Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Fun with Science : Master Books Elementary Chemistry & Physics Set Review

When we attended Teach Them Diligently this past spring, I was introduced to Master Books.  I didn't browse their table much while I was there, but when I returned home and was looking through the many catalogs I was pleased to run across theirs.

The Elementary Chemistry & Physics set piqued my interest because my oldest daughter mentioned that she would like to learn more about Chemistry.  The set seemed like the perfect fit for us because it offers experiments with every lesson.  Actually, the experiments are the foundation for all the science that is being taught.

The curriculum set comes with a student journal for each topic, teacher's guide for each topic, paperback textbook for each topic, and a parent lesson planner which includes a schedule, quizzes, and tests for both topics.

How we are using Elementary Chemistry & Physics?

We are making the most out of this program by getting together with another home educating family.  We meet twice a week.  During this time, we complete the experiment for the investigation.  The children look forward to completing each class' experiment.   I often facilitate versus completing the experiment for them because they are all old enough to be involved.

While completing the investigation,  the student journal has between 3 and 8 questions which go along with the experiment.  These questions are easily answered by making observations.  Some questions do give the learners the opportunity to infer which I appreciate.

Upon completing the investigation, we read the text which goes along with the investigation.  The text can be easily read by a child in 3rd grade or above on his or her own.  There are times that I read along with them, and there are also times when they read it alone.  I appreciate the text offers a deeper understanding and includes vocabulary that we have yet to be introduced.  After reading the text, the learners complete the "What Did You Learn" section which is reading comprehension. There are usually no more than ten questions in this section.

When we all come back together, the children share their answers from the "What Did You Learn" section.  They also try to stump one another by asking each other questions from their reading or research.

Research opportunities are provided in the "Dig Deeper" section of the program.  Each lesson has about four research questions.  They are able to choose the question in which they would like to focus on for the particular lesson.  I like this part of the program because it allows them to apply their knowledge and seek out new information.

What do we like about the program?

We like this program because it is cost efficient.  The set is listed for $40.65.  Although I received this program for no cost for my honest review,  it wasn't a budget breaker for the other family using it with us.  I also purchased additional journals since the set has only one journal per topic.

The variety within the program is a nice fit for my daughters.  They enjoy having things mixed up and so do I.  I also like that although there is variety, the format is consistent.  There isn't much hopping around to this or that.

We are looking forward to completing science this year with Master Books.  You can see examples on their website.

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 ©2009- 2015 A Little This... A Little That. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Joy in the Simple Things

By now, you guys have probably realized that I am seeking contentment and joy in our everyday.

Here are few of the simple things in our lives which have brought me joy this week.

  • Miss R successfully completed a task at gymnastics this week.  The smile on her face was priceless.  It is something to see anyone conquer something, but when it is your child it really does warm your heart.  
Go, girl!!
  • Miss D is loving her Jazz Dance class.  She was happy to finally get her transitional tights yesterday.  We had to order them since the store did not carry the color she needed.  We think she has finally found her "thing". 
  • My wonderful husband has been washing dishes over the past few evenings.  Can I just say how happy to wash dishes one less time each day.  My hands are experiencing joy!
On my 33rd birthday!
  • I have taken to walking for at least 30 minutes each morning.  This has done much for my daily outlook.  I have a clearer mind which allows me to focus and be present in my now.
  • We are down to one car now.  This has been a blessing, honestly. We are now more intentional in our outings. Plus, we get to take Daddy to work on those mornings we plan to go out
    which opens the door to laughter. The girls have dubbed these mornings, " Funny Mornings with Mommy".  I am going to miss this time when my car is fixed.
First day of Community Bible Study
  • Each week we serve at a homeless and low income day shelter.  It is something that has become a part of our lives.  I didn't realize how much we would be affected by adding this commitment to our lives.  I can't say that every week is easy because people are unpredictable at times, but I can say that God has covered us each week we have placed ourselves out there.  
  • Peace in our learning environment has placed a smile on my face more times than I can count.  This is our first school year without distractions. Since I know what it is like to have distractions, I am thankful for this season.  
What are some of the simple things in which you are experiencing joy?  Please share. :)

This post was inspired by Darcel at The Mahogany Way's What's Your Story series.
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©2009- 2015 A Little This... A Little That. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Appreciating the Gift of Motherhood

It took me quite a few years and venturing off the path a bit to finally come to accept and enjoy the privilege of being home with my daughters.

There have been many moments in my career as a mother where I have wondered if I am doing this right.  I especially questioned myself if I felt like I wasn't giving them enough.  As I look back, I can recognize the foolishness in my thinking.  I can also recognize how my foolish thinking has helped me to grow by seeking Him more.

Over the years, I have learned a few things about myself which I am not sure I would have learned if it had not been for my girls.  They have taught me to seek Him in all things.  I have come to love my unique and quirky qualities because at least one of my daughters has at least one of my those qualities.  I have come to truly value life and not take it for granted.  I see people differently now. I once shied away from others, but my daughters have taught me to embrace others and to not be afraid of loving others.  They have also taught me about boundaries because loving others can cause pain. They have helped me to realize that it is okay to fight for what you believe in even if others don't see it.

Even though I struggled with the path chosen for me, I am extremely thankful that I did not fully abandon my calling.  Today as I sit here, I can't help but to smile at the life God has carved out for me even with all of the ups and downs.

We are currently reading the book of Job.  I know like always, my Spirit will hold on to the nuggets that will keep grounded as I continue on this journey.  I am only in chapter two; I have been reminded to hold fast no matter the circumstances of this life.

What are some ways motherhood has grown you?

This post was inspired by Darcel from The Mahogany Way What's Your Story Series.
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©2009- 2015 A Little This... A Little That. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

NIV Bible for Teen Girls ~ Growing in Faith. Hope. Love

 We have quite a few Bibles in our home, but when the NIV Bible for Teen Girls became available through BookLook Bloggers I knew that I would grab it for my ten-year old daughter.  My first Bible was one written for teens.  My aunt gave it to me when I was 11.  I didn't use it fully into until I was a little older, but I really appreciated the inserts and commentary.  They caused me to think and gave me a little more understanding about God in my life.

The NIV Bible for Teen Girls offers daily readings from Christian speakers and authors such as Bethany Hamilton, Annie Downs, Christine Caine, and Bekah Hamrick Martin to name a few. The readings are found pink pages titled, Growing in Faith Hope Love.  Each reading focuses on a different topic and begins with reading a scripture.

 Each book of the Bible has an introductory page which includes the setting and time, who is the particular book, recognizable verses, and a synopsis.  I was surprised to find numerous pink highlighted verses that could be used as memory or life verses such as Judges 8:23 "But Gideon told them, "I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.""  I believe this is a great addition because it helps young girls to add a variety of scriptures to their arsenal, not just the well known verses.

You will also find pages that highlight Women of the Bible.  On these pages, there is commentary along with the location of her story in the Bible.  I am looking forward for my daughter to learn more about the many women who made their way on to the pages of the Bible.

This Bible will be used for many years to come.  It will withstand our weekly Bible Study outings because it is hardback.  The concordance will come in handy when she is looking for particular words, and there is a topical index for specific topics to research.

I review for BookLook Bloggers

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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 ©2009- 2015 A Little This... A Little That. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

We're Back in Session:The Beginning of the 2015-2016 School Year

We are officially back in session!  Our first week was successful.  The last few years of learning at home has been pretty uneventful which is good, but this year I wanted to give the girls a little more. My goal is to add a little more rigor, a little more excitement, and a little more fun.

One thing that we have added is a morning gathering basket.  We never got into circle time.  When we first began homeschooling, I didn't want to look anything like school.  It wasn't until I went to teach in 2012 that I realized that school didn't look like school, and that I was limiting our learning experience.

The morning gathering basket has been a big hit.  It has a variety of activities in it, and we usually spend about 45 minutes with it.  This year I will not be rushing them along.  Since I am not the one doing the work, I tend to want them to go a bit faster so I could be back engaged with them.  This year, I am bringing my own projects to the table while they are working on their independent work.  This has helped me not to watch the clock although I do remind them to get back on task if they get off so that they are learning to be diligent with time versus wasting it for the sake of wasting it. 

We are not participating in a co-op, but we have connected with a great family who we do science and art with twice a week.  This is a first for us.  We had our first session for the school year, and it went very well.  I am looking forward to learning and building strong friendships with this family.

Another area we will focus heavily on is physical education.  We have really been slacking in this area, but apartment living is helping us.  This week we went to the tennis courts twice.  We will continue to go twice a week and will probably move to the indoor courts in our city.  The girls will also participate in homeschool P.E. once a week.  They each are also focusing on a discipline beginning next week.  Miss R will attend gymnastics and Miss D will begin jazz dance lessons. 

Here's to a healthy, fun, and exciting year to learning!

Have you started your new school year?  Are you incorporating anything new to your learning environment?

 Be Blessed!

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©2009- 2015 A Little This... A Little That. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.