Monday, April 16, 2018

Apologia Review


Apologia always has excellent curriculum choices for homeschoolers to use. The Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology does not disappoint. We received the following items for this review:
  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Text
  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Junior Notebooking Journal
  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Notebooking Journal
  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology MP3 Audio CD
When my oldest three girls were younger, we used this curriculum for them while they attended a coop. My son was only in second grade and while he listened along way back then, he didn't remember much. However my 16 year old clearly remembers this study and all the fun they had doing the experiments with their friends at the coop.
My 16 year old was also happy and willing to take over the science teaching for me. You can see that she enjoyed reading the text to her 12 year old brother. I hope this enthusiasm continues. As a homeschool mom to four kids, it's always good to have some of the older ones assist the younger ones.

Like all of the Apologia elementary texts, this one is a full color hard back text. The reading is interesting and engaging. As we were reading about the cell in the first chapter, I was impressed at how accessible the author makes this information for children. She really talks in a sophisticated way that is easily understood by younger ages, but it isn't babyish at all.
Of course no science curriculum would be complete without hands on experiments. OK this is where I totally FAIL as a homeschool mom. I do not like doing science experiments. It's really a shame too because my son LOVES to do science experiments. However I do have to say that the experiments in this book so far have been completely simple and do-able. 

Throughout the text you will find TRY THIS boxes with quick and easy little things to do. I don't think these are full blown experiments, but they really help to make the abstract concepts more concrete and hands on. For example in lesson two when talking about the skeletal system, one of the TRY THIS segments focused on a simple activity to show the kids how the cartilage works in your joints.

At the end of each lesson is a full experiment. There is a list of materials that you need as well as step by step numbered procedure steps. The end of each experiments concludes with an explanation of what the student observed. The lesson two experiment has the students analyzing a chicken bone. Students evaluate the bone and then break the bone to see what the inside of a bone looks like. This experiment ends with the student putting two of the bones in jars--one filled with water and one filled with vinegar. They are to observe the bones after three days. The notebooking journal has a page for them to record their observations from the experiments.
The Notebooking Journal has a large variety of activities for the students to complete. There are note taking pages, lapbook elements, questions to answer, copywork, crossword puzzles, and even a personal person. The personal person is a really cool feature. As the different body systems are learned, the students cut out the corresponding parts and tape them over the person shape. The body systems are printed on clear plastic material, so you can literally see all of the body systems as each one is layered on.

We did not use the Junior Notebooking Journal simply because my 12 year old was too old for that product. It was good to be able to look inside the junior journal and see how it differed from the regular notebooking journal. For instance, the junior journal includes larger, dotted lines for writing. There are coloring pages throughout each lesson. It does not include a crossword puzzle or questions to answer. However the Junior Notebooking Journal does include a personal person and it appears to include all of the little folder books that are included in the regular journal.
The MP3 audio is also an excellent addition to this fantastic collection. I love being able to listen on the go or simply put the disc into the computer for my son to follow along with the text. This is usually his preferred way to learn. He loves to listen to audio narrations as opposed to reading. I love that Apologia makes their materials accessible to a wide range of learners. This also frees me up to allow him to read to a certain point in the book, and then I can simply follow up with him.

Curious what other reviewers had to say about this product? Head on over to the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read all the reviews.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Homeschool Diploma Cap, Gown, and Tassel Review


I am so excited to be sharing this review with you today! This day has finally arrived for me and it's kind of bittersweet. I mean it isn't every year that you get to say that you have successfully graduated a senior from your homeschool. We have homeschooled our children since this one was in kindergarten. So, yes, all you mamas who think you can't homeschool through high school, YOU CAN! If I can do it, you can do it, too! Another reason I am excited to share this review with you is because we received this really awesome Cap, Gown, and Tassel to commemorate her high school graduation. My review will focus on the cap, gown, and tassel set that we received. Two years ago, I received the Standard Diploma from Homeschool Diploma and I was super impressed with the quality, and the fact that I can give my daughter an official diploma!
Since this review is focusing on the cap, gown, and tassel, let me talk about each item individually. First off the gown. Like all graduation gowns, you order based on the height of your student. It is very roomy, so the only thing that matters is that you order the correct size based on height. This ensures that the gown hits each student where it is supposed to hit and not be awkwardly long or way too short. The material for the gown is extremely nice. We chose a matte black and I am pleased with the quality of the material including the zipper.
The cap, like all graduation caps, has a square, sturdy square top with an elasticated band/cap to go on the head. The instructions that came with the cap tell you which is the front of the cap and which is the back. I know not all high school students can decorate their cap, but I allowed my daughter to let her personality shine by giving her the freedom to decorate it as she pleased. She also chose the tassel. We don't have official colors for our homeschool so she went with her favorites that also happened to match the homeschool volleyball team that she played on this year. Not surprisingly, she chose the tassel numbers to have some bling to them as well.
We have opted out of our large homeschool graduation ceremony. This was my daughter's choice. She decided that she would rather just have an open house on the island at her grandparent's house. She already has that mostly planned and the invitations are ordered! All in all the senior year for any student is an exciting time. I'm thankful that we can commemorate it with such wonderful and quality products. My daughter has been waiting for this for quite some time. She finished all of her assigned work in December when she turned 18. I'm proud of her hard work and attention to details. She has so much potential, and I can't wait to see how God directs her steps. She is currently walking in her calling as she leads the worship team at our church.
Do you have a younger student? You can order an 8th Grade Diploma or a kindergarten Cap, Gown, Tassel, and Diploma to commemorate either of those events too.

Curious what other reviewers had to say about this product? Head on over to the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read all the reviews.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Zirrly Review

Zirrly graciously sent us a set of Super Beads to review. We chose to make the 3D Car and Truck project. Many of you probably recognize that these beads look very similar to some popular brands that require use of an iron to fuse the beads together. Super Beads are completely different. No hot iron is needed to adhere the beads to each other! Simply spray your creations with water. That's it. It is truly that simple!
Our cousin was in town when we received the package. Naturally, he wanted to help put the truck together. So the four year old helped my 12 year old. The kit included all the necessary materials to make the car and the truck plus enough beads to create both of them. However the difficulty level of this project is pretty high, so my four year old nephew lost interest pretty quickly. He did enjoy placing the beads on the tray and talking with his older cousin while doing so, but my 12 year old really did most of the work.
To begin, you place a template under the plastic tray. This template shows you where you need to place the beads and what colors you need to place where. Once all of the correct beads are place, simply spray with water and allow to dry completely. The instructions suggest waiting at least 30 minutes for the drying time. We waited overnight.
The following day, we followed the picture instructions to make the truck 3D. OK I'm going to be completely honest here, we struggled with this part. There is one picture where it is unclear where the housing for the wheels are to be placed. Honestly, I really wish there were written instructions along with the pictures. Some parts seemed a bit unclear. A few written instructions would have helped clarify the directions for us. We did end up taking the truck apart twice until we got it correct. This is totally NOT a deal breaker. I chalk it up to being the first time my 12 year old had ever put together this type of project.
Overall we are pleased with Zirrly Super Beads. I love that no heat is required making this awesome resource accessible to much younger learners. I love that there is a variety of simple, easy to make projects. I love that kids can do this on their own. A 3D model is going to be more challenging than flat models, but still accessible with some adult guidance. Our truck model is still hanging around and has plenty of play left in it.
One of my reasons for choosing a 3D model was because we had never completed a project like this. I like the idea of the kids making something that is useful to them. Next on our wishlist is the Mega Pack. I really love the open ended creativity that is encouraged in that pack. Let me know if you try out Super Beads and what you think about them. My friend Dacia blogged about their experience with the Zirrly Super Beads Mega Pack. I'm excited to read about their experience too!


Curious what other reviewers had to say about this product? Head on over to the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read all the reviews.

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