Friday, April 26, 2013

Weekly Highlights: The End of Our Official Year!!

Weekly Highlights: April 15 - 19

All classwork was done outside this week! It was gorgeous weather! And, there was always a certain little black and white cutie curled up in a lap during math worksheet time.

We do a lot of fun supplemental learning throughout the year, so when our 180 official days are complete, we have a few more pages in our regular textbooks to complete. I do this purposefully so that we really are schooling year round. From the middle of April until the first of July we usually school 2-3 days a week, taking full weeks off at a time, too. This system works for us.

To celebrate our last official day of school, we spent the afternoon at Fernbank Museum of Natural History.
And learning continues, even though our 180 days are complete and turned in to the state!

We are still working on our read aloud, Charlotte's Web.

Caraline got a really neat review item this week. It's called Logo Adventures. It's a computer programing class, and she is loving it! I bet she spent two hours playing around with the program after our fist lesson! And continues to play around with it on her own time.

Caraline read Wild Thing (Winnie the Horse Gentler, Book 1).
She reads books all the time and usually so quickly I can't keep up! But, this one she especially enjoyed so I thought I would mention it in our weekly wrap up.

And I have a giveaway going on right now on the blog. Another Hope, =)  Hope Auer, author of  "A Cry From Egypt" will be graciously gifting one of our readers with an autographed copy of her fabulous book. Please head on over and enter!

Have you noticed I haven't been around much on social media for the past week and a half?
Well, this has actually been a tough week for me. I had a serious (very scary) allergic reaction to food (thankful a neighbor was home to take me to Urgent Care and to help with the kids) and I've been really dragging for most of the week. It happened twice ( Marty was home the second time to take me to Urgent Care), one week apart. I met with an allergist and we are waiting on the results of some blood tests. I am praying for a definite allergen to be found so that I won't be so on edge each time I eat. The allergist confirmed I had anaphylactic reactions both times and now I have epi pens and an emergency plan in place for the kids. Say a prayer for me and my family please.

Weekly Highlights: Visit with Family and Babies!!

Weekly Highlights: April 8-14
We spent a few days visiting Daddy's family in north Alabama. We spent most of our weekend fishing and exploring Mawmaw and Pawpaw's old farm land and enjoying our precious family.

It was a great four days, even if Marty and I were hobbling on different feet! (I sprained my left ankle the morning we left for our trip and Marty was having issues with his his right. My ankle has finally returned to it's normal color and size- two weeks later! It's still sore, though.)

The boys did have speech therapy evaluations this week, too. Ryan can be a little sluggish with his pronunciation of words within sentences and Jonathan has trouble with his "l" and "th" sounds.  

School-wise, we are approaching our last official days of school! The end is soo near!

What we are reviewing?

Our Supercharged Science review went live this week. This is a great project based, video based online science class taught by a real rocket scientist!

Progeny Press' Dragon's Hoard book and study guide and MathRider. Two more products we are very pleased with.

Read aloud:
Charlotte's Web - one of my favorite books from childhood.

In other news:
Ryan finished his Awana handbook for the year!!! This is a super big accomplishment! Did you know Awana has a homestudy curriculum, too? I didn't realize this until a friend pointed it out to me.

When we returned home, this is what we found in one of our bird houses!!
We are going to have babies!!! (There are now five total eggs!)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hope Auer's A Cry from Egypt Book Giveaway!!

Last year, as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, our family reviewed Hope Auer's historical fiction book, A Cry From Egypt. It is one of our favorite books and we are thrilled to host a giveaway, in honor of A Cry From Egypt's official release this week, of a signed copy of A Cry From Egypt!! 

"A Cry From Egypt is one of the best Christian historical fiction novels I have ever read...The historical and biblical accuracy is phenomenal. Ms. Auer uses rich language and vivid details to describe the streets, the clothes, their home, the palace, the characters' thoughts and the hardships they face - your imagination will have no trouble being transported into their story." - Homeschooling 3

Be sure to read our review and visit A Cry From Egypt's website. There are lots of great giveaways happening this week in conjunction with the official book release!

a Rafflecopter giveawaj

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in anyway to host this giveaway.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

MathRider, The Intelligent Math Facts Game: A Schoolhouse Review Crew

 photo mathriderlogo_zps7d664106.jpg

Our third grader has been reviewing Math Rider, a math facts mastery computer based game that includes all facts from 0-12 for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. MathRider intelligently adjusts to your child's math mastery needs. "Mindless repetition" is not a worry with MathRider.

The game is set in a fanciful land where there are noble quests to be conquered as you ride on your horse through Mathland answering math facts and jumping over obstacles in your personal quest of becoming a master of math facts! The video below does a fabulous job explaining the program and showing the graphics used in MathRider. I highly recommend taking a moment to watch!

How we are using MathRider and what we think about the program:

I will say that our third grader has always been a little apprehensive with timed drills. I originally wanted to review this game in order for Caraline to focus on mastering her multiplication facts and "get over" the mental block that comes with a timer.

After reading the introductory information, MathRider recommended beginning at the beginning with the addition quests and to work our way through easy, medium and advanced addition to complete mastery. Then easy, medium and advanced subtraction to complete mastery, and so on through advanced division to complete mastery. She quickly achieved mastery in easy addition, took a little longer on medium addition and a bit more time for advanced addition. We haven't made our way to the multiplication quests...yet.

From the moment she first sat down with MathRider, she wasn't apprehensive or nervousness at being timed. In fact, she was determined to master easy addition in the first day! Which she did!

She is self-motivated to use MathRider. She will sit down to the computer and pull up the game all by herself. I've given her free reign on when she plays and have noticed her spending a good forty-five minutes to an hour a day down to about fifteen at the least working on a quest. Right now, she plays at least three days a week. In the beginning she played five or six days a week.

There have been times when mistyping a known answer or a distraction, such as rowdy brothers entering the room, or having my email notification pop up in the exact spot of the problem she is working on (which has been since remedied ) has understandably frustrated her. But, the game itself doesn't. She also prefers to complete the quests with the music off and to also  read the quest stories to herself since they are closed captioned. She adores the fact that she's helping the characters within the quest. This is certainly a motivating factor for her to play the game. The quest stories are fun with a little bit of magic lore mixed in.
As her teacher, I like the statistics board that is available for each child. I know exactly which facts are mastered and which need work and by what degree from a quick glance at the color coded grid. This is certainly a great feature. I also appreciate the intelligent features, like speeding up and slowing down how quickly the horse trots from obstacle to obstacle and keeping track of mastered facts and facts that need more practice and using those particular facts for the quest rides.

Another feature I love for my first grader is the Practice Runs. Here I can determine what facts I want my child to practice. For example, I can chose the operation such as addition, a fixed number such a +1 facts for addition, and then a number range such as up to 5, up to 10 or up to 12. Then, I choose a race mode such as an Obstacle Course where the goal is to answer a certain number of questions that you determine for you child without a timer. Or, a Time Challenge where you determine the amount of seconds allowed for your child to complete 30 questions. The practice runs do not affect quests or the statistics board. I like to use the Practice Runs with our first grader since his standard math curriculum at this point focuses on fixed number facts for addition and subtraction.

 photo mathrider-product-box-v5-200x209_zpsf141caec.jpg

Age Recommendation and Number of Players:

Math Rider is recommended for children 6 -12 years old, and there can be up to 8 players on a single license.

System Requirements:

 You'll need about 80MB of hard disk space and a monitor or graphics card resolution of at least 1024 x 768 pixels. MathRider can be used by Mac and Windows.

Pricing and Free 7 Day Trial:

MathRider available for a seven day free trial. And, if you decide to upgrade to the lifetime account, all of the quest information accomplished during the free trial carries over to the new membership!

For $47 you get instant download access for life, including free software upgrades.


 photo DisclaimerGraphic1_zpsf612f371.gif

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Progeny Press: The Dragon's Hoard Book and Study Guide ~ A Schoolhouse Review Crew Review

 photo 26018_10150154187290243_4120345_n_zpsd9393f12.jpg
 photo a64738413877400fd8b0a_m_zpse5772579.jpg

Progeny Press has over 100 study guides for literature, covering kindergarten, elementary, middle school and high school. Progeny Press study guides concentrate on critical thinking, comprehension, literary analysis, and Christian application. Our goal is to teach our children to think clearly, to understand literature, and to rely on God's scripture for truth and values, and enjoy themselves while they do it!

Caraline and I have spent the past month reviewing the first book in Progeny Press' Hall of Door's series , The Dragon's Hoard (physical book) and Hall of Doors: The Dragon's Hoard Study Guide (instant download). The Dragon's Hoard is recommended for grades second through fourth, but I can tell you as a read aloud my preschooler and first grader loved the story, too! We read it twice the first day it arrived in the mail and again by popular demand the next day, too!

What is The Dragon's Hoard?

It is a book written by the associate publisher of Progeny Press and fellow homeschooling mother, among other titles. She found that the books for the younger crowd lacked the excitement that her children were seeking in material they could read on their own. Thus, The Hall of Doors series was born. There are currently two titles in the Hall of Doors series and the first title, Dragon's Hoard is the only one with a study guide at this time. Each book will "present a new character trait that the children must master... (and they)...are challenged to grow and develop in service 'to the King they already know'."

The book:

The Dragon's Hoard is about a sister and brother finding shelter from a stormy afternoon in their barn. The barn provides more than just shelter, they also find a mysterious, never seen before entrance to a secret hallway that is filled with many doors. They chose to enter a door in the hallway with a flying dragon over a mountain top. Upon entering, they found themselves in a setting similar to that of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, complete with a dragon, elves, and a spider! The children set out on a big adventure full of mystery.

I must say that all three adored this book! This book is written for second to fifth graders, so I am not sure if my thoughts count.  I did think some of the chapters weren't as fully developed as I would've liked, but this is a story meant to be read by children, and it is only 64 pages long. I did read it aloud to all three children as soon as it arrived in the mail. The front cover with a flying fire breathing dragon was just too much for my adventure seeking little boys to just let sit on the kitchen counter until read aloud time! All three ate the story up! We read the whole thing in one sitting AND they asked immediately for it to be read again! And again the next day!

 Let me add that my preschool little boy and third grade girl were a bit uneasy with the spider scene in the book. My first grade boy thought the spider chapter was the best part! It wasn't scary enough for Jonathan and Caraline to not want to hear the story immediately again, though - but just thought I would add that in.

The Dragon's Hoard Interactive Study Guide, How did we use it?

I downloaded the 37 page Interactive Study Guide to our computer and saved a copy of the file specifically for Caraline to work on as suggested in the notes. This way we will always have a clean copy for our other children to use when their time comes.

During our literature time, I would open Caraline's pdf study guide and let her go with The Dragon's Hoard book, dictionary and Bible in hand. She needed little help from me completing the tasks asked of her (reading and literature are her strong subjects!) and would generally complete one section in three days. Now, she had no trouble at all reading the book. In fact, she might have considered it easy reading, but the study guide was perfect for where she is in literature study ability.

Some of the concepts in the study guide include:
  • Vocabulary words
  • Comprehension questions
  • Questions regarding theme, conflict, dialect, anthropomorphism, simile, setting, characterization, etc.
  • Writing prompts, a word search and a crossword puzzle
  • Before you read and after you read projects, including writing prompts, a recipe, a craft project, a book report, etc.

Final thoughts:

  • I love that Caraline can type her answers on the pdf itself and save it to our computer. It's nice to not have to print out materials for a change!
  • I also appreciate the Biblical applications and deeper thoughts that the study guide provides. I love that a secular theme can be brought full circle into a biblical worldview through Progeny Press' study guides. I will certainly order more downloadable study guides for my literature loving third grader. 
  • I believe the quality of the literature study guides are fabulous. I have no doubt that my little one is gaining valuable knowledge that will help prepare her nicely for college level courses and character lessons valuable for life itself. 

 photo DisclaimerGraphic1_zpsf612f371.gif

Friday, April 12, 2013

Weekly Highlights: Family and Fishing!

The week of April 1, 2013

This week we enjoyed beautiful weather which meant LOTS of schooling outside! It makes for a great opportunity to observe our busy little bird friends during their homemaking season. And we are able to watch spring appear before our very eyes. Makes me happy that we can be outside learning from our lesson books and learning from nature, too. And, there's nothing like watching pollen dust clouds roll through the backyard. That yellow green haze is a sight to behold!

Ryan is enjoying his guitar lessons. His instructor bragged on how well Ryan is progressing in this first month of lessons. He said that Ryan is a natural (like father like son) and is progressing and understanding faster than some of his beginning seventh grade students. A mama just has to share such good news!

We also took a super big field trip to my hometown to visit family and to fish, fish, fish!!

Here are lots of pictures from our weekend!
Jonathan and a very large brim

My dad and Ryan

Fishing at my dad's - and playing in the water. All three enjoyed getting wet. It was a hot day in south Alabama!

Most of the crew going down to another family member's pond to fish.

Ryan reeling in a bass!

Jonathan's big bass! Uncle Brock went into the water to get him.
I love that my girl is country at heart, just like her mama.
Aunt Kristin and our sweet little cousin AnnaLynn with her big catch! She didn't want to touch her fish at first, but the next fish that was caught she carried it over all by herself to the ice chest! ~ Pretty dress, flip flops and all! Proud of my girl!!

Most of the fish we caught this weekend we released to stock a new pond. The others we just threw back.

Here the kids are helping Uncle Brock feed the fish. The kids released 23 brim, 4 bass and a few dozen tadpoles!

And here is my favorite video of Jonathan catching a fish with my dad:

Getting serious for the first time:

Though we may think something that has happened is a bad thing, God certainly uses all things to bring about His good. This weekend was proof of this.  I can't be completely transparent about my feelings, but I will try my best.

My mom and dad have been divorced since I was 12. The first ten years of their divorce their relationship was not friendly, and it was not easy on us (my brother, sister and I) to see this. But then, there was a period of almost two years where dynamics changed, and they were friendly again. Life was much simpler for us (the children). But then, the dynamics changed yet again and one of my parents wasn't welcome around the other anymore. Such a huge shame!!  Now, through another divorce, life is simpler again - for us. My mom and dad can be around one another without issue! This is the way it should've always been.... I have seen divorced parents "do" divorce beautifully and now, my parents and our family is one of these great examples. My mom has been welcome to everything on my dad's side of the family, and my dad has been welcome to everything on my mom's side of the family, for the children and grandchildren's sake!! Life is much simpler for all of us and it's joyful! My parents have seen the damage that not being welcome at the same gatherings (or not welcome at one of the parent's home) causes the children and grandchildren ~ and have vowed it will NEVER happen again!

This had to be one of the best weekends ever. It would've been the best period had my sister and her family been in town, too. But we've had other gatherings with ALL of us present. Life is GOOD!


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Supercharged Science: Teach Science the Easy Way ~ Schoolhouse Review Crew

 photo science_zps3636642f.jpg

Supercharged Science has a fabulous online science curriculum, e-Science, for homeschoolers. I am a science girl. I have loved science for as long as I can remember and decided on a nursing degree in college.  Thankfully, I have three little ones that adore science, too! This project-based, video-based, text-based online curriculum has been fabulous for all of us, Pre-k to adult! Everything from what is the scientific method, to chemistry, to alternative and renewable energy, to microbiology, to astrophysics and so much more can be found in e-Science! Pretty much anything science that we have been curious about this past month, we've been able to find in one place: e-Science! I am so thankful to have been chosen to review this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew with my children!!

How have we used e-Science  in our homeschool?

 photo escience-full-600px_zps738b5d59.jpg

 (At the end, I will have a special free sample offer from e-Science for our readers!)

I looked over all the unit topics with my nine year old scientist - she wants to be a veterinarian that helps save cheetahs from extinction in Africa when she grows up . Much to my excitement, she chose to learn about Life Science 2. (I decided our family would be just fine beginning with the second part of Life Science and not the first portion. We can go back and do that part at a later time.) And I was right, the little ones have learned so much about prokaryotes, archae, fungi, protists and plants over the past month! And the experimenting (which e-Science is known for) is simply phenomenal! We still have a lot of exploring left to do in this Unit and my guess is we will probably be here for at least another month!
This is the button for Unit 17
During science time, we would head over to e-Science and click the button for Unit 17. We would then:
  • watch and discuss a video(s) about an experiment(s)
  • look over projects to explore on our own
  • or read and discuss the text portion about our subject
  • or do an experiment we've already read about
I absolutely love that there is a shopping list for each Unit and that the written or text portion can be printed out and placed into a binder for more frequent study.

And, here is a conversion chart that shows how e-Science fits into many homeschool science programs.

How I modified the text:

The text for the unit we chose can be a little advanced for young elementary students. So, I would simply read aloud a couple of paragraphs (you never know how much of the original text will actually sink in) and then paraphrase what I've read to be what I would think is on a young elementary level. I would then ask for each little one to narrate what we've learned thus far and we would have a discussion. This system worked great for us. I would also check our home library and local library for early elementary focused books on our topic.
Experiments! The Heart of e-Science:

After watching a video on the e-Science website on how quickly bacterium grow after a dental cleaning, we then read about an experiment to try out to go along with what we just saw.

So, here is one of the first prokaryote activities we tried from e-Science. We brushed over our teeth with our own toothbrush and made individual slides with the liquid we could squeeze out from the toothbrush onto a slide. We then took turns making our own slides and looking at everyone's prokaryotes . As a bonus, since we were already in the mouth, cheek cells (found in Unit 16, Lesson 2) with a definite cell membrane, nucleus and cytoplasm under the microscope under different magnifications. We had a blast!
Here is another favorite, super cool e-science experiment we tried using different toothpastes. (We chose three different toothpastes for this experiment- one all natural, one "regular" and one for sensitive teeth.) We also needed three Petri Dishes with agar and a sterile swab.

First, Ryan would brush his teeth for a specified amount of time with a specific toothpaste.

Then, I would swab Ryan's mouth with a sterile swab and zig-zag the swab into the agar.
and here are our results after seven days of growth each:

What do you think?

Other ways of learning from e-Science: An Online Science Class (webinar) and E-mail Lessons:

We are also on the e-Science e-mailing list. We received a notification that there would be a webinar on Alternative and Renewable Energy for email subscribers. A solar oven would be the project made at the end of the lesson. We had already made a solar oven a few weeks earlier in a co-op class I was teaching. So, we thought learning more about alternative and renewable energy would be super fun. We invited a third grade friend from our co-op class to join Caraline (her mom is on the e-mail list) to watch the video.

 I didn't time the lesson, but Aurora spoke with pictures showing on screen for probably about 30 minutes, and then the instructions for the solar oven were presented. Since we had recently made a solar oven, and our door bell rang at just that time, we stopped our lesson at this point.

The lesson itself was very interesting. Now, there may have been some points that were a little above a third grader's comprehension, but it's was still certainly time not wasted because we will revisit the information again. (I did give the boys, Pre-K and 1st grade an opportunity to watch the class, but they weren't as interested in sitting quietly to watch.)
The 11 am start time crept upon us and this was where we ended up doing our online class - logging on quickly in the floor! We could've moved, but our location was a nice fit for the girls.
When an e-mail with a random lesson with experiment video comes in we get excited! The one for this week was really, really neat - they all are! We've always been taught there are three states of matter: liquid, solid and gas, right?! Well, as Aurora taught us in this week's email lesson,  there are actually FIVE. We learned in two minutes about how to make plasma, a fourth state of matter, which is "an ionized gas" using a microwave and a grape. The video was awesome and although we didn't have grapes, we did have blueberries and the results are still pretty cool! Now, we must dig deeper in e-Science to find the fifth!

The email lesson is basically a link to a single lesson with experiment within a unit in the e-Science program. You'll also have to login to the program which means you'll need to be a paid subscriber to the e-Science program to see the full experiment and text.

Final thoughts:

We've used e-Science to delve into a single Unit and to research a rabbit trail interest. We've watched an online science class on a completely different subject, and we have enjoyed the short, random email lessons to draw us into another interesting aspect of science.

Even though this program is quite pricey in my opinion, if you can afford it I know you and your budding scientist(s) will thoroughly enjoy learning from a real NASA rocket scientist (plus many other titles behind her name!)!

I can't recommend e-Science highly enough. Even though some of  the lessons we have chosen may be a bit advanced for early elementary aged children, we can make it work and have made it work beautifully! All of our experiments have been early elementary friendly with no tweaking!

I must also share that we have so enjoyed having our microscope out for easy access. It's made looking at whatever interests the little ones- like a butterfly and a grasshopper's wing, aquarium water, etc. super easy! I have to say our interest in microbiology has been through the roof for the past month! And this is my gauge for an excellent program!

Pricing at the time of this review:

You can gain access to their K-8 grade curriculum (content appropriate for a  K-8th grader) for $37 dollars a month.

Their full K-12 curriculum is $57 dollars a month.

You may cancel at anytime, and if you cancel within the first 30 days, you pay nothing.

Here is more information on membership to e-Science.

Special Free Sample Offer: 

Simply go to this link for a free sample of e-Science!


 photo DisclaimerGraphic1_zpsf612f371.gif

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Weekly Highlights: Sponsored Children, Wild Animal Safari and a Talent Show

Highlights from March 25-29 ~ The week I lost my voice.

Field Trip!
We had an impromptu field trip this week. We were going to try a new PE class, but once there we discovered it had been cancelled. To say the kids were bummed is certainly an understatement. This is something Ryan especially had been looking forward to. So, I asked them where they'd like to go for fun and the answer was unanimous, Wild Animal Safari! That is how our field trip for this week was born.

and, here is our cool zebra ride!

and check out this New Guinea Singing Dog!

I had hoped to pack two field trips into this day. We'd just finished reading the 26 Fairmount Avenue series (which is fabulous by the way!), and FDR was mentioned quite a bit in the later books. His birthplace isn't far from this zoo, but we spent nearly five hours at Wild Animal Safari. Needless to say, we did not make it to Warm Springs, GA on this day. We will need to plan specifically for an adventure to the Little White House.

 We completed two reviews recently. One for Math U See, Alpha and the other for A Journey Through Learning - The Earth.  They are both neat products.

In addition to our regular studies,we are currently working on the following review items: Math Rider, Progeny Press, and Supercharged Science

Compassion International and World Vision:

We sent gifts to both of our sponsored children this week.

The first child we sponsored was through World Vision, and she lives in Tanzania. Her name is Amina. We've heard that many don't have pictures of themselves, so we printed off and laminated two pictures of Amina that she and her grandmother (who she lives with) can keep. Everything for Amina had to fit into a 6 x 9 envelope. This meant the puzzle we bought for her had to be taken out of it's box and placed into a Ziploc bag. I copied the front of the puzzle box and then laminated it. We included an Easter card, many stickers and coloring pages for Amina. Not pictured is a personal letter we sent in her package. We had other things to send to her, but they didn't fit. We'll save those for next time. We are still getting used to how to send packages.

Her birthday is coming up soon. We plan to donate money so that all of the little ones with birthdays in July can have a combined party for the whole village full of games, food and presents. We will also send an extra little gift to her in the mail, along with a singing birthday card.

Compassion International:

Melany is our second sponsored child, and she lives in Ecuador. The envelope we can send to her is 8 1/2 x 11. So, we were able to fit almost everything we bought in her package. The packages for Compassion are sent directly to Colorado first and then they forward them on to the child.  This is what we were able to fit in Melany's envelope (not pictured is a puzzle and a personal letter.)
(I had forgotten about being able to send band-aids for Amina. I have those set out and ready to go to her for next time!)

Also, for Compassion children puzzles must be fully assembled in a Ziploc bag and then placed into the envelope. This is how we accomplished that:

We put little dot stickers on the front of the assembled puzzle first. Then we flipped it over and put dot stickers all over the back, flipped it back over and took the dot stickers off of the front. Next, we slipped it in a Ziploc bag with a laminated copy of the front of the puzzle box. Finally, we taped the Ziploc bag closed.

Co-op and a Talent Show:
We had our last day of co-op for the year this week. Daddy came to class with us, too!

I had no voice left by Thursday, just a squeak. Thankfully, my friend and co-teacher, Mary could do all the speaking this last day.

There was a talent show after the last class. Caraline signed Jesus Messiah by Chris Tomlin for the show. It was beautiful. We have a lot of talented little ones in our group!

After co-op, our boys and few others stayed outside and played kickball - for nearly two hours. They had the best time.

~ I can't believe this school year is winding down. We begin our new studies in July and finish up in April. We are almost there! I will have a kindergartner and second grader and fourth grader! My how time flies.


This week we are linking with:

Homegrown Learners

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks: The Earth ~ Schoolhouse Review Crew

Journey through Learning Logo photo journeythroughlearninglogo_zps21c38856.jpg

Have you lapbooked before? If not, do you like to scrapbook? Do your children like to scrapbook? Do your children enjoy using their hands for activities such as cutting and pasting?

Lapbooking is a great way to help little ones cement what they are learning. It also provides a permanent record of what they've studied, in a scrapbook form of sorts that they can look at over and over again. It's also a neat creation that can be proudly shared and discussed with friends and family.

 photo theearthlaptop_zps8dd1e5cf.jpeg

Two mothers banded together years ago and began producing quality lapbook products with their children and later the homeschooling community in mind. Through their efforts, A Journey Through Learning was created. We were given the great opportunity to review at least one of their products. We were given four to choose from. We chose to review one that was geared for 1st - 4rd graders, A Journey Through Learning: The Earth Learning Lapbook with Study Guide . A perfect fit because I have a 1st and 3rd grader!

How we used The Earth in our homeschool:

Let me begin by saying this is a well researched and put together study of  Earth.  Along with the lapbook cut and paste activities, there is at least one page of informational text to go along with the activity. Now, this text could stand alone, but it always sparked new questions and a thirst for more knowledge in my little ones. We would almost always jump to the computer to look for YouTube videos about our topic and visit the library (or our home library) for books on our topic of interest.

The Earth Learning Lapbook is in full color, I printed the first half in black and white because my color printer wasn't working at the time. It worked out great though, because the little ones got to color a bit, which they love to do.

First, I would pass out the lapbook "cut out" page(s) to the little ones, their manilla folders (we need two for this study) scissors, glue, crayons, the occasional brad (we needed one for Earth) and have a place handy to gather all the scrap pieces of cut paper.  I have one child in particular that delights in making the tiniest multitude of paper scraps humanly possible! It's great for fine motor development, right?!

As the children work on cutting out and assembling their lapbooks, I would read aloud the text for the particular lesson we were learning about. Read aloud time varied, but was generally about ten minutes. Then we would search for the answer to the question or questions our lapbook page asked within the text. My third grader would write the answers we discussed on her lapbook page by herself. For my first grader, I would typically write his answers in his lapbook page as he dictated or repeated the words as I was writing them down.

I also love that at the end of the study guide there are book suggestions, poems, songs, science questions to ask, (they make great narration questions!) and even craft ideas!

Final Thoughts: 

We learned about different types of rocks and how they are formed, types of mountains and how they are formed, the layers of the earth, volcanoes, the ocean floor and zones, the four spheres of the earth and so much more!  

I am very pleased with the retention my little ones have of the material. 

It was always a joy to get out A Journey Through Learning - The Earth. Everyone looked forward to our Earth science study. In fact, on more than one occasion we completed two lessons in one sitting.

A Journey Through Learning - The Earth sparked curiosity and lead to further research. It was fun to complete and never a chore. The only drawback was the amount of scrap paper we would have, especially after completing more than one lesson at once, and mostly because one little darling likes to make a prolific amount of tiny slivers of paper while cutting! We just need to work on our technique.
I also love that the placement of the lapbook pieces are mapped out for you on each cutout page, too. You don't have to think, "Now where will this (or all of these) piece(s) fit best?".


The Earth Learning Lapbook and Study Guide, 42 pages, need 2 folders: print $21, download $13 Be sure to check out the 14 sample pages found on the link above.

Letters, Numbers and Shapes Learning Lapbook, need three folders: print $20 or download $13. Be sure to check out the sample pages found on the link above.

Knights and Castles Learning Lapbook and Study Guide, 51 pages, need 2 folders  $21 print or download for $13. Be sure to check out the sample pages found on the link above.

Astronomy and Space Unit Study, 76 pages: $21 print or download $13. Be sure to check out the sample pages found on the link above.


 photo DisclaimerGraphic1_zpsf612f371.gif