Conquer Your Fear of Homeschool Science with Nature Studies

I never liked science in school. But, I didn’t want that to hinder me from my kids a chance at enjoying science. How could I do this and not get bored in a dry textbook? Nature Studies! Let me explain how nature studies helped with teaching homeschool science for us!

*Affiliate links have been used in this post. Find out more right here.

Homeschool Science

Nature studies can be done in a number of different ways. You can get a pre-planned study. One that gives you the ideas to do and the extra supplies or books to have on hand.

NaturExplorers

We have done this with the NaturExplorers from Our Journey Westward. This is a fun and simple way to get some science in. There are NaturExplorers for all seasons, even when it gets extremely cold here in Minnesota!

No-Sweat Nature Studies

Another great resource from Our Journey Westward is the No-Sweat Nature Studies that Cindy does live (or catch the replay). Ray Ray loves to study things, but he doesn’t like being out in different weather conditions. This is a fun way to have someone else teach them at times.

Nature Walks

Nature walks can happen with little to no planning. Go for a walk and pay attention to different things. Listen to the sounds around you and see if you can name them. Pay attention to a river or stream. What is happening around the shore? Go home and follow it on a map and see where it goes. Anything outside can be studied. It doesn’t have to be hard. You can always use the internet to help dig in deeper.

On our nature walks, sometimes we go without anything in our hands. Sometimes we print up some nature journal pages. We love to grab these from Productive Homeschooling. There are some that have lines for writing, and others are just fun to doodle on. We have done both, some doodling with added writing for the older ages and some just doodling for the younger ages.

What are some fun things you have done to make homeschool science fun?

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The Color Wheel in Nature – No Sweat Nature Studies

**Affiliate links have been used in this post. Check out my disclaimer here to find out more.

Over the years of homeschooling, I have learned about all the different styles of homeschooling. I have tried many of them and failed. The one I keep coming back to is the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling. This includes Nature Studies.

I have never been great with nature studies. I have high hopes and they quickly fall apart when I try to make them happen. That was until I learned about Our Journey Westward and the No Sweat Nature Studies. This is a new lifesaver for our homeschool!

Ray Ray has been the one who has been using the No Sweat Nature Studies, and he just completed the study on The Color Wheel in Nature. This was something new for him, a life class with a teacher that wasn’t me. Ray Ray has been homeschooled by me his entire school life. Having a new teacher was a challenge, but one that I loved for him.

Cindy West is a great teacher. She homeschooled her kids, and still homeschools. She is a very child-friendly teacher and loves to interact with the kids during the live lesson. This really appealed to Ray Ray. He enjoyed the fact that Cindy was interacting, and loved to put some input when he could.

During this study, he learned about the color wheel in nature. How plants and animals used the color wheel in their design. I didn’t interact with him much during the lesson, so I was happy there was a replay option for myself.

Cindy taught the kids about the color wheel and had them drawing and coloring as they went along. They even left the lesson with an assignment to finish. Ray Ray was a little upset by his drawing, so I made the decision to make it easier for him. Instead of making him copy the image, he was to color, I let him trace it. The coloring was the most important part, so I figure letting him trace was just fine.

Ray Ray doesn’t like to add color to his drawings. He thinks they ruin the drawing. He is a black and white drawing type of child. I told him he had to color his drawing, he was a little upset but did it. I am very impressed with his addition of color and love it. He now has his first sheet to add to his new nature journal!

The No Sweat Nature Studies are a hit in our house. We can’t wait for the next one about caves. You can find out more about that right here. And the yearly membership is great. With the yearly membership, you are able to hit up the archive of previous nature studies and can always go back to the ones you missed. We will be checking those out over the summer!

Do you include nature studies in your homeschool?

Wonders of Creation – A MasterBooks Review

My kids love books. This is no surprise! We have been reading books since they were babies. While they love reading books, sometimes reading to learn is not always as fun. We have had a chance to take a look at the digital copy of Wonders of Creation: Design in a Fallen World from MasterBooks. This book has helped us enjoy learning while reading!

What It Is

We had the digital copy of Wonders of Creation, but there is also a physical copy if you want to actually get your hands on this book!

Our digital copy has 218 pages from start to finish. There are 14 chapters in the book:

Table of Contents

  • 1. Since the Creation of the World
  • 2. Land Mammals
  • 3. Sea Creatures
  • 4. Birds and Flight
  • 5. Insects
  • 6. Stars and Planets
  • 7. Starlight and Time
  • 8. Beauty
  • 9. Mathematics and Beauty
  • 10. Materials
  • 11. Mankind
  • 12. A Changed World
  • 13. The Six Days of Genesis
  • 14. What Happened?

This book will not only talk about the perfect world that God created, but it ends with what went wrong. This is not a dark and terrible ending, rather we are walked through the fall that Adam and Eve created, and we are learning about the why’s that have come from this. The explanations have not only helped my kids understand the pain and suffering of the world, but it has also helped me understand it better!

How We Used It

Since this was not a textbook, there are no questions to be answered, besides our own, we used this as a book to read as we wanted. We started reading from the beginning but found ourselves jumping to the different categories that we were more interested in.

While we didn’t always use this for a textbook, I did decide that we would pull this out and read at least one section a week. This allowed us to talk about how everything was made perfectly the way that God had created it. It was the perfect break in our typical school and allowed us to still learn.

What We Thought Of It

We give this book thumbs up! We really enjoyed scrolling through and looking at the pictures. This leads to us reading about the different creations of the world and how they work. While reading about the Fall is not something we look forward to, this book was able to describe it in a great way for all of us to understand.

This is a book that my kids will be loving for years to come. I love knowing that my kids will be able to learn about creation with a strong biblical viewpoint. This will help them defend their faith and know that all was created just the way God wanted it to be.

If you are looking for a beautiful book full of great pictures and useful information, you will want to grab a copy of Wonders of Creation for yourself!

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Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology – A Homeschool Crew Review

This is a review post. I received this item in exchange for my honest review. Below you will find just that, my honest review.

Having multiple kids around the same age means that sometimes I would really like to combine learning. One of these subjects I would love to combine learning in would be science. I mean, two kids, one science experiment, one time cleaning it up? What is not to love? I am able to do this with Apologia and their Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology and the corresponding Notebooking Journal and Junior Notebooking Journal.

What It Is

For this review, we received the student textbook, notebooking journal, junior notebooking journal, and the MP3 audio CD. I was excited to get both notebooking journals because that means that I would be able to use this with Ray Ray and Little Miss at the same time!

The Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Text is a hardcover textbook. There are over 250 pages, each filled with color pictures that engage the kids with what they are learning about. There are 14 lessons included, and each lesson, depending on your schedule, takes about 2 weeks to complete. That means that each lesson is broken down into manageable smaller sections. Within these sections, you will find vocabulary words in bold text along with fun “Try This!” activities to bring your learning into your own hands.

The Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Notebooking Journal is geared towards third through sixth grades. This notebook is spiral bound and contains over 200 pages of activities to keep your child learning past the textbook. Activities range from writing down fascinating facts, review questions, copy work, vocabulary crosswords, and projects. The end of each lesson has a page with more ways to explore the topic from the lesson.

The Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Junior Notebooking Journal is for kids Kindergarten through second grade. This is similar to the notebooking journal, but the projects are a little easier, and it also includes coloring pages. These are a great help when your busy reading and the little ones need something to help them focus.

Both of the notebooking journals include a sample schedule at the beginning. Both of these schedules are very similar. The readings are the same, so you can use this with two students, one on each level, and not worry about one schedule being different from another.

Finally, we also received the Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology MP3 Audio CD. In our previous review of Apologia products, I fell in love with having this CD. This is a reading of the textbook by author Jeannie Fulbright. This is not a boring, lecture style reading. This is a great substitution to me reading the text. I love to have this on hand for the days when I am not up to reading, but we still need to get it done.

How We Used It

I was so excited to get both Notebooking Journals for this review! This meant that I could teach both Ray Ray and Little Miss at the same time. This is a huge time saver in my day. The first thing I did was to adjust the schedule to fit us. Instead of two days a week, we used this three to four days a week. This meant that we could split the lessons up a little more during the week and spend less time on it each day. Once we found out what works for the week, we got started.

Our lessons usually started with me reading out loud to the kids. There were a few days when I couldn’t get Baby Girl to let me read, so I was able to pull out the MP3 CD and let the kids listen to Jeannie read. As we went through the lesson, we would take breaks to answer questions, the text is set up that way! Every so often in blue text, we have a question to have the children tell me what they remember so far. I love this style of reading and learning.

At the end of each day, we would spend some time in our Notebooking Journals. Each day gave us something different to use. I was impressed by the variety. Not only that, but all the cutouts we needed are conveniently located in the back for us to use. They are even in color! The kids really loved to get creative as we were supposed to be learning.

On top of our fun learning and notebooking, we had the chance to do experiments. This is hard for me because I don’t like or have the time for experiments with 4 kids running around. However, knowing that one experiment took care of ½ my homeschool, I went ahead with them! We didn’t do all of them, but we did enough to let the kids have fun and not drive me insane, which means one or two per lesson. We currently started my favorite experiment, “Growing Muscle.” This is where the kids have to if they can grow the muscles in their hands over two weeks. Guess what? I don’t have a mess with this!

What We Thought of It

What did I think of this set? I LOVED it! I am thrilled that I don’t have two science classes to teach. I appreciate the work that was put into the MP3 CD for those days that I just don’t have the time to read the lesson out loud, and I love that there were two different levels of the Notebooking Journal to make this happen!

There is no teacher’s guide with this, but there is no need for one. I have everything that I have with the textbook and the journal. The back of each journal has answers that I might need, and the front has the schedule to give me a guideline. That is one less book taking up space on my shelf.

The kids were excited about doing these lessons. They didn’t argue me, only when I told them it was time to stop.

Overall, Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology is everything I was looking for in a science program. Not only does it allow me to teach two students at two levels at the same time, but it is also Christian based. I look forward to learning more about our bodies with my kids as we continue to work through this book.

You can find Apologia on social media here:

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/apologiaworld    Tag:   @apologiaworld

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Google+:  https://plus.google.com/105053356034237782125

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/apologiaworld

Check out the other reviews of Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology right here:

Apologia - Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Reviews
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Dr. Bonyfide Presents Bones – A Review

Learning Bones with Dr Bonyfide

This is a review post. I received this item in exchange for my honest review. Below you will find just that, my honest review.

Learning about the skeletal system should be fun. There should be games and activities that keep a child interested. Keeping them interested is the hardest part. The Dr. Bonyfide Presents Bones – Set of 4 was just what we needed in our home!

Learning Bones with Dr Bonyfide

What Is It?

This is a four-book set, each one focusing on different bones within the body. Each of these books can be used for a whole year, making this set start in 3rd grade and finish in the 6th grade.

The four books are:

  1. Dr. Bonyfide Presents Bones of the Hand, Arm, and Shoulder
  2. Dr. Bonyfide Presents Bones of the Foot, Let and Pelvis
  3. Dr. Bonyfide Presents Bones of the Rib Cage and Spine
  4. Dr. Bonyfide Presents Bones of the Head, Face, and Neck

Learning Bones with Dr Bonyfide

Each book consists of short, fun, and rhyming lessons. The books are full of activities for the kids to get hands on fun practice with what they have been learning. These activities can range from checking out “x-rays” with 3D glasses to drawing the bones as you trace your hands and feet or even just coloring the ribs while you practice their names.

On top of all the fun that filled the pages, these pages were full color. They are made of a thicker weight paper, so they can stand up to lots of flipping of pages.

How We Used It

Ray Ray was the intended reader of these books. However, he decided to take his learning of his bones a step farther. Two days after we opened the books, Ray Ray fell off his bed and broke his elbow! *Just a heads up, this did not earn him any extra credit, and it is not required when you decide to purchase the books!

Learning Bones with Dr Bonyfide

I did not have any lesson plans to follow when we got these books. Instead, we took the books and had fun with them on our own. I would simply write Dr. Bonyfinde on Ray Ray’s daily lessons and he would read as much or as little as he wanted. Typically, he would read the lesson and stop. The next day he would go and do the activities that went with the lesson.

We used this in addition to our current Science curriculum. The way this played out on our lesson plans was 2-3 times a week using it, depending on the week. This was a perfect spacing option for us.

What We Thought Of It

We love using these books. Ray Ray enjoys that the lessons were short and to the point, yet fun at the same time. He doesn’t get bored and jumps at the chance to do Dr. Bonyfide instead of his current curriculum.

I did notice that when Ray Ray uses a pen or pencil, the color on the back of the pages he writes on transfers to the following pages. While this frustrated us a little, we did find that using a permanent marker helped prevent the transfer and the pages were thick enough to prevent it from bleeding through.

Learning our Bones with Dr Bonyfide

I love that he loves to learn about his body. This is such a fun curriculum that I don’t have to argue with him to work on it. I think we will end up going through more than one book each year, as Ray Ray loves to read them that much.

If you are looking for a fun way to get your child interested in learning about their skeletal system, Dr. Bonyfide is the guy for you!

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Science Week at SchoolhouseTeachers.com

Science, it is one of my least favorite topics to teach. This is because it was one of my least favorite subjects in school. Being a homeschool mom, I don’t have the option to pick and choose what I do and don’t want to teach, but I can let them pick and choose what they want to learn with the Science courses available at SchoolhouseTeachers.com!

With more than 30 science classes to choose from, your kids can find TONS of way to get into science! From All About Animals and Bug Science to Science Experiments and Wondrous Weather, we have science for all ages. Who knows? You might discover they want to try all the science classes. Don’t worry if they do—ONE membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com includes ALL of them!

These courses range from PreK all the way up to High School. Everyone in your house will be able to take a look at what they like and have fun learning science!

Small World Sensory Science is a great preschool science introduction. During these twelve topics you get to play with your kids while bringing new ideas and skills to them. Balloon rockets, wind chimes and bubbles all help you learn about wind. Other topics are Helping, Ocean, Garden, Pond Life and Construction to name a few.

Everyday Astronomy is a fun Elementary Science course. Here we get to learn about the Sun, the planets, including Mars and a quick introduction to the constellations. Each topic will take about 2-4 weeks to complete. Each topic comes with a lesson plan, which is a great way to keep me on track when it comes to teaching these lessons. We get to work on notebooking pages to keep track of all that we are learning as well as some yummy cooking and some arts and crafts to get your hands-on learning.

Are your middle schoolers ready for an introduction to Physics? Well, SchoolhouseTeachers.com has just that for them! Over 18 weeks, your child will be introduced to things like the Scientific Method, Gravity, Acceleration, Newton’s Law and the magnetic field. All of these will be taught through a variety of simple reading and experiments. The experiments are easily done with some of the most common household supplies that you have. Let me tell you, I actually look forward to teaching this course to Ray Ray!

Now, High School…the all-important years for the diploma! Yes, there are science options for high school as well! I love the Friendly Chemistry course for Moe Man. While I would normally be scared to teach such a course, I think this would be a fun one for us to learn together. It is only 12 weeks and 0.5 credit, but all the experiment material is easy to obtain if you don’t already have it at home. This seems to be the continued theme here, science can be learned at home without a bunch of extra stuff! This is something that I love!

If you have more than one student at home and you haven’t looked at SchoolhouseTeachers.com yet, why not?? Really? They have an awesome special that is still happening! Did you see this Fall Harvest Special? $10.95 a month to teach everyone in your house, including yourself? Is this really up for discussion? I sure hope you grab this deal before it is too late!

Have you checked out the Science Courses at SchoolhouseTeachers.com? What is the more intriguing one you have found?

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The Greatest Inventors – A Homeschool Crew Review

Sometimes Science lessons could be boring. Sometimes you need to change things up in order to make them fun. When you need a change in your science lesson for your 2nd – 8th grade child, you can head over A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks and check out The Greatest Inventors.

Ray Ray and I had the chance to check out The Greatest Inventors and we were not disappointed. This stand-alone title gave us everything we needed to make this a fun science unit study. The digital download of this lapbook program is only $8 and while we have been using this 3 times a week over the last few weeks, we still have some to do before it is done.

Now, we are not just learning about the inventors by reading and copying some boring pieces of information onto paper. We are taking this to a whole new level! We read about the inventor, and if you want to grab library books for more information, or even the internet, you are more than welcome to. However, all that you need for the lapbook, is included for you.

We looked at our options when starting this study. We could get it all done in a month no problem, or we could take more time and expand our learning. We decided to take the extra time and spread this out a little longer. We love our library and our library loves us. Just simply reading a few books here or there on the inventors that we enjoyed made it ours and fun!

When looking at the options, we also decided that we would work on putting the pieces of the lapbook together as we went instead of waiting until it was all done. This allowed us to see how far we had come and how much was left to do. The guide was set up nicely that we were shown were to put each piece and we didn’t have to wait until we were done to figure out where to put everything.

As we went through this lapbook, we would find a study guide page that would give all that we needed to know to fill out the following lapbook page. However, we took it a step further and found extra books on our shelves or that of the library and learned a little more about each inventor and their inventions as we went through this lesson.

After we have had the chance to learn about the inventors and their inventions, we are able to show what we have learned by putting it into our lapbook to show off whenever we want to. This is the best part for Ray Ray. He loves to show what he has learned to whomever comes into our home, or whomever he talks to when we are our and about!

During this study, we have learned about Benjamin Franklin, John Deere, Eli Whitney, Robert Fulton and George Washington Carver to name a few. This has been a fun break from our regular science curriculum and one that Ray Ray looks forward to doing. I love the way this is set up and how easy it is to open, print and go. I also love that we can pick to use more books, or just use the study guide pages included without lacking information!

A Journey Through Learning has so much more available besides this one lapbook, check out these other reviews of some of the other products available:

Lapbooks for Classical Conversations, Apologia, Inventors & 20th Century {A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks Reviews}
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Scientist Gift Guide

 

Halloween is over, that means that all the fun Christmas Toy Catalogs come out. But you want more for your kids, right? You want them to have fun, but you want them to be learning while they are having fun. You want them growing and building with everything that surrounds them. What if I told you that I have a great list of Gifts that will help you grow a Scientist? Gifts that are fun, but require more brain use than the typical toys you see in the catalogs. Would you take a look? Well today I have a great Scientist Gift Guide for your budding scientists!

 
 
 

Gifts for Ages 3 to 7

 

Slimy Squishy Polymer Bucket

Science makes SENSES with this bucket of colorful, creative fun.

slimy Experimenting with squishy, squashy polymers creates the perfect opportunities for young children to engage in sensory play and to naturally use scientific processes while having fun.

The Slimy Squishy Polymer Bucket comes with items such as test tubes, biodegradable cups, mixing spoons, coloring tablets, and an experiment guide to help you make the following: Gobbledy Goop, JellyStones, Water Marbles, Glow in the Dark Spit Balls, Slippery Spheres, Silly Squares, Space Sand, and Super Snow. Adding a little water to crystals and powder will create lots of science fun for your little ones. Use this bucket to learn, create, and play with your child. That's part of the fun of parenting! There are many ways to enjoy preschool science fun with the Slimy Squishy Polymer Bucket. Use the super snow to practice writing letters and numbers, teach the importance of listening and following directions by allowing your child or student to work independently after being given instruction, and make Space Sand and use it to discuss the sea and coral reefs.
"My son LOVED this bucket! Each activity was super fun and engaging, He made a snowman from the snow, he took the bouncy balls outside and him and his friends threw them on the ground to watch them explode, he stacked the cubes.. there was so many fun things to do! Thanks for putting together a super fun bucket of activities!" -Faith
 

Magic School Bus Science Club

Turn your next craft day into an educational one! magic-school-bus

The famous Magic School Bus series has been getting kids excited about STEM for two decades. The Science Club Kit takes the story based learning to the next level with comprehensive, hands-on kits that come right to your doorstep each month for a full year. And each month, you have at least 7 experiments!
 
This is a great choice for families with multiple children, kinesthetic, and visual learners – and just a fun, educational activity for a rainy day! The kits include experiments related to Volcanoes, Weather, Water, Fossils, Bacteria and Fungi, Star and Planets – the world around us. Best of all, each kit comes with a colorful, Magic School Bus themed manual and a paired guide for adults. You don’t need to be a science nerd to be able to have fun leading and learning as a parent. There’s also an online clubhouse with further information for young explorers.
 
This is truly a gift that keeps on giving. “We bought these kits almost a year ago and my kids have been loving them. Each month they arrive, the kids get extremely excited to get together the materials to do the experiments…It gives a good outline and the kids enjoy understanding what is needed to make everything work. I would recommend this to a friend.”
“My children are really enjoying their science now! Any time they get to do hands on, it's awesome!” – Kristina P

 

 

 
 

Solar System Wall Stickers

Reach for the stars! Literally.

mona-melisa-designs_solar_system_half_2_fb31  Learn the solar system while developing motor skills. Use the Solar System Stickers to map out the galaxy on your dining room wall. The solar system wall stickers set teach planet recognition, solar system configuration, constellations, phases of the Earth's moon, seasons of the year, Earth's axis and rotation around the sun, and spelling! Unlike other decals, Peel, Play & Learn wall stickers are made of a fabric material that do not rip or tear – a huge bonus when you have a child with minimal fine motor skills. They do not damage your walls or wall paper (we only have painted walls, so I couldn’t try that out) and they stick to textured walls. Lastly – they are BPA free, which is important to me. "Gabe is very interested in space at the moment and I hardly had the box open before he wanted to play with them. My son was desperate to use this set as soon as he saw them, and together with his younger sister Evey, we decided to map out the Milky Way Galaxy on the dining room wall. We talked about each sticker and I prompted the kiddos to try and remember the correct order of the planets." -Patti B.

 

Gifts for Ages 8 to 11

Rock N Learn Science Collection

Award winning science curricula that happens to have music videos. Yes.

rock n learn science

Science is just plain cool – it can help explain the world around us and even our own bodies. But if we’re being honest, scientists often use big words that can be difficult for kids to understand (much less pronounce). Rock ‘N Learn has introduced a great solution that doubles as a fun holiday gift. The Science DVD Collection helps kids learn about many difficult concepts in science through a series of four hilarious and engaging DVDs. Whether your child is curious about the solar system, animals, gravity, electricity, weather, or the human body, these DVDs are a perfect gift to help your child take their knowledge of science to the next level.
 
"First of all, I have to confess that this DVD is not only my kids' current favorite, it's mine too! I was confident that my 9-year old son would enjoy it as he loves science. Not only was I right, even my 5-year-old daughter was fascinated by the DVD. My kids constantly are telling me what they have, learned from Marko the Pencil and his friend Bailey. One day I am hearing what photosynthesis (big word for a 5-year-old!) is all about and the next thing they are explaining plant cells.” –Elina

 

 

I Love a Mystery Book Set

Invite kids to be a math & science detective!

math-madness-book-set                 There are few better feelings than seeing your child light up, prideful when they solve the answer to a question on their own. To give your child this confidence, look no further than the I Love a Mystery Book Set for your holiday gift. The concept behind these mystery-solving books is super simple and highly entertaining for kids of many different ages. The set includes three books, two filled with science mysteries and one filled with math mysteries. Each mystery takes about one minute to read and solve, with one page covering the mystery and the next revealing the answer and a picture that helps explain the answer. Kids love the fun stories (you’ll be asking your child to put these books down and go to bed finally) and you’ll love that the topics can be related to real life, such as calculating distance in a toll road and understanding probability of rolling certain numbers with dice. “I love that these are short one page mysteries that you can read to your child at night. They always start a conversation and give me an opportunity to understand his current concepts of the world and tweak them. I would highly recommend these.” -Cari

Know Yourself Subscription Kit

Engage your five senses in learning!

know_yourself_adventure1_full_box  Isn't it helpful when you're learning something new and there is some context? A beautiful combination of human body science, history, and imaginative fun come together in the Know Yourself Adventure Series. These high-quality subscription kits are the work of talented experts and artists who know how to keep kids laughing and entertained while learning important concepts. Delivered monthly, each Know Yourself Adventure includes a Time Skaters comic book, science experiments and corresponding materials, historical lessons and healthy recipes. Each kit has an amazing theme like nothing you’ve ever seen before – for example, in the third kit, your child will travel to 1553 China to learn about the circulatory system! Choose a plan that works best for your family by opting in for a 3-month, 6-month or 12-month subscription, and give your child the gift of self-literacy this holiday season. “The kids could not contain themselves when the box arrived, they were anxious to get their hands on everything, which is totally acceptable for this box! Along with supplies we needed to learn about the five senses were many extra fun reading materials. My son was really excited about the comic book and my oldest daughter found herself thrilled about the secret notepad and special pen. The pen contains a flashlight on the tip that reveals all of the secret messages she would write inside.” –Miss Frugal Mommy

Gifts for Ages 12 to 14

Microscope Experiments

Seeing is believing – but it's unbelievable what kids can discover with this set.

microscope

This high-quality microscope is not only a powerful tool on its own, but it also comes with an engaging and low-hassle experiment kit.

The Levenhuk LabZZ M101 Lime Microscope allows young and curious learners to study insects and plants, finding living microorganisms in a water drop and many other exciting things! Curious children will be able to work from directions about what to explore, or go off on their own and learn the magical wonders of the natural world down to the smallest levels possible.

The Levenhuk includes quality optics that can be compared to many ‘adult’ microscopes. Children can zoom up to 16x in the eyepiece, as well as six levels of magnification: 40x, 64x, 100x, 160x, 400x and 640x. The microscope is durable, but light, and operates on batteries which come included. The microscope is ready-to-use right out of the box, perfect for a gift.

Also included with the microscope is an activity kit, which including items such as an "Attractive Microscope. Scrutinizing the Microcosm" user guide, forceps, sea monkeys, flasks with yeast, pitch, sea salt and brine ship, 5 ready-to-use specimens, 5 blank slides, dropper, and a dust cover to protect it.

 

Survive Inside the Human Body Books

An educational gift for comic book lovers!

survive-human-body-manga3

These bright and colorful books look like regular comics, but they’re deceptively full of engrossing information about human anatomy.

Survive! Inside the Human Body is a series of manga (Japanese-style comic books) that follow the journey of students through a human body. It’s a classic story, but presented in a way that’s never been seen before. Perfect for grades K-6, these comics contain anatomically-correct guides, real lessons, and a lot of age-appropriate humor.

Science can be one of the most dense and difficult topics to teach children, but this book does an amazing job of making it approachable. Visual learners will get a kick out of this book, and may retain information better than other learners. The fast-paced story will leave kids eager to see what happens to Dr. Geo and his rag-tag group of amateur scientists next. Topics covered in the book include the human body, the effects of the food we eat, medicine, genetics, the digestive, circulatory, and nervous systems.
 

“My 7 year old son LOVES these books (we bought all 3!). He has read and re-read them. They are perfect for before bed or in the car. Very informative and interesting.. he can not get enough of the comics!”

 

Explore with me Geology

This stuff makes every walk outside way more interesting. And kids love it!

geology-set

Is your young learner interested in geology? This set of six packs contains a half-dozen rocks and minerals kits. Included are igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary, minerals, fossils, and Rocks and minerals. It’s perfect for ages 8 and up, but really anyone expressing an interest in science will get a kick out of these kits. So you might be asking – what’s so interesting about rocks?


Geology is one of the most interesting fields of science out there. It's literally everywhere. And rocks are the oldest things on our planet! The rocks under our feet tell a story that’s thousands of years old. Scientists still don’t know everything that there is to know about these building blocks of our world, but they’re learning new things every day. Rocks are responsible for beautiful mountains, volcanoes, earthquakes and much more.

This set contains an amazing array of rocks for a budding geologist to learn from. The Explore With Me kit introduces children to the various types of rocks by providing examples of each. Kids will learn facts about what differentiates them, and can explore ideas such as how they are formed, where they can be found, and much more.

 

Gifts for Ages 15+

The Manga (Comic Book) Guide to Relativity

Because pictures speak a thousand words…and kids love comic books.

learning-gateways_manga_guide_relativity_98bb Manga textbooks are revolutionary learning tools changing the way our kids absorb information. The Manga Guide to Relativity is a textbook completely in comic book form that can help your teen understand one of the most difficult subjects in physics, Einstein’s theory of relativity.

 
The book takes teens through a fun story in which super-relatable high school student Minagi learns about the non-intuitive laws that shape our universe. Before your teen knows it, they’ll be mastering concepts like inertial frames of reference, unified spacetime, and the equivalence principle. They’ll see how relativity affects modern astronomy and discover why GPS systems and other everyday technologies depend on Einstein's extraordinary discovery. “I found the story to be compelling and amusing, often sending me into the giggles, and the explanations to be understandable, which is what you want from a textbook (and not always the case when it comes to physics). What I love about books like these is that they can grab readers who might not otherwise be interested in the topic (I rarely pick up books about Einstein's theories, for example) and teach concepts in news ways. The Manga Guides definitely have a place on my bookshelf.” – Sarah Zielinski, contributor at Smithsonian.com
 

Laminated Chemical Periodic Table

Function? Check! Fashion? Better than a lot of interior decor I've seen…

periodic-table This Chemical Periodic Table Poster is a building block of education because it features the building blocks of all matter!Everything that we know of in the physical universe are made up of the elements listed on this table. Knowing and understanding this is one of the keys to unlocking a young learner’s love of science. The earlier they start to think about these the more excited they will become in the world around them. This is an invaluable tool for anyone involved in the scientific field, and it can hang on the wall or on your door. It contains key data on all the elements, conversion factors, physical constants, and chemical structures. This 18”x24" laminated version of the periodic is reusable, durable, and crisply presents all the elements and a guide of how to read each one. Much better than a band poster. Love this poster, size and clarity. We have it on the wall and everyone from my 14 yr old to my 6 yr old like to quiz each other about it.” – Deb H.

Life of Fred Chemistry

life of fred chemistry                 Have you heard of Life of Fred? The LoF series is a huge hit among homeschoolers due to the way it blends story -based learning with fun. Plus it's effective. That's why there are whole communities dedicated to it! Life of Fred Chemistry uses a unique blend of storytelling and educational guides to make any subject fun and engaging for kids – with the same characters and everything! The series follows Fred, a math genius who lives in a quirky town where there’s always another adventure waiting around the corner. But fortunately Fred’s expertise expands beyond math. These books are incredibly easy to understand, due to the story-like nature of the books, but aren’t as dense or difficult to comprehend as a massive science textbook. Even though I loved Chemistry in school, I really wish it was taught the way that Dr. Schmidt teaches it! He uses real life type situations to teach about chemistry. I love how he tells us what we need to really know about chemistry and not just useless facts to memorize. The fact that the book is written by a math teaches helps a lot too, because the formulas and math in this chemistry book seem easier to learn and comprehend! This one is going in our permanent library.” – Cheryl K

Want to see more? Check out this awesome Holiday Gift Collection for Young Scientists. And you can use the code GIVETHANKS for 10% off, free shipping and 5% back.

What are your favorites? Which ones are you looking at for your scientists?

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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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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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