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. 

Kitchen Science Lab for Kids: EDIBLE EDITION – A Net Galley Review

Hands on science is without a doubt the best way to learn concepts! Add in taste testing and you have a delicious way to remember scientific concepts! Kitchen Science Lab for Kids: EDIBLE EDITION is a super fun way to teach kids the science behind cooking! Our kids have enjoyed seeing science in action in the kitchen before, but when it creating edible experiments, the memories are just that much stronger. Not only are they involved with auditory, visual, and tactile learning, they also have multiple sense involved, specifically taste, touch, and smell. 

The layout of this beautiful book is quite simple. The experiments/recipes are broken down into 8 courses, just like serving a variety of courses at a fancy dinner! The courses each have a different scientific focus and the table of contents includes this information. This makes it super easy to choose a recipe to fit whatever concept you are covering in science. 

Each recipe includes all ingredients and equipment needed right up front so there aren’t any surprises! This is great for those of us who sometimes like to do something like this a little last minute. Also included are safety tips. The book does a great job explaining about keeping your kitchen clean from germs and why. 

Next are colorful photographs illustrating steps in the recipe. These are real kids actually making the delicious experiments! I love that immediately following the recipe there is a science connection. This is clearly explained and very thorough. Even if you don’t feel really comfortable with science, you won’t have any trouble teaching your kids about it. 

One really delicious way to learn about density gradient is through layering drinks of different sugar content. The recipe in the book is called Sunset Lemonade. This delicious concoction works because the simple syrup is more densely concentrated with sugar. The less dense lemonade rests atop the bottom layer before mixing. Such a cool concept! 

Once you understand this concept you can layer drinks with different sugar contents to achieve some really fun effects! 


If you are looking for a way to liven up your science lessons this is an excellent way to add some fun! 

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.

Chemistry: A New Book Review Crew at NLPG review

My worst memory of high school was my chemistry class. Honestly, I don’t remember very much about this course except that I hated going to the point that I would make myself sick. My teacher was from another country as a part of a teacher-exchange program. He told my honors class we were stupid idiots multiple times a day, every day, for an entire year. I was afraid to ask questions and he gave us spelling tests because he said American schools were stupid. Yea, I didn’t come out of that learning very much chemistry! 
Currently my daughters are taking a weekly science class which makes my heart extremely happy. One less thing off my plate, they are learning in a safe and God-fearing environment, and they are collaborating with peers with the one subject I think that particular skill is highly valuable. Still, this class ends with Middle School and I am looking ahead to what we will do for high school. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to review the student edition go Chemistry by  Dr. Dennis Englin from Master Books (A Division of New Leaf Publishing Group).

First of all, this book is intriguingly beautiful! The cover is only the beginning. When my youngest daughter saw this she said, “Oh! Are you going to learn how to make clouds?” Let me assure you the inside of the text is just as lovely! The illustrations and photographs are gorgeous! 
The content of this text is as lovely as the illustrations. Beyond a few element symbols, whatever I learned during that horrific year of chemistry did not stick. I was a little bit intimidated opening this book initially. What if I was completely confused? There is no way I could guide my daughter through this course on the knowledge I have. I shouldn’t have been nervous at all! The conversational style of writing really kept me interested! I haven’t gotten through the complete text yet, but I plan to by the end of the summer! 
There are experiments throughout each unit to help understand the concepts. Hands-on is always the best way! These experiments can absolutely be done in the home, but being a high school level course, expect the need to purchase high-school level equipment. Some of the items will be found around the house like food coloring and vinegar, but other such as balances and weights or a molecular model kit will probably need to be purchased. I personally feel this to be a valuable investment which will aid your student’s learning as much as math manipulatives do in early math instruction. Don’t skimp on the important things! 
The teacher guide provides lesson plans, scheduling help, quizzes, and tests to give a full years-worth of high quality high school science. You can rest assured your student will have a wonderful foundation of chemistry once completed. 
As with all of the Master Books’ materials the quality of the science taught is paired with a biblical worldview of creation. This is as important to our family as the quality of the material. Biblical connections and seeing creation through that lens while still providing interesting and quality material is sometimes difficult to find. You will be very pleased with this particular study through chemistry! 
Disclaimer: I received this title in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own. 

Snow Unit Study & Pine Trees from Creation Illustrated: A TOS Crew Review

Creation Illustrated Our family has a traditional boxed curriculum we use regularly, but every few weeks we need to do something different. We need a change of pace so we don’t become too routine or bored with what we are working through. I love using unit studies for this purpose. I was incredibly excited to use two unit studies (Snow Unit Study and Pine Trees) from Creation Illustrated for my girls. Rose (12) and Beth (10) worked through these studies and enjoyed them very much!    My favorite part of these studies was the Scripture study. I really like that there is a list of Bible verses for the kids to look up and see what the Bible had to say about the particular subject matter studied.   

 Rose (7th grade) – Pine Trees
Creation Illustrated Unit Study Pine TreesFall 2017, Vol. 24, No. 3Rose worked through the study on pine trees. She used the Fall ’17 Digital Edition of  Creation Illustrated for her study. Throughout this study She learned about the intricicies of these majestic trees. Living in North Carolina this was the perfect time to study this particular tree. We are observing their rather annoying explosion of yellow pollen currently, but understanding them better makes it a little less annoying!   The Bible portion of this study had Rose determine whether the reference was to a pine tree or a fir tree. The explanation of the Hebrew word was incredibly interesting and helpful in understanding the verses better. She loves learning about biblical languages anyway, so I liked this a lot.   

Beth (5th grade) – Snow
Winter 2018, Vol. 24, No. 4Creation Illustrated Unit Study Snow Beth worked through the study on snow. She used the Winter ’18 Digital Edition of  Creation Illustrated for her study. We love a good snowfall although it can we don’t enjoy it all the time. Beth really enjoyed all of the word activities and I was excited about the mathematics section. This is the perfect kind of study for use when we take a break from the ordinary because its interdisciplinary nature covers everything! 

In the study Beth determined whether the reference to snow was being used figuratively or literally. That is a pretty advanced line of thinking for her, but she completed this section very easily. 

 In addition to learning the scientific information there is also mathematics, a word study, and a Bible study! The world is telling our children to ignore everything they may have been taught about the beginnings of time. We are scoffed and mocked as ignorant at best and deceitful at worst for believing in a literal Genesis account of Creation. We constantly weigh the resources available to us for world-view and perspective. We use many resources which do not hold the same world-view as we do, but when we find something that teaches science from the perspective that God is the Creator, it is golden. This magazine is beautifully crafted and scientifically accurate while maintaining the absolute authority of God and His Word.   I highly recommend this new-to-us resource and am excited to see it available as a digital magazine! Here is a sneak peek at the spring issue! 

Take a look at what my Crewmates have to say! Creation Illustrated Unit Studies {Creation Illustrated Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

Science for Every Teacher from Novare Science & Math: A TOS Crew Review

Novare Science & Math As much as I love homeschooling and teaching my girls, I’ll readily admit one thing: Science and Math are not my area of expertise. I did well enough in school in these subjects. Honestly, I did very well in all of my schooling, but for science and math, especially as I moved to higher and higher levels in these areas, I had to work harder and harder to earn those grades. Let’s not even get started on whether or not I retained any of it! There are some wonderful resources out there for curriculum, but I haven’t seen anything written for the teacher to learn. I was highly intrigued by the opportunity to review Science for Every Teacher from Novare Science & Math. A book written for me as my daughter’s teacher is something I rarely have the opportunity to enjoy.  

Novare Science for Every Teacher

 The scientific area covered is Physics, probably my least favorite of all the sciences I studied in high school. Even so, I read this with an open mind and an eagerness to re-learn (or maybe even learn for the first time) some of the fundamental laws of physics which govern our world. I was very interested as I read through the various chapter titles and saw how the various subject matters were things we deal with in everyday life. Sound and light waves, heat and temperature, Momentum, Pressure and Buoyancy…these are just a few of the areas covered. Each chapter has a very clear explanation of the laws as well as the mathematical equations needed to determine how to apply them to real-life problems.  

 The structure of the chapters are visually helpful as well. I really like That before beginning each chapter there are clear goals presented. Much like the objectives we write for a lesson plan, this gives a clear guide of where the reader will be led. I also like that different sections are color-coded for easy referencing at a later time. One of the most valuable parts of each chapter is the applications for use in the classroom. There are several ideas for each topic and all are doable whether you are in a homeschool or traditional schooling setting. 

 I found the information to be presented in a way which was completely relatable even for someone like me who has forgotten most of what I learned in high school. What was really neat for me was to see how what feels to be lofty ideas are actually concrete facts I use on a weekly and sometimes daily basis for cooking, driving, and more. I don’t remember my physics class bringing the reality of what I was learning into perspective in quite this way. I also liked how the history of our understanding of the laws of physics progressed through the ages. 

 In addition to this title written to teachers there are many courses offered from Novare Science & Math including these titles:  
Earth Science: God’s World, Our Home  
Introductory Physics 
General Chemistry
 You might also be interested to know many well-loved homeschool curriculum companies utilize resources from Novare Science & Math such as Memoria Press or Potter’s School. It always peeks my interest when companies with such high reputations use the resources at which I’m looking. My only concern is the treatment of religious beliefs. Within the first three chapters the ideas of faith and science and how to approach them at the same time are discussed. I felt that all of the information given was factual and accurate, but I was left with the impression that the author believes faith and science should be approached separately This goes against my belief that faith should shape every aspect of my life. I would have been happier to see a more balanced view of faith and science presented. I would recommend this book to anyone preparing to teach the science of physics whether in the homeschooling community or in a more traditional learning setting. Even with my concerns, I found it to be enjoyable to read and beneficial to brushing up in this area of science. Make sure to check out why my Crewmates have to say about this and other titles from Novare Science & Math! 

Biblical Based Science {Novare Science & Math Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Fascinating Facts Human Body Game: A Review from Lakeshore Learning

There are a lot of ways to learn. In my experience as both a classroom teacher and homeschooling mother meaningful learning takes place with tactile and engaging activities. Workbooks and pages have their place, but my girls remember so much more with they are involved with hands-on experiences. Most of the time we get these opportunities at museums and other special events. This time we were blessed to have one of these opportunities right in our living room! 
I’ve been thinking that a human body model might be a nice addition to our homeschool, but none of the ones I’ve seen before are made to be handled by elementary age kids. They would function as display models, but not very well as learning models for kids who are very curious.
This is The Fascinating Facts Human Body Game from Lakeshore Learning and unlike all the other body models I have looked at this one was perfect for my children to handle and take apart as much as they wanted. In addition to the really cool model, this also came with trivia cards with both easy and difficult questions. This is a fun way to explore the body. 
I was surprised at just how large this body model was. It was easy for my girls, ages 10, 8, and 6, to manipulate, take apart, and put back together. The pieces are solid plastic and it would take a lot of effort to break them. This would not be appropriate for young children who put things in their mouth, however, because there are several smaller pieces. 
I really, really liked the question cards. The easy side was perfect for Grace and Beth and they had a fun time seeking out the various anatomical parts. The cards provided statements like, “This is what you use to smell chocolate chip cookies.” Critical thinking skills come into play with this type of analytical questioning and create a more meaningful and deeper learning experience. 
We used the cards and played a game where each one would pick a card and find the part being described. If they didn’t know an answer, it was shown on a diagram on the reverse side of the card. The girls loved taking turns and the only trouble we ran into was I had to prevent them from telling each other the answers! 
In our case there were some really neat personal applications. In December of 2012 I had surgery to remove a tumor from my intestines and in July of 2013 I had a partial thyroidectomy. I’ve tried to explain both of these in terms of anatomy before to my girls, but it wasn’t until I used this body model that the light bulbs went on. This was a neat side blessing which I hadn’t anticipated. 
This is already a favorite in our household and I caught my girls several times playing with this on their own for fun. This would make a superb Christmas gift for any little boy or girl, especially one interested in a medical field. 
I also have some exciting news! The wonderful folks at Lake Shore Learning are offering a 20% off coupon! 
Disclaimer: I received the Fascinating Facts Human Body Game in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review. 

DIY Display Project from EEME: Review

Time for another review of the EEME monthly projects! These are becoming quite popular in our home, especially with Beth who is my little mathematician. 
This project uses the base project from the first month of lessons and all the extra pieces needed to complete this. Beth was excited that this would display numbers. I have to say all the wires feel intimidating to me at first, but my girls don’t feel that way at all and I’m glad for that. The video step-by-step instructions are very easy to follow. 

Beth prefers using the the iPad for the instructional videos over the computer. I agree that the touch screen makes it more user friendly for my kids to run the videos on their own without having to navigate the mouse. This means when she needs to pause the video or back it up a little she can do so much more quickly. 
Beth’s favorite way to to put these projects together is to watch the video all the way through, then go back and watch it again as she puts it together. While she doesn’t always do this, she is a whole-picture kind of kid and this way seems to go more smoothly for her. In contrast, her older sister, Rose, likes to do a single part at a time and work through the video by pausing a lot. It’s interesting to see how each of the girls attacks problem solving differently. 
My wireless keyboard comes in handy for answering the questions which pop up after the sections. I love this part of the project because it helps the kids process what they are doing and help see how they are not just building, but also understanding. 
These lessons are an incredible addition to our homeschool. This is an interactive experience like no other which I don’t think would be available to my kids in a typical traditional school. If you have a child who loves to take things apart and put them together, this would make a wonderful gift for them!

Life Science: Origins & Scientific Theory Curriculum: A Moms of Master Books Review

Sometimes I think back on my high school education and I realize just how blessed I was. My high school years lasted from 1994-1998 in the Bible belt. While many other areas of the country had been shifting towards removing all hints of Christianity from science. I would say looking back we were right on the edge of the big push. I was unbelievably blessed to have Mrs. Lowe as my AP Biology teacher. Not only because she made biology fascinating and gave us opportunity to be creative in whatever way we liked best, but because she unashamedly proclaimed her doubts about evolution based on her faith. She flatly told us that while she thought it was very important to understand and learn about evolution due to its prevalence in our society, she didn’t believe any of it. She believed the Bible was the Word of God and that was where she found her truth for creation.

She gave me courage to boldly proclaim what wasn’t popular. She prayed for me outside of class when I was chatting with her after school one day. She laughed with us and gave us coloring books the week of the AP test so we could de-stress and then colored with us. After that she told us she was praying daily for our preparation. Teachers like this are now silenced. I definitely didn’t realize how unique this was at the time, but now I appreciate her more than I could ever say.

As I began our journey into homeschooling I knew the Bible was true and that we would teach our girls this, but I also knew it was important to teach them the theory of evolution, just as my biology teacher taught me. I don’t ever want them to follow a set of beliefs merely because, “I said so.” Whether faith in God or a scientific belief I want them to choose for themselves what they believe. Does that mean I take a hands-off approach to the Bible and science like some of my friends do? Absolutely not! It means I teach them from birth about our faith, and as they grow older I help them understand the other viewpoints. I’m not afraid to teach my children about evolution and this seems to shock many of my non-homeschooling friends. Perhaps it stems from the sheltering stereotype. Honestly, I think it’s funny that they would think I’d hide this from my kids.

Once again Master Books steps in to help me where I felt I was lacking. For all the wonderful things my biology teacher taught me, I left her class without knowing how to talk about the possibility of an alternative to evolution. I am using the Life Science: Origins & Scientific Theory Curriculum for myself as I anticipate my children using it in a few years, but even if it was only for me I loved working through these DVD’s and books!

The layout is very easy to follow with a chapter and then portion of the DVD to show. Everything is clearly presented from both sides with the option then for conversation and debate. Yes, it is written by a Christian who believes in a young earth viewpoint, but I do think he fairly portrays evolution as mainstream evolutionists see it. I think the best part of this are the interviews with those who do not agree with the biblical view of creation. We have the opportunity to hear in their own words not only what they believe but where they see problems.

I also really, really like the parent lesson plans. While I’m not testing myself I have looked through all of the testing materials and feel they are an excellent addition to make this a full science curriculum for a year. It is slated for high school, but I think advanced and interested middle school students would also be able to handle the information. I actually previewed both videos with my oldest daughter, Rose, who is 10. She really enjoyed this and learned a lot. I know she retained what we watched because of our recent trip to our local science museum.

As we made our way through the really amazing dinosaur path, Rose stopped and read a lot of the signs. This one was my favorite because she asked me why those who oppose a literal 7 day creation weren’t willing to acknowledge the possibility of Noah’s flood being real even when they were willing to admit that events like floods were what created the fossils. It was such a great conversation to have with her.

What I appreciate most about this book in addition to the amazing photography and detailed information is the genuine desire to get at the truth. It never feels forced or condescending. Instead real evidence is shown and reasonable logic is portrayed so the learner can decide for themselves what is possible.

I highly, highly recommend this curriculum whether you are just beginning your journey to learn about creation vs. evolution or you have studied this for a while. Young and old alike can learn and grow as a result of this fascinating text and DVD study.

Disclaimer: I was provided this book to review as part of the Moms of Master Books review program. I was not required to write a positive review. My opinions are my own. 

EEME Electronic Kits for Kids: A Review

My daughters enjoy trying all sorts of new things.  Beth, my middle daughter, is especially interested in how things work. I gave her a box of old electronics and a couple of screwdrivers earlier this year. She was over the moon taking everything apart and seeing what the insides of everything looked like. I realized I needed to begin to look for different ways to encourage this new interest. 

We were all excited to learn more about electronics with EEME and this opportunity came at just the right time for Beth. This service is a monthly subscription which provides a new project each month for students to create and inspire them to do more.
The basic project we experienced was the Genius Light. Everything was included in this basic kit which we needed to create a working LED light. All of the instructions are online and easy to access and clearly explained. This was really important to us because I have no experience with circuitry. 

The video is taken from the same view as the project builder has which is very helpful. Beth did have trouble sometimes reversing the direction, but we would just back up a bit and she would work through it. She is 8, so on the younger end of the projects suggested range (7-12). She did great, but I think this contributed to some of the trouble with reversal. 
The project is small, so it was helpful to be able to pause the video whenever we wanted. However, even though the project is small, the wires are easy to insert. 
Rose took over about half-way through the project. They took turns working on this project. Rose is 10, so right in the center of the age range for the projects. She very easily followed the instructions although I had to help her keep things a little neater. Rose’s only difficulty was wanting to get ahead of the directions! 
So this was what Grace did during the project! The sweet little thing wanted to be right in the middle of things, but she is only 5 and really isn’t quite ready. She did also help out by finding some of the different parts for her sisters. She did pick up on quite a few things as well which was fun to see. Pretty soon she will be building a circuit all on her own!
This nice big picture shows what the girls created! The LED light is shining here. They also worked at creating a dimming version and learned how motion sensor lights work. 
Sometimes homeschooling can be tedious. Other times I sit back, completely blown away by the opportunities we have for learning. Working with this EEME project was definitely one those WOW moments for me. Seeing my girls learn about circuitry in an hands-on and meaningful way was so much fun. The best part as a parent was just that. It was an opportunity for me to merely observe learning. I’m right in the trenches with them every day and sometimes I don’t get to just appreciate all which is happening in our schoolroom. Moments like these give me moment to really relish in what a blessing this educational journey really is for our family. 
Disclaimer: I received this project in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. These opinions are my own. 

Field Trip: Greensboro Science Center

It’s been a while since I posted about a field trip we took. Honestly, it’s sort of been a while since we took an intentional field trip. Life gets busy and these things don’t really happen unless they are planned in advance. Monday was our 13th wedding anniversary and since we spent the weekend away to celebrate we chose to spend Memorial day with the girls at the Greensboro Science Center which consists of a sciquarium, zoo, and museum. This was a really fun experience for the girls and we completed our visit in a little under 4 hours.

The girls enjoyed seeing the Maned
Wolves as well as many other animals in the Animal Discovery Zoo. There were many, many animals housed here in quite spacious facilities. They seemed very healthy and well cared for which is always encouraging at a zoo. We’ve been to zoos where the animals and their habitats were less than stellar to put it nicely. I can say in all honesty this was one of the nicest zoos we have been to as a family.

I really liked the beehives. They were right out in the open and my girls were a little nervous about the hives, but it has opened up some interesting discussions about bees and why they sting and what happens to them after they use their stingers. My grandfather used to keep bees and these hives reminded me a lot of him. 
Yes, this is a snake…and yes they are touching it! They enjoyed checking out this little snake named Pebbles and I enjoyed taking the pictures, not touching it. Yeah, I’m not that brave but I’m glad my girls are! 
 There were also some really cool viewing spots for the kids to enjoy.

The highlight of our visit was definitely the Sciquarium. We went through this area twice! This was a small aquarium compared to others we have been to, but the girls had more fun here than at the other really large aquarium we visited a couple of years ago. The interactive experience was priceless. 
The stingray petting area was amazing! Beautiful, clear pools with stingray gliding all around intrigued my girls. I think they would have stayed there all day if we let them! We did visit this area for a very long time both times we were in this area. 
This adorable little guy followed my girls as they stood and seemed to enjoy watching them as much as they enjoyed watching him! 
Our visit was spectacular. We had so much fun celebrating our anniversary with our three darlings. Did you love their matching dresses? My mom took the girls shopping and they loved the idea of getting the same dress. Then they insisted on wearing them for our field trip! I love my girls!