Thursday, July 25, 2019

All About Space

I cannot believe that less than a week ago the 50th anniversary of the moon landing took place!  It's incredible to think about.  In honor of this recent anniversary, Timberdoodle created an All About Space blog hop and I couldn't be more thrilled.  You guys know how much we love space.  I wanted to link up a few of my most recent space inspired posts.

Thinking of having a space themed birthday party or looking for fun party ideas?  Check out A's last Star Gazing Birthday Party.  It was so much fun!  The candy and marshmallow constellation games were a lot of fun.  {Special thanks to Handmade Charlotte and Lulu the Baker for the printables below.  You can get them yourself at the Star Gazing Birthday Party post.}

To play - tilt and move the bowl around until you get all the candies settled into the stars with holes.

To make these, you just need toothpicks, marshmallows and your constellation guides.

Looking for a fun space game to add to your game collection?  I want to suggest Timberdoodle's Asteroid Escape Smart Game.  Think of it as a Sci-Fi equivalent of a car chase.  It's a single player game for ages 8 to adult and it comes with numerous challenges.  We love having it.  Check out my Asteroid Escape Smart Game review for more details!

What about a fun space book to read with your kids?  There are so many!  We really enjoyed learning about Alan Shepard's life in YWAM Publishing's Heroes of History - Alan Shepard.  I appreciate that you can use this book as a family read-aloud or let your kids read them on their own.  Check out my Alan Shepard book review for more details!

There are so many fun space inspired activities you can do.

Put together a space puzzle.

 Make a Play-Doh inspired Solar System.

I hope you have been enjoying your summer.  Ours is still going by at the speed of light - too fast for my liking.  Be sure to check out other space ideas at the link-up below, I'm sure they are out of this world!
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition by Apologia Review

Many of you know that we are involved in a once a week homeschool CoOp during the regular school year.  It offers a variety of options of classes for students.  I'm super excited for this upcoming year because both B (8th grade) and C (7th grade) will be taking a class using Exploring Creation with General Science by Apologia.

So when I was given the opportunity to review Apologia's Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition I jumped on it.  A already completed this course with the previous addition so I was specifically interested in seeing how this newer edition compares.  This course is recommended for 7th grade (can work well for 6th-8th).

I was generously provided with the Textbook, Student Notebook, and Solutions and Tests.

Here is the 2nd Edition and 3rd Edition side-by-side

Seeing as how we own the 2nd edition of this course, I really wanted to see what the differences were between the 2nd edition and the 3rd edition and focus on that.  The covers are completely different which I really appreciate because it is very easy to distinguish between the two.  The 2nd edition is mostly black, while the newer, 3rd edition is mostly white.

Student Notebook

While the 2nd edition had a student notebook, it was seen as a companion notebook, not a requirement.  This has changed for the 3rd edition.  The Student Notebook is consumable and is also a requirement for this course (not optional).  This Student Notebook interacts with the student and helps teach proper note-taking skills.  It is specifically designed to help students transition from elementary to middle school science while preparing them for high school.  Since it is consumable, you will need a Student Notebook for each student taking this course.

Page 1 of the Course Schedule

A huge asset of the Student Notebook is the schedule included in it.  This schedule splits this course over a full school year.  The planning leg work is done for you!  This schedule has students working on lessons four days a week for ~ 1 hour each day for a total of 33 weeks.  The Student Notebook not only has daily lesson plans, but it also includes pages with prompts for students to take notes (as mentioned above), places for them to record answers to module questions as well as a place to write hands-on activity results.  I really like this notebook and I'm glad that it is a requirement as I think it adds a lot to this course and definitely helps transition to more independent learning.  I also want to note that there are not answers provided for the questions and prompts in the Student Notebook on purpose.  Apologia believes note taking is a learned skill and aims to help students learn this skill.  There is not just one way to take notes and all students notes will not and should not look the same.

I also want to note, if you are familiar with Apologia then you probably know that this curriculum has a Christian worldview.  It teaches the beauty of creation and God's handiwork throughout science.  I like that the text includes information about great scientists in history who were passionate and eager to learn about science because they wanted to know about God more.  The text is written in a conversational style as the author talks directly to the students making this program great for independent study and in CoOp situations.  Both editions have this conversational style even though the author has changed.  The 2nd edition was written by Dr. Jay L Wile while the updated 3rd edition is written by Sherri Seligson.

3rd Edition book is less thick than the 2nd Edition

Another big change is the length of the course.  While the 2nd edition was divided into 16 modules, the updated 3rd edition has 14 modules and is a slightly shorter course; therefore, the book is not as thick.  The chapters are slightly shorter.  There are exams for the first 13 modules while in the final module, students will build a project by creating a Rube-Goldberg machine in lieu of an exam.  They will use principles they have learned throughout the year.

Change In Table of Contents

Another change is the content and what topics are covered in this General Science course.  The 2nd edition had numerous modules devoted to Anatomy and the human body.  The 3rd edition covers a broader variety of sciences like astronomy, meteorology, oceanography, earth study, geology, paleontology, general chemistry, general physics, and environmental science.

Solutions and Tests

As before, the Solutions and Tests manual contains tests, test solutions, answers to study guide questions and module summaries.  How are tests different?  I think the updated tests are easier than previous ones.  There are more multiple choice options, fill in the blanks and the tests are shorter.  In our CoOp, these tests were given open book.  I think the updated tests would be easier for students to do well on without having to be an open book test.

There are more hands-on activities in this edition as well.  There are the standard required formal experiments (29 of them) but there are also optional Explore More sections (47 activities) designed  to be quick and easy and help students really comprehend the material they are learning.  One formal lab report is required every module.

Now, a look at activities.  In Module 1 there are two experiments and 4 explore more activities.  Below, you see us performing one of the experiments.

 Module 1, Experiment 1.2

Materials needed for Experiment 1.2 (we had everything on hand)

Pennies halfway inside the lemon

 Experiment said to leave pennies inside the lemon for at least 10 minutes.  We left them in for 20 minutes.  Here you can see the difference between the sides of the pennies that were inside the lemon and the sides that were left outside.

 The same pennies with salt and water on them.

You can see that the pennies are starting to tarnish again.

I like that the experiments are simple, often use materials already on hand, and really emphasize a concept and the material being taught.  Can I give an example of one of the explore more activities?  Yes!  Below is one of the explore more activities from Module 1.

Explore More Activity 1 from Module 1

Again, we had everything we needed on hand.

Doing Activity

Remember when I told you that the Student Notebook has a place to write hands-on activity results.  Here is C's Student Notebook for this activity.

I already thought this was a great homeschool science for middle school students.  I actually really like the changes.  Now, we have not completed the updated version in it's entirety but I'm looking forward to digging deeper into this edition with my kids.

Another big thing to be aware of is that the 2nd and 3rd editions are different enough that the text and notebooks are not interchangeable - meaning you cannot use the 2nd edition textbook with a 3rd edition student notebook and vice versa.

You can also purchase a video instruction thumb drive for this course which contains module-by-module instructional videos.  These videos feature Apologia author and marine biologist, Sherri Seligson.  Sherri includes on-location videos, animations, explanations, experiments and more.  Check out the sample video below from Module 2 on Scientific Inquiry and the Scientific Method to get a feel for what I mean.  While pricey, this is an awesome option!  I'm really hoping to obtain this in the future.

You can also check out the video about this course from author Sherri Seligson.

Be sure to click on the banner below to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read more reviews of Apologia's Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition.

Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition. {Apologia Reviews}

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Sunday, July 21, 2019

Happy National Ice Cream Day

Happy National Ice Cream Day!  I hope you had a chance to enjoy your favorite flavor.  If not, you still have time.

G's twist ice cream with M&Ms.

F with a chocolate ice cream cone.

E loves vanilla with sprinkles.

C and D both got twist with gummy bears.

B and her homemade ice cream bowl.

 A and her ice cream bowl.

 A close up view...

Friday, July 19, 2019

Interactive Math Curriculum Notebook K by Crafty Classroom Review

F is officially exiting the PreK realm and diving head first into Kindergarten this year.  I was super excited when I was offered the opportunity to review the Interactive Math Curriculum Notebook K from Crafty Classroom.  We jump started this program this summer and he is really enjoying it!  I plan on finishing the rest of it in the fall as part of F's Math curriculum.  Crafty Classroom doesn't just offer this math option but they have a variety of subjects with fun lessons for tots to 3rd grade.

 Our Curriculum

Our Interactive Math Curriculum Notebook K is a low-prep, hands-on and ready to go digital program.  Most of the consumable pages are printed in black and white while more non-consumable items like charts and games are printed in color.  This is great news for my printer!  I also appreciate that I already have most of the items needed, another win.

Here is a list of items to keep on hand for daily hands-on activities.  Items like cards, dice, Q-tips, etc.

Getting ready to set up daily warm-up folder

One thing that you need to set up for your student is the daily warm-up folder.  You glue two manila file folders together to form a tri-folding folder and attach the appropriate graphics to the folder as shown.  It is fairly easy.

F's assembled daily warm-up folder

Closer view

The daily warm-up folder is used by the student every day for review prior to starting new lessons.  It's a great way to isolate and work on key math skills in very small chunks of time during the year.  This curriculum includes teaching suggestions for the daily warm-ups but it is intended to be fast, unscripted time to connect and work with your student on key math concepts.

Checking out his warm-up folder for the day.

This comprehensive K math curriculum includes a full year of hands-on math lessons, games and activities as well as the previously mentioned warm-up folder and printable math manipulatives.

The appendix is where you will find the printable math manipulatives.

Curriculum Overview

I really like the at-a-glance one page curriculum overview and weekly schedule page (seen above).  You can easily see the topics for every week and corresponding page numbers in the curriculum.  This is super helpful if you need to reprint worksheets.

General Setup

This curriculum is meant to be used 4 days a week for 36 weeks.  Students complete a daily worksheet along with a game or interactive activity.  I like the idea of schooling 4 days a week at this age.

Review Weeks

Every 5 weeks, there are review weeks which allow you to see if your student has mastered the topics covered the previous 4 weeks.  There are fun, online games suggested during these weeks that are used for assessing student skill and for extra math practice.

F's first worksheet of this program.

 F making apple seeds using Q-tips and paint.

Finished worksheet

Another worksheet

Playing the game

 Completing his lesson worksheet

 Finished worksheet

F really likes this program.  It's a good fit for him.  He is enjoying the worksheets.  He does not find them too difficult and he is learning.  I like that the lessons are short, ~ 15 minutes.  It's hard for him to write for long periods of time at this age and these sheets are perfect.  I really like that he gets practice writing his numbers!  I personally really like that the worksheets include ruled handwriting sections so that he has guidance when making his numbers.  F really likes the games and activities that we have done so far.  I'm not surprised as our family is really into games!  I love how they incorporate different skills that he has learned.

F is really looking forward to learning more about time!

I want to mention that before starting this program, your student should have a good foundation in number recognition and number names or it will probably be too difficult to jump in.  Topics that students will cover include number patterns, ordinal numbers, number value, addition, subtraction, counting by 2's/5's/10's, place value, even and odd numbers and more!  Some practical math skills that are covered include counting money, telling time, using a ruler, reading a calendar and more.  I like that it is low prep-work.

This program corresponds with Crafty Classroom's  R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook as well but I have not used it myself.  I may look into it for the future.

Check out the fantastic video from Crafty Classroom below to see a complete overview of how the Interactive Math Curriculum Notebook K works.

Click on the banner below to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read more reviews of Crafty Classroom and check out some of their other curriculum options including their R.E.A.D Curriculum Notebook K, R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook Gr. 1, Alphabet Curriculum Notebook, Bible ABC Curriculum Notebook, Sight Word of the Week Program, Pattern Block Activity Pack, Fables and Fairy Tales Literacy Unit, and U.S.A. Activity Bundle Pack.

Hands-on, Low-prep and Ready to Go Learning - Tots to 3rd Grade {Crafty Classroom Reviews}

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