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Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

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Sacha’s<25: This homeschool science curriculum from Apologia Educational Ministries teaches kids in grades K-6 about Chemistry and Physics.

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time? 8 stars

Did it help us learn? 9 stars

Is it worth the money?8  stars

Is it useful to me? 8 stars

Practicality- 7 stars

Quality- 8 stars

Kid Rating- 9 stars

We were given the Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics book as well as Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics Notebooking Journal (for grades 3-6) and Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics Junior Notebooking Journal (for grades K-3) for review.

I was super excited about this because we love all things Apologia.  Over the past years we have ben able to use many of the Exploring Creation books in the series.  We have also used Botany, Astronomy, Human Anatomy,  and Land Animals.  As you can see we really like Apologia.  As some of my kids have gotten older we have moved onto Apologia’s General Science and their Physical Science curriculum.

What is this curriculum all about:

From their website:

This K-6 homeschool science curriculum uses the Charlotte Mason methodology to give young students an introduction to the fascinating world of chemistry and physics.  Jeannie Fulbright presents a scientifically sound and God-honoring study that covers atoms, molecules, simple chemicals, laws of motion, electricity, magnetism, and simple machines.

Our Experience:

We dove right in when this curriculum arrived in the mail!  There is a sample schedule in the beginning of the Notebooking Journals to give you an idea of pacing.  Of course, the beauty with homeschooling is that you can pace this program for what is best for your child and family. The suggested pacing would take you 28 weeks to cover the entire curriculum. This is done with science being done 2 days a week.  I have found that the 2 day a week schedule is just too much for  younger ones to do.  We preferred to do science 4 days a week.  It was very easy to modify the schedule. I found it best to mark off what we completed on the schedule to see what we still needed to finish each week.

I had my 1st grader and 4th grader both working on this curriculum, each with their own age appropriate Notebooking Journal.  We started out great with Lesson 1. We would read a portion of the lesson, either stopping at a good stopping point, or when I felt my younger one was getting ancy. Then we would work on some of the activities in the Notebooking  Journals.  Some of the activities were different in the 2 journals.  My 4th grader was able to do the activities in the journal by himself.  My 1st grader and I worked together on the journal.  She would dictate what she wanted me to write down for her.  Sometimes I would have her then copy over what I wrote.

The further we progressed into Lesson 1 the more experiments there were.  While I love experiments I felt that they were poorly placed in the body of the lesson. Sometimes we would only read 1 or 2 paragraphs and have another experiment to do.  I don’t know about other families but as soon as we start an experiment it is very hard to get back to the lesson.  Way too much fun is being had with the experiment and other things they want to try with what is out that we would lose 30-60 minutes per some of the experiments.  I found that I had to keep reading and skip over the experiments and then pick and choose which ones we would do.  Lesson 1 should have been named the salt lesson. I can’t believe how much salt we went through.  Overall, I like the text portion of the curriculum I just wish the experiments were placed differently and maybe not so many of them.

 Apologia Physics and Chemistry

 

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By the time we made it to Lesson 2 I was feeling really under the weather.    Because I was feeling so ill I was unable to read the text to the kids and work on the journals with them.  We had a rough couple weeks.  I am glad to report that Andrew was able to do all the reading of the text and his notebooking journal without me. I will need to catch Faith up when I am feeling up to it.

We will be continuing to use this program after this review period.  My kids are really enjoying it.

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What I liked:

  • It’s by Apologia, a name I trust.  I know that it will be a comprehensive curriculum.
  • It is hands on.  Most of the experiments use things you will have around your house.  There is a supply list included.  I know for other books we have been able to buy a supply kit from a homeschool company.  While one wasn’t available yet because this book is so new, I am sure it will be soon.  I find it easiest to just purchase the kids so all the supplies are on hand.  I am not very good at looking ahead and planning out science supplies.
  • My kids enjoyed it. Even my older ones would come and look at the experiments we were doing.
  • We really like the Notebooking Journals.  It is such a great way to reinforce what has been read and add to the learning.  Highly recommend these!!!!

What I didn’t like:

  • The binding on my book made it very hard to read any of the print on the page edge with the binding. I have called Apologia about this.  They have assured me that subsequent printings of this will not have this problem.
  • I felt the experiments were poorly placed.  While they make sense where they are due to the content of the text, they break up the reading too much.  Sometimes we just had a paragraph of reading before another experiment.

To sum it up:  While I found this curriculum a little bit disjointed due to the placing of some of the experiments, we still loved it. With a little bit of tweaking we were able to find a flow of reading and experiments that worked for us. Of course, content wise this curriculum is perfect for K-6th grade .

The important information:

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Price:

Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics–$39

Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics Junior Notebooking Journal–$24

Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics Notebooking Journal–$24

Order from:  Apologia Educational Ministries

 

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

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Rosie’s Doll Clothes Patterns: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Rosie’s Doll Clothes Patterns: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

 

Sacha’s<25: Online video tutorials that take you from beginning sewing to making doll clothes in step by step instructions for ages 8 and up.

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time?10  stars

Did it help us learn?10  stars

Is it worth the money?10  stars

Is it useful to me?10  stars

Practicality- 10 stars

Quality- 10 stars

Kid Rating- 10 stars

I absolutely love it when a non-homeschooling item comes up for review with the Schoolhouse Crew Review team.  Much to our happiness we were given Learn How to Make Doll Clothes Video Course with 8 Free Doll Clothes Patterns from  Rosie’s Doll Clothes Patterns for review! Here’s what you get….with the online video course you get access for a full 12 months!

Rosie's doll clothes what you get

Joy, who is 12, has done quite a bit of sewing but had never made any doll clothes before. Once we were given our login information we were ready to get started!  Joy and I logged in and watched some of the videos right away.  Rosie is so much fun to watch.  Her energetic personality and enthusiasm for sewing is contagious. The 130 video tutorials are set up in 6 weekly sections.  However, you can click on any week and choose which topics you might need to watch. These tutorials are short but informative and take you from knowing how to pick fabric and cut patterns out to sewing.  We quickly realized that Joy and I have enough sewing experience to skip over a lot of the beginning video tutorials.

We headed right to the Course Bonus Patterns.  These are amazing! We printed out all of the instructions and patterns at the same time and put them into a binder for Joy (and myself).  Joy even cut out all the patterns that first night so she would be ready to start.

Rosie's Doll Clothes Binder

 

Rosie's Doll Clothes instructionsI absolutely loved the way she set up the video tutorials. They are short and go step by step through how to make each article of clothing.

Cutting out fabric

You get to visually see what the written instructions tell you to do.  LOVE IT!  Joy was easily able to watch the short videos and take herself (with Rosie’s awesome guidance) step by step through making shorts and a halter top the first time without any assistance from me.  I was truly amazed! Look at her huge smile after she finished these shorts!

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Rosie's doll clothes shorts/halter

Joy quickly found out that it really does help to watch the videos the first time around on a project.  She also made the summer nightie.  However, this time she thought she would just read the instructions that Rosie has printed for you. She ended up making the straps too long.  Not big deal and easily fixed, but we realized that wouldn’t have happened if she had watched the video as she went along.

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I worked on the crop top and thought I would do it without the video.  Boy was I glad to have Rosie walk me through making it step by step.  I have never seen a better sewing program.  You really can’t fail if you follow Rosie’s video instructions!

What I liked:

  • Videos are professional!  Rosie’s personality and instructions are awesome.
  • The step by step video layout is perfect.  My 12 year old had no problem making these patterns.
  • My daughter had so much fun sewing these clothes. She is thinking about starting her own business!
  • I had posted some pics on Facebook and Rosie actually commented on them!  How cool is that!
  • Learning to sew with doll clothes is a great way to learn to sew.  It is much cheaper because you need so much less fabric and supplies!

What I didn’t like:

  • Um, for a few days it was really hard to get Joy to want to do school! Actually she got it done really quickly so she could get on her sewing machine! In all seriousness we loved this product!!!! Thank you Rosie for creating this!!!!!
  • If I was a non-sewer I could see being frustrated with not being sure where to start.  You would have to watch a lot of video tutorials without ever sewing a stitch.  The bonus patterns are really for someone who knows how to sew.

To sum it up: Have someone wanting to learn to sew? Want to start a new hobby or business?  Look no further I have never seen a better learn to sew product ever!!!! Rosie did such a great job with these videos and instructions that anyone can learn how to sew doll clothes!

The important information:

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Order from: Rosie’s Doll Clothes Patterns

Price: $47.51

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

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VocabularySpellingCity: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

VocabularySpellingCity: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Sacha’s<25: A fabulous online resource for all parents with school age kids, whether or not they are home schooled, to help improve spelling and vocabulary.

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time? 8 stars

Did it help us learn? 8 stars

Is it worth the money?9 stars

Is it useful to me?8  stars

Practicality-8  stars

Quality- 10 stars

Kid Rating- 7 stars

We received a  VocabularySpellingCity Premium Membership  from VocabularySpellingCity to review. I used this with my 4th, 7th and 8th graders. We had also received this review last year.  One of the most exciting changes is that you can now use this program on an iPad and iPhone.  This program is geared for K-12th grade students.

I would set up the lists I wanted my kids to each work on and then assign them the list and which activities I wanted them to do for the week.  I usually picked a pre-test as well as 4-5 activities and then the final test.  With a premium account you have more choices of activities as well all of your students activities are tracked and recorded!  A major bonus! In case you are wondering about other differences here is a chart showing you….

I really love all the different ways to help your child learn spelling and vocabulary, there is no reason for them to get bored with the activities!

vocabspelling city activities

Here’s one of the many games/activities you can choose from to assign to your child.

 

I had my own username and password to log in and get things set up for them as well as view the progress they were making during the week.  My kids each had their own log in information.  I love how it keeps track of everything for them and for me!  Great record keeping. During the week my kids would log in and do some of the activities.  I was figuring about 10 minutes a day but I found they really liked to do everything I scheduled over 1 or 2 days during the week.  It seemed to work for them, but I would think it better to schedule spelling our over a few days each week.  I usually had between 10-15 words for them to work on in a week.  With the lists you could choose from within the program some of them had up to 35 words.  This seemed to be way to many for my kids to do in a week. It made some of the activities really long. Overall, I am happy with the program and love the price!  Especially for a large family this is a great deal!

 

What I liked:

  • This program makes learning spelling words fun! There are plenty of activities to choose from, so even if your child doesn’t like a specific one you have lots of choices.
  • I think it is great to be able to combine vocabulary with spelling! Kids aren’t just having to memorize the spelling of words, you can choose activities to reinforce vocabulary development as well!
  • Great pricing, especially for those of us with lots of kids!

What I didn’t like:

  • This is from last year: There is a bit of a learning curve of finding your way around the site and figuring out what everything is.  It wasn’t too bad, but I thought I would sit down and get them all started right away.  Nope, took me about an hour of clicking around to figure some things out. (I wanted to reiterate this for those new to the program)
  • This year I tried to use our own lists.  It was easy to set them up but I had a harder time finding time to set up the lists.  I would advise trying to take some time over a weekend and set up a bunch of lists and assignments ahead of time.  I just couldn’t stay ahead of my kids!

To sum it up: Every parent should do themselves a favor and at least sign up for the free basic membership (or just take the plunge and do the premium!—you won’t be sorry). I am sure that you will find it beneficial for your children and an asset to their education whether they are in public school or are being home schooled!

The important information:

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Order from: VocabularySpellingCity

Price: up to 5 students is $29.99 per year

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

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Diary of a Real Payne Book 1~True Story: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Diary of a Real Payne Book 1~True Story: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

 

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Sacha’s<25: Follow EJ Payne in her crazy adventures through her diary entries as well as the storyline which follows each entry!  You are in for a real treat and some huge belly laughs.

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time?10  stars

Is it worth the money?10  stars

Is it useful to me? 10 stars

Practicality- 10 stars

Quality-10  stars

Kid Rating-10  stars

Looking for a great novel for kids with a Christian world view? Look no further!  We received a copy of Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story from  Barbour Publishing for review. This book is written by author Annie Tipton.

I decided to use it as a read aloud for my kids…Everyone loved listening to Emma Jean Payne’s antics, from my 14 year old boy all the way down to my 4 year old girl!  I would recommend this for a general age range of 6-12 year olds.  Of course, most 6 year olds would not be able to read it by themselves at 192 pages, but they will love hearing it read to them.  

Emma Jean is the typical 4th grade girl living in Spooner, Wisconsin.  What makes this book so great are her not so typical imaginary situations she gets herself into on a regular basis.  She imagines she is a race car driver while shopping for school supplies, a spy at her church’s fall festival, and she actually helps to save Christmas for a family in her neighborhood!

I loved the Christian messages woven through out the story. Simple things like knowing you are made in God’s image to serving those around you are flawlessly integrated into the storyline.  It never felt forced or awkward!  My kids loved the book for the funny things EJ always got herself into!  We read this book in the afternoons after our history lesson.  Never a day went by that we only read one chapter. They begged for another one.  There were a few evenings that they begged for me to read another one even though our school day was finished!

They really didn’t want this book to end though!  My 6 year old didn’t want us to finish the book.  I asked her why and her response was, “What will we do when it is over? There isn’t another book to read about more EJ!”  Very cute.  In fact, there will be another EJ book out soon, just not soon enough for my kids!  Coming March 2014 Book 2 – Church Camp Chaos will be available!  We can’t wait!!!!

What I liked:

  • Christian messages woven into the storyline.
  • We loved reading about EJ’s runaway imagination.
  • Easy to read, perfect for a read aloud….would also be great for a 3rd-6th grade girl to read by herself!

What I didn’t like:

  • It was a little hard to know how to tell my kids we were transitioning between her imagination and what was happening in real life.  The imaginary storyline is in italics, so I ended up having to tell them this every time we switched between imagination and real life.  This wouldn’t be a problem if you were reading the story by yourself!
  • This isn’t really a big deal but I sometimes didn’t like some of the journal entries or the interactions between EJ and her younger brother.  While they got along at times, there were times that I didn’t feel they were exemplifying a Christ-like attitude toward each other.  While this was pretty typical behavior in many families (and if they got along like angels all the time it wouldn’t be realistic) I still wasn’t thrilled with it.  For example in one journal entry EJ is talking about mittens attached to a string that goes through your sleeves and she comments “Babies like him wear mittens like that.”  Her brother is in Kindergarten, I just felt this was planting ideas in my kids heads that weren’t necessarily positive.

To sum it up: WE highly recommend this book to your family!  We loved it as a read aloud to enjoy laughing together while we learned some great lessons about serving others.

The important information:

 

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Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story

Order from: Barbour Publishing

Price: $5.99   Sale $4.49

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

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God’s World News: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

God’s World News: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

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Sacha’s<25: God’s World News offers age appropriate monthly publications for K-12th grade. These cover current world news as well as interesting topics!

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time? 10 stars

Did it help us learn?10  stars

Is it worth the money? 10 stars

Is it useful to me? 10 stars

Practicality-10  stars

Quality-10  stars

Kid Rating- 10 stars

We were given a subscription to Top Story (Middle School) Magazine  from God’s World News for review.  When I first told Matthew (8th grade) and Joy (7th grade) that we would be reviewing this they didn’t seem very excited. I am not sure they even totally understood what we would be getting.  We have received 3 issues (so far) of the monthly magazine as well as a World Map to go along with the stories we would be reading about this year.  Our curriculum we used last year really stressed having students reading a newspaper or magazine and giving an oral report weekly on a current news topic that interested them.  It was one of the things that fell by the wayside.  I really struggled with finding a resource that wasn’t totally liberal or didn’t have other stuff I didn’t really want the kids reading about.  I have found that resource here…Thanks to God’s World News!

God’s World News helps kids to grow in their faith and their understanding of the world around them. Six age-level packages provide engaging ways for kids to explore world events, discoveries, people and places, all in a safe Christian context.

There are 6 different magazines to choose from for your kiddos!  

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Top Story emphasizes News, Knowledge, and Wisdom, focusing on specific skill development for older students.

  • Editorials help teach critical thinking skills.
  • Lessons in the magazine and online use news stories as a springboard to teach concepts from Civics, Geography, Economics, Worldview and more.
  • MAP-IT! Locator maps correspond with a full-sized (20″ x 30″) world map sent in September to each class, homeschool teacher, and homeschool group coordinator (five maps sent to homeschool groups).
  • News graphics simplify otherwise challenging concepts.
  • DEFINE LINE teaches word meanings in context.
  • Quizzes test reading comprehension.
  • Age-appropriate website content expands the student’s experience and exposure to current news stories and thoughtful editorial cartoons at teen.wng.org.

Well, I had originally planned to read some of the magazine a few days a week with my kids and then discuss it.  However, that didn’t go as planned.  I pulled the magazine out of our mailbox and handed it to Joy to take a look at.  I didn’t get to see it for over a week.  She loves it!  She keeps coming and telling me about the different things she has read about in the magazine.  I love that she is learning about current news stories as well as interesting topics that are on an age appropriate level. I’m not sure we will ever go without at least one subscription to a kid’s level of God’s World News again (well at least till the kids are grown, and you know that will be a long time from now!).

We are big Mac fans at our house so my daughter found this article interesting and couldn’t wait to tell me all about it! That link will take you to the online version of the article she read in print!

I really love that this gives us a spring board of where to start on an age appropriate level talking about hard topics like whether the US should intervene in Syria and also interesting topics like companies who track our sales returns.  I really can’t speak highly enough about this publication.  At the end of the issue they have a quiz on some definitions of words used in the issue as well as a quiz checking comprehension of a specific article.

What I liked:

  • My kids love reading it.
  • It is a great magazine with good content and not “twaddle” and it is age appropriate!!!!!
  • No advertisements throughout the magazine.  Just the front and back covers have ads.  They seem to be for Christian schooling/college.
  • There is an online component.  All the content can be downloaded and viewed, as well as many of the articles can be read online!
  • If you are a subscriber you get access to all the levels online!

What I didn’t like:

  • I tried to look up the answers to the quiz online and it says “Not Found”. I am sure it is a glitch on their website.

To sum it up: I HIGHLY recommend this publication to you and your family!!!!!

The important information:

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Top Story (Middle School) Magazine

Order from: God’s World News

Price: $28.00 for a year subscription (10 Issues)

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew. Some Crew members tried out different grade levels of these magazines!

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