Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Let's Go Geography {TOS Review}

Geography is an area where we sometimes tend to fall short in our homeschool.  We often look at maps in our history program but we really couldn't tell you much about the countries, people and cultures of today.  This was something that I have wanted to improve, but I just hadn't figure out how.  Until now!  We have been having a great time with this fantastic new Kindergarten through 4th grade  downloadable geography program we received from Let's Go Geography written by Carol Henderson.

Let's Go Geography
All About Let's Go Geography:
 Exploring the globe by continent and country, Let's Go Geography introduces your child to a new country each week.  Filled with maps, flags, anthems, pictures, videos, notebooking and coloring pages, and crafts Let's Go Geography is a virtual adventure around the globe!
This program is simple and easy to use.  Upon registering you are taken to your dashboard where you can choose your lesson.   Here you can see that we have already completed lesson 1-3 and are ready for lesson 4.  Click anywhere on the lesson to get started.  

The lessons download as a printable PDF packet with clickable hyperlinks.  In Lesson 1 you are encouraged to create a binder to file all of your activities in.  Kayley's looks like this!
First in your download packet you are given a handy checklist to guide you through the lesson.  Each item that you need will be found as embedded hyperlinks in the lesson.  This example is from week one where with the US Northeastern States.

Up front in your packet you are given recommended reading materials and suggestions for referencing books at your local library.  You are also given a heads-up for the needed craft supplies for the week so you can have them ready to go should you decide to do the craft at the end of each lesson.  Your packet is divided into 5 chapters.

Chapter 1 is Map It!
The maps are great black and white outline maps.  You are given instructions on how to download each map and what to color...  Here my daughter colored the Northeast region.  The Map It section is divided into age-appropriate activities.  Even though this curriculum is geared for K-4th, my 6th grader has gleaned a lot from this curriculum.  There are questions for each Map It section that you can discuss with your students.

Chapter 2 is The Flag
Learn about the flag for the country you are studying and add it onto your map tracking sheet or the free downloadable passport found on the main Let's Go Geography page!

Chapter 3 is The Music
Embedded Youtube videos take you to a previewed sample of each countries National Anthem!  Lyrics are included as well as any necessary translations.

Chapter 4 is Let's Explore
Start by reading through several fascinating facts about this weeks country including interesting geographical features, landmarks, and more.  Several embedded Youtube videos take you on a virtual tour of amazing places that you just can't always visit in real-life.  The Northeast took us over the rim of Niagara Falls from a birds eye view!  Wow!  That's definitely not something I have ever done!  And we learned about how maple syrup is made!

Chapter 4 also gives the children printable pictures of gorgeous landscapes and famous landmarks to assemble a photo page for their notebook.  

Chapter 5 is Create!
Carol includes the links and templates necessary to put together a craft that compliments the lesson.  Don't have time for a craft?  That's ok, Carol has included a coloring page for those weeks where you just can't (or don't want) to complete a craft!
For week 1 my girls assembled lighthouses complete with tea lights in their tower!

There are 36 lessons built in to each year of Let's Go Geography.  Review lessons are mixed throughout with breaks built in.  The world tour through Let's Go Geography is an ambitious 3-year plan!  Check out all the places you will go! (Click on the picture for a larger view)
Let's Go Geography

What We Thought of Let's Go Geography:
I was prepared to be underwhelmed...after all, I have reviewed a LOT of downloadable curriculum before and it has always been hit or miss.  I was never so glad to be wrong!  Let's Go Geography is thoughtfully and logically laid out.  The checklists keep you moving right on track.  The lessons are perfect for the K-4th grade range and I really feel that they are very appropriate through the 6th grade too.  The videos are amazing and not once have I encountered a broken of "iffy" link!  

I receive an email from Let's Go Geography every week reminding me of our lessons.  The program is designed so that you complete one lesson per week.  This has, unfortunately, not worked out the greatest for us since it takes us about 1.5 weeks to complete a lesson.  

When I asked my girls what their favorite part of Let's Go Geography is:

Maggie said she liked that it was "family friendly and she could do it with her sister."  She also "liked the crafts, the maps and the videos and other stuff."

Kayley said that she liked that it "had lots of crafts but that you can choose to also do a coloring page instead.  Sometimes I'm just not feeling very crafty.  It was nice that you could watch a video instead of reading a book to learn more about each place."  

Let's Go Geography
Let's Go Geography has been a welcome addition to our homeschool studies and we plan to continue!  Are you interested in taking your child on an adventure around the globe?  Let's Go Geography offers several options to purchase...  You can buy individual studies, semester plans or a whole year!  You can also check out sample resources and freebies!

Keep up to date with all the latest from Let's Go Geography 
by visiting them on Facebook and Pinterest!

Many of my fellow crew mates also enjoyed an adventure through 
Let's Go Geography.  To find out their thoughts click the link below.

Thank you for swinging by!
Let’s Go Geography {Reviews}

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Barbour Publishing {TOS Review}

We love to read historical fiction in our homeschool and finding great christian fiction for kids that reflect Bible history stories is always a welcome addition to our curriculum.  We were eager to get started when we were given the chance to review Imagine...The Great Flood by Matt Koceich from Barbour Publishing!

IMAGINE... The Great Flood
About Imagine...The Great Flood:
In this story Corey is sad and disappointed because his family will be moving to Florida for his father's job.  He is upset with the prospect of a new city and a new school and leaving behind everything he knows.  His mother takes him to the park and speaks to him of trusting God when he is worried and stressed but Corey isn't so sure.  As a thunderstorm rolls in Corey chases his dog Molly into the woods where stumbles and hits his head, knocking him unconscious.
When he comes to, he realizes that he is no longer at the park and his mother and Molly are nowhere to be found!  Where is he?  After he is approached by a man resembling "Obi-Wan Kenobi" the facts come together and Corey discovers he is in Ancient Mesopotamia in the days just before the flood that God sends to destroy the world!  Unbelievably, Obi-Wan turns out to be Shem, a son of Noah.  Shem tells Corey he'd better come back to the Ark with him when, without warning, they are attacked by giant Nephilim.  The Nephilim will do anything to stop Noah from obeying God's commands to build the ark.  
After a narrow escape Corey and Shem head back to the ark where Corey is given an eye-opening look at the massive structure.  Wondering how he will ever get home, Corey begins helping Noah and his sons gather the animals to load onto the ark.  After several more attacks by the Nephilim and meeting a traitorous "friend" in the village (who throws him down an abandoned well) Corey learns resilience, courage and eventually forgiveness.  But, the question remains... how will Corey get home???

What We Thought of Imagine...The Great Flood:
The story is thoughtfully laid out and well written and is recommended for readers age 8 to 12.  I pre-read this before giving it to my older daughter, Kayley (age 11), to read independently.  Kayley thought it was an interesting read and she flew through it in only a day.  She thought that Corey did a great job in "playing it cool" even though "he was back in time and everything was weird and crazy." 
I hesitated to give it to my younger daughter, Maggie (age 7) even though she is an advanced reader because of the fanciful addition of the Nephilim to the Noah story.  While we do not really know what happened to Noah and his family when they were away from ark, the interaction of Noah's family and the Nephilim is not in the Bible.  Before giving it to a younger reader, or reading it aloud to younger listeners, I would ensure solid grounding in the Biblical story and understanding of fictionalized accounts of the same.
It was an interesting read that kept the attention of my 11 year old and we are both intrigued by the book that is coming out from Barbour Publishing in 2018 called Imagine...The Ten Plagues!  We will be looking for that one to hit the shelves!
You can keep up with Barbour Publishing by following them on:
FacebookTwitter @barbourbuzz and their YouTube Channel!

Barbour Publishing

Many of my fellow crew mates also enjoyed reading Imagine...The Great Flood.  You can check out their thoughts on the book by clicking the link below!
Thank you so much for swinging by!
Imagine. . .The Great Flood by Matt Koceich {Barbour Publishing}

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Random Happenings

Here are a few extra pictures of what we have been up to the last couple of weeks!

Caught these girls working together on an assignment.

Our crayfish arrived for our dissection!  Oooh!  Can't wait!

Kayley got new glasses! 

We spent some time at Bass Pro. 

With Papa gone Kayley had to make her own breakfast...
and she didn't burn the house down.  LOL! 

We found BB8 standing outside of Target! 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Carole P. Roman {TOS Review}

My girls are both voracious readers and keeping them well-fed in good quality books is always a challenge.  I am always on the look out for great books that keep their interest but isn't junk food reading.  Of course, we were so excited with this chance to review a couple different Carole P. Roman books!  I bet you have heard of at least one of her most popular series!  The "If You Were Me and Lived in...." books are very, very popular!  I was so excited to get the chance to explore these book with my girls!  My only regret is that I didn't get to them sooner!

For review we received a hard copy of If You Were Me and Lived in...Colonial America and a bonus mystery book called, Oh Susanna: It's in the Bag.  

If You Were Me and Lived in...Colonial America takes your children back in time to Colonial America.  Learn what life was like for a young boy or girls growing up during the time of the Protestant Reformation, travel with your family to the Netherlands and then on again to the new world where you encounter a brutal storm aboard the Mayflower and finally arrive at your new home: Plymouth.  Survive the first winter with your family and finally survive with the help of the natives.  You witness the first thanksgiving too!  

Told from the perspective of a young child, If You Were Me and Lived in...Colonial America answers questions like:  What type of games did children play?  What did you wear?  What kind of work or chores did you do?  Where did you go to school?

The cute illustrations really add character and charm to this book...  I think the cover is my favorite part with the the illustrated characters superimposed over a realistic background.  I would recommend this book for older/more proficient readers as an independent reader (Maggie loved it and reads at about a 3rd grade level) but would also make an excellent read aloud for younger kids.  It has a lot of pictures to grab the attention of even younger children.

This is #9 in the series!  I want them all!
Books by Carole P Roman
Our mystery book was called Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag.  In this cute little chapter book, third-grader,  Susannah is having a very bad day.  Instead of sharing her problems with her parents she literally stuffs them into her backpack.   Unfinished homework, a banana  and, worst of all, an invitation to a sleep-over at a house that Susannah is pretty sure is haunted.  She is too scared to go to the sleep-over, her banana starts stinking up her room, and pretty soon Susanna is totally stressed out!  As Susannah becomes increasingly overwhelmed with worries she turns to her just-as-stressed-out-parents for help.  Together they discover that sometimes we all need to take a deep breath, take a step back, and simplify.
I think sometimes as parents, we underestimate the worry, stress and anxiety that even young children feel...  This book is just one in a series of Susannah books.  I would recommend this for younger readers, 1st - 4th grade.
Books by Carole P Roman
You can keep up with Carole by visiting her website or following her blog!
Her books are available for purchase on Amazon.
Carole P Roman Blog
The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew was given an amazing opportunity to review a LOT of different types Carol P. Roman books.  You can browse their book selections and read their reviews by clicking the link below.
Thank you so much for swinging by Swinging On Small Hinges!
Oh Susannah, Bedtime Stories, Captain No Beard, If you were Me ... {Carole P. Roman Reviews}

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Progeny Press The Bears on Hemlock Mountain E-Guide {TOS Review}

We love to read and reading good quality literature makes up a large portion of our homeschool day.  One thing that we haven't been as good at though is taking the time to really analyze what we are reading to ensure comprehension.  Sure, we often have full oral narrations and many discussions about the story but I think it is easy to miss certain key elements when you are reading for pleasure and not necessarily for information.  This is something that I have been wanting to improve but just haven't taken the plunge to do it.  

What a blessing when this review opened for us!  I was excited when we were given the opportunity to review The Bears on Hemlock Mountain E-Guide as a PDF download from Progeny Press!   

What are Progeny Press E-Guides all about?
Progeny Press offers 100+ study guides for much well-known children's literature and young adult novels.   The mission of Progeny Press is "to teach our children to think clearly, to understand literature, and to rely on the scripture of truth and values, and enjoy themselves while they do it!"  This mission is reflected in the high quality books they choose! While you can purchase the E-Guides as a PDF download they do offer the option to purchase both printed guides and the guide on CD-ROM as well.  You will also need the novel that goes along with your unit as it is not included in the guide.  

Bears on Hemlock Mountain, The - E-Guide

We received the E-Guide for The Bears on Hemlock Mountain and since it is a popular reader I already had it on my shelf.  Even better is that I already had it lined up to read this year!  The reader and guide are recommended for lower elementary so I it was a perfect fit for my 2nd grade, emerging reader.

Downloading the E-Guide was a snap.  You just clicked on the big green download button and follow the prompts.  Upon saving the guide to my desktop I opted to print it in its entirety and stapled along the edges for ease of use.

Using the guide was also simple!  There are instructions in the front of the guide that tell you, the parent, how to make the most out of the guide.  Also included in the front matter are a short bio of the author, a synopsis of the book, and a quick history on folk tales.  

The remainder of the guide is divided into sections by 1 to 2 chapters.  Utilizing mostly "fill-in-the-blank" the child is encouraged to think more deeply about the reading by analyzing unfamiliar vocabulary, answering both knowledge level questions and thought provoking questions, and making Biblical parallels through scripture references.

Here is where this product really shines!  Progeny Press e-guides are more than just a literary analysis workbooks.  They are stuffed full of other fun and interesting ideas to help you find more ways to interact with the story.

Check out a few of the awesome activities they recommend:
Research animal tracks (even including several book suggestions)
Field trip to learn look for animals and their tracks
Create a display or bulletin board
A sugar cookie recipe
Performing a play
and more!

What We Thought of The Bears On Hemlock Mountain e-guide:
Sometimes I have worried that trying to work though a literature guide would bog my young reader down and create frustration.  I was afraid that we would no longer be reading for pleasure and the joy of reading would be gone.  I have found that this isn't the case with these literature guides.  The questions are interesting and the variety keeps the child moving along from task to task without getting frustrated.  

Since my 2nd grader hasn't developed good writing stamina we gave up on having her write the fill-in-the-blanks after the first couple of lessons and switched over to either oral discussion or Mom filling in the answers for her.  It did not detract from the guide at all, in fact, I felt that it led to even more discussion!  

We enjoyed the guide very much and I plan to use The Courage of Sarah Noble next for my young reader and The Witch of Blackbird Pond for my older reader!  They are a fantastic and simple way to get your child analyzing their reading...

Keep up with all the happenings at Progeny Press by following them on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest!!!

Progeny Press

Many of my fellow crew mates also reviewed guides from Progeny Press at different levels.  You can read their thoughts by clicking the link below.
Thank you so much for swinging by!

Study Guides for Literature {Progeny Press Reviews}

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