Adventures in the Physical World: Level 2 – A MasterBooks Review

I remember how curious my daughters were when they were in the early elementary years. Why is the sky blue? Why can’t I see the wind? Why…why…why… One of my favorite aspects of homeschooling is being able to dig deep and find the answers to some of their questions, to inspire them to want to ask why! They are still curious and ask lots of questions, but often do their own research instead of seeking me out. So how do you foster these inquisitive little minds early on and engage them so they stay curious? Masterbooks has a new title, Adventures in the Physical World: Level 2, that provides short lesson (20 minutes), just 3 days a week that will engage and delight your young learner!

I think the cover is just gorgeous! The inside is just as beautiful, filled with bright colors, but not so much as to cause distraction. Rather the vibrant illustrations and photographs are strategically placed to induce curiosity and delight. I very much appreciate the straight-forward schedule as well as the weekly list of supplies needed. They should be easy to find around the house, but having it all collected in one place is fantastic! Anything to make a homeschool mom’s life easier is a win in my book!

A wide range of science topics is covered including chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, meteorology, and more! I like how each area allows young learners to dip their toes into the world of curiosities around them. This is quite appropriate for younger elementary students who are ready to start engaging with the world in a scientific manner.

As with all titles from MasterBooks you can be assured that this is grounded in the truth of God’s Word. One of the early units on Kinetic energy encourages children to point out examples of kinetic energy in the retelling of Noah building the ark. What a cool way to look at scientific principals built into creation from the start!

While my own kids have grown past this level of science, I highly recommend this title to those with kids in kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd grade. This definitely requires a bit more writing than earlier titles, so make sure your student it ready for that aspect!

DisclaimerI received a digital copy of Adventures in the Physical World: Level 2 from New Leaf Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The opinions here are my own. I was not required to write a positive review. 

Passport to America: A MasterBooks Review

Our family has used MasterBooks resources for a good portion of our homeschooling. From preschool through high school we have so many titles rich in history, science, and biblical truth. Their latest geography title, Passport to America, is a new favorite!

Grace is using the companion title, Passport to the World, as a part of her world geography studies this year. I was excited to see a book focusing on each of the states presented as well!

This lively and colorful book packs a ton of information on each state in just two pages. I really like that each license plate is shown as well as a number of interesting facts. In addition to the state flags, birds, and other symbols you will learn about land features and a food specific to each state. I was pleased to see 5-Way Skyline Chili featured in Ohio! One of my favorite memories of visiting my aunt and cousins there was eating chili over spaghetti. It may seem odd to my friends here in the south, but boy is it delicious!

I also was happy to see the opening pages featuring the story of America featured the indigenous people groups who lived here. I want my children to learn factual history and recognize that history features everything from Creation, not just when European explorers first landed here.

On the final page is an encouragement for children to pray for each state as they study it. Students are encouraged to find out something happening in that state and to pray for the people who live there. What an amazing find. I have not seen another books, even from Christian companies, encourage prayer in this way.

If you are looking for an excellent guide for your curious kid, planning your next road trip or launching a study of the United States, Passport to America is an excellent tool!

DisclaimerI received a digital copy of Passport to America from New Leaf Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The opinions here are my own. I was not required to write a positive review. 

Force of Nature: An Honest, Unsolicited Review

Force of Nature
I review quite a few things on this blog related to homeschooling. This time I want to share what we are using to clean our home with these days: Force of Nature. I absolutely love it for many reasons. 
 

NOTE: This is not a product I received for free nor was I asked to review. I just was excited to share a cleaner that is on the EPA list approved to kill that wretched virus we are all dealing with in one way or another AND one that was as safe as this is! 
 
 
Force of Nature uses salt, water, and vinegar, already mixed in handy dandy little capsules. You simply add one capsule to the bottle and push the button on the machine. That’s where the magic happens. The water is electrolyzed by the machine and the combo of safe household ingredients creates a powerful cleaner.
 




This is considered an all-natural cleaner and is completely safe for kids, pets, and everyone else. There is a very slight chlorinated smell, but this is completely normal because of the chemistry that is happening between the water and salt. Because it is the right balance of ingredients, this is a non-toxic cleaner that is stronger than the ones full of chemicals. 
I have been using it everywhere! 
Kitchen Counters and Sink
Butcher Block island
Kitchen Table

Piano
(Sprayed onto a cleaning cloth first, not directly onto the piano!)
Bathroom
Kitchen and Bathroom Floors
Door Handles

It says it is safe for fabric as well, but make sure to test that in a small area before you try it everywhere. I haven’t had opportunity to use it on fabric yet. 


I took about a month to read and learn about this company as well as the science behind the cleaner before purchasing. I read and read and read…from all different sources, not just from their website. When I finally purchased it, I was feeling quite confident in my decision and even more so now that I’ve used it in our home. 
 
Disclaimer: I do not make any commission from this referral. I do earn free capsules if you click on it and purchase.

A Field Guide to Color: A Net Galley Review


Color Theory… it isn’t something in which I thought I would ever have an interest. Then my daughter found art to be a fulfilling hobby and I began to search out avenues for her to enjoy. She had a wonderful time last year with a dear friend and local college student who taught her much about art theory, especially color. They studied many artists and discussed their use of color. I did not join in on their lessons and found this to be an excellent explanation of color and an inspiration in my own water color adventures. 

This has the feeling of a hand-drawn journal making it quite personable. Within the pages are opportunities for you as an artist to create your own color palates and really practice your craft. I love that it begins with the assumption that the reader is a true beginner, which I most certainly am! It would be a great addition to any art library whether you are a teacher or student.

I also appreciate that the Table of Contents is broken down into exercises and use of color for shapes to try. It truly is an inspiring book for any artist, especially those who are just trying the medium of water color. 


I’m excited to grab a hard-copy of this as I was reviewing a digital version. It will definitely be more valuable as a hold-in-your-hand paper book. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about color theory with regards to water color!

I used a little big of what I learned in drawing this crazy little lizard!

Disclaimer: I was given this title through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Be A Super Awesome Photographer: A Net Galley Review

First of all, I adore the title of this book! Who wouldn’t want to be super awesome at what they love? I am definitely not a professional photographer by any means. I am not looking to become one either, but I am always looking for ways to improve my hobby. 

The reason I want to improve is so I can continue to record our family’s history. I love to scrapbook and have come to a point where I want to improve my photography skills. 

This wonderful title has helped me look at things with some new perspective. When my girls were little, I did a good job of getting on their level, but beyond that, I really didn’t have much change in how I took pictures. Recently I have been more mindful of my position in addition to the camera. This book definitely gave me the insights I was looking for!

The photo challenges are much like taking a class! Once a new concept is introduced, a new challenge is given to the reader. Here are a few of the photos I have taken after reading this title. Some are with my phone and others with my camera. 


Used the room lighting creatively

Getting up close to my subject


Capturing light sources


Patience with animal photography!


Create a scene! (Rose did this one!)


This is my favorite!

With this last photo I sat for over an hour under a tree in our front yard and patient waited, taking picture after picture until I finally captured this! 


If you are looking for a way to casually improve your photography with ease, check this out! 

Disclaimer: I was given this title through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Little Learning Labs: Math Games for Kids: A Net Galley Review

Is your kid totally into math? Or maybe the opposite is true and they do everything they can to get out of completing mathematics assignments. Both traditional schoolers and homeschoolers alike struggle with mathemtaics concepts. One of my favorite ways to overcome this is through hands-on activities, especially where games are involved!

My kids really love games of all kinds. Mathematics games are a genius way to introduce as well as solidify topics in a concrete manner. I’ve always loved titles form Little Learning Labs. I was certainly not disappointed in this title either. 


The games are arranged by topic in the table of contents making it easy for you as teacher or parent to find exactly what you need. Geometry, curves, graphs, mathematical theory and more can be covered in a clear and understandable way…even for those of us adults who are not super “mathy” by nature!

My favorite activity was right at the beginning! By using toothpicks and gum drops you can clearly explain prisms. They are 3D models…and absolutely delicious! I firmly believe that in addition to hands-on, food is a wonderful way to retain understanding!


I highly recommend this title if you are looking for some new and creative ways to present mathematical concepts.
Disclaimer: I was given this title through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Learn to Draw Disney/Pixar Toy Story Collector’s Edition: A Net Galley Review


This was one of the most fun reviews I’ve done in a while! I was excited to have all the new characters from Toy Story 4 as well as all the old favorites. 

I have recently renewed my joy of sketching and had fun browsing through this title. My one disappointment was that the images appeared to be computer generated rather than hand-drawn. While I fully acknowledge the amazing technology which brought us the movie, it might be discouraging to a child to not be able to recreate replicas. Still, I found it to be quite enjoyable. 


I first this little alien with pencil. I then used water colored pencils and a water brush pen to fill in the colors. Then I used a dark colored pencil for details. 


When I showed my daughters my work, they were surprised and impressed! I assured them the book was incredibly helpful and they too could draw beautiful illustrations. They had fun picking out favorite characters to draw again. Forky is definitely a favorite!

This is a beautiful book compiling all the favorites of all the Toy Story movies. If you or your child is a fan of this Disney favorite, you will be delighted with the compilation of how-to drawings. 


Disclaimer: I was given this title through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

How to Draw and Write in Fountain Pen: A Net Galley Review


This is quite the gem of a little book! While the use of fountain pens at one time seemed to be a thing of the past, the idea of using this fabulous writing utensil is coming back to life! Most of us have no idea how to go about starting to use a fountain pen, so a guide like this is just what we need. 

There is something uniquely satisfying about dipping a pen into ink and putting pen to paper. I have recently worked to correct my pen grip. My parents tried and tried when I was younger to help me, but time and time again I went back to my incorrect grip. I finally have mastered the correction only going back every once in a while accidentally. I rewarded myself with a glass dip-pen and a package of gorgeous drawing inks from Winsor & Newton. 

I love how this book is organized with both drawing and writing fonts. It is understood that most people will not be using a dipped pen or fountain pen on a regular basis as more convenient and less messy options are available, but for creating art and lettering this particular medium is both unique and beautiful. 


I loved the line drawing pages! They are clearly hand sketched rather than computer generated which is important to me in a book with drawing instructions. The explanation for how to hold the pen at what angle, how to produce thicker vs. thinner lines, and how to create shadows were clearly expressed. 


Having never drawn with an ink-dipped pen I found the etched feeling of writing on parchment paper quite lovely. I have recently begun to sketch more and more and I am definitely adding in the use of my glass pen due to this book! 


I’m not very proficient at lettering yet, but I had fun trying some different fonts. Again, the letters in this book were each clearly hand-drawn giving me greater inspiration over the typical computerized styles I’m used to. 

Overall I was quite thrilled with this title and am looking forward to purchasing a hard-copy soon!

Disclaimer: I was given this title through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Geronimo Stilton Reporter #3: A Net Galley Review

Our daughters are pretty big Geronimo Stilton and Thea Stilton fans! We often pick these up at the library for a fun read. I’m all for challenging my children with quality literature. At the same time, a little fun fluff and twaddle reading is okay as well! While I do not consider comic books challenging literature, I do think they have a valuable purpose. Honestly, I’d rather my kid ask to read a comic book than watch a show! 


This summer has been full of lazy days reading anything they wanted. This title was fun for my 12-year old! She breezed through it, but definitely enjoyed it. She read this while waiting for her turn for clogging class. She said the characters were just like those in the original series. She liked that it was a short read and she could finish it in a shorter amount of time. She also said she would like to read more like these!

I’ve read some reviews of the series online recently that made me reread some of the titles to make sure they did not include objectionable materials. I did the same with this short comic and I did not find anything at all that concerned me. We are extremely conservative with what we allow our children to read and view on television. I would recommend this series, and definitely this comic, to those who are curious. As always you should preview literature for yourself, but I did not personally find anything objectionable. 

Disclaimer: I was given this title through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament


I’m becoming an advocate for combining art and faith. I am learning how the Lord has given us artistic creativity to express our praise and worship of Him. Everyone naturally accepts that of music and even of creative writing, but artistic rendering through brush and pen are sometimes neglected. I’ve been a fan of Karla Dornacher for a while and was super excited to check out this collaboration she is a part of! 

Studying how Christ has been a part of history from the beginning fascinates me. This wonderful way of looking at Scripture brings new life and insight into the Old Testament as well as helps us to understand the redemptive nature of our Lord and Savior. I have heard sermons which traced Christ through the Old Testament, but have never completed a Bible study which solely focused on this. I really liked the simple format as well as the artistic application as well. 

Each of the 12 chapters is divided into 5 daily readings. There are also artistic activities to go along with each chapter. These would be so very fun to do as a group! The projects should not be overwhelming to beginners (just like me!) and will open up lots of opportunity for discussion during creating. I love the coloring pages at the end which are great no matter your age. There are also beautiful bookmarks to correspond with the chapters as well. 

The reader is encouraged to find their own creative outlet as well. There is a spring-board list of fantastic ideas in the appendix to get you started. I found this to be helpful to think outside of my personal creative box. 

I plan to have my daughters work through this study this year. It is deep enough to challenge them, but not so academic that it will become drudgery. This would make for an interesting group study as well. I’ve been excited to read this title and look forward to working through some of the art activities as well. I think it would be fun for a high school girls study or young women too. I really see many applications for use! 

Disclaimer: I was given this title through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.