Sunday, November 21, 2010

TOS Crew Review--Christian Kids Explore Biology (Bright Ideas Press)

I had been looking at the Christian Kids explore science series by Bright Ideas Press, so I was thrilled when I found out I would be reviewing Christian Kids Explore Biology. What a treat to be able to review something on my wish list!!

This science curriculum is really good. It is concise, well-written, and very Christian, which is THE most important thing to me. It is written by Stephanie Redmond, who is a homeschool mom. Funny thing works for homeschooling!! You can work with individual students, or a multi-level group. You can make it work for the younger crowd, or add it to another curriculum for the older students, although it is intended for grades 3-6. It could be the sole curriculum, or a supplement. You can even use it as a review beyond elementary. Isn't flexibility nice??

The book has 35 lessons, intended for 2-90 minute lessons a week. Of course, it can be scheduled however you choose. It includes teaching lessons, coloring pages, hands on time (including some experiments--you could always add more if you like), memorization lists, review sheets, creative writing assignments, and a supplemental book list...WOW! It really packs a punch in its pages. I found it all helpful and informative for my 9 and 12 year olds. (the 7 year old listened in, too!)

There is also a student activity book download available. It includes all the reproducibles from the book. It is a helpful resource as you go through this curriculum. Timesavers are wonderful, in my opinion.

This curriculum is available at The book is $34.95 and the student activity book download is $12.95. There is also good information on the website about a yahoo group, materials list, and sample lesson plans. You can also explore the rest of the website and see the other books available in this series, Christian Kids Explore Physics and Christian Kids Explore Earth and Space.

This is such a versatile curriculum. You can make it work for your homeschool needs, and that is a plus. Check it out and see if it is a good fit for your homeschool science!!

***Disclaimer: I was given Christian Kids Explore Science and the student activity book download free of charge, in exchange for my honest review of them. I received no other compensation.***

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Write Foundation

I think writing is one of the hardest things to do in our homeschool. Yet, it is so important to be able to write well in "real life." I was excited when I found out I was going to review The Write Foundation material. I really liked what I saw on the website as I looked it over to pick which level I wanted. It was hard at first to decide what to pick, then I realized it would probably be best to start at the beginning. I chose Sentence to Paragraph Writing Instructions, and looking it over, I know I made the right decision. It is all about laying a good foundation, and I think this curriculum does it well. It can be used for a coop class (the writer used it for that, as well as her own children.), but of course it is great for homeschoolers in the home setting.

The writer of the curriculum, Rebecca Celsor, recommends the first level (on sentences to paragraph writing) for ages 11-13. I agree with that for my own children. For level 2 (on paragraph writing), she suggests ages 12-15, and level 3 (on essay writing) for ages 14-17. I found this to be totally flexible, since there are different levels of experience and skill. It was and will continue to be very helpful for my three middle girls, ages 12, 14, and 16, to make sure a good foundation for writing is in place

I received a teachers instruction manual and student worksheets. There were detailed instructions on how to put it all together, then implement it. It was confusing to me at first, but I am understanding more and more as time goes on. (yes, I'm slow--I have mommy brain most of the time!!) There is a 5 day schedule in the instruction booklet that goes like this:

Day 1: Sentence structure and sentence practice

Day 2: Instructions for paragraph writing--teacher writing instructions

Day 3: Work on paragraph writing assignment--mostly student independent work

Day 4: Finish paragraph writing assignment--most student completing independent work

Day 5: Poetry and Mind Bender (activities from the Critical Thinking company to order)

There is a 10 day schedule, too, which adds to the flexibility of this curriculum. You can tweak it to meet your needs and schedule. Oh, how I love products that allow for that!!

The curriculum is very well laid out, and gives much detail. It keeps the student engaged, and that is so important for learning. It is not a curriculum you can just pick up and teach, as it takes some thought and preparation beforehand to get a feel for it and understand how it works. It takes concentration and time to get the bugs worked out in your mind, as it is teacher intensive.

As far as ordering goes, you can order any level with lessons 1-15, 16-30 for $65 each plus tax, or a bundle that includes lessons 1-30 for $100 plus tax. You get an instruction manual, 1 set notebook ready worksheets, and a cd. Check out their website: and get a feel for it yourself. You can read more reviews on this product at :

This is a writing curriculum you will want to look at. It just may be the thing for your family!

***Disclaimer: I was given this product free of charge in exchange for my honest review of it. I received no other compensation.***