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!


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.


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.


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.


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!


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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Crew Disclaimer

Daily 6-Trait Writing ~ A Review

Writing, it is something that is especially important, but yet hard to teach at the same time. Ray Ray loves to come up with stories, but taking the time to sit down and write them is a whole other feat. When we were given the chance to review Daily 6-Trait Writing, Grade 2 from Timberdoodle's 2nd Grade Curriculum Kit, we figured it wouldn't hurt to try it out.

Daily 6-Trait Writing, Grade 2

What Is It

Daily 6-Trait Writing, is a daily writing program that will work with your kids on a daily basis to build their writing skills using the 6-Traits. What are the 6-Traits of writing? They are; Ideas, Organization, Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, Voice, and Conventions. Each of the six units will take the time to teach each of these traits.

There are 25 weeks of 125 daily lessons. These lessons cover all the traits and work to make your child a better writer and only take about 15 minutes each day. Each week, you will first see the teacher pages. On these pages you will see the Trait Skill that is being worked on that week. You have the lesson plan to help you teach the lesson to your child. You have reduced pages of what your child will see along with sample answers.

Daily Writing Review

Days 1-3 will work on using models to analyze, revise or add to. This is a great way to introduce the new ideas to your child and make sure they understand them. Day 4 is a prewriting activity that will get your child ready for the writing activity on Day 5. These lessons are short and simple and work well with any language arts program that you may already be using.

How We Used It

We were able to use this program while still using our current language arts curriculum. I loved being able to use this before our regular lessons as a way to warm up. We would talk about the lesson and get started on it right away on Monday. Most of the time Ray Ray would be able to do his lesson on his own and I would just check it after he was done.

Daily Writing

What We Thought

This was a great workbook. While I don't agree that the traits will tell you whether or not your child is a strong writer, I do believe that these are needed to write well. Ray Ray loves how quick these writing lessons are. He does not care about writing, yet I have seen him grow as a writing with these short lessons. I loved that I didn't need to plan, it was an open and go book. This made it easy for a homeschool mom of 3 with a 4 running at our feet! Ray Ray was able to open this in the morning while I was busy with breakfast. This is an added bonus to me!

Ray Ray with Daily Writing

We loved adding this book into our daily homeschool schedule. It did not take up too much time and fit perfect into everything else we were already learning. I love finding things that add learning without stress and this book does just that!

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Our 2016-2017 Second Grade Curriculum Choices

Is it really time to start a new school year? I am not ready for this, but I know that it needs to happen. This year Ray Ray is going into the second grade. While this is not always a huge deal, to me it is. Ray Ray is my first fully homeschooled child. Everything he knows, I taught him at home. This gets me every time…

2nd Grade Curriculum Choices 2016-2017

We have spent some time thinking about what we were going to use for each subject. We finally came up with this list. While this is what we are starting out with, I cannot guarantee that it will stay this way…we homeschool and things change as they need to. There are some that I love and won't change, and there are others that I am using for now to see how they work. Either way, this is what we will be using when we start our new year on August 1, 2016.


We love Mammoth Math for Ray Ray. While it did not work for Moe Man, this curriculum is perfect for Ray Ray. We have used their First Grade program and have plans to continue using this program. I don't foresee a change for him at all when it comes to math. Mammoth Math has a strong focus on mental math, which Ray Ray is good at and I love that he is able to read and/or watch the YouTube videos to help him learn each one of the lessons. They even give us a list of fun activities or games at the beginning of each chapter that we use as a warm up each day. Ray Ray loves it, and so do I, so we will keep using this again this year.

Mammoth Math

Language Arts

While we love using our Daily Writing workbook each day, we also love the Language Arts lessons over at Easy Peasy All In One Homeschool. These lessons work on our reading, writing and spelling skills. The lessons are effective and easy at the same time. This is just what I need for Ray Ray in this area of learning. Plus, it is all free, so I won't be complaining about this at all!

Easy Peasy


This year we had the chance to work on a review of Apologia's Exploring Creation With Astronomy. This program is better than I expected! I can't wait to share the review with you soon!


Once again, we are going to Easy Peasy with this one. I love their rotation and this year we will be learning all about Ancient History. This year we get to learn about ancient Egypt, the Mayans, the Vikings the renaissance and even some early explorers! Everything is a mix of reading and hands on fun! We are so excited to be doing this with Easy Peasy!


Art is going to be a mix of things this year. I plan to use the ideas given on the Easy Peasy page. I like the ideas under Ancient that goes along with what we are learning in our history lessons. I also plan to pull some other projects out of the Early Elementary Artistic Pursuits, remember our review of this?


We will be adding and taking away during the year. We will have our music and PE classes. We will also have a few other extras throughout the year.

What are some of the curriculum choices you will be looking at using this year for 2nd grade? Are you using some of the same, or do you have something different you are using? Let me know, I would love to hear from you!

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Daily Geography ~ A Review

What can you learn in 15 minutes a day? Well, if you are using Evan Moore's Daily Geography, Grade 2 from Timberdoodle's 2nd Grade Curriculum Kit you can learn a lot in just 15 minutes a day!

Daily Geography

What It It

This is a simple workbook that includes 36 weekly lessons. Each of these lessons include a teacher resource page that will guide you in teaching the lesson to your children. There is an answer key that you can use to check the work after each day. The lessons also include geography vocabulary, a reproducible map, two questions to work on each day and a challenge question at the end of the week.

Daily Geography

Within the 6 units, we get to learn about The World in Spatial Terms, Places and Regions, Physical Systems, Human Systems, Environment and Society and The Uses of Geography. With these 6 units you are able to cover the National Geography Standards (whether or not you pay attention to these, you are able to cover them).

How We Used It

We used this with Ray Ray for his Geography lessons. I did not add anything extra at this point as I just wanted to introduce him to the topic. Every Monday we would get a new map to look at and new Vocabulary to learn about. After talking about the vocabulary and the map, we would start our first questions of the week. These questions were simple enough, yet they were effective at teaching the new topics.

Daily Geography Review

After introducing the map and the vocabulary to Ray Ray, I was able to let him have control of his week. He knew what needed to be done each day by looking at the simple layout of the questions. The questions were able to pull the child into looking at the maps without discouraging them by super tough questions. Even the challenge question at the end of the week was simple and fun.

What We Thought Of It

We loved this book. I am not one to worry about the standards, so I didn't pay attention to these minor details. I do know that I want Ray Ray to be able to read map, and this book helped with that. I loved how easy it was for me to teach this to Ray Ray and how simple this book was laid out. I did not like how the answers were right there on the page that was opposite of the map that Ray Ray had to use daily. While he knows not to cheat, the temptation was there, all the time. I had to fold the page in half to remove that temptation, or photocopy the map so that he didn't have to flip back and forth. I woluld have loved to see the answers on a different page, or at the back of the book.

Daily Geography

While using this book, we were able to learn a lot about geography and maps. This is something that we needed, and it worked for us! Ray Ray loved that it wasn't drawn out and overdone, and I loved that he didn't fight me the whole way. This is a book that we will continue to use for the rest of his 2nd grade year and I look forward to using the 3rd grade one next year!

Don't have a 2nd grader but still want to use this? That is fine! This Series is available for grades 1-6!

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