination to your pictures.  It was so fun to see what the kids imagined!

B made music using food - look closely.

E working on her picture

E's imagination picture

D imagined herself at gymnastics on beam with her feet touching the ceiling as someone threw her flowers.

A's imagination picture with a cotton candy tree, jellybean bush, cake rocks, pie flowers, marshmallow mountains, a cookie sun and a Kit Kat river.

The second video lesson, lesson 4, is on how to identify and mix colors.

F and G loved naming the colors

The video showed how to mix colors to make new colors.

F working on shapes and mixing colors


F's finished page (age 5)

C working on mixing colors as well

E working on shapes and mixing colors


E's finished page

A's mixing colors with shapes page

 D's page


B didn't do shapes like everyone else but rather decided to mix colors into a picture Bible verse.

The third video lesson, lesson 7, is on construction paper cutting and how to make a collage using construction paper.  I love how creative the kids were in their creations.


Video lesson


E made a cake shop.


C made an ocean scene including some of the animals he has learned about in Marine Biology this year.


D wanted to do some of the planets.

B's paper cutting page

She took her inspiration from a book she is reading in Literature class.

A made a rose!

I hope I have given you an idea of how easy and fun this curriculum has been to use.  Remember, this curriculum consists of 8 volumes.  Be sure to click on the banner below to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read more reviews of ARTistic Pursuits.

Kindergarten to Third Grade Art following History in Chronological Order {ARTistic Pursuits Inc. Reviews}

As you can see, we are really enjoying this curriculum.  We still have a few lessons to go before we finish.  I'm excited to see what the kids think when we get to use the oil pastels!

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