Monday, August 3, 2015

{Review} Summer Learning with Funtastic Unit Studies

 Our summer learning is usually light.  Science is always fun for us to do during the summer especially if we focus on experiments and hands-on projects.  This is why Funtastic Unit Studies- Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers fit right into our summer learning.

This paperback book offers 20 chapters of science fun for children ages 4-13.  The chapters are separated by age groups, 4-7 and 8-13.  I found this helpful when choosing which unit we would work on this summer.  Each chapter focuses on a specific topic.  Topics include: The Human Body, Animals, Magnets, Health, Stars and Planets, Atoms and Molecules, Matter, Chemistry Fun, Light and Color, and more. Some chapters may pull information from previous chapters.  I noticed this as we were completing Insects, Ages 8-13.

How we used Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers?

As you all may know by now, we moved to a new state, and since we are new to the area we do not know many people.  Well, right before I received this book I met another homeschool mom who has three children ages 6-13.  I thought that using this book for group learning activities would be awesome.  I invited her and her children to complete the insect unit with us and she agreed.  I facilitated the activities with five children ranging from 6-13.

We came across this beetle on our walk to CVS.  It was stuck on its back and we flipped it over.
We completed the activities at our library and at a local park.  The children created science journals to record their findings and new information they learned from the projects. Most of the children had some knowledge of insects.  They each also gained new knowledge.  I know that my girls had previously learned about animal classification, but since they were younger we studied it and we didn't use the information often they needed to refresh their memory.

The insect unit is broken into seven parts which includes learning about animal classification, the definition of insect, complete and incomplete life cycles, communication, defenses, and recommended movies.   Each part includes an activity or experiment.  One of the many experiments that we tried which did not work out for us was the purchasing of mealworms to watch them complete metamorphosis.  It didn't work out because our mealworms died. Each family had their own container to take home to watch the progress, but it didn't work out for either us. I guess we are just better with mammals.

Our science gatherings were a highlight this summer.

The kids were checking out the mealworms when they were alive and well.  

Our thoughts about the program ...

The other mom shared with me that her children enjoyed the activities we completed using Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers.  This was the only program we used during our gatherings.  The children were enthusiastic to see what the activity would be for the session.  I enjoyed facilitating and learning with them.  I like that there is a mixture of topics and I could choose what topic I wanted to focus on versus trying to complete the projects in the order in which they were written.

I am looking forward to incorporating some of the projects into our fall science program.  This book is a handy resource.

Funtastic Unit Studies Review

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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, July 29, 2015

Revving Up for a New Year of Learning

I am thrilled and excited to be embarking on another year of learning with my daughters.  I am grateful for the experience of being able to facilitate and learn alongside my girls.

This year we are using a few new items.  Most of our new curriculum choices I received in exchange for a review of the program.  We will continue using Christian Light for math.  We were going to change to another curriculum, but I was reminded that most math programs have the same information, but the presentation may be a little different.  I have decided that I will continue researching methods until we find one that works best for the individual.  As it relates to math, some concepts just take a bit longer than others so we will keep pressing forward in the areas which do not come so easily.

Our Curriculum Choices ...

Before I share what we will be using, I want you guys to know that the girls use all of the same curriculum.  This has worked for us for the past few years because it allows my oldest daughter to continue to do fun learning activities while challenging my youngest daughter.  They have different personalities and it would be rather easy for them to fall into their comfort zones if I didn't use their differences to strengthen one another.

Grammar/ Language Arts:
  • Trail Guide to U. S. Geography (we have been faithfully working through this book for a few years)
  • Notgrass America the Beautiful ( as we near completion of this program I will write a review about our experience because history has been a hard subject for me to plan for in the past)
  • African/ Black American History (this will be intermingled into all of our history and geography studies)
Foreign Language:
  • Latina Christiana 1
  • Spanish 
  • Sign Language (it's been awhile since we have used this skill so we will delve back into learning to speak with our hands)
Fine Arts:
As always, I will throw in additional supplements based on their interests and future materials I may receive to review.

How is your home school planning going thus far?  Are you trying out any new curriculum?
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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.

Faithgirlz NIV Bible Review

The Faithgirlz Bible is beautifully created with a hardcover and magnetic closure which I believe will keep it looking nicely for years to come.  The construction of this Bible makes it a perfect gift for any young lady whether it's for a birthday, baptism, etc.

My eight year daughter was thrilled when she received her Bible. As always, I allowed her to look at the Booklook Bloggers website to see if there were any books that interested her and she chose the Faithgirlz Bible.   She told me that she was happy that she chose this Bible.

More About The Bible ...

The Faithgirlz Bible is written in the New International Version.  I am a big fan of the NIV version because it is similar enough to the other many versions and easier to comprehend.  Our Bible study program uses the English Standard Version, and I find that the NIV still works fine with the program.

Zonderkidz has done a great job of making this a total girls Bible from the color palette which includes dark violet text and pink inserts throughout to the additional enhancements which will cause the reader to think more deeply about her faith.

There are several enhancements within including Bring It On!, Treasure This!, Oh, I get it!, in your own words, and Dream Girl.  Bring It On! is a multiple choice statement which causes the reader to think about her character.  For example, "I'm tempted to mess up because I want to: a. have more cool stuff, b. do it my way, c. be popular.  As you can see, there isn't an answer that will make the reader feel like oh, I'm not so bad, but instead all of the answers speak to some sort of heart condition. For each answer there is a scripture listed on the opposite page.  For this particular question the scriptures are: a. 1 Timothy 6:9-10, b. Proverbs 1:8-9, and c. 1 Thessalonians 2:4-6.

Treasure this! highlights a scripture from a nearby passage. This enhancement could easily be used for scripture memorization. Dream Girl pulls out a biblical story and places the reader in it.  It causes her to use her imagination and senses.  I really like the introduction to each of the books.  I appreciate that the editor sets the book up for the reader by highlighting the setting, the timing,
 the protagonists, antagonists, the main idea, and the connections. The different enhancements throughout this work are a treat and will give my daughter a little bit more to think about as she studies God's word.

Although Jesus' words are not highlighted or written in a different color, my daughter and I are looking forward to delving deeper into God's word using this lovely Bible.

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.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Tracking My Days ~ My Venture into Planning

I am not really a planner.  I usually just get done what I need to get done and call it a day, and for awhile this worked for me.  Recently, and by recently I mean the last three years, I have felt an urge to be more intentional with my time.  Like I said, I get things done, but I realize that now I am able to accomplish a bit more and delve a little bit deeper into some things because of where we are now as a family.

My binder clip was made from a button from a Joann's clearance bin and craft glue.

At the beginning of this month, I took the plunge and purchased a planner.  My initial and main reason for purchasing the planner is the fact that I have lots of thoughts and ideas running around in my head. Since I rarely wrote them, they often just sat in my brain similar to the many photos I have piled up on my hard drive.  Now with my handy dandy planner, I am able to write down and dedicate a bit a time to things that I desire do to do; not just those things that I know I have to do so that our home functions.

Since I have begun planning, I will admit that I get more things that done and I don't forget certain tasks as often (Read; Clean the bathrooms).  For some reason, doing the bathrooms is the chore I will push to the bottom of the list more often than not.  I have also found more time to do things that I enjoy.  I am now less likely to get in the rut of idleness. There is truly something about having a purpose for time.

A Sneak Peek into My Planner ::

The insects are not a part of the actual planner, but are overlays for privacy :)

I picked this planner up from Target.  I believe it costed $9.99 plus tax.  The only decoration that is a part of the planner is the design that runs across the top of the page.  I added the other embellishments to give it a little life.  

I divided the weekdays in half.  One side represents the thing that I must do to keep my home and family functioning or things that I must do in real life and not online, and the other side represents the things that I enjoy doing including blogging, scrapbooking, writing, and etc. 

I use the large block on the right side for meal planning and recording "Happy Thoughts or Moments" from the week.  I save this to do on Friday or Saturday.  Some weeks I write specific things, and other weeks I write something simple.  This week I was happy to enjoy a relaxing week at home with my daughters for most of the week since my radiator broke on my car last Sunday.  We are now down to one car, but for me it wasn't a bad thing to only have one car. It did cause me not do some of the things I had planned, but we did enjoy Chuck E Cheese's on Friday :)

As I head into next week ...  Lamentations 3:22-23

Even though I knew the reason for purchasing the planner, I didn't initially know exactly how I would use this planner, but I have found it beneficial to write whatever words or scriptures which have been placed in my Spirit at the top of the page before the week begins. By having the words there, I am reminded daily on the things that I need to focus.

Do you plan for everyday life?  Tell me about your planner :) 

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.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

SimplyFun :: Shape Whiz Review

There are a few of us in our household who simply enjoy a good board game.  Even those of us who do not relish over board games jump in every now and again for a quick game of fun.  This summer we were able to add a new game to our collection from SimplyFun.  Shape Whiz is not just a game, but an educational tool that builds geometrical skills and speed.

Let me start off by saying that it isn't s complicated as it looks, and that our board has yet to be set up correctly.  It's not that I think it is hard to set it up as it is pictured above, but I didn't find it necessary since for the most part only my seven year old and I played.  Every now and again my ten year old would join us.  Shape Whiz is recommended for ages ten and above, but my like I stated I played the game mostly with our seven year old.

More about Shape Whiz ...

Shape Whiz is a game speed so if you or your child likes a good competitive game this may be one to add to your collection.  The large yellow cards offer a description of a shape.  The description can be anything from the number of sides, a certain number of angles that are greater than or less than 90 degrees, the approximate area, or even a certain number of parallel lines within a shape.  Once a yellow card is in play, the players must quickly lay down a shape card that matches the description.  This card may come from the player's set of shape cards or the player may use an opponent's. There's no order when throwing down an accurate shape.  The first player who finds a shape that matches the description has one less card, and the person who plays all of her cards ultimately wins the game. The goal is to be quick and correct.

How we played Shape Whiz ...

Although my daughter is younger than the recommended age, I did not have to adapt the game too much.  We only used the shapes on the blue set of cards because they were the shapes that she was most familiar.  The shapes on the blue cards were mostly triangles and polygons whereas the shapes on the green cards were more advanced and included a larger variety of polygons, circles, and semicircles.

We followed the rules exactly outside of not setting the board up exactly as pictured and having the information side facing up.  The black side of the blue cards were expected to be facing up, but since my youngest daughter isn't as quick to calculate perimeter and area, and she doesn't always remember all of the terms we played with the information side (blue side) facing up so that the game would be a little more fair for her.

What we liked about the game ...

We appreciated the fact the game was rather quick.  We could sit down with it a few times a week and play quick round of Shape Whiz.  It caused us to think about math without pressure.  There was also the introduction of new terms for both of the girls and the review for our oldest daughter.  I really appreciated that the information is provided on the back side of the playing cards because it did make it possible for our youngest daughter to also play the game.  I don't think she would have enjoyed it as much if she had to know all of the mathematical terms before ever sitting down to play the game.

Simply Fun Review

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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.