You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘science’ tag.

Just how are we supposed to answer such big questions from children when they are big questions with no visible, concrete answers even for us? That is especially difficult when you know a lot rides on that answer. One such question is about the existence of God? How do we know God is Really There? is a book by Melissa Cain Travis and illustrated by Christopher Voss and published by Apologia that might get you started with your little ones and maybe, even firm the debate dialogue in your own mind.

Father and son reading the book which is the cover pic of this book.The story is a simple plot that plays out in many bedrooms, kitchens, backyards, and yes, treehouses over and over. A mother and child or a father and child playing and learning together when a child suddenly asks that question that makes our mind jerk to a halt and releases the feelings of inadequacy and even a little fear as the questions of our own spill into our mind. What? How did we get here now? How can I possibly explain this to him when I can’t always put words to this myself? How do I tell her that I just know God exists because I see Him everywhere when He is invisible? Using wonderful illustrations that look drawn by a child and almost real enough to touch the crayon wax and words that fill your mind with awe and lead you through a rational discovery through the known ideas of science to the abstract thinking in a step by step path to the only conclusion that makes sense of a person who chose to create the world and has the power to do it. You end with a pretty powerful answer to that all-important question: How Do We Know God is Really There?

Father and son looking through a telescope at Saturn as they explore God's creation to discover Him as Creator.

The  book’s scientific content does seem a bit weighty for very young children, but it can be a good read-to-me book for five to eight year olds and a good read together book for up to about ten or eleven with some children. The concept though can be used in conversations beyond that age level. Many young children and some special needs children may not get all the deep content the first time, but they will get the gist that can be grown through repeated readings as they grow older. The analogy to to rewinding a video is a humorous way of toning down that weighty science material. if it isn’t enough, the idea might lead you to something even better that your child will understand, so don’t fear giving this book a chance.

Father and son discussing how they can know God is really there by exploring creation to know there is a Creator, God.

You can find this book on Apologia’s web site to get more information or to order. The price is $16.00 for a durable, glossy, full-color hardback copy. That is affordable, but is it worth it? Three parents that I asked to read the book felt it was a great way to handle this tough question. Two students I read it to, including one in ASL, got really big-eyed and curious and really loved the pictures. The book got even the four year old who happened to be listening, too, talking about how “God is so big and can do anything.” That delight was enough for me to make it a part of our library permanently.

I received a copy of the above product to facilitate the writing of a frank and honest review. A positive review is not guaranteed. All opinions are my own. Your results and opinions may vary.

Advertisements

Game playing is a wonderful way to bring a family together. It is even better during the tough economic times. As a family, we are always looking for new games, but that can be difficult in my family due to special needs issues. Recently, I was sent a product called Wits and Wagers Family from North Star Games. My husband was excited. He had played the game with the same name, but not a family version, years ago from another company that no longer exists. He was very happy someone had decided to publish it again. As per our tradition, I got the game out after Thanksgiving Dinner. We would just see how it went.

With overfull bellies, we got the game out to play rather than sleep the afternoon away. My children and a girlfriend who are grown and just out of college or in college groaned when their Dad said he had played it years ago. The idea of playing something he liked long ago didn’t sound very promising to them. With that, we opened the box and as promised, explained the game play in just a couple of minutes. My husband explained it to me by fingerspelling the steps as I needed to do something. First, a question is chosen and read aloud. My husband fingerspelled it to me. We each had little dry erase boards to write our answer on to and place face down when done. Our first question was how many different colors of Froot Loops are there? Everyone tried to imagine their morning cereals from breakfasts past and wrote down a number and placed their card face down. When everyone was finished, the cards were turned face up and placed in numerical order. We each then got to decide if we wanted to stick with our answer or try to help our chances by backing another’s answer. You each have two little meeples or wooden people shapes. One is larger than the other at about ¾ of an inch high and each set of meeples is a different color than matches an answer board. The large meeple is worth two points and the smaller one is worth one point. You place your meeples on any of the answers you think might be correct. You can place them all on your answer board if you are really certain you are correct, or you can place them on one or two others to help your chances of gaining points. The answer to our question was six. I had written 4 as a guess, but I knew there had to be more. Other answers given were 5, 6, and 8. I decided to put a large meeple on 5 and the small one on 8. If your card answer is right, you get one point. If your meeples are on a correct answer, you get one or two points for a possible high of 4 points if all of your meeples are on the right answer. I totally missed that one. My younger son’s girlfriend, Rachel, got that one right as I had watched her count imaginary Froot Loops. The only question I got right for the game was how many feet are in a mile. My two sons missed that one. I guess I didn’t teach that fact very well, did I? Rachel won despite not getting too many questions right as did none of us. That is the beauty of the game. Even those of us who have gotten foggy in our brains have a chance to win by mooching off the right answers of others. We all laughed at our silly and far-fetched answers and even enjoyed our temporary status of victors with appropriate trash talk. The game proved to be a hit.

Well-made and durable, the quick play of about twenty minutes is also perfect for most families regardless of ages involved. North Star Games states that it is best suited for those 8 and over and with three to ten players. As most of us know in homeschooling families, you often have younger children around. “The questions are varied and range from easy to hard making the game fun and easy for young and old people”, Rachel said. If you need a few easier questions though for a much younger child, you can let all of the family help you write up a few more to mix in. Brendan felt that “some of the questions could become outdated”, but you could also add a few more timely questions to replace them if you want. Brian thought it was really fun and “worked well for all ages” to play despite differences in abilities, but he agreed with his brother about some of the questions becoming outdated. Most though will stand the test of time and popularity. My husband really liked that it was the game he played and enjoyed so long ago, but also had a good playing and scoring format for families that might not feel the connection to wagering was a good example.

I liked the game setup and durability of the materials. The questions can be redone in braille, large print, or signed for family members with sensory impairments quite easily because the questions are short and simply stated. Scoring is simple even for the youngest members. North Star games can easily add additional question packets to be purchased separately to address issues of outdated questions or for providing special play topics, too. The game is easily modified for any family and their specific needs and a perfect fit at $19.99. There is the more adult party version available, too, if your family needs more of a challenge.

Check http://www.northstargames.com for more information about Wits and Wagers Family or any of their other games.

I was provided a free product to write this review. I was not compensated in any other way, and the opinion expressed here is entirely my own.

You might be like many homeschool moms out there who have developed homeschool burnout. A case noted by a sink full of dishes, arts and crafts, textbooks, paper sprawled everywhere, and a haggard looking mom bent over the kitchen table full of research books, lesson plan books, and teacher editions trying to create that perfect lesson to spark the glow in her children’s eyes over bugs or pronouns. As the school year dwindles down to a close, you might be finding yourself in the description above. If so, Ideal Curriculum thinks they can help make your life easier if you have pre-schoolers and early learning students.

Ideal Curriculum is a curriculum program designed to fully cover the academic concepts of literacy, oral language, math, calendar, science, and social studies. The curriculum uses art, music, play, and movement to make learning fun. With literacy in mind, the activities cover letters and sound, phonological awareness, sight words, and concepts about print. Each unit includes a read-aloud text for each major concept, full-color flash cards, letter cards, sight word cards, and music files. Lesson plans are provided for each subject Literacy, Math, Science or Social Studies based on the monthly theme. In fact from start to finish, everything you need is provided along with every detail you need to implement it.

The monthly kits are available as print or downloadable .pdf files. Either of which can be made more accessible for either disabled students or parents with a few modifications. Low Vision can copy or print out the pages in larger print or blown up. The files are left open and accessible for copying to a braille translation program or read by Adobe’s text to speech reader. Letter cards can be made tactile with glue or tactile paint. Pictures can be recreated with objects if detailed, or if line art, they can be made tactile with glue or tactile paint. Tactile images such as letter cards or word cards are useful for the blind, deafblind, low vision, and learning disabled. Most of the activities are accessible or easy to modify as needed.

The monthly kits are $95.00 for print, and $30.00 for downloadable files. In the coming months, packages will be available that will combine parts of the curriculum and provide a savings for buying them together. The website also has a blog with interesting information about literacy and useful tips for teaching. Check out http://www.idealcurriculum.com for more information. With Ideal Curriculum, you can develop your children into strong readers and writers while teaching them to love to learn.

I was provided a downloadable copy of monthly kit 1 in order to write this review, but I was not compensated in any other way. The opinion expressed here is entirely my own.

I I have heard many parents say I wish I had the old textbooks back when they knew how to write a textbook. Those old textbooks are difficult to find and even more difficult to find in good condition. Dollar Homeschool has provided a series of textbooks that are definitely from days gone by. The Eclectic Series was used between 1865 and 1915 as the exclusive curriculum for schools in the United States. The books are definitely written in the time when things were detailed, elegant, and concise.

 Included in the Eclectic series are the subjects of Grammar, History, Reading, Math, and Science. All of the books are in the .pdf format. One of the best known sets of books available is the McGuffey series. It has long been held as a true classic. Also available is Ray’s Arithmetic, White’s Arithmetic, Norton’s Elements of Physics, Norton’s Elements of Chemistry, Norton’s Elements of Natural Philosophy, Cromwell’s History, and many others. You will find something for every subject and age level that covers the topics in a style that can’t be found today.

 Accessibility for the most part is limited not by the textbooks themselves, but by the technology needed to present them for use today. The .pdf format is unsecured which would normally allow accessibility equipment to use the material either directly or copied into another accessible program, but the .pdf sources were pictures derived from the scanning in of the documents. Accessibility equipment needs text in most cases. Optical Character Recognition or OCR is the only way to get text from scanned images. That might be possible here, but the condition of the original texts may have made this too difficult of a process. For many of my readers and for me, this makes these incredible sources useless for the most part. However, for those who can use them and love the teaching styles of these old texts, Dollar Homeschool has delivered a good product for you to use.

 Yyou can get the entire Eclectic series for $159.99 on CD and for a limited time, you can get free shipping. To get a much better idea, go to http://www.dollarhomeschool.com.

 I was provided a copy of the entire Eclectic series for the purpose of writing this review. I was not compensated in any other way, and the opinion is entirely my own.

Regardless of your style of teaching, you often need just the right worksheet or activity. Often, your brain just can be taxed anymore. That is when you need a really good place to go for fresh ideas, or ready-made worksheet to save you some time. The site, http://www.abcteach.com, may be just what you need.

 

For $40.00 a year or $70.00 for two years, you can have access to over 35,000 printable worksheets on various subjects and grade levels. You have access to clip art for any type of classroom project or decoration. You also can find activities and templates for projects like book report forms, research note card forms, etc. You won’t find any annoying advertising either. There is also customer service available to answer your questions and give tips. Whether you need a learning center, or research project, or just a practice worksheet, you can find it on this site, and it is growing every day with more and more resources being added.

 

As part of the TOS Crew, I received free access to the site for about a month. For myself, I was unable to access most of the site, since I am almost totally DeafBlind. I was disappointed because I was looking forward to browsing the site. I had to get sighted help to get any help at all from the site. Accessibility is great for sighted users, but those who need screen readers will be unable to make sense of the page for the most part. I know the main page has 104 links that are recognizable to the screen reader, but I can’t seem to get to them or know what they are. It reads “Your online resource for children’s Education and thousands of free printable worksheets and activities plus over 35,000 pages of worksheets… Then it skips to a series of links in the highlighted Directories under “Sandy’s Picks.” Many of the links are icon links made of graphics, and there is a table with a graphic that contains the links. A screen reader just can’t access that at all. I hope the owners will work on the accessibility of their site. I have many parents of hearing/sighted children who are blind and deafblind themselves. They like to work with their children just like other parents do. These parents need resources, too. If you can access the resources with sighted help, you will find the .pdf format files are open to the accessibility options allowed by Adobe. Of course, that is only suitable for hearing blind because Adobe forces you to use their text to speech program. This program doesn’t allow access to a screen reader that allows braille access. Therefore, I can’t recommend this site for my blind and deafblind parents. Sighted parents will find it quite user-friendly, though.

 

If you need worksheets or activity ideas, this site will certainly give you a lot of help. Check out the ABCTeach site at http://www.abcteach.com for more information.

It seems today with television and video games so popular that it is almost impossible to get them outdoors for exercise, play, or learning. As parents, we are always on the lookout for ideas and resources to motivate our children to get out and enjoy the beautiful world God made for us. Nature Friend magazine is just the ticket.

These magazines just lying on the coffee table or school desk beckons you to pick it up with each gorgeous full-color cover page and back cover. My students love to grab it at break time and pour through the pages of full color pictures of animals and insects and scenery. Each basic magazine has a crossword puzzle or word search and an art activity including a drawing activity. Drawing skills are wonderful to have to allow your students to document their outdoor studies with sketches as well as journaling. There is also a wonderful nature photo with a fitting scripture for students to learn for the month. In addition, the entire issue is written from a biblical perspective and appropriate scriptures throughout reinforce the concept that God is the creator, and the whole earth is his handiwork depicting His nature to us. You also have a fun scavenger hunt to let your students improve their observational skills hunting for the drawings of a plant, or an insect, or animal track hidden in the pictures throughout that issue. Some are easy, but others really make their eyes work.

The optional, but inexpensive study guide extends these activities for fun and learning even more adding several more pages of pictures and stories, and fun. There are research activities, photography tips, word searches, crossword puzzles, etc. All of these activities help to reinforce the information found in the stories and articles on different animals and insects. Learning different ways to get good photos of nature is so informative and fun. Students will love getting outdoors to try getting the best angles. There are also writing activities for students to try. Journaling about nature observations can be fun, and is a learning tool used by naturalists.

Your students can also mail in submissions of the activities they have done to Nature Friend that just might be included in a future issue. They can send mail asking questions or telling how they love the magazine. They can also write their own articles or stories about nature and send it to them. Each issue has lots of art work, articles, photos, etc. done by the young readers of the magazine. That will certainly motivate your young naturalists.

Nature Friend will be useful for many special needs students, as well. The font is a comfortable size for learning disabled students and many low vision students. The reading level is easy to comprehend while challenging the student with its content. My students love to read the articles and sign or fingerspell their favorite things to me. Your students don’t have to sign, but let them tell you what they like, too.

Nature Friend is available by subscription for $36 for 12 issues in the U. S. while Canada and Mexico subscriptions are $49 and International is $62 for 12 issues. The study guide can be added for just $2.00 per issue for 12 issues and is highly recommended by this author. Nature Friend is well worth this price with all the fun packed into each issue. To find out how to subscribe to Nature Friend magazine, go to http://www.naturefriendmagazine.com. This just might be the magazine that gets your students off the video games and into God’s creation.

Lapbooking? Doesn’t sound like my cup of tea, as they say in Britain. I am married to and have raised self-proclaiming”geeks”. Truth be known, I am probably a little on the geek side, too. I have just never cared for things that seemed like art. I was about to dismiss this review as “not very useful” if I am being honest. I wouldn’t give a bad review for that reason, of course, but I don’t know if I would have put a good effort into it, though. My conscience wouldn’t let me do that really, so I asked around and got other opinions about lapbooking in general and this particular set from A Journey through Learning. Boy, did I get a surprise!

Almost every parent in my school for homeschoolers had heard of lapbooking and loved it. The parents find it so useful for their children in learning and more importantly, retaining the information they learn. These parents felt that the process of building presentation booklets on specific topics increased their students’ interest level in the subjects, too. The ability to make lapbooks almost 3D with the use of various paper folds adds additional interest and skill to the unit studies. This method is very similar to scrapbooking and just as versatile, it seems. A Journey through Learning unit studies take a great method and make it easy to learn with the detailed instructions and tip guides. The well-designed templates and colorful photos and clip art helps make it easy to create advanced and spectacular booklets. The study guide provided with each one gives your student a great start at learning. Lapbooking and A Journey through Learning cover all the modalities needed to make learning a success with the ability to teach the skills of following instructions and working together (when a family tackles each project). You can then tie it all together with the ability to express themselves creatively.

Accessibility for these projects is there for the .pdf since Adobe has the text-to-speech ability. Of course, there is no braille output for this, but the authors do have the ability to copy text for accessibility turned on which will allow it to be pulled into other screenreading programs for large print, better voices for the blind, and braille for the deafblind. The great colors available in the templates are good for low vision, and the templates can be printed out at larger scales for those with low vision. These can definitely be modified for many special needs students.

These great lapbook units on all kinds of subjects from amphibians to reptiles, to the Civil War to the Bible can be found at the web site, http://www.ajourneythroughlearning.com. The prices are very affordable and are available in three formats: downloadable .pdf at $13.00, CD_ROM at $14.00, and print at $21.00. Created by two homeschooling moms for homeschoolers who understand what you do and what you need to teach your students, these lapbook sets are just the ticket to success.

Science has always been one of my favorite subjects. I love teaching science with lots of student exploration and hands-on activities. I believe in an organized method of presenting how to follow the scientific method and why. I want the work of exploration done by the students and the activities to be interesting, beneficial, and fun. By having similar steps to follow while doing the learning, students naturally learn and understand the scientific method and other concepts necessary for science. I haven’t found many curriculums that could capture all of that together and certainly not with a Christ-centered emphasis. Apologia does all of that and in an exceptional way.
Dr. Jay Wile who says he was an atheist for many years actually set out to prove there could not be a God, but proved to himself the opposite. God has now used him well as a Christian professor and as a textbook writer of science texts for grades 7th- 12th. His company also publishes other science texts suitable for K-6th students as well as a geography course and a writing course. He understands homeschoolers as he and his family has homeschooled his children. Dr. Wile began helping teach science at the local co-op. His classes were so popular for their quality and fun that it was often suggested that he publish his lessons. The many Apologia users are so thankful he did.
In his courses, Dr. Wile uses chapters set up as modules. The modules are separated into sections with questions at the end of each section and chapter review questions at the end of each module like many curriculums. The questions check not only knowledge, but higher order thinking, too. Dr. Wile really makes sure the student gets the concepts and can analyze and apply them. Experiments are built in and designed to be done as you come to them when it is most appropriately matched with the reading. The lesson is fresh and the observations from the experiments can help the students thoroughly explore each concept. Each course also has a multimedia cd, or it is built in to the full course that can be purchased as a computer text. These multimedia experiences enhance the curriculum in ways that most students would not be able to do at home or even in a regular classroom giving further exploration and adding interest to the curriculum. Every course has a set of application problems for each module carrying the student into further study and analysis of the concepts. After that, the student completes a study guide with definitions and exercises and essay questions. If your student follows and uses all of these activities making sure they can answer any of the questions, they can be assured of success on the test. The use of these activities in the way it is presented goes a long way to model and teach your student the proper methods of study that can be transferred to all subjects. The high quality of these courses can also help your student if they wish to study one science area through each successive level. In so doing, your student can be prepared to take the Advanced Placement or entry level CLEP tests for a particular area such as Biology or Physics.
As beneficial as the method is, the best part of these courses is the way Dr. Wile writes. He writes in a conversational tone with simple, clear explanations. You actually get the feeling that he is sitting across the table enthusiastically sharing his passion for science with you. The writing appeals to almost all students even those who don’t like science. I have seen many a student including special needs students who hated science become engrossed in his style of teaching falling in love with science. That in itself is the main reason I love this curriculum. You can feel the passion for science coming through the lessons.
Dr. Wile’s curriculums can be found on the Apologia website, www.highschoolscience.com. You can also contact Dr. Wile via email from the site. He is very personable and will help you if you have any questions. I greatly appreciate the help he has given me and my students who can’t see a textbook or hear the audio files. Christian curriculums can’t be found in braille. Dr. Wile has graciously helped us provide a format that our students can use regardless of the equipment that must use to access the text. It is truly a blessing. His courses come in well-made print texts that have wonderfully coated pages that make them great when near the materials used for experimenting. The texts including teacher’s guide and test booklets are $85.00 and well worth every penny. The Full Text on CD-Rom including the multimedia files is $65.00, and multimedia and mp3 cds are $15.00 each. Courses for elementary grades are $35.00. Wonderful prices for such great and thorough curriculums that will surely make an impression on your students. Turn your student into a scientist with the Apologia curriculums.

There are two important things that I want students to learn when I teach them. First, I want them to learn to love reading and learning. Second, I want them to learn how to learn, so they will continue it for their entire lives. From those two things, everything else from the alphabet and numbers to concepts of gravity and democracy will fall into place. Curriculums should be written from that stand point. The Five in a Row curriculum series by Jane Claire Lambert does that.
Using good books to weave a plan of learning and fun is the design of the Five in a Row series. The books are carefully chosen to present, as the Lamberts explain, “close family relationships, personal triumphs, and persevering in times of trial”. Activities and discussions are laid out to present how to read and critique books which blends into learning about many subjects through the adventures of the characters.
The method is the most important factor of this curriculum. It is imperative that a parent read each book to the students each day of the week. I love this time of closeness. The students do, too. The modeling I do while reading is important for the children. They get to hear how to glean meaning from the words by the inflection in my voice and the pauses for commas and the stops for periods. They hear my enthusiasm in my voice. They feel the love for the words and the life within those words. Also, hearing the story each day and then doing activities and discussing different aspects of the story or how it relates to another subject like math or science reviews those aspects as many as four times.
The layout is simplified to allow even beginning homeschoolers the ability to succeed in the unit study format of Five in a Row. There are five main subjects used in the units to allow activities to be used in a five-day format. Teachers can choose from many different activities in each subject or even do them all and choose when during the week to do the lessons. Sample lesson plans are provided to help the teacher organize, but it isn’t necessary. Many teachers just check off in the book the activities they wish to do with their students. All of the books used in the series can be found free at the public library making this an easily affordable curriculum to use at any age level. I need braille to read to my students, but I have plenty of time to get the National Library to send me via download the braille text for each book. I often purchase the book and print the braille on overlay plastic to glue with clear glue to the page. I can read the story in braille as my students read the print and look at pictures. This keeps me actively involved with my students’ learning.
There are many levels to the Five in a Row curriculum covering ages 4-8. Each level can still be used for a family of multiple students in that age level easily. The authors even suggest hints for using activities with younger and/or older children. The appendix has the copy sheets for the activities in the book as well as that sample lesson plan. Story disks which are round circles with story pictures on them which can be cut out, colored, and laminated are used in many activities such as geography where they place the story disk on areas of the map such as the water areas found around the island of Nantucket where a story you read takes place. That is a wonderful way to remember about lakes and oceans and other geographical features. You can purchase a set of these on their website if you prefer things pre-done, too.
A teacher will find the series quite complete for ages 4-5 or 6. When you feel your students are ready to introduce phonics or formal math lessons, the authors help you integrate the subjects easily into your day while still seeing the benefits of the unit study series.
The authors have other series for ages 2 thru high school. I have personally used most of them and found them to be very fulfilling and intriguing. There are also additional unit studies for all levels that can be purchased inexpensively on their web site. Check them out at http://www.fiveinarow.com. Unit studies are a great way to teach a lifelong love for learning. Five in a Row and all the other age levels from this author are an easy and wonderful way to accomplish this important goal.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 525 other followers

Homeschool Mosaics Writers Group

Affilliate- Reading Horizons At Home

ReadingHorizonsAtHome.com

Our Village is a Little Different

Our Village is a Little Different

My blog is listed on:

Pages

Blog Stats

  • 22,905 hits
Advertisements