Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Let's Go Geography ~ A Review

Let's Go Geography is an online K-4th grade Geography curriculum. Each lesson in Let's Go Geography  is full of activities, crafts, links to videos, pictures, engaging online content, and optional library books that will enrich your study along the way. Your child will tour the world country by country, continent by continent. 

Going into this review I was so excited about diving into all that Let's Go Geography has to offer students. Well, part of homeschooling is working around what life throws us and boy has life thrown me a curveball over the past month. About a month ago I had minor surgery but ended up having MAJOR complications! Well, that definitely affected our homeschool routine and my lofty plans for everything I wanted to do enrichment wise to go along with this curriculum. I am not have utilized everything in the Let's Go Geography weekly curricula but I will say that what my kiddos did get was great. They learned so much and it required nothing on my part. 

I used this with my 4th and 6th graders. I know that 6th grade was out of the suggested range but decided that since I was laid up it wouldn't hurt to have her glean what tidbits of informations she could from the curriculum. While I didn't use the full extent of the curricula the whole time my kiddos were able to explore countries and do most of the activities. Kiddos are pretty savvy technology wise and are able to navigate, print, and download on their own. I was a bit apprehensive about them navigating outside of the site though. 

Each weeks lesson is clearly laid out in an easy to follow format with instructions and links. Students are instructed to print out maps, flags, and various activities. For the activities a list is given for the materials that you will need. 

Throughout the lesson your child will explore the many amazing animals, beautiful landscapes, its people, and their culture that makes each country unique and special. There are so many links that your child will be able to click to explore outside of the site to enrich their learning experience. Crafts give them the opportunity to be creative while learning about something relevant to that particular country. Students will also be given the opportunity to write about each country. 

Many of the links are to YouTube. We personally did not have any issues with the links. With that said I always caution parents to please supervise children when letting children use sites such as YouTube. 

There are many other links to other sites outside of Let's Go Geography. 

I will say that it most definitely does not take a week to complete a lesson. When my daughters were just doing the watching parts of the lessons they got it done in no time flat. We have completed a full lesson with all components and it was more of a two day at the most lesson. Stretching it out over a week would have been way too chopped up. I can see that maybe for K-1 grade this may be a great set-up but for upper grades not so much. 

After watching some of the video's my daughter did say, "Some of the videos are like they are trying to sell you a vacation to the country." Since many of the video links are from YouTube there are some that tend to be on the touristy side. 

There are some videos that are specifically labeled for the older students. This video 
was about the history of Belize. 

After coloring their backgrounds by daughters decided that they no longer liked the way their armadillos looked so they turned them around and colored the other side. 

One of my daughter's used crayon to create her armadillo craft. 

My other daughter used watercolor paints for her armadillo. 

Here is a great lay-out of a 3-year plan to over all of the 7 continents using Let's Go Geography.

Overall I was pretty happy with Let's Go Geography. Basing this on my 4th graders progress through the lessons I think that more content needs to be added to truly make this a weeks worth of curriculum for grades 2-4. This would be a great supplement but I would most definitely not consider it a full geography curriculum. I also am not too crazy about utilizing YouTube videos for kiddos in the elementary ages as content on the pages can sometimes be sketchy. I think that Let's Go Geography has the start of something good I just think that they need to add more content. Definitely check out their site. Like I always say, what doesn't work for one family sometimes is the perfect fit for the next family. With that said, I do intent to continue to use Let's Go Geography with my 4th and 6th graders because they both really enjoy it and I know that they are learning. 

To read more review click here.

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Barbour Publishing ~ A Review

Imagine...The Great Flood By Matt Koceich  from Barbour Publishing is written for kids ages 8-12 and is the first book in Koceich's epic series. The Imagine series aims to bring the Bible to life as it relates everyday events that children experience as they imagine what it would be like to live through exceptional events in Biblical times. In Imagine...The Great Flood we follow Corey as he experiences the adventure and excitement of Noah's Ark. This book is 112 pages in length. 

"We just have to be obedient and not lose faith. No matter how difficult it gets, we must never stop believing that the Lord is who He says He is."

Corey hits his head and wakes up 2400B.C..

Just as Noah and his family had to fight the giants, also know as Nephilim, Corey had to fight the fears that he faced about moving from Texas to Florida. 

Corey helps Shem, Ham, and Japheth gather the animals before the big flood. People are mocking Noah for building an ark, likewise Corey thought it was crazy that his family had to move across the country when things were great where they were at. The unknown was scary. Corey didn't want to move. As Corey continued to help gather animals into the ark and battle the Nephilim Corey realized that his faith had been in himself. He wasn't looking to see what God had and what God could do. When faced with the Nephilim about to crush him it would only be God who could save him. 

As the story intensifies Corey begins to see how putting his faith in God in all things, even when he couldn't understand the reasoning is the right thing to do. In a particularly desperate situation Corey recounts a situation his grandfather was in as he sees no way out of his current situation. 

My 11 year old daughter said, "This book was really, really good! I read it in one day. I cannot wait until the next book in the series comes out. Kind of like Corey change is hard for me. I have anxiety and worry a lot. I need to remember to put my faith in God because He really does know what is best for me. I forget that." 

How will the story end. Will Corey get back home? Will his faith remain strong? Will he see God's plans are truly the best plans for us? What does Corey learn for his time with Noah and his family? Grab a book and find out!

This book was definitely a great read. I would highly recommend this book to others. I actually enjoyed reading the book myself. I definitely think that the suggested age range could be expanded both ways. This would be a great book to read aloud to younger children and I also think that older children would enjoy this book as well. Get biblical truths are gained and reinforced which individuals of any age can most definitely benefit from. Great biblical fiction. I cannot wait for my kiddos to read the next book in the series Imagine...The Ten Plagues coming March 2018!

To read more review click here.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

What My 6th Grader Has Been Reading

When the new school year started my 6th grader came to me and asked me what book she wanted me to have her read. I perused the bookshelves and grabbed one of my favorite books that I thought that she was finally old enough to read. She loved it so much. She asked me if she could read more books on China. I began pulling all of the books that I had on China both history and historical fiction. I decided to made her 6th grade year a study on China. I love that homeschooling allows the freedom to explore areas of study as they come along such as this one did. We plan to explore China's geography, culture, history, language, foods, etc.. The book that set of this interest was.....

After reading this book my daughter was in utter disbelief and heartbroken by the tradition of foot binding. She fought back tears many times throughout the book. Next, I gave her a more challenging book. I was very unsure if she would be up to the challenge as it is a high school level book and has a lot of very graphic content. Since it is a classic and she is a very strong reader I decided to give it to her. Well, she blew me away. She read this book in 4 days and LOVED IT!

Here are the other books that I have pulled out of my treasure trove of books. More will be added as the year progresses. I cannot wait to see what she has read by the end of the year and the knowledge she has acquired. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Carole P. Roman ~ A Review

Carole P. Roman has several children's book series which include; If You Were Me and Lived in… A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World Series, If You Were Me and Lived in… Historical Series, Captain No Beard (A Captain No Beard Story - The Series), Bedtime Stories, and Early Chapter Reader Books - Oh Susannah Series. I recently had the opportunity to review If You Were Me And Live In GermanyIf You Were Me And Lived In Kenya, and Captain No Beard, An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate's Life

If You Were Me And Lived In Germany

Your country would be called Deutschland. After World War II a huge wall divided Germany in two. There are many beautiful and famous castle's in Europe. When you are hungry you would dine on sauerbraten which is beef or pork that is marinated in vinegar and seasoned for days. Or maybe you night dine on sauerkraut and dumplings, knodel, and wiener schnitzel. For activity fussball is the sport you would play. In the Fall everyone gets together to celebrate Octoberfest. Did you know that one of the world's two biggest cuckoo clocks are both located in BadenWurttemberg. It weighs more than 330 lbs and is more than 16 feet high!

If You Were Me And Live In Kenya
Did you know that Kenya is in the continent of Africa? If you ever get the chance to visit Africa you would most definitely want to visit the Maasai Mara National Reserve in southwestern Kenya. It is home to elephants, leopards, lions, rhinoceroses, and many other animals. Children in Kenya love to play cricket. It is a lot like baseball. Children in Kenya play with homemade toys. They gather supplies and build their own toys to entertain themselves. Every year you would look forward to celebrating Mombassa Carnival which is held in East Africa. 

Captain No Beard An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate's Life
Alexander and his cousin Hallie are definitely using their imaginations when they set sail on an imaginary journey on the deep sea on a pirate ship (Alex's bed). Captain No Beard, who is actually Alexander, and First Mate Hallie set out on a grand adventure on The Flying Dragon with their fearless crew Mongo the Monkey, Linus the loudmouthed Lion, and Fribbet the floppy Frog. Being a captain is hard work. Their surprise treasure comes at the end of the story from a very special mermaid. 

I am sure that the little pirate's in your home would absolutely fall in love with this adorable book. 

The If You Were Me And Live In...A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World is the perfect way to introduce basic general facts about cuture from a child's perspective. The books are very colorful. These books could easily be used for early elementary on up. At the end of each book there is a Pronunciation Guide as well as definitions of the words. For students in upper elementary these books are a great starting point to then branch off into more detailed research projects into the particular country. 

My 4th grade daughter said, "My nurse is from Africa so it was kind of neat to learn about Kenya. Even though the reading was easy I did learn stuff I didn't know. My mom was born in Germany so it was fun learning about Germany."

I would highly recommend Carole's books. I have reviewed many of her books and have enjoyed most of them. I REALLY like the historical series and have implemented them into my curriculum. They are fantastic. I would highly recommend both the If You Were Me And Lived In... Cultural and Historical Series. Definitely check out all of her books. 

To read more reviews click here.

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Good Reads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5854108.Carole_P_Roman

Monday, September 11, 2017

Progeny Press ~ A Review

Progeny Press, as you can see in the title above offers study guides for literature from a christian perspective. I recently was given the opportunity to work through The Bears on Hemlock Mountain E-Guide with my daughter. The recommended grade level for this book is 1st through 3rd grade. Depending on your child's reading ability this may fall outside of the suggested range and that is definitely okay. This guide was 34 pages in length. 

This summer my incoming 4th grader read The Bears on Hemlock Mountain and worked her way through the Study Guide. It was the perfect way to keep her reading during the summer months. 
Table of Contents
  • Note to Instructor
  • Synopsis
  • About the Author
  • Background Information
  • Before you read Activities
  • Chapters 1 & 2
  • Chapters 3 & 4
  • Chapters 5  & 6
  • Chapters 7-10
  • Mystery Words
  • After you read Activities 
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 
  • Answer Key

I was very intrigued by the information that was provided in the Background Information page. This information was new to me! Did you know that the author Alice Dalgliesh based The Bears on Hemlock Mountain on a folk tale told to her by Colonel Henry Shoemaker?

I split up Chapters 7-10 into Chapters 7-8 and Chapters 9-10. In the Note to Instructor it did not really explain how to work through elementary level study guides and novels. It talks about middle and high school levels but doesn't address earlier grades. I decided to have my daughter read one chapter a day and work through the part of the study guide that related to that chapter. I had her read 4 chapters a week so it took up a little more than 2 weeks to complete the book and study guide. 

Each chapter study guide contains:

  • Vocabulary
  • Questions
  • Scripture
Some of the chapter study guides contain:

  • Word Pictures
  • Dig Deeper
  • Mystery Words
I really like the variety of approaches and styles that were used to check the students comprehension. For example, in the vocabulary section some of the various ways that students were asked to show their knowledge were in the following ways:

  • brass knocker:




  • Matching

  • He stood still in the snow, feeling very cross with himself. 
           Your definition:______________________________________

The other sections are pretty straightforward. The Question section is pretty much asking the student for a sentence for two answer. The Scripture section references a scripture passage and then references back to a particular event in the book. Students are then asked one or multiple questions relating to one character/s or an event. Digging Deeper requires the student to stop for awhile and think about the questions being asked. They require some thought. These questions are not really concrete, straight forward answers. Rather they are more answers based on reasoning, and ones own thoughts and personal feelings.  

After completing the book and study guide I had my daughter pick one of the After You Read Activities. She chose:

  1. Creative Writing Project - Have students imagine they are going over a mountain late in the evening. What adventure will they have? Have each student write a one or two page story with himself as the main character. 

I really loved that there was suggestions for further reading based on this book. Often times after reading a given book it is hard to figure out what to read next. 

My daughter said, "I really enjoyed reading The Bears on Hemlock Mountain. Once I started the book I didn't want to stop. The study guide wasn't too bad." My daughter loved these pages. 



I would highly recommend Progeny Press to others. I will most definitely be using these study guides in the future. 

To read more reviews click here.

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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Let The Little Children Come ~ A Review

Is There Anything Better Than Candy? Box Tract from Let The Little Children Come is a great alternative to just handing out candy next month for Halloween. I should start by saying that I am not a strong proponent of Halloween and the typical Halloween ghosts, goblins, and gore. Christians feel so very different about celebrating this day. For those that do not normally participate in handing out candy to trick-o-treaters these cute little pumpkins that you can fills with a couple of pieces of small candies is the prefect way of spreading the gospel of Christ. 

Some children will open this pumpkin up and trash it without even taking the time to read it. But then there will be some that will take the time to read it, or their parents will read it. It only takes a seed planted be someone for roots be established and for a plant to grow. This little pumpkin may be the only "light" that a child or a family has read with regards to God's Word. Maybe they know about God but they weren't ready to hear it before. 

Is There Anything Better Than Candy?

These Pumpkin tracts would be perfect for:
  • church trunk-or-treat parties
  • handing out at home for trick-or-treat
  • school parties
  • neighborhood party gatherings 
  • children's parties
  • Sunday School
  • giving to neighbors with some baked cookies

These easy to assemble pumpkins are the perfect project to get your kiddos involved with putting together. 

To read more reviews click here.

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Childhood Migraines

What is an Abdominal Migraine?

Did you know that many children are misdiagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome
when actually they may be dealing with Abdominal Migraines?
Did you know that Abdomial Migraines mainly affect children ages 4-9 years of age?
Did you know that Abdominal Migraines are often precursors Migraines?
Did you know that it is possible for young children to deal with both Abdominal Migraines and Migraines at an early age?

Some of the symptoms of Abdominal Migraines are:
stomach pain that is non-localized
loss of appetite
generally feeling yucky
stomach pain comes and goes between attacks

After several years of battling undiagnosed abdominal migraines as well as migraines my now 9 year old daughter is finally getting the treatment that she needed so many years ago. Around the age of 5 she began dealing with severe abdominal pain that would come and go. To complicate matters she does have severe GI complications so diagnosing abdominal migraines was not all that easy. Around age 5 she also began dealing with what she called "eyebrow pain" because that is where her headaches concentrated. We sought out held at our local Children's Hospital's Pain Management Clinic where they pretty much dismissed the pain to chronic disease since she deals with multiple health issues. So pretty much a we don't know answer. Later, they called it psychological and said it was all in her head. As a mom I knew that what she was dealing with was real! The pain was real! Both the abdominal and the head pain! We could not find a Neurologist to accept her due to insurance or because of her complex health issues. The system had FALIED her. As a mom I was heartbroken. That was until late last year when we found an amazing Neurologist who took her case. At the first appointment after listening to her issues he said he knew exactly what was wrong. He said, "Yes, it was in her head because she was dealing with migraines!" He also said that she most likely was also dealing with abdominal migraines outside of her other GI issues. He was livid that she had been dismissed for so many years and had been made to suffer. Over the past months her Neurologist has changed her life. Her MIGRAINES are now under control!! With daily maintenance medication and breakthrough medication she is finally no longer dealing with the debilitating effects of migraines. It is amazing the strides that she has made academically since then as well. 

Before diagnosis my daughter dealt with:
concentration issues 
 academics overall
low self-esteem
low confidence
headaches with schoolwork
medical providers labeled her "unmotivated"
 worsening of her Sensory Integration 

Since getting to a therapeutic dosage:
academic explosion 
Sensory issues have improved
more confident 
LOVES reading
feels in control of her migraines because she knows that she can make them go away!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Apologia Science ~ A Review

Apologia Educational Ministries  is the leading creation based science curriculum for homeschoolers. Apologia just came out with a new edition of their Marine Biology and I received for review the Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set. This course is for the high school level student. 

What I Received
What is included in the Advantage Set?

  • Student Textbook
  • Student Notebook
  • Test & Solutions Manual
There are many companion components available for purchase. One of the components available is an Marine Biology Audio CD which I received for my review. The CD contains a complete audio recording of the modules. Some of my children have greatly benefited from these CD's as they are more auditory learners. Also, some kiddos that may struggle with reading will greatly benefit from these audios. My daughter that is currently working through Marine Biology hates to read but is definitely not an auditory learner. She has to read the text for herself in order to learn. She did listen to a module utilizing the CD but had to go back and read the module because in her words, "My brain wanders off too much when listening to an audio version of anything. Being that it was of a textbook made it even worse for me. I could see why for some it would be great."

*It should be noted that this is not a standard CD. It is an MP3 CD. This means that in order to listen to the CD you must play it in an MP3-compatable CD player or on a computer.

Our Apologia Experience
I have been using Apologia for the past 16 years and we own every Apologia Science curriculum as well as multiple editions of some of them. Apologia has always been our go to for science curriculum. This past spring one of my high school age daughters who is more of the artistic student decided that there was no way that she was going to be able to do the more advanced level science courses. I totally agreed with her and so we settled on her completing Marine Biology. What is nice is that this course qualifies for a full credit of high school lab science assuming that the student completes the required labs throughout the modules. If the student is unable for some reason to do the experiments themselves then you can purchase the Marine Biology 2nd ED Video Instruction DVD which includes every experiment from the text demonstrated on video. Half way through the summer the opportunity to review this curriculum was offered and I jumped at the chance to review it. 

What Is Covered In Marine Biology
So what exactly is covered in Marine Biology? 

FYI: It should be noted that Biology is a prerequisite for this course. 

Marine Biology contains 16 modules which include:

  1. The Oceans Of Our Planets
  2. Life In The Sea
  3. The First Four Kingdoms
  4. Marine Invertebrates I
  5. Marine Invertebrates II
  6. Marine Vertebrates I
  7. Marine Vertebrates II
  8. Marine Ecology
  9. The Intertidal Zone
  10. Estuary Communities
  11. Coral Reefs
  12. Continental Shelf Communities
  13. Epipelagic Zone
  14. The Deep Ocean
  15. Ocean Resources
  16. Effects Of Humans On The Sea
My high school senior decided to take Marine Biology for one of her high school credits. She started out using the 1st Edition Marine Biology and was well into the curriculum when I was offered the opportunity to review the 2nd Edition of Marine Biology. I thought it would be interesting for her to transition to the newer version to see the differences. 

A Breakdown
For those not familiar with Apologia Science I want to break down a module to describe what your student will be doing throughout each module. Each module is approximately 40 pages in length. 

Throughout the module students will find olive green boxes entitled, "One Your Own," which are basically comprehension questions based upon the reading that the student had done until that point. At the end of the module there will be a page with all of the answers to the "On Your Own" questions. 

Important vocabulary can be found throughout the module highlighted in blue with a definition. These are important for the student to take not of and will most likely be found on the study guide and on the test at the end of the module. 

Each module begins with a little snippet entitled, Dive In. It gets the student thinking about some of the things that they will be learning. 

Experiments! I think that every students favorite part of science is the experiments. Well, Apologia definitely gives students ample opportunity to get there hands messy, their goggles on, and their curiosity quenched. Each module has multiple experiments that the student will be asked to do. The experiments are broken down into:
  1. Purpose
  2. Materials
  3. Question
  4. Hypothesis
  5. Procedure
  6. Conclusion
Student Notebook
This is where the Exploring Creation with Marine Biology 2nd Edition Student Notebook comes in very handy. For each experiment the student merely has to fill in the spaces in the Student Notebook as they complete their experiment. This is a HUGE improvement in the upper level grades! My older children had or are having to currently write out their whole lab reports.

The Student Notebook cuts down on a lot of extra writing that a student would normally do without the notebook. With the Notebook the student can now answer their On Your Own Questions as well as the compete Study Guide! At the end of each module in the Student Notebook there are lined empty pages available for the student to take notes. I really like how everything is contained in one spiral bound book. My kiddos, except for Marine Biology, take science through a co-op and this set-up could possibly pose a problem for turning in assignments at the end of a module. A simple solution would be if Apologia would make the pages perforated so that they could be neatly and easily removed for a co-op setting. 

My Daughter's Thoughts
When my daughter saw the Student Notebook she said, "Where have these notebooks been all of the years that I have been doing Apologia? Sure now they come out with them now that I am a Senior! Do you know how much time it takes to write out labs, study guides and everything. This is really neat and I am glad that students will benefit from this update. It will make studying easier. It will also help students that are not organized to keep track of their stuff since it is contained in ONE notebook. If Apologia intends to implement this in the rest of their upper level courses they really need to consider making the pages perforated. Since most co-op's use Apologia and students are required to turn in work for each module ripping these pages out would be extremely messy if they are not perforated. I like the ample amount of space that is given for writing definitions and answers. The pages are thick too which is great. I like to highlight and don't have to worry about it bleeding through."

I wanted to mention that normally I always utilize all components of a curriculum when reviewing but since my daughter was well into the Marine Biology she opted to not use the Student Notebook. It is not that she didn't want to but rather that she wanted to be able to save it for an upcoming sibling in its entirety. She did review the Student Notebook and see what a valuable addition this was to the upper level Apologia curriculum. 

A Bit More About The Apologia Experience
If you are looking for a solid creation-based advanced science course for your high school student than look no further. All of Apologia's science curricula are creation-based. Apologia has set up their courses specifically for independent study. Through the many experiments that are implemented throughout each course your student gets hands-on and visual application that is relevant to what they are studying. Concepts are thoroughly explained in a way that students can understand and the curriculum is set up in order to help the student succeed. Photographs, diagrams, illustrations, and graphs are used in order to teach, explain, and illustrate concepts. 

The Solutions and Tests For Exploring Creation With Marine Biology has you covered. For each module you will find included:

  • Solutions To The Study Guide For Module
  • Answers To The Summary Of Module
  • Test For Module
  • Solutions For The Test For Module
Final Thoughts
I adore Apologia and will continue to use Apologia until all of my children complete their homeschool education. I would highly recommend this new addition of Marine Biology to others. This new addition is definitely worth the upgrade for those that currently have the 1st edition. Apologia made a lot of great changes to the 2nd edition. If you are on the fence about purchasing the new edition you will not be disappointed. I read through a couple of the modules and thoroughly enjoyed what I read. 

To read more reviews click here.

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