Be Extra!, cooking/meal planning, science, Us!!!

Our Valentine’s Day

Our day was a little different this year. I didn’t get to prep and plan like I normally do. I picked up two different illnesses this week. Good thing is the candy will be half price tomorrow!!!

We did school and did a marshmallow STEM challenge

Dinner is homemade chicken noodle soup.

And dessert is valentine’s m&m chocolate chip cookies.

homeschooling, science

The water cycle

Here is what my science classroom looked like on Monday. Little scientists learned about precipitation, condensation and evaporation. It’s awesome to hear a five year old use big science words!!! ❤️

art, curriculum reviews, geography, homeschooling, science

Branch Out World: Paddington Bear Review

We have been learning so much while having fun with the Picture Book Explorer Pack Paddington Bear from Branch Out World. This is a fun unit study based on the book Paddington.

This was a fun first for us: this is a British product!  It was one of those great timing things.  We have done a few things this summer that made this the perfect study for us.

  • We have been focusing on geography and learning about the different continents and people and cultures all over the world.
  • This is the first year we ever got a membership to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg.  The park is based on European countries which the kids quickly noticed and picked their favorite things from each.
  • We have spent every night we have been home this summer watching past episodes of Doctor Who which is a British show.  When the Doctor and his companions are  on earth they are in London and Cardiff in England and also in Scotland and Wales among other places.

Since we have spent so much time being in “virtual England” I thought that it would be great time to do a familiar picture book study from a company in the UK.

We loved reading through the study picking out all the differences in vocabulary.  We have been familiarized with them so it was great to pick them out. One being queue for a line of people and some variations of spellings like coloured.  We loved it since it brought together everything we have been learning.

I decided to use this study with Evie.  She is 7 and going into 2nd grade.  She LOVES the Paddington movies so I knew she’d like this!  This curriculum is written to be used in five days.  Each day you read the story followed by and activity or two (or more).

  • The first day explores the setting, looking at England and Peru on a map and also their flags.  It introduces migration and when the story took place.
  • The second day teaches you about the author, explores vocabulary, grammar and writing.  We talked about the author with the information given.  We also talked about the time period this was written.  Evie imagined being an author and coming up with a story for a book.
  • The third day is about the illustrations, the artist, and design

We looked at the illustrations in the book taking notice of pictures that have things in the foreground and background.  We also looked at lines and shapes.  I put together a bowl of apples and Evie drew them.  We also looked at some famous artists works to see what we could notice.

  • The fourth day is science day.  It talks about bears, shaving cream, steam and nature/garden.

We talked about chemical reactions and made a volcano with yeast and hydrogen peroxide.

We talked about the shaving cream in the book and made some shaving cream slime.  Evie’s brothers joined in.

  • The fifth day is math and craft day.

There is so many great activities to pick from! We didn’t do them all, but I would like to definitely come back and do this one again and also try some other book studies from this series.  There are so many to pick from!  There are also some for chapter books and lapbooks!!! I love that I can get these digital products from another part of the world and expose my kids to another culture’s perspective.  Even though the differences were slight we loved it!!  We have been very intentionally seeking out things like this all summer!

You can find Branch Out World on these social media sites:

Facebook:    @BranchOutWorld
Pinterest:   @belzibow
Instagram:   @belzibow
Twitter:  @belzibow

Many other families on The Homeschool Review Crew had the opportunity to review this book study also.  Click on the box below to see what their families thought of Paddington Bear.

Paddington Bear {Branch Out World Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

curriculum reviews, science

Learning about Science Review

We like to add fun subjects like science to our summer studies so I was excited to receive Learning About Science Collection, Level 1 from  WriteBonnieRose.  We received a digital download of 7 different science topics and one file for the teacher with loads of great links to add fun websites and videos for each study.

Set of 7 topics:

  1. Animal Habitats of the World
  2. Earth Layers, Earthquakes and Volcanoes
  3. Exploring States of Matter
  4. Familiar Plants and How they Grow
  5. Fruits and Vegetables Around the World
  6. Learning About Life Cycles
  7. Our Senses and Systems and How they Work

We chose to focus on Animal Habitats of the World for this review period.  There were a few things that came up this summer that made this the perfect study.  First, my kids attended a summer reading program at our local library where they learned a fun song about habitats.  They are still singing it and that was a great introduction for this science unit.  Second, I read the Ocean Habitats section during shark week.  All of our reading and activities focused around sharks and marine biology.


Here are a few other shark week activities we added. First we made puppets.

Then we made ocean habitat jars with water, food coloring and baby oil. Thomas even added a shark.

I liked that the sections were short and engaging.  We did a little at a time and it was perfect for summer.

I will be adding these units all through the school year as these topics come up.  These will fit right in with the unit and book studies I have already planned.

We study a country a week and I will add in the Fruits and Vegetables Around the World unit.  This is also tie in with Earth Layers, Earthquakes and Volcanoes.  I love it when I find curriculum that work so well with the other things we have planned.

We will work through the Familiar Plants and How they Grow and Learning About Life Cycles in the spring when we plan on reading the Hungry Caterpillar.

I like to color with them. You’re never to old to learn or color, right?

Each of the studies are set up the same.  There is a small blurb of information, a picture to color and a word to trace.  I was able to read the paragraph as the kids were coloring. When I was done reading I brought over my laptop and clicked on a few links from the teacher’s resources.  The lessons were short and active enough to keep my kids attention and they remembered what they learned.  I am very happy to have found this company and love all the things that have to offer.  I even get a few freebies in my email inbox!

You can Find WriteBonnieRose on these social media sites:

Facebook:  @WriteBonnieRose
Twitter:  @WriteBonnieRose
Pinterest:  @WriteBonnieRose

Many other families on The Homeschool Review Crew had the opportunity to review this product and Learning About Science Collection, Level 2, Learning About Science Collection, Level 3 (Print)

and  Learning About Science Collection, Level 3 (Cursive).

Click on the banner below to see how they used it and what they thought about it.

Learning About Science collections {WriteBonnieRose Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

curriculum reviews, homeschooling, science

Apologia Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Review

We have loved Apologia‘s Young Explorer Series science in the past so I was thrilled to get to review Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology.

We received this entire set:

  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Text
  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Junior Notebooking Journal
  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Notebooking Journal
  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology MP3 Audio CD

I have used other Apologia Young Explorer books with David (my now 6th grader) and he has always done very well with them.  This time we included Evie, his 1st grade sister.  She is very happy to be doing one of her favorite subjects with her brother, to her she has finally reached “big kid” status!

In the past, I have read the text and David listened.  This time I have not read any of it to them.  I put the CD in my computer and had them listen while they work in the notebooking journal, color/doodle or follow along in the book and it has worked brilliantly!!!  The author Jeannie Fulbright reads the text.  She has done a wonderful job.  She’s a pleasure to listen to and kids really seem to like her!  They have already learned a lot and I am so glad this format is working for us.  She can pronounce those big science words better than I can.   We will continue for a few more weeks and then pick up where we left off in the fall.

In both the regular and the junior notebooking journal there is a suggested schedule.  They work together so that both levels study the same part in the book.  The regular journal has more advanced activities.  The junior notebooking journal has some coloring pages and not as many activities.  David has always used the junior notebooking journal in the past, but is doing well with the other one.  It’s easier for him to complete the lessons he doesn’t enjoy now that he’s doing it with his sister. I’m loving that they are working together and actually doing more than if they did it separately.

I am enjoying the pace of the schedule.  Each lesson is broken into 4 sections over 2 weeks.  Most lessons are laid out in a similar way.  The first week you spend 2 days reading through the text and the next week you spend 1 day finishing the text and 1 day doing journal activities and a project at the end.  There are “try this” experiments/activities to do as you come to them in the text.  We save those until the reading portion is over and then go back.  This has helped to keep my kids attention during the reading time and it’s like a prize at the end.

Here are a few pictures of the kids’ first project:

This is the project at the end of lesson one.  It is an edible cell made with jello and different candies.

We named each part of the cell as we placed them.


I loved that the supplies I didn’t have were easy to find and they were super excited for all this candy!!!

Here is David’s cell ^

Here is Evie’s ^

This one is little brother Thomas’.  He is in kindergarten this year and wasn’t interested in our lessons, but this project brought him to the table.  Note: he didn’t actually eat all of this, but thought it was a lot of fun!!!

You can find Apologia  on these social media sites:

Apologia - Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Reviews

Crew Disclaimer

curriculum reviews, science

Creation Illustrated Review

Creation Illustrated sent us two of their unit studies as well as gave us access to those magazines that go with those studies for us to review.  We received the Fall ’17 Digital Edition with the corresponding Pine Trees study

and the Winter ’18 Digital Edition with a Snow Unit Study.

If you are new to my blog, let me begin by telling you how much I love unit studies!  I love to totally immerse ourselves in what we are learning.  In doing so I incorperate ALL subjects in this topic.  The perfectly executed unit study will cover language arts with reading, writing and handwriting, Bible study, history, science, social studies, even math.  I have found that I need to do a lot of work pulling the perfect study together because none of them really cover all I’m looking for.  I have to say that I was very impressed with the two unit studies that I received from Creation Illustrated.  I had never seen anything from this company before and I’m so glad that I’ve found them.

David, my 6th grade son, and I decided to focus on the Pine Tree study.  We chose this one for a few reasons.  First, our other option was snow.  Although it’s beautiful and I’m sure we would learn a lot about it, we are really over the snow this year and will pull this one back out again when we miss snow a little more.  The other reason we chose pine trees is because we have so many around us.  Many plots of land around us are logged for their pine and we knew we really didn’t know that much about them.

I received a 16 page PDF version of this unit study.  This is geared for students in 5th to 8th grade, but could be used with older and younger students.  I printed the whole study out and asked David where he would like to start.  As I read him some facts about pine trees he worked on the word search.

I really enjoyed how this entire study was centered on God, His Creation and the Bible.  In my opinion, this was the perfect unit study, down to the math lesson! We were able to learn about pine trees, but in the process learn about God’s marvelous and perfect creation!!!

Here is the Table of Contents:

  • Reading Resources – 31
  • Educational Videos – 3
  • Vocabulary & Spelling – 4, 5
  • Bible Study – 6
  • Geography – 7
  • Science – 8, 9
  • Math – 10
  • Writing & Penmanship – 11
  • Art – 12
  • Puzzle – 13
  • Teacher’s Answer Keys – 14, 15

The magazine is absolutely beautiful!  The pictures are gorgeous and the articles are interesting for the whole family.  What a perfect combination for us: Bible and science!

Here are a few interesting facts we learned in this study:

  • trees are mentioned over 200 times in the Bible
  • two species of pine keep their seeds in tightly closed cones that only open during intense heat (like a forest fire).  Then the seeds are released and begin to replenish the forest.
  • the average lifespan of a pine tree is 100-200 years, but there are a few types that have lived 5000 years!!!
  • there are 126 identified species of pine trees

The Snow Unit Study is set up the same way.  It’s Table of Contents looks very similar.  There are 17 pages total in that one.  In this study you will learn about crystals, the water cycle and that cold snow can actually be an insulator.  The Bible mentions snow 24 times.  The winter magazine has amazing Biblical correlations to go along with this snow unit.  I’m looking forward to learning more about snow and other units soon!

You can find Creation Illustrated on these social media sites:

Many other families on the Homeschool Review Crew had the opportunity to review these unit studies also.  Click on the banner below to see what they had to say about them.

Creation Illustrated Unit Studies {Creation Illustrated Reviews}Crew Disclaimer