The ravenous readers in my household could live in a library or bookstore, if only given the chance. They adore books of all kinds and educational fiction (like historical fiction or strong moral, ethical, or lesson-based fiction) is one of the most effective ways for them to learn and remember something, particularly with my oldest. Non-fiction books are great, too, but books that make something humorous, personal, and/or relatable are the ones that remain the most memorable.
Some books that we've recently received for review have been: Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag, If You Were Me and Lived in... Colonial America, and If You Were Me and Lived in... Ancient Greece, all of which were written by Carole P. Roman.
About the Books & Our Experience
Carole P. Roman is an award-winning, independent author who has written over fifty books for kids. She has penned several different series, including some with historical and/or cultural topics and books at nursery/preschool or early reader levels.
It's worth noting that the author's website has a link to "worksheets & resources", which are mostly links to lists of questions for kids to answer after reading some of the books. She has them in a blog post and they can be highlighted and printed that way.
The "If You Were Me and Lived In... ____" books which we received were bursting at the seams with colorful illustrations, all kinds of relevant facts and details, and a glossary of terms. They are paperback but seem relatively solid with somewhat thick, glossy pages. Both Big Sis and Lil' Sis read along with me as we explored, compared, and contrasted the two time periods.
Our history focus right now is early American through modern times, so the If You Were Me and Lived in... Colonial America book covers just the right time frame to supplement our studies. However, with the amount of information that is packed into this little book, this might actually make a decent base or reference for a unit study as well.
This is not just a quick, light-hearted picture book style story, though it does, indeed, appear that way at first glance. It's not a long story, but I wouldn't necessarily call it a quick read either because we felt it was a lot to take in all at once. While it does not lay out a multitude of dates or pile on a myriad of specific names (though the author does include a short list with brief bios of certain key figures - which is nice), it attempts to paint a picture of the time period by sharing about life, experiences, and people in general. It touches on major events, challenges, and work, and describes even what some might consider to be minor aspects like food, chores, and clothing. We felt that it did a good job at this, but I also felt it had an edge that made it more facts and less story. This means you get a lot of bang for your educational buck, but less entertainment along the way. Still, the author has a decent balance of the two, especially considering the purpose of the book.
The illustrations are a bit quirky, or even slightly crude, at times. It could be argued that this actually suits the time period and adds to the feeling of being there. The text was white printed on a very dark background, which felt awkward and strained my eyes. This bothered me as I found it to be distracting from time to time (even if my daughter didn't notice).
The story has the reader imagine they are a child of parents in London and explains that people felt they needed to move to seek freedom to practice religion and life as they desired. It follows the child to the Netherlands and then aboard the ship sailing to America, the harsh, difficult times of getting a village established, what it was like growing up there, connections with Native Americans, and the colony growing and taking root.
We also received If You Were Me and Lived in... Ancient Greece, which does not match up with our current history study time period, but we have covered it and will again, so we went ahead and looked through the whole book. (I couldn't, for the life of me, get the image of this one to show up here, but you can see it in the group book photo at the top of this post.)
The text in this book was dark on a light background, which my eyes appreciated after reading the other one. I also liked the illustrations even more; the pictures were well designed, interesting, and did a well at complementing the story.
The story begins with a mention of geography and Greece today, then moves into imagining you lived in 350 BC. It is comprehensive in the many aspects of life and experience, just as the Colonial America book. It talks about government, housing, schooling, military service, city-states, slaves, food, clothing, jewelry, gender roles, markets, trade, and more. Most pages have a couple of sentences about a God or Goddess that usually at least partly relates to a topic discussed on that page. There is also a reference section near the end of the book, before the glossary, where the author lists and describes the various Greek Gods and Goddesses.
Good books! Not perfect, not our absolute favorites, but a solid choice nonetheless. If You Were Me and Lived in... Colonial America, and If You Were Me and Lived in... Ancient Greece, along with the other similarly titled books in the series, could certainly be a solid addition to geography, culture, or history studies. And Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag is a sweet, charming story for a young child as well.
You can visit the author on her website or on social media at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Good Reads. you can also find her books on Amazon. If you'd like to find out about what other homeschool families think about these and many other books from Carole P. Roman, click on the banner-link below and read to your hearts content!
In recognition and celebration of the life of Charles Lacy Veach, a former Air Force service member from Honolulu and later an astronaut that flew Space Shuttle missions, Astronaut Lacy Veach Day of Discovery is an annual event of learning via fun and interesting workshops, hosted by Punahou School. This year, it will be held on Saturday, October 28th, 2017, from 8am-2:45pm.
This is a FREE event, open to 4th-12th grade students, their parents, and teachers of any grade level. An adult must accompany any student in grades 4-8 throughout the day. Participants attend two workshops during the day, assigned based on availability (first-come, first-serve) from among their five top choices made during sign-up. Workshops are offered by speakers/presenters from a variety of organizations. There are also other displays, exhibits, and general assemblies with keynote speaker and science demonstration.
Registration is open (at the time of this post).
Workshop topics (at the time of this post) include:
Mystery & Intrigue - The Wide World of Electricity
Cool Chemistry for Everyone
Eyes of Discovery (with Cow Eye Dissection)
Fantastic Fish Dissection
Vaccum Powered Rockets
Feather Fall Parachute Deployment
Gelatin Volcanoes, Dikes, and Rift Zones
Hardware Science Rocket Launcher
Space Lander Mission
Looking at Hawai'i with a View from Space
AC for Tomorrow
Ozobots: Navigating the Maze of Life!
Hawai'i's Anchialine Pools and the Opae'ula
Color Mixing Playground
You'll Get a Charge Out of This!
Water-Powered Bottle Rockets
Please see the schedule of workshops and list of displays and exhibits for additional information.
Note: I am not affiliated or associated with this event or it's sponsors or organizers. This is NOT a sponsored post or paid advertisement. I am simply sharing because this is a popular event and other homeschoolers and readers/followers might be interested. This is for informational purposes only and the information may be subject to change without notice or an update here on this blog. Please contact the event organizers directly with any questions.
About Progeny Press
Progeny Press is a company with a solid, clear statement of Christian faith. They offer study guides with a Christian perspective for a wide variety of quality literature. These guides come in three versions: download, CD/PDF, or paper, book-bound format. They also sell the coordinating books (to go with the study guides) and offer some audio books and teacher resources, including a reading log, Bible, mystery box, and even a few theatrical scripts and medieval props.
They have products for students of all ages, from lower and upper elementary through middle and high school. Some examples include:
About The Bears on Hemlock Mountain (book)
The Bears on Hemlock Mountain book is about Jonathon, who is sent on an errand by his mother, over Hemlock "Mountain" to borrow a large pot from his aunt. He is concerned he might encounter bears, though he is told there are none, and attempts to be brave along the way. He finds himself distracted with yummy cookies and falls asleep, causing him to rush out the door after waking. Realizing that he left his aunt's house without what he came for, he had to go back for it, making his journey home even later in the evening. Chanting to himself that there are no bears and focusing on the beauty of nature around him to bolster his courage, he finds himself in an encounter with bears nonetheless! He tips the pot upside down and hides underneath, finding himself stuck there as the bears sniff around right outside. His father comes to the rescue and they head home, with a few life lessons learned in the process about bravery, telling the truth, and being responsible.
Our Experience & The Bears on Hemlock Mountain E-Guide
We received The Bears on Hemlock Mountain E-Guide (download format). Before we got started, I printed the study guide and simply stapled it together. I had initially considered putting it in a three-ring binder, as we do with many printed school materials, but this didn't seem to warrant that since it wasn't very thick (about 34 pages and I printed on both sides of the paper).
As I flipped through and got an overview of the study guide, my initial reaction was that I liked what I saw. It looked clean, clear, and easy to follow/understand, with plenty of space to write when indicated. My daughter writes a bit large sometimes still (handwriting is something we are still working on) and the lines seemed to have good spacing as well.
I noticed some added touches that imparted even more value to the guide, such as the synopsis, info about the author, background information (The Bears on Hemlock Mountain comes from a folk tale shared with the author in 1952), activity ideas for both before and after you read the book (including a sugar cookie recipe), and suggestions for further reading. They also had notes next to the suggested reading that indicated the target ages/grades for each book. Minor detail, I know, but sometimes it's the little things that get my attention, because I feel that if the creator does well with small aspects, then the overall product is likely to be quality as well.
There is a bit of variety in the study guide; not all of the writing tasks are the same type, which I like. Some questions ask for a specific answer and others seek slightly more in-depth responses or ask for personal opinion and experience. There was a matching activity, vocabulary terms to be looked up and defined, quoted Scripture and discussion, and a mystery word activity near the end. Of course, there is also an Answer Key at the end, which would come in handy for a parent or teacher that did not read the story with their child.
The before and after activity ideas were fun! We didn't do them all, but they have some good suggestions to suit your individual preferences, time, age and number or kids, and situation. The before-you-read activities involved simple things like defining and comparing a mountain and hill, or more complex ones like creating a hospitality bulletin board. The after-you-read activities included a creative writing project, dramatic play acting (oh my goodness, my kids love this kind of thing!), and baking cookies! Personally, I felt that the activities actually enhanced the study even more when interspersed throughout the study experience. For example, baking the cookies and munching on them while reading about Jonathon eating the cookies his Aunt Emma gave him. Or listening to a recording of birds and forest sounds during the related parts of the book.
You can order The Bears on Hemlock Mountain book from the Progeny Press website if you don't already own it, which makes it easy to get everything you need all at once. We just used our Kindle version of the book along with our guide, which worked rather well for us even though Lil' Sis usually prefers a physical paper-and-cover book in her hands when reading. The ebook allowed us to highlight vocab words, passages, or points of interest, as well as sentences that she were designated as copywork, which aided her in staying focused. That, subsequently, allowed me to be slightly more hands off and attend to Baby Sis, who has become quite the daredevil and explorer already!
My daughter enjoyed The Bears on Hemlock Mountain E-Guide and I believe it was well designed and executed, helping my daughter to better understand what she read, build her vocabulary, and show what she learned. I think it is entirely possible to accomplish reading comprehension and evaluation of literature without a study guide such as this, but feel this makes things so much easier, and as a busy homeschool mom with a toddler along for the ride, it's nice to have things thoughtfully laid out in advance (less that I have to plan and prep for - yay)! We will be using more e-guides from Progeny Press in the future.
If you'd like to read reviews from other Homeschool Review Crew families about this and other Progeny Press study guides (especially if you'd like to know more about the other levels, such as Middle and High School), just follow the banner-link below! You can also find more information and other products at the Progeny Press website or visit them on social media at: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and Pinterest!
Here is FREE a unique opportunity to tour the Schmidt Ocean Institute's R/V Falkor and NOAA's Okeanos Explorer. "See how science is done, hear scientist's firsthand account of working on board, and learn about research completed in Pacific waters.
Sunday, October 1st, 10am-3:30pm
UH Marine Center - Pier 35 - Honolulu, Hawaii
Photo ID, ability to walk steep staircases, & closed-toe shoes are required for ship tours.
Dockside Education Pavilion will have interactive exhibits.
I was contacted with the following information regarding a talk about Education Savings Account. This is not a sponsored post or paid advertisement and I am not affiliated or associated with the organization, event, or speaker. The sharing of this information is not necessarily support or endorsement or the topic at hand, rather I am simply sharing because it is a topic on education and this might be of interest to my readers/followers. Please contact the organizer with any questions. And if you attend, feel free to drop a comment below and tell us how it went!
The Grassroots Initiative of Hawaii has organized an "event to inform Hawaii's parents, educators, and students about the new educational opportunity program sweeping the states."
"With [Educational Savings Accounts], parents choose the educational services for each child."
The speaker will be former Hawaii native, Karen Gray. The event will be held on September 14th at 6:30pm at Lanakila Baptist School at 94-1250 Waipahu Street, Waipahu, 96797. It is open to the public.
About A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks
About the Classical Conversations Cycle 3 Activity Book
The product we have been using is actually more of an activity book akin to notebooking, which is a lot like journaling and note-taking with fun graphics and little twists throughout, to make things a bit more interesting instead of simply using a blank page. The Classical Conversations Cycle 3 Activity Book is designed for use by children in grades 3-6 who are participating in the Classical Conversations Cycle 3 program. This is an independently created supplement and does not include any official materials from Classical Conversations, so you'd still need the Foundations guide.
The activity book comes in two forms: an "instant download" and a "printed and bound" option. It consists of 124 pages that have space to practice the memory work for all 24 weeks. (Remember, it doesn't actually include the memory work, but is, rather, a place to write it and take notes about it.) Each week has pages for each area of memorization for the week - including history sentence, science, arts, geography, latin, etc. I didn't notice a place for math, other than the open-ended lined sections. It was recommended by the author that students use a page protector over the pages and write with dry erase markers to practice throughout the week. Then, a final draft of the memory work is to be written into the activity book at the end of the week.
We received the digital product in the form of a downloadable PDF, so I printed it up and used a three-hole-punch to prepare it for use in a 1/2" three-ring binder. I added a few sheet protectors to the front as well. It worked great this way because it was easy to remove the week's pages and slip them into the sheet protectors for repeated use with dry erase markers, then take them back out to write in pencil at the end of the week.
We've only gone through two weeks of CC (Classical Conversations) so far this school year, but between using this activity book for a couple of weeks and looking over the rest of it, I feel that I have a good grasp of what it's all about.
My daughter liked that the pages have shapes, designs, or creatively chosen "boxes" or other artwork in which to write her notes. I think she could have easily done her own "decorating" of the pages of a blank/plain notebook of our own instead, but it was nice to have each subject and week already laid out for us. Plus, doing it this way saved time and kept the focus to the notes instead of on doodling and design. Since my daughter is easily distracted, this is a big plus for me... it keeps her from veering off and helps her stay on task better.
Big Sis, who has been enjoying writing and note-taking these days, liked filling the pages out with her memory work. She also liked doing additional research on the science topic of the week, which was great for her to learn more and better understand the material covered.
I liked how using this activity book is creating a record of what we've been working on and is yet another way for my daughter to practice her memory work at the same time.
Though we liked certain aspects of the product, my family felt largely indifferent about the Classical Conversations Cycle 3 Activity Book, but I can see that it could be a nice addition to some families' homeschool days. For those who do a lot of notebooking, this activity book provides a good framework to include Classical Conversations memory work in that written format. Plus, for those that require or desire to have a written record or portfolio of what they've been working on throughout the year, this could be the ideal supplement to fill that role.
If you'd like to know what other homeschooling families thought about this AND other products from A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks, just click on the Homeschool Review Crew banner link below. You can also learn more about the company and their offerings at their website or on social media at Facebook, Twiiter, Google+, Instagram!
Upcoming Community Event...
The Kahumana Farm Festival is an annual FREE event that brings the community together to celebrate and promote local agriculture, crafts, education, artists, and music." It is FREE community event, open to the public, and family-friendly!
It will be held at Kahumana Organic Farm & Cafe in Waianae (86-660 Lualualei Hmstd Rd, Waianae, Hawaii 96792) on October 7th, 2017, from 11am-6pm.
Last year they had lots of educational workshops, music, vendors, a keiki zone, and a plant/seed exchange (they gave away 4000 seeds & plants)! They aim to make it even bigger and better this year. They have free roadside parking. No alcohol. You can bring your own chair/mat
They are looking for volunteers, vendors, and sponsors as well. "If you are interested in sponsoring, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information."
It looks like they are still in the planning and preparation stages. Visit their event page on Facebook or their website for the latest information and details available.
Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?
- Contact Christian or Shauntel at 808.696.2655
While we have not attended their Farm Festival, I've heard good things about it. My family has, however, been to Kahumana Farms on a number of occasions now and we think they are great! The cafe has always had yummy food, the farm is doing a lot for the community, and we've had the privilege to participate in a couple of homeschool group field trips. The following pictures are not from the festival, but they are from the farm during our visits there (these happen to be from years ago though).
Even if you don't attend the festival event, I highly recommend stopping by their farm and/or cafe if you are ever in Waianae and have the opportunity. Be sure to check their hours ahead of time, though!
NOTE: As is the case with many of my posts, I am NOT affiliated or associated with Kahumana Farms or this event. This is NOT a paid ad or sponsored post. I'm simply sharing in case it might be of interest to others. Please direct any questions to the farm or event organizer. Enjoy!
Visit their Facebook event page for details & more information.
TWO kids can get FREE admission to Sea Life Park on Keiki Fun Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017!
Activities include thematic arts & crafts, mermaid appearances, educational presentations about Hawaiian monk seals, an obstacle course, entertainment, and more!
"Families can learn more about one of Hawaii’s most revered animals and ongoing conservation efforts through a host of engaging games, presentations and activities."
"Informative vendor booths from Division of Aquatic Resources, Dolphin Quest, NOAA Fisheries, The Waikiki Aquarium and more will be on site."
"Two children under 12 will enjoy free admission when accompanied by a paying adult to any of the Park’s Keiki Sunday events... (Restrictions: Only two free keiki per paying adult. Transportation not included.)"
Note: I am not affiliated or associated with Sea Life Park or this event. This is NOT a sponsored post or paid advertisement. I'm simply sharing for informational purposes only, in case some of you might be interested. Please direct any questions to the business or event organizer. Enjoy!
TeenPact is a leadership training experience with Christian influence and roots. It involves learning about state government and our responsibility as citizens.
The next TeenPact Hawaii event has been scheduled for March 19-23, 2018.
Registration will be available on September 1st!
TeenPact Hawaii will be offering:
* A Four Day Class (ages 13-19) on March 19-22, 2018. $260 first time students & $220 alumni,
* A Political Communication Workshop (ages 13-19) on March 23, 2018. $50 standalone rate or $40 with the four day class, and
* A One Day Class (ages 8-12) on March 23, 2018. $40 first child & $35 sibling rate.
During the four day class, students might meet public officials, examine and/or discuss things like our legislature, judicial system, and political campaigns, learn about the process of writing and debating bills, principles of Christian leadership, praying for elected officials, interviewing lobbyists, and more. The one day class is a condensed version of the four day experience, designed for the preteen set, and intended for parents and children to attend together (no extra charge for the parent, but a chaperone/adult/parent is required to attend).
NOTE: I am NOT affiliated or associated with TeenPact or this event. This is NOT a paid ad or sponsored post. I'm simply sharing in case it might be of interest to others. Please direct any questions to the organization or event organizer. Enjoy!
Museum Day Live! is an annual opportunity, hosted by Smithsonian magazine, to visit a participating museums or cultural institutions throughout the country FREE of charge, via a Museum Day Live! ticket good for free admission for two people. Tickets are available at the Smithsonian magazine website beginning August 25th, 2017.
Participating locations on Oahu include:
The Pacific Aviation Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate, is hosting Living History Day 2017 on Saturday, September 23, 2017, from 9am-4:30pm, in affiliation with Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day Live! Visitors must present a "Museum Day Live!" ticket in order to get free admission.
This years event will highlight the role of photography and film during WWII. Activities will include a scavenger hunt, tours, open cockpits, student exhibits, combat camera display, reading corner, swing dance demos, and more! There will also be a special screening of "Finding KUKAN".
NOTE: I am not affiliated or associated with the Pacific Aviation Museum, Smithsonian Magazine, Smithsonian, or this event. I am simply sharing the information in case it might be of interest to others. Please direct any questions to the museum or event organizers.
I'm a homeschooling mom of two, enjoying our time in Hawaii and hoping to share some of that experience with you, including ideas, reviews, resources, and information.