Monday, November 29, 2010

We journeyed with Minn on the Mississippi!

Minn of the Mississippi Map - Mississippi River Map
Minn of the Mississippi Map - Mississippi River Map

We've finished up our journey with a lovable, three-legged snapping turtle named Minn.  From Lake Itasca (the headwaters) to the Gulf of Mexico we traveled  2,552 miles learning all about snapping turtles, geography, industry along the mighty Mississippi, Cajuns, Explorers and my favorite - glaciers!!!

Snapping Turtle Research Books
Snapping Turtle Research Books

Instead of keeping a plain old book of information, each child made their own Minn.  Within their Minn 'book' are pages of information on how turtles lay their eggs, locks, mound builders, explorers, differences in watercraft and glaciers.

We've enjoyed our journey through Geography with Holling C. Holling.  The break from regularly scheduled History was refreshing.  The kids are ready to jump back into Tapestry of Grace Year 2 for some medieval studies!

As I type, they are preparing salt maps.......

Monday, November 22, 2010

TOS Crew Christian Kids Explore Chemistry Review

Christian Kids Explore Chemistry
Christian Kids Explore Chemistry

Bright Ideas Press
Christian Kids Explore Chemistry
Grades 4-8
Text $34.95
Student Activity Book Download (optional) $12.95

Even though I majored in science, my first exposure to Chemistry wasn't until Freshman year of college.
Let's just say that instead of going off with a 'bang', my experience was a resounding 'thud'!  There was so much information.  Tedious and laborious is how I would label the class.  I barely survived.

So, when I got the chance to pick a selection form Bright Ideas Press to review, I jumped at their Chemistry curriculum.

Christian Kids Explore Chemistry consists of 30 lessons broken down into 5 units:  The Basics of Chemistry, Atoms and Molecules, Nature of Chemistry, State of Matter and Organic Chemistry.  All are written from a Christian perspective.

If you are looking for swashbuckling, loud, explosive experiments - this is not the book for you.  HOWEVER, if you are looking for your child to learn the basics of Chemistry in manageable, bite sized, digestible segments with doable experiments with common household items, then this is perfect. 

Each lesson contains an informational section followed by review questions.  Next is the hands-on portion also followed by thinking questions.  The questions can be done orally, copied from the book or from the student activity download.  At the end of each unit is a multiple choice "Unit Wrap Up" quiz.

We found that we were able to go through each lesson quicker than the 60-90 minutes that the authors suggest.

The authors also put the grade range from 4th - 8th grade.  Based on our experience, I would put it solidly at the 4th-6th grade range.  It was challenging for my 4th grader, but a bit light for my 7th grader, who's a whiz at math and science.  If your 7th or 8th grader struggles with math and science, this may be a good fit for them.

All in all, we enjoyed this curriculum.  Even though we are only through the first unit, I can see that both boys are getting a good foundation in the basics of chemistry.  Not only in learning definitions, but in learning and using the periodic table, writing chemical reactions and much more!

Also included are a listing of enrichment reading books in order by lesson (many of which can be checked out from the library).

Be sure to check out other science curriculum titles in this series.

Here's what other crew members are saying.

I received this item free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, November 15, 2010

TOS Crew Coin Pouch Kit from Corps of Re-Discovery Review

Coin Pouch Craft
Coin Pouch Craft
Corps of Re-Discovery
Coin Pouch Kit - $4.95

Corps of Re-Discovery is a homebased family business specializing in period specific hands-on project kits at an affordable price.  They have a wide selection of time period crafts and hands-on goodies.  It's great way to supplement your study of early American History. 

As a bonus, all products are manufactured in the United States.

Coin Pouch Kit
Coin Pouch Kit
This kit consists of pre-punched, durable leather parts, plastic lace and easy to follow illustrated directions.

My 9 year old put this together with minimal supervision.  (Yeah!!!)
Coin Pouch Craft - Finshed Product
Finished Product

"Voila!  Now to enjoy the fruit of my labor!"

The pouch is very durable and has held up to be played with and carried around in pockets.

Here's what other crew members are saying.

I received this item free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nothing like a trip to the Renaissance Faire to whet the appetite....

Entering the Renaissance Faire
Entering the Renaissance Faire

for Medieval history!

I admit, that the kids didn't really enjoy most of ancient history until they read it parallel with The Bible.  After finishing up Ancient Rome, we took a break and have been working away on a Holling C. Holling Geography study.  This has resulted in a decrease in the amount of hands-on activities.  But, as we wind down on our study of Minn of the Mississippi  we did take an unrelated trip to Central Florida's Renaissance Faire.

I must say, this expedition went a long way to encourage their enthusiasm. In short, my two Pages and one Lady-in-Waiting are PUMPED to start their journey on the history time-line again!!!

The Princess and Her Horse
The Princess and Her Horse

A Handsome Page in Training
A Handsome Page in Training

A Brave Squire!
A Brave Squire!

Friday, November 12, 2010

If Animals Could Talk Book Review

If Animals Could Talk - Creation Science
If Animals Could Talk - Creation Science

This has been a busy month for Creation Science for this blogger.  So far, we've journeyed through a selection for my toddler, one for my elementary aged kids and now one for my middle schooler (though all ages can benefit from the information in this book).

If Animals Could Talk is a collection of members from the animal kingdom that showcases their unique design by their Creator.  It is not a dry list of facts, but written from the animal's point of view in a humorous conversational tone which invites the reader to think about questions posed and ponder their answers.

You'll learn more about the Field Sparrow, Whales, Platypus, Swallow, Glowworm (also called Lightning Bug), Dragonfly, Human Eye, Earthworm, E. Coli and Golden Plover.  You'll also learn what makes them so unique and  how God created them perfectly for their purpose and ultimately speak praise for their Creator.

Did you know:

****that certain whales have tongues so heavy that they weigh as much as two fully grown horses?

****that during the glow worms' (lightning bug) production of bioluminescence, no heat is generated at all!

****that an earthworm can produce more than 220 pounds of humus in a 24-hour period.

****that an e coli bacterium has 6 rotating electric motors and produces a voltage of 0.2 V

In showing how creation points to an Intelligent Creator and ultimately how this affects us individually, authors Gitt and Vanheiden write:

"We would like to take this opportunity to add a few comments to our book.  We, an information scientist and a physics graduate both believe in the living God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We want to show, with the aid of these stories, that it's neither boring nor antiquated to believe in God; nor is it necessary to give up your intellect or inquisitiveness.  On the contrary, many things become clearer and more sensible when viewed from the Bible's perspective.  It can even help to bring about positive results in scientific works.

My sons aged 9 and 12 enjoyed reading this book together.  Plenty of  'oh's' and 'ah's' coming from their room while they read.  Many times they brought the book to me at the discovery of something they felt was truly unique.  Though not an animal enthusiast, my 7th grader did enjoy learning fascinating facts.  It helped him to better understand Intelligent Design.  I know we all learned quite a bit from this book!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Creation Bible Book Review

"Children need to know that the history in the Bible is real and explains today's world.  Fossils, death, moral issues, and even the question of different people groups are all answered in the Bible - and it is this vital biblical foundation that children need as they grow up in a world increasingly hostile to God's truth."  - Ken Ham
My Creation Bible
My Creation Bible

My Creation Bible is another wonderful creation resource from Ken Ham.  This time, it's for the youngest creationists...toddlers and preschoolers.

This sweet book is written in factual, clever rhyme and beautifully illustrated.  It contains the account of the Creation week until the Tower of Babel - PLUS God's plan of redemption.  Salvation through Jesus Christ.

My 1 year old enjoyed looking at the pages and loved the accompanying music cd with the text of the book sung by Buddy Davis.  I loved the truth contained within it's VERY sturdy and strong pages which will hold up long after cuddle time is over!

I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.

Charlie and Trike in the Grand Canyon Adventure Book Review

Charlie & Trike in the Grand Canyon Adventure
Charlie & Trike in the Grand Canyon Adventure

Being a student of Geology, I was thrilled to review Charlie and Trike in the Grand Canyon Adventure.  Utilizing my favorite (and most effective) mode to study geology, plants, animals and the World Wide Flood, this book uses a real-life model, The Grand Canyon!

This is the first book in the Green Notebook Series where Ken Ham brings science and the Bible together for elementary minds to grasp and understand.

Staring in this adventure is Charlie, a curious monkey and Trike, a wise dinosaur who take a camping trip in The Grand Canyon.  Page after page is filled with colorful illustrations, real-life examples and pictures from The Grand Canyon and a thorough explanation of the World Wide Flood according to the Bible and as evident in the surrounding rock layers.

My kids (ages 7-12) enjoyed this interactive story and especially the real pictures of rock layers, fossils and drawings to explain biblical events.  The book is full of fun, facts and biblical information.

The theme of trusting God's Word rings clearly from beginning to end.  The publishers are in process of making this series available to the secular market.  What a great way to tell of the wonderous works of God to a group that has little or no knowledge of the Bible. 

This is one series we will gladly follow!

I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Of Geology and God

I was preparing for my son's science co-op.  He's in the midst of a mini-Geology unit and I was assigned that week to help with the labs.

Fortunately, I had it covered. I was going to use that coveted Geology degree I had earned so many years ago.

In excitement, I ran to get my books.  Thoughts of landforms, crystal formations, and plate tectonics filled my head.  Oh!  So much to talk about!  So much information I wanted to pass along -- but oh!  Such little time.

I cracked open my ancient lab books and was speechless......2nd degree prisms, pinacoids, geomorphology, rock columns, topography and so on and so forth.

Geology Curriculum Galore!
Geology Curriculum Galore!

It was awe inspiring!

It was spectacular!

It was impressive!

What a beautiful mind!

Wouldn't the kids be impressed and well informed???


Again, I was speechless following my biggest revelation -----

I saw my handwriting.  Yep!  It's mine alright.  But, the subject matter seemed so distant and oh so foreign. Did I really learn ALL of this stuff?

Of Geology and God

I was bummed....

I was stupefied....

I was speechless....again.

The rest of this story can be found HERE