Tag Archives: unit studies

Creation Illustrated Unit Studies Review

Have you heard about Creation Illustrated?  They are a magazine and curriculum publisher.  The photography in their publications is amazing and some of the best I have ever seen. Creation Illustrated has been called “the Christian answer to National Geographic” because of the amazing photography in their magazines, their focus on Father God our Creator, and the faith filled stories they publish.  I am sure you will be encouraged and inspired when you read Creation Illustrated.

Creation Illustrated is expanding and creating a new line of digital products and we have been asked to review two of their digital Creation Unit Studies.  Creation Unit Studies are fun hands on learning opportunities that expand on stories that have been published in the Creation Illustrated magazines.

Creation Unit Studies cover a variety of subjects, are filled with fascinating information that points the student a better understanding of Father God our Creator, and they are affordable.  They are easy to do and will help spice up the learning in your homeschool.  They are currently on sale for $6.95.  They have eight unit studies listed for sale at this time, and have plans for several more. The current list includes:

  • Badgers – The World of Badgers
  • Black Bears – Bear Essentials
  • Dragonflies – Dragons of Paradise
  • Fragrance
  • Joshua Tree National Park
  • Mellow Manatees
  • Pine Trees
  • Snow – Intricacies of Snow

We were sent Intricacies of Snow Unit Study and Pine Trees Unit Study from the Creation Unit Studies collection, and they are filled with fascinating information we want to share with you.

Creation Illustrated: Intricacies of Snow Unit Study

Intricacies of Snow

Creation Unit Study

Digital Curriculum

Downloadable PDF

17 Full Color Illustrated Pages

Teacher’s Answer Key

Grades 5-8

Primarily for grades 5-8, but younger grades can use with assistance or modified.

Lessons and Contents:

  • Reading Resources (page 3)
  • Educational Videos (page 3)
  • Writing & Penmanship (page 4)
  • Vocabulary & Spelling (page 4-5)
  • Bible Study (page 6-7)
  • Science (page 8-9)
  • Math (page 10)
  • Geography (page 11)
  • Art (page 12)
  • Puzzle (page 13)
  • Teacher Answer Keys (page 14-17)
  • and Other Fun Facts.

Example of Student Worksheet:

Example of Teacher’s Answer Key:

Creation Illustrated Magazine Winter ’18 Edition:

Winter ’18 Digital Edition of Creation Illustrated contains articles and beautiful photographs that correspond with the Intricacy of Snow Unit Study.

In addition to reading through the unit study and magazine articles, the unit study also contains a lot of suggested reading and research links and suggested videos to watch. When students finish this unit study about snow, they will have a better understanding and appreciation of snow and a better understanding of Father God and his creation.

Creation Illustrated: Pine Trees Unit Study

Pine Trees

Creation Unit Study

Digital Curriculum

Downloadable PDF

16 Full Color Illustrated Pages

Teacher’s Answer Key

Grades 5-8

Primarily for grades 5-8, but younger grades can use with assistance or modified.

Lessons and Contents:

  • Reading Resources (page 3)
  • Educational Videos (page 3)
  • Vocabulary & Spelling (page 4-5)
  • Bible Study (page 6)
  • Geography (page 7)
  • Science (page 8-9)
  • Math (page 10)
  • Writing & Penmanship (page 11)
  • Art (page 12)
  • Puzzle (page 13)
  • Teacher Answer Keys (page 14-16)
  • and Other Fun Facts

Example of Student Worksheet:

Creation Illustrated Magazine Fall ’17 Edition:

Creation Illustrated Fall ’17 Digital Edition contains articles and beautiful photographs that correspond with the Pine Trees Unit Study.

In addition to reading through the magazine articles, and unit study worksheets, there are also suggested reading and research links, and suggested videos to watch.  There is also an identification worksheet in the study that is great to use for taking a field trip, or a hike into nature to see the trees up close and identify them.  When students complete the Pine Tree Unit Study, they will have a better appreciation for these trees and how they have impacted our lives, and a better understanding about Father God and his creation.

Our Experience

We were sent the digital Intricacies of Snow and Pine Trees unit studies and the corresponding digital magazine editions, Winter ’18 and Fall ’17, of Creation Illustrated.

We have completed the Pine Trees Unit Study, and have started the Intricacies of Snow Unit Study.   We focused on the Pine Trees Unit Study for the purpose of this review.

We have experienced the end of winter and beginning of spring while doing this unit study.  You can see the snow on the pine trees in the two pictures posted above. Though the winter was cold where we live, we got very little snow, and it was usually gone within a day of falling.  In hindsight, I wish I would have focused on the snow study before the pine study as it would have been nice to have had snow actually on the ground that we could experience while studying it.  I will post how our snow study went soon.

Here are some pictures of our nature walk we took to identify pine trees in the forest.  We saw a variety of trees and lots of wildlife too.

We found pine buds full of pollen as well as fully intact pine cones on the same trees.

We harvested some of the young pine buds and pine needles for making recipes and several pine cones for crafts.

My kids enjoyed participating in this study, and the older kids did all of the worksheets, and the younger kids did a few of the worksheets.

We found an insect hiding in this pine tree.  We also found  bird nests, and lots of spiders (not pictured) that like living in pine trees.  We saw several squirrels check for food in the pine trees and jump from tree to tree playing tag with each other and shaking their tails.

We investigated pine cones, pine buds, pine needles, and tree bark up close.

We also found some wild grape vines that had climbed some of the tall pine trees in the forest and were starting to bloom with bright yellow flowers. The winding vines and yellow blooms were beautiful and smelled amazing, and were such a contrast to the tall pine.

Here are some examples of my kids worksheets and activities from this unit study:

Further The Learning:

Though we have finished the Pine Trees Unit Study, I plan to stretch this learning out further over the next several weeks this spring and into the summer.  I plan to add in a couple of building projects for the older three boys using pine lumber from the local lumberyard.

They have been learning woodworking skills using pine over the past year or so and they are getting better and better with their creations.  They helped make a workbench table from pine lumber during this unit study. You can see the frame of the table in this picture.  They have completed it since I took the picture and use it for a workbench for making handcrafts.  They are enjoying it very much.  They have been making lots of woodworking and leather projects on it.

They also helped make loft beds from pine lumber for their rooms last summer.  They love their beds and they had a lot of fun learning to work with wood.

They are also learning bushcrafting skills.  They are familiar with looking for dead pine trees in the forest, and they cut and chop these dead trees into smaller pieces for firewood.  We plan to learn to make “fat wood” with pine for fire starting and make several primitive traps too.  We have several templates and kits ready to make.

All of my kids enjoy whittling.  They usually just work on a stick and whittle away at the bark and usually focus on getting one end to a point.  The younger kids sit with daddy outside, and enjoy passing the time whittling.   The bigger boys have developed their skills and whittle when ever they want and don’t require being supervised like the younger kids.  The younger kids are only allowed to have their pocket knife while being supervised for safety.

One of my older sons has really taken a liking to whittling.  He enjoys sitting outside by himself, whittleing, with the quiet sounds of nature.  Sometimes he sits on the back porch and sometimes he sits on a bench he made in the forest.  He cut several pine branches to size, about 24 inches, and using cordage to attach the cut pieces to a tree that has two trunks with a gap between them, he created a bench seat with a ladder back that goes up the tree.  He can climb up to have a look around if he wants too.  He loves to sit in nature and whittle.  He has progressed into carving with pine, cedar, and birch trees.  He requested some chisels and has made some lovely wooden spoons.  He has made about six different spoons of different sizes and different purposes, and he has made walking sticks, and made a lovely walking cane with a handle.  He has whittled, chiseled, shaped, and sanded several projects by hand with the wood he collected from the forest.

All of the kids really enjoy working with their hands, learning life skills, practicing those skills, and learning to make different projects they find interesting.

To further the learning even more, I am planning to do several additional art, cooking, and science projects with all of the kids, lap booking pages about pine trees, and a “Pp” letter of the week project for my youngest son to reinforce what he has learned about pine trees and pine cones too.

I also plan to use the knowledge we gained in this unit study about pine trees and apply it to an American History unit study we are also working on about a fronteir man named Davy Crocket.  Learning about pine trees and their special place in history, and use as a food and medicine and building materials, as well as the impact on economics of the pine tree lumber industry on the people, will go well with the American History study we are doing.

Final Thoughts:

My kids have enjoyed this unit study.  I appreciate the biblical worldview of the curriculum and the beautiful photography and stories in the magazine.

I definitely recommend Creation Illustrated magazines and Creation Unit Studies for homeschool families. It is easy to download the digital PDF files and put them in a binder, read the magazine articles online and click through the related links and watch a few videos, grab your bible, and complete the worksheets. Older students can do these studies independently and younger students can do the studies with help from parents and older siblings.

We have had subscriptions to Creation Illustrated in the past, and had it for several years.  It was a regular part of our homeschool learning.  We have also reviewed their magazine for our readers several years ago, way back in 2012.   I regret that I let our subscription expire when we moved a couple of years ago.  I have been so inspired again by the magazine while doing this review that I plan to purchase a new subscription, and purchase more of these unit studies, and I would like to order several back copies of the magazine too.  These make wonderful reading for my family, and inspire us in our faith.  These make lovely gifts for extended family and friends and church libraries too.  These would be wonderful to benefit communities and leave as reading material in offices around town too.

I would recommend Creation Unit Studies and the Creation Illustrated magazines to everyone!

Latest Eddition:

The latest edition Creation Illustrated Spring ’18 has just been published.

Current Spring 2018 Edition

NEW Ad-Free Keepsake Edition

Features include:

  • ​Creation Up Close: Nature’s First Responders –by Evelyn Sayler
  • Creatures Near and Dear to Us: Butterfly Birth –by Rosanne Pallini-Veriezza
  • Re-Creation Outdoor Adventure: Trekking Through Myanmar –by Janae Bowman
  • Creation Day 4 of the Creation Story: Sun, Moon, and Stars –by Nikolas Grosfield
  • Creation Highlights and Creation Stewardship news briefs
  • My Walk with God: Redeeming the Desert –by Shirley Conley
  • Gardens from Eden: A Season of New Beginnings –by Joanne Taylor
  • Genesis Cuisine: Korean Treats Recipes –Korean 3-Radish Noodle Salad, Korean Mung Bean Vegie Pancakes, Korean Sweet Rice Cakes.
  • Children’s Story: Bumblebee Rescue –by Tatiana Claudy
  • Creation Character Building Lesson: Service and Ministry –by Terry & Jean McComb
  • New Coloring & Photo Contests for all ages
  • Photo and Coloring Contest winners
  • Study Guide, Spring Family Fun Activities
  • Poetry: All Creation Sings –by Bret Suarez
  • And more!

Video:

I found this 2015 video interview of Tom and Jennifer Ish. They are homeschool parents who began publishing Creation Illustrated in 1993.  That is over 25 years!  What an accomplishment for the kingdom of God!  Only God knows how many people, perhaps millions, have been inspired to draw near to him because of this ministry.  This interview is filled with fantastic information about the mission of Creation Illustrated and it’s worldwide outreach.

Try before you buy:

If you would like to try it out before you buy, Creation Illustrated offers a FREE digital edition of their magazine, and a FREE unit study on Fragrance which includes the corresponding digital magazine too.  Be sure to check those out.

Social Media

Keep in touch and up to date on all the latest news and products through the Creation Illustrated social media links.

Facebook
Twitter

Homeschool Review Crew

Be sure to check out what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew had to say about using products from Creation Illustrated.

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Knights and Nobles Unit Study Review

Want to take a trip back in time? What time in history would you choose to travel too? I asked my kids this very question and they wanted to travel back to the Middle Ages, a time of Knights, Nobles, Kings, Queens, and Castles.

Homeschool Legacy

Homeschool Legacy offered us the opportunity to review their Knights & Nobles Once A Week Unit Study and travel back in time to learn about life in the middle ages. We were excited about doing this unit study and learn more about this period in history.

Knights and Nobles Unit Study

Knight and Nobles

4 Week Unit Study
Retails for $14.00 for PDF eBook download and $18.95 for printed version
Grades 2-12
Biblically centered
Easy to do
Merit Badges for Boy Scouts and AHG

This unit study is divided into 4 weeks, with an option to stretch it to five to host a Midevil Feast. Each week is laid out for you with suggestions for books to read, videos to watch, and activities to complete.  Lots of options for books and videos are given, and you can pick and choose which ones you are interested in, and what works best for your schedule and family’s needs.

The basic schedule for each week is:

Monday: add in reading and read aloud to your normal school routine

Tuesday:  add in reading and read aloud to your normal school routine

Wednesday: Eliminate your normal school routine,  and add in add in the family bible devotional, individual book reading and the family read aloud, and various unit study activities in science, history, writing, art, math, etc.

Thursday: add in reading and read aloud to your normal school routine

Friday: normal school routine, plus complete your reading and read alouds, go on a field trip, or host a family game night.  Each week also concludes with a fun “Stump your dad” trivia question for kids to get their dad’s involved too.

How we used this product in our homeschool:

Before getting started, the kids made a timeline on notebook paper to keep track of events and famous people from the middle ages they would learn about along the way.  We also looked over the list of books, and made a list we liked and found web sites and videos we wanted to include too.   I did a lot of prep work, and we made personalized folders, and I printed off several coloring pages, word puzzles, and other helpful things I found on nternet searches and placed them in the folders to use through out the study.  We turned these folders into a kind of lapbook, but had the advantage of three whole punch in the center to hold papers like a notebook, and also pockets on the inside of the folders to hold loose projects too.  I’ve included a few pictures of the kids working in their lapbooks, but I will create a separate post to go over the lapbooks in more detail in a future story, be sure to check back for more info.

Week 1: Castles

The kids watched David Macaulay’s Castle and Cathedrals PBS video documentary on Youtube. They learned a lot about castle and church architecture, and history of the church.  I wasn’t quite ready for the kids to learn some of the darker things of church history like greed, power, unbiblical agenda’s, and evil government control over the church, etc. but they did gain an understanding on the scope of the architecture and scale of the building projects and that was the main goal.  We had some long discussions about church history following those videos. Specifically why it is best for the government not to run the church and how greatful we are that our ancestors came to America to be free from that kind of control.

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We explored some other videos that were more suitable for younger kids, and easier to understand.  My kids are elementary and middle school aged.  There are several other really good videos on castles, and some great ones with virtual tours of the Biltmore Castle in Asheville, NC.  We used to live close by the Biltmore, and we would see the castle nearly every day as we drove past it on the highway.  But now it would be an 8 hour drive to get there, so we were not able to travel to see it during this review.

We loved creating our own castles, both model castles and virtual castles.  We watched videos to increase our knowledge of how to make them.   This short 1 minute video was another really easy one for the kids to understand, and helped them create their own castles.  We made physical castles and virtual castles on their favorite online game called Minecraft. This was a really good learning exercise for them.

We also explored some web sites about specific castles and a really good one with lots of information about castles in many countries was called Great Castles.  On this site, the kids learned about castles in Ireland, England, Wales, Germany, and many other countries and also could choose coloring pages of the famous castles to print and color.

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We took a field trip to Loveland, Ohio to see the LaRoche Castle.  It was a rainy spring day with a chill in the air, and kind of fitting to go see a castle on a day like this.  You can read more about our field trip and what we learned on this excursion in a seperate story.

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All of the kids colored their own castles.  We searched famous castles online, and they picked out their own castles to color.  The younger kids had easier castles to work with and the older kids had very complicated and detailed realistic castle drawings to work with.

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The kids also designed castles with Legos, paper, boxes, and other building materials. My oldest son also made 3D models from paper and a popup castle too.

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They also played chess at home, chess at the LaRoche Castle field trip, and they played several historic games from the Middle Ages at the LaRoche Castle too.

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My kids love Minecraft.  Building a virtual castle was a lot of fun.  After learning about blueprints and building with architecture drawings, we found a wonderful Minecraft castle tutorial online to expand the learning even more.  The kids practiced math and spatial skills, building to scale, and had a great time creating their virtual castels.

 

Week 2: Kings and Queens

We read about King Arthur and the Knights of the round table.  Some of this chapter’s learning took place before the Middle Ages, such as studying King Solomon, the greatest king that ever lived.  We had fun learning about the life of kings and queens and nobility.  We read the book of Esther in the bible and studied Queen Esther’s life and heroism.  We also read about King Solomon, King David, and King Josiah.  I found coloring pages online for each of these Kings and Queens and the kids had fun coloring them and then put them into their lapbook folders.

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We watched several movies including: One Night With the King (Queen Esther and King Xerses), AD TV series, The Final Inquiry (Roman soldier who investigates the story of Christ’s death and resurrection for the Emperer of Rome just before Rome fell and the middle ages began).

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My oldest son loves oragami and researched making some paper art pieces.  He made pop up castles, and he also made a crown.

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The kids learned about how letters were written in all capital letters and had no spaces between words until a scholar from Charlamaine’s Court invented lower case letters, spaces, and punctuation.  Letters were very hard to read before.   We also learned about a style of calligraphy writing called Versal Manuscript, and the kids made their own personalized bookmarks.

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Week 3: Knights

This week the kids learned about Knights in shining armor and weaponry.  They learned about body armor, swords, archery with bows and arrows, and catapults.  They learned about great nights like the Three Musketeers and Ivanhoe and learned about coat of arms, and having a code of honor, a list of virtues one pledges to live by.

As Christians, our code of honor is the standard of the bible, no more, no less.  They decorated their own coat of arms and wrote out their own code of honor.

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We have built catapults in the past, and they are a lot of fun.  We have several sitting on display on shelves in our house.  We also made them in the past for our Lego and Robotics club and had teams shoot them into a wooden castle.  We have bows and arrows and the kids have had a lot of practice shooting them too.  Two of our sons have been out hunting deer with them in the fall of the year too.   But this time learning about weapons of the Middle Ages, we wanted to make a sword.  We had seen some wooden swords for $20+ each at the castle we visited, but did not want to pay the high price for them by the time we bought one for each child.  We also checked on buying them online, but by the time you paid for shipping, wooden swords were going to cost around $20-$25 a piece.  If we bought a sword for each child (we have six kids) it was going to cost us at least $120 or more.   Instead we we decided we could make them ourselves.  We were able to purchase 1″ x 4″ x 8′ boards which costs less than $5 a board.  Each board produced 3 wooden swords that were 32″ long each. This made the cost of each sword less than $2 a sword for the materials.

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Week 4: Life in a Manor

This week was just as much fun as the previous weeks.  We learned about life in a manor, midevil games and story telling.  We made up a fictional historical story and drew out the story in a series of pictures.  We learned to juggle.  We looked up the history of various last names (surnames) and how they relate to a person’s occupation during this time in history.

My kids love to bake, and we decided to learn more about the history of baking during middle ages.  One fun food we enjoy today that was invented then was the pretzel . My kids love pretzels!  Wikipedia has a lot of information about the history of the pretzel.

We loved this adorable read aloud book about Walter the Baker and making pretzles.

We live on a homestead, and our kids have a lot of experience with farm animals, growing food, caring for the land, etc. They also learn carpentry skills with their daddy who has been in construction for over 27 years and is a very skilled craftsman. I hope as we head into summer we can find some additional hands on activities to do like blacksmithing and metal working, masonry, etc. I am hoping my big boys will help me cast some garden projects with cement and stones too. It is fun to learn about different kinds of skilled trades and broaden our experience as we learn new skills.

We watched some rennissance festivals and movies on Youtube.  The kids really enjoyed learning about Robin Hood who became a hero because he gave money that he took from the rich to the poor peasants in the villages.  We don’t believe in stealing, and story this opened the door for many more discussions, and just because someone becomes a hero to one group who has been mistreated or discriminated against by those in power, they can still be a terrorist to other groups, which we still see in the world today.  Later the kids had fun climbing trees, playing tag, practicing their fencing skills with their wooden swords, and acting like Robin Hood.

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Feast

We have not completed the feast of the study yet.  We plan to host a feast as soon as we can. I’m not positive what we have decided for our theme, we are kind of leaning toward calling it Dinner with the King.  Dad will serve as King.  But we may call it something different and focus on peasant life, or skilled trades, etc.   We are looking forward to having fun with this.

We have watched several videos about food and read web sites about food from the Middle Ages time period.   One resource is History For Kids – Medieval Food.   We plan to host a feast soon, and set the table with fancy table settings and enjoy a meal as if we were in the castle eating with the King.

We have planned our dinner menu, we just need to set a date.
Rotisseri Chicken
Hunter’s stew (deer meat, carrots, onions, served on plates or bowls made of bread).
Salad
Tray of nuts, fruit, and cheese.
Peasant Bread / Barley Pancakes / Crepes / Pretzels   we might make all four varieties or just one.   (can be made from any oats, millet, buckwheat, rye, barley)
Pouridge (made from any oats, millet, buckwheat, rye, barley), not sure exactly how I plan to do this, but the Native Americans made theirs with berries, grain (like corn), and maple syrup, so I think I can find a similar recipe from Europe using these other grains from the time period.  If not, this dish may turn into a cobbler or something similar.
Custard Pie (we plan to make dad’s favorite Sugar Cream Pie)

Ideas suggested in the unit study for entertainment will be: a mime game called Charades; also Chess; and each child will prepare a joke to share.

There are so many wonderful things to study about the Middle Ages that we have decided that we are not done.  We want to learn more.   We are going to continue learning more through out our summer and take this time in history much slower and study even deeper than we did during this 4 week unit study. I think planning to spend a whole semester or even two semesters doing unit studies about this time in world history and church history would make an awesome school year for middle and highschool kids.   This unit study was a good and quick opportunity to get our feet wet.  Now we want to take our time and learn even more.

Check out Homeschool Legacy for more adventures!  They have many to choose from!

Screenshot (13)

You can hear the creator of Homeschool Legacy, Sharon Gibson, talk about how to use her Once A Week Unit Studies on this Youtube video interview.

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