Review: “Intricacies of Snow” Unit Study by Creation Illustrated

review_creationillustrated_snowunitNature Study is an important part of our learning routine. Planning nature study, however, can take time. To aid us in our homeschooling adventure, Creation Illustrated kindly offered us an “Intricacies of Snow” Unit Study to review the benefits of having resources and activities already organized for us.

Creation Illustrated is dedicated to sharing Biblical truths and character building lessons through the story of creation. In publication since 1993, Creation Illustrated produces books and other related resources in addition to their quarterly magazine issues. One such resource is a collection of unit studies available for purchase. Creation Illustrated is for all ages, with unit studies specifically geared toward children grades 5-8. Our family was able to review the “Intricacies of Snow” Unit Study which corresponds to the Winter 2018 Issue.

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We received a digital copy of the “Intricacies of Snow” Unit Study, along with a free digital copy of the Winter 2018 Creation Illustrated Magazine. Quickly perusing the unit study, we noticed many available areas of study included: Reading Resources, Educational Videos, Writing & Penmanship, Vocabulary & Spelling, Bible Study, and several more. Excited to get started, we made sure our learning materials were in order and our Winter 2018 Magazine issue was on hand.

As we started the “Intricacies of Snow” at the tail end of the winter season and our local mountains were being sprinkled with powder, we thought this would be a wonderful addition to our weekly nature studies. To begin our unit, I read-aloud the original article “Intricacies of Snow” from the Winter 2018 magazine. Then we began our two-week study. As we snow_modelswere using the unit as a nature study, we chose not to make use of all areas – such as math and penmanship – but did use a great deal of the unit. Videos, Bible Study, Spiritual Lessons on Snow, Snow Science and more were included in our lessons.

The unit study itself seemed to contain a great deal of writing, thus we chose to alter the until slightly and do a great deal of the work in verbal prompts and open snow_crystalconversation. This was especially helpful for my son who struggles with focusing during lessons. We found the Reading Resources and Educational Video selections quite enjoyable. However, we should note, not all video references were Biblically based and some had an evolutionist viewpoint. The kids found a misprint/misspelling while completing the Snow Word Search, but we worked it out and enjoyed the activity. Spiritual Lessons on Snow was fantastic and we gained much by our time spent on this selection. Hands-on Snow Science was fun; making snow crystals and paper snowflakes. We were even able to diagram various snow models, learning the multitude of shapes God has created and discovering more about the famous Mr. Snowflake Bentley.

fall_2017_creationillustratedIn addition to our original choice of “Intricacies of Snow”, Creation Illustrated was also kind enough to send us a complimentary copy of the “Pine Trees” Unit Study which corresponds to the Fall 2017 Issue of Creation Illustrated Magazine. While we have not yet had the opportunity to put this unit study to use, we did note “Pine Trees” seems to follow along the same lines of content and will more than likely be included in a future family nature study.

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Coming Soon: Spring 2018!

Our time with the “Intricacies of Snow” Unit Study was well spent. Using this learning resource made planning nature study a smooth process. We had a lot of fun learning about Mr. Snowflake Bentley and working through hands-on Snow Science. Now, on to our next nature study. Perhaps “Pine Trees”? I think so.

If you’d like to learn more about the “Intricacies of Snow” Unit Study, the current Winter 2018 Issue, or Creation Illustrated, please visit them at their website and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. To read helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what Creation Illustrated has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew.

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Your Turn!: Mr. Snowflake Bentley spent a great deal of time taking photos of snowflakes. What is your favorite subject when taking photos?

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Do You Feel Like a Ping-Pong Ball?

do_you_feel_like_a_pingpong_ballOur neighbors have five kids. At one point they homeschooled all five, each child having completely separate curriculum. I learned a lot from our afternoons together. One basic lesson l learned was that having five kids took a lot of work. I could bounce around like a ping-pong ball all day or find a better way to make this happen. For our family, the best method of tackling the concern of teaching four kids is to do as much as possible together, as a group. If we can learn something as a family, that is what we do.

While there are some areas of learning which require individual study, mainly grammar and arithmetic, there are just as many – if not more – we can do together. Bible, history, science, geography, economics, and logic are all areas of learning we not only do as a group, but have more fun doing so. Thus, we spend the bulk of our day learning together.

How can all four of our kids, who happen to all be two years apart in age, learn the same material when they aren’t the in same grade? Good question!

Grade, Smade – Exactly who determines what gets taught at each ‘grade level’? Why can’t a five-year-old learn biology and a fifteen year old study life science? What’s important isn’t the ‘grade’ our child is in, but that the material being covered is done thoroughly and in such a way our child understands. I would also encourage us to challenge our children in their learning. This might mean a higher level for our younger kids and a more basic for our older; each child should be taught at their level, not their ‘grade’.

Middle Ground – To help all our children follow the lessons (the littles not being overwhelmed and the older ones bored), we try to reach for the middle. By teaching to the average, the littles are slightly challenged, but not lost in the mix. This also allows for the older children to participate in the bulk of our group activities, while additional assignments and projects are given to increase their learning in this area.

What, Again? – Once you’ve been homeschooling a while, you start to notice something. History repeats itself; so does science, literature, grammar, and almost everything else. We cover certain aspects of science in first grade, right? Guess what. We covered them again in second, with a little more added. Oh, and we did it again in third, then fourth, and yet again in fifth. Perhaps we should stress less about skipping a ‘grade’ with our kids, missing out on material, and just focus on them learning the concepts we’re teaching now. Odds are, whatever we didn’t get this year is going to be covered again next, and the year after that.

What about high school? Not much has changed. There is no reason our eight year old can’t learn a little biology along with our big girl. He might not participate in all activities, but he’ll have projects of his own. Our big girl might have a few additional projects tailored just for her, but this will teach her to work independently. There is no reason the bulk of our studies can’t still be enjoyed as a group, it just takes a little imagination and dedication. In the long run, it’s still less work and more financially feasible.

Do I still have days when I feel like a ping-pong ball? Absolutely! That’s bound to happen when you have four kids, homeschool, run a business, and a household. However, we like to keep the bouncing to a minimum and do as much as we can together. It’s less work for mommy and, frankly, it’s just plain fun!

Your Turn!: I used ping-pong as an illustration of what my day can sometimes feel like. If you had to compare your day with a game, which would it be?

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The King of Unit Studies

I homeschool four kids. Sure, I could spend hundreds each year on curriculum for each student, but why? I have better uses for my very limited funds and my children would rather spend time together, rather than apart and doing things from a workbook.

Outside of the three R’s (reading, writing, and reasoning), I have chosen to do unit studies to teach our children history, science, and more. In the past I have created my own unit studies, but I have found that I end up using more time creating them (as I tend to be very in-depth and want to do all kinds of projects) than I would have liked.

When our oldest daughter was in Kindergarten, I came across KONOS. This is probably the grand-daddy of all unit studies. There are three main volumes, if you buy the standard curriculum, each book lasts about two to two and a half years (depending on how you use it).

KONOS is based on a Christian worldview and each section is based on a Biblical character trait that we are trying to instill in our children. (For example: Obedience, Attentiveness, and Honor.) Each character trait incorporates smaller topics that will help you learn history, science, art, and more! While studying Obedience, you will learn about ancient kings and queens; knights; sheep; military history and heroes; horses; Bible; and friction/resistance.

 

KONOS even goes as far as to add vocabulary lessons, Bible, suggested books/videos, and more! They have kindly separated the ideas into age categories, helping you to further organize which activities might be best for your child’s age group.

 

KONOS is a very thorough program, with hands-on application. When we studied American Indians, not only did we study each tribe and map them out, but we also built a tepee and learned how make beaded necklaces. When we studied military history and heroes, we went to the park and dug trenches masked with camouflage. There is nothing quite like, literally, digging into your lessons.

We have used KONOS for seven years now and never had a moment’s regret. Each unit has been filled with exciting things to learn, with plenty of activities to choose from. We have learned so much and still have more to explore.

We have used all three of our KONOS books, but are planning to go through them yet again. With all of the varied topics, activities, and wisdom to be gotten; they truly have proven themselves to be the king of unit studies.