Thursday, April 26, 2018

Planet 316 Story Bible Review

Planet 316

Rachel received a beautifully illustrated story Bible from Planet 316 and Worthy Kids/Ideals for a review.  The book contains over 100 Bible stories from both the Old Testament and the New Testament.  The stories are about 2-6 pages each.  But this is no ordinary book.  Pictures on every page can come to life with augmented reality by scanning the page with the Planet 316 app.  

What is augmented reality?  My husband describes it as the modern day pop-up.  When you look at the book through the app on a tablet or smart phone, computer images of the page literally "pop-up" on the screen.  They move, talk, and interact with each other!  It is truly amazing technology.  Rachel and I have both been fascinated with learning all about it with the Planet 316 story Bible and the companion Planet 316 Story Bible App

Planet 316 Story Bible and Bible App


You can purchase the book for about $14.99 on the Planet 316 website.  Then you need to download the Planet 316 app.  It is free and it is available on Google Play for Android as well as the Apple App Store for Apple devices.


Once you open the app, it will walk you through the three main steps for what you need to do next:


Rachel reads the story then she goes back and uses the Planet 316 app on my iPad to scan the pictures on the page in the book.  Below is a quick video to just give you an idea of how amazing the Planet 316 augmented reality app looks when you scan the book.  The images literally pop off the page and come to life!


I love that Planet 316 has created such a fun way for kids to learn about the Bible.  As a mom on the go, I also love that it can go with her just about anywhere.  Rachel usually reads her Planet 316 Story Bible at home but she also loves to have it when she is waiting for big brother's ice hockey game to start or for spending time in the waiting area at a doctor's office.  All she has to bring with her to the game is the book, my iPad, and some headphones. 


The storybook is recommended for ages 4-7.  However, I would have read this aloud to my children at a younger age and the app certainly would have kept their attention.  Rachel is 9 years old and while she is reading at a higher level than the text of this book, the app makes it so intriguing for her that she still enjoys reading it.  Also, I love that she has brought it with her to the park and shared it with her younger friends.  It makes it easy to share the stories of the Bible with others when there is such a fun and interactive way to tell the stories.

For more information about Planet 316, please visit them on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Planet316/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/planet_316

If you would like to read additional reviews about Planet 316 from other members of the Homeschool Review Crew, please click on the banner below:

Planet 316 Story Bible and Bible App {Planet 316 Reviews}

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology {Review}

We have used the Young Explorer series from Apologia for homeschool science in the past so I was excited to have the opportunity to review their Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology curriculum for the Homeschool Review Crew. Apologia sent us a textbook, an audio CD, an Anatomy Notebooking Journal, as well as a Junior Anatomy Notebooking Journal to try.

Anatomy & Physiology

This curriculum is an introduction to human anatomy from a Christian perspective.  The hardcover text book is the heart of the curriculum.  It is divided into the following 14 chapters:
  1. Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology
  2. The Skeletal System
  3. The Muscular System
  4. The Digestive and Renal Systems
  5. Health and Nutrition
  6. The Respiratory System
  7. Life in the Blood
  8. The Cardiovascular System
  9. The Nervous and Endocrine Systems
  10. The Nervous System Extended
  11. Your Senses
  12. The Integumentary System
  13. The Lymphatic and Immune Systems
  14. Growth and Development
The MP3 audio CD is a recording of the author, Jeannie Fulbright, reading the text aloud.  Her voice is soothing and the kids enjoyed listening to her.  While the CD was playing, my kids read along in the textbook and looked at the graphics.  However, as with any read aloud we do, my children like to stop and discuss everything we read. It took a little longer for us to get through the material when we had to keep starting and stopping the CD so they could talk or ask questions.  My children prefer to just read the text aloud or have me read it aloud to them so we can more naturally discuss the material as we go along.  That is just the way we do read alouds together.  I think the CD would be great for other families, especially a student studying this independently or if you wanted to just play the CD in the car.

There are two Notebooking Journals available.  The regular one is intended for older children which I let Nicholas complete.  It contains more review questions and a vocabulary crossword puzzle.  The Junior Notebooking Journal contains some coloring pages for each lesson and less writing on most of the other notebook pages.  Rachel is in third grade and she likes the Junior version better although I think she is old enough to do fine with the regular version but it would definitely take her a little more time to complete.

For example, here is a crossword puzzle that Nicholas completed using vocabulary from lesson one.



But with the Junior version, Rachel just had to glue the vocabulary word on the definition to create a lift-the-flap page.


I just love that each lesson has a scripture copywork page that relates to the lesson in some way.  Both journals offer a sample copywork in both manuscript and cursive so your child can complete which ever one is a better fit for them.



But my favorite part of the Notebooking Journals are the mini-books.  Both the regular version and the Junior versions contain these.  Check out my video below to see two examples.




Each lesson in the textbook gives an easy-to-read explanation of the various systems along with several "Try This!" demonstrations and experiments.  The experiments are easy to follow and they use materials that you most likely already have at home.  Here are just a few that we did in the first couple of lessons.

As they learned about the history of the study of anatomy, they learned about how ancient Egyptians embalmed bodies with salts to preserve them because they believed the bodies would be needed in the afterlife.  So the kids did an experiments with various ratios of table salt, epsom salt, baking soda, and a control to see which mixture was the most effective at drying out apple slices.  This was a really fun experiment!


After learning about the invention of glass lenses and microscopes, they did an experiment with a drop of water to demonstrate how a magnifying glass works.




When they learned about the different organelles inside the human cell, they used jello and various kinds of candy to make an edible cell.  Yum!


To demonstrate the importance of our skeletal system, the children made clay people.  First they made one without any "bones".  He fell over right after I took his picture.  Second, they made one with a toothpick skeletal system and he is still standing today.


Did you know that your arm span is about the same width as your body is tall?  The children learned that and then did the "Try This!" demonstration to measure it for themselves.


In summary, we love this curriculum.  It is a great introduction to anatomy and the demonstrations make it a fun and more memorable way to learn.  I also appreciate that Apologia offers different notebooking journals for different ages.  We have also enjoyed the fact that the curriculum gives some additional projects and reading materials for each lesson in case your student wants to dive in deeper with a particular topic.

Apologia

We have used the Apologia Young Explorer series for most of our science curriculum.  However, here are two other Apologia products that I have reviewed in the past:
If you would like to read some additional reviews about the Apologia Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology products from other reviewers on the Homeschool Review Crew, please click on the banner below:

Apologia - Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Reviews

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Saturday, April 14, 2018

Junior Varsity Hockey

Nicholas loves playing hockey.  He is on a team at the Dr. Pepper Star Center and once a week they play a game against another team.  Every week he also takes a Power Skating class and a Hockey Enhancement class plus he goes to one or two public skating sessions as well.  He is on the ice a lot.  

We recently learned that two local public high schools have a combined hockey team.  In order to get on the team you have to try-out and private/home school students are allowed try-out for their team.  They have a varsity team and a junior varsity team.  Nicholas has never had to try-out for a hockey team so this was a new experience for him.


He was nervous but he said he did his best.  He made the junior varsity team!  We are pretty excited for the additional opportunities this will bring him.  I'll have to post another picture once they get their official uniforms.


Thursday, April 12, 2018

Learning Latin with First Form Latin by Memoria Press {Review}

Latin is a universal language.  It is the foundation for English and many other languages around the world.  All branches of science and technology as well as law, government, and theology still use Latin terminology today.  Studying Latin has been shown to improve SAT verbal scores and it makes learning the other Romantic languages easier.

The Homeschool Review Crew was given the opportunity to review some curricula from Memoria Press.  Nicholas completed their Prima Latina program when he was much younger so I decided to move him directly into First Form Latin program for this review.  This program is intended for grades 4-9 but it would probably work well as a first time Latin program for most students in grade 6 and above.  If Nicholas had struggled with Prima Latina or needed a slower pace going forward then I would have chosen the Latina Christiana program but First Form has been a good fit for him.


First Form Latin Complete Set

The compete First Form Latin set includes:

  • Student textThe student text contains 34 short lessons which are intended to be completed at a pace of one lesson per week.  Each lesson has a two page spread and introduces Latin sayings to recite, grammar, vocabulary, and elementary syntax
  • Student workbookThe student workbook contains about 4-6 pages per lesson and includes drills and exercises to reinforce the material learned in the lesson.
  • Teacher manual - The teacher manual includes an inset of the student text along with "Chalk Talk" and teacher scripts as well as additional teacher notes and background information.
  • Quizzes and Tests book - There are quizzes to be used at the end of each weekly lesson and tests for the end of each unit.
  • Teacher answer key - This book provides all of the answers for the workbook, quizzes, and tests.
  • Pronunciation audio CD -  This is a must for learning how to properly pronounce new words for recitation.
  • Instructional DVD - The presenter on the DVD does a good job of explaining each lesson.  He even makes occasional jokes to make it fun. 
  • Flashcards - The flashcards are great for review and practice
First Form Latin is an excellent program for developing mastery learning regardless of your learning style.  Some students need to read the material to learn it.  Some students are auditory learners so they need to hear it to learn it.  I love that the information in First Form Latin is provided in a variety of different formats - text, audio, visual (DVD and flashcards).  This allows the program to reach students of all different learning styles.  

Nicholas can complete one lesson per week.  Before he begins a new lesson, he does a recitation and review with me on what he has previously learned.  When it is time to start the new lesson, he begins by reading the student text and watching the DVD instructional video.  There is a menu on the DVD to make it easy to go directly to the lesson you need to watch or you can re-watch the last lesson if you need a refresher.



There are 4-6 worksheet pages per lesson which seems like a lot.  However, we divide those pages up between the remaining days of the week so it works out to about 30 minutes of day that he spends on Latin.



He uses the audio CD to help with pronunciation for his recitation and we use the flashcards for review.  I thought that this program might be hard for Nicholas since it has been a few years since he completed the Prima Latina program.  However, he is breezing through it and he actually practices his verb conjugations aloud at the dinner table, just for fun!

I appreciate that the materials provided with this curriculum are so comprehensive.  It is designed in such a way that teachers with no Latin background can be successful using it.  I have studied Latin a little but this program has helped build my confidence in teaching Latin to my children.  With the text, DVD, and audio CD, I feel confident that my middle school student could work through this program on his own, if needed. However, I like doing the recitation and review with him to be sure he is understanding all that has been presented to him.  I include Latin in my weekly teacher prep time so that I can go through the lesson and listen to the audio CD on my own before going through it with him.  However, a teacher with Latin background would likely be able to move through the lessons with little to no prep time.

Memoria Press

I always enjoy using Memoria Press in our homeschool because their materials provide a wonderful Classical model education with a Christian worldview.  Below are some posts about some other Memoria Press products that we have used in the past:
If you would like to learn more about Memoria Press, you can connect with them on these social media platforms:


If you would like to read reviews from other Homeschool Review Crew members about First Form Latin or a selection of other Memoria Press curricula, please click on the banner below:


Spelling, Music Appreciation & Latin {Memoria Press Reviews}


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Saturday, April 7, 2018

2018 Fan Expo Dallas

We visited Fan Expo for the first time.  It was an experience.  There were lots of famous actors and actresses there including Ben Affleck, Chuck Norris, Val Kilmer, and Richard Dean Anderson (aka McGyver), just to name a few.  Some of the stars had opportunities where you could pay to have your picture taken with them.  Others had casual Q&A sessions with an audience or sat on various panels.  Here is a picture we got of Jeff Goldblum from Jurassic Park, Thor, and of course, The Fly.


There were lots of booths where you could get pictures for free like these below.  Stuart found R2D2! 


Nicholas was excited to get a picture with Darth Maul from Star Wars.  He is one scary dude!


Rachel preferred to get her picture with this sweet ewok.  Awww!


I secretly wanted a picture with a Star Wars jawa because they kind of scared me as a kid but I never got one. 

Nicholas loves the Flash super hero and even has a cool Flash helmet but this guy had the real deal.


Here is Nicholas with Riddick.


And probably the highlight of the day for him, a picture with two Master Chiefs from the game Halo.


My favorite costume is a little more tame.  I found the famous painter, Bob Ross and posed with him and his happy little squirrel.


There were tons of vendors where you could buy swords, t-shirts, light sabers, jewelry, and all kinds of cool stuff.


However, it was all a bit much for my introverted self.  We don't watch a lot of TV or movies so we didn't know who a lot of the characters were.  And it was so crowded that it was hard to get around at times.  Even though this was taking place in the Dallas Convention Center it still wasn't a big enough space.  Stuart compared it to being at Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  Maybe next year they will get a bigger space.  I had fun seeing all the characters and posing for pictures with them.  I liked looking at the vendor booths (girls do like shopping!).  Nicholas had the most fun of all of us and I'm sure he will want to go again next year.