CHSH Download Club ~ Review

AJ is a kid that enjoys doing worksheets, so I am often on the look out for things to supplement the topics we are learning about.  The problem is that since she is in 8th grade, a lot of  worksheets and unit studies that I find are too easy for her. Sometimes I make up my own worksheets for her to complete, but most of the time I just don’t have the time. We were recently given the opportunity to review the CHSH Download Club  from CHSH-Teach.com. When I first looked at the Christian HomeSchool Hub, I knew that it would be a resource that I would use frequently over the next year.

What is the CHSH Download Club?

I  had never heard of the CHSH Download Club before this review, but I wish I had. The CHSH Download Club is an online resource that gives you access to thousands of pages of educational materials. It includes worksheets, literature studies, full curriculum, supplemental materials, flash cards, puzzles, coloring pages, and more. For one small price of just $25 a year (or $99 for a lifetime membership) you have access to everything on the site. There are materials for grades preschool through high school.

Christian HomeSchool Hub {Download Club}
The site makes it easy to find exactly what you need. The materials are organized by; subject, grade, and month. I have to say that I was amazed at all of the different things available, and I was thrilled to see that there is an entire section for high school. It includes:

  • Literature Studies – Including Shakespeare
  • English Composition and Language Arts – 4 Years of High School English
  • Social Studies – Including a full World History and American History course
  • Math – Including a Collage Level Algebra Book and Answer Key
  • Science – Including Biology and Physics

AJ won’t be in high school until next year, but I looked over a lot of the high school resources and think we will probably use the World History and Biology courses next year.

How We Used the CHSH Download Club

We are studying modern history this year. We have been learning about different important people throughout history. I looked through our history curriculum and saw that AJ would soon be learning about Amelia Earhart and the Wright Brothers. So I looked to see if there was any information on either of the two topics. There was!

I quickly found three resources for Amelia Earhart under the Social Studies topic of “People throughout History.” There is a unit geared for 3rd through 6th grade and a unit geared for 4th through 8th grade. There is also an Amelia Earhart shape book. I decided to use both of the units about Amelia Earhart. The first one she did was the one geared for kids in 3rd through 6th grade. That one basically had her read about Amelia Earhart and then fill in charts and answer questions about the reading. I felt that study would have been perfect for the 3rd through 6th grade age range. After she finished with that unit she was going to start on the 4th through 8th grade unit. Unfortunately, when I clicked on that unit it said that the file was not found. I was a little disappointed about that.

This is just one of the many products from the CHSH Download Club!

 

The next unit study I had AJ work on was Wright Brothers: Bicycles to Airplane. It is an 85 page unit study that has 17 different tasks for the student to complete while learning about the Wright Brothers. It begins with pages of information about the Wright Brothers. There are a variety of different tasks including; creating a magazine cover about the Wright Brothers’ flight, making an anemometer, researching aviation, locating important places on a map, art projects, poems, giving a speech and more. AJ didn’t complete all of the tasks (we still have another week left) but, this unit study is great. It includes so many hands on activities to help students learn about flight. I was excited to see a study that was geared towards older students, and look forward to other studies in the future.

These graphic organizers make learning new concepts fun!

We also used various worksheets throughout the review period. AJ enjoyed the blank periodic table that she could fill in. She also liked the different charts and venn diagrams that were available in the Graphic Organizer download. There are 80 different ones to choose from.

We planned on using one of the literature studies for the novels that AJ is reading. There is a study for almost all of the books she is reading this year.  Even though the literature studies are for grades 4 through 8, I found them to be too simple and easy for AJ. They were mainly simple questions about the plot of the novel and didn’t ask any thought provoking questions. I think it may have been perfect for younger students, but not for the 8th grade level.

What We Thought About the CHSH Download Club

After trying out various products from the CHSH Download Club I think it is well worth the cost. There really is something for everyone. Almost all of the resources I looked at were well made and well thought out. I enjoyed how easy it was to use the site and how quickly the downloads came up. Other than the one file about Amelia Earhart, there were no glitches on the site.

Christian HomeSchool Hub {Download Club}
If you are looking for a way to supplement your child’s learning then the CHSH Download Club may be exactly what you are looking for. This would be perfect for those who enjoy unit studies or those who want to dig deeper into a concept. We have tried a few different sites over the years that have downloadable resources, and I think so far that this one is the best, especially if you have older students.

Find out what other members of the Review Crew had to say by clicking the graphic below.

Christian HomeSchool Hub {Download Club}
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8th Grade Math & Science

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Last week I shared our 8th grade English choices, today I will be sharing our choices for  math and science. AJ enjoys math and science most of the time. Since she was little she has enjoyed watching The Magic School Bus and reading nonfiction books. I think that my choices this year will let her enjoy both subjects and allow me to stick to my very tight budget.

Math and Science picks for 8th grade

Math

AJ is ready for Algebra this year! I didn’t know if she would be ready to take Algebra in 8th grade or if she would end up taking it in 9th grade. After looking at all of the concepts that we have covered over the years I was happy to see that she was ready for a higher level of math. I am not one that usually sticks to a math program, but I am determined to stick with two main programs that we were blessed to review this year.

I wanted a little bit of variety with a good amount of structure to our math plan. Right now I have her scheduled to work on lessons from CTC Math three days a week. The other two days a week she will work on Learn Bop. Between the two programs she will have plenty of practice and she should be able to master the different concepts. We will continue to play games like Sudoku (download a few for free) and Zoologic. We like to add games to our day whenever it is possible.

Science

Science was a hard decision for me this year. We have studied a lot of concepts over the last few years and almost every curriculum that I looked at had a lot of information that we already covered. I know that some things will be reviewed, but when you spend an entire year on Earth Science you don’t want to learn about volcanoes again two years later. The thought of making my own study seemed overwhelming this year. I haven’t felt well so I decided I needed something that was at least outlined for me. After looking at quite a few different options I decided on Easy Peasy Physics and Chemistry.

If you haven’t looked into Easy Peasy, you should check it out. It is free to use and gives you a 180 day schedule of assignments for your child to do. Science has videos, articles, games, and experiments. There are also notebooking pages and lapbooks for your child to make. We will probably skip a few things and we might follow a few rabbit trails and get off schedule. But I like that I have a strong foundation that I can have AJ follow on days that I can’t help her.

Some of the topics we will be studying are:

  • Elements of the Periodic Table
  • Atoms
  • Molecules
  • Sound
  • Acids and Bases
  • Mater
  • Forces
  • Motion
  • and more

Supplements

AJ loves science so I plan to let her do extra experiments on her own. We will also to borrow plenty of books and videos from the library to go with the concepts she is learning about.

Some of the resources we plan borrow from the library are:

Our plan is to really focus on English and Math this year so I think that Easy Peasy’s Science will be the perfect fit for AJ this year.  With a few extra books and videos I know she will have a year full of learning What are you using for math and science this year?

NotebookingPages.com ~ Review

AJ is a reluctant writer, but we found out a few years ago that she writes a lot more when she is making a lapbook or using a notebooking page. As she has gotten older we have started to move past lapbooks and into notebooking for some of her subjects. We were given a Lifetime Membership to NotebookingPages.com and I was anxious to see all of the different notebooking pages that were available.

Notebooking is a great way to let your child show what they have learned. The process lets them explain what they really know about a subject with a combination of writing and drawing. Notebooking can be used for kids of all ages. Kids in kindergarten and lower elementary may draw pictures about what they have learned and dictate something for you to write where older kids may draw diagrams to explain things or write full pages of information about a topic. NotebookingPages.com has pages for all ages and offers specialized pages in so many different topics.

Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership Reviews
With a Lifetime Membership to NotebookingPages.com you are given access to all of the notebooking pages that currently exist and any that are added in the future. The site is very organized making it simple to find the perfect page for what ever topic your child is learning about.

When you log on to NotebookingPages.com you will see that there are ten categories that the notebooking pages are divided into.

Any Study – Here you will find pages that are not specifically meant for a certain subject. You will find numerous designs including pages with colorful borders and different set ups. This section also has 3D notebooking pages and mini books. These are wonderful for those who are transitioning from lapbooking to notebooking. It is a fun way to add mini books right onto the notebooking page. These pages were AJ’s favorite, she enjoyed being able to still fill out the mini books because they help her to organize the information that she is writing about.

A to Z – These pages are great for younger kids who are starting to use notebooking pages. It includes coppywork and pages about sports, animals and transportation.

Bible/Character – Here you will find pages about characters and events in the Bible as well as pages dedicated to learning about character traits. There are quite a few different designs with beautiful pictures. There are over 500 different pages to pick from in the Bible category alone!

Famous People – This section has pages about different people. There are pages about presidents, scientists, missionaries, artists, composers, and other famous people throughout history. The artist pages even contain full color pages of art prints from the artist and picture studies. This section could keep you busy, it is well set up so you have what you need right at your fingertips to easily put together a great study.

Fine Arts – This section also includes the artist and picture study section. You will also find pages about composers and musical copywork.

Geography – This was my favorite section! There are maps, country study packets, and USA notebooking pages. There are pages about the different states, monuments, parks, and memorials.

History – These pages include timeline pages and pages to make a Book of Centuries. It also contains pages on; Ancient History, the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation, and Modern Times. There are pages about important people and events in each era of history.

Holidays – This section has holiday themed pages for each major holiday. You can search by month and find pages for that month’s holidays.

Language Arts – This section has Latin and Greek word study pages and 13 different categories of copywork pages.

Science/Nature – This was another one of my favorite sections. There are notebooking pages for science experiments, plants, nature studies, astronomy, animals, and anatomy. But these pages go way past simple notebooking pages. There are diagrams of the body and different body systems for your child to fill out, and pages where they can write about each body system. I really think that the anatomy pages and a few good books would be perfect for a high school Biology course. They are very well done. I see us using quite a few of these pages over the next few years.

As you can see there is a very large variety. Most of the pages come in different line styles so your older and younger children can be working on the same topic with pages that fit their writing needs.

Simplify your homeschool with NotebookingPages.com!

With so many pages available and our school year coming to an end we used pages from a variety of sections. I had AJ pick out some of the basic designs to write summaries about books she was reading. She used a few science themed pages to write about what she learned after watching some Bill Nye the Science Guy episodes, and used some of the experiment pages after doing some quick experiments. It is amazing how fun designs make writing up experiment reports so much easier. She has been learning about Greek and Latin words in vocabulary and used the notebooking pages to keep track of the words she was learning. She also used a few of the 3D pages to create some fun pages about animals. She also used some of the blank copywork pages to practice the poetry she is memorizing. In just a few weeks we got a lot of use out of NotebookingPages.com. But I have even more plans for next year.

I picked up a high school World Geography book at the Good Will and was creating a course for AJ to complete, the problem was that I couldn’t find any good maps to go along with it. But there are hundreds of different maps available on NotebookingPages.com. I found labeled maps for her to color and blank maps for her to label. There are so many different maps that I was able to find exactly what I needed. There are world maps and continent maps. When she is learning the world oceans I can print out a world map and when she is learning about Africa I can print a map of the continent. It has made planning so much easier.

I have also went through and printed out pages to go with topics she is going to learn about in history and science next year. NotebookingPages.com has made planning for the next school year so much easier.

The site is well organized, easy to use, and full of well made pages. One thing I really enjoyed is that I didn’t need to save anything to my computer. I could simply open the file in Adobe Acrobat and print the pages I needed. I know that NotebookingPages.com will be a resource that we use for years to come. I originally thought that I would find a few good pages, but the site has exceeded my expectations. If you use notebooking in your homeschool, NotebookingPages.com will be a great addition have.

Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership Reviews
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Learning About Butterflies

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Spring is in the air . . . the grass is getting greener, the weather is warmer, and learning is all around us. Why not take this changing time of year to study the beautiful butterfly? There are so many different types of butterflies that learning can be endless.

Great ideas and printables to help you learn about butterflies

 

There are a lot of great book resources for butterfly studies, ranging from simple picture books to advanced scientific type books for adults. One fun book we really enjoyed was From Caterpillar to Butterfly Big Book (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1). Around our house The Magic School Bus books and videos are always a hit. My little one loves to learn all that she can from Mrs. Frizzle, and often I pick up a thing or two too. Here are a few of the Magic School Bus books that are full of fun and information all about butterflies.

After reading about butterflies there are numerous hands-on ways to continue learning. If your family enjoys lapbooks, there are a few great (free) ones that are available. There are also numerous paid options available.

If there is one in your area, a trip to visit a butterfly farm or house to see the beautiful creatures up close would be fun and educational. If that isn’t probable, you can purchase a kit and watch a caterpillar grow into a butterfly. Spring is the perfect time of year for it.

You can also download my free butterfly lifecycle worksheet.

Butterfly lifecycle Worksheet

When I do a unit study, I like to include as many subjects as possible. We have already covered reading and science but so many other subjects can be covered quite easily.

For spelling, you can use words related to the butterfly. Depending on the age of your child words could include; fly, egg, larva, thorax, insect, and antenna. Continue the fun by having them see how many words they can make from the letters in “butterfly” (there are 144 words possible) or “butterflies” (there are 690 possible words).

Writing is another subject that can easily be incorporated. You can cut a butterfly out of lined paper and then glue it to a piece of construction paper. Here are a few writing prompt ideas:

  • One day I woke up and I was a butterfly. I spread my winds and……..
  • My best friend is a butterfly………….
  • Describe a day in the life of a butterfly.
  • What would happen if there were no more butterflies in the world?
  • Write a descriptive poem about butterflies.
  • Write an acrostic poem about butterflies.

For geography, you can study the habitats of different butterflies. What types of butterflies live in your area?

For math, you can study symmetry and angles. Butterflies have six legs so practice your 6 times tables, or for the younger kids practice making groups of six.

Butterfly art can be extremely fun!

Butterfly Art

Here is one project that brings together math and art. Cut a symmetrical butterfly out of construction paper. On one side of the butterfly, put different colored drops of paint. Put enough paint that most of the construction paper will be covered, but not so much that paint will get everywhere. Then fold the butterfly in half and press down. When you open the butterfly back up there should be a symmetrical design. Here are a few more ideas.

  • You can paint a butterfly and then glue pom poms and on it.
  • Make a butterfly out of pipe cleaners.
  • Sculpt a butterfly out of clay and paint it.
  • Make a diorama of a butterfly habitat.

A unit study can be as quick and simple or as long and detailed as you want. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel either. Find some free resources that are available and then go with your gut. Find a subject, do a little research, and have fun making learning fun for your kids.

Free Printable Biome Book

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This year AJ is learning about biology in science. We started off the school year with two different science reviews, and only recently started with our planned curriculum. We are going through Christian Kids Explore Biology. It is geared for kids up to 6th grade and AJ is in 7th, but so far it is exactly what I was looking for!

Some of the concepts that she is learning are review for her, but she is learning plenty of new things as well. This curriculum doesn’t require a lot of writing, in fact I am adding in different worksheets and activities because I think she needs more practice. Super Teacher Worksheets has really come in handy for supplementing and digging deeper.

This year I wanted a science curriculum that gave us a guide of what to study and left plenty of room for rabbit trails. The book is designed so that each lesson takes a week to complete, but AJ is able to do the lesson and book work in one day and then dig deeper if we need to, or go on to the next lesson. We have added in a few videos and experiments to some lessons while a few others she has simply read through.

One lesson that we decided to take a step further was on biomes. After reading about the purpose of breaking the world up into biomes AJ’s assignment was to look up a few of the major biomes. We decided to spend a few days learning about different biomes.

 

She used a few different books from the library and searched web sites to find information about the different biomes. I then had her create a book where she gave basic information about each biome.

Subscriber Freebie - Printable Biome Book

I am sharing the Biome Book that I created with all of my subscribers! If you are already a subscriber, you will find the link in your email. If you haven’t subscribed yet, enter your email below and you will receive a link where you can download your copy.


What are your kids learning about in science?


 

Fascinating Biology ~ Review

One of AJ’s favorite subjects is science, so she was excited when we were given the chance to review a biology course from Fascinating Education. We received year long access to the Fascinating Biology  course and a short review course on chemistry.

What is Fascinating Biology?

Fascinating Education is an online science curriculum that uses audio and visual aids to teach science concepts in a fascinating way.

It is a self paced program, geared for high school students, that is broken down into 18 lessons. Throughout the course your child will learn a variety of topics including:

  • Components of life
  • Cell membranes
  • Taking in nutrients
  • Creating chemical energy
  • Growing and repairing
  • Reproducing
  • Maintaining a stable internal environment
  • and adapting to a changing external environment

Each of the 18 lessons has a presentation to watch where information is read to the student. It is really more like a slide show. On the left side of the screen there is a list of each slide. Your student can watch the presentation straight through or they can skip to the section they need to revisit.

The lessons themselves are long and cover a lot of information, too much information in my opinion. Your student may decide to only watch part of the presentation at a time, and it is easy to jump back in the next time they work on science. In addition to the audio presentation, there is also the option to print out the lesson script.

At the end of each lesson there is an optional multiple choice test. The test can be taken online, or you can print off a PDF version for your student. Progress and test results are not recorded in any way, so if you need or want a record of the test results you will need to print the results immediately following the test.

The program doesn’t contain any worksheets, labs, or experiments. It is more like listening to a professor lecture in a classroom setting.

This is a secular based course, so it talks about evolution and refers to the world being millions of years old. While I disagree with that opinion, I do not have an issue with it being taught. By the high school level I feel a child should be able to listen to differing beliefs and stand firm in what they believe.

How We Used Fascinating Biology

When I looked at this program I thought it would be a great fit for AJ. She is in 7th grade, but I thought she would be able to handle the information. The real selling point for us was that it had audio and she wouldn’t have to read through a science book.

Unfortunately, this program was not a good fit for us. We tried using it a few different ways. In the beginning I had AJ watch and listen to the presentation, we discussed some of the information and then she took the test. It was the first time she ever failed a test!

We went over the lesson again, but no matter how hard she tried, there was just too much information in the lesson for her to remember.

For the next few lessons I had her take notes, that still didn’t help. She has pages and pages of notes from the lessons, but couldn’t pass the tests or explain what she was learning.

What did we think of Fascinating Biology?

The program was a bad fit for AJ! I think the lessons really had too much information jammed into them for her retain the information. We both found the narrator to be monotone and I even found myself not paying attention during the lessons because I was not interested. We both thought that some of the test questions were poorly worded and confusing.

I think that at this time a lecture based program is too advanced for AJ. She needs a way to practice what she is learning and the lack of worksheets or experiments had her dreading the subject. Even when she took notes, there was so much information that she had problems knowing what was the most important information.

I really feel that this program would have worked a lot better if there would have been optional worksheets to go with the lessons. It would have helped to reinforce key topics.

If you have a student who doesn’t need the hands on element and is an audio learner, this may be exactly what you are looking for. It is easy to navigate and does a good job of covering a lot of information.

See what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say.

Fascinating Education Review
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Super Teacher Worksheets ~ Review

When we study different topics in history and science, I often try to find worksheets to help AJ understand concepts a little bit more. One site that I have found very helpful is Super Teacher Worksheets. They have quite a few free worksheets available that AJ has enjoyed using, but to access all of the worksheets you need a membership.

Super Teacher Worksheets is a quick and easy way to supplement what we are learning!

We were recently given a year long  Individual Membership  from Super Teacher Worksheets. I use the free version all of the time, so I was anxious to see if the paid membership was worth it. It is!

What is Super Teacher Worksheets?

Super Teacher Worksheets is a website that is full of different printable resources. Most of the worksheets are geared for kids up to sixth grade with some for seventh and eighth grade.( I think a lot of the worksheets that are geared for fourth and fifth grade can easily be used to help older students learn topics.) AJ is in 7th grade and we have used  dozens of worksheets over the last few weeks.

While there are plenty of regular worksheets, there are also flash cards, puzzles, maps, graphic organizers, holiday worksheets, and worksheet generators. There are worksheets for almost any topic. You can browse by subject or use the search bar and find what you need in seconds. Once you find a worksheet that you like you can print it right away, or save it to your file cabinet and use it when you need it.

The site is easy to navigate, and extremely fast. You really have access to thousands of worksheets right at your fingertips.

How did we use Super Teacher Worksheets?

Each week I make out our schedule on Sunday night, depending on what we were learning I would look for a few worksheets to go along with our studies. Normally that would be time consuming, but not with Super Teacher Worksheets! It took me just a few minutes a week to find and print worksheets to supplement her learning.

There are a lot of science worksheets on Super Teacher Worksheets!

This week AJ is learning about food chains in science. I typed “food chains” in the search box and it brought up 50 different results. Some were articles to read, some were math or phonics activities, and others were exactly what I needed. I found three that went along with her lesson perfectly. They were geared for 3rd through 5th grade, but they helped her practice the vocabulary and concepts that were explained in her regular lessons. When she was studying cells there were a few different worksheets that helped her memorize the parts of a cell.

In math she is working on algebraic equations, and was struggling a little. I found a worksheet for her to have a little extra practice. For fun I also printed her off a math mystery puzzle where she plots points on a coordinate grid and makes a picture. She thinks she is just having fun, but really she is practicing math skills.

Spanish worksheets from Super Teacher Worksheet mask learning fun!

There is also a section with Spanish vocabulary. I printed out flash cards and an activity for her to do each day this week. I was even able to use the worksheet generator to create a quiz for her.

Plenty of history and geography supplements at Super Teacher Worksheets!

We have found a lot of great worksheets! In history she was learning about castles. I found a really fun map activity where she had to follow directions and find different rooms in the castle. I also found a multiplication mystery puzzle that was a castle.

I have used the worksheet generator at least once a week, I make a lot of worksheets up for AJ and the worksheet generator has made it easy.

What we thought of Super Teacher Worksheets

I loved it! There is only one thing that I would change about the site. When you want to view a worksheet it takes you to the PDF and off of the website, I would rather have the PDF pop up in a new window so that I could easily compare multiple worksheets. Other than that, the site is perfect.

I love the fact that I can type in a topic we are learning about and I have numerous worksheets available at my finger tips. AJ is a child that likes worksheets and workbooks, so this has been a great fit. I can add a few worksheets each week to keep her engaged, but I don’t have to spend a lot of time searching for them. I like that I can print off a worksheet on a topic like longitude and latitude and have a short lesson on something I wouldn’t have thought to do.

There are so many worksheets that I plan to use over the next year. From science worksheets, to book studies, Super Teacher Worksheets will be a huge asset to us over the next year.

Super Teacher Worksheets Review
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Amazing Homeschool Giveaway

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Don’t you just love giveaways? I know I do! We have an AMAZING giveaway for you this week. I am really excited about this one and wish that I could enter it. As homeschoolers we know that learning science in a hands on way not only makes the subject fun, but it also helps build a deeper understanding of the topic. This microscope and camera will make the day of some young scientist.  Enter the Rafflecopter below, but don’t forget to come back each day next week to find great advice from over 50 homeschoolers as part of the back to homeschool blog hop!
Giveaway - HBC and SRC

Welcome to the Back-To-Homeschool Giveaway!

A group of bloggers from Your Homeschool Blogging Connection and the Schoolhouse Review Crew have teamed up to bring you this fun homeschool giveaway. We are so excited to be giving away this awesome Microscope with the special Digital Camera that goes with it!

One winner will receive these two items – valued at $1894.99!!!

Homeschool Giveaway for Awesome Microscope and Camera!!!

OMAX 40X-2000X Lab LED Binocular Compound Microscope with Double Layer Mechanical Stage + 100 Glass Blank Slides & Covers + 100 Lens Cleaning Paper

Here are the specs on this microscope:

Total magnification: 40X-80X-100X-200X-400X-800X-1000X-2000X; Eyepieces: wide field WF10X and WF20X; Objectives: achromatic DIN 4X, 10X, 40X(S), 100X(S, Oil); Viewing head: 45 degrees inclined 360 degrees swiveling binocular; Sliding adjustable interpupillary distance: 2-3/16inch ~ 2-15/16inch(55~75mm); Ocular diopter adjustable on both eyetubes

Nosepiece: revolving quadruple; Stage: double layer X-Y mechanical stage with scales, size: 4-1/2inchx 4-15/16inch (115mm x 125mm), translation range: 2-13/16inch x 1-3/16inch (70mm x 30mm); Stage upward moving lock protects objectives and slides

Condenser: NA1.25 Abbe condenser with iris diaphragm; Illumination: transmitted (lower) LED light, intensity adjustable; Focus: Coaxial coarse and fine knobs on both sides

Full solid metal frame construction with stain resistant enamel finish; Power supply: AC/DC adapter, 7.5V/7.5W (UL approved) – Input: 100-240V; 100-piece blank glass slides with 100-piece cover slips and 50-sheet lens cleaning paper included

5-year warranty against manufacturing defects

Homeschool Giveaway for Awesome Microscope and Camera

OMAX 5.0MP Digital USB Microscope Camera with Advanced Software and Calibration Slide

Here are the specs on this Microscope Camera (It’s made to go with the microscope and hooks up to your computer!)

Image sensor: Aptina 1/2.5inch color CMOS; Resolution: 2592×1944 pixels (5.0M pixels); Pixel size: 2.2um x 2.2 um; SNR: 40.5dB; Dynamic Range 66.5dB

Frame speed: 5fps at 2592×1944, 18fps at 1280×960, 60fps at 640×480

Interface: USB 2.0; Reduction lens: 0.5X, fit to 23.2mm eyepiece tube; 0.01 mm calibration slide: 1mm/100 division; Adapters fit 30mm and 30.5mm eyepiece tubes

Compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Mac OSX, Linux

1-year warranty against manufacturing defects

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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7th Grade Curriculum

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We started 7th grade this week! AJ is officially a middle-schooler now. It seems like yesterday that I was teaching her to count and write letters, the time has sure flown by. We are making a few changes this year as I try to get her to become a little bit more independent. We are using a lot of products that I reviewed, a few I purchased used, and a few that I am making up. It may seem like a lot, but most subjects are not done daily. Some lessons are very short and others are included at her request. My main goals this year are to help her become more independent and improve her study skills, improve her writing, and to make sure she has a solid grasp on all of her major subjects. One resource that we will be using for a few different subjects is SchoolhouseTeachers.com

Here is our 7th grade Curriculum plan.

7th Grade Curriculum Plan 2015-2016

Math

We have been blessed to review quite a few online math programs over the last few months. AJ loves math and did well with all of them, but she has found a favorite – Unlock Math. We have been reviewing the pre algebra program and she will continue with it. So far it is complete enough that I don’t feel I need to supplement it at all. There is enough practice built in that I think by the time she is finished with it she will be ready for Algebra. I will have a full review in a few weeks, but if you are looking for a great way to help your student with pre algebra I would really check this out!

Science

We are going to study biology this year using Christian Kids Explore Biology. This is the first time we have used this science, but I think AJ will enjoy it. I plan on supplementing it with library books and videos from Visual Learning Systems. She loves science, so I am sure this course will go over well.

History

Last year my plan was to use Diana Warring’s history for 6th through 8th grade. We didn’t get as far along as I wanted last year, and I felt it was too much for AJ.  I think we will put off the rest of that curriculum for a few years and take a lighter approach to history this year. We are going with Home School in the Woods Middle Ages. We have been using it for a few weeks and AJ loves it! It is hands on and fun but most of the work is done for me. It will not last all year, if finances allow we will do the Renaissance and Reformation set from Home School in the Woods when we are finished. If that doesn’t work out, we will either revisit Roman History from Memoria Press or tackle the Renaissance and Reformation through unit studies. History is a little up in the air, but I know what we will be using for the first part of the year at least.

Geography

This year we will be focusing on European geography. She will be using the Geography Drawing Series. It is a simple approach that is a quick and easy part of her day.

Bible

For the first half of the year she will be working through the Teen Prasso. Once that is finished she will continue with year 1 of Bible Road Trip. Last year we got off track, but I would like for her to finish year 1 this year.

Spanish

AJ has practiced Spanish with a few different programs, but this year I wanted more. We will be using a few different resources to make a year long study. For a workbook approach we are using Instant Immersion Spanish. We are also using Fun Spanish Level 1 and a few fun apps.

Music

When we reviewed Easy Piano Basics, I was sure the novelty would wear off and she would want to quit practicing the piano in a few weeks. Surprisingly, that is not the case. She has been teaching herself songs and practicing without me saying a word! So she will continue to work through the lessons this year. She is also involved in the choir at church and has practice every week.

Art

Art has been lacking from our homeschool, so I decided that this year we were going to make more of an effort. For drawing practice she will be working through Draw and Write Through History. It will line up pretty well with our history study. For an actual art course we are going with Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool Art Cultures. It is just once a week, so I am hopeful that we will stick with it.

PE

We have never had to worry about PE since AJ was in gymnastics. Unfortunately, finances no longer allow gymnastics so we are making up our own curriculum. Until it is too cold to swim she will be working on different skills on the Red Cross skills list. She will be working her way through each level. Once it is too cold to swim she will be doing different exercise videos and practicing the skills needed to pass the California fitness test that she would take this year if she was in public school. She doesn’t have to take it, but I feel working on the skills that will be on the test will help keep us on track.

Language Arts

I left the hardest subject for last!

For writing she will be using Institute for Excellence in Writing B. It has been the first writing program to click with her.

For spelling we are sticking with Spelling You See Level F.

For grammar she will work through the Grammar Workbook – I will have a review of this soon. We will also use copywork from Homeschoolcopywork.com

For Handwriting she will finish Cursive Logic.

For Literature I am creating my own study for the Chronicles of Narnia. With each book we will learn about different literary elements. I will be sharing each study after we go through it. (That way I hope to catch any issues before I offer it to you. ) Once Narnia is finished we plan to read The Giver.

It looks like AJ will have a full year of learning! Do you have your plan for next year yet?