Tuesday, July 31

Time Warp (Rocky Horror) {REVIEW}

Home School in the Woods
The best way for me to teach any subject in our house is through the door of history.  Math problems, science projects...we introduce tricky ones through a historical context, and this makes the kids more willing to dig in.  We've used several activity and project packs from Home School in the Woods over the years, and recently had a chance to review our third from this particular series, Time Travelers : The Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression.  We've also used the Project Passports Greece & Egypt, as well as the Time Travelers American History Civil War & World War II, which you can find in their store.

These studies are designed for 3rd through 8th graders, but can easily be tailored a bit for whole-family teaching.  They include 25 lessons each, and are comprehensive to the era.  The files are digital and downloadable, and include everything you'd need to do a full unit, plus extras!

I start off using this product by going through all of the PDF files, choosing which versions of activities we want to use, and printing everything.  Then I spend some time putting it all together in a format that we've discovered works best for our family.  We have one binder with 'everyday' items, such as the timeline and newspaper, and another binder with single-sided activities that we'll pull a few pages from each day.  I also go through the Additional Resources and choose a few books and movies about the era to supplement our learning.

Within the downloadable files, you'll see multiple ways to print several of the items.  One example of this is in the copywork.  You have the choice of print or cursive, and also the choice of tracing or copying.  Before printing, be sure to decide which option you want your child(ren) to complete, so that you only print the ones you actually need.

The next thing I do is look over the suggested class schedule.  With our travel schedule, some days we don't work on this at all, while other days we will two one or two days worth of work.  Some of the days fit together seamlessly, while others require more time and supplies.  It's a good idea to look over everything first.  

Here is a short video I created that shows what you can expect inside the bundle and how we organize it for easy use!

The day begins with a two or three page reading of the lesson material.  Then, we begin the projet activities that accompanies the lesson.  Everyday, however, we have timeline work, copywork, and newspaper articles to complete!  Each kid has a task that they are responsible for, based on their age and level.  One of them cuts out all of our lapbook pieces because he needs work on fine motor skills.  He is also completes the tracing version of copywork, for the same reason.  Another completes all of our newspaper articles, this time for The Industrial Times (each era has their own paper), and is expected to write at his grade level based on the information we learned that day.

What DOES speak to my boy-crowd are weaponry and food!!  We did every single World War I activity in the bundle, and cooked several of the recipes, too.  We tried our hands at the penny rug and silk postcards, too, but they didn't come out very well!  We also put together all of the lapbook pieces, because the boys really enjoy doing lapbooks.

There are a great number of projects included in this bundle, which is wonderful because we can pick and choose the ones that work the best for our family.  Having all boys, we chose not to create the paper dolls or the decoupage box.  We looked at them and talked about them and how they relate to the era, but then moved on without actually creating them.  If I had little girls, I'm sure these would have been ones we spent a lot of time on since they are well-done and look like a lot of fun.  (Heck, even my mom was happy to come over and play with the paper dolls!)  This particular unit even comes with sheet music of songs from the era...which is great if you have a budding musician in the house!

Included in the download bundle is a fun board game! Get Your Kicks on Route 66 is a simple cut & go game designed for 3rd-8th graders. You print it out (there are directions for both single and double sided printing), cut out the game cards, and go!

Just recently, we also completed the Time Travelers World War 2 set (not a review product; our own dime) - here are some photos from that project as well so that you can see how they compare and contrast to each other. As you can see, there are many similarities between each unit in this series. As a busy mom, I see this as a bonus. Once I took the time to go through and understand how the units work, and created a system that worked for our family, setting up all future units went lickety-split! In addition to this series, we've also used the Project Passport series to study Ancient Greece. This series seems to focus more on ancient history, and they have a new one on Ancient Rome coming out this year.

My one and only complaint about this product is the sheer amount of ink it takes to print it all correctly!  As you can see, it took up most of my ink and I was only about 2/3 of the way through printing it at this point.  A couple of suggestions I'd make are to either (1) use a printing company, such as the Homeschool Printing Company (this is our review of it) or (2) change your printing settings to a very low quality.  Personally, the next time we print one of these, we're going with option one.

See what others are saying about Home School in the Woods at the Schoolhouse Review Crew
Hands-on-History, Project Passport, À La Carte Timelines and Time Travelers {Home School in the Woods Reviews}

Monday, July 30

Learning About Science {Review}

Intended for first through third graders, the new Learning About Science collection from WriteBonnieRose offers three different levels, each focusing on different concepts. Recently, we completed Learning About Science, Level 3 (Cursive), which includes seven concepts, spanning earth science, life science, and physical science.

At 135 pages total, each pack is approximately 18 pages long, and includes coloring, handwriting, reading comprehension, and science instruction. Each unit has concepts that are broken down into manageable paragraph length and punctuated with coloring pictures and traceable vocabulary words. In Level 3, you have the choice of print or cursive, and we chose to focus on cursive. At the end of each packet, there is a short review; it's very easy to complete, either circling or crossing out a picture. For busy moms, there is also an answer key.

  • Discussion Helps
    • The Discussion Helps document contains Creation Science resources and websites related to the topics covered in the series. The first page covers the websites that the author found to be the most helpful. The subsequent two pages offer more websites and articles, but are divided up based on the topic covered in a specific booklet of the series. For example, in our Forecasting and Understanding the Weather booklet, one of the websites offered covers Tornadoes : https://creationscience4kids.com/eden/ .
  • Forecasting and Understanding the Weather
    • This earth science unit is the one that we've chosen to focus our review around, as our son is very into weather at the moment. It discusses the elements of weather, basic meteorological concepts, and the tools used for assessing weather.
  • Kinds of Animals and How They Live
    • This pack looks specifically at vertebrates, invertebrates, and arthropods, as well as animal classification. There are over thirty animals featured in the life science unit.
  • What’s Going On Inside Plants?
    • The basic concepts of photosynthesis are covered, along with parts of a plant and different types of plants. This is one of three life science units.
  • Life in the Ocean’s Hidden Zones
    • The final life science unit looks at all five zones of the ocean and the types of plants and animals that life in them.
  • Discovering Rocks, Minerals, & Crystals
    • The first earth science unit talks about the three classes of rocks, how they are created, and their similarities. There are more than twenty specific types of rocks investigated.
  • Exploring the Earth’s Landforms
    • Covering over thirty different types of landforms, this earth science unit explores all regions and climates of the earth.
  • Energy and Its Many Forms
    • The only physical science unit included, this focuses on the five main types of energy, introduces the concepts of atoms and electricity, and looks as future sources of energy. This is the longest unit in the collection.
I love that these are bite-sized and fun. They're perfect for our summer break, because in fifteen to twenty minutes each day, my son can sit down and do some reading, some handwriting, and reinforce some of his science concepts. While he wasn't keen on summer school, he did enjoy coloring the pictures and reading aloud with me.

I also like the introductory level at which these are taught. They cover the concepts without going too deeply, and are a great way to bridge into a new concept, even at the upper elementary and early middle grade level. We are tackling weather and meteorology in-depth through a different curriculum this fall, and I appreciated how Level 3 introduced the concepts and primed him for further learning.
WriteBonnieRose wants YOUR thoughts about what additional topics you'd like to explore in Learning About Science sets. Please contact her with any topics you'd like to see in future packs at writebonnierose@gmail.com

  • Through August 15, you can save 50% on the bundled Learning About Science, Levels 1, 2, and 3 with coupon code REVIEWCREW50. You'll get each level for only $6 per set at https://writebonnierose.com/products-science/.
  • Visit her site to access tons of great printable freebies! We've used the history & geography ones quite a bit, and are just now branching out into her other subjects. No strings, no spam; just freebies.
See what others are saying about WriteBonnieRose at the Schoolhouse Review Crew!
Learning About Science collections {WriteBonnieRose Reviews}

Monday, July 23

Love, Honor & Virtue {Review}

Our boys have reached a certain age where, ahem, sensitive topics need to be broached, and yet, who wants to do so?  I don't know a parent in the world who would jump up and down with excitement about having 'the talk.'  Thanks to Great Waters Press, and their new book Love, Honor, and Virtue: Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality, now I can hand my son a book (which I have read first), let him read it, and then let conversation snippets head where they may....  Possibly not the firmest parenting plan, but one that will work for the next year or so.  Then we'll re-evaluate....or let Daddy take over.

First off, it should be noted that Hal & Melanie are my go-to folks when I have any questions about my own boys....no matter what it is, it's probably something they've been through themselves as parents!  They have an excellent podcast, which is both entertaining and informative, several great written resources, and the best gifts for boys!!!  Truthfully, whenever our family attends a homeschool convention, I lose my kids pretty quickly to their booth...they're the ones at the convention with wooden swords and guns, shooting targets, and chain mail.  What boy could resist?!

Love, Honor, and Virtue: Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality is about puberty and purity...two things that no son wants to discuss with his mother...and that's why the authors have directed it straight to him.  The narrative speaks directly to your son, and focuses on the Biblical aspects of sex, purity in a very impure world (including topics such as internet pornography), how to fight the sexual demons that society is constantly bombarded with, dusting yourself off and reclaiming a pure mind (after succumbing to a fall), how to approach a young lady, and sex in marriage.  None of these are particularly light topics, but they speak with love and humor, bringing it to a level that will keep your son interested, while trying to take the embarrassment out of the subject.

One of the reasons that I like this book is because of how realistic it is.  They don't vilify sexual desires; they explain the biology behind them.  It addresses everything from early hormonal changes to the actual birth process.  I felt that this was too mature for my almost-12 year old, but just right for my 14 year old.  (You, the parent, however, should make the decision based on your own child's maturity level.)

Another thing I like about the book is the summary section.  I can't speak to all teen boys, but mine seem to have a retention problem.  By glancing over that summary section at the end of the chapter, they are more likely to cement the concepts covered within the chapter.  Similarly, demonstrating their knowledge of the inner workings of a teen boy's mind, the authors address the issues within the book very frankly - not mincing words, or adding unnecessary words - but in an appropriate manner.  There's no need to turn five words into thirty when dealing with my boys -- they're unlikely to listen after the first five anyway.

Finally, although it's not the crux of the book, I like that they address how to form meaningful and lasting relationships with the opposite sex...focusing on building a friendship and foundation.  They bring back the concept of being intentional and principled in relationships.  Can I get a hallelujah from everyone who has watched these millennials text their way from hookup to breakup??  They also frame women as someone's sister / daughter / mother...a perspective that I think many young people need.  (I say young 'people' because it's just as important for young ladies to frame potential suitors as someone's brother / son / father.)

The book comes in paperback, digital, and audiobook format, but it is not recommended to just pop the audiobook in the car and let it play (at least, not without you listening to the whole thing first).  The authors are pretty blunt with their words.  The book is intended for boys aged 12-20, but I would definitely discuss it with those on the younger end of the spectrum.

Read a sample of Love, Honor, and Virtue here.

See what others are saying about Great Waters Press at the Homeschool Review Crew!

Love, Honor, and Virtue  AND No Longer Little {Great Waters Press Reviews}