Monday, April 23, 2018

NatureGlo's eScience Review

For myself, as a homeschooling mom, if life gets busy and academic subjects get short changed, it is usually math that suffers first. Despite having wonderful resources available, it is so easy for us to let slide the needed ongoing regular practice that is so important for maintaining the fundamental skills of math. So when we were offered access to NatureGlo's eScience curriculum of MathArt Online Class Bundle for reviewing it was an excellent opportunity. It provided added incentive to keep the math study going.

natureGlo's eScience

Math Connections with the Real World 6-week class
Math Art in Ancient Cultures 6-week class
Mathematics in the Arts and Sciences 6-week live or recorded class 
MathArt Patterns in Nature 6-week live or recorded class

MathArt Online

For the review we focused on the course Math Connections with the Real World. Like the other courses available in the Bundle, it is laid out in lessons, for a six week class. Each class has between 5 and 9 lessons within. The lessons are divided into sections and consist of slide show power point lectures and videos from a variety of sources. There are downloadable and printable pages with questions encouraging interaction with the material presented in each lecture. Each class includes an online quiz at the end of the series of lessons. Each class also includes achievement awards for students to keep track of progress. A certificate of completion is also provided following the completion of the entire course.

A pyramid photo accompanys a
lesson achievement award.

MathArt Online includes a substantial amount of varied resources that reinforce the subject matter being presented. I went through the lessons of Math Connections with the Real World with my teen daughter. I was amazed to see all of the related video sources that Gloria Brooks has pulled together in one place to describe specific concepts. We were (o.k., I was) even delighted to view, as supplemental material, a 1957 Disney film featuring Donald Duck, explaining in quack speak, the magic of mathematics. There is so much information available to all of us online these days that finding the best and narrowing it down can be time consuming.

Connecting math and art.

I truly appreciate having someone else pull together this great variety of information into a lesson format. It reinforces the subject matter. Different videos or activities are useful for different people. Art activity suggestions aid in understanding the concepts. Including many videos from different sources also increases the chances of each student understanding the material. However, my daughter felt there were actually too many videos to view for completing each class. For her, for the presentation of certain concepts, less would have been more.

Gloria Brooks, the creator of NatureGlo's eScience, offers live online classes classes as well as the recorded lectures. The option to take a live class online has many benefits. And would certainly be a preference for some homeschooling families. For us, at this time in our homeschooling journey, adding a predetermined time to our schedule would have been difficult. The slide show lectures we viewed had previously been recorded from an online class. These recordings included the added interaction of students from the live class. The student voices increased the feeling of being in a class with others even though we were listening to a recording.

Initially getting started with the online course structure was a bit confusing but after following through a few times we had it down. After each activity, in each of the lessons, there is a mark complete button. It's a simple thing but because we thought we might return to review a section we didn't initially make use of the button. The general lesson on that was - follow directions - it made viewing through the sections much easier to navigate.

Overall NatureGlo's eScience courses are thorough, interactive and very well researched. We will continue to work through the series of classes and broaden our appreciation of and understanding of math connections in the real world. Thanks, Gloria for creating this comprehensive program!

MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle {NatureGlo's eScience Reviews}

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Movie Night

Movie night was revived in our house to review Princess Cut from Watchman Pictures. Our currently full and busy schedule doesn't allow much time for family movie nights. The age range of teen through independent young adult to my husband and I, as well, (let's leave out the age reference here) parents of these, it has become increasingly difficult to find movies of interest to all of us.

Watchman Pictures

Delighted to have something appropriate to view, my husband and I watched Princess Cut with our sixteen year old daughter. The subject matter of finding love and making plans for marriage is relevant to a teens interest and important for a family's conversations. Important considerations regarding choosing marriage partners are overlooked in our current culture, leaving the topic vague in discussions and leaving young people open to relationships of trial and error.

Princess Cut The Movie

With a Christian perspective, Princess Cut presents the topic of marriage. It addresses considerations important in choosing a life partner in a warm and sweet way. It presents an approach not widely found currently in our dominate culture but one that deserves thoughtful attention. In the film, these considerations are all shared within the context of a family. A family actively transmitting values to younger members as they grapple with life transitions. The life phase of parenting young adults, in my experience, is not a frequently addressed parenting stage and is conveyed in this movie in a believable and welcome way. Most importantly, this film opens the door for and encourages viewers to continue the conversation within their own families about love and marriage. This movie is worth the viewing. Pop up some popcorn!

Princess Cut {Watchman Pictures Reviews}

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Thursday, April 5, 2018

A Review of A Product That Acknowledges Achievement

This post is a review of a standard but high quality product that is available for recognizing a high school graduate from Homeschool Diploma. As we move into the spring, celebrations of accomplishments fill our calendar. For homeschool students and their families creating unique celebrations for completing academic studies based on grade levels is often part of the plan. Those ceremonies are as unique as each family. They may or may not include items typically associated with academic achievement. Acknowledging the completion of high school is worth noting though and in preparation, we ordered and received, a beautiful standard diploma in anticipation of our youngest's high school graduation in 2019. 
Homeschool Diploma offers more products for acknowledging achievement at different grade levels. Review Crew members have posted their reviews for products for Kindergarten and eighth grade as well. You can find links to those reviews at Homeschool Review Crew.

Homeschool Diploma

Celebrations, certificates, ceremonies and awards all potentially acknowledge achievement. As a family we are coming to a place of many transitions for each of our young adult children. Our oldest is graduating from college this June. For this accomplishment he will be participating in his first formal convocation. His completion of high school was as a home school student and our celebration was small and informal. We did little more than a family dinner. He moved on to this academic adventure without much pomp or circumstance. We will be attending with pride and much joy, as he  is acknowledged for his dedication to his course of study and presented with a diploma for a Bachelors degree.

An official certificate recognizes academic accomplishment.
Our second son attended a public high school. He successfully completed his high school requirements there. His attending classes at the local high school was a new experience for our family. Any events surrounding his achievement there were organized by the school and we attended. He participated in the large graduation ceremony with the usual stroll across the stage as his name was announced and he was given a diploma.

As we move toward our youngest completing high school as a homeschool student next year, we have begun to make plans for her next steps in study and life. She, like our oldest has continued as a home school student through high school so the and built in activities and ceremonies are not a part of the planned acknowledgement. 

Before enrolling in a college course of study, we plan to set aside some days of celebration for her as a family. Our celebration will include presenting her with a copy of this official and beautiful diploma. We allowed her a glimpse, of the as yet, unsigned document. It is worth admiring and might provide at least a touch more of motivation for her senior year. The cover of the diploma is embossed with gold lettering. It includes an official seal. We will be honored to present it to her upon completion of her high school studies and to display it during family festivities. She is also planning some activities for herself with some of her closest friends. Displaying an official diploma during that time will add a nice touch as she receives congratulations from all.

Kindergarten Graduation and Junior High Diploma for your Homeschool  {Homeschool Diploma Reviews}

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Creation Illustrated Unit Studies Review

Creation Illustrated is a published print and digital periodical. Produced with outstanding quality and beauty, the family produced magazine is true to the family's publishing mission " share the wonders of God's creation." 

Review Crew members were offered access to two Creation Illustrated editions and the additional materials of one corresponding unit study for each to use and review. Downloadable unit studies focusing on Pine Trees and Intricacies of Snow were made available along with the Fall '17 Digital Edition and the Winter '18 Digital Edition

Creation Illustrated

The publishers of Creation Illustrated take the appreciation and learning possibilities a step, (or two) further, with these additional educational materials. The educational materials are compiled into thorough unit study packages for students and teachers to increase understanding and appreciation of the natural world. The unit studies are suitable for home or classroom. They include a complete range of lessons incorporating an approach from many disciplines from language arts, to geography, to bible study and math. Compiled for Grades 5-8, I agree with the Unit Study tagline, "Primarily for Grades 5-8, but valuable lessons can be gained by everyone!"

My home school student and I chose to focus on the Creation Unit Study of Pine Trees. Given that we live on a suburban property that includes many evergreen trees, it seemed an ideal opportunity to learn more about the ever present evergreens that surround our home. Each Unit Study package begins with a useful list of reading and educational resources to use. The list begins with a link to The Creation Illustrated edition that relates to the subject matter but also includes other resources to augment the study. As a homeschooling parent, I appreciate having a list that someone has taken the time to create. Finding the right resources can take a lot of time. The resource list of reading and video resources alone is a valuable addition to the study of the topic of Pine Trees. All of the suggested activities presented an interesting approach to the study. The vocabulary was extensive enough to increase a students word usage and also, in our case, offer some validation of already understood language. As a family that appreciates and creates art and crafts, the addition of a drawing suggestion is also welcome.

Fall 2017, Vol. 24, No. 3

The "Intricacies of Snow" Unit Study package follows the same format as that of "Pine Trees" with a resource list and activities based on different disciplines. The Snow Science page, while condensed includes many science concepts. In this unit study the vocabulary is also an important component. And including two art activities brings it all back around to the joy of learning for us.

Winter 2018, Vol. 24, No. 4

Creation Illustrated periodicals include photographs that are stunning. The articles include fascinating information that improve one's understanding and appreciation of God's creation. The unit studies are thoughtful resources that add further to that comprehension. These resources are beautiful and comprehensive. They have presented ideas for approaching a given topic and have added value to our home school learning this season.

Creation Illustrated Unit Studies {Creation Illustrated Reviews}

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