Review: Tied 2 Teaching STEM Activities

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Our family is always on the lookout for fun, new activities we can add to our learning adventure. Even though our children aren’t as young as they used to be, hands-on activities and group involvement is something we treasure. With the help of Tied 2 Teaching and STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading we’re appreciating a change in our morning routine and exploring a world of fun.

Tied 2 Teaching is an online teaching resource with a multitude of printable bundles available for purchase. There you’ll find fun educational materials ranging from history and mathematics to holiday exploration. Just one of their many tools is STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading. STEM Activities comes with an entire year of opportunity, including over sixty-five challenges from twelve monthly bundles. Students are free to choose from either STEM Design Challenges or Building Block STEM Challenges; both include “Close Reading” which gives students a better understanding of real-life application and offer fun insight into the concept being learned.

For our adventure, our family was given a PDF download of the entire bundle. We chose to include two challenges per week into our routine, allowing one day between to gather materials and manage any printing needed. Mondays and Wednesdays were set aside for our activities; with approximately forty-five minutes given to fully explore the topic at hand. While I highly recommended all our children participate in each STEM challenge, I did not require them to do so. I wanted this to be a fun, optional learning adventure. Three of our kids gladly joined in the fun; our high school senior, junior, and my sixth grade son had a blast. Each morning designated, all materials were openly placed on the learning table for our children to explore. A few of the STEM activities we chose were “Design a House of Cards”, “Construct the Eiffel Tower”, “Design a Paper Airplane”, “Design a Balloon Tower”, and more!

We began with opening the day’s chosen bundle and clicking on the included “Close Reading” link. We were quickly taken to the Wonderopolis website where we could fully explore the topic and complete the day’s reading. We learned a great many fun new facts from each. We then tackled the challenge at hand. Some were a little more challenging than others. Who knew building a house of cards could be a tough job? Others were simple, but allowed for creative involvement. Each challenge included not only a physical activity, but printed sheets which helped us formulate a plan before moving forward with our physical activity and follow-up sheets which encouraged us to take a moment to review what we learned and might do differently next time.

There was so much we gained by using Tied 2 Teaching. We discovered we enjoy STEM activities which involve building projects. We appreciated that all links were provided and easy to access and that printable materials were available for us to use as needed. The challenges were fun, creative, simple to follow, and encouraged our family to work together.

Suggested for grades third through sixth, STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading fits the recommended category. However, we found our older students truly enjoyed the fun of each activity. We, too, learned a few new facts and always appreciate a good challenge. We also believe it to be well within the scope of slightly younger students who might appreciate a little educational push. Approached as family activity, it will help encourage working together and offer the ability to make some memories.

Always on the lookout for fun learning activities, we’re pleased to now be including STEM Activities into our regular Morning Table routine. With a multitude of activities to chose from, we still have many more to go. We can’t wait to see what we’re doing next!

If you’d like to learn more about STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading or Tied 2 Teaching, please visit them at their website and on FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest. To read additional reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what Tied 2 Teaching has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew.

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Review: Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation”

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If you’re like us, you occasionally enjoy incorporating media in your learning day. When that same media helps us draw closer to the Lord and gives us a deeper understanding of the world He created, you know we’re jumping for joy. This past month, we had the opportunity to review Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation” by Drive Thru History® and we’re incredibly excited to share this resource with you!

Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation” is a beautifully boxed DVD set which includes 3 DVD’s, with a total of 18 episodes, and a complete study guide. Throughout Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation”, our host, Dave Stotts, takes us on a journey similar to one Jesus’ disciples would have taken as they spread the Gospel throughout the world, carrying out Jesus’ instructions. Used in tandem with each episode, the included study guide will prompt further discussion with thoughtful questions and illustrations to spark the mind.

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Rather than include Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation” in our daily homeschool studies, we instead chose to incorporate the episodes into family time at the end of each day. Snacks in hand, we gathered around the television and watched an episode each evening, Monday through Friday during the course of the review. Each episode lasting no more than twenty-five minutes in length, this was a beautiful way to end our day together.

Our immediate impression was of the care which was taken in creating such quality material. The boxed set itself was lovely. The study guide was clearly laid out, with brief questions all were encouraged to participate in answering. The episodes themselves were fantastic. Cinematically, the videos were incredible. The quality was beyond expectation and overflowing with professional graphics. Frankly, we’ve never seen a history series better made!

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As our review took place leading up to the month of Easter, Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation” came at a good time. Our first episode opened with a quick review of where we left off in Drive Thru History® “The Gospels” and proceeded to walk us through an amazing adventure sharing the spread of the Gospel after Jesus’ ascension. As we progressed through each episode, we were shown such incredible sites as Stephen’s Church and Monastery, the harbor at Joppa, the ruins in Corinth, Ephesus, Malta and more. From Pentecost to the seven churches of Revelation, we followed the Gospel message being taken out into the world and the sacrifice of those who spread the message of Jesus.

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We truly enjoyed reviewing Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation”. Dave Stotts did a fantastic job as guide; finding a perfect blend of respect and lighthearted, engaging information which encouraged our family to dig deeper and learn more about the spread of God’s Word. Each episode was filled with beautiful locations, amazing historical information, and Spiritual encouragement. This has been a blessed month.

Our only regret in doing this review is that there were only 18 episodes. We would have gladly sat through several more hours of the series. Our consolation is that four other series are available for us to review and enjoy: Drive Thru History® “The Holy Land”Drive Thru History® “American History”, Drive Thru History® “The Gospels”, and Drive Thru History® “Ancient History”.

If you’d like to learn more about Drive Thru History®, along with Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation”, please visit them at their website. You can also find Drive Thru History®. on social media sites such as FacebookYouTube, and Instagram.

To read additional helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what Drive Thru History® has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

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Children’s Books – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly. But Mostly The Ugly.

My wife, thankfully, is a voracious reader. I say, “thankfully”, because someone has to vet all the literature our children read; and they read a lot. The thing is, there’s a lot of ugly stuff out there, and it’s produced by a secular entertainment industry which cares nothing for the well-being of children. All they care about is pushing the envelope in order to tantalize young minds. In the end, it’s all about appealing to the basest of human nature in order to sell a product whilst promoting a worldview untethered from moral restraints. What’s worse is that the entertainment industry is propped up by secular critics who, quite frankly, are shills for their material (whether for ideological or for pecuniary reasons).

Not all critics, however, are quick to embrace the trend toward dark children’s literature. Meghan Cox Gurdon has made the case more than once for “good taste in children’s books“. You can read her well-argued position at the Wall Street Journal. Her arguments are so good that I can’t improve on them, so I’ll simply quote her to give you an idea where she’s at.

Gurdon observes, “How dark is contemporary fiction for teens? Darker than when you were a child, my dear: So dark that kidnapping and pederasty and incest and brutal beatings are now just part of the run of things in novels directed, broadly speaking, at children from the ages of 12 to 18.

Some of her detractors have suggested that reading about such subjects does not lead one to participate in such things, to which she responds, “Reading about homicide doesn’t turn a man into a murderer; reading about cheating on exams won’t make a kid break the honor code. But the calculus that many parents make is less crude than that: It has to do with a child’s happiness, moral development and tenderness of heart. Entertainment does not merely gratify taste, after all, but creates it.

Gurdon also notes that an “argument in favor of such novels is that they validate the teen experience, giving voice to tortured adolescents who would otherwise be voiceless.” Gurdon responds to this by suggesting that “it is also possible—indeed, likely—that books focusing on pathologies help normalize them and, in the case of self-harm, may even spread their plausibility and likelihood to young people who might otherwise never have imagined such extreme measures.

When addressing the literary world’s view of this trend, Gurdon observes, “literary culture is not sympathetic to adults who object either to the words or storylines in young-adult books.” Gurdon goes on to share about an editor who “bemoaned the need, in order to get the book into schools, to strip expletives from Chris Lynch’s 2005 novel, ‘Inexcusable,’ which revolves around a thuggish jock and the rape he commits. ‘I don’t, as a rule, like to do this on young adult books,’ the editor grumbled … I don’t want to acknowledge those f—ing gatekeepers.’ By f—ing gatekeepers (the letter-writing editor spelled it out), she meant those who think it’s appropriate to guide what young people read. In the book trade, this is known as ‘banning.’ In the parenting trade, however, we call this ‘judgment’ or ‘taste.’ It is a dereliction of duty not to make distinctions in every other aspect of a young person’s life between more and less desirable options. Yet let a gatekeeper object to a book and the industry pulls up its petticoats and shrieks ‘censorship!’

In a recent Imprimis article (July/August 2013 issue) adapted from a speech given by Gurdon at Hillsdale College on March 12, 2013, she again shared about those on the secular Left who view her efforts as repressing freedom of expression. This objection is, of course, an hypocritical double-standard. In fact, Gurdon notes in her speech that such secularists “have their own list of books they claim are tinged with racism or jingoism or that depict [GASP!] traditional gender roles.” Gurdon’s larger point is that “the self-proclaimed anti-book-banners on the Left agree that books influence children,” insofar as they demonstrate this by preferring some books to others. This unavoidable elephant in the room is a damning indictment against irresponsible persons who would despoil children’s innocence by promoting an endless stream of material which presents nothing more than (if I can borrow from Dennis Prager) “a proctologist view” of the world.

Rather than continuing, I would invite you to search out Gurdon’s articles on the subject and read through them for yourselves. Allow me to share the ending words of her Hillsdale College speech:

Let me close with Saint Paul the Apostle in Philippians 4:8:

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.

 And let us think about these words when we go shopping for books for our children.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

FG

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Our October Reads

 

our_october_readsOctober has come and gone. While we most assuredly made time for great literature, this month had us occupied with reading of a different sort. Political material! It made for many a fun conversation, and we all learned a great deal about what is going on in our state and country. In between discussions, events, and family gatherings you could find us in our respective corners digging into this month’s incredible reads.

We’ve broken down our list into categories and included our personal rating from zero to five stars. To read more about a particular book, simply click the title!

Learning Resources:

  • Walden (Henry David Thoreau) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- A vivid account of the time that Henry D. Thoreau lived alone in a secluded cabin at Walden Pond. For the student and for the general reader, this is the ideal presentation of Thoreau’s great document of social criticism and dissent.
  • Narrative on the Life of Frederick Douglass (Frederick Douglass) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Frederick Douglass’s Narrative, first published in 1845, is an enlightening and incendiary text. Born into slavery, Douglass became the preeminent spokesman for his people during his life; his narrative is an unparalleled account of the dehumanizing effects of slavery and Douglass’s own triumph over it.
  • Historium (Richard Wilkinson and Jo Nelson) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- There are more than 160 historical artifacts to be discovered in Welcome to the Museum: Historium. Wander the galleries of this museum whenever you wish—it’s open 365 days a year!—and discover a collection of curated objects on every page, accompanied by informative text. Each chapter features a different ancient civilization, from the Silla dynasty of Korea to ancient Rome.

Children’s Books:

  • Poem-Mobiles: Crazy Car Poems (J. Patrick Lewis & Douglas Florian) ⭐️⭐️⭐️- The U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate and an award-winning children’s poet join their prolific forces in this picture book of poems about cars. But they’re not just any cars…
  • The Night Gardener (The Fan Brothers) ⭐️⭐️⭐️- One day, William discovers that the tree outside his window has been sculpted into a wise owl. In the following days, more topiaries appear, and each one is more beautiful than the last. Soon, William’s gray little town is full of color and life. And though the mysterious night gardener disappears as suddenly as he appeared, William—and his town—are changed forever.
  • The Little Gardener (Emily Hughes) ⭐️⭐️- There was once a little gardener and his garden meant everything to him. He worked hard, very hard, but he was just too little (or at least he felt he was). A story that teaches us just how important it is to persist and try, no matter what the odds.
  • The Alphabet Primer Series (BabyLit Books) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️-

How are we rating these reads? Good question! If the book has a five, whether learning or for fun, it’s clean and we want it on our bookshelf permanently. Four stars are sorely tempting us, but as our local library carries them we’re in luck. Three stars are worth a look, but we don’t see ourselves reading them too often. Two stars were entertaining, but once was enough. One star was acceptable. And zero. Well, it’s zero.

What to be on the lookout for… 

  • Historium, part of the Welcome to the Museum Series, is fabulous. We’re in love with each of the books. The artwork is beautifully done, and the pages within offer hours of learning fun.
  • Our family likes to collect picture books. This month’s selections were a great deal of fun. The Night Gardener was incredibly sweet. The Alphabet Primers from BabyLit had us wishing we still had little ones. But we not going to let that stop us. A great many books from this series will more than likely find their way onto this mama’s bookshelf in the very near future.
  • Walden was a lovely surprise. We weren’t sure what to expect, and I didn’t know how much the kids would appreciate the essays within. Surprisingly my children loved it! They found the language beautiful and Thoreau’s descriptions and thoughts meaningful.

The weather is finally cooling down, and we’ve stocked up on ingredients for hot cocoa. This is the perfect weather for curling up with a good book and immersing ourselves in a story. Join us again during the month of November as we explore a world of books and the adventure of reading. What will we read next?

We’re curious… Do your literature selections tend to correspond to other areas of learning?

“I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.”
~ Psalm 101:3

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Our September Reads

our_september_reads_2018Fall has officially arrived! – Well, in theory. – Here in SoCal we’re trying to wrap our minds around the fact that it’s fall while still enjoying our swimming pools and sipping lemonade. Learning is well underway, with more activities than ever crowding our calendars and keeping us on our toes. In the midst of all the adventure, it’s time to share the few reads we’ve enjoyed during September. The month’s list is short, but sweet. And each one of them a blessing in one way or another.

We’ve broken down our list into categories and included our personal rating from zero to five stars. To read more about a particular book, simply click the title!

Learning Resources:

Children’s Books:

How are we rating these reads? Good question! If the book has a five, whether learning or for fun, it’s clean and we want it on our bookshelf permanently. Four stars are sorely tempting us, but as our local library carries them we’re in luck. Three stars are worth a look, but we don’t see ourselves reading them too often. Two stars were entertaining, but once was enough. One star was acceptable. And zero. Well, it’s zero.

What to be on the lookout for… 

  • Politics According to the Bible is an outstanding resource. This was a suggestion through our pastor, and we can’t say enough good things about this book. We have chosen to adopt this as a portion of our oldest daughter’s senior program, and couldn’t be more pleased by what she is learning. We highly recommend this selection.
  • Scarlet Letter was chosen in connection with our history lessons, and has provided a passageway into wonderful conversation and additional learning. While War of the Worlds was a book club choice which offered a fun look into the world of science fiction.
  • The Atlas of Fairy Tales was truly charming, although not what I anticipated. I was given the impression the book itself would be – well – maps! Instead what we found were re-tellings of classic fairy tale stories. Cute, but not “atlas-like” in any regard.

With the start of a new learning year and the return of scheduled activities, our family often notices a smaller collection of reads. However, we’re confident things will pick back up with an entirely new stockpile of books. Join us again during the month of October as we explore a world of books and the adventure of reading. What will we read next?

We’re curious… Does your family determine reading selections which correspond with the seasons/holidays?

“I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.”
~ Psalm 101:3

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Review: Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric Complete Program by Roman Roads Media

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“Asking ‘Why rhetoric?’ is similar to asking ‘Why logic?’ Again, the answer is self-evident. Without logic, the question couldn’t exist. Without rhetoric, the question couldn’t be well answered. The question, then, is not ‘Why should we study rhetoric?’ The more appropriate question is, ‘How could we not study rhetoric?'”

We love developing new skills. With the help of Roman Roads Media and Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric Complete Program our family is on a new adventure learning the fine art of effective communication.

Roman Roads Media specializes in classical curriculum for home and classroom use. Amongst their incredible line of resources families can find materials for teaching logic, western culture, latin, poetry, history, and rhetoric. To assist us in our studies, we chose to take a closer look at Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric, recommended for high school students and above.

The complete program includes five key components:

  • A Fitting Words Textbookroman_roads_3
  • A Student Workbook, including exercises and activities for each lesson, and six Speech Judging Sheets.
  • An Answer Key, including answers to every exercise and exam.
  • A Fitting Words Exam Pack, including nine exam reviews and nine exams. Exams being two to four pages in length, primarily consisting of essay questions.
  • And a Fitting Words video course, – Streaming or Blu-Ray/DVD + Streaming – in which students receive in-depth teaching from the author for every lesson. Students are given numerous examples, illustrations, and video clips demonstrating good oratory from history, extra activities, and more.

As the curriculum is recommended for high school students and above, I determined this would be a perfect fit for my high school senior. While I do have another student in high school, I wished to use my oldest daughter as a gauge for whether her younger siblings would benefit from the curriculum earlier in their learning program. As I had never taken a classical rhetoric course myself, I thought it would be fun to join her in her studies. One afternoon a week we sit down together and complete a given lesson; our time lasting approximately two hours. This schedule best suits our routine and needs; however the program could easily be completed throughout the course of the week should a family desire to do so. Having received the curriculum a month ago, we have thus far completed the entirety of Unit One and will continue on until the finish of the course at the close of our year.

Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric has proven to be a well-organized, wonderful resource for us. The curriculum is simple to understand, thought-provoking, engaging, and enjoyable. Video lessons are brief yet highly educational; insightful and Biblically sound. The given exercises are more than manageable and often fun verbal prompts for discussion. While we consider ourselves fairly well-read, we’ve been encouraged to study works we had yet to explore such as selections from Quintilian and Plato’s Gorgias. We’ve developed memorization by studying Scripture and key speeches given throughout the Bible.

Having used the course for several weeks, we are confident this was the right choice for our family and accurately assessed for high school students and above. We’ve found the lessons to be achievable for my oldest daughter, while encouraging her to study further. Our high school sophomore has expressed a desire to join in our lessons and she will be doing so from this point on.

While Fitting Words does a beautiful job teaching rhetoric, we felt the curriculum was a perfect fit because we had already laid a strong foundation in logic and apologetics. While these studies are by no means required in order to use Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric, students might find they enhance the learning experience and compliment the lessons. Thankfully, Roman Roads also offers a course in Logic to assist families in teaching this skill.

“Rhetoric is the art of using words well, and is measured by our ability to teach men the truth, to move men to goodness, and to delight men with verbal beauty. Effective speaking and writing is informative, powerful, and elegant.”

Fitting Words is a thorough course in rhetoric, and we are enjoying the multitude of benefits it offers. We are excited to continue on with our studies and develop this lovely skill. Thanks to Roman Roads Media and Fitting Words our family is on a new adventure learning the fine art of effective communication.

If you’d like to learn more about Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric Complete Program or Roman Roads Media, please visit them at their website and on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. To read additional reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what Roman Roads Media has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew.

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We’re curious... Have you ever taken a course on classical rhetoric?

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Our July Reads

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Our family has officially classified July as the busiest month of the year. With three birthdays, a comic convention, the end of our summer reading program, and a holiday thrown in it is amazing we’ve managed to get much reading done. Did we forget to mention we also returned to formal learning? But where there is a will, there is a way. And reading time was most definitely found!

We’ve broken down this month’s list into categories and included our personal rating from zero to five stars. To read more about a particular book, simply click the title!

Picture Books:

  • The Little Old Man Who Could Not Read (Irma Simonton Black & Seymourlittle_old_man_who_could_not_read Fleishman) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – An old toy maker never wanted to learn to read until his wife went away on a visit and he had to do the grocery shopping by himself.
  • Science Verse (Jon Scieszka) ⭐⭐ – What if a boring lesson about the food chain becomes a sing-along about predators and prey? A twinkle-twinkle little star transforms into a twinkle-less, sunshine-eating-and rhyming Black Hole? What if amoebas, combustion, metamorphosis, viruses, the creation of the universe are all irresistible, laugh-out-loud poetry?

Learning Resources:

  • A Ticket Around the World (Natalia Diaz & Melissa Owens) ⭐⭐⭐ – Join a young boy as he hops around the globe, visiting friends in 13 different countries spanning all six populated continents. Along the way, he introduces us to each friend’s environment and customs, and shares interesting facts about each country’s culture, language, food, geography, wildlife, landmarks and more.
  • When on Earth? (DK Publishing) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – In more than 60 specially commissioned maps, this one-of-a-kind history book shows where, when, and how history happened.

General Reading:

  • Shelf Life: Stories by the Book (Gary Paulsen) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Newbery Honor author Gary Paulsen has long been an ardent supporter of books, reading, and literacy programs. To further the cause of ProLiteracy Worldwide, he asked prominent authors to write an original story; the only restriction was that each story was to include mention of a book.

How are we rating these reads? Good question! If the book has a five, whether learning or for fun, it’s clean and we want it on our bookshelf permanently. Four stars are sorely tempting us, but as our local library carries them we’re in luck. Three stars are worth a look, but we don’t see ourselves reading them too often. Two stars were entertaining, but once was enough. One star was acceptable. And zero. Well, it’s zero.

What to be on the lookout for… 

  • The Little Old Man Who Could Not Read is a classic for a reason. This book is everything charming and lovely; with a special message for kids who might be struggling with a desire to read.
  • Science Verse is funny, but please note this is not written from a Biblical worldview.
  • Shelf Life was a neat read, and a lesson in the telling of short stories.

Our local summer reading program has officially wrapped up for the year, and we’re a little sorry to see it go. With a return to formal book studies, however, we’ll see an increase in classical literature and more fun on the way. Join us again during the month of August as we explore a world of literature and the adventure of reading. What will we read next?

“I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.”
~ Psalm 101:3

Your Turn!: When does your family plan to return to formal studies and book work?

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Review: Bible Study Guide for All Ages

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We love studying the Bible. So when we have an opportunity to discover new resources to learn God’s Word, we jump at the chance of a new adventure. Thanks to a review of Bible Study Guide for All Ages and their Advanced (5th & 6th grade) pages, we’re gaining a better understanding of Scripture and having tons of fun.

“The Bible Study Guide is a Bible curriculum that takes all ages through the Bible at the same time, studying some Old Testament and some New Testament each year.
Students learn the “big picture” of the story of the Bible, detailed knowledge of the Bible and, best of all, how to apply it to their lives.”
~ Bible Study Guide for All Ages

To get a full picture of what Bible Study Guide for All Ages offers, our family was provided an opportunity to review several unique resources to help us in our daily lessons. We chose to get a closer look at the Advanced Student Pages, recommended for grades fifth and sixth. We were given a physical set of the Advanced Student Pages, an Advanced Teacher KeyBible Book Summary Cards, Wall Maps and Timeline, and a Label Book.

Our family has been on summer break for the past few weeks, but Bible is an area of learning we never put on hold. Several days a week, the goal was to find a quiet spot in the house and focus on our studies. Before beginning our lessons, it was necessary to take an afternoon to look through all of the provided material and familiarize myself with the program. The Wall Maps and Timeline in particular needed special attention, as preparations had to be made in order to begin our first lessons. Once this was accomplished, daily learning progressed smoothly with preparation taking minutes and lessons being approximately twenty to thirty minutes in length; including wall map, timeline, and Bible Card portions of each lesson.

Lessons in Bible Study Guide for All Ages contain a number of daily activities. Lesson sheets are double-sided, printed on a legal-sized pad. On the first side, students are guided through either map studies or a timeline study based on the Bible lesson; alternating between the two from one lesson to another.  After searching out and reading the lesson’s Bible passage, children are then taken through a series of Bible activities such as “Remember It”, which asks questions based on the reading; “Memory Workout”; “Guess What”, offering fun background information and trivia; Timeline or Map activities; “Apply It”; and “Get Active”, which offers practical tips for applying the lesson. The back side of each lesson includes a large comic strip of the day’s lesson, in which children are guided through a series of steps to complete the comic to tell the Bible story.

The Wall Maps and Timeline set includes three large maps and a large timeline. These tools are used daily as students progress through their lessons and learn about Scripture. To assist us, we were given a Label Book which included tips on labeling our charts and specific labels for each lesson. Labels are clearly identified with corresponding lessons, and those which will be reused through the entire course. Labels require minor preparation, such as being cut out and ready for placing on charts as directed in The Advanced Teacher Key.

The Advanced Teacher Key assists parents/educators with helping children fill in their daily lesson sheets and offers helpful information to make the most of each activity. For families who choose to use the large wall maps and timeline, the Advanced Teacher Key gives specific detail as to which labels will be needed for each lesson, and when to place them on the appropriate chart. Together with the Bible Book Summary Cards, which lay out specific details regarding each book of the Bible, students are given a full picture of Scripture covered.

Using Bible Study Guide for All Ages was simple and well-organized. The program runs smoothly and seamlessly, requiring very little preparation. The variety of activities for each lesson were helpful in keeping lessons from becoming monotonous or dull. We liked the map and timeline selections in the advanced student pages, but found after several lessons that we preferred doing all such work on our lesson page itself and not using the wall maps further. However, we could see the benefit in having a large, present reminder of lessons throughout the day. The comic portion of each study was a lot of fun, and an activity we looked forward to completing each day. With a suggested age category for the Advanced Student Pages being fifth and sixth grade, we believe this to be a good fit. The lessons were too simple for all of our older children, in junior and senior high, but it was a fun experience encouraging our youngest in his studies.

While we enjoyed the overall program, we would have liked to see the curriculum begin with Genesis 1, instead of beginning with later chapters on Abraham. It is important not to assume children have an understanding of Creation nor the fall of mankind, which is essential to a solid Biblical foundation. Parents might wish to be aware that at this stage in learning the curriculum is intended to help children better understand Scripture and its place in history, and will not be an in-depth Bible study. Considering these factors, we found Bible Study Guide for All Ages to be a good survey of the Bible, helping us gain a big picture of God’s work.

 

We love studying God’s Word and learning more about the world He created. Reviewing Bible Study Guide for All Ages and their Advanced pages has been a learning experience and a lot of fun. If you’d like to learn more about Advanced Curriculum or Bible Study Guide for All Ages, please visit them at their website and on Facebook and Twitter. To read helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what Bible Study Guide for All Ages has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew.

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Your Turn!: Are timelines a part of your daily Bible study?

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Our June Reads

 

our_june_reads_2018It’s summer time! Instead of things slowing down, they’ve amped up higher than ever with a ton of fun activities and even more incredible reads. Summer reading programs have begun, and this year we’re participating in two separate libraries; reaping the rewards of great literature. June’s list has a few new books to hit the market, picture books, and others which added to our learning fun. As usual, all of our reads were an adventure!

We’ve broken down the list into categories and included our personal rating from zero to five stars. To read more about a particular book, simply click the title!

Picture Books:

  • Photicular Books (Workman Publishing Company) ⭐⭐⭐ – Photicular technology. Each full-color image is like a 3-D movie on the page, delivering a rich, fluid, immersive visual experience. The result is breathtaking. The cheetah bounds. The gazelle leaps. The African elephant snaps its ears. The gorilla munches the ocean_puzzlesleaves off a branch. It’s mesmerizing, as visually immediate as a National Geographic or Animal Planet special.
  • Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor (Robert Burleigh) ⭐⭐ – Filled with gorgeous illustrations by acclaimed artist Raúl Colón, this illustrated biography shares the story of female scientist, Marie Tharp, a pioneering woman scientist and the first person to ever successfully map the ocean floor.
  • Ocean Puzzles (Dr. Gareth Moore) ⭐⭐⭐ – Ahoy! You’re an accidental pilot aboard a submarine that’s sinking fast! Solve the puzzles to take control and navigate safely back to land. Devised by an expert on brain training, these mental gymnastics—and a friendly dolphin—will see you through your ocean adventure! You can’t skip a puzzle, but there are hints to help and full answers to get you on your way.
  • The Big Green Book of the Big Blue Sea (Helaine Becker) ⭐⭐ – The Big Green Book of the Big Blue Sea shows how the ocean works and why this immense ecosystem needs our protection. Experiments using everyday materials help explain scientific concepts, such as why the ocean is salty, how temperature affects water density and why fish don’t get waterlogged.atlas_obscura

Learning Resources:

Books for Mum:

  • The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society (Casia Lisa) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – guernsey_literaryJanuary 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb.

How are we rating these reads? Good question! If the book has a five, whether learning or for fun, it’s clean and we want it on our bookshelf permanently. Four stars are sorely tempting us, but as our local library carries them we’re in luck. Three stars are worth a look, but we don’t see ourselves reading them too often. Two stars were entertaining, but once was enough. One star was acceptable. And zero. Well, it’s zero.

What to be on the lookout for… 

  • The photicular books were amazing to view. Learning how these books are made was even more fascinating.
  • One of our libraries is focusing on an ocean theme this summer, thus the increase in literature on this topic. Ocean Puzzles is an incredible picture book; one in a series. The included puzzles will challenge your children to think hard.
  • I never thought I would be a collector of anything. However, I’ve discovered I love maps/globes and encyclopedia of information. Atlas Obscura is amazing! I borrowed our copy from the local library. But, it’s on my growing list of “need to own”.
  • We’re studying Botany this coming learning year, which is why we purchased The Botany Coloring Book, but, frankly, it’s amazing! If you’ve yet to see it, check it out! It’s incredible.
  • The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society was a suggestion from my oldest girl. It seems a movie is coming out in a couple of months and, being a period piece, she was drawn into the story. It was a great read, but probably not one for the kids. There is a little – a very little – bit of language, and the subject matter being post-WWII the read was a sobering one. I am very much looking forward to the movie, which I can ClearPlay to ensure anything inappropriate be removed; allowing for our family’s enjoyment.

Coming soon… Comic Con, a day trip, heading back to daily book lessons, and so much more. Homeschooling keeps us busy exploring and learning through life experiences. Join us again during the month of July as we explore a world of literature and the adventure of reading. What will we read next?

“I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.”
~ Psalm 101:3

Your Turn!: Is your family signed up for a summer reading program?

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Review: The World’s Story 1: The Ancients

review_theworldstory

I have a confession. I have not been happy with our history curriculum choice. It came highly recommended, it had a ton of hands-on activities, and it covered a great deal of information. What was the problem? Not once did it mention the Bible, nor God’s plan for the world He created. I found myself constantly needing to add my own supplements to the lessons and, on occasion, re-word selections entirely. Now, thanks to The World’s Story 1: The Ancients from Master Books, we have the opportunity to explore history like never before, and this mama couldn’t be more pleased!

The World’s Story 1: The Ancients tells the fascinating story of ancient civilizations of the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas from a strong Biblical perspective. Featuring an engaging historical narrative, The Ancients covers Biblical history, educating students about civilizations mentioned in the Bible, up to the development of the early Church. Designed for grades sixth through eighth, The Ancients is the first in a three-volume series in The World’s Story.

“I like to say that if we do not learn history, it is impossible to learn from history. If we do not learn from history, we cannot change the future. We need to learn the mistakes of the past so that we do not repeat them; we need to understand the lessons of the past so that we can make better decisions.”
~ Angela O’Dell

Our family was offered a PDF copy of both student text and teacher guide of The World’s Story 1: The Ancients, which was especially beneficial as I could print multiple copies of any worksheets needed; essential in a home where history is studied as a family unit. The student textbook contains twenty-eight chapters covering creation through the end of the Roman empire. Each chapter includes a brief reading, Biblical references, map work, opportunities for analysis and connection to the world in which they live today, photos, and much more. The teacher guide includes weekly lesson schedules, student activity sheets, review, answer keys, and more. A comprehensive introduction review_worldstory1_studentpagesassists parents in making the most of this curriculum, including tips for struggling learners and teaching multiple ages.

This was a fantastic opportunity for me to gain an overview of the curriculum itself; determining whether it would be a good fit in the future, giving a feel for the material, and where the Lord might be directing our lessons. The World’s Story 1: The Ancients is the first in a coming series of three. The World’s Story 2: The Middle Ages will be available soon; with The World’s Story 3: The Modern Age being released Spring 2019. A review of The Ancients would determine whether an investment in further volumes would be something of interest.

Over the course of a week, I spent several hours a day studying both the student text and teacher guide. The curriculum itself did not mandate this, by any means. The Ancients is a well constructed course, with many helps to assist both student and parent in their daily lessons. Under normal circumstances, an hour’s reading through the introductory passages and helps would have sufficed to begin the course. My main objective was to compare The World’s Story with our current curriculum with a remarkably similar name, thus more time was given for this review. I found the curriculum to be a perfect fit for the suggested age category, with the possibility of being extended further for older students.

I cannot say enough lovely things about this curriculum. I appreciated the introduction and the care taken in explaining the importance of studying ancient history. Not all students have an appreciation for this and the author did a fantastic job laying a foundation for the lessons. We loved that the Bible is the ultimate guide in using this curriculum, leading students back to God continually. Our previous curriculum – while well-organized and hands-on – missed the key element of a strong Biblical foundation and continual Scriptural reference. review_worldstory1_teacherpagesWe’re incredibly excited that we are given a full, accurate account of the world’s beginning and a better understanding of God’s plan for His people. We’re quite pleased with the amount, and diversity, of activities included in the curriculum. The World’s Story far exceeds anything we could have anticipated. Families can expect to explore art studies, artifacts study, map work, copy work, narration, sketching, hands-on activities, timelines, “Dig Deeper” selections which include additional research prompts, and so much more! And the best part? Everything is included in the set. No more buying of additional quiz/test books or answer keys. This set is all we needed to start our adventure in history.

While a particular curriculum selection might fit our family overall, we inevitably need to tweak the details and rearrange lessons to best meet our needs. I was pleased to discover author Angela O’Dell had already anticipated this and created the material for such a purpose. Aside from exchanging a few written exercises for verbal, this curriculum is a fantastic fit. One thing we might note is that The World’s Story does not include suggested literature selections related to each chapter. However, in each “Dig Deeper!” exercise, several areas of further study are suggested which would help direct in choosing additional reading.

With the help of The World’s Story 1: The Ancients and Master Books this mum has gone from discouraged to excited about this coming year’s study of history. I can’t wait to dig into our lessons, knowing everything we’re learning is directing our children back to God’s Word and His plan for our family. I am overjoyed by the amount of fun, educational adventure we’re going to have this year, and it’s all thanks to this remarkable addition to our learning routine!

If you’d like to learn more about The World’s Story 1: The Ancients and Master Books please visit them at their website – where you can download a preview or place your order for this incredible resource – and on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube!

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Your Turn!: How “hands-on” is history in your home, and how has it changed as your children began high school years?

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