Review: Make-a-State Activity

Make-a-StateThanks to Home School in the Woods and Make-a-State Activity, learning about our home state has never been as easy or as fun. This past month we’ve had the privilege of reviewing this incredible resource and can’t wait to share it with all our homeschool friends.

Make-a-State Activity, part of the vast Activity-Paks series from Home School in the Woods, makes learning fun and hands-on. This pak came with just about everything we needed to get started on our learning adventure. We downloaded a digital copy of Make-a-State Activity which consisted of project directions for our lap book, PDF images to complete activities, and a helpful “Start” file which allowed us to see everything in one location with clear directions on how assemble the lap book and all included projects. Make-a-State Activity contained a multitude of projects including Key State Facts, State Wildlife, State Geography, Famous People, and many more. It should be noted, while we chose to specifically focus on our home state of California for this Make-a-State Activity project, all fifty states are included in the Activity-Pak, allowing families to use and re-use this resource to their heart’s content.

Having previously enjoyed HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages, we were better prepared for the large quantity of printing, cutting,Make-a-State, Color_Page and assembly necessary to complete the lap book. However, it should be noted younger children might need assistance with cutting and completing certain portions of the book itself.

While we generally study history together as a family, my son and I were the only ones to embark on this particular learning adventure. Little Man is just out of fourth grade, when learning state history is suggested, and my thought was to use Make-a-State Activity to assist with achieving this goal. We decided to complete the entire Activity-Pak during the review period, working steadily through activities. We were able to meet our goal, easily finishing within several weeks.

Working through Make-a-State Activity was simple and fun. This was a great summer learning project and a lovely way to discover more about where we live. Mom appreciated the variety of options available to us. My son enjoyed including his own drawings, thoughts, and research. We love that everything is included in the downloadable file; we have permanent access to everything – pdf print outs, directions, color pages, and more! We have yet to find another company which does as excellent a job as Home School in the Woods when it comes to activity-paks and lap books. Their resources are top of the line, and incredibly affordable.

Make-a-State, State_InfoNever has completing a state research project been so easy or so fun! Thanks to Home School in the Woods, we learned much and enjoyed the journey.

In addition to Make-a-State Activity, Home School in the Woods offers a wide variety of hands-on history curriculum including Time Traveler American, additional Activity-Paks (Old Testament/New Testament/Composers/Artists), Lap-Paks, Timeline Trio, and their newest feature “A La Carte” projects! We’re excited to take advantage of this latest development, which includes a great number of games.

If you’d like to learn more about any of these hands-on curriculum or Home School in the Woods, please visit them at their website Home School in the Woods and on FacebookTwitterPinterestGoogle+ and YouTube.

To read helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what Home School in the Woods has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

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Your Turn!: In which grade did your children study their state/country history?

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Review: Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series

“I want to try to help you understand what ‘American Exceptionalism’ and greatness is all about. It does not mean that we Americans are better than anyone else. It does not mean that there is something uniquely different about us as human beings compared to other people in the world. It does not mean that we as a country have never faced problems of our own. American Exceptionalism and greatness means that America is special because it is different from all other countries in history. It is a land built on true freedom and individual liberty and it defends both around the world.”
~ Rush Limbaugh

Adventures_of_Rush_RevereIt’s another summer of fun, and fun just isn’t the same without a few good books. To kick off our reading extravaganza, Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh sent us the entire Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series, and we can’t wait to share them with you!

Rush Revere is a series of fun, historical-fiction books teaching children about American history. There are five, hard-bound books included in the complete set which we received. The books themselves are beautifully bound with lovely illustrated dust covers. The stories are printed on semi-gloss paper made to look like old parchment, colorful illustrations and maps are found throughout each book. In each story, a different portion of early American history is covered.

Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims – In an effort to better help his students appreciate history, substitute teacher Rush Revere and his horse Liberty take his class back in time to discover how America came to be. Through the use of technology – and incredible internet connection – Rush Revere’s class watch as he and Liberty show them the real picture. Our first adventure has us traveling through several “time portals”, discovering why the first Pilgrims wished to travel to America, following their journey across the Atlantic, and their plans for establishing a new colony. We meet important historical figures such as William Bradford, Captain Myles Standish, William Brewster, Samoset, and more!

Rush Revere and the First Patriots – Once again Rush Revere and Liberty have us rush, rush, rushing to history. Rush, Liberty, and a few students find themselves exploring the beginnings of the United States. Jumping through time portals, our friends meet important figures as Ben Franklin, Patrick Henry, and many other heroes. During their adventures, we learn of events leading up to the Boston Massacre and talk of revolution.

Rush Revere and the American Revolution – Rush, Liberty, and our favorite time-traveling students find themselves on another adventure; this time exploring 1775 America and meeting heroes who fought for independence. Rush Revere finally gets to meet his hero, Paul Revere, and the kids experience first-hand what it was like on that fateful night at the Old North Church.

Rush_Revere_Books

Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner – Rushing off on another adventure, our favorite time-traveling crew find themselves in 1787. Heated secret debate over the Constitution and Bill of Rights, lead our friends to meet James Madison. A hop through the time portal has them learning about a famous portrait of George Washington, the Star-Spangled Banner, and a song by Francis Scott Key.

Rush Revere and the Presidency – Rushing into our next adventure, the time-traveling crew discover just how hard running a brand-new country can be. While the students are campaigning for student body president at their local middle school, Rush Revere and Liberty have them jumping through time portals to meet presidents George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson during their time in office. Learning importance lessons from each, the students hope to win the election and save the day!

Based on our experience, we would estimate the reading level from approximately 2nd-5th grade. While my junior enjoyed reading for exploration, the books are better suited for our son in fifth grade. He has a greater appreciation for Liberty’s humor and breezes through the stories with ease. It’s taken him only a few days to finish each book. I was the first in the family to read through all the books, as I was especially keen to give them a try. I found an empty afternoon and finished all five in one go. Both of us chose to read the books independently and finish at our own pace.

Kids_Reading_Rush_RevereqIt’s impossible to tell which book in the series was our favorite, they are all wonderful. Each had many adventures we enjoyed and lessons learned. The stories are clean, well-written, educational, and enjoyable; all features we look for in our book choices. We loved “Liberty Asks How Smart Are You” questions at the back of book one, which prompted further discussion and allowed us to dig deeper. A few highlights of our read were Rush always in colonial costume, even students in the story comment on his outfit. We found this silly, and inspirational. Rush’s horse, Liberty, is quite the funny character. At times offering colorful quips, more likely to be appreciated by young boys reading the story. We were pleasantly surprised to find the stories light-hearted and enjoyable, holding kids’ interest while teaching much. As a bonus, pictures were included of kids and their books; some in costume and others with their horses, Liberty.

As we explored answers to Liberty’s questions, we made sure to spend time perusing the incredible resources to be found online at Two If By Tea. Scholarship information, challenges, projects, activities and more abound! We especially appreciated the Homeschool Depot, where we could send a message to Maddie and the Rush Revere Crew. We also found homeschool resources for each book, with lessons on William Bradford and other heroes. You can even have a look at Rush Revere’s library!

The Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series has been fantastic to review! We’ve learned much and enjoyed our new adventure in learning. What a perfect way to start our summer of fun.

If you’d like to learn more about Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series, as well as Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaughy, please visit them at their website. You can also find Adventures of Rush Revere on social media sites such as FacebookTwitter, and YouTube.

To read additional helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

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Your Turn!: What is your favorite historical-fiction book series?

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Review: Captain Absolutely from Focus On The Family

Review_Captain_AbsolutelyComics are all the rage in our home. From my husband’s work to classic Superman, we enjoy a good graphic novel. So it was with much anticipation we reviewed Captain Absolutely from Focus On The Family. Today, we’re excited to share this fun, educational, Biblical resource with you!

Captain Absolutely is a graphic novel which focuses on using a Biblical worldview to battle everyday challenges such as fear and guilt. In Captain Absolutely we meet our hero, Captain Absolutely, and learn how he gained his incredible power. We are taken through a series of subsequent events in which Captain Absolutely meets several villains – Dr. Relative, Cap’n Crastin, Fear Chemist, and more – who wish to ruin the town of Metropolitanville and take over the world. Captain Absolutely uses his knowledge of Scripture to fight each enemy, while kindly showing them the error of their ways.

Captain Absolutely is a full-color paperback graphic novel. The pages within are printed on glossy paper, in tune with traditional modern comics. The illustrations themselves are fun. The story is fast-paced and silly while faithfully teaching Biblical truths, complete with Scripture reference for each argument the Captain uses to defeat his foe.

As Captain Absolutely touches on important Biblical topics and discusses the gravity of truth, we handed our story to an expert both in the field of comics and apologetics… my husband. In addition, both our oldest daughter, our son, and myself read through the story.  This was not a required read for the kids, merely something we strategically placed in anReading_Captain_Absolutely advantageous position of the learning environment to encourage interest. The reading took approximately forty-five minutes for my son and husband to read through together; about twenty for me and my daughter individually.

We found Captain Absolutely functions under the assumption the Bible is true. We are presented with basic worldviews and how a Biblical worldview responds to each argument. This is not a philosophical defense of truth, but a sharing of Biblical wisdom. With that said, all of us enjoyed this graphic novel. My husband found it to be a good foundation for younger children learning Biblical truths. He recommended the story for children aged 8-12, but noted finishing the entire novel in one read might be a bit taxing. To fully absorb the concepts being presented and prevent fatigue, perhaps reading Captain Absolutely over a few days time might be of benefit. My daughter and I thought the stories to be quite silly, with many good points made for the reader to think on. Our son laughed continually through the reading; the storyline made for many good talking points and further truths to be shared. He thought the silliest “villains” were Edward Snooze – who fought Captain Absolutely with pillows – and Cap’n Crastin – who’s heartfelt desire was to be on television.

When passing comics to our children, we parents are continually on the lookout for appropriate content. Captain Absolutely met all of our requirements: It was clean, engaging to the mind, easy to follow, and as an added bonus, pointed our children to Christ. Our son learned a great deal through his reading, and this initial story has laid beautiful groundwork for future discussion of truth and Biblical wisdom.

If you’d like to learn more about Focus On The Family, as well as Captain Absolutely, please visit them at their website. You can also find Focus on The Family on social media sites such as FacebookTwitterPinterest, Instagram, Google+, and YouTube.

To read additional helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into Captain Absolutely please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

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Your Turn!: Is there a Christian comic you’d recommend?

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Review: By the Way Book Series, Washington ~ Here We Come!

By the Way Book Series ReviewWe’ve never visited the state of Washington. Have you? For those of us who live too far away or extended vacations aren’t currently an option, we’ve got the next best thing. Our recent review of By the Way Book Series, Washington ~ Here We Come revealed you don’t have to leave home to explore God’s creation and learn about a fabulous US state.

By the Way Book Series is an informative collection of reads sharing fun facts about several US states and encouraging discovery of Biblical truth in everyday life. We had the opportunity to review Washington ~ Here We Come, our son’s first book choice. (Closely followed by Florida’s Treasure Coast ~ Here We Come, which we’ll have to visit soon!)

After perusing our choice of books, we anxiously watched our mailbox for our read to arrive. Our son was excited to receive his package and when it showed was thoroughly impressed with the quality of the book. The illustrations and images are well laid out, with plenty to learn amongst its pages.

Washington ~ Here We Come follows Alex, Lexi, Miss Cindy (their bus driver), and other team members as they discover the state of Washington and the heritage of that region. Together we explore such sights as Washington’s firsts, Olympia National Park, Ruby Beach, Quinault Rain Forest, and more. At each stop, we learn about the flora, fauna, and history of the area.

Our goal was to use Washington ~ Here We Come as our bedtime read, a quiet moment together where we read one-on-one. We started immediately, reading several pages aloud each night. We were not in a hurry to rush through the pages, instead choosing to fully absorb the text and open discussion before moving forward.

Washington ~ Here We Come was a fun read. We enjoyed learning about creatures such as the Banana slug which can reach lengths of up to twelve inches. (Imagine me shivering while my son giggles uproariously.) We read about Sitka trees used to make airplane frames in WWI. Native American history was explored, reminding us forty-two tribes still live in Washington today. As a parent, I truly appreciated By the Way subtly pointing my son to God. Each section spotlights God’s creation, His provision throughout history, and His goodness without losing focus of the immediate lesson.

There was much to cover. So much so, we will more than like be re-reading By the Way several times more before fully absorbing its contents. In fact, we could see how each By the Way adventure could easily be adapted into smaller studies in both science and history, prompting a world of discovery.

If you’d like to learn more about By the Way Book Series, please visit them at their website and on Facebook. To read helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what By the Way Book Series has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

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Your Turn!: Which state would you most be interested in learning about?

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Review: SchoolhouseTeachers.com

schoolhouse-teachers-logo_zpsx0v7ehqvJust because we’re halfway through our learning year doesn’t mean we can’t spice up our routine with a fresh, new resource! This is where SchoolhouseTeachers.com and a review of their Yearly Membership came to the rescue.

SchoolhouseTeachers is the online curriculum site for Old Schoolhouse Magazine. The website is specifically designed for homeschoolers and taught from a Christian perspective. They offer classes in a multitude of subjects, from preschool and elementary homeschool courses through high school homeschool courses. Homeschool parent support and homeschool planners are also available. There is no end to the incredible resources we found while reviewing and using SchoolhouseTeachers.

Here’s what caught our eye : While a multitude of subjects are available on SchoolhouseTeachers, and all were perused, there were specific areas of learning we wished to focus our attentions.

  • Astronomy – How exciting to find this course on SchoolhouseTeachers as this was already scheduled for our second semester. We appreciated finding Appetizing Astronomy Recipes and video supplements (Field Trips in Outer Space) for the unit. Tasty and fun!
  • Art – We’re always looking for fun ways to add a little creativity to our day. Please note: Not all lessons are in video form, which some might find necessary. If video is more to your liking, try the course “Art Tips with Jan Bower”. They are short, to the point, and easy to follow.
  • Bible – We appreciated how SchoolhouseTeachers’ Bible courses contained a unit specifically for the family, not excluding the importance of this time together. However, there are many inspirational units to be found. We’ve started our girls on the Teen Bible unit, “Rebekah”. We love their hands-on approach to learning even at this age level.
  • History – We were pleased to find SchoolhouseTeachers has Drive Thru History, a history video course, which I’ve been wanting to view for some time. We can’t wait to make this part of our routine. In addition, as we’re already using Story of the World, we found the unit on Renaissance History to be a lovely complement to our existing studies, as they align perfectly and make use of these existing materials.

And what we can’t stop raving about :  Most courses cover a variety of learning methods. We found videos, recipes, printable elements, hands-on activities, online courses and more. There is so much to choose from, the learning opportunities are endless. schoolhouse-teachers-subject-selections_zps7gti8t8n-1
We love that the entire website is specifically designed with homeschoolers in mind, not education in general. Often the needs of homeschooling students differ and the distinction is much appreciated.
As parents, it was a relief to find all courses are taught from a Christian perspective, relieving our minds about reviewing every aspect of every lesson before beginning instruction with our children. We are free to explore together, which is additional fun.

How we’re using SchoolhouseTeachers : We’re pleased to have added a Bible course to our daily routine. SchoolhouseTeachers’ teen unit for girls, “Rebekah”, is a 5-day study and will be turned in at the end of the week, when we will discuss the entirety of the lesson together. Once “Rebekah” is completed, the next unit will be announced and given. Renaissance History will also be used on a daily basis for the remainder of the year, as this perfectly aligns with our current course of study.
We focus on art at least one day a week, using the available courses through SchoolhouseTeachers.
Astronomy will be incorporated a little more sporadically, as we see fit, while enjoying Appetizing Astronomy Recipes and Field Trips to Outer Space as often as possible.

We’re incredibly excited to add this new resource, SchoolhouseTeachers to our homeschooling “shelf”. This is a welcome, refreshing avenue of learning for us. We’re having so much fun exploring the possibilities.

If you’d like to learn more about SchoolhouseTeachers and Yearly Membership, please visit them at their website SchoolhouseTeachers.com and on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. To read helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what SchoolhouseTeachers has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

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Your Turn!: Which area of study would you like to refresh this semester?

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