TOS Review: Apologia Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics

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Today’s review is for Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics from Apologia Educational Ministries. Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics is a homeschool science curriculum for K-6 grades. As with all Apologia resources, this is a Christian curriculum, teaching that God made everything in the universe, while teaching about things like atoms, molecules, simple chemicals, laws of motion, electricity, magnetism, and simple machines.

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The textbook has fourteen lessons, which each lesson taking approximately two weeks each, depending on how your family chooses to work with the book.  The Chemistry and Physics Notebooking Notebooking Journal and Junior Notebooking Journals include suggested schedules. We didn’t really use the lesson plans, but I let my sixth grader read at his own pace, and we still went through a lesson every two weeks, with him reading a few pages every day on his own. Continue reading

TOS Review: IXL.com

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Today’s review is for a fun math practice website, IXL.com. IXL does also have a Language Arts program, but it’s only for second-fourth grades, so we didn’t use it.

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IXL is not so much a learning program as it is a practice program. Each level, Pre-K through eighth grade, plus Geometry, Algebra, and Algebra II, is based on state standards, so this could be a fun way to make sure your kids are ready for standardized tests, as many states require these for homeschoolers. If your child is in public school, IXL is a fun change from worksheets and textbooks. Help relieve the “test stress” by letting them play a little. Continue reading

TOS Review: The Fascinating World of Insects DVD

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If you’re tired of trying to get the kids to study books, you’ll enjoy this review. BrainFood Learning has three great DVDs.

My boys couldn’t decide which DVD they wanted to request, and I couldn’t get them to agree on one, so we ended up drawing from a hat. We ended up with Fascinating World of Insects, and despite Jeffrey’s aversion to bugs, even he was drawn in as we watched the DVD.

 photo insects_front_500__981921320383955300400_zps866e5588.jpgInsects featured are: grasshopper, ladybug, rhino beetle, firefly, mosquito, honey bee, water strider, ant, praying mantis, dragonfly, and butterfly.

Each insect is shown in its natural habitat, and the DVD gives a few minutes of facts about the bug. I like that it was long enough to give us information, but not so long that the kids got bored. This video is appropriate for all ages, and even your little ones won’t be bored by excessive narration.

After each segment is a short pause to supply a definition for a word from the previous segment, such as metamorphosis or pollination.

Bennett says his favorite insect was the praying mantis, but for weeks, when we’d go to the pool, he’d see a bug, and exclaim, “It’s a water slider!” (No, that’s not a typo.) Jeffrey claims to not have a favorite (he really doesn’t like bugs), but we did learn some interesting facts, especially about fireflies.

You can watch the DVD all the way through, or select specific insects from the menu. (Doesn’t that sound icky? Selecting insects from a menu? Anyway….)

At the end of the DVD is a review quiz. BrainFood has also released a study guide to accompany each DVD.

Bennett is watching it again right now, and he asked me if we’ve ever seen a praying mantis. Then the narrator said that the praying mantis lives in Asia.
B: That’s why we haven’t seen one. They live in Asia.
Me: I think we may have seen one at the zoo.
B: No. They only live in Asia…. But I think I saw one once that walked from Asia to Georgia.
Ah, the fascinating mind of a five-year-old….

How to get it

Fascinating World of Insects DVD $14.99

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TOS Review: Memoria Press Geography I (Grade 4+)

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Jeffrey has long been interested in maps, so he was excited to get Geography I from Memoria Press to review. Geography I covers the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. The course includes a Textbook, a Student Workbook, and a Teacher’s Guide. You’ll also receive a United States States and Capitals Review Student Workbook and Teacher’s Guide. Jeffrey was excited that he knew about half of the state capitals although he’s never studied them. He knows all of them now. 😉

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TOS: Scaredy Cat Reading System Level 1 (Pre-school)

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Today’s review is for the Scaredy Cat Reading System from Joyce Herzog, and let me tell you, I had trouble getting away from the kid long enough to write this review. Several times a day, since we received the program, he comes to me and says, “Mama, can we do my reading now?” Lest you think I’m neglecting him, we actually sit down every time and “do reading”. His attention span gets us through 30-45 minutes before he’s ready to move on, but he always wants to do more later.

Joyce Herzog separates the letters into groups according to how the sounds are made, rather than teaching the letters in alphabetical order. For example, B and D are two of the “first name” letters – the sound you hear at the beginning of their “name” is the sound they make. My 4-year-old has been wanting to learn to read for a couple years (he has a big brother he wants to keep up with), but nothing was helping the letters and sounds stick in his head. Part of that was that he just wasn’t ready, and part of it was that I couldn’t find a way to explain it to him so it made sense – to him (it all made perfect sense to me.) Continue reading

TOS Review: TouchMath (Pre-K)

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TouchMath is a multi-sensory math program for Pre-K through 2nd grade. It uses TouchPoints to help children connect an actual value to the numerals they see written. We used the Pre-K program. You can easily check out the other programs here:

TouchMath is a full math curriculum. Suggested usage is 4-5 days a week for 2-2 1/2 times your child’s age. (So for a 4-year-old, you would spend 8-10 minutes a day.) The program is a download of Sequence of Skills (particular to that level), lesson plans, worksheets, and Progress Monitoring Records to make it easy to record your child’s, well, progress in each unit. You also have the option of adding various manipulatives to your lessons. I’ll tell you how we used some of them, and list all of them with links at the bottom of the page. Continue reading

SchoolhouseTeachers.com: The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew

I’m so excited to be a part of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew for 2013! Not only will I have the chance to try out some great curriculum options, but I get to tell you all about them so you can make informed choices for your family. I can’t wait to see what the year holds for us! My first review is for SchoolhouseTeachers.com, so let’s go!

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SchoolhouseTeachers.com is a homeschooling parent’s dream website. With more than 25 subjects ranging from Pre-K to high school, every family can find something that works for them. Brought to us by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, this site is a fabulous resource. Depending on the subject, you can use daily, weekly, or monthly lesson plans to put together a full curriculum for your student or just pick one or two subjects to supplement your regular lessons. Or you can do what we’re doing and just pick out the subjects that look fun and do the lessons for those. 😉 Continue reading