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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Curriculum 101: A Series Review!

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One of the biggest struggles homeschooling families battle is which curriculum is best for their children. We become overwhelmed by the amount of curriculum available, struggle to find the right fit for each of our children, proceed to doubt each choice made for at least the first several weeks, and continue to search for new ways of teaching well after we’ve already begun our year.

To this end, we thought we’d spend time launching discussions on all things curriculum.

What you’ll find in this series: Encouragement, help, tips, hints, and open discussion on what’s worked for our families and what hasn’t.

What you won’t find in this series: A push toward any curriculum in particular. Our desire is to spend time in open conversation with you readers! We would love to share how we’ve taught each subject; what’s worked for us; and ways we’re still attempting to improve in each subject. What we don’t want to do is fit your child into our homeschooling box.

We’re praying you’ll join us in this adventure. Consider this an open invitation to share your thoughts. We’d love to hear from you readers on each topic; letting us know your thoughts, tips, and links to related articles.

Reading
Writing
Arts/Crafts
Bible
Grammar & Composition
Arithmetic
History & Geography
Science
PreK Helps
Music
Computer Sciences
Coding
P.E.
Foreign Language

May this series enrich each of us. And, may the Lord use this time to encourage us all in our homeschooling adventures. ~Cristina

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Searching for What Works

searching_for_what_worksI have a confession. I bought a book – a set of books, really – and they just aren’t working for us. I’ve tried to renegotiate and finagle; I’ve tried to beef them up with additional materials. But the sad, sad fact is they just aren’t what my kids need. It seems I am back to searching for what works.

You’d think after many years of homeschooling this mama would finally have it down, wouldn’t you? After all, once we find a good curriculum it ought to work for the remainder of our schooling experience. Theoretically. However, once you’ve done this a while you realize something. Kids change! What works one year, doesn’t work another. What worked for one child, won’t for another. It can be just a tad frustrating. A tad.

It can be a continual search for materials which best fit our kids needs, and our household budget. How do we determine which curriculum works best? When do we make that investment, and when do we walk away? While we seem to go through this process each year, weighing each child’s needs, there are a few constants our family stands by:

Christian Materials (or at least not anti-Semitic/Christian) – As Christians, we try to ensure our children’s learning is centered on Christ. When at all possible, we purchase materials based on our worldview.

Budget – Is this something I can do myself, find somewhere else for less expensive, or get at a discount? If not…

Longevity – Will this last for only a month or so? Can I make this stretch for more than one child? Some materials are worth the high price, even for only one child; others could be set aside for something better.

Preparation – Will this help my child be ready for whatever future the Lord has prepared for them? One child may need to be challenged in a particular area, whereas another needs something completely different. I want to ensure each child has what they need to fulfill their calling.

Time Consuming – I don’t mean for my kids, I mean for me! Is this curriculum going to take up mounds of my time in the planning, prepping, and teaching? If so, I might wish to regroup.

Challenging – This is for my kids! I want them to be stretched and challenged. (Notice I said challenged and not overwhelmed!) I want our kids to be pushed to achieve more, continuing to find their own limits.

Enjoyment Level – Lastly… While I understand some subjects might be forcefully endured, especially during high school, I like to make their learning as fun as possible. Will my kids enjoy this particular curriculum or is there something which might excite them to learn more?

While there is no perfect method for choosing which curriculum works best for our kids, the checklist above helps guide us in narrowing down our choices. Each curriculum we’ve used, no matter how long we’ve used it, has always taught us something valuable. Even if it’s just to appreciate the beauty of something else… anything else!

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
~ Proverbs 19:21

Your Turn!: What are your criteria for picking new curriculum? Share your list with us and help other homeschooling families in their journey to finding new learning materials!

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Review: The World’s Story 1: The Ancients

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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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Review: Critical Thinking Detective Book 1 from The Critical Thinking Co.™

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When our family first began homeschooling, I found myself overwhelmed by the wealth of information available. I was undecided regarding personal goals for our children or which method of homeschooling was best. Through prayer and my husband’s leading, we determined there were three goals we were seeking for our children. We wanted them to read well, so that they might take in the Word of God; write well, so that they could communicate what the Lord was speaking to them; and think well, in order to analyze the world in which they live and serve the Lord righteously. During this past month, our family had the pleasure of reviewing Critical Thinking Detective Book 1 from The Critical Thinking Co.™ which is helping us maintain these goals and encouraging our children to put on their thinking caps!

Producing quality products since 1958, The Critical Thinking Co.™ has a vast selection ofreview_criticalthinking_sample2 resources designed to help teach children critical thinking. Through the medium of math, vocabulary, reading, writing, science, and more, students are taught to analyze information and gain a deeper understanding of the world in which they live. Critical Thinking Detective Book 1 is one of several in the Critical Thinking Detective Lineup. A 32-page paperback workbook, Book 1 leads students through a series of detective cases challenging them to analyze data and develop observation skills. Designed for grades four through twelve, students will find each case fun to solve. 

“If we teach children everything we know, their knowledge is limited to ours. If we teach children to think, their knowledge is limitless.”
– Michael Baker, President

Our family was given a physical copy of Critical Thinking Detective Book 1 to review with our son. Little Man is eleven now; the perfect age to ensure those critical thinking skills are being formed and solidified. The thin paperback had an appealing cover which attracted his attention and increased his interest in the book. Each lesson began with a short mystery, followed by four suspects’ accounts of the case. Based on the details of the mystery and the information given, our son needed to determine which suspects were innocent and which was the guilty party. To assist him, each mystery included a suspect sheet upon which he could record a person’s name and reasons why he believed them to be innocent or guilty, along with sentence numbers to support his reasoning. My goal was to incorporate one to two lessons per day into our routine, completing a minimum of four cases per week over the course of several weeks.

During our first lesson, I worked closely with my son to ensure he understood what was being asked of him. I offered assistance if needed, and helped him with writing down his review_criticalthinking_sample1thoughts. After a few cases, we chose to work through occasional cases verbally. My son would read the mystery and build a solid case for each suspect’s innocence or guilt, then he would ask for my attention and proceed to lay out his case. Afterwards we would check the answer sheet included in the back of the book and discover if he was correct. Our initial lessons took approximately fifteen to twenty minutes, provided my son stayed on task. The remainder of our lessons around ten minutes in length.

Working through Critical Thinking Detective Book 1 was simple. The curriculum was well laid out, with fun graphics of each suspect. The overall format was organized, methodical, review_criticalthinking_wJAGand helpful. While my son was able to solve most of the mysteries without difficulty, we did find a few of the cases harder to solve than others mostly due to a miscommunication in vocabulary. While we understood a suspect’s words to have one meaning, upon looking at the answer sheet we discovered his words had a different connotation. This frustrated my son at first, however it proved to be a good lesson in understanding proper communication and learning to look at words carefully to find double meaning. Upon completion, I appreciate how Critical Thinking Detective Book 1 has helped teach our son to slow down and focus on the details of a story and the importance of context clues. The cases themselves were quite funny, with suspects stealing potted plants from storefront windows and kittens snagging the neighbor’s barbecue.

We love discovering new curriculum. We’re overjoyed when we come across resources which help us achieve our goals in reading well, writing well, and thinking well. Critical Thinking Detective has been an exercise in all three, and we’re blessed in having had the experience. Now, on to Book Two!

If you’d like to learn more about Critical Thinking Detective Book 1 or The Critical Thinking Co.™, please visit them at their website and on FacebookPinterest, Twitter or Google+. Be sure to take advantage of this limited time offer: A FREE set of critical thinking puzzles valued at over $75! Find resources you’d like to purchase? Receive free shipping and 15% off any size order now until the end of 2018 by using coupon code TOSCREW18.
To read helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what The Critical Thinking Co. has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew.

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Your Turn!: Are you currently using a curriculum to help develop critical thinking skills?

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Review: Adaptive Math Curriculum Online from A+ Interactive Math (by A+ TutorSoft Inc.)

review_aplusWe’re nearing the end of our learning year. While we’ve been assessing our progress throughout our schooling, this is the perfect opportunity to identify lessons which might need a tad more work before moving forward. Thanks to the Adaptive Math Curriculum Online from A+ Interactive Math (by A+ TutorSoft Inc.) we’re zeroing in on math studies that could use a boost.

A+ Interactive Math (by A+ TutorSoft Inc.) offers colorful, multimedia lessons that teach math concepts using audio, visuals, and text. Using interactive review, worksheets, step-by-step solutions, automatic grading and tracking, and various reports to measure student progress, A+ Interactive Math seeks to help identify and close learning gaps by re-teaching concepts needed. Currently, A+ Interactive Math offers both an Adaptive Math Curriculum Online and a  Family Math Package

Using the Adaptive Math Curriculum Online, students are given a series of placement test based on a “target” grade level. The program then gives a mini-test for each major math concept to gauge student’s skill level. If it detects any learning gaps between the “target” grade level and student’s current skill level, it automatically creates an individualized plan for the student. The plan includes video lessons, interactive review, practice worksheets online, automatic grading, tracking and re-test. Essentially this is a skill-based learning model. This program covers Grades 1–6 and Pre-Algebra. This program is completely automated, where lessons are chosen for you.review_aplus_interactive

Using the Family Math Package, students are not pre-tested. This is a package of ALL grade levels offered. Each grade level includes comprehensive course contents with video lessons, interactive review, practice worksheets, chapter tests, automatic grading, tracking and much more. Parents can place students in any grade and change the level at any time.

To help narrow-in on areas of math study which might need a little more work, our son was given a one year subscription to the Adaptive Math Curriculum Online. After receiving email confirmation of registration, setting up an account for both myself and my son was an easy process taking mere minutes. A fifth grade “target” was chosen for his review, as my son will be finishing this grade within a few short weeks. The goal was for him to spend approximately thirty minutes a day, Monday through Thursday, completing placement tests and working through possible lessons of review. As he progressed through the online curriculum, I could check on his work from my parent account; reviewing all answers from tests and areas which might need additional study.

While setting up our accounts was simple and easy, we did note finding a computer to access the lessons proved to be a little more challenging. While flash is loaded on our laptop, lessons could not be viewed. Placement tests were possible, but lessons gave us difficulty. Switching to a desktop computer, we experienced trouble attempting to access lessons on our kids’ login – which has higher viewing protection and blocks a great deal of incoming information. Thus, for these lessons, it was necessary to use an admin login and parental viewing controls. Because of this I chose to sit with my son while he completed lessons, which gave me greater opportunity to gather his thoughts on the adaptive math curriculum and view areas of struggle. This also meant I did not need to access my parent review_aplus_videolessonlogin as much as I would have expected, given I was able to see firsthand how he was progressing.

Adaptive Math Curriculum Online takes students through a series of placement tests based on their target, creating lessons when a child struggles in a particular area. In my son’s fifth grade target, seventeen tests were given with a range of twelve to thirty-plus questions in each. Tests took approximately ten to fifteen minutes to complete; depending on the type of questions asked. If for any reason we needed to leave a test, tests would then need to be retaken from the beginning. I’m thankful to say he did not seem to have any great difficulty in the bulk of these tests; passing fifteen of the seventeen lessons on his initial run. During one lesson I had him purposely miss a few questions, so we could see what a review lesson might look like should it be needed. Two additional areas of study were shown to need a little more work, but nothing which caused us great alarm.

For areas in which he struggled, we were able to view lessons to strengthen these skills. The lessons were brief and well taught, and offered him a quick Q&A to ensure he was on the right track. Lessons could be viewed as a slide presentation or in text form. Worksheets were also available; they greatly resembled the placement tests taken initially, but were good practice. If my son wished to see an overview of his progress, a report could be generated. Once my son is able to pass all of his placement tests, I am free to move him on to the sixth grade “target” from my parent login, and the fun begins again.review_aplus_login

From a teacher’s perspective, I would remind other educators A+ Interactive Math is not testing based on the chosen curriculum of your home. Expect to possibly see questions which your child has not come across before, or might be taught in a different manner. While we did not anticipate seeing quite so many placement tests – Honestly, I had imagined only several comprehensive exams. – having now used the online curriculum, I better understand the necessity of this process. As I mentioned, my son seemed to have little difficulty in the placement tests themselves, but I feel he would have done better had a visual “progress bar” been present. After moving through a great deal of questions, he would inevitably begin asking how much longer he had to go and when the test would be over. Had a “progress bar” been available, this would have been a great help. One quick tip: We did note having paper and pencil nearby was handy; several questions required these tools in order for him to identify the answer needed. Overall, from setting up our account to working through each placement test, the entire process ran fairly smoothly. All things considered, this curriculum does its job well.

Our learning year is almost over, but we’re not done yet. Before the year runs out, we’re zeroing in on a few final lessons and mastering areas of study which have proven to be a challenge. Adaptive Math Curriculum Online has been a help in closing those gaps and encouraging us to finish well. Let’s see what the new year brings!

If you’d like to learn more about Adaptive Math Curriculum Online, Family Math Package  or A+ Interactive Math (by A+ TutorSoft Inc.), please visit them at their website and on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter. To read helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what A+ Interactive Math has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew.

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Your Turn!: Do you find a final review at the end of the school year helpful?

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Review: The Electric Pickle

The_Electric_PickleI love reading other people’s blogs, don’t you? I have had the pleasure of meeting some of the loveliest people and being introduced to a world of possibility. On occasion, I also benefit from exposure to choice resources which change the course of our learning year. The Electric Pickle: 50 Experiments from the Periodic Table, from Aluminum to Zinc by Joey Green and Chicago Review Press is changing the face of our chemistry lessons, and we couldn’t be more pleased!

The Electric Pickle by Joey Green is a unique learning resource. With each fun experiment we are reminded science does not require a fancy lab or expensive equipment in order to accomplish serious learning. The Electric Pickle seeks to bring chemistry to life through amazing reactions and stimulating activities. This resourceful handbook is perfect for learners of all ages, organized so even younger students are able to participate and enjoy. Written by Joey Green, author of more than 50 books, The Electric Pickle is a fascinating guide to the world of periodic elements.

While perusing our online friends’ blogs and their incredible homeschooling adventures, we happened upon a review of this fantastic resource. Imagine our surprise when publisher, Chicago Review Press, kindly offered us our own copy for review! We were excited to add The Electric Pickle to our weekly chemistry lessons and put the handbook to the test. Twice a week we delved in our lessons; all four children present and excited to learn. We progressed through experiments on elements such as Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium, and more. Each lesson included a quick safety reminder, a list of necessary materials, and instructions. Lessons were followed by a quick explanation of what is happening during the experiment, why the experiment works and a few wacky facts about the particular element being studied.

From the start, our experience with The Electric Pickle was fruitful. Unlike previous attempts with experiments, we found the included list of materials easy to locate. (Most could be found within our home, others purchased at a local hardware store.) Several of the periodic elements included more than one experiment, giving us more options and added fun. Each experiment included a full-color image of all materials needed which was especially helpful when making purchases, and the easy to understand instructions made experiments simple to work through. Each element was enjoyable to explore, with experiments which livened up our learning and engaged our students.

The Electric Pickle to be an incredibly fun and educational resource. All our learners have enjoyed exploring, from our oldest in high school to our youngest in fifth grade. While our favorite experiments include explosive reactions, even the more subtle adventures prove engaging. Experiments are easy to prep and simple to follow. All are fun. Thus far, The Electric Pickle has proven to be the best chemistry exploration we’ve experienced. The included experiments far exceed any we’ve attempted in any other resource, and “Wacky Facts” keep us actively digging deeper. The Electric Pickle has become one of our favorite resources for science exploration and one we anticipate recommending to all our friends.

We’ve always appreciated perusing other homeschooling and parenting blogs, but when our reading leads to the discovery of a fantastic resource for our family we’re overjoyed. The Electric Pickle: 50 Experiments from the Periodic Table, from Aluminum to Zinc has definitely changed the face of our chemistry lessons, and we’re excited to continue exploring the wonderful world of science.

If you’d like to learn more about The Electric Pickle: 50 Experiments from the Periodic Table, from Aluminum to Zinc or Chicago Review Press please visit them at their website, and on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

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Your Turn!: I feel foolish saying this, but until I was an adult I didn’t know Krypton was a genuine element. Did you?

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Do You Feel Like Goldilocks?

GoldilocksSo, you’ve finally figured out your method of homeschooling. But what comes next can be even more challenging; finding the right curriculum. It leaves one feeling a little like poor Goldilocks; one curriculum is just a little too cold and others just a little too hot to handle. How does one find the right fit?

I wish I could give you a simple, straightforward, fool-proof method of finding the perfect curriculum for each child in your home. But, honestly, anyone trying to sell you that should not be believed. The truth is, there is no easy answer! Like poor Goldilocks, you just need to give it a try.

Through careful study of our children we can make the job a little easier on ourselves, to be sure. Knowing how my children learn will help eliminate numerous options; narrowing down the choices. Attending curriculum fairs, perusing material displays at conventions, and reading online forums also benefit us. A few companies are generous in offering samples and trials of their curriculum. Asking friends and homeschooling acquaintances about their experience is a good option. It’s always a good idea to see something in person and read through some of the material.

Try as we might, at the end of the day, our only option is to make that purchase and give it a go. We pray the curriculum choices we’ve made work and we do our best to not squander our funds. It’s a gamble, but we pray it pays off. Generally we do okay, but sometimes it takes a little finagling. Then we are left wondering what to do with the curriculum we now have no use for. Should we sell it off or perhaps give it away?

Even if we can find what’s ‘just right’ for this moment, give it a year or two. Just when you think you’ve got it down, your kids grow up a little and you’re making changes to accommodate their needs. Here we go again!

Does this all sound a little disheartening and discouraging? It shouldn’t! Think of it this way. We all go through this; you aren’t alone! (Well, okay, most of us. I suppose some might be getting their curriculum through a charter or buy the entire boxed set from a company, but you get my drift.) For those of you who are in the midst of this Goldilocks Syndrome, know that we’ve all been there; some of us are there once again with growing kids’ needs. We’ve all had to make those tough curriculum choices. We’ve purchased items we haven’t figured out what to do with, we have resources still in the boxes, and on occasion seek the advice of others who’ve gone before. Take heart; you aren’t alone.

Once again I find myself suffering from Goldilocks Syndrome. I have a two daughters in high school, a junior higher, and a son in the last years of elementary. Finding the perfect science and history curriculums can be a genuine challenge. This year’s course in Chemistry is proving especially difficult! I want to find a fit that’s ‘just right’ for their needs. Time to dig out the spoon and test the porridge!

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,”
~ Deuteronomy 7:9

Your Turn!: Share with us your most expensive homeschooling failure, and why it didn’t work!

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Do I Have a Home School Method?

Do_I_Have_A_Home_School_MethodA large portion of home school blog posts discuss which method of homeschooling is used. Should I be Classical, Unschooled, a little Charlotte Mason, or perhaps Montessori? It all makes me pause and think. Do I have a homeschooling method?

I confess, I have never given it much thought. When we went into homeschooling, all I knew was that I wanted to be with my children and follow the calling of the Lord. It wasn’t until I had already picked my curriculum and started schooling my little ones, that the thought even occurred to me. Do I have a method? If I do, which one do I subscribe to? Does it benefit me to stick to a method?

Reading about the different methods, I can see the benefit of each one and the purpose behind their philosophy. Each one brings something different to the table of learning. On the other hand, I can see the weaknesses in each one; the areas that just don’t meet our family’s needs. Like the Cinderella story, I need the perfect fit.

Looking through our curriculum choices, I went with what worked for my kids. I didn’t worry if that fit a particular method. I prayed and went with the company that best met my standards.

After reading the different methods, I think I have finally found where we “fit in”. We are eclectic home schoolers. There is no one method that completely fulfills all we need. So, we take a little of everything, add a huge dose of prayer, mix in real life, and run with it.

I have come to realize, it doesn’t necessarily matter which method we use. If the Lord is the center of our home and growing in His wisdom is the backbone of our learning, we are sure to succeed.

“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”
~ Romans 12:3

Your Turn!: How do you feel about the different methods of learning? Do you have one your family prefers?

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Review: Fascinating Chemistry

Review_Fascinating_Chemistry

A new school year equals a new study in the field of science. This year we’re focusing our attention on chemistry and we can’t think of a better time to review Fascinating Chemistry by Fascinating Education.

Fascinating Education is an audio-visual approach to teaching science. Fascinating Education offers courses in Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Medicine, and Atoms & Molecules. Fascinating Education is presented by Dr. Sheldon Margulies, The Fascinator, a retired neurologist who uses his life experience and expertise to help students learn. Fascinating_Chemistry_1

Fascinating Chemistry is a series of nineteen lessons which include a video, a script of the lesson and a lesson test. Each video is approximately 45 minutes in length. Videos are complete with menu and glossary, allowing the student to better follow the outline of each lesson. Students are also able to use the helpful menu feature to revisit areas which need strengthening without the hassle of scrubbing through an entire session. Lesson Scripts are an exact wording of the video lessons, including images. Several lessons contain links to lab activities for students to enjoy. Tests are given as multiple choice slide-presentations, with question helps for those who need them. After taking tests, students are able to review their test, print their test, and/or retake their test if needed. PDF versions of tests Fascinating_Chemistry_2are available. Test scores are not kept online, thus should be printed if so desired. Lesson topics include The Structure of the Atom, The Ionic Bond, The Covalent Bond, and more.

Fascinating Chemistry includes nineteen lessons total. Our family found it beneficial to break down these lessons into smaller sections, working through each lesson at a slower pace for greater understanding, rather than viewing an entire lesson in one sitting. We found the videos simple to follow and our narrator, The Fascinator, easy to understand. The lessons were clear and well laid out. The occasional labs are fun and appealing to kids.

It is our opinion Fascinating Chemistry may be used in a homeschooling setting with highFascinating_Chemistry_4 school, junior high, and/or upper level elementary students. The lessons are easy to follow and understand. Labs are equally simple. As the entire curriculum consists of only nineteen lessons, we would highly recommend breaking down the given lessons into smaller, half lessons to stretch the curriculum to fill an entire school year.

Chemistry is the name of the game for the year. We’ve just begun our adventure and are enjoying the hands-on application of all we’re learning. With the help of Fascinating Chemistry this will be a lovely journey. Now if I could only explain to my children chemistry experiments do not all need to consist of blowing things up or overflowing crucibles of foaming chemicals.

If you’d like to learn more about Fascinating Chemistry, as well as Fascinating Education, please visit them at their website. To read additional helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into the Fascinating Chemistry please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

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Your Turn!: Which area of science are you studying this year?

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