Rabbits Rabbits Everywhere (a math story book) ~ Review

I love when math can be learned from life experiences, games, and books. There is a time for workbook practice, but when you are able to learn a new concept in an engaging way, it seems to stick a lot better. When we were given the chance to review Rabbits, Rabbits Everywhere: A Fibonacci Tale from Ann McCallum Books  I thought it would be a fun way for AJ to learn about Fibonacci numbers. We were given a physical copy of the book for this review.

 

What is Rabbits, Rabbits Everywhere: A Fibonacci Tale ?

Rabbits, Rabbits, Everywhere is a full colored, 32 page, soft covered book, written by Ann McCallum and illustrated by Gideon Kendall.

A fun way to learn a difficult math concept!

It is a cute little story that begins with the Pied Piper telling the wizard on the hill that the people of the town didn’t have any food to give him. This made the wizard very angry, because he knew that the Pied Piper was lying. The next day a little girl, Amanda was working in the garden when she found two baby rabbits. They had tags that said their names were Knot and Fibb. Those two rabbits quickly began to multiply. While two rabbits were fine, the large amount of rabbits began to cause problems in the town. They began eating all of the vegetables in the gardens. The people tried everything they could think of to get rid of the rabbits, but nothing worked. Finally Amanda realizes that there is a pattern in the amount of rabbits. Will her quick thinking save the town, or will the people go hungry? Was the wizard behind the rabbits, or was someone else? Read the book to find out.

The last page of the book has a little information about the man who was known about Fibonacci along with a little explanation about Fibonacci numbers and where they can be found in nature.

How Did We Use Rabbits, Rabbits Everywhere: A Fibonacci Tale?

When the book first arrived I read through it, the next day instead of our normal math and literature studies I had AJ read the book. She was happy to take a brake from her regular studies. As we read it we talked about some literary elements and themes (there was a lot to learn in this little book) and when Amanda was figuring out the pattern in the book, I had AJ try and see if she could find a pattern in the number of rabbits.

A fun way to learn a difficult math concept!

She worked on trying to figure out the pattern for a little while, trying adding numbers, multiplying them, but she didn’t figure it out. Then she read the rest of the book and realized that the pattern was right in front of her. After reading the book we did a little research on Leonardo Pisano who was known as Fibonacci.

What We Thought About Rabbits, Rabbits Everywhere: A Fibonacci Tale

We thought it was an adorable children’s book that has an interesting story. There is some mention of spells, wizards, and magic, so those who have an issue with that should be aware. I think this book was a great way to introduce a different mathematical concept to kids. I think I may purchase a few other books by Ann McCallum in the future.

Members of the Review Crew were given a few different books by Ann McCallum to review, check out their reviews by clicking on the graphic below.

Ann McCallum Books Review
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Writing Through Medieval History ~ Review

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Over the last few years we have been given the chance to review quite a few products from Brookdale House, and almost all of them have stuck around after the review period. When we were given the chance to review Writing Through Medieval History Level 2 Cursive, I was excited. We reviewed a different Writing Through History book a few years back, and AJ enjoyed it.  Since we are focusing on Medieval history this year, I thought it would be a great fit. For this review we were given a digital copy of the book.

 Brookdale House Review
 

What is Writing Through History?

The Writing Through History series is a writing program created by Kimberly Garcia. It is based off of the Charlotte Mason Methods. Using narration, copywork, and dictation this program combines penmanship practice, thinking skills, writing, grammar, and history. According to the website it is appropriate for children in 1st through 5th grade, but I feel they are appropriate through 8th grade at least!

There are 4 different books based off of the four year history cycle, and each history period is available in 2 levels. Level one is for younger students, where level two is for older students. Each level is available in either print or cursive. You are also given the option to receive the book as a soft covered book, or as a downloadable version. If you only have one child, I would highly recommend the soft covered book. Everything is laid out for you. On the other hand, if you want to use the same book for more than one child, the digital copy might be the way to go, but there will be quite a bit of printing involved.

What is Writing Through Medieval History?

Now that I have explained a few of the overall basics, I can explain more about the book we received. Writing Through Medieval History (the downloadable version) is 405 pages long.  It is broken into four different chapters. The first chapter has 29 different historical narratives. These are each about two pages long and then have assignments to follow. Chapter two contains 15 primary source documents that vary in length. Chapter three has 11 different poems, and Chapter 4 has 15 cultural tales  from or about Medival History.

A Charlotte Mason approach to writing and history.

There are not any lesson plans included, however there is a suggested daily schedule. Day one your student reads a passage and completes both oral and written narration. On day two your student works on grammar and copywork, and day three they work on studied dictation. On the fourth day they do oral narration and copy work, and on the fifth day they do more studied dictation. You can really use the book however it best suits your needs. Detailed information on what to do each day is included in the book.

If you are not familiar with the Charlotte Mason methods, there is plenty of helpful information in the book to help you along the way. The front of the book has explanations of what your student should do each day along with ideas on how to adapt if your child finds the material too difficult. I found this section helpful as it goes into detail on what your child should do during dictation and the correct way to do narration.

How We Used Writing Through Medieval History

Since we have previously reviewed Writing Through Modern History, I knew that the suggested schedule didn’t really work for us, so I decided to try a different way.  While this is a writing program, we used it as a history supplement. Of course, AJ is still getting the benefits of the different writing elements while we learn history.

Each week I looked over the topics that we were studying in history to see if there were any narrations or primary source documents about any of the thing we were learning. One week in history we were learning the very basics about the Justinian Code. Her regular curriculum glossed over the subject, but I found both a historical narrative and a primary source document about Justinian the Great.

The first day I had AJ read the historical narrative about Justinian the Great. Then she narrated about the reading. She has a little trouble retelling what she reads, so this was good practice. After she was finished she did a written narration. The next few days AJ and I read through the Justinian Code, it was a long document so it took quite a while. Each day she read a little bit and then did some copywork.

The grammar element is added by marking the parts of speech after copywork and dictation. AJ has the hardest time picking out each part of speech in a sentence, so each day we focused on a single part of speech.

She worked on copywork, dictation, and narration about Justinian the Great and the Justinian Code for about two weeks. By the time she was done, she had a very good grasp on the concept.

When there wasn’t a historical narrative or primary source that fit our current historical studies, then we would work on a poetry selection or a myth. AJ enjoyed reading about the different myths. Some of the poetry she enjoyed and others she didn’t understand very well. After each selection she would do dictation, narration, and copywork.

It is hard to say how long each lesson took. The writing, copywork and dictation exercises took about twenty minutes to complete, but the reading time varied depending on the document.

What We Thought About Writing Through Medieval History

AJ doesn’t love dictation, and some days she felt there was too much reading, but overall she likes it. I think it is a wonderful book. And plan on using it as a supplement throughout the year. Honestly, if you have a child around fourth grade, I think Writing Through Medieval History (or any time period) could be the backbone of their curriculum. In one book your child learns a great deal of history. There is reading practice that is fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. With a few supplemental books from the library, this could cover history and all of language arts.

The only thing I didn’t care for was the large amount of printing, but as I have said before, I prefer physical books. If you are looking for a Charlotte Mason approach, then I highly recommend this series.

Click here to see other reviews I have done for Brookdale House.

Members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed a lot of different products from Brookdale House. Click on the graphic below to see what they thought.

 

 Brookdale House Review
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Drawing Around the World ~ Review

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We have had the opportunity to review a few different products from Brookdale House the last few years, and they are almost always a perfect fit for us. When we were given the opportunity to review a geography program from them, we jumped at the chance.

Drawing Around the World is a great program that is quick and simple to add to your daily routine.

We received a digital copy of both Drawing Around the World Europe, and Drawing Around the World USA. The books are very similar. The Europe version has your child learning about the countries in Europe while the USA version has your child learning all of the states. Aside from that, they are almost identical.

The goal of the Drawing Around the World series is to help your child learn to draw large portions of the globe. It isn’t an art book, and you can’t expect your child to draw the states and countries exactly, but instead they should be very familiar with what they look like and where they are on a map.

The Drawing Around the World series takes a Charlotte Mason approach to learning geography. There are 24 weeks of work in the Europe version and 27 weeks of work in the USA version. Each week has four days of work.

The first day introduces one or more countries or states to your student. They trace the country or state and fill out a fact sheet about it. The information needed to fill in the fact sheet is not provided, but the author gives a few different websites where the information can be found. After the fact sheet, they fill in a few maps.

The rest of the week has your child tracing and drawing a map each day. The final day also has them list each country or state that they have learned about so far.

How We Used Drawing Around the World

In the beginning we used the books as written. Each day I would print off new maps and AJ would trace and draw the states and countries that she had learned. I quickly realized that it was taking up way to much paper and ink.

After a few weeks we changed things up. I printed off the fact sheet for any new states or countries and one map that she had to fill in. On the first day she would trace the new state or country and fill in the fact sheet. I bought a plastic sleeve and put a copy of the map she traced on one side and the map she filled in on the other. Each day she would use a dry erase marker and do the work. On the final day of the week she would  draw on the paper map and I would put it in her folder.

At the beginning of the review period she worked on the USA book one week and the Europe book the next. Now that school has started she is using the Europe book for her geography book this year.

Each morning she works on geography for about 10 minutes. The lessons are short, simple, and fun. I can see her learning new countries and her drawing of the map is getting better as well.

What We Thought of Drawing Around the World

We love this program. The lessons are easy to fit in our day and can be done independently. Having her trace and draw the countries or states each day is helping her to really learn the information, not just for the short term.

I would recommend this curriculum to anyone who wants their child to learn geography in a simple way. It is easy to teach and easy to learn!

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Science Unit Studies ~ Review

Science is one of AJ’s favorite subjects. She loves any subject where she can learn new things in a hands on way. We were given the chance to review a great book, Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers from Funtastic Unit Studies. We use unit studies a lot in our homeschool, so I thought this book would be a great fit.

Funtastic Unit Studies Review

What is Science Unit Studies?

Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers is a 201 page soft covered book. It is broken up into 20 chapters. The first 10 chapters are geared for ages 4 to 7 and the last 10 chapters are for ages 8 to 13. It is recommended that you teach the chapters in order, but it isn’t necessary. There are a variety of different topics covered including:

  • Senses
  • Human Body
  • Dinosaurs
  • Animals
  • Insects
  • Plants
  • Health
  • Atoms and Molecules
  • Chemistry
  • Weather
  • Light and Sound
  • and more

Each unit varies, but most will take about two weeks to complete. At the beginning of the chapter you are given a list of supplies that you will need in order to do the experiments. Most of the items needed are easily found around the home, or in a regular grocery store. Some units require you to make copies of pages in the book, but there are not very many worksheets included. Hands on learning is key with this book!

The lessons are written to the teacher and give step by step directions of what to say, do, and explain to your student. It is written in simple language making it easy to teach. At the end of the chapter there is a multiple choice test to help you gage how much your child has learned.

How We Used Science Unit Studies

We were asked to complete any unit in the book. We have studied a lot of different science topics, but she hasn’t learned much about chemistry. We decided to go with Chapter 13: Atoms and Molecules.

The first activity had me explaining what an atom is and introduced the Periodic Table. The activity was to have the student rip a piece of aluminum foil into small pieces and to then find aluminum on the Periodic Table. AJ thought the activity was odd, and I wished that there was more explanation about the Periodic Table. The only explanation given was that it was a list of all the atoms in the world.

The second activity had AJ a little more interested. She was learning about molecules. The only way to learn about molecules is with marshmallows! She made quite a few molecules including water, carbon dioxide, methane, and carbon tetrachloride. This activity helped her to understand how atoms can come together to make molecules.

Science Unit Studies~ Learning about Molecules

The third activity had her take the molecules she had made and combine them to make crystals. They didn’t turn out too well, but I think she understood the concept. There were a few other activities to learn about crystals including looking at salt with a magnifying glass and seeing Epsom Salt dried on dark paper. Her favorite activity was growing sugar crystals.

Science Unit Studies - learn about crystals.

We have had this experiment in other science courses, but it never works. The recipe for this one worked very well. Over night we had a large piece of sugar crystal (rock candy). AJ enjoyed eating it.

The best part of science is eating your experiments!

The fourth set of activities had her learning about the characteristics of molecules. It involved putting food coloring in water to see how molecules move, putting food coloring in different temperatures of  water to see how fast molecules move based on temperature, spraying perfume to see how molecules move through the air, watching water evaporate into steam, and a few other activities.  We both felt these activities would have been great if she were younger, but that they were boring and too babyish for  7th grade.

Learning about molecules with hands on activities

The last activity was to draw different atoms. The book gave very basic information about protons, neutrons, and electrons and explained how they made up an atom. Using the sample in the book AJ drew the different atoms. She thought it was fun.

Drawing atoms

But then as I was flipping through the book I came to chapter 15 where the book explains all about electron shells. It says, “Tell your students that electrons don’t just randomly move around the nucleus of an atom, there is a pattern to their movement.” That would have been helpful to know before she drew all of those atoms! She redid the drawings and then we read a little more about atoms in chapter 15.

Learning about atoms and electrons

What We Thought About Science Unit Studies

There were a lot of hands on ideas in this book, but I really don’t feel that there is enough information to say that it would work for kids up to age 13. I think it would work well for elementary students but that middle school students would need more. Some of the activities felt redundant and at times the information in the book needed a lot more explanation.

I think it would be a great resource for those with younger kids, and those looking for basic information. AJ had fun with the study, but I don’t feel that she really learned much. It is great resource to get kids interested in science, but it needs some supplements.

Find out what others had to say by clicking the graphic below.

Funtastic Unit Studies Review
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A Tale of Two Kingdoms – Review

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When I was younger I read the entire Bible and felt like it was a huge accomplishment. For some time now I have not been reading the Bible as much as I should. Then this year AJ’s curriculum included daily Bible reading. I have been reading more of the Bible again but felt I could use a good Bible study. So when I was recently given the opportunity to review two books by Heather A Kendall I thought that it would be a good study. I reviewed A Tale of Two Kingdoms and God’s Unfolding Story of  Salvation. The books are meant to be used either together or they can stand alone.


About the Book

A Tale of Two Kingdoms is a 448 page book that is divided into two sections. The first section is, Waiting for the Promised Seed and the second is Responding to the Promised Seed. The promised seed is of course our Savior Jesus Christ. The book traces the story of salvation from Genesis to Revelations. The book also includes maps, timelines, and key people and events in the Bible. The book is meant to serve as a big picture overview of the Bible.

What did I think?

To be honest this book was just not for me. Throughout the book Heather tells stories of her own life and it is intertwined with the Bible study. I found it not only distracting but at times confusing. Everyone interprets the Bible differently and I found a few places in the book where her interpretation of scripture and my thoughts on scripture differed. While I love the idea of the book I felt it was hard to read and at times boring. The book was not all bad, and it could be that it was not right for me at this time in my life. I do agree with the general premise of the book and feel that it might be a good starting point for those who are either new to reading the Bible or those who want to understand the big picture of the Bible before studying it more in-depth.

The second book was God’s Unfolding Story of  Salvation.

About the Book
 
God’s Unfolding Story of Salvation is a 196 page Bible study that is divided into 38 lessons. The lessons are divided into four sections.

  • Part One Preparing for the Promised Seed
  • Part Two The Prophets: Waiting for the Promised Seed
  • Part Three Jesus, the Promised Seed
  • Part Four The Church: Proclaiming the Promised Seed

This book can be used for a group or individual Bible study. The same premise is presented in this book, but the difference is that you are instructed to read various verses in the Bible and then answer questions. After the questions there is a summary of the verses along with Heather’s interpretation of them. It is suitable for older teens and adults.

What did I think?

While I found this book more useful than the other one, it still was not something I would use. The way the questions were set up  requires a lot of writing and some of the questions were quite redundant. They also have you jumping all over the Bible reading a few verses here and there. While I don’t think the Bible has to be read from beginning to end, I do feel that reading little bits here and there can lead to misinterpretations of the scripture. In a Bible study I like questions that are open-ended and make you think, unfortunately those were not the types of questions I found. I felt the questions were set up more like reading comprehension questions than ones that made you think and grow closer to God.

All that being said, if you are looking for a Bible study where the focus is primarily on facts in the Bible, this would be what you are looking for. It might be good for those who are new to the Bible and those who want the scriptures broken down and explained for them.

According to the author the books can stand alone or be used together. After trying numerous times I was unable to match up the chapters so that both books were talking about the same thing. I would recommend using the books separately as they make more sense that way.

Overall these books didn’t work for me. I love the idea behind the books but personally I did not enjoy them. Just because they didn’t work for me doesn’t mean they won’t work for you. Check out a sample from the books and decide for yourself.

God’s Unfolding Story of Salvation is available for $22 with free shipping and handling from the author’s website and for $23 from Amazon.

A Tale of Two Kingdoms is available for $23 with free shipping and handling from the author’s website and for $19.17 from Amazon. It is also available for Kindle.

Find out what others on the team thought of the books by clicking on the graphic below.

http://mosaicreviews.com/a-tale-of-two-kingdoms/

H is for Health – Weeding out the Wheat

H is for Health

Gluten free products are everywhere, and it seems everyday someone else is saying why wheat can be causing all sorts of health problems. In fact just this week Dr. Oz  had a whole show devoted to the subject. Should you take the wheat out of your diet? Is it something you are thinking about?

 I am in the process of reviewing a new book, Weeding out the Wheat written by Luke and Trisha Gilkerson. It is a great book that explains everything about wheat in laymen’s terms. Here is a video that explains it a little more.

You can purchase Weeding Out the Wheat here. Look for my full review coming at the end of the month.

Why I Give An Activity Book – Review & Giveaway

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G is for Giving!

I recently was able to review a book and activity book written by Corine Hyman, Ph.D. The book is, Why We Give  Gifts at Christmas Time.

From the back of the book:

“Why do we give gifts to each other at Christmas time if it is Jesus’ birthday? This is a question that everyone has wondered at least once in their life. However, few have been able to come up with an answer. Join Evelyn and her friends as they discover the reason why we give gifts at Christmas time if it is Jesus’ birthday.”

About the book:

It is a hard covered 16 page picture book that is full of color. The images in the book are child like and fun. It is geared for children ages 3 to 8 and gives a great message. The book has you follow Evelyn as she asks all of her friends why they give gifts at Christmas time. Each of her friends gives a reason that is then backed up by a Bible verse. The verses are written in either NIV or NCV versions.

What did I think?

I really liked the idea of the book and feel that it gives a great message. It is very well made and the illustrations are kid friendly. AJ liked the fact that she was able to read it by herself and that there were so many pictures. The story is cute, but I would stick to the recommended ages because AJ found it a bit boring. I am also a cheapskate so I found the recommended price to be a little too high for the book. Then again I couldn’t justify spending $16.95 on any book.

It is available as a Kindle ebook from Amazon. You can also get the hardcover book here. Prices on Amazon change, but at the time of this post the ebook was $4.99 and the hardcover book was $10.86.

There is an activity book that can stand alone or go with the book. It is called, Why I Give an Activity Book. The activity book is designed to help cultivate a heart of giving all of the time, not just at Christmas.

About the Activity Book:

It is a 64 page downloadable ebook that contains coloring pages, journal pages, puzzles, and gift ideas that kids can either make or help make. The coloring pages are based off of the characters from the book, Why We Give Gifts at Christmas Time. On the bottom of each coloring page there is a Bible verse related to giving. There are a variety of different puzzle pages including, mazes, filling in the blank pages, word searches and more.

What did I think?

I really liked the activity book. I liked that there were such a variety of different puzzles. AJ found them fun and challenging enough to keep her interest. The gift ideas were great. So many times kids want to give but don’t have the money to buy a gift, in this activity book it gives them ideas that they can use. We made a soap ball and it turned out great! When you buy this activity book you are getting way more than a coloring book!

There are even printable memory verse cards that you can use to play memory or go-fish. I really like the fact that you can just print off a page for your child to do and that you don’t have to print out the ones that your child isn’t in to. AJ isn’t that into coloring, but she loves puzzles. I feel there is something for everyone in this book.

Both the book and the activity book are available at Corine’s website.

Connect with Corine:

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Celebrate Jesus Light of the World – Review and Giveaway

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Are you looking for a way to keep Christmas focused on God? If so then the newest product I was able to review might be just for you. I received a copy of Celebrate Jesus Light of the World written by Amy Blevins from Homeschool Encouragement. It is an advent journey for families. Amy and her family have been using parts of this book and adding ideas to it for the last 10 years to help them celebrate Jesus.

This is the second product of Amy’s that I have had the pleasure of reviewing and this one did not disappoint!

Celebrate Jesus Light of the World is a 81 page ebook, with daily schedules including Bible reading, crafts, songs, copy work, and even recipes to help you and your family celebrate this Christmas season. Each day the advent activities can be completed in a relatively short amount of time with out too much reading so little ones can stay focused. She even provides a link for Christmas coloring pages that can be used.

Here is what a sample day would look like:

  1. You light a candle
  2. Pray together
  3. Read the scripture together
  4. Listen to a song/hymn (She gives a website where almost all of the songs are found for free)
  5. Do an activity

The crafts and activities included throughout the book don’t require too many supplies and most of them you probably have on hand. The best part is that there is a page that has all of the materials you will need for each day so you can plan ahead. You don’t need to do all of the activities you can pick and choose what works for your family. This point is stressed in the book, it should be a time of celebration with your family.

I love that the activities are simple yet meaningful. After the daily activities there is a section full of Christmas recipes. We made the sugar cookies and they were wonderful! Unfortunately due to my corn allergy we couldn’t try the other recipes because they call for ingredients that I haven’t found good substitutes for. They all look really good though. Some of them are; ginger cream frosting, peanut butter fudge, pie crusts, and more. She even includes a few gluten free recipes as well.

At the end of the book you will find Christmas Copywork. Like the Thanksgiving Copywork it is beautiful. Each page has a scripture verse with plenty of lined space for the verse to be copied. There are also pictures on each page. You can work on both penmanship and Bible at the same time!

How did we use it?

Since advent hasn’t started yet we didn’t use the book quite as intended yet. We will be using it starting Sunday and I can’t wait! For this review I read the book and we did a few different activities. We also listened to some songs on the website that she lists. I have to say this book is very well written. I love that she includes Bible Study questions for mom and older kids. The questions she has make you think and help you to really understand the verses. I think my favorite part is that the scripture readings are short enough to keep your child’s interest.

Here are some of the activities we tried.

  • We made the sugar cookies (they were Thanksgiving themed, but we will make Christmas ones soon.)

  • Made a pipe cleaner wreath

  • Attempted to make a paper star. (We will try again but so far ours looks a little odd.)
  • Made a paper chain.

There are a lot more activities that we can’t wait to try.

Where can you get a copy?

Amazingly this ebook is only $4.99 and you can get it here. It is available in both KJV and ESV. If you are looking for just the copywork pages those can be purchased separately too for only $1.99.

I am going to have a QUICK giveaway for one copy of the ebook. Enter for your chance to win below!
  

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