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Jul 29, 2017

W is for Water Park

Why, yes.  Yes I am still working on my ABCs.  Just a few more to go! 

My mother-in-law gave us some money to do *something* with.  (Don't you love when Grandma's do that?)  So we got passes for the boys to a water park.  Well, it's way more than that, but that's mostly all we use it for.  We have so much fun when we go, but the weather hasn't been great this summer.  If it isn't cold, it's been raining or thundering.  Or all of the above!  If summer actually arrives in August, we are ready!

There are some dry spaces we can access when it isn't pool weather.

Some odd things to explore.

And pool space for every age.  Even Merrick and I have gone down this insane slide!

A Net In Time Schooling

Jul 26, 2017

Learn to R.E.A.D. Curriculum ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

If you are looking for some really great curriculum for early elementary, check out The Crafty Classroom.  Even if you don't *think* you are looking for curriculum for early elementary, you should check it out.  :D  I have been using the kindergarten Learn to R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook and R.E.A.D. Review Pack with Merrick the last few weeks.

I received two downloadable PDF files.

1. Learn to R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook is a 36 week kindergarten reading and language arts curriculum.  This file is *huge,* nearly 800 pages long.  $25

2. R.E.A.D. Review Pack A 92 page file contains 28, easy-to-assemble, printable early readers.  He learns new word families and sight words which coordinate perfectly with the R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook.  It can also be used to supplement any reading program.  $15

R.E.A.D. stands for Ready, Eager, Able, & Determined to read.  It is written by Lacey Falco M.S.Ed and Valerie McClintick.  Purchase enables a single family to print and use.  Classroom and co-op licenses are available.

How we used R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook

READ Curriculum Notebook

To set up this learn to read program, you will need a printer and paper, a notebook of some sort (3 ring, composition, manila folder, or something), scissors and coloring/writing utensils.  I gave Merrick a one subject spiral bound notebook for his notebooking projects.

You begin the program with a few pre-assessment activities.  These are quite easy to implement and are used to make sure the child knows the alphabet and the sounds each letter makes before trying to proceed.  Thirty one sounds are shown.

While the PDF always opened right where I left off, I wish the pages were numbered in the document *and* labeled at the bottom with the lesson/week and there was a table of contents to make hopping back and forth from the instructional area to the work pages *much* easier.

The curriculum uses a 4 day per week schedule for 36 weeks.  Each week, young readers learn one word family and several sight words.  In the first four weeks, Merrick studied the am, at, ab, and ag families, nine sight words, and learned about nouns, verbs, pronouns, and adjectives.  The fifth week is for review (using the R.E.A.D. Review Pack) and learning blends.  Then the five week cycle starts over.  Twice each week, there is a notebooking project.  Merrick recently decided he is all about lapbooking and he is all over these notebooking lessons.

In week one, while learning about nouns, Merrick amused himself by declaring, "a noun is a person, place, or thingamabob" over and over.  While he is notebooking away, I keep hearing, "Hey, Mom!"  He loves working in his "blue notebook."  Once, he told me the older gentleman with a cane in the People column of a noun activity looked like a man God had healed.  Some of the illustrations do sort of resemble the characters in his favorite Bible videos, so maybe that's where he got it.

Anyway, the curriculum overview shows a list of everything covered each week.  Then there is a daily schedule for the regular weeks and one for the weeks spent studying blends. Each shows what activities to do four days of the week.  I printed this because there are so many pages each week, I had a hard time keeping track of everything.

Every day there is a calendar and warm-up activity.  Merrick really likes this one.  You can laminate these pages and use them over and over.  I have put the sheet in a page protector.  I want to keep the calendar side to add to his end of year portfolio.  The page protector works well.  I pull out the sheet for the calendar to be completed right on the paper, then put the page back in the sheet protector so the parts that change daily can be written with dry erase and wiped off each time.  Either way works very well.  I have a lot of fond memories of having morning time with the bigger punks.  The flip side of the page is for practicing writing full names, completing a clock, marking the weather, and more.  Some great math activities occur there.

Some of the daily activities include mazes, dot-to-dots, playdoh mats, sound it out pages, dot painting with a Q-tip, games, and a slew of other pages.  Some involve coloring or cutting and gluing.  There are so many options for every week, I have no doubt there will be some favored pages for just about every child.

How we used R.E.A.D. Review Pack

Review Pack READ

For these beginning readers, you will need a printer and paper, scissors, stapler, and coloring utensils.

An instructional video shows easy printing and assembly of the booklets, but I did do them a bit differently.  First of all, I printed them double sided.  They are three pages long, which means the back of the second sheet I printed on was blank.  That meant there were three pages in the middle of the booklets that were blank left hand pages.  This didn't bother Merrick at all, but you might want to check with just one book to see if it bothers your child.

Secondly, the video shows how to stack the pages, cut, and assemble by starting at the top.  I found it easier to stack the pages the same, but to begin cutting at the bottom and stacking each section as I cut.  This way, they were already in the right order.  This probably didn't save a ton of time per book, but I was decidedly more confident that I had every book in the right order and saved a bit of time when making books in bigger batches (several weeks at a time).

Merrick caught on very quickly to reading the stories and reviewing his sight words for that section.  The first page of each booklet shows the word families being reviewed as well as a sight word section.  These sections change every 5 weeks, correlating with the R.E.A.D. notebook work being done.  The difficulty of the books progresses as the year goes on.

I swear, he thought Slam Bam! was one of the funniest stories he ever heard, and that exclamation point, just made it all the better.  BECAUSE EXCLAMATION POINTS MEAN YELLING!

I wasn't sure how I would like this curriculum.  I really prefer physical copies of books rather than downloads to print.  Maybe I'm lazy about it.  Or old fashioned.  Not sure.  But sometimes printing things is frustrating for me.  Things don't line up right when front/back printing, everything has gobs of color and I have a black ink only printer, stuff like that.  I did NOT have one single issue printing this curriculum.  Very few pages are in color, and most of those that are have a black and white option for printing.  I am so happy to be on this review.  Merrick absolutely loves working in his "blue notebook."  I couldn't have asked for a program that was a better fit for him.

What Merrick thought:
I like it.  The funnest part is my blue notebook.  I like coloring and cutting.  I *don't* like the girl part.  Only the boy part.  I cut the girl out.
So, he *ahem* doesn't like a page that asked if he was a girl or a boy because it had a girl on one side of the page.  Apparently, that's very offensive to a five year old boy.

After our experience with the R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook and R.E.A.D. Review Pack, I am really interested in The Crafty Classroom's 12 week How to Write a Paragraph, and the Periodic Table of the Elements Activity Pack.

Find The Crafty Classroom on social media.

Crafty Classroom {Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Jul 21, 2017

X is for X'ed Out

This post makes me so heartbroken to write.  Today, I discovered a photograph that just a couple of days ago had been on the bookshelf by my bed.  It's now a wrinkled mangled mess.  Some very angry/sad/frustrated child was obviously not happy with me.

Micah and I disagree on who is likely the culprit.  I'm sure it will all become clear in the morning.  sigh...

A Net In Time Schooling

Jul 19, 2017

Doctor Aviation ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

When Doctor Aviation showed up on my radar (couldn't help it), I was really excited because we were able to view the first video in the online six month aviation video training course in its entirety.  It looked like so much fun!  The boys declared it to be "AMAZING."  Even though the full course is intended for ages 16+, I requested to review the program with my punks.

When we watched the first video lesson, I did not get the feeling it was just for high school.  Then I discovered there are some pretty heavy lesson plans included that contain guided notes, To Learn More document, and exams.  I really thought the video was appropriate for upper elementary and middle school.  They definitely enjoyed it and got a lot out of it.  By adding in the various other elements, this course is credit worthy for high school.  Some lessons could easily take two weeks.

Each of the 15 lessons is made up of the available documents (listed above) and a video of approximately an hour long (some longer, some shorter).  They aren't flashy and "exciting," but are filmed more as a lecture, like you would receive in any course intended for high school or college aged students.  There are some slides or video clips, but for the most part, Doctor Aviation stands near a plane (different throughout the videos) and lectures.  That was fine for me, but thankfully for the punks, the videos are divided into three sections;
  • Technical Trivia, 
  • Notable Innovators, and 
  • Legendary Aircraft/events.  
This made it easier to break up the viewing and spread it out a bit.  It wasn't my original intention, but it helped to better keep the punks' attention.  I do wish there was a more notable break in the videos, though so I could easily go back to the segment we left off from.  When we finished a lesson, we could mark it complete and the program would open at the appropriate lesson the next time.  I actually rarely did that because we broke up the videos by segments and it was easy to get where I wanted to be right from the dashboard.

My personal favorite segment was Notable Innovators.  I loved learning about The Wright Brothers, Chuck Yeager, and Amelia Earhart.  Some of the people we'll learn about in future lessons are Neil Armstrong, Nate Saint (we actually studied him earlier this year), and Charles Lindbergh.

It was really fun to be learning specifically about Amelia Earhart just when the information about her possible fate, determined via a "lost photo" came out on the news.  You can read Doctor Aviation's blog and see what he thought about it.  He has a lot of interesting posts on there about many aviation related topics.

This is the course overview.
Session 1 Course Overview: The Aviation System
I. The Aircraft
Session 2 The Major Components of an Airplane
Session 3 Axes and Forces
Session 4 Why an Aircraft Flies: The Secret of Airfoils and Lift
Session 5 Why an Aircraft Turns, Pitches and Slides: The Flight Controls
II. Air Traffic Control
Session 6 How We See an Aircraft Miles Away: The Secrets of Radar
Session 7 The Air Traffic Cops: How Air Traffic Control Works
III. Maintenance
Session 8 Keep ‘Em Flying: Aircraft Maintenance – Propeller Engines
Session 9 Keep ‘Em Flying: Aircraft Maintenance – Jet Engines
IV. Airfield Operations
Session 10 The City in and of Itself: Running a Large Airport
Session 11 The Small Airport and Running an FBO
V. The Aircraft II
Session 12 Flying in the Clear and Not so Clear Air: VMC and IMC
Session 13 Important Pilot Instruments – Attitude Indicator
Session 14 Important Pilot Instruments – Airspeed Indicator
Session 15 Other Aviation Ships: Gliders, Helicopters, Airships

Doctor Aviation

Guided notes follow the video pretty closely and are pretty easy to fill in as you go.  I rarely needed to pause a video for that purpose, so things kept flowing nicely.  I printed the notes and To Learn More documents and put them all in a handy folder.

The "To Learn More" document lists book, website, and video suggestions to enhance the learning from the video lesson.  It also includes hands-on activities, films, and research and writing assignments.  I actually borrowed *grown up* books from our library for this course.  Crazy, I know!  The best part was finding books for the punks that were suitable for their age and ability.  There were a few picture books for Merrick and several biographies in the juvenile section of the library for the bigger littles.

Dr. Aviation Intro Video from Daryl Smith on Vimeo.

We watched - rather than read - The Right Stuff, which I found out was really Not Kid Friendly.  Ahem.  That's no fault of Doctor Aviation.  I made the call.  PG back then, was way different from PG now that there is a PG-13 rating.  Lesson learned, hopefully.  A lot of it was very interesting, though and it led us down some rabbit trails about the speed of sound (supersonic and hypersonic) and that in November, 1961, Air Force Major Robert White reached speeds over Mach 6 in the X-15 research airplane.

Climbing the stairs into Air Traffic Control.  There's an old tower that's accessible to the public at a local airport.  I've taken the boys into it a couple of times.

When it's time for an exam, you'll be prompted to contact the administrator in the Action Steps section of the applicable sessions.  Easy Peasy.

Daryl Smith, AKA Doctor Aviation, has some pretty impressive credentials.  You don't have to wonder if this guy is qualified to teach you or your students about aviation.  Doctor Aviation has logged over 2,000 flight hours with 24 years in the Air Force.  He also was an instructor at the United States Air Force Academy, is a published author, and currently a college professor.

I think this is a *great* course for interested middle schoolers, older students, a fun way to earn a high school credit, continuing adult education, and even useful for boys and girls in Civil Air Patrol.  I have one punk I think will be very interested in that in a few years and this course is giving him a peek at what's in store.

Social Media Links:

Aviation Course {Doctor Aviation Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Jul 15, 2017

P is for Peanut Butter Cup

Those letters I skipped in the ABC series?  Well, I'm determined to get them all in.  You'll just see random letters on random days as I get a word chosen or a post written.  For now, enjoy this "blast from the past."

Introduced the kids to these.  Xav loves the old commercials.  And now he gets it when I shout, "You gotcher chocolate in my peanut butter!"

Watch them all.  Classic!

A Net In Time Schooling

Jul 11, 2017

Make-a-State Activity Pak ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

A homeschool family run business, Home School in the Woods is a hands-on history company that every family can use.  Designing from a Christian perspective, Amy Pak creates lapbooks, games, timelines, and projects for all ages.  It's a great way to bring history to life.

Hands-On History Activity-Paks: Make-A-State

The Make-a-State Activity is from the Activity-Paks series.  These are available on a CD or as a download.  The other four Activity-Paks units are
  • The Old Testament
  • The New Testament
  • Composers
  • Artists

Besides the Activity-Pak, you will need file folders, colored and/or white copy paper, colored and/or white cardstock, crayons, colored pencils, or markers, packing tape, scissors, glue (sticks or liquid), sources for the necessary information to complete the components.  The State Facts sheets provide some basic information.  You can also use the internet, books, videos, anything you want.  It's a great way to teach your children how to research the information they'll be writing about in the lapbook.

Make-a-State has 20 projects that can be completed for all 50 states and Washington, DC.  This pak covers history, geography, language arts, and art.  Some of the activities provided include
  • State Song
  • Geography
  • Flag
  • Government
  • Wildlife
  • Famous People
  • Animals
  • Native Peoples
  • Recipes
  • Timeline and many more topics.
A "Name That State!" file folder game is also provided as a bonus in this pak.  Suggestions for famous people and things to study are listed on each state's State Page and some book and website resources are provided.  Instructions for creating the lapbook and making and placing each component are also documented in easy to follow text and pictures.  I am a bit of a lapbooking rebel, though, as I don't fancy fold our folders.  I just leave them as they came and add the sheets so they open like a book.  I sometimes have to adjust placement, but that doesn't effect the studying and learning that goes into physically making the components and gluing them into their booklets.

The Homestudy office requires us to cover something about Vermont every year in our homeschool.  We have plenty of topics covered for this year now, already.  I can save the rest of the activities for many other years as it's intended for grades 3-8 (though my rising kindergartner has been working right along with his brothers on his very own lapbook).  All of the pages are reproducible for everyone in the entire family.

We'll be adding to our Vermont lapbooks each year as we complete more of the activities for our home state.  We can also use any or all of the activities for each of the states as we complete our ongoing USA notebooks.  This is a project we began several years ago, where we map the states we visit, collect postcards from friends all over the country, and learn about things to do and what's happening in the news.

I've been getting a lot of groans where some lessons are concerned, but I rarely have any trouble with the creation of lapbooks, timelines, and other hands-on studies.  Merrick has gotten pretty proficient with scissors and rarely needs help with anything except writing.  Malachi is pretty much on board with the creating involved with lapbooking also.  Until a couple of years ago, he didn't care for making them, but I think it was a coordination issue.  Xavier pretty much lives for this kind of educating.  One day, Merrick told me he is going to "make my folder every day until it's done."

While we've been using the projects in the components section, there are more we'll use this year.  As a family with a 12 year old this year, we are required to send in a minimum course of study for Malachi.  As his Vermont studies activities, I reported that we'd be covering Vermont residents.  That will include the indigenous Abenaki people and Phineas Gage, among others.  The Native Tribes and Famous People components will be perfect for that.

There are so many ways to use this Activity Pak.  I am really impressed by the assortment of components and the versatility for use.  My punks are enjoying it and when they enjoy something, school goes much more smoothly.

I also want to tell you about the all *new* a la carte projects (there are currently approximately 50 projects available) that include projects, games, timelines, and newspapers.  These are affordably priced individual components.  If you and your children absolutely love certain types of activities, this is the place to look.  I recently grabbed an individual lapbooking Erie Canal project because this year marks the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the canal.

I'll likely either be buying
  1. each of the timelines available because I really liked that part of the Renaissance & Reformation study we worked on previously.  There are a dozen other timelines available a la carte.
  2. OR the Timeline Trio.  This looks like an amazing resource for hands on and visual learners.  
Please click the banner below to read more about other Home School in the Woods products, including the Timeline Trio, Time Travelers American History, other Activity-Paks, and Lap-Paks.

Find Home School in the Woods on social media.
  • Facebook      Tag:   @homeschoolinthewoods   
  • Twitter          Tag:   @HSintheWoods   
  • Pinterest        Tag:   @hsinthewoods   
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  • YouTube   

Hands-on History {Home School in the Woods Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Jul 7, 2017

Animal Adventure Park ~ Field Trip Friday {AKA Z is for Zoo}

This week, Dad surprised us all with a little three day trip.  One of our stops was Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, NY.  Yep.  Home of the infamous giraffe, April, who gave birth live online this spring.  All Malachi wanted to do was get a drink, see April, and go.  He was a bit disappointed that we saved April for nearly the very last stop.  That was intentional on my part.  If we saw April first, I'd have to hear, "Can we go now?' the whole time.  As it was, once he was able to get a drink, I only intermittently was reminded we needed to hurry over to the giraffe barn.  Only slightly less annoying, but less annoying all the same.

So, we avoided the giraffe barn by heading right once we went through the gate.  There we checked out the many other exotic and not as exotic animals.  Most of them had signage on the fences telling all about each critter and it's conservation status.  Quite a few of these first animals were members of the bovine and a couple of the equine families, goats, sheep, deer, and some kind of short cattle I didn't see a sign for.  One of my favorite enclosures housed the tortoises.  If you watched many of the April videos this spring, you may have seen the tortoises overwintering in the loft in her barn.  Some were quite large and we loved watching them nosh on lettuce leaves.

We watched Alyssa (April's keeper) and a friend go fishin' for a gator.  There were two in the tub and the water was fairly clear, but the second the keepers entered the pen, under the water they went, stirring up the murk.  (I was afraid this young man might be trying to lose some fingers.)

Jordan records a Tuesday/Thursday educational video and we watched live as the American Alligator segment was filmed.  Standing in the tortoise enclosure is apparently dangerous, as Jordan was nearly tripped by a pair of the shelled critters fighting over some romaine.  Don't worry, Alyssa separated them off camera so the littler guy got to keep his treat.

We were able to see lots of little monkeys, lemurs, a honey badger, wolves, bears, hyenas, and a ton of other critters.  The boys asked lots of questions.  Xav decided if he was a bear, he would spend all day in their "pool."  It was pretty warm Thursday.  Pretty birds were everywhere, on the grounds and in enclosures. 

We did, indeed, eventually get around to the giraffe barn.  Oliver's door was closed and as we came around to the side of the barn, we saw that outer door was open and April and "little" Tajiri were also coming in.  We all popped in there and fed April and Oliver some of the carrot sticks we had purchased onsite for them.  Every time I saw Merrick, a different woman was handing him a carrot stick and lifting him up so he could feed one of the giraffes.  He and I even received one of April's famous "hay showers."

The following morning, we got the sad news that Maxx the Camel had died in his sleep that night.  I am so terribly sad for the AAP family.  I'm not even telling the boys.  They fed Maxx some nibbles while we were there and Xav and I had a photo with him. (While I sang Alice the Camel Had One Hump and Dad looked at me like it was an odd thing to do.)

I wish they had sold postcards and souvenir spoons (I'm up to 33 or so right now).  I think a giraffe spoon where the handle was a neck would have been perfect.  (Patent pending?  LOL)  Maybe they did, but the shop was pretty chaotic and I didn't see either item there.  I think they're experiencing some growing pains, but they're doing a great job and I was very happy to get to see our famous giraffe friend.

They have a couple of small buildings set up to accommodate nursing moms, diaper changes, and kiddos with sensory issues, which was very thoughtful.

Homeschool Discount - Only during the traditional school year or as a group of 20 or more.
Educational - Absotootly. - Zoology, geography, ecology.
Family Oriented - Yes.
Duration of Visit - About two hours.  (I could have stayed longer, but it was hot and Malachi was *done*.)

A Net In Time Schooling