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Thursday, August 30, 2018

11th Grade Curriculum Choices for the 2018/2019 School Year

This year I will have children in 2nd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 9th and 11th grades.  This series of posts will talk about what curriculum I am using for each of the children, starting with 2nd grade and working my way up.  Some subjects the 2-7th graders will do together such as science, history, Bible, and some subjects such as math are individual.  My 9th and 11 th graders will be working individually on all of their subjects except they listen in to the Bible lesson with the others.  The homeschool teacher role changes as the children get older.  I come alongside to help as needed and to look over their work at the end of each week but the day to day work is completed on their own and they are responsible for keeping track of their own schedule.

Math- Nick is taking Pre-Calculus from Math U See

Government- Exploring Government from Notgrass

Economics- Economics for Everybody from Compass Classroom

Language Arts- Jensen's Grammar from Master Books (this is a new curriculum to us we have not used it before)

Science-Chemistry from Master Books (another new curriculum)


Art- The Elements of Art and Composition from ARTistic Pursuits

PE- soccer

At the public school he is taking Social Media  Communications for 1 credit and Marketing for 1 credit.  He was not able to take Robotics again because they only offer Robotics 1 and 2 and he already took that, but there is a Robotics Club and if he participates in that I will give him .5 credit in Robotics.

It's going to be a great year!

Happy Homeschooling!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Homeschool Crew Review: Health and Nutrition Basic Set from Apologia Educational Ministries


 Apologia Educational Ministries is very well known in the homeschool community for their science and worldview curriculum.  They also carry other types of curriculum and offer a variety of homeschool help and encouragement books for parents.  We have used many, many products from Apologia in our homeschool.  I was very excited when I heard that they were releasing a high school health curriculum and more excited when I was chosen to review the brand new Exploring Creation with Health and Nutrition by Dr. Laura Chase.  We received the Health and Nutrition Basic Set to use and review. 
Apologia Exploring Health and Nutrition

Exploring Creation with Health and Nutrition is a high school level course.  Very mature 8th graders may be able to take this course so the suggested age range is 8th-12 th grade.  There are 3 components to the course: a hardcover textbook, spiral bound paperback student notebook, and a downloadable solutions manual.  To complete this course your student will also need occasional access to the internet to do some research and in module 12 your student will need a cushioned floor, athletic shoes, and an exercise ball to complete some of the activities. This course can be completed over an entire school year by working 3 days a work or in one semester by working 5 days a week for about an hour each day.  A suggested 3 day a week schedule is included in the front of the student notebook.

Topics covered in this course include:

Module 1: Who Am I and Why Does Health Matter?

Module 2: Physical Influence on Thoughts and Feelings

Module 3: Mental and Emotional Stability

Module 4: Interpersonal Harmony

Module 5: Treasuring Your Senses

Module 6: Processing Nourishment and Hydration

Module 7: Food Science I- Macronutrients

Module 8: Food Science II- Micronutrients

Module 9: Lets Look at What You Eat

Module 10: Delivering the Oxygen

Module 11: Let's Move

Module 12: You're Stronger than You Look

Module 13: A War With Infection

Module 14: Peace in Difficult Times

Module 15: The Gift of Reproduction 

The textbook is a 440 page hardcover book.  The text is written to the student.  It has all of the student readings, full color photos, illustrations, and drawings, and On Your Own questionsAt the end of each chapter you will find the solutions to the On Your Own Questions.

The student notebook is 365 pages and spiral bound.  In this book you will find an introduction explaining what to expect in the course and a suggested schedule.  For each module there are blank pages for taking notes, On Your Own questions with spaces for filling in the answers, several projects with spaces to complete them, study guide review questions and spaces to answer.  In the back of the notebook you will find the tests for the modules except for 9, 12, and 14 that do not have tests they have evaluation guides instead.

The downloadable solutions guide is found on the book extras site.  It is a 52 page downloadable PDF.  It contains the answers to all of the modules review questions.  There is also an 8 page download that gives all of the solutions to the tests.  The book extras site also has links to other websites if your student wants to do more research on a particular topic.

The cost of the Basic Health and Nutrition Set is $85.  Each student will need their own notebook so if you have more then one student taking the course you can purchase additional notebooks for $39.

I have been using  Exploring Creation With Health and Nutrition with my 14 year old son who has just started 9th grade.  He is using this as a full year course and has been working on it three days per week.  For a product review we usually only have the product around 5 weeks which put us into the 3rd module.  To get a more complete idea of the course, I have read several of the other chapters on my own and looked over the projects in the student notebook.

I have been very impressed with every single product I have used from Apologia Educational Ministries so I had high expectations for this course.  I was not disappointed!  This is a thorough course that covers many aspects of health and well being including physical, emotional, spiritual, social, and mental.  The text is written to the student, topics are very well explained and illustrated by pictures, charts, and graphics.  No advanced preparation is needed and students can complete the work with no teacher involvement though the teacher should look over the students work and grade it. Apologia is a Christian company and I love that the fact that we are designed by God is talked about throughout the text along with Scripture verses.  I think that subjects that may be considered "touchy" such as vaccinations and circumcision are handled very well in the text with the topic being presented and the author not taking a particular "side."  The module called The Gift of Reproduction is very well done in my opinion.  Information is presented in a very factual, tactful way.

The student notebook is an important part of the course.  It allows students to keep all of their notes, answers to the On Your Own Questions and Study Guide answers all in the same place.  Plus all of the projects are included in the notebook.  There is a great variety of projects to make the lessons become more personal to the student and shows them how the information relates to real life.  Some of the projects include: doing research about a particular topic and writing paragraphs about what they learned, thinking about certain circumstances in their lives and writing about it, filling in charts, keeping a food diary, searching for and recording different household items, recording exercise, sleep, and dental hygiene, and more.

 This is definitely a high school level course and that is the age Apologia recommends it for.  One of the reasons is because of the mature content that is in the book.  But another is because the text is written towards  high school age students and I believe that younger students would struggle with the reading and the assignments.

Even though parents do not have to be involved in teaching this course, I have talked with Alex each day about what he has learned. We have had some great discussions over the last few weeks.  We have talked about Nature verses Nurture and how God created us all to be different.  We've talked about his strengths, weaknesses, and natural preferences.  We used the Decision Making Practice project to make a decision of whether or not to take goats to the district fair (he decided yes.)

Exploring Creation With Health and Nutrition is an outstanding health course for high school students!  If I had one recommendation I would love to see an audio CD offered as well.  I think it
 would be very helpful for dyslexic students or those that are auditory learners.

To celebrate the release of Exploring Creation With Health and Nutrition by Dr. Laura Chase, Apologia Educational Ministries  has a free activity book for you to download called Whole-Health God's Design For Your Body Mind and Soul.  By downloading the e-book you will also receive the FAQ's and a chapter sample of Exploring Creation With Health and Nutrition.

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 2

This week we added language arts and spelling to our homeschool day.  We missed one day of school work but got many things accomplished!

We had a few days of cooler temperatures this week which was wonderful!  It was so nice for the children to be able to play outside even in the middle of the afternoon and cutting goat hair is much better when it is not 100 degrees. It takes about an hour to an hour and a half for each goat.

Monday I had a dentist appointment in the morning and ran a couple of errands all by myself.

Tuesday morning we cut goat hair and our Ag agent and 4 H Program Assistant came out to the house to check on our animals and weigh this year's market goats for us.  They have to weigh 45 pounds for county and district and 50 pounds for state.  We got very young goats this year and I was worried they didn't weigh enough.  One was 46 pounds and the other 43 but they gain 3-5 pounds per week so the little one should be fine for the fair which starts on September 3rd.

Wednesday the children had dentist appointments in Texarkana.  Art needed to buy some things from Lowes and a steel place so he took the day off.  We also went and bought some boots and belts for livestock shows and went to see Hotel Transylvania 3 (it was a bit cheesy but ok I would have rather seen Christopher Robin.)  We were gone all day.

Thursday we didn't have to leave the house until Lily had piano.

Friday we did our grocery shopping and other errands.

Saturday morning we went to the fair grounds to do some clean up to get ready for the fair.  We also had to have our chickens blood tested to make sure they are free of disease and can be shown at the fair.  They were fine.

We also worked on our fair booth.

Art is building a livestock trailer so we wont have to transport the animals in the van anymore. He and the boys worked on that all weekend after we got back from the fair.  The blazing hot weather returned for the weekend so they were roasting out in the shop bending steel and welding.

They worked on exercising goats and walking them for the show.

Week 2 in our Homeschool

Bible: We are working on Answers For Kids Vol 4 and read through 5 lessons.

History: In America's Story 3 we completed lessons 3 and 4 on the Wright Brothers (that was familiar to us because we read a biography on them last year) and Henry Ford's Model T.

Spelling: Christian and Anthony completed step 18 in AAS Level 5.

Language Arts: Emmie's new Reading Eggs workbook arrived (upcoming review) and she just loves it!  I had planned on her completing the lesson on the iPad and then doing the corresponding sheets but she got a hold of the workbook and just kept going.  Lily did 2 lessons in Hake/Saxon Grammar and Writing 3.  Christian and Anthony will start IEW next week.

Math: All of the MLFLE children completed 4 lessons in their books.

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!

Friday, August 24, 2018

9th Grade Curriculum Choices for the 2018/2019 School Year

This year I will have children in 2nd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 9th and 11th grades.  This series of posts will talk about what curriculum I am using for each of the children, starting with 2nd grade and working my way up.  Some subjects the 2-7th graders will do together such as science, history, Bible, and some subjects such as math are individual.  My 9th and 11 th graders will be working individually on all of their subjects except they listen in to the Bible lesson with the others.  The homeschool teacher role changes as the children get older.  I come alongside to help as needed and to look over their work at the end of each week but the day to day work is completed on their own and they are responsible for keeping track of their own schedule.

Math- Last year we did an online Pre-Algebra course that was not a great fit so Alex is doing a bit of refreshing of Pre-Algebra using Math U See.

Language Arts- I had Lightning Literature to use with him last year but set it back on the shelf when we decided to do all of his classes online.  So this year I pulled it back off the shelf to use for 9th grade Language Arts.

History- Alex will be using World Story 1 The Ancients from Master Books.

Science- Biology 101.

Health- Alex started working on Apologia Health and Nutrition (brand new course!) a few weeks ago as I am reviewing it.  He is following the schedule to have it completed over a year.


3 D Modeling: I purchased an online course for Alex to learn 3 D Modeling.  If he completes it this year he will earn .5 credit.

All of the work Alex has been doing and will do with the goats and working on a livestock judging competition will earn him .5 credit in Ag.

Writing and giving speeches on different topics in 4H will earn him .5 credit in speech.

Playing soccer and participating in other physical activities will earn him .5 credit in PE.

Building a livestock trailer, working on a goat barn, and completing other building projects will earn him .5 credit in shop.

Alex should end the year with 7.5 credits.  Our local school district requires 28 credits to graduate and we try to stick close to those regulations.

It's going to be a great year!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 1

Back to school this week!

Nick is taking a first block class at school and I am so thankful he can drive himself!  Much easier then last year when I had to drag everyone out of bed first thing in the morning and hang around town for an hour and a half every day!!!

I learned a few years ago it was better for us to ease back into a full day then it was to jump in with both feet to do everything.  So for the next couple of weeks we will be working on a few subjects and work our way up to a full schedule.  I do wish that this year I would've started the first day with something fun as I think we would have had a better day that way but we did add in some fun activities Tuesday and Wednesday.

For the first time in years I forgot to take first day of school pictures.  Nick had class in the morning, the girls and I ran some errands and we didn't start school until after lunch.  So I forgot.  I am going to try and remember to take some tomorrow and just call them beginning of the school year photos.

Week 1 in our Homeschool

Bible: We are on Vol 4 of Answers for Kids and worked through 6 lessons this week.

History: We did lessons 1 and 2 of America's Story Vol 3 on Theodore Roosevelt 3 Progressive Presidents.

A couple of weeks ago I received a review of a Paddington Bear literature study from Branch Out World.  The girls and I did 3 days of activities.  We did not have a chance to do day 4 and 5 activities so this week we did some of those. 

Art: Paintings of Paddington Bear using shaving cream.

Science: We made our own shaving foam using peroxide, food coloring, water, yeast, and "washing up liquid" and watched it rise.  This was a fun experiment!

Math: Anthony, Christian, Lily, and Emmie completed 3 lessons in Math Lessons for a Living Education.  Alex started lesson 2 of Math U See Pre-Algebra and Nick completed lesson 1 of Math U See Pre-Calculus. 

We read a couple of chapters of The Unseen Guest (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place Book 3) during the school day as well as before bed and decided that our next non fiction read aloud will be Milton Hershey from YWAM. 

Reading: Emmie worked on Reading Eggs and did corresponding lessons in her new Reading Eggs workbook (upcoming review.)

Other Activities this Week:

Most of the children's after school activities will not start up again until after Labor Day so most evenings were spent at home this week!  I did have Mom's Night Out Monday night.  Lily read Emmie her bedtime story (apparently she didn't want to hear a made up one from her daddy.)  Lily had piano lessons on Thursday.  Nick and Alex had a Teen leader 4 h back to school event Friday night and attended an outdoor Christian concert with a local youth group Saturday night and I was very thankful again that Nick can drive!

Emmie made a Lemonade Stand this week.  She was outside several days "selling" lemonade for .15 a glass in our backyard.  She sold a few cups and then gave the rest away for free.

Christian has been busy working with his goat.  Only 2 weeks until the fair.  Alex started trimming hooves tonight and hair cuts start tomorrow.

Jessie is trying to escape

This year's chickens have started laying eggs!  We have 2 laying so far only 21 left to go!

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!

Friday, August 17, 2018

6th and 7th Grade Curriculum Choices for the 2018/2019 School Year

This year I will have children in 2nd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 9th and 11th grades.  This series of posts will talk about what curriculum I am using for each of the children, starting with 2nd grade and working my way up.  Some subjects the 2-7th graders will do together such as science, history, Bible, and some subjects such as math are individual.

Individual Subjects: These are done every day. Anthony and Christian do all subjects together except for Math.

Math: We did not finish last year's books and I agonized almost all summer over what to do about math.  Do I keep plugging along with what we were using, or do I need to find something else?  Finally I decided to delay my decision.  For now we will finish up what we did not finish last year, Math Lessons For a Living Education 5 and 6.  When they finish these at the end of the semester I will decide what we will do next.

Language Arts: We will be using Student Writing Intensive A from IEW.

Spelling: We are a little more then half finished with All About Spelling Level 5 and will continue where we left off.

Handwriting: They will use PenTime.

Combined Subjects- All of the 2-7th graders do these subjects together. Bible is done every day.  History 2 days a week, science 2 days a week., music appreciation and art one day a week.

Bible: We will be using up the rest of Bible Study Guide For all Ages that we received earlier in the summer for review.  We will be alternating this with the Answers for Kids books that we started at the end of last year from Master Books.

Poetry: IEW

History: In the fall semester we will be finishing up the America's Story series from Master Books.  We completed books 1 and 2 last year and will use book 3 this fall.  In the spring we will start The Mystery of History Book One.

Science: We will pick up where we left off last year in Apologia Exploring Human Anatomy and Physiology.

Music Appreciation: We will pick up where we left off in Music Appreciation I from Memoria Press.

Art: We will be using a variety of things for art this year.

I would love to also add in Visual Latin but we will see how it goes ;)

It's going to be a great year!

Homeschool Crew Review: God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn by Julie Polanco

Julie Polanco Books

I recently had an opportunity to read and review God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn by Julie Polanco.

God Schooling book

God Schooling is a165 page paperback book($16.99) with 9 chapters.  It is also available as an e-book that is currently on sale at the time of this writing through August 22nd ($9.99.) The first part of the book is called Dispelling Myths and discusses Biblical Support for Natural Learning and Motivation & Excellence.  In the second part of the book Julie talks about teaching children at different stages: children under 8, children 8-12, and teens.  She also talks about how to get started homeschooling, record keeping, spreading the banquet, and questions and answers.  Throughout the book she discusses her personal experiences homeschooling her 4 children and quotes more then 25 experts in the areas of psychology, child development, and education.  She also includes Biblical references.  At the end of each chapter you will find Study Questions with space for you to write the answers in the book.

God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn is a book about an educational method that is called UnSchooling, interest driven, or child-led.  I have been homeschooling for 14 years and have children ages 7-21.  I am not an Unschooler and I do not believe that it is the only way to homeschool Biblically. There were several things in this book that I agreed with. We need to put Biblical training and knowledge of Jesus at the center of our lives.  Not all children are ready to learn things all at the same time and each child's individual needs need to be taken into account.  Hands on learning and experiences are a great way for children to learn.  She gives many examples of how to teach different subjects using hands on real life experiences at the different ages.  There were several great ideas for teaching children the value of serving others and having an entrepreneur mindset. She has several encouraging Scriptures throughout her book that I love including: "But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well." Proverbs 3:5

In the beginning of the book Julie says," Curriculum can be a great tool as long as it does not become a religion."  I completely agree with that statement.  Curriculum should be a tool, not something that dictates your homeschool.  But the rest of the book does not talk about using any kind of curriculum at all. Later she states, " Throw away curriculum catalogs, homeschool magazines, and related publications.  For me, these items tend to keep me enslaved to a school mentality." We follow many, many, delight driven activities in our house and do many, many things through real life experience, but we use curriculum as well.  Curriculum can be a great guide to help on your homeschooling journey. For us it is a balance.  In the chapter on children ages 8-12 Ms. Polanco states, " Just as walking and talking are skills that we did not teach, reading, writing, and calculating are skills that we would do well not to teach, at least not until the child shows readiness by asking for it, vehemently." My children have a say in what they would like to learn but some things, such as math, they are required to do.  My boys would never ask to do math, but they need to learn it. 

In the chapter on children under 8 she states. " Trying to teach anything to children this age and expecting them to retain it is a waste of time.  I don't mean that it is a waste of time to do anything with them; I mean trying to get them to book learn is a waste of time."  This may be true for many children, but not all children.  I don't think that teaching children is ever a waste of time and some children learn best by reading from books even at a very young age.  We need to recognize that each child is different and teach them in ways that are best for them. 

If you are interested in learning more about how to unschool, or are already an unschooler who is looking for more suggestions or ideas for your children at different ages, God Schooling would be a great read for you.  It also would be good for those who are just starting homeschooling and are interested in learning about different homeschooling methods.

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Homeschool Crew Review: Branch Out World

Branch Out World

 We were excited to have an opportunity to review the Paddington Bear literature study from Branch Out World. 
Picture Book Explorers - Paddington

Branch Out World was started by a homeschooling mom with a family who loved books and wanted to share that love with others.  The company is located in the UK.  They carry a variety of products such as lapbooks, Picture Book Explorers, and Chapter Book Explorers.  Paddington Bear  is part of the Picture Book Explorers.  The Picture Book Explorers studies are geared for children ages 5-10 but also can be used and enjoyed by older students as well.  The PDF download we received for review is 69 pages.

Paddington, by Michael Bond, is the story of a bear who arrives from Paddington Station in London from darkest Peru.  The Brown family finds him there while on their way to pick up their daughter.  They discover that he was a stowaway and has no one to help him and take him home to live with them.  Paddington has a few difficulties adjusting to life with the Browns.  The picture book Paddington is based off of the first two chapters of the book A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond that was adapted to appeal to a younger audience.

To use the study, you read aloud the book Paddington to your child each day for 5 days and then work on each day's study.  On Day One you explore the setting, Day Two is called Exploring the Words, Day 3 Exploring the Pictures, Day 4 Exploring Science, and Day 5 Exploring Maths, Crafts, and More.  The study begins with instructions and tips, extra optional resources, and lists of supplies for each days activities. Next you find information and instructions for each days' activities. In the appendix you will find all of your printables such as maps, flags, lapbook pieces, other worksheets, and fact sheets.

I started out using this study with just my girls ages 7 and 9.  Lily (age 9) had already read A Bear called Paddington and other books in the series, but Emmie had not.  I did not even know there was a picture book.  We ordered a hard cover copy of the book.  After we completed the first days activities, my 11 and 12 year old boys also were interested and joined in.

Each day of the study has a variety of activities that you can choose from to complete. You do not need to complete each activity, just the ones that appeal to your family. I was very impressed with the number of activities and that you can choose different ones to suit the ages of the children in your family. 

Day 1: In the first day's activities, the lesson included locating London and Peru on a globe, labeling and coloring maps of Peru and London, coloring flags of London and Peru, creating a Travel brochure of England and Peru, researching facts about England and Peru, learning about migration, and making a timeline of events.

Day 2: Has information about the author and the themes of the book. Children have an opportunity to give a narration of the story, make a list of vocabulary words, write or dictate their own story based on one of their toys, learn about subject/verb agreement, talk about the differences between the first two chapters of the chapter book and the picture book, and write an adaptation of another chapter book.

Day 3: Gives information about the illustrator and picture study.  They also learn about the architecture of the Brown's home and different principles of design.

Day 4: Exploring science had information on Andean bears, sensory activities, edible and non edible foam experiments, an experiment with condensation, and nature study activity ideas.

 My children really enjoyed making their own shaving cream.  That was their favorite part!

Day 5: Activities with parallel lines, numbers, spatial awareness, and art, along with recipes to make your own strawberry tarts, and marmalade and information on snacks from Peru. You will also find other ideas to further your study.

This study is very thorough, tons of fun, and able to use with a wide range of ages. The included activities will suit all different types of learners. The study was well laid out and I was very glad to see the list of supplies at the beginning rather then having to look at each day separately.  I loved the variety of worksheets, lapbbok components, and that the maps were also included. 

I would definitely be interested in completing other Picture Book Explorers studies.  To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!