Tag Archives: education

Online Homeschool Classes with SDA Review

Homeschool parents are blessed to be able to design their kids education as they see best. They pull the educational resources from a variety of places such as books, videos, library resources, local community programs, coops, field trips, life skills, etc.  Sometimes the parents create their own curriculum and sometimes they buy it pre-made, and sometimes they do a blend of both.  Homeschooling is such a blessing to be able to customize your children’s education to fit each child’s individual interests and the priorities and goals of your family.

SDA

If you are looking for a pre-made online course that has everything your student needs to complete the subject of study, then you might want to try Homeschool Courses from Standard Deviants Accelerate.  They offer a variety of affordable classes for 3rd Greade through Adult, including some college prep classes.

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Homeschool Courses

Arithmetic (grades 3+)
Fundamental Math (grades 4+)
Earth Science (grades 6+)
Nutrition (grades 6+)
Biology (grades 7+)
Algebra (grades 7+)
Chemistry (grades 9+)
English Comp (grades 9+)
U. S. History (grades 9+)
AP Biology (grades 11+)
AP Chemistry (grades 11+)
AP History (11+)
AP U. S. Gov. & Politics (grades 11+)
AP Eng. Composition (grades 11+)

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Each Course is $9.99 per month and can be used with up to 5 students per family.  So you can have 5 of your kids all studying the same subject for only $9.99!!!  That is a deal!   If you want to study two subjects that month, such as: nutrition, and history at the same time, then 5 kids in the same house can learn 2 subjects and it would cost you $9.99 x 2 = $19.98 per month for the two classes!  You can buy a lifetime membership for up to 10 students for all of the SDA classes available (currently 14 courses) for one low discounted price of $795 (forever access).

Hello!

HIGHSCHOOL CREDIT CLASSES!!

That is a deal!

Each course offers a full year of curriculum, but your student (s) may finish the class as quick or as slow as they desire.  Each child has their own dash board that they log into and it keeps track of their individual progress.

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The classes are always open 24/7 so it is flexible for your schedule, and you can work on it as much as you want to.   It contains a variety of videos, note taking, interactive quizzes, writing, reviews, exams, and you can access the courses through your desktop computer, mobile laptop, and smart device like a tablet too.  This greatly increases your options of where and when you can find flexible time to work on your school work.  These classes can be used as your main course work or used as a supplemental program.  Some kids may finish a course quicker in a semester, and some will need the whole school year, depending on the subject being studied and how quick your kids go through the program.  For example, we found it takes longer to learn Chemistry or Algebra than it takes to finish the class in American History or Nutrition.

SDA has been producing digital education videos and resources for 20+ years, when two friends got the bright idea to record full length courses and make them funny.  The idea took off and they have won numerous awards for their high quality educational video courses.

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Though SDA has a variety of complete core subjects for middle and highschool students, these are not your usual boring classes.   Instead, they are funny and filled with silly skits that help kids learn and retain the information.

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Homeschool Courses through SDA are a great option for when you need a course instructor, pre-made lessons, quizzes that keeps track of all of the answers and grades and everything all in one.  Basically all you do is turn it on and your child can work through it independently and you can keep track of what they are doing through the parent / teacher dashboard.

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How We Used SDA Homeschool Courses In Our Home:

We have been using SDA for an entire year now.  I feel confident in sharing my experience with you.  We had a 1 year subscription last school year, and we have a 1 year subscription for this year too, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to review this homeschool program for a second time.

Three of my sons are using at least one or more of the classes offered.  We decided to choose classes based on their skill level and interest level.  Last year I just put them in the class even if they were not very interested because I want to expose them to something new and different that we hadn’t done before.  But this year, it is all about what they are interested in.  We are currently using Nutrtion, US History, Mathematics, Biology, Earth Science, and Algebra.

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My kids and I each have our own seperate dashboards on the SDA website.   Each day I have the kids log in and view the video assignment, take notes as they watch the video and save their notes on the computer program.  You can watch this short video about how kids use their dashboard.

After the video and vocabulary learning, they complete any related written work and take the quiz. The notes they type are stored in their “locker” which is a filing system they can keep track of all of their notes for classes.

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On my dashboard, I can view their progress, what areas need more practice or review to improve their understanding.  You can check out this short video on how to set up a teacher account and get your kids set up with with their classes on your dashboard.

Check out this short Teacher Account Video that explains more how this works.

SDA_Lessons

Two of my middle boys are on similar learning levels, and they have enjoyed learning with the Nutrition, US History, and Mathematics courses this past year and have carried them over into this year too.  They have also recently started the Biology course too.  The biology course is a little advanced for my 5th and 7th grade sons, but I want them to take advantage of exploring this opportunity and get familiar with the learning materials.

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Here is a short video clip of one of the topics discussed in nutrition and you can see the humor that is in every video in this example.

Our oldest son is in 9th grade, and he is taking the SDA Homeschool Courses: Nutrition, US History, Biology and Algebra.   I am thankful for a second opportunity to review SDA because this has been very beneficial to retake a class he started last year.  He did great in all but one class last year. Algebra was tougher than he thought it would be.

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He started the Algebra class last year, and had to stop after a couple of months because it was beyond his understanding.   He wasn’t ready for it yet.  So we stopped part way through and he took a pre-Algebra class that he did wonderful in.  Now he is ready for Algebra and has restarted this class and was able to pick up where he left off.   That is another great thing about this program is that it keeps track of your progress and you can go as fast or as slow as you need too.

SDA_Lesson_Tabs

Example of Homeschool Algebra:

Homeschool Alegebra curriculum has several benefits for the student and the teacher. Here are just a few:

220 minutes of video (with scrolling transcripts)
54 vocab words (with audio playback)
Note-taking
38 critical thinking questions
205 multiple choice questions
14 drag n’ drop graphic organizers
Re-teaching
Automatic grading
Progress reporting
Meets State and National Standards
RTI alerts
Differentiated Instruction
Editable rubrics
Student-to-teacher messaging

Every class includes the written transcript of the video lessons. This makes it very handy to go back through and read what has been said, take notes etc.

Algebra

Over all my oldest says he likes the curriculum.  He is self motivated to work on it each day. He strives to get good scores on his work and I am proud of his progress.

Homeschool U.S. History:

Another class I will share a little about is the Homeschool U.S. History course for grades 9 and up.  Some of the great features of this curriculum include:

149 minutes of video (with scrolling transcripts)
144 vocab words (with audio playback)
160 multiple choice questions
Note-taking
29 critical thinking questions
14 drag n’ drop graphic organizers
Meets State and National Standards
Progress reporting, Editable rubrics, Re-teaching
Automatic grading, and Student-to-teacher messaging

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My 13 year old is taking US History, Nutrition, and Biology.  He began the US History curriculum last year while in 6th grade and after he struggled though for about three months or so, I came to the realization it was too early for him.  I let him off the hook with it and allowed him to just work through the class as an observer and he worked on it 1 day a week after the initial review period was over.  We typically work on review products 3 to 5 days a week for six weeks to write our honest reviews based on our experience.  But once the review was done last year, the only SDA classes this son was enthused about was the arithmetic and mathematics classes and he did well and he recently finished one of them.  However, I saw that his response to the US History class was different.  When his interest level dropped last year, we decided to take do it once a week.

The problem was two fold. One problem he had was deciphering through some of the immaturity in the funny skits that wasn’t really needed to learn the materials.   The second problem was my fault that I put him in a class he wasn’t yet ready for.

SDA Homeschool US History is for grades 9 and up, and he was only in 6th grade at the time. Though a slower pace worked for him, he felt discouraged about the quizzes and writing things out.   He was able to get about half way through last year and I told him I was proud of him for trying and we would try again when he was a little older.   When the review of SDA was offered again for this year, I knew for sure he wanted to retake this class and improve his score. He is currently taking the class 5 days a week, and completes one lesson a day that takes him about 20 minutes or so.  NO prodding or pushing from me.  This time he is ready and wants to do it.

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He likes audio visual methods of learning and excels when school work is presented in a combined audio video format.  He does not like to read a lot, or write a lot of verbiage, so he doesn’t use the SDA course transcripts (his older brother prefers reading everything including the transcripts). Where he got hung up last year was the writing part of the course.  He didn’t want to write out notes and didn’t like the written parts of the quizzes and the essay answer on the exam last year.  These are wonderful tools to gauge learning, but it is hard to gauge learning when someone is reluctant to do those areas.  But things are much better this time around.

He has gone through a lot of maturing this past year, especially over the summer.   He practiced two writing curriculums this past spring and all through summer.  One writing curriculum was practicing in print and one in cursive, and to my surprise he loved them.  I could not believe it. He could not believe it either.  Suddenly it was easy instead of hard.  Since then he has excelled in his writing skills and is no longer reluctant.  This was just the boost he needed and an answer to my prayer to light a fire inside and desire to learn.   He has greatly improved in reading and writing and motivation!  He desires to get his school work done each day and is working on the SDA courses independently, self motivated, and is enjoying them.  I am thankful for SDAccelerate’s fun video style learning program for him to use.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I really like the format of these classes, and how easy and flexible they are to use with homeschooling.  They are great for getting your highschool credits for your transcript too.

However,  as a Christian homeschool parent, there is a word of caution too.  These courses are written from a secular world view and to meet public school core standards.   We do not agree with everything the classes teach and when we come across specific issues, we stop and talk about them.  For example, we disagree with teaching evolution, or that people are related to monkeys, for example.  We believe the earth and all of creation was created by God and our faith plays a big role in our education.  Also sometimes the silliness of the skits take a liberal cultural direction, and imposes a cultural viewpoint rather than an unbiased view.  This can cross over boundaries in many areas of beliefs.   The course work is not written from a Christian perspective and that is something to consider when making curriculum choices.

Pre-made courses can be a good choice in different seasons of life.   As your kids get older, and more independent, or as your life gets busier, this kind of curriculum is very handy.   It also comes in handy when you have a new baby in the house, if you are moving, or if you have little time for prepping a certain course.  Now need to honestly say that I love being creative and making my own curriculum for my younger kids, or tweaking pre-made curriculums for the older kids to fit our family’s needs, but there are times in homeschool life, when having it all done for you is the best option.  The best advice I can give is to weigh out all your priorities, beliefs, and what time you have available to devote to curriculum, and see if SDA Homeschool Courses could work out for you.

Standard Deviants Accelerate on Social Media

Be sure to follow Standard Deviants Accelerate on their social media links for all the latest news, courses, updates, and teaching ideas, and more:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SDAccelerate
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SDAccelerate
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/SDAccelerate/
Google+: google.com/+Sdaccelerate
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/CerebellumCorp/videos

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WordsBright Review

Need a fresh new way to teach the ABC’s to your little ones?  Then you might want to explore S is for Smiling Sunrise by WordsBright.

S is for Smiling Sunrise

S is for Smiling Sunrise

For children 3 and older
Beneficial for learning the English alphabet in a hands on cross curricular way.
32 pages
Hardback book (other options available)
Free MP3 song, poster, and teaching guides for teachers and parents.
Retails for $16.95

a is for art

When you purchase this book, it also includes several free items to further the learning experience:

Free word poster
Free MP3 song
Free parents guide
Free teacher’s guide

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About the Author

Vick Wadhwa is a father, author, entreprenuer, and pharmacutical scientist.  He wrote this book with his daughter in mind, to further her understanding of character qualities while learning her ABC’s.  He wrote poems for the alphabet and then put them to song music, and eventually created an award winning, brightly colored, fully illustrated book to enjoy and share the experience.

colors

Awards

Won several “BEST” awards:
2015 National Parenting Publications Award
USA Best Book Awards Finalist
I Love To Read Month featured book

How We Used This In Our Home:

We were really excited to be chosen to review this book.  My three and six year olds couldn’t wait for it to arrive. The three year old was especially excited and claimed the book as his own, letting all the other children know that this was his “schoolwork”.

reading

He loves listening to the song and following along in the book.  He asks me several times a day, “Play my song mommy!  Play my ABC song!”  He also loves to have an older sibling or mommy read the book to him.

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The book:  Each letter in the book shows the upper and lower case letter and features a special word as the focus. Under that is a brightly colored picture that relates to the word.  Under the picture is a poem that relates to the word and picture, and also includes descriptive words to explore further.   See the picture posted above for examples of “A  Artwork  a” , “B  Butterflies  b” and “C  Colors  c” and you can see examples of how the book is layed out.

The Song:  Puts the read aloud book to music.  Fun to sing along and look at the pictures.

Teachers Guide: Follows a pattern of teaching and exploring language and living ideas using each letter in the book.   Concepts like Beauty, Goodness, and Wonder are explored through rhymes and brightly colored pictures in the book, as well as a series of questions and activities for the parent /teacher to explore further after reading and singing each letter.

The same pattern is repeated for each letter to explore:
Concepts of living: How the word or related word picture relates to every day life, how it enriches life, how it relates to character, virtue, manners, and appreciation.
Questions: provoke deeper thought using the picture to spark ideas and discussion.
Vocabulary Words: from 3 to 12 new descriptive words that relate to the letter word.
Activities: hands on learning adventures to explore, create, and do with the child.

We were able to combine several learning activities while using the book, song, and guides. So many great ideas are included in the suggestions within the Teachers Guide. Many of these activities complimented the other learning activities we had going with the older kids.

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Some of the suggestions throughout the book include fun activities like:

Field Trips: go outside on a walk, visit the zoo, visit a planetarium, play at the park, visit an art museum,
Art: paint, color, sing, dance, crafts, etc.
Science Obeservations: butterflies, heart beat, observe nature outside, observe the night sky, plant a garden, observe colors, nutrition,
Math: time, time of day or night, observe parts of flowers, observation of time,
Character Virtue and Manners: give a gift, say thank you, inner and outer beauty, honesty,

and so much more.

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This would be a really fun book to make a scrap book of all the learning activities for, and do it like “rowing a book” or as a “letter of the week” and do a unit study for each letter following the suggestions in the Teacher’s Guide.

Video

Here is a video of the book, song, and activities in action:

Social Media

Be sure to follow on social media for all the latest news and updates.

Facebook www.facebook.com/wadhwavick

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Digital Science Online Review

We are enjoying our subscription to Digital Science Online by Visual Learning Systems.

Visual Learning Systems

Digital Science Online

We received a one year subscription to Digital Science Online: Elementary Edition (Grades K-5) and Digital Science Online: Secondary Edition (Grades 6-12) .  Each edition retails for $99 a year, and can be used by up to 8 students in the same home.  It can be accessed 24/7.  These programs can also be licensed for classroom use (price determined by classroom size), see the web site for more information.

Digital Science

Digital Science Online: Elementary Edition (Grades K-5)

We chose to focus on the Digital Science Online: Elementary Edition (Grades K-5) for the purpose of this review. My children really enjoyed learning a variety of science topics with this program.  The Elementary Edition includes two levels of learning: Primary K-2 (Physical Science, Earth Science, Life Science, Health) and Elementary 3-5 (Physical Science, Earth Science, Life Science).  Units / Topics covered in each level are listed below.

Digital Science Online is divided into 5 easy to use parts in each edition: Video, Animations, Images, Student Content (Printable Activities,Worksheets), Teachers Content (Lesson Plans, Video Script, Materials Needed for experiments and hands on investigations, Quiz /Worksheet/Test Answer Keys, Teachers Tips).

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Basically this is an easy to use guided classroom all wrapped up in one convenient online package. All you need is a computer and printer to use, and gather the supplies recommended for the hands on activities. Though older students may be able to work independently, younger students will need the parent / teacher’s help.

How We Used Digital Science Online:

We chose a few unit/topics from the Elementary Edition (Grades K-5) that we wanted to cover during the review (see list below).  You can go through the subject however best fits your needs, but we went through each topic with this plan for our lessons:

  1. Pre-video Quiz given by me (the parent/teacher) to learn what the kids already know about a science topic,

  2. Then they watched a video or video clips that reinforced the topic.

  3. Next they answered Video Review questions during the video or video clip as they are discussed.

  4. Then they took a Post-video Quiz,

  5. Next my kids completed several optional activities to explore the topic in a hands on way (observations (some observations were done outside), experiments, review the online animations and images quick guides, and complete several printable worksheets that reinforce the topic),

  6. Finally my kids took a Topic Assessment Test.

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The videos and video clips of the various topics are observed online.  You can choose the topic you want to study and watch the entire video, or select a few short video clips to watch and stop to discuss or write down answers as you come to them.

Learning about 3 types of worms from the Simple Animals unit.

Learning about 3 types of worms from the Simple Animals unit.

Some of the topics have a hands on experiments and activities to do, and some topics only have worksheets as the hands on component.  Sometimes we substituted some of the materials for an activity based on what we had on hand.  All of the worksheets are cross-curricular and promote skills in science, but also language arts, English, math, public speaking if done in groups, etc.  All of the quizzes, tests, and worksheets are downloadable printables for the student to complete.

hole punched worksheet

I printed off the worksheets, quizzes, and tests for each unit/topic we were learning about.  I used a three hole punch to put holes in the printables, and made a folder for each of my kids to put their completed worksheets in.

How to Measure Length Unit.

How to Measure Length Unit.

There is a huge list of approximately 136+ science units/topics available in both English and Spanish in the Digital Science Online: Elementary Edition (Grades K-5), and another 125+ science units/topics in the Secondary Edition (Grades 6-12), so this program can last your classroom through out their school years.   It can be used as the curriculum, or used as a supplement for other curriculum.  I have only listed the unit/topics from the Elementary Edition below.  You can choose to do them in any order you choose.  We loved the freedom of being able to move around and choose the topics we wanted to learn about.

Topics in Digital Science Online: Elementary Edition (Grades K-5)

      • Units of study: Grades K-2 collection
        activities of plants, adaptations, animal behavior, biodiversity, blood and circulation, cells, changes on earth, changing climate, chemical changes, classifying living things, complex animals, cycles in living things, day and night, describing matter, describing matter and its properties, describing problems, designing solutions, earth and you, earth’s nearest neighbors, earth’s rotation and revolution, ecology, fundamentals, electrical circuits, electricity, environmental problems and solutions, everyday simple machines, exploring desert biomes, exploring earth, sun, and moon, exploring energy, exploring energy and heat, exploring forest biomes, exploring fossils, exploring freshwater biomes, exploring grassland biomes, exploring landforms, environmental problems and solutions, everyday simple machines, explorando el sonido (exploring sound), explorando la energía y el calor (exploring energy and heat), explorando sólidos, líquidos y gases (exploring solids, liquids, and gases), exploring desert biomes, exploring earth, sun, and moon, exploring energy, exploring energy and heat, exploring forest biomes, exploring fossils, exploring freshwater biomes, exploring grassland biomes, exploring landforms, exploring marine biomes, exploring solids, liquids, and gases, exploring sound,
        exploring the building blocks of matter, fall, fascinating fossils, food and digestion, food chains, forces in fluids, forming bonds, fósiles fascinantes (fascinating fossils), gravedad (gravity), gravity, grouping living things
        hábitos saludables (healthy habits ), healthy habits, heat and energy
        helping us work, how to measure length, how to measure volume,
Using a ruler to measure worksheet.

Using a ruler to measure worksheet.

      • Units of study: Grades 3-5 collection
        ALL OF THE ABOVE PLUS:
        impacto en la tierra (impacts on earth), impacts on earth, interacciones de los seres vivos (interactions of living things), interactions of living things, investigando la herencia (investigating heredity), investigating chemical reactions, investigating earth’s natural resources, investigating heredity, investigating mixtures, solutions, elements, and compounds,  investigating water, investigations and data, invierno (winter), keeping earth healthy, landforms, language in science, life cycles, light, listening and speaking in science, los ciclos de los seres vivos (cycles in living things), magnets and electromagnetism, making observations, measuring, microscopic life, migración e hibernación (migration and hibernation), migration and hibernation, minerals,  moving muscles and bones, moving things, natural resources, needs of living things, nuestra preciosa tierra (our precious earth), nutrition,  objetos en movimiento (moving things), observando el clima (observing weather), observing weather, otoño (fall), our distant neighbors, our precious earth, particles and matter, physical changes, planetas (planets), planets, plant life cycles, plant parts, plantas (plants), plants, plants with flowers, plate tectonics in action, primavera (spring), reading in science,  reading maps, recursos naturales (natural resources), rocks, scientific method, seguridad climática (weather safety), simple animals, soil and rocks, solutions at work, spring, stars and galaxies, starting with questions, suelo y rocas (soil and rocks), summer, sun and stars, the air around us, the changing phases of matter, the nature of waves, the rock cycle, the water cycle, things in motion, traits and heredity, trees, tu cuerpo ( your body ), tu dieta ( your diet ), usando la electricidad (using electricity), using electricity, using the scientific method, using tools in science, uso del método científico ( using the scientific method), verano (summer), vibrations and waves, water, water, everywhere, weather around us, weather on the move, weather safety, weathering and erosion, weighing things, what are magnets?, what are plants?, what do living things need?, what is a bird?, what is a fish?, what is a mammal?, what is a reptile?, what is an amphibian?, what is an insect?, what is light?, what is science?, what is sound?, what is the water cycle?,  why do we measure?, winter, working with data, writing in science, your body, your diet, ¿qué es el ciclo del agua? (what is the water cycle?), ¿qué es la luz? (what is light?), ¿qué es un anfibio? (what is an amphibian?),  ¿qué es un ave? (what is a bird?), ¿qué es un insecto? (what is an insect?), ¿qué es un mamífero? (what is a mammal?), ¿qué es un pez? (what is a fish?), ¿qué es un reptil? (what is a reptile?), ¿qué necesitan los seres vivos? (what do living things need?), ¿qué son los imanes? (what are magnets?),
Build a pulley system for Simple Machine's unit.

Build a pulley system for Simple Machine’s unit.

So as you can see there are several years worth of fun learning units/topics to do, and you can do them in any order you chose.  My advice would be to put a “short list” together of the units/topics you want to cover for a school year, or semester, or even for just a month at a time, and then spend a week +/- on each topic.  Some students may want to go faster or slower, but you have the freedom to go at any pace that fits your family 24/7.

about worms

A science curriculum program like this is a real asset to families.  Whether you are a homeschool family or not, if you want to teach science to your kids or if you are looking for an after school science program to help boost your child’s knowledge, give Digital Science Online a try.

You can download a FREE sample lesson to try before you buy. Just click on each square for the sample video, animation, student content and teacher content separately.  You can also watch a tutorial for how to use the Digital Science Online resource program. This is a great way to see if you and your student will like using this program.  You can also sign up for a FREE 10 Day Trial subscription.

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Follow on social media for all the latest news and updates
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Twitter https://twitter.com/visualearning

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Purposeful Design Review

” Wow!” is what I want to say to describe the photography and illustrations in Purposeful Design: Understanding the Creation by Jay Schabacker.

Purposeful Design

Purposeful Design

Purposeful Design: Understanding the Creation
Written by Jay Schabacker
Hard back book
$18.95 (currently 25% off regular retail $24.95)
For all ages

Jay Schabacker has an amazing story to tell. He is both a scienctist and a follower of Jesus. He believes that God is the Creator and he created everything with a purpose. Jay has numerous educational degrees and has worked for NASA, and also in Business Management, Church Leadership, Authored books and curriculum, and taught numerous workshops. But most important of all is that he loves the Lord!

In Purposeful Design: Understanding the Creation, he gives us a beautiful full color glimpse of the universe God has created during the seven days of Creation in Genisis.

Book Table of Contents (Abbreviated)

Chapter 1 – The First Day
The Foundation of it All
What Keeps Things Going?

Chapter 2 – The Second Day
Creation of the Atmosphere and Water
Quenching the Thirsty Earth – The “Rain Cycle”

Chapter 3 – The Third Day
Creation of the Dry Land and Vegetation
The Importance of Vegetation and Plants to Humans

Chapter 4 – The Fourth Day
Creation of the Sun, Moon, and Stars
Many Benefits of the Sun, Moon, and Stars

Chapter 5 – The Fifth Day
Creation of the Birds and the Fish
Why the Birds and the Fish were Created

Chapter 6 – The Sixth Day
Creation of Land Creatures and Humans
The Amazing Uniqueness of the Human Being

Chapter 7 – The Seventh Day
The Sabbath is the Day of Rest

Epilogue – Who Made the Cookies?

You can try out a free sample of the book before you buy. Don’t forget to also download the free Young Explorer’s Club curriculum (both student and teacher versions) that goes along with the the book too.

Jay is an aerospace scientist and worked on Nasa’s Appollo Moon Project. Through amazing photographs and scientific and biblical truths, he helps us to see the richness of God’s creation as can be understood once a person can see the amazing pieces of the puzzle. For many, it can be difficult to understand how God could have created the universe and created it in seven days. But Jay takes us through the process and shows how science lines up with the scriptures. The photography that Jay shares is amazing. This is a book you will want to leave out on display to share with folks who stop by your home. It is stunning.

How We Used Puposeful Design:

I read through the book with my children.  We spent a couple of weeks learning about each day in creation. There is a lot of science, scripture, and a lot of beauty packed into this book.  We love learning about space and I was very impressed with the space photos.

Purposeful Design planets

I was really greatful for the free downloadable curriculum too. The curriculum broke the book down into teachable units with questions, discussions, and a few activites to further the learning. I printed everything off and stored it in a handy three ring binder for easy use. There were also certificates of completion that correspond to each day of creation in the Young Explorer’s Club curriculum and a final certificate of achievement too. These are nice progress achievments to add to your studnets portfollio.

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I was so impressed with this book that I decided to take it to our Homeschool Coop class. We did a focus on space exploration and studied about the lights in the heavens specifically the creation of the SUN, MOON, and STARS and how they give us light and control the seasons.  We studies the verses in the bible about DAY FOUR of CREATION found in Genesis 1:14-19. This book went with our study perfectly.

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I brought the free downloadable curriculum questions I had put into my binder, and gathered up a few props to go with the book including coloring pages, flash cards, space display, earth and moon in space puzzles, space sensory bin, and more to our class.

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The kids really enjoyed looking at the photographs of space in the book.  They also enjoyed creating their own space exploration to learn more about the amazing universe God has designed.

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Wouldn’t it be cool to visit some of the places in space that God created like the moon? I think it would be cool too to go into space with a scientist who believes in God and understands the scriptures and who is experienced with planets, moons, stars, and galaxies and see all of it first hand.

The kids pretended that Jay was joining them for a space adventure and divided into two teams (5 white astronauts and 5 orange astronauts) to create an exploration all terain vehicals with Legos to explore the moon, and create a space exploration diorama. Kids learn so much more and remember what they have learned when they can use several of their senses in the learning process. Sharing the pictures from the book, putting together a puzzle of the moon and the earth, creating vehicals and pretending we were taking a trip to explore the moon that God created made the learning experience all the more memorable.

I love this book! I would encourage every homeschool family and Sunday School Class and Bible Study group to get a hold of one these books and learn about our amazing Creator and his Purposeful Design in Creation.

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Fall Tile Art At Homeschool Coop

Creating personalized seasonal art is a great activity to do as a homeschool project. We participated in this project for homeschool coop. My kids had a blast learning how to make Fall Tile Art and will treasure these creations for many years to come.

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To make the Fall Tile Art project, you will need to cut out pictures with a fall theme. This is fun for kids to do and gives the project a personal touch because they chose their own special pictures. We cut out our pictures from fall themed paper bags, but you could also use magazines, wrapping paper, or print them off the internet, etc. You will also need ceramic tiles, modpoge, small felt cushions that stick on one side and are soft on the other, and a sealant.

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Next have the kids place a rough draft of their pictures on their tile so they can see where they want to place them or if they want to change the arrangement. Once it is stuck in place, they won’t be able to change their mind, so now is the time to decide where they want to place their pictures.

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Next have the kids remove the pictures from the tile and place them in the same arrangement on the table. Then have the kids brush modpodge all over the tile. Next place the pictures back in place. Then they need to brush the tiles again a second time, with modpodge and gently brush over the top of the pictures. Set the tiles somewhere to dry. It took our tiles about an hour for the modpodge to dry. We let the kids play games in the gym and exercise while the tiles dried.

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When the tiles were dry, we added small cushions to the four corners of the back side. The cushions are made of felt and are very soft.  If you don’t have cushions, you could glue or stick on a piece of felt too.  Finally we applied a clear spray sealant over the tile. For safety (breathing, etc), the sealant was sprayed onto the tiles by an adult outside in an open area. The sealant will help these masterpieces resist moisture and last a long time.

The tiles are lovely to display, and could be given away as wonderful homemade gifts too.   They can be used to decorate your home for whatever season you chose as your theme.  You can display them flat, or hung up.  The cushions on the bottom should help protect your furniture from scratches, or you could display these in a picture easle, plate display holder, or hang them on the wall.  To hang them on the wall you will need to ad a picture mount of some kind.  If you wanted to keep your expenses down, you could hotglue on a soda can tab as a picture mount and it wouldn’t cost but a few pennies for the hot glue you use.

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Botanical Art At Homeschool Coop

We made the coolest Botanical Art project at Homeschool Coop.  This is such a great project to do with kids.  You can frame these, and hang them on your wall, or give these as gifts, or even use them to create other art projects with.  Or you could make really super-duper cool homemade wrapping paper too.

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We did this art project outside. You need to be outdoors or in a well ventilated area for this project as the spray paint has a strong odor and also can get blown around by wind. It is a good idea to take turns and not have too many kids spray painting at once and be sure they are spaced a little distance away from each other. Adult supervision and safety measures should be taken with a project like this.

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The kids picked out colored paper.  They also picked out various plants and flowers they wanted to use.

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They laid out newspapers on the ground and set their colored paper on the newspaper. Then they placed their plant of choice on the paper, and spray painted over it. After a minute or so, they carefully lifted off the plant from the paper and the result was a beautiful reverse silhouette of the plant.

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I love these beautiful masterpieces the kids made! I hope to get them framed for the wall in the near future.

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Hewitt Homeschooling Review

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Hewitt Homeschooling has some great products for homeschool families. We are reviewing My First Reports: Bugs and Worms by Hewitt Homeschooling, and we are learning lots of great information and having fun at the same time.  If you are in the process of putting your curriculum choices together, I would encourage you to add products from Hewitt Homeschooling to the list.

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My First Reports

One unique product Hewitt Homeschooling offers is a curriculum supplement called My First Reports.  My first reports uses a step by step approach to help elementary age children learn about a subject they are interested in and write a report about it.

Skills used in My First Reports include:

Research
Organizing
Sorting
Writing
Penmanship
Vocabulary
Reading
Critical Thinking

There are several My First Reports to choose from and they are geared for different ages, but all are flexible and can be used for grades 1 – 8 depending on the skill level of your student.

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
My First Report: Focus On The World

You can purchase My First Reports individually for $8.95 , or buy 14 titles as a bundle for $69.95 and save nearly 40% off retail.

 

Our Experience:

Bugs and Worms

We chose My First Reports: Bugs and Worms for this review.  It is designed for kids in 3rd – 4th grades, but can be used for younger students in 1st-2nd grades or older students in 5th-8th grades too.  My First Reports: Bugs and Worms contains 52 pages including reproducible forms, worksheets, suggested reading and resources, and a unit study.

When we received the packet from Hewitt Homeschooling, I placed the pages into a binder.   The pages come already hole punched so you can put it into a three ring binder for convenience, or into your students completed notebook if you desire.  I am a unit study “collector”, or perhaps a unit study nerd might describe me better.   I guess and I love being able to insert them into a binder and keep them for future use.  If someday I pass along our schoolroom to my own grown kids, or to another family, hopefully all the unit studies we have acquired or created over the years will be easy to just grab and go because they are arranged neatly in their own binders.  You could fill a whole book shelf with them.  Ooohhh Awwhhhh.  Yep, I am a unit study nerd!

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We were very excited about this curriculum.  This package covers information about 12 different bugs and worms:

Grasshoppers
Flies
Ants
Bees
Fireflies
Crickets
Ladybugs
Spiders
Caterpillars
Butterflies / Moths
Dragonflies
Worms

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Unit Study Approach

This set is designed to used for 12 weeks, in a unit study method, covering one bug or worm and corresponding worksheets and suggested activities per week.  Being a unit study, many different ages of kids can enjoy it, and it is cross curricular for many different subjects and covers:

Math
Reading
Social Studies
Music
Art
Language
History
Science
Health
P.E.
Bible
Suggested Field Trips

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During the process of learning about a bug or worm you will also do many activities mentioned in the accompanying unit study.  For example, various activities to choose from might include:  geography you will take a map of your state or a region and list bugs found there.  Younger students might cut out pictures and paste them on the map and older students would likely create a map and write a list of various insects identifying  them and their locations or to add in an art aspect, they might sketch them too.  In the bible they would learn about insects mentioned in various verses.  For reading and literature they would read various books, magazines, news articles, and poems about bugs.   For Language you would learn insect vocabulary words and spelling of each insect, as well as answer the report questions on the worksheets. You might create word puzzles and give an oral report too.  For Math, you put the insects in order based on a category such as length or color or weight ect.  Perhaps you could make a graph for comparisons.  You might calculate speeds and distance traveled or the amount of food they eat.  For Science you will make comparison graphs for body characteristics, learn about habitats and how to classify, catch-observe-release different insects when you are studying each one, etc.  One suggestion is to build a wormery when you study the worms section.  For art and science you might make a kite and then for P.E. you would go outside and fly it.  Also for P.E. you would take a hike through your neighborhood or a park to look for insects and study where they are found, what they sound like, etc.  For music you might study and recreate the sound of various insects, sing songs about insects and songs about creation including songs and praises to God.  Art has so many suggestions like making a spider web, visiting an art museum, making collages or mosaics, sculptures, and various crafts.  Field tips ideas include hikes or nature walks in various locations like parks, nature preserves, zoos, museums, the insect section of the library, a honey farm, or other farms where insects are used in some way, nature store, etc.

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While learning about each “critter”, my 3rd grader completed a worksheet for each bug we learned about.  The worksheet includes a picture of the bug, its class and scientific order, vocabulary words, and several questions to research further.   He is encouraged to write complete sentences when answering the questions.  When the week of learning about the insect is complete, and he has answered all the questions, he can transfer that information into a finished report by using his answers to help create paragraphs for a report about the insect he is writing about.

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I have always loved the hands on aspect of Field Trips.  My kids love the adventure and learning outside the classroom / house.  We took a field trip two weeks ago to the Creation Museum to learn more about the history of insects and see various species in their collections.

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This is a great curriculum resource and I would encourage other homeschool families to work it into their learning adventures this school year.  My First Reports would also be a great adventure for summer school, Sunday School, or afterschool learning adventures too.

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