Friday, September 16, 2016

HelpTeaching.com, a Review

Lately we have enjoyed enriching our homeschool studies with worksheets through the Help Teaching Pro Subscription from HelpTeaching.com. In a world where you are overwhelmed with resources on every side and often spend countless hours hopping from this site to that, the Help Teaching Pro Subscription offers you thousands of supplemental resources-tests, worksheets, activities, games and more-in one place to print from the convenience of your home.
Help Teaching Pro Subscription {HelpTeaching.com}
As an online resource, HelpTeaching.com is extremely user friendly and well organized. It offers trustworthy resources for all students, grades K-12, in a variety of subjects including math, science, language arts, geography and more. If you don't see something you're looking for, you can customize your own material via easy test and worksheet creators. 

One of my favorite sections to grab printable from is the literature and reading worksheets. We happened to read Charlotte's Web over the summer, so this was a great supplement to refresh our minds and review reading comprehension. You can search by A-Z books titles or even grade level, and though this specific worksheet was marked for third grade, my first grader was able to answer the questions easily with just a tiny bit of help from me reading them aloud.  I would encourage mom's to explore this page because many of the children's literature printable are FREE. 
Help Teaching Pro Subscription {HelpTeaching.com}
I really enjoyed the word search generator under "games and puzzles." We used them to help reinforce problem sight words as well as whatever we were going over in our phonics like those sneaky silent "k" words.  Here is a screenshot of one of the worksheets I created. This word search printed out very neatly(which is not always the case with your run of the mill online word search maker) and was very simple to make. Plus I loved that you could customize just about everything, like whether to place words backwards or to show an answer key. To go one step further, teachers can also create tests and invite students to take them online using the test services provided by the Help Teaching Pro Subscription. 
HelpTeaching.com offers materials for all ages. Below is an example of some preschool pages, which are just screaming to be laminated! 
Help Teaching Pro Subscription {HelpTeaching.com}
The one year Pro subscription plan includes unlimited access to all premium printable resources, test services and the ability to make and save your own worksheet materials-all for a very reasonable $24.95. 
To read what the rest of the crew thought, click on the banner below!
Help Teaching Pro Subscription {HelpTeaching.com}
And, be sure to check out HelpTeaching.com on social media at the following links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/helpteaching
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Double digit boys

Today Mr. Smoosh himself turns 10 months! In case you didn't know, these first double digits are a huge mile marker in the mommy world. He has 4 teeth, a distinct taste for ice cream, and is entering that mobile and mischievous stage with gusto.

Here's a sweet glimpse of all three boys at 10 months, dare I say Asher is slowly but surely taking on his own unique look. Here's a blast from the past.

Evan at 10 months...
Bennett at 10 months...


Asher at 10 months...
Only two more months to the big "1!"

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Exploring the stars with Apologia-a review

We were so excited to get our hands on Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition from Apologia Educational Ministries to review. I have long been a fan of Apologia, and knew from the start of our homeschooling journey that we would eventually use it for our science curriculum. After exploring this new Astronomy course with my first grader over the past few months, we are happy to join the chorus of praises and sing that it not disappoint! 
Apologia: Exploring Creation with Astronomy Review
The new and improved  Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition is part of the Young Explorer series and is geared towards students grades K-6. For this review we received:
  • Student textbook
  • Note booking Journal
  • JR. Note booking Journal
  • Audio CD
Apologia: Exploring Creation with Astronomy Review
The sturdy hardback textbook offers an in depth astronomy course complete with beautiful, breathtaking photographs. As you learn and "explore creation" through astronomy, Apologia is faithful to point to its creator and teaches from a biblical center and worldview. What I also appreciate about the textbook is how fluidly it reads. While incredibly comprehensive, its conversational style reads with the ease and enjoyment of a living book.  This top quality textbook includes 14 lessons and covers the sun, moon, each of the planets, stars, space travel and more. I really enjoyed the small "think about this" excerpts within the chapters-they make for great talking points with your kids! 
Apologia: Exploring Creation with Astronomy Review
Because we love all things multi sensory, the audio CD element was an awesome addition. It is a complete and engaging reading of the textbook by the author herself, Jeanine Fulbright. We casually (and by casually I mean on the way to the grocery store) listen to the chapter readings of the CD after we've read the textbook and completed any related notebooking activities and/or experiments; in this way the audio reading acts as a last layer to further "seal" the information.

The student activities were also huge hits with both of my boys. They are easily outlined and you can complete most experiments with the help of common household objects. Most importantly, they are FUN! One of the first ones we did was to create an original mnemonic device to remember the names of the planets. Of course we came up with all kinds of silly sayings, and ultimately landed on "Master Velociraptor Evan Matthew Just Sat Under Noodles." #SixYearOlds. :-) It's safe to say my kids were pulled in from chapter one. More than that, they were excited to start learning about astronomy. Below is a picture of Evan standing under our next project, a balloon model of the solar system. 
Since my kids are younger, I read aloud the from the textbook before moving to journal time. We primarily used the "junior" version of the notebooking journal, which is perfect for for those younger kiddos.  It's a wonderful and well done complement to the student text and Evan really enjoyed the journaling in it. Both notebooks are BIG(300+ pages) and boast a variety of fun, full color activities to reinforce the lessons. The copywork, crosswords and coloring pages were right up our first grade alley. We also enjoyed making the "mini books." And for mom, a suggested schedule is included in the notebook for ease of planning. 
Apologia: Exploring Creation with Astronomy Review
You can view sample pages of this notebook HERE.
Apologia has put together an excellent science cirriculum in Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition. If you're looking for a comprehensive, competitive and Christ centered science curriculum-this is it. It presents science and astronomy in a way that captures your attention-both in it's engaging text and gorgeous photographs- and inspires students to learn more. Without a doubt I will continue to use this book beyond the time of this review.
To read other reviews on this homeschool science curriculum, click on the banner below:
Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition Review
And, be sure to check out Apologia on social media at the links below:
Facebook: https://facebook.com/apologiaworld
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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Caterpillar Chronicles

It all started with a cup of caterpillars. 
They arrived as tiny eggs, and over the course of about two weeks transformed before our eyes-at our table side even- into beautiful Painted Lady butterflies.

The process is really amazing to see up close and personal. Four out of the five eggs we received turned into butterflies. What happened to "Tiny," we will never know(of course, many a story has been told). On that note, we affectionately named them all. "Ronald" was by far the most popular in the group, and by the end of it all we were calling every caterpillar in that cup Ronald.
Day by day we observed mother nature in action, with little to no help from us. It's a small sort of miracle to see one thing completely change and become a whole new creation. 
These guys grew FAST! Basically, the cup comes with all the food they need to grow. And grow they do. It was so interesting to see these guys move and roll around up close!
Once they're ready, the wiggle on up to the top of the cup and hang in an "J" shape. I'm sure Bennett will always picture his "j's" like this. It's there that they form their chrysalides, and begin the metamorphosis into butterflies.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." 2 Corinthians 5:17
After the outer shell of each chrysalis had hardened, we(Chris) carefully transported the cocoons to the butterfly house. We furnished their new home with flowers and apple slices, and then waited. The kit we bought from Insect Lore also comes with a pipette to feed your butterflies. You can make homemade nectar easily enough with sugar and water, but we mostly let the butterflies dip their long proboscis' in left over banana slices.

It was very exciting to come downstairs every morning to see the progress with each passing day. Try as we might, we missed the magical moment they emerged from their chrysalides-I think they were waiting till our backs were turned! One by one the came out of their chrysalides as new butterflies. Their wings were paper thin, beautiful and full of wrinkles to start. We watched them grow in strength, size and even color over the next few days before we released them into the wild world outside. It was pretty amazing.

To watch them grow in each stage, both as butterflies and caterpillars, was so interesting to the littles AND the bigs in this house. I am not a buggy person by any bend or stretch of the word, and will admit I was full of the heebie jeebies when these crawly critters arrived on our doorstep. But when it was time to let this new creatures fly, even I was a little sad to see them go. I took a few videos below, it was a fun and special moment!
Butterfly release! from Rebecca Scott on Vimeo.
Letting the butterflies fly #2 from Rebecca Scott on Vimeo.

I remember reading somewhere that experiencing things hands on, outside of a textbook, moves information from  the left brain to the right. Or rather, from short term to long term memory. I'm so thankful for the flexibility that homeschooling offers us and the many opportunities we have to take learning outside of our textbooks or four walls. While you can't always make that happen, this one is a winner and an A+ learning experience. Alongside our fun family project, we also visited the butterfly observatory at the Durham Museum of Life and Science. Interestingly, Evan is still skittish in the big butterfly house(he comes by it honestly) but was very hands on and comfortable with our own butterflies. He took many pictures of them on top of our yellow cabinet, read to them, drew them, fed them, and was all around a very brave friend and protector while they underwent their transformation. As for Bennett, we are thankful the butterflies survived him hehe.

Every now and then we catch sight of a new "Ronald" around the neighborhood, and always wave a friendly hello to our fluttering friends.