Wednesday, June 26, 2013

O is for Out of Time

You may or may not remember that we almost moved recently.  Then we couldn't go through with it because we preferred this location and yard space over the 'almost' house.  Now . . . we really are moving.  The root of the problem is that Husband is homesick.  Husband will stay in his current position (the reason for the original move) and make the longer commute, but his bosses have already said they will do what they can to transfer him back home.  So we're making adjustments and we're going home.


I really didn't think I could get everything done in time.  I thought I'd be up all night, greeting the moving van in the morning.  It's been a challenge for me to get the house packed and cleaned with two little boys who like to "help" and a sweet little baby that needs her love tank filled quite often, but I think we're there.  Even though I'm out of time according to the calendar, I really don't feel as rushed and overwhelmed as I anticipated.  Well, maybe a little the last few nights, but I'm feeling pretty good tonight!

Once we get settled in, I'll be finalizing our 2013 Curriculum.  The move will take us into another state, and the homeschooling laws are similar, but still a little different.  I'll be making a few minor tweaks to our plans, and then I get to place my book order!  Now that's the fun part!

So all that to say, I may not be as active for awhile into we find a new routine, but I do have some great Schoolhouse Reviews coming up:

Picaboo Yearbooks
Fascinating World of Birds
The Homegrown Preschooler 

In the meantime, if you missed my most recent review for Moving Beyond the Page, (Literature and science units) be sure to check it out!

©2011-2013 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Moving Beyond the Page {Schoolhouse Review}

I love to investigate homeschool curriculum, and Moving Beyond the Page is something that has caught my eye more than once.  Moving Beyond the Page is a literature-based curriculum that is geared towards creative, hands-on and gifted learners.  It is a different style of teaching than I am used to doing, but I was still intrigued.

Moving Beyond the Page sells complete curriculum, but they also sell individual units so you can customize your studies or supplement your current curriculum.  They were generous enough to allow the Schoolhouse Review Crew to choose two of their many units to review!

I chose the Language Arts Unit Tornado and the Science Unit Amazing Weather, which can be used separately, but are designed to be used together as complimentary units to study the Environment.  Moving Beyond the Page classifies units by a general age range, and both of these are from the 7-9 age range, and include everything you need for a full study.  I did these units with my 6 year old, so I did more reading aloud and oral assignments to adjust for the age difference.

Language Arts

"Enjoy a story about the special friendship between a boy and his dog.  Experience the effects of weather on farm life." ~ Description from Moving Beyond the Page website

With approximately three weeks of daily lesson plans, the Tornado unit includes:
  • Tornado Teacher's Guide
  • Tornado by Betsy Byars
  • How the Turtle Got Its Shell - Tales From Around the World {a Little Golden Book}
The Physical Unit is $24.97, or $20.91 for the Online Unit.

For language arts, I received a full physical  unit.  The Teacher's Guide is a spiral bound book with the lesson plans and student activity pages included.  One negative to the physical copy is that pages are not perforated so it makes them difficult to remove, and they cannot be copied.  You can buy a separate set of student activity pages if you want to have access to your Guide while your student is working, if you've used your student pages and want to reuse a unit for a younger sibling, or for multiple students working together.

Some of the activities we explored as an introduction or extension to the book Tornado were discussing farm life, learning about the area of the United States called Tornado Alley, and working on language topics like main ideas, punctuation and choosing descriptive words.

One of the things I liked, but adapted for our family, was the daily journal.  The idea was to respond to each reading in a student journal.  We are Charlotte Mason homeschoolers, and prefer oral narrations at this age, so I asked for an oral narration in place of the journal entry.  I felt like this kept the integrity of the activity while still fitting our family's needs.  Overall, I found the program to be very flexible in this way.

This was a fitting book for us as my son is forming a strong bond with our family dog, and we live adjacent to the family farm where my husband grew up.  It's interesting to see how he relates things he's learned from this unit to things that he sees happening around him.

Amazing Weather

Amazing Weather
"In this unit, your child will explore why weather in the environment changes. She will learn how scientists measure the weather, and she will even build her own weather tools. Throughout the unit, she will keep a daily log of the weather in her environment."  ~ Description from Moving Beyond the Page website

This unit includes the following:
  • Amazing Weather Teacher's Guide (online)
  • On the Same Day in March by Marilyn Singer and Frane Lessac
  • Weather and Climate - Geography Facts and Experiments by Barbara Taylor
  • Boiling Point Thermometer

It is s $29.91 for the Online Unit or $33.97 for the full Physical Unit.

I received the online teacher's guide for the science unit.  It includes all of the lesson plans, and you can print the PDF student activity pages in one file, or as you need them straight from the lesson.  The printable online units seem more appropriate and cost-effective for multiple students working together at the same time.

One perk of the online lessons is that directly within each lesson is a button called IdeaShare.  If other parents have submitted ideas for extending that lesson, there will be ideas/links for you to explore.

Just a few activities included in the lessons were discussing temperature and reading thermometers, keeping weather logs, identifying changes in weather over time, and learning scientific terminology related to weather.  My little science-lover enjoyed expanding his vocabulary!

There were many opportunities to hypothesize and experiment.  I really appreciated the weather logs, because I felt like it brought attention to an area of nature study that we had previously neglected.

The final project was a fantastic way to revisit everything learned, and practice public speaking skills!  If it had been during the school year, this would have been a fun activity to share during project day!

Final Thoughts

  • The teacher's guide was well laid out and easy to follow 
  • This was a great isolated summer study for us, but I can definitely see how these units would make excellent supplements to other curricula
  • I felt it was a little heavy on the worksheets for our preference, but the science unit offered more hands-on interaction with the subject matter
  • We're relaxed Charlotte Mason homeschoolers, so we appreciated the literature based approach, but these were definitely designed for the unit study family.  That being said, it was still fun!
  • I love that Moving Beyond the Page recognizes children have individual needs, interests and learning styles, and may be at varying levels for each subject, so you can pick and choose which language arts, social studies and science units will be right for your situation
  • Easy to customize and use for more than one child, because you can pick and choose activities within the units for their developmental needs

We enjoyed the book selections, and particularly enjoyed the science activities.  I will definitely keep Moving Beyond the Page in mind when I'm looking for science supplements!

Want to Know More?
Request a catalog
View samples

Also, be sure to check out what my Crew mates think of the various Literature, Science and Social Studies units for all ages!

This Graphic contains the FTC Regulations statement for reviews

©2011-2013 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Daddy's Girl

Wordless Wednesday on Only Passionate Curiosity

©2011-2013 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Monday, June 17, 2013

N is for Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary

Another Georgia field trip!  We love animals and nature study, so this was a fun one.  We spent an afternoon at Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary, walking the trails and viewing the animals.  The facility takes in domestic and exotic animals that are in need of rehabilitation or a caring home.  Although they are a non-profit organization and admission is free, it costs approximately $33,000/month (!) to feed and care for the animals, so donations are welcome!

We've been a couple times over the last several years now, and as long as you don't get caught up in a school/group trip it's fairly quiet and easy to see the animals as long as they are out in their habitat.

Across from the Visitors Center is a bridge where you can walk out and (hopefully) see the alligators, but the bridge was closed for maintenance, so Emory did not get a close look at the one animal he was looking forward to seeing!  Since he couldn't get close to the alligators, I think the ducks and ducklings were his consolation favorite, since they were also in water!

A lot of the animals were free roaming.  We saw non-venomous snakes, ducks, peacocks, roosters, chickens and this little white rabbit - who entertained guests who was all over (and on top of) the exotic bird exhibit.

There were plenty of birds to "talk" and entertain as well.

They have wolves and wolf hybrids on site.  The male wolf was nervous, so they had to separate him, and if you look closely, you can see him pacing in the background.

This bear was walking around shaking the whole time, almost as if it were dancing.  There wasn't a volunteer around at the time, and I didn't notice a "story" sign, but my stepmom pointed out that it looked like his (her?) eyes were closed tight the whole time, as if he might have been blind.  S/he also had messy fur, and Elliott still talks about the wild hair bear.

One of my favorite exhibits is the Lion, Tiger and Bear, Oh My!  The volunteer said they were brought in through the DNR after their owner was imprisoned.  I couldn't see them well enough for pictures this time, but Baloo the bear is HUGE!

There are several tigers on site.  There were three tigers in this exhibit. (They were all female "M" names, but I can only remember Melissa!)

Tigers are, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful animals.  Emory must have thought so too, because he tried to climb up one of the fences to get a better look!

The tiger above is Doc.  He came from an overcrowded breeding facility.  The volunteer had a lot of information about his background and circumstances too.  He looks so majestic, yet so sad.

Although Noah's Ark has all the major animals you'd expect to see at a zoo, it is definitely a different experience.  While these animals are still confined, I know that Noah's Ark is a non-profit, no-kill animal rehabilitation center, trying to provide a safe haven for these animals.  This makes for a great nature study/observational field trip to study animals or to just enjoy the nature trails.  I wished I would have brought our nature journals to sketch some of the animals, but maybe next time!

What's your favorite place to to study animals?  If you've blogged about it, feel free to leave me a link in the comments so I can steal glean some ideas!

This post marks off #27 on our summer bucket list, and is also part of Blogging through the Alphabet, so click on over to get some ideas and read some great posts!

Blogging Through the AlphabetChestnut Grove Academy Field Trip Friday Blog Hop

©2011-2013 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Splish Splash

Location:  Historic Fourth Ward Park - Atlanta, Georgia

Wordless Wednesday on Only Passionate Curiosity

©2011-2013 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Monday, June 10, 2013

M is for Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site

Every year when we visit Atlanta, Georgia we try to visit at least one place we've never been before.  This year my husband decided he really wanted to take a history field trip to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.  It is part of the National Park Services, and there are several facilities included, for free!

The mural across from the Visitor Center's entrance . . .

Inside the visitor's center were many videos, pictures and displays that walked you through King's journey and the Civil Rights Movement.

This is the antique wagon that was donated for the funeral procession.

The King Center was established by Mrs. Coretta Scott King in 1968, and is the final resting place for both. There are exhibits featuring Dr King Jr., his wife and Gandhi.

The eternal flame of hope . . . 

Personal effects and pictures are located in the King Center too.

Ebeneezer Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached.

We were traveling with 4 kids, and while Eleanor was content to ride in her stroller, and Elliott did look at some of the exhibits, the 2 and 3 year olds were a little restless here, so we did not go in the church or tour his childhood home, but there is a virtual tour!  However, I still think this was a fantastic field trip.

They were more interested in playing!

I was on preschooler duty here, so I didn't go into the gift shop, but I read online (after the fact) they have children's books that I would have loved to have checked out!  Husband did pick up a copy of "I Have A Dream" for us!

If you are visiting Atlanta, (or live there and have never been) I highly recommend visiting the Martin Luther King Jr., National Historic Site!  You can't beat the price of FREE for such an inspirational history and civil rights lesson!  The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site has free lesson plans for Pre-K through 8th grade.  Even if you aren't taking a field trip, these lesson plans might be useful for Martin Luther King Jr. Day or for Civil Rights history supplements.  Homeschool Encouragement also has a Martin Luther King Jr Day Ultimate Homeschool Resource List full of educational ideas. 

We will definitely visit here again in the future when the kids are older and reach an appropriate level of maturity and appreciation.

You can check out our field trips to see more of our adventures!

Blogging Through the AlphabetChestnut Grove Academy Field Trip Friday Blog Hop

©2011-2013 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Christianity Cove {Schoolhouse Review}

I've mentioned before that the Schoolhouse Review Crew has opened up many opportunities to try new products and curriculum that I might not otherwise choose. Christianity Cove is a website dedicated to Sunday School lessons, ideas, crafts, games, activities and tips, and offers over 700 free lesson articles!  Recently they offered the Schoolhouse Review Crew several digital products to review, and I personally had the opportunity to try two of them.

Bible Science Experiments - 25 science experiments that show the nature of God.  ($25.00)

The experiments are grouped into five different topics--Light, Color, Motion, Magnetism and Gravity.  Each experiment has a list of materials and instructions, and there's also scripture references and explanations to get you started.

I have a 6 year old science-lover, so this seemed like an obvious choice for me.  I appreciated that the materials required were just basic household items such as pennies, straws, crayons, paperclips, and rubber bands, for example.  These experiments were easy to implement with little-to-no effort, and they were fun!

While you could probably find similar activities online, having them all in one file saves you the time of searching and organizing.  You could use them to supplement your Bible studies, but you would have to go through the experiments individually and pick them out, as the table of contents is organized by scientific topic.  However, that makes them ideal for using along with your science studies.  They're really flexible and you can do them in any order, while still discussing Biblical principles.

As far as using them in groups--they are very short demonstrations and probably would not fill the the full length of a typical children's church or Sunday School class, but would make great object lessons or supplements to the class lesson.

The simplicity of the activities and the easy clean-up makes them ideal for home or classroom use.  I would recommend them for elementary homeschoolers, church classes or faith-based science co-ops.

Daily Dilemmas  - 26 True to Life Devotions for Kids ($29.00)

This program is designed to reach out to your children about moral/ethical dilemmas they might face with friends, classmates or acquaintances, with a Biblical foundation.

Some of the topics covered are bullying, cheating, stealing, gossiping, friendships, boasting, jealousy, and revenge, just to name a few.  These are hard situations for children to understand, so it's important that parents are available to discuss them before they arise so children know how to respond.  There's an index of topics covered, so it's easy to pull out any dilemma if your child is faced with a particular problem.

Each "Daily Dilemma" is a narrative of a real problem that could happen to just about any kid.  Then it also includes related scripture and a few possible scenarios for your child to choose from to resolve the problem.  There's a separate section for the teacher, titled Reflections, that allows you to offer discussion opportunities and allude to the most appropriate response.

Sometimes the choices were a bit ambiguous (some children might choose the "obvious easy answer" rather than the author's choice) and the language was not always language I would choose for my family, but that can be altered, or open up new discussions.

These are great for individual or group use, and are appropriate for elementary and middle school children who need guidance with dealing with awkward social situations.

Final Opinion
The author used various Bible translations for Daily Dilemmas based on how "plain" the language in the scripture reference was.  It was unclear to me which version(s) was used for Bible Science Experiments.  Families that have a strong preference for which translation they use will need to supplement on their own.

These are good products, and if you are looking for something simple and effective, already organized and you are placing emphasis on time vs. cost, these will definitely work for you!

The Schoolhouse Review Crew has reviewed many other great products by Christianity Cove, so check them out!

©2011-2013 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.