After tons of rain, the garden (plants and weeds) is growing like CRAZY! The plants put on tons of growth and blossoms. Some flowers are missing their petals and are leaning over due to too much rain.
However, many of the garden plants are finally producing fruits and vegetables!
We have two garden beds, plus a few planters growing produce and flowers. Garden Bed A is 12 x 16. We planted it with the square foot method of intense planting. It grew like crazy with all the rain. We need to tweak how we plant this garden bed next year. Though I am thankful for the abundance, we are not able to de-weed it at this stage and it looks like a mess.
Garden Bed A: Harvesting Green Beans!
The garden has been invaded by Japanese Beetle Bugs. They are quickly devouring the bean leaves.
The cucumbers have taken over the lavender. The lavender is in bloom too.
Harvesting cucumbers and green beans.
Bountiful harvest of green and yellow beans.
Dalia starting to bloom.
We often remove old blooms from petunias and they continue to produce beautiful flowers with bright colors.
Carrot tops are growing nicely.
We have had an abundance of leaf lettuce. We had a lot of rain and the lettuce seemed to really appreciate it.
Marigolds are in bloom.
Removing dead blooms from the geraniums will encourage new blooms.
Hanging basket with leaf lettuce.
This basked of lettuce has produced several harvests already.
Heirloom tomato plants.
I started several more heirloom tomato plants in milk jugs. Milk jugs are like mini greenhouses and it is a great way to start seedlings.
Petunias in barrel planters.
Garden Bed A: Small spinach patch is going to seed.
The spinach has produced an abundance and I have harvested it daily for several months.
Sweet potato vines and romaine lettuce growing in the aquaponics barrel. The romaine lettuce is about to go to seed. It has produced a lot of lettuce since we transplanted them months ago from lettuce we had already used during the winter and regrew. Lettuce is amazing!
Potato Bins are just about finished growing. Two have stopped sending out new plants, but this one still has new growth emerging. We can’t wait to open up these bins and see how they produced under all that straw and dirt. Hopefully we will have a nice potato harvest.
Garden Bed B
Garden bed B gets more shade than garden bed A. We built this one because we ran out of room in the first one for plants that like to spread out. In this one we planted different kinds of squash and watermelon, sweet potatoes, and a second planting of radish, and a few flowers and sunflowers to attract pollinators and to enjoy the flowers. So far there is nothing to harvest in this bed yet, but it is producing a lot of vines and leaves and blooms.
The cucumbers from Garden bed A are growing past the garden now. They are traveling out into the yard and growing the nicest cucumbers. They might think the garden bed is too crowded!
Though our garden project this year is small, the garden beds are producing some wonderful foods for our family.
I am thankful for these harvests. Summer harvests taste delicious and have so much more flavor than food from the store. I enjoy the beautiful flowers too and all of the variety of insects they attract that help pollinate the plants. This process of a summer garden is even more special when family spends time together planting the food, then watching it grow, and then brings in the harvest together. Enjoying time together is the best part!
Fascinating Education offers excellent online science courses for teens. They currently offer several courses: Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Anatomy and Physiology, Logic of Medicine. These courses are interactive and help students build a solid foundation in their knowledge of science. These courses were developed by Dr. Sheldon Margulies who has taught science courses for over 30 years and trained 2500+ medical students in the science of how the brain works. His programs have won numerous education awards.
For grades 8 – 12
1 year subscription
Fascinating Chemistry uses an online audio visual approach to engage students and keep their interest while they learn the scientific methods and principals of chemistry. The courses are mobile and all you need is a subscription and a computer or smart phone or other interactive device that connects to the online course on the internet. These courses are designed for highschool age students, but can be used for middle school age students too if they have had some of the higher math training used in the course.
In Fascinating Chemistry, students will learn the four ways that atoms bond to each other to create molecules, and how these bonds help determine the properties of the end result molecule. Students will learn how these special molecular properties explain a wide range of aspects of the everyday world we live including concepts as varied as: air, temperature, diamonds, rubber, how water freezes, gasses, nuclear energy, food, metals, weather, and more.
The course outlines 18 main lessons with multiple mini-lessons in each. Lessons take approximately 45 minutes or less to complete, not including tests and additional labs.
Lesson 1: Intramolecular Bonding
The Periodic Table of Elements
Bohr Model of the Atom
Electrons, Protons, Neutrons, Nucleus
The Strong Force
Lesson 2: The Ionic Bond
Law of Entropy
How Ionic bonds form molecules
Reaching a lower energy level
Pauling’s Electronegativity Chart
Lesson 3: The Covalent Bond
van der Waals forces
Lesson 4: The Polar Covalent Bond
Giving away electrons
Polar covalent bonds
Intramolecular bonds hold atoms
Intermolecular bonds hold molecules
Polarity of a molecule
Lesson 5: The Metallic Bond, Part 1
The Metallic Bond
Metals in the Periodic Table
Block groups of the Periodic Table
Lesson 6: The Metallic Bond, Part 2
Molecular movement in a metal
Hard or soft?
Temperature and translational movement
Lesson 7: Heat
The Leidenfrost Effect
States of water
Latent heat of fusion
Lesson 8: Air Pressure
The boiling point
The strength of air pressure
Temperature and pressure
Lesson 9: Properties of Water
Oil and water
Micelles and soap
Salt water versus fresh water
Lesson 10: The Mole
Comparing equal numbers of molecules
Lower the freezing point
Converting grams to moles
Converting moles to molecules
Converting moles to grams
Empirical formula vs. actual formula
Lesson 11: Gases
Ideal Gas Law
Concentration vs. density
Standard temperature and pressure
Partial pressure of gas
Lesson 12: Solutions
Freezing point depression
Boiling point elevation
Acids and bases
Types of acids
Neutralization of acids and bases
Lesson 13: Chemical Reactions
Solubility product constant
Lesson 14: Orbitals
Slots within subshells
Energy levels within slots
Pauli Exclusion Principle
VSEPR (Valence Shell Electron Pair
Lesson 15: Molecular Geometry
Lewis Dot Diagrams
Lewis Dot Diagram Predictions
Filling the Valence Shell
Forming sp3 Hybrid Bonds
Carbon sp2 Hybrid Orbitals Current
Sigma and Pi bonds
Nitrogen sp3 Hybrid Orbitals
Oxygen sp3 Hybrid Orbitals
Lesson 16: Electrochemistry
Lesson 17: Polymers
Formaldehyde, Phenol, and Bakelite
Ethylene and Polyethylene
Lesson 18: The Nucleus
The Strong Force
Making heavy elements
The Sun’s fuel
Lessons and Student Dashboard
The student dashboard is easy to navigate. From the dashboard you can choose the lesson video, or lesson text script, or the test. After you complete the test, it grades the test and gives the option to retake or continue on to the next lesson.
Below is an example of Lesson 2 The Ionic Bond and within the lesson this is a segment called The Atomic Number. You can see from this dashboard picture that you can access the Lesson Menu as needed, and a Glossary with definitions on the left. You can also control the play and pause of the video lesson, and the volume, at the base of the video. You can also go back to a previous segment and watch it again, or skip ahead as desired.
The Glossary of definitions is right next to the video so you can pause the video at anytime and look up a word you may not know and read it’s meaning.
Fascinating Chemistry offers the option of Labs for high school credit. On the student dashboard, they have an option to “Go To Lab”. Labs are experiments that demonstrate the concept being taught in the lessons. Labs are optional but some states require them for high school credit. Check with your state to see what is required.
My son likes using this course. He says it is not difficult if you focus and take time to listen to what is being said. The teacher speaks clearly and gives good visuals to show what concept is being discussed. He is so excited that he spends a good deal of time retelling me what he is learning.
Taking an online Fascinating Chemistry quiz.
Word’s of my son: “I Love It! It’s fascinating! The teacher is easy to follow and he explains everything very well. I am learning about different kinds of bonds that atoms form. I am in lesson three and learning about the second way atoms form bonds called covalant. The first lesson was an introduction to the program and taught me the structure of atoms with protons neutrons and electrons. The second lesson was learning about ionic bonds, electronegativity, electron affinity, and ionization energy. So far I understand everything he is explaining. The tests are at the end of the lesson. I like that if I get the answer to a question wrong I can go back and retake the test again. I am really glad I am taking this class.”
Video explaining more about Fascinating Education and a lesson in Calcium.
Video Lesson Periodic Table, Atoms, and Inter-molecular Bonding
Try before you buy. Fascinating Education offers free lessons of their different courses. Check out courses and a free sample lesson from each course:
We highly recommend Fascinating Education courses. I wish interactive curriculum like this had been available for me when I was in high school. This is a great way to inspire kids to love and succeed at learning about science and how it applies to the real world.
Home School In the Woods Publishing produces creative “hands on” Curriculum and Historical Timelines. They specialize in teaching history with fun projects that will interest your kids and keep their interest by involving all their senses in the learning adventure. We are currently reviewing Industrial Revolution through Great Depression in the Time Travelers American series.
HISTORY Through the Ages Time Travelers American History Study: The Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression
25 Hands On History Lessons
Covering 70 years of American History
From The Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression.
Suggested grades: 3-8
For individual family use.
Format: CD or Download (Mac & PC Compatible)
This curriculum is loaded with printable lessons, printable activity masters, a sample schedule, teacher tips, photos of every projects, resource lists, teacher keys, a “guide-at-a-glance”, and more.
Choose the curriculum format, either CD or Download, that best meets your needs. You will need a computer and printer to use this curriculum. You will also need a 3-ring binder for the parent/teacher, and a 3-ring binder for each of your students to store everything.
Other items needed include folders, printing / copy paper, card stock paper, colored pencils, glue, tape, scissors, plus a few other items for various projects.
25 HANDS ON HISTORY LESSONS!
The Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression contains 25 History Lessons filled with fun hands on activities .
The lessons and activities cover many changes in American history that occurred from the end of the 1800’s to the early 1900’s (approximately 1869 to 1939) as America became a modern industrialized country.
The Transcontinental Railroad
Growth & Expansion of the Nation
The Indian Wars
The Gilded Age
The Spanish-American War
Innovations & Inventors
Woman’s Suffrage Movement
People of Interest who Made America Great
The Progressive Era
The Roaring 20s
The Stock Market Crash
The Dust Bowl
and much more!
The lessons are very organized and easy to follow. Each lesson can be completed in an hour if projects are pared down, or can be stretched out over a few days to include all the projects suggested for that lesson. Pages and projects are coded so that you always know what lesson and what projects go together. There are printable lessons, project pages, project masters, information sheets, photos of completed projects, teacher helps, and more. There is a sample lesson plan schedule that you can use, or you can skip around and mix up the lessons if it suits your needs.
These History Studies are presented in a cross curricular Unit Study method. They include History, Art, Science, Engineering, Music, Creative Writing, Penmanship, Clothing, Cooking, Research, and more. The lessons are flexible and can be adapted to the needs of various skill levels and age ranges. In addition to the lessons, and activities provided, there are lists of materials needed, a section with additional resources and suggestions for books to read, videos to watch, and internet subjects to explore. You can choose to do as many of the suggested hands on activities and projects for each lesson as you wish.
Suspension bridge project photo and instructions in curriculum
Depending on how many activities you want to do, and how often you do a lesson, will determine how long this curriculum will take to complete. For example, you can do 1 lesson a week and the suggested activities and this study should last 25 weeks, or you could go faster and complete 3 lessons a week and finish in about 8 weeks or so. Or go super fast and complete 1 lessen per day and finish in as little as 5 weeks. It is up to you how fast or slow you wish to go, and how many of the activities you wish to do, to learn the materials covering this period in history. Over 50 activities and projects are included.
Project & Activities
Here are just a few of the 50+ suggested activities and projects:
Wright Brothers “Flyer”
Train & Railroad Booklet
America Grows: Mapping the New States
Paper Tole Craft
WWI Silk Postcards
Fact File Cards
Turn of the Centuries Scenes Game
File Folder Games
Timeline of History
Depression Era Recipes
A Lap Book with 12 Lap Book Projects
A really cool aspect of this curriculum, is that in addition to all of the hands on projects your kids will get to create, and learning about historical events and wars that helped shaped the nation, they also learn several things about the culture of America during these years. They learn about the impact of industry and the making and selling of goods and services and also how disasters (natural and man-made) shaped the culture.
The early American culture was made up of hard working immigrants from around the world and native Americans, and in this curriculum you learn about their influence in music, clothing, art, theater / early movies, and also learn about “American” food during this time in history.
Kids get the opportunity to make recipes in several of the lessons. They also create a recipe box for their final Lap Book to store the recipes in. At the end of the course they can throw a dinner party for guests or family members. For this party they decorate from the era, recreate the recipes for a special meal, and play games from this period in history as a final project pulling together all the fun they have had learning about this time in America’s history.
Recipes and corresponding lessons include:
Chipped Beef on Toast (Lesson 5)
Poor Man’s Meal (Lesson 5)
Buttered Noodles with Cracker Crumble (Lesson 10)
Meatless Loaf (Lesson 10)
Corned Beef Hash (Lesson 15)
Shepherd’s Pie (Lesson 15)
Chocolate and Rice Pudding (Lesson 20)
Depression Cake (Lesson 20)
Tuna, Mac, & Cheese Casserole (Lesson 23)
Brown Betty (Lesson 23)
Time Travelers American History Study Series
There are currently 7 titles in the Time Travelers American History Study Series:
New World Explorers
The American Revolution
The Early 19th Century
The Civil War
Industrial Revolution through Great Depression
World War II
To learn more about this wonderful History curriculum, check out this video put together by Home School In The Woods about their Time Travelers History Studies Series:
When I received my product via download, I read through the introduction and printed off the suggested lesson plan. This curriculum is jam packed with fun hands on learning opportunities! I couldn’t wait to dive into this experience with my kids.
Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression Lesson Plan Schedule
As you can see at first glance in this lesson plan, there is a lot of great learning opportunities with these lessons. Rather than try to go to fast, we decided to take it slow and do 1 lesson a week. There are at least two hands on activity projects with each lesson. It can be overwhelming at first when you see all the projects listed and printable material included. Taking it slow will help mom’s plan ahead and have time read through this material a few days in advance before you plan to start so you can get prepared.
After I looked over the first couple of lessons, I printed out a few and the corresponding activity instructions and masters and put these into a three ring binder to keep them organized. There is a printable notebook cover that you can use for your 3-ring binder.
The parent/teacher’s binder will house the lesson reading text, direction pages of projects, the “Guide-at-a-Glance,” teacher keys, and teacher helps. There is also a cover for the student binder and you can choose to print in color or in black and white for the student to color in and personalize. The student binder houses all the stuff the kids do in their lessons such as Timelines, Newspaper, Penmanship and Creative Writing activities, etc.
HANDS ON ACTIVITIES:
Here are a few pictures of some of the hands on activities from our learning adventures with this curriculum:
The Wright Brother’s Flyer:
Brooklyn Bridge Project:
Learning about bridge construction was one of the historical projects the older boys really enjoyed. They learned about the construction of the first suspension bridge in America. The curriculum suggested making a bridge with the cardboard from milk cartons and string.
However, we don’t have milk cartons to use (we buy raw milk in 1 gallon jugs), so we brainstormed some ideas. We made one version with a granola bar box.
Then my older sons came up with their own version of suspension bridges with craft sticks, hot glue, cordage, etc. and then explored more ideas on other kinds of bridges from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s too.
They made several models, took them apart, refigured their plans, and built them again.
Model of suspension bridge in progress.
Model of traditional truss support bridge.
Another suspension bridge experiment in progress.
Another suspension bridge in action
WWI Soldier’s Journal:
Another project they really enjoyed was creating a WWI Soldier’s Journal with real pictures of what life was like for a soldier. This journal will contain photos and letters.
One of my son’s wanted these photos to feel sturdy so he went an additional step with these printed pictures (and several other paper crafts) and he cut and glued file folder onto the back to make them stronger. The other boys didn’t reinforce their journal photos. You could also laminate these projects to keep them nice, water proof them, and help them last longer.
WWI Ammo Belt:
Part of the Soldier’s Ammo Belt
Inside the pockets are various items such as a paper map, ID cards, a mini Soldier’s New Testament, mini timeline of the war, etc. and there are additional facts about the WWI in the flaps when you open the pouches.
This project is supposed to be mounted on a paper base, but one of my son’s wanted to actually wear the WWI ammo belt.
After reinforcing the printed and cut out project with manila folder and glue, (he really enjoy’s doing this by the way), he then made belt loops for the back and was able to put the ammo belt project on his belt and wear it around.
He is quite creative and likes to role play and this gave him a military gear costume piece he is quite proud of.
He also turned some of the other projects into wearable pieces as well. The cool thing is all these pieced he reinforced can also go back into his notebook or Lap Book when he is done playing with them.
Part of the beauty of homeschooling that you can lay down the books and worksheets and get outside and go somewhere and relate what you have been studying to the real world. If you can’t make it outside for a field trip, you can always view a virtual field trip online. Check out videos on “youtube” for lots of ideas / suggestions for virtual field trips related to the time period or a specific topic, it is easy to find. Field trips are not required in this curriculum, but we try to include field trips in every unit study adventure we do.
We love field trips! We try to keep our expenses as low as possible for activities because we have a large family and things add up quickly. We usually look for free field trips / things to see and do that go along with our studies. Usually that also means it has to be a “day trip”, somewhere within a 3 hour drive or less so we can make it back home before dark. We actually started this habit before we had kids. Our local town advertised a booklet called “One Tank Trips” and it kind of became our method for travel and seeing new things and learning history of the area. We are fortunate that for most of the time we have been married, we have lived within a short drive of a lot of history that we could see in 1 day or 1 tank trips. So we have tried to keep up this tradition with our kids.
During this study we went to see several really cool things. We saw a navy battle ship in Wilmington, NC and a suspension bridge near Charleston, SC, and a shipping canal that was made and used during this time period for shipping goods on the Catabwa SC river.
Battle Ship at Wilmington NC
There is a pedestrian suspended bridge in Greenville, SC at Falls Creek Park that we have been to see a few years ago. We used to spend some of our Sunday afternoons after church there and play with the kids and explore the history. There is a foundation of an old mill there too. We didn’t make it back out to see it for this learning project, but hope to go see it again soon. But we did drive out to see a suspension bridge that you can drive on near Charleston, SC.
Suspension Bridge near Charleston, SC
This one is on Highway 17 in South Carolina along the Atlantic Ocean. The kids were amazed going across this bridge suspended over the open waters between mainland and islands on the SC border.
Log House from 1800’s
Sign for the canal on Catawba river used for transport of products.
Remains of old canal used for loading boats in the 1800’s along the Catawba River
Ford at Catawba River
Family hike to see the 1800’s canal and ford on the Catawba River.
In the recent past we have also visited other sights related to this time in American history and would go great with this unit study. I will mention them here because it might give other families some ideas of things to go and visit. Some of the places we have been related to this period in history are a mill, we visited the Wright Brother’s Museum in Modoc Indiana, and the Historical Museum of Flight in Hendersonville, NC and both lay claim to the Wright Brother’s fame. They both have life size Wright Brother’s air planes and the Hendersonville one also shows planes from different wars. There are also models the kids can climb in and explore. We have also been to the Air Force base in Dayton Ohio where the kids have seen planes from all throughout history and they have a huge room full of WWI planes. We took a ferry ride on the Atlantic ocean of the coast of the Carolina’s where big ships come in with goods on barges. Before suspension bridges were made across rivers and ocean bays, transport ferries and boats were the only method across these waterways. We have also visited and rode the historic trains at the train museums in Statesville, NC and Knights Town, Indiana. We on a boat in the canal at Metamora, and took the train at Metamora Indiana, the train at Knights Town Indiana, the train at Branson, Missouri, that goes across a huge tall wooden bridge overlooking an incredible gorge in the Ozark Mountains. Our kids have really enjoyed these adventures.
We will be working through this curriculum for quite some time, and my kids are loving all the activities. We like to take it slow and tweak as we go, see and do as much as we can, and this curriculum is perfect for that. With so many lessons and projects, it will probably last us until the end of this year.
One of the next to last projects is to create a Lap Book with all of the wonderful projects your kids have made. A Lap Book is kind of like a scrapbook to store all your memories of the learning adventure. The outer cover is made from a file folder(s). We are looking forward to creating our Lap Books. We have added in a couple of items a head of schedule because we were doing this as a review post, but we have a long way to before we are actually ready to put it all together. These Lab Books will look really neat when they are finished.
My advice to other homeschool families (especially if you have lots of kids using this curriculum) is to “plan a head”, read a head, print out everything you need for one or two lessons at a time. Collect whatever additional materials for the lesson you will need. There is a lot of material to print and suggested projects covered in this curriculum. That fact alone equals a ton of fun for the kids! Remember, you don’t have to print or do every activity listed, these are suggestions and you can tweak this curriculum how ever it best fits for you. Just take it at a pace that is comfortable for your family and have loads of fun with it!
We love this curriculum and highly recommend it to everyone!
Home School In The Woods
Home School In The Woods is a “hands-on history” curriculum company. They carry a huge variety of projects. I have only told you about the Time Traveler Series. Check out their huge range of products and various title series they have to offer, and the free lessons and timeline samples they give away. I am sure you and your kids will have a blast with these hands on learning adventures.
Be sure to get your free Erie Canal lesson from their newest product A-La-Carte when you use the code “alacarte” at checkout. This is a great time to study about the Erie Canal because it is the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the canal.
I can’t believe how fast this summer is going by. I wanted to share some pictures with you of how our little garden project turned out.
Construction of Garden Bed A
Garden Bed A. Planning to use a square foot gardening method in this bed.
Planting Romaine Lettuce in aquaponics barrel from heads regrown into plants in windowsill. Harvested the lettuce several times from windowsill during the winter.
April 5, 2017
Romaine Lettuce In Aquaponics Barrel
These lettuce heads are regrowing after harvest from store bought lettuce.
They send out new roots and will continue to reproduce for several more harvests.
Romaine Lettuce in Aquaponics Barrel
Garden Bed A
Garden Bed A: Leaf Lettuce seedlings have sprouted.
April 10, 2017
Potato Bins Construction
Potato Bins: Planting Sprouted Potatoes
April 17, 2017
Garden Bed A
Green Onion Tops from Red and Yellow Onions
Garden Bed A: Spinach, Beets, Basil, Lavender, Marjoram, Cucumber
Planting Marigolds and Petunias and a few little decorations in Garden Bed A
Petunias in Barrel Planters
Garden Bed A: Petunias
Garden Bed B: Construction & Potato Bins Construction
April 23, 2017
Lots of rainy days.
April 29, 2017
May 20, 2017
Garden Bed A
Starting seeds in milk jugs.
Hanging basket with leaf lettuce after two harvests.
Garden Bed B
Garden Bed B
Potato Bins: They are really growing fast! We layer them with additional straw and dirt about every week or so.
The potato plants keep growing up through the additional straw and are almost grown above the top of the bin.
Aquaponics Barrel still producing Romaine lettuce after 4 harvests. Now added sweet potato starts too.
Harvesting leaf lettuce cuttings from hanging basket.
Romaine Lettuce from barrel, leaf lettuce from basket, beet tops from garden bed A.
Lunch main salad with romaine and leaf lettuces, green onion, and radishes.
Dinner side salad with turkey bacon.
May 30, 2017
Garden Bed A
Garden Bed A
Garden Bed A: Green Onion
Garden Bed A: Spinach & Beets
Garden Bed A: Potatoes
Garden Bed A: Cucumbers
Daily Lunch Harvest
Garden Bed A: daily harvest of green onion, beet tops, spinach, and leaf lettuce.
It is getting hot outside! Thankfully we had a lot of rain and that is helping to keep the plants alive. The rain has made it difficult to weed the garden beds as they are in a constant state of mud. Some of the plants and blossoms are beat down and blossom petals have been knocked off. But is a blessing they are well watered and will bloom again.
I will post June’s Garden update in a future post. I hope you enjoyed watching our garden grow.
Hewitt Homeschooling offers a wide variety of curriculum options for elementary, middle school, and high school students. We are reviewing My First Report today, but be sure to check out the different kinds of products they have to offer.
(depending on the skill level) Grades 1-2 (with parental direction) Grades 3-4 (independent) Grades 5–8 (remedial work)
SET of 14 Titles for $69.95
My First Report uses a step by step approach to help elementary age students learn about a topic they are interested in and write a report about it. This is a unique approach using unit studies to motivate kids to learn how to write mini reports on various subjects. This curriculum helps students reach new challenges as they learn new skills, and learn to express their knowledge and ideas in complete sentences of their own.
My First Report uses a variety of skills and encourages research. This curriculum is designed for kids in 3rd – 4th grades, but can be used for younger students in 1st-2nd grades (with the parents help), or used by older students in 5th-8th grades too.
My First Report topic themes are cross curricular and are designed as unit studies. Each theme topic covers about 8-12 weeks of study and activities. You can go faster or slower depending on the needs of your family.
Each topic theme you purchase includes a number of corresponding worksheets (vocabulary word puzzles, research questions, maps, report forms, etc) and suggested hands on activities.
My First Report includes lots of optional suggested activities. You can do as many or as few of the activities you chose. The unit study is a beneficial method to cover a wide range of subjects and opportunities for students to learn hands on about the topic theme.
Various subject areas are incorporated into the study and will prepare your student to write an informed report about what they have learned. Cross curricular subject areas include:
Suggested Field Trips
Topic Theme Titles:
Each My First Report retails for $8.95. Hewitt Homeschooling also offers a huge discount if you purchase a bundle set of 14 topic themes together for $69.95
My First Report: Focus On The World
My First Report: Music
My First Report: Transportation
My First Report: Weather
My First Report: Me
My First Report: Famous People
My First Report: Wild Animals / Large Mammals
My First Report: Wild Animals / Small Mammals
My First Report: Pets/Farm Animals
My First Report: Bugs and Worms
My First Report: Birds
My First Report: Reptiles/Amphibians
My First Report: Plants
My First Report: Solar System
My First Report: Marine Life
My First Report: Olympics
My First Report: Outdoor Activities
My First Report: Sports
My First Report: My State
My First Report: Eastern United States
My First Report: Western United States
My First Report: Middle United States
My First Report: Southern United States
My First Report: Lewis and Clark Expedition
We chose to write about our experience with My First Report: Focus On The World for the purpose of this review. We have also began using My First Report: Weather . This curriculum is so fun to do and easy to implement. We are using several titles from the series through out our homeschool year.
My First Report: Focus On The World
My First Report: Weather
My First Report: Outdoor Activities
My First Report: Music
My First Report: Transportation
My First Report: Wild Animals / Small Mammals
My First Report: Birds
My First Report: Reptiles/Amphibians
After we finish Focus on the World and Weather, I have scheduled Outdoor Activities for the summer, and the remaining titles are scheduled for fall. Once you try these out you will see why kids enjoy doing them. My kids are having so much fun.
Everything is written out for you and easy to follow. Each My First Report contains 50-60+/- pages including reproducible forms, worksheets, suggested reading and resources, and a very detailed unit study.
My First Report are illustrated and full color on heavy paper. The pages arrived already hole punched, so it was easy to put each unit into a three ring binder for convenience.
Over the course of several weeks, the students are given small research projects that go along with the theme of the unit based on the title you chose. Our unit was Focus on the World and contained a World Geography and Missions around the world theme.
In My First Report: Focus On The World, we learned about 13 different regions around the world. Learning about 1 region a week, this title in the series would last about 13 +/- weeks or so.
Our research projects included learning about the cultures of people, languages, geography, animals, etc on each continent and learning how they were impacted by missionaries. Each time we focused on a specific region, for example South America, there was a corresponding map and research questions to complete.
Unit study projects can be applied to each research project. You can chose to do as much or as little of these optional activities as you like. Below I have shared a few examples for you to see of the different unit study projects we did specific to the South America region. When your student is ready, have them write their report from the research they did and information they have learned. There are report masters included in the packet for them to fill in.
They can choose to write their report with or without a picture.
For South America for example, some of the additional unit study activities we did included:
Bible Copy Work & Penmanship & Vocabulary:
We read a bible verse and practiced re-writing it neatly.
The kids did a word puzzle included in the packet.
We also wrote out a rough draft of the report by writing down answers to research questions and then forming the information into paragraphs.
We read about Brazil.
Read about Animals and Birds of South America.
created sketches, painted, and drew with colored pencils various projects about Parrots.
Plan to learn to weave a traditional project. We saw brightly colored woven place mats on our food field trip that we would like to replicate.
Social Studies / Culture / Foods:
Learned about holidays and foods from the region. Made a traditional meal.
Ate traditional South American foods at a local restaurant.
We have plans to visit a local missions outreach that traslates bibles and sends them with missionaries around the world. They have a museum and local housing for missionaries on sabatical and we hope to visit them too.
We also have plans to visit the zoo to see various animals from around the world.
Interviewed a retired radio broadcaster who has been taking the message of Jesus into various nations around the world on short wave radio for over 40+ years.
Interviewed Nadia, a woman who works as a waitress at a local restaurant. She was born in Columbia and lived in Venezuela and Brazil before coming to the USA. We also had the opportunity to talk to her about faith in Jesus.
Music & Math & Language:
Learned songs in Spanish.
Practices words and counting in Spanish.
The same woman, Nadia, from South America also taught the kids a song in Spanish, taught them the names of money, how to say various family members (mother, father, brother, sister, baby, etc), and foods in both Portugese and Spanish.
Learned about the Amazon Rain Forest Habitat and Animals. We chose to learn more about parrots in the rain forest (animals vary in different regions and we learned about other animals such as tigers, elephants, monkeys, etc from around the world for other locations).
I found coloring pages for animals online and we also took some art lessons creating parrot projects in an art course the kids are taking.
The kids then made several more art projects related to parrots. One of my son’s liked the parrots so much he drew a parrot in the box for his report on South America. As you can see, we really enjoy using these products. We are learning lots of great information and having fun at the same time.
The My First Report products are consistently well written across all the various titles. We first tried out a couple of Hewitt Homeschooling My First Report (Bugs and Worms and Solar System) a few years ago with our older kids when they were a lot younger, and we continue to be impressed with all the information the kids learn. Now our younger kids are benefiting too from all of these awesome hands on learning adventures.
My First Report are fun for the whole family, from the young to the old, including grandparents. The thing I like most about unit studies is they are flexible and can be adjusted to use in any way, and for just about any age, that meets the needs of your family. These would also be great for summer boredom busters, study groups, summer school, Sunday School, or afterschool learning adventures too. This is a great curriculum resource and I would encourage other homeschool families to work My First Reports into their learning adventures.
Be sure to check out the various products from Hewitt Homeschooling. I am planning to include some of their Lightning Literature curriculum for various ages of my kids next year. For sure I would like to try the Lightning Literature: American Mid-Late 19th Century for my older boys, and many others look great too.
A few of the curriculum categories Hewitt Homeschooling has to offer include:
The author and teacher, John D Mays, cares that students retain what they have learned. He has revolutionized helping students master learning the sciences and mathematics that will benefit them the rest of their life, no matter what they choose to do in their future.
My son is so impressed with this Introductory Physics course, that he has told me he would love to review several more courses written by John D. Mays at Novare Science & Math.
Memoria Press and Potter’s School have recently began carrying Novare Science & Math curriculum products for homeschoolers. The Homeschool Review Crew is currently reviewing Novare Science & Math courses for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Be sure to see the links at the end of this post to find out what others on the Homeschool Review Crew had to say about using these products with their families.
Hardback Student Text Book
This course contains 13 Chapters broken down into numerous lessons, 28 quizzes, 23 reviews, 2 semester exams (1 mid and 1 final), experiments, etc. and is meant to be used over the course of an entire school year. A sample schedule is given for how the course can be started in the fall semester and run the entire school year over the course of approximately 53 weeks.
Introductory Physics can be used with high school students who have had Algebra 1. The Author, John D Mays, mentions in the text book that he has taught a modified version of the course to 9th graders who have taken pre-Algebra. He recommends that if teaching this course to 9th graders, then you should modify the course by leaving out chapters 8 and 13 because these two chapters contain more challenging Algebraic math meant for older high school students who have taken Algebra 1 or higher level math.
John D Mays teaches this Introductory Physics course from the perspective of the Christian faith. He not only cares that students master and retain the material, but he cares about their soul and cares that they know the truth. He shares his faith with the students, and teaches that the foundation of science and mastery of every subject in life cannot be separated from the truth of the bible.
Introductory Physicstext book includes:
Preface for Teachers
Preface for Students
The Nature of Scientific Knowledge
Newton’s Laws of Motion
Atoms, Matter and Substances
Heat and Temperature
Pressure and Buoyancy
Waves, Sound and Light
Introduction of Electricity
Fields and Magnetism
Glossary (Large list of words and definitions)
Appendix A (Reference Data)
Appendix B (Chapter Equations and Objectives)
Appendix C (Lab Experiments)
Appendix D (Main Scientists and their contributions)
Appendix E (Making Accurate Measurments)
Appendix F (References)
Appendix G (Image Credits) there are a lot of images!
Pre-Algebra (for 9th graders if leaving out chapters 8 and 13)
Perform Unit Conversions
Use Metric Prefixes
Determine Significant Digits
Able to solve equations for unknown variables
Able to use a calculator, compute (add and subtract) to the power of 10 or use the EE or EXP buttons on their scientific calculator.
Lab Experiments & Journal:
There are five lab experiments in this course. Students must maintain a Lab Journal for their experiments / written work during the duration of the course. Lab experiments must be written on graph paper (quadrille ruled), written in pencil, and it will also include everything they did in all five laboratory experiments.
Instructions for the Lab Journal and Lab Experiments are included in “Appendix C” located at the back of the text book. Each experiment requires a written report and it is recommended that you purchase a copy of “The Student Lab Report Handbook” from the website for detailed instructions on how to write these reports for all of your Science courses. Each experiment in Introductory Physics will require supplies. Some supplies may be items you already have on hand and others may be items you will need to purchase. Be sure to look through the items needed and have them on hand a head of time for each experiment.
The textbook is excellent and can stand alone. However, in addition to the text book, it is recommended to pick up a few of the companion products, especially the Resource CD, to maximize the learning experience for the student.
We received the Introductory Physics hardback student text book, and were also given access to download the material from the Resources CD for the purpose of writing this review (the download option is not available for sale, the Resource CD is only available for purchase on CD). My son has read through the Preface for Teachers and Students, Chapter 1 “The Nature of Scientific Knowledge”, looked over the Appendixes for vocabulary and to familiarize himself with some of the learning objectives, and is currently working through Chapter 2 “Motion”. He is taking it slow and loving it so far.
After using this course for the past several weeks, we are very pleased with the materials. The book is wonderful and a great read! The author expresses himself very well and my son likes the personal touches the author has added about his beliefs and experiences. The Resource CD is very important to use with this course . It contains the course overview, sample course schedule, 28 quizzes, 23 weekly reviews, verbal prompt questions, both the semester mid-term exam and year final exam, and teaching tips and sample answers to verbal prompt questions. Beginning with week 3, the students are given a weekly review guide to follow and their are 23 of these guides. You could just use the textbook only for this course, and keep meticulous study notes, but I think you would miss out on a lot of the learning comprehension without also using the Resource CD.
In each chapter of the text book, key Physics concepts are reviewed, and then rehearsed over and over throughout the year while new material is being added lesson by lesson, and chapter by chapter. Verbal prompts and written technical communication is also emphasized.
It is a good idea with this course to have a quiet place to study and make a “study kit” so your student has everything they need on hand. The concepts are challenging and the more your student can focus without distractions (a quiet space away from younger siblings, etc) the better. Plan to spend an hour a day (at least three or more days a week) to stay on top of the learning and reviews. Homeschooling is flexible, so go at a pace that feels comfortable to your student.
We are taking it slow. My son likes to go outside to study if the weather is nice. He says it connects him to God’s creation and it is more enjoyable. So I made a portable study kit for him specific for this course and it contains a highlighter (to mark his book), a pencil, an eraser, a notebook, a Lab Experiment Notebook made of graph paper, a ruler for measuring and drawing lines, and a scientific calculator, and I stored all of these items in a three ring binder. I will add in additional things as the need arises. He will need several items for the lab experiments. In the 3 ring binder, I put a zippered case to hold the loose items, and the notebook, subject dividers, and it is wide enough that his text book fits easily in it too. I also printed and hole punched PDF copies of the weekly schedule, weekly review guides, and chapter quizzes and put them into the binder too. So he is able to study outside or wherever he finds a quiet comfortable spot to focus on learning the material.
The notebook is needed for taking chapter notes such as summarizing the main ideas and understanding chapter objectives and writing down vocabulary words, etc. In addition, the weekly reviews have projects for students to complete to build on their mastery of the information. The weekly reviews are handed out at the start of each week starting with week three. A handy way to store these is organized in your binder for review. Students are also instructed to make their own flash cards for each chapter and review these regularly. You can store flash cards in a rubber band and put them in a zippered case in the binder, or an index card filer, or for ease of use to start out, or into a plastic sleeve page designed for the three ring binder. I hope these steps will help my son be organized, successfully master this course.
I really like the concepts John D Mays has built into his Novare Science & Math curriculum. He emphasizes starting with Introductory Physics as the basic foundation for learning science and math, then building on this with the upper level science courses from there. His strategy is to focus on three areas that he says has proven again and again to boost student academic achievement: Mastery, Integration, and Kingdom Perspective. Please take a few minutes to check out the videos below where the author explains his strategy in helping students strengthen their faith while they master the information they are studying.
The goal is to master the subject without getting overwhelmed or distracted with information that won’t be remembered. The way to master a subject is to reduce the amount of information that is manageable. A reduced-scope curriculum enables students to learn a reasonable amount of material deeply, instead of giving shallow attention to topics that they will not understand or be able to remember. Students who master material they learn when they are younger, will most likely outperform their peers when they reach upper level classes.
The Mastery strategy uses:
ongoing accountability for retention of material,
building with basic skills
adding in new material
Integration involves developing and integrating critical points that are effective. These integration points should include:
integrate math skills in science classes
integrate science skills in math classes
develop good written expression on exams, lab reports, etc.
allow the truth of God and his goodness and beauty to point the nature of science and math knowledge
develop specific learning objectives to be understood and evaluated in assessments.
Instead of conflict between faith and science, Novare Science & Math has set it’s sights on improving how teachers can share with students the relationship between science/mathematics and the loving Creator, our Heavenly Father, who made the universe and everything in it, and then lovingly gave it to us.
We were thrilled with the opportunity to use this curriculum in our home and share our experience with you. Be sure to check it out and see if it will be a good fit for your family too.
About the Author:
John D Mays is the author and founder of Novare Science & Math. He has been teaching in various positions (highschool, college, state and Christian schools and various workshops, etc) since 1985. He is a well known speaker and educator. He has a BS in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University, a Master of Education degree in Secondary Education from the University of Houston, a Master of Liberal Arts degree from St. Edwards University, and graduate studies in the field of Physics. John has also worked in various fields including teaching, engineering, engineering management, Math and Science Department Chair, Optics Lab Director, etc. He has put together a team of people, including some of his family members, to help him accomplish great curriculum and programs through Novare Science & Math and point students and teachers to a greater appreciation of Father God, the true Creator of everything.
Stay in touch with Novare Science & Math through their social media links:
Have you ever considered where your spirit will go when your physical life on earth has ended?
There is only one way that leads to eternal life with Father God. It is through faith in Jesus as the only begotten son of God. He asks us to repentant of our sins and offenses, and give obedience to him by loving Father God with all our heart, love our neighbor as we love ourselves, meeting the needs of our neighbors and family, and confessing our faith in Jesus before men and forgiving any offense. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to Father God unless he has come through faith in Jesus and made him Lord and Savior of his heart.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:16-18
I recently heard this song Wayfaring Stranger recorded by Sounds Like Reign. The song is about traveling through this life as a stranger, redeemed by Jesus and looking forward to heaven and being with Father God. It is a beautiful song.
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” Matthew 16: 24-27
Give your life to Jesus today. Believe Jesus is the son of God who died and paid for your salvation with his own life, and rose again defeating the powers of sin and death. Accept him as Lord of your life, confess your sins to him now and be saved. The choice is yours. Chose this day whom you will serve. I pray you will chose life in Jesus.
American History comes to life in Adventures of Rush Revere Book Serieswhere a fictional history teacher named Rush Revere takes middle school kids on a journey back in time to explore true and exciting events about the foundation of the United States of America.
Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series
5 Hardback Books
Rush Revere and the Pilgrims
Rush Revere and the First Patriots
Rush Revere and the American Revolution
Rush Revere and the Star Spangled Banner
Rush Revere and the American President
Illustrated: real photos of historical documents, famous people, events, and locations, as well as fictional illustrations of Rush Revere, his horse and students.
Available in English (Rush Revere and the Pilgrims is also available in Spanish).
Recommended for ages 8-12, but older students, and even the entire family, will enjoy these books too.
In each book in this series, fictional History Teacher Rush Revere travels through time to the past to share the true and exciting events that helped to shape the United States of America.
Even though the teacher and his talking horse, the students, and time travel are fictional, the rest of the historical events in these stories are true. Some of the illustrations are of the fictional characters, however many of the photos are of actual real people, real documents, actual locations where events took place, and you can still go visit many of these locations today.
Book 1: Rush Revere and the Pilgrims
This story begins on the ship traveling to America called the Mayflower. The story follows the Pilgrims through their first winter in the New World. American History Teacher Rush Revere time-travels to the past with two students to see American history first-hand. In this book kids learn about building forts, sword fights, explorations, and learn about people like Squanto and William Bradford. Kids will also learn about the first Thanksgiving. Featured in the book are full color illustrations and original documents from this time in history.
After reading this book, your kids will want to keep reading all of the books in the series. In this book kids are introduced to Rush Revere who is an American History Teacher. Rush Revere is assisted on his journeys with a talking horse named Liberty. Together they discuss facts of history and take kids on fascinating journeys to the past to see various events unfold. This this time-travel theme continues through each of the books in the series.
Book 2: Rush Revere and the First Patriots
In this book kids learn about the First Patriots including exceptional Americans such as Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry. They also learn about struggles with King George III from Great Britain. This book is filled with illustrations and documents that bring this time in history to life.
I was surprised to learn a few of the details in this book were different or left out of my studies when I was growing up. For example, I didn’t know that the symbol of America was a female rattle snake. I thought the first symbol was an eagle. But the rattle snake, eagle, and pine tree were the first symbols of our nation. The first flag that represented separation from England included thirteen stripes and a rattle snake, not stars. I had always been taught about the stars, but not taught about the snake.
We were inspired by this book to look up a few details for further study about the snake symbol that came to represent the “American spirit” during the Revolution against England. On Wikipedia I found the serpent drawing (mentioned in the book) that Ben Franklin used in his news paper with the phrase “join or die” that inspired the 13 colonies to become organized against the attacks from French and the American Indians, and a few years later helped them become united and fight back against the King of England because of unfair treatment.
by Ben Franklin (image source Wikipedia)
Then I found out that the serpent symbol continued to represent the American people. The rattlesnake became the symbol for America and was used on the first American Flags. The serpent symbol inspired the yellow flag with phrase “don’t tread on me” that is considered one of the first American flags and is still used as a symbol of patriotism today.
1775 Flag (image source Wikipedia)
We also found another serpent inspired flag called the serpent and stripes, that is still in use today. This is one of first flags of America and is still flown on navy ships.
1776 First Naval Jack Flag (image source Wikipedia)
Before reading Rush Revere and the First Patriots, I had never heard of the serpent symbol representing the US, but after doing a little research I have learned it has been in continuous use for 266 +/- years since Ben Franklin began using this idea to help the colonists become organized to fight back against any oppressors both foreign and domestic.
Book 3: Rush Revere and the American Revolution
This book focuses on the life of the son of a soldier. His father is deployed overseas. His mother is worried about the affects this is having on her son. Eventually the boy learns why freedom is so important and to value the sacrifice his dad is making for him and the future of the country. In this book you learn about Dr. Joseph Warren, John Hancock, and George Washington in addition and learn even more about the journey for freedom in American history.
Book 4: Rush Revere and the Star Spangled Banner
In this book, kids read about national landmarks including the Washington Monument, the White House, and American government. They learn about the writing of the national anthem, Dolley Madison, pickle barrels, museum guards, Redcoats, American patriotism and more. Included are full color illustrations, photos, and historical documents.
Book 5: Rush Revere and the American President
In this book kids learn about the American elections, American leadership and the early presidents, vice presidents, first ladies, Washington, Adams and Jefferson. They also follow along as one of the kids in the story runs for student-body president and learn what skills are required to be successful and the value of serving others. Full color illustrations, photos, and historical documents related to this time in history is included.
Rush Revere Activities
In addition the history books, the Adventures of Rush Revere website offers kids an opportunity to expand on their learning. They can join a book club, enter contests, complete activities, and learn even more. They offer a few fun online games and activities, and additional resources. You can also read about the author and additional information that inspired the characters. In the Homeschool Depot (also the Education Depot), there are student study guides that go along with the books and additional resources for teachers.
My sons are enjoying reading these books and learning about American History. In addition to reading at home, they have also taken them in the van to read on long drives. Giving kids a book to read while you take a drive is a great way to get them to sit still and read, especially for boys because they always seem to have tons of energy and don’t always want to sit still. These books are so interesting that my kids wanted to sit still, read, and couldn’t wait to find out what happens next.
I am looking forward to re-reading these books again with all of my kids, and using the study guides and activities as unit studies for our American History this fall. I would definitely recommend these books to everyone!
Perhaps by reading this book series, you and your family will be inspired to visit some of these locations, or do more explorations and learning adventures to learn more about the events, people, and places that helped to shape our country.
Thank you for all you do to care for your families. Thank you for putting God first in your life, and being a good example of a man who’s heart is to raise the next generation for the glory of our Heavenly Father and point them to Jesus.