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The Bears on Hemlock Mountain Study Guide – A Homeschool Crew Review

One of my goals as a parent is to make sure my children know great pieces of literature. I don’t just want them to read the book and move on, I want them to really know the literature. Progeny Press is a great company that provides study guides to these great pieces of literature, helping your child really know all about the book. We had the chance to check out The Bears on Hemlock Mountain E-Guide.

This study guide for The Bears on Hemlock Mountain is geared towards grades 1-3. You will have background information, Before-you-read Activities, vocabulary and questions for the chapters along with fun games and activities to complete after you have completed the book. This is just what I was looking for when I said I wanted something to help them really know the great pieces of literature!

After receiving this E-Guide, I took the time to read the Note to Instructor. While I have used these guides before, I wanted to refresh myself and make sure nothing had changed. After the note, I found a Synopsis of the book. This is great, because, while I have heard of the book, I had never actually read it yet. This gave me an idea of what Ray Ray would be reading and learning about. Finally, I found an About the Author section as well as some background information about the book.

We were finally ready to start! Well, sort of. First, we needed to have some fun with our Before-You-Read Activities. There were six activities listed for us to pick from. We could do them all, or just one, or as many as we wanted. There is nothing stating that we even needed to do any before we started out reading. I had Ray Ray work on a few of these, including listening to birdsongs we found online and checking out different pictures of animal’s tracks. We hadn’t had a lot of rain during this time, so finding actual animal tracks didn’t work for us.

Now, we were ready to read! We had an idea of a few things we would be reading, and also what Jonathan may have been hearing and seeing in the book. I figured that we would do our reading over a day or two, following that up with a day or two of the study guide. I found out rather quickly that Ray Ray’s reading level was way above this book, so we did the reading in one day instead of two. However, his willingness to work on writing or questions took us about three days instead of two.

The first day after reading our chapters, we spent time on the vocabulary section. This ranged from section to section, sometimes we would tell what a word meant in a sentence, other times we would simply match the word to the definition. Each time it was different, but it kept us on our toes and the boring routine wasn’t there!

Questions followed the vocabulary. These are comprehension questions that make us think about what we read. Not just who did what and when, rather, deciding how characters reacted by the words we were reading. Trying to figure out if something would have been difficult for Jonathan and why or why not. These questions dig deeper and make us look at the book a little different.

Some of the questions would also include Bible verses, relating the story and the Bible to each other. These questions also help to bring the story, the Bible and what the kids face all together as one.

After we finished our reading, we had the chance to check out After-you-read Activities. Once again, you can decide how many if any that you would like to include in your homeschool. Ray Ray ended this book, by learning a little more about bears and hibernation. After he spent time learning about this, he was able to take his notes and tell mom, dad, and the two little sisters more about it in an oral report.

I loved this study guide! I loved how easy it was for me to use. There was little prep needed, other than the before and after you read activities, and this was only if you wanted to do the extras. I loved the depths of the questions. While they aren’t extremely hard to figure out for the 1-3 grades, they do require thought to be put into it. The writing place is large enough for their handwriting level. There was plenty of room to write the answers in. Now if I could just get Ray Ray to not fuss over writing and just do it, it would be better for me!

Because Ray Ray does not like to write that much, I did alter some of the work in the question section. I would allow him to verbally answer half of the questions while making him write the other half of the answers. This helped him through some of the battles, which made me happier.

Ray Ray didn’t like the writing of this study guide, but he loved the book and was happy to verbally answer the questions. I watched him actually slowing down and thinking about the answers, this alone was all that I was worried about. I don’t care if he can write it, I just care that he is thinking about it, and he is!

Progeny Press has many study guides for many ages and books. Check out a few more of them here from other members of the crew!

Study Guides for Literature {Progeny Press Reviews}
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Why I Never Plan a Full Year Homeschool Schedule

When it comes to planning for homeschool, I am a little different from most others. I have made a decision to NOT plan out more than a whole month or more of homeschool lessons. There are a lot of pros and cons of this and I want to share with you why we picked what we picked.

My first year of homeschooling I went all out. I planned the full year for both of the boys. I spent a lot of time planning, checking on ideas and planning some more. When I was finally ready to go, I hit a roadblock the first week!

What do I mean by roadblock? Well, both boys learned differently than I had planned for! They were either ahead of plan, or needed more work in certain areas. All that I had planned was scrapped after the first two weeks. This hit me hard. I spent a lot of time on that planning, only to have it thrown in my face!

So, what do I do now? I plan bi-weekly! Yes, I may set yearly goals as to what I want to finish each year, but I only lesson plan twice a month. This gives me leeway. This gives me a chance to see what the kids are learning, and what they need more time working on. With this information, I am able to better plan their learning!

Since we school year-round, I am not worried about a true “schedule”. I like being able to see what the kids need and working with them. Since I have our goals lined up for the whole year, I know where I want to be at a certain time, but I don’t have any set deadlines. This gives me the lee-way to slow things down when we need to, or skip something altogether when we already know it.

Another nice thing about not planning a whole year for the kids, is when I do have to make a change, I don’t have to worry about a cascading effect on my schedule. What does this mean? Well, the first time I planned out a full year, I spent a week working on it. Tweaking it, and making it just right. Only to find out two weeks in that something did not work for Moe Man. I had change everything. Not just one day, or one week, EVERYTHING! I will tell you what, I don’t ever want to waste all that time again!

Now, some would say that you just work through it, oh well, they will adjust. That is not me. I am one to find what works for my kids and make that happen. So when I find out something isn’t going to work, I don’t want to have to re-do all that I have done. How do I prevent this? Well, I just plan two weeks at a time. I can change what needs changing and keep what needs keeping without wasting all my time.

Right now, my planning for two weeks at a time takes less than a day for me to do. I spend time at the beginning of our year and make goals, set ideas down as to where and what I want done. When I sit down to plan, I know what we have done, and I know where I want to go. I check out notes as to what needs changing, change that up and write the next two weeks down. Once you get into the swing of things, you can easily write up your two weeks without a problem.

This has saved me whole planners, and sanity at the same time. I learned from my mistakes and decided to change. This change has been a benefit for my whole family. I am happier not wasting my time with 3 yearlong schedules that are bound to change, and everyone is happier because I am happier!

How do you plan out your homeschool schedules? Have you changed recently? I would love to hear about your experience!

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K5 Learning – A Homeschool Crew Review

online reading and math

My kids love to play on computer. They love to have access to games and anything they think is fun. So, I love when I can find an online program like K5 Learning to allow them to have fun while they are still learning!

online reading and math

K5 learning is an online learning program for K-5 with the focus on Math and Reading, and a little Spelling also. There is no need for extra textbooks, no extra space to take up. All you need is your computer and an internet connection.

While the kids had a lot of fun using K5 Learning, this is not the typical game style learning site. K5 Learning focuses on teaching children great study skills and how to work on their own. These are two very important skills I want my kids to know when it comes to school.

online math and reading program

The use of K5 Learning is very simple. You set up your account, add an account for each student, with their own login information and send them on their way. The first thing they will do is take an assessment test for both reading and math. These are separate and do take a little bit of time, but they are needed to place your child in the right level.

online program

Once the assessment is over, your child is free to go. Each lesson plan is personalized for each child. There is no one size fits all here. The site is safe for the children to use, there are no ads and no links to anything outside of K5 Learning. This made me happy knowing that the kids could be on the site while I was busy helping someone else, and that they would only be working on quality lessons and not surfing the web getting into trouble!

online math and reading program

There was not too much for me to do when it came to this program. After I set the kids up, I would log in once or twice a week and see their progress, but that was about it. I did take the chance to print a few worksheets that are available to go with the lessons they are learning, but that was it!

Both Ray Ray and Little Miss love to do their K5 Learning Lessons. They had the choice to work on their math or reading or both each day. I loved how each subject covered many topics and didn't get boring for the kids. They would work on things like sight words or reading comprehension for reading, and math was not only numbers and adding or subtracting, but also geometry and time and money. Ray Ray has also tried out the spelling features. He enjoyed that there were many learning styles when it came to this. It wasn't just a listen and type, but rather have fun and learn.

online math and reading program

Both of my kids love the way this is set up. All I hear all day is "Can I do my K5 school yet?" "Is it time for K5 school yet?" I love that they love it and I love that I notice an improvement in both of them, specifically Little Miss and her reading skills. One week she is struggling to sound out words and the next she is sounding them out just fine. The only difference? K5 Learning!

online math and reading program

If you have a busy workload, like 4 kids and a husband recovering from surgery, K5 Learning will help you make sure your kids still learn what they need learn, as independently as possible. Yes, I still give them regular math and reading lessons, but knowing that on days when I may be lacking they won't be, that is what is important to me!


K5 Learning {Reviews}


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A Fun Reading Program with Electic Foundation ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

Language arts is a subject that I love to teach. I love watching my kids learn reading and writing skills. But sometimes I need to pay attention to what they want instead of just what I want. When I did that with Little Miss, I found that she needed something different from her big brothers. Electic Foundations was just what she needed and Electic Foundations Language Arts Level A fit her perfectly in her Kindergarten year!

Electic Foundations Level A has everything you need to make sure you get your little one off to a good start with Language Arts. Included with this physical set, I received the Teacher's Guide, Student Workbook, Appendixes, Level A Word Card Set and the McGruffery Electic Primer. With all of these, this was an open and go program for Little Miss.

The Teacher's Guide is set up by lesson. You are able to open to the lesson you are currently on, see what needs to be done and do it. The lessons are short, sweet and to the point. They start in Level A with the letters and sounds. This is the main focus of the first 64 lessons. Your child will be building on what they previously learn until they are ready to start reading.

Each lesson starts with a simple task of reciting the alphabet. This got a little boring for Little Miss, as she has already memorized the alphabet, so I added different songs from YouTube to her singing of the alphabet. Some days we could just sing it ourselves, other days, we added the different variations that we could find.

After singing the alphabet, we would review the letters we had already learned. Making sure that she knew the names and sounds of the letters. This can be done in numerous ways, so it all depends on your child. We used some simple letter flash cards one day, having her tell me the name or the sound of the letter. Other days I would say the name or sound and she would have to write it. The main goal was memorizing the visual, name and sound of each letter.

After this, each day was a little different. Some days we would work on our handwriting of current and previous letters, other days we would work on fun hands on ways of learning the letters. When a letter was new, we would usually take some play-doh and make the shape of the letter. Other days we would decorate the letter in the student workbook. There were days when we would follow the letter through a maze of letters and as we added letters, we would work on sounding out new sounds and words. Each letter spanned over an average of 4 days of learning.

Once you reach Lesson 65, you get to start with the use of McGruffey's Primer. This is when your child gets to start reading. We have not reached this lesson, yet, but Little Miss is in heaven thinking about it. These lessons that include McGruffey's Primer are still mainly the same. You are still working on new letters, but you have reading to do each time using the letters you have already learned. Such a simple, yet effective way of giving your child the confidence to continue learning to read.

Finishing up the lesson was a simple Mother Goose Rhyme. Little Miss loved hearing some of her favorites and questioned some of the older style writing in the ones she had not heard yet. It was fun to finish on a happy note no matter how the lesson had gone.

The Student Worktext includes everything your child will need to complete the lessons. It is put together in a gorgeous spiral bound book that allows us to keep everything together yet not be stuck with a thick workbook that cannot bend. Little Miss loved keeping this book in her back pack and felt a little more grown up this way.

The Appendixes is a spiral bound book. This small little book is printed on heavier cardstock paper that has been laminated. There are 5 simple pages in this book. They are used throughout the program in many of the hands on ways of learning. Little Miss loved the Tic-Tac-Toe board that we used when learning new letters. Instead of X's and O's, we would use the capital and lowercase letters that we were learning. What a fun way to practice our writing skills!

Since Little Miss knew some of her letters already, we would work on two lessons a day on an average of 4 days a week. Even doing two lessons a day, we were done in under ½ hour, depending on how much fun we were having during the Tic-Tac-Toe game! There really wasn't much more. This is a straight to the point, fun program that kept the interest of a young learner. This is just what I was looking for when looking for something for her. Something that would keep her interest, not take too long, but get the point across! I look forward to the days ahead when we will be reading together!

Stop by and show some Facebook love right here: www.facebook.com/eclecticstudent

Did you love this review? Want to find out more about the other levels? Check out the reviews of other Homeschool Crew members and see if you can find a level that fits your child!


Language Arts {Eclectic Foundations Reviews}
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(A Review) My First Scissors

When it comes to scissors in this house, we allow everyone to use them, but the little ones need extra help. Finding just the right pair of scissors to teach with is hard to find. However, we found just what we needed with the My First Scissors. These are included in Timberdoodle's Preschool Curriculum Kit as well as the PreK Curriculum Kit.

My First Scissors Review

The My First Scissors are unlike any you have seen before. These scissors are spring loaded, and can be used with right or left handed children. They have rounded blades to make them just a little bit safer. As always, they are scissors and need to be used with supervision or else you end up with a child who has decided their hair needed to be cut.

Little Miss has tried several "safety scissors" all of which have led to frustration. When she seen the package of these scissors, she was ready to jump right in. They are "her" scissors and no one is allowed to touch them.

My First Scissors

When it comes to teaching how to use the scissors, it is nice to have a book that is made for cutting. Kumon has some great books, and we loved the More Let's Cut Paper! This book allowed us to put our new scissors to use. Little Miss would have used this whole book up in one day if I had allowed it.

My First Scissors

The My First Scissors were easy for Little Miss to hold. They fit perfect in her hands and allowed her to enjoy learning how to cut. Because they were easy to use, she actually enjoyed using them. There was no fight on how to hold them correctly, they just fit. Her hands did not get tired from holding them and she truly loved using scissors with the My First Scissors!

Have you checked out beginner scissors for your little hands? One hold of these and you will be hooked!


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Homeschool Legacy Pirates or Privateers: You Decide ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

Are you a Pirate, or are you a Privateer? Now is the time to decide! And you can have some fun learning while you are at it! Homeschool Legacy has a super fun Once-a-Week Micro Study called Pirates or Privateers: You Decide that we had the chance to check out!

homeschool-legacy

The Homeschool Legacy Once-a-Week Micro Studies are a great way to add some extra fun into the learning each week for four weeks, or to take a break from the normal and do a quick 4-day weekly study. Everything you need is right here even the extras, or where to find them.

Pirates

The first thing I found when I downloaded our Unit Study was a great introduction from Founder Sharon Gibson. In this short, one page introduction/welcome, I found all that I would need to be prepared for the upcoming four weeks. Sharon first told me about the family read aloud that she suggested for this study, Treasure Island. This is a great book to read during a study like this, and I loved having the idea there for me so I didn't have to plan for it.

Next, Sharon gives us the section to look at in your local library to find extra books to read during this study. This is great. I love having extra books on hand. The kids usually grab a book or two during our "quiet time" each day, and knowing that they have the options to read something that we are learning about is great! I may have stalked the library website and requested more than we needed for books, but that is an ok thing in this unit study.

Pirates

Sharon also gave us some ideas for family movie night that went along with this study. Yes, a fun, popcorn filled movie night with movies that are on the same topic as what we are learning about. No, not the boring movies you slept through at school when you were younger, but actual fun action packed movies that were well loved in our house!

Once I got into the actual study, I was happy with how easy it was to understand. I could simply save it in my Dropbox and open it on the iPad for my teacher portion. As much as I love a physical, hands on copy, I loved being able to click the links as we needed them and see the fun that Sharon had for us.

Each week we studied different time of the pirates or privateers. And each week we covered different subjects. Subjects like History, Language Arts, Music and Geography. Sharon had it all set up that I could just pull this open, easily see what was needed for the lesson grab those simple items. This is wonderful for a busy mom of multiple kids!

We loved learning the fun of the Pirates and Privateers. We took our time and did this every Friday for four weeks. This was a great way to have school on the busiest day of the week for us. We were able to still spend about 30 minutes, more if you and your kids get really interested in the topic of the day. This did happen, and I found my kids reading the library books often during the week. This allowed us to have a base. We loved the movie night idea and took the ideas to make that happen. We were able to see what we were learning about on the TV and the kids loved that.

We had a lot of fun with this unit study. This was one of the first that we tried a full unit study like this. We enjoyed it. We found a fun new way to add some variety into our week and keep our homeschool fun!

 



Once-a-Week Studies {Homeschool Legacy}

 

Homeschool Legacy has many other unit studies available and the other families of the crew had a chance to look at different ones. I know that two of those studies are perfect for this time of the year. One of those is the Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims Micro Study, and yes, you can still finish this by Thanksgiving! The second is Christmas Comes to America. This is a regular Unit Study and would be great to start at any point to be ready for Christmas! Head on over with me and see what everyone thought of their studies!



Once-a-Week Studies {Homeschool Legacy}


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Educeri Ready to Teach Lessons ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

When homeschooling, you find a time when you need to supplement your child's learning. This can happen either when they are struggling, or when they want to expand on what they are currently learning. When you have 3, almost 4 kids who are homeschooling, you look for an option that can cover more than one grade and more than one subject to help keep your expenses down. But where do you find something that fits this? We had the chance to review Educeri …….  Educeri a division of DataWORKS and their Educeri Lesson Subscription Service.

Educeri Homeschool Crew Review

What Is It

Educeri Lesson Subscription Service is a magical site that provides our homeschool with over 1,000 lesson plans for you to access. With all of these lesson plans, you cover all grades Kindergarten up to 12th grade in subjects like Math, Science, Language Arts, History, even Art. PE and Music.


Educeri Lesson Subscription Service Reviews

Each one of the lessons is presented in a PowerPoint format. There are student handouts that go with the lessons for your child to fill out while learning, or after you are done presenting the lesson.

How We Used It

I was excited to check out the Lesson Subscription Service. I looked forward to having help with my lesson planning and finding supplements for my children. I spent time looking over everything that was available and checking to see what we could use. I was able to find a lot of the core subjects, especially for the lower grades. This was nice for Ray Ray and Little Miss, but I was hoping for more for Moe Man and his high school subjects, especially the extra electives.

Educeri Kindergarten Options

I found at least one lesson for each one of the children, while it was easy for the little two, I spent some time with looking for Moe Man. I added these into the current curriculum that we were using. I had to set time aside to work with each child, as the lessons required me to help out with the teaching instead of allowing them to self-teach.

Once I had all the small details worked out, I was able to actually teach the lessons. For Moe Man, I spent more time searching. There were limited lessons for this age and these subjects. I was able to find a language arts lesson that we needed to brush up on, so we sat down with Determine a Central Idea and Analyze. This lesson had the PowerPoint for me to teach and an additional Student Handout to have him work on.

I went over the idea with Moe Man in the lesson. I made sure that he understood what we were talking about, and we were able to work on the handout as we worked on the lesson. I actually felt like I was sitting at the front of a classroom teaching this to a room full of students. The lesson gave me everything that I needed to feel this confident, even if it was just one student instead of a full classroom.

I did this same thing with Ray Ray and Little Miss. Once again, teaching the lesson and working with them on their handouts so they would be able to practice what they were learning.

2nd Grade Language Arts

What We Thought

While I was hoping for a lot more independent learning with this program, I actually found myself spending more time teaching it. Yes, it was less planning time as I was able to open and go, but I had to be there teaching it. This is tough when it comes to a homeschool mom of more than one child. I loved the lesson plan options for the lower grades as there was so many, but when I needed something for Moe Man, it was hard.

The kids showed improvement when using these lessons. We enjoyed the break from our normal curriculum and loved the way this was set up. It was easy to teach from and easy for the kids to pick up on.

We were not the only family to check out Educeri and their Lesson Subscription Service. Want to hear some other reviews? Check them out right here!


Educeri Lesson Subscription Service


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Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting ~ A Homeschool Review

Reading and handwriting, those two things are essential in my mind to the education of our children. If they cannot read or write, they will not get far in life. Even in today's society of technology, the basic skills are still necessary. We had the chance to take a look at Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting from Everyday Education, LLC as a part of this review.

Perfect Reading

We received the digital copy of the Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting book and used it with Ray Ray and Little Miss. Both of the kids are at different levels when it comes to reading and writing. Little Miss is still new to all of it, while Ray Ray knows how to read and write, yet has some frustrations when it comes to writing. I figured he would benefit from this just as much as Little Miss and actually want to have Moe Man work on the handwriting part of this as well to help him improve his handwriting skills.

Janice Campbell found Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting when she first started homeschooling and fell in love with the simple, clear penmanship that she found within the pages. Little did she know, when she went to look for again for her second child that it was out of print. After trying a few different things, she wanted to go back to this and worked hard to bring it back into print for us to use now!


Beautiful Handwriting, Literature and Poetry {Everyday Education, LLC}

Janice starts off letting us know about the simple lesson plans. They each include reviewing the previous lessons, introducing the new concepts, working on tracing and copying what was taught, practicing the sounds (phonics) or reading that was talked about and finishing up the lesson with some copywork.

We first find a section just for the parents to help us understand what we will be teaching our children. We learn about Posture and Pen Holding, Spacing, Slant, Rhythm and Size and Different Scheduling Options which are based upon the child who will be using this. We also learn that there are four different ways to use this book. You can use it for teaching the young child to read and write, help teach the struggling readers read better, teach your child fast, legible handwriting or teach yourself beautiful handwriting.

After this simple introduction, we start the first chapter, still for the parents to go over. This first chapter talks about the reading and writing that will be taught. This program works with phonics versus the sight reading that is taught in many of the public schools. Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting aims its reading skills at ages 4-6 years old. This is the best age to start the reading lessons. It is believed that if you teach the reading skills at this age, they will be bored less and turn to TV and video games less versus the books that are readily available to them.

Beautiful Handwriting

Handwriting is taught with Italics in mind. The typical handwriting that is taught only has six letters that can formed in one stroke versus the twenty-two letters formed in one stroke with the Italic style. This encourages the child to write instead of discouraging them with the perfect forms that are required in the other style. The kids really enjoyed this way of writing. Ray Ray didn't even fight that he had to sit down and spend time writing, he actually enjoyed seeing that he could write!

I loved reading the teaching tips that were included in the beginning of this book. These tips were simple, but a great reminder to the busy homeschool mom or new homeschool mom. The one that really stuck out to me was to make sure that you don't expect your child's writing to be the same as the model. I made sure to have Ray Ray read this for himself as he is always trying to have the perfect writing and the frustration follows when he can't do that.

We simply started with the alphabet when it came to the writing and reading. The very basics of each. I would have both kids sit down together and work on the tracing and writing together. This was nice because I didn't have to spend extra time between the two children and combined the lessons. While Ray Ray knows how to write and Little Miss is just starting, this program allowed them to work together to improve or learn the skills they need.

While Ray Ray knows the basics of phonics for reading, I had him sitting with while Little Miss worked on her skills. I would have him working on the copywork for the section. This way I was able to include him if there was a section that he just didn't understand when it came to reading. He was able to improve on some of the simple phonics that I was trying to work with him on just by sitting by and listening to his sister.

It is safe to say that all three of us were happy with this product. We loved the simplicity of it. I loved that is was a print and go with the digital version and I didn't have to plan for hours on end. The beginning pages that were for me to read answered any and all of my questions that I may have had on the program and I was able to jump right in on Monday morning.

Little Miss loved using this with Ray Ray. She felt older knowing that he was doing the same thing. I noticed that she spent time working on her reading and writing and found her practicing it in her locked diary. She would also start sounding out the words that we were speaking and in some of the easy reader books right away. She loved this new independence and loved watching her bloom.

PRBH

Ray Ray has always fought me when it came to writing. The fine motor skills he needed for this task just didn't seem to show up right away. Once he did start writing, it was sloppy. I would try to correct and he would be upset. When we started in on the writing here, he loved it. He loved the style. How simple it was and the one stroke letters helped him! Being able to flow with his writing, made him proud and when he was proud, he continued! I loved seeing this happen and knowing that his writing was slowly improving!

We thoroughly enjoyed using Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting. I loved all aspects of it and plan to continue to use this as a reading and handwriting program in the years to come!

Everyday Education, LLC has this and other programs available to you. Check out what these other Crew families had the chance to look at!


Beautiful Handwriting, Literature and Poetry {Everyday Education, LLC}


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Apologia Creation Astronomy ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Who created the moon and the stars? Who made the universe? Who made the sun? Questions that I have heard from the kids, especially Ray Ray. I love these questions, and I love when I can find a great curriculum to help me explain all of this! We had the chance to review Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition from Apologia Educational Ministries and I can't wait to tell you all about this curriculum!

apologia-review

What Is It

Exploring Creation with Astronomy is a full science curriculum for grades Kindergarten up to 4th depending on the Notebook Journal you pick. For this review, we received the Student Text, Notebooking Journal, Jr. Notebooking Journal and Audio CD. The Notebooking Journal is geared towards 3 or 4th grade or higher. The Jr. Notebooking Journal is great for Kindergarten up to 2nd or 3rd grade.

Apologia

The beginning of each Notebooking Journal has a suggested lesson plan to follow. If you follow this and do 2 daily lessons a week, it will take you a full year to complete this curriculum. Each lesson includes a reading, an activity and/or a notebooking entry. If you have a student who doesn't like reading (like Ray Ray), the audio CD has every lesson read by the author, Jeannie Fulbright. These readings include what is in the book so your child can follow along. Ray Ray learns better by listening while reading silently in his head. This CD has been my lifesaver for this curriculum!

Each of the two Notebooking Journals are similar, but contain age appropriate activities. Both have a copy work page, in the Jr. notebook the lines are more appropriate for an early writer versus the simple single line in the regular journal. One difference that I have found, at the end of each lesson, the Jr. notebook has some coloring pages while the regular notebook has What Do You Remember pages that has some basic questions that will check your child's understanding of the lesson. These notebooking journals are spiral bound and are a great keepsake for the years to come as to what your child learned.

Apologia

The actual textbook for Exploring Creation With Astronomy is a hardcover book filled with beautiful pictures to help your child understand what is being taught. This book is not a book filled text that is boring for your child. This book is engaging and beautiful. The lessons include bible quotes and Think About This sections that have your child slow down and make the lesson real for them.

How We Used It

We decided to follow the suggested guideline to this curriculum and kept it to two lessons a week. This allowed us some time to digest what we were learning and build from it. Using this schedule, we had fun with the first two lessons in this book. The daily lessons were fun, simple and a combination of reading and notebooking. We enjoyed doing the experiments and calling in the other siblings to make some of them work. I had Ray Ray explain to the siblings what he was going to have them do and what they were representing. This made him recall what we were learning. Win-win for this mom!

We started off with Ray Ray reading each of the lessons, but quickly found out that he didn't like the reading part. He would complain about reading, and not want to do the lessons. As soon as I pulled out the audio CD he was once again draw in. He would follow along with the lesson as he listened to it being read to him by Jeannie Fulbright, the author.

Aoplogia

While following the two days a week plan, we have found that we can space these out for Ray Ray. When doing this, we could make each daily lesson last two days and have something each day to learn about or do. We would do the reading one day, followed up by the Activities or notebooking the next. This kept our lessons short and at the level that Ray Ray loves them. Even when a lesson was done in full, they were short, only lasting up to 30 minutes depending on how long Ray Ray would take doing his notebooking.

What We Thought of It

This was a program that was more than I had anticipated! I knew from hearing others that Apologia has great science programs. We have used other programs from Apologia and loved them. But this, this was all of that and so much more! The pictures in both the textbook and the notebooking journals are beautiful! They show the beauty that is astronomy! The textbook itself is so full of information, yet can easily be understood by the younger readers. The activities that are chosen are fun, hands on and full of learning!

The two levels of notebooking journals take the learning to the level of the user. The lower level has all that the younger learners need without overwhelming them, where you can take this same text and use it with the older learners and learn something new! The daily readings for both levels are the same, so this is a great option for family learning and not having to worry about more than one textbook!

Apologia

We loved the audio CD that came with this. Jeannie reads this text with so much enthusiasm that you can tell she enjoyed writing this as much as we have enjoyed learning from it. This is no boring audio with a monotone speaker. This audio has music and life to it. In fact, Ray Ray loved this audio CD so much he wanted nothing to do with the textbook and just wanted to listen to the story at hand. That is what makes this CD work for him, he thought it was a story, not school!

This is a science curriculum that I would recommend to anyone looking for creation based science. The notebooking journals are a must and if you have a student like Ray Ray, you need to grab the CD as well. You will not be disappointed with this at all. I haven't been and I had some high expectations before getting this!

Want to know more? Check out these other reviews and see what you think!


Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition Review

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Our 2016-2017 Kindergarten Curriculum

The first day of kindergarten is an emotional one, for both the child and the parent. There are tears and fears that each face. The minor fact of whether the child is homeschooled or going to public school does not matter when it comes to the fact that Kindergarten is a huge milestone for school.

Our 2016-2017

Little Miss is starting Kindergarten. She is ready, mom and dad are not. We want her to stay 4 forever, but we know that is not possible. We knew that we needed to get her ready for school, and that means planning a Kindergarten year. Little Miss is the opposite of Ray Ray, so I had to find something that she would like better. This didn't take too long after finding Little House Kindergarten!

I had wanted to do Five in a Row with her, but I knew that wasn't enough. I still plan on reading the books and doing some activities from the book list, but Little Miss needed something more. She needed something with worksheets, with writing and something with more structure. That is why I kept looking, but not for long.

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Little House Kindergarten is a full curriculum and is a pay what you can curriculum. This is great for homeschooling families that are on a tight or almost nonexistent budget. This curriculum is made for every child using a variety of learning styles, from video games, hands on activities and worksheets.

This is also a great program for parents. Everything is there and ready, along with so much more. I almost wish I would have found this for Ray Ray, but am thankful for finding it now.

Although this program has everything we need, and exceeds the state standards of most states, we have opted to use a few extras. We have been using Jolly Phonics, and love this for our phonics. While we use this, it is just an add on. We still use the reading and language lessons that are included, but we are loving these fun Jolly Phonics as well (watch for the upcoming review).

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This is about all we plan on doing for Kindergarten, well of course besides the reading that we always do! This does not take us that long to do each day. This is perfect because for me, Kindergarten is all about fun and games, not tedious tasks. I fact, we didn't do any real school with Ray Ray until 1st grade, so this is all new and fun for me.

What do you do for Kindergarten? Do you have a curriculum, or do you have fun and play the whole time? Remember that playing is learning for the younger kids anyway!

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