Northwest Treasures {Review}

I visited the Northwest Treasures booth at the Texas Home School Coalition convention about 2 years ago.  I talked with the owner, Patrick Nurre, about fossils and other geeky science stuff that I like.  He talked to me about geology and dinosaurs with a passion - and from a Christian worldview!  It was a refreshing and educational conversation for me.

So I was delighted when the Homeschool Review Crew offered us the opportunity to review an online class from Northwest Treasures.  For the review, we received access to the online class Dinosaurs and the Bible and the video, Taking the Mystery Out of Geology.

Take the Mystery out of Geology Online Course

Northwest Treasures offers many online classes and videos.  Taking the Mystery Out of Geology is a great place to start.  It is a 20 minute video that explains the meaning of 13 important terms used in geology.  We found it to be helpful to have viewed this video before taking our class because it explained in detail some of the concepts mentioned in the class such as orogeny and uniformitarianism.  The video, as is all of the products by Northwest Treasures, discusses secular beliefs but presents the material from a Christian, young Earth perspective with Genesis 1:1 as the description for the foundation of our Earth, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."

Next we dove into the six part class called Dinosaurs and the Bible.  It is intended for grades 5 and up. I had both of my children watch these videos together with me.  Rachel is in fourth grade and Nicholas is in ninth grade.  Nicholas really enjoyed the videos and he commented and chuckled at times through the videos.  I know Rachel is younger than the suggested age but I wanted her to watch the videos too because she understands a lot about geology and she really wanted to be a part of the class too.  However, it was definitely above her level in both the content and the lecture-style of the presentation.
Dinosaurs and the Bible Online Course
Each class consists of a video ranging from 16 to 21 minutes long.  With each video there is a corresponding worksheet that you can print and have your student complete to demonstrate that they have learned.  I printed these but decided to use them as discussion questions for the three of us to talk about after each video.  I appreciated having the teacher guide to go along with the worksheets.  There is a also a final test that you can print as well. 

The videos are all streamed on Vimeo which you can view from a computer or through an app on your tablet or smartphone.  Taking the Mystery Out of Geology is a 3-month rental for $5.00.  The Dinosaurs and the Bible class is a 6-month rental for $19.99.

In addition to the videos and printouts, you can also order a dinosaur fossil kit for $38.00.  It is not necessary for the course at all but it is just cool.  It includes the following fossils as well as printed information about each:

  • Dinosaur bone from the Hell Creek Formation in Montana
  • Spinosaurus Tooth from Morocco
  • Spinosaurus bone from Morocco
  • Dinosaur coprolite from Utah
  • Hypacrosaur bone from Two Medicine Formation in Montana
  • Fossil Turtle Shell from Florida

Nicholas' favorite fossil in the kit is the piece of a Triceratops frill bone.  He couldn't believe he was actually holding a piece of a dinosaur.  How cool is that?!!

If you are interested in geology including dinosaurs, fossils, volcanoes, and more then I encourage you to take a look at some of the other products offered by Northwest Treasures.  They also offer rock tumblers and even field trips!

Northwest Treasures

When I spoke to Mr. Nurre at the Texas Home School Coalition convention a few years ago, we were going to be studying volcanoes and I purchased Volcanoes for Little Eyes to use with Rachel.  It is a great book full of in-depth yet easy-to-understand information, color pictures and fun activities like building a volcano!

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Online Geology Classes{Northwest Treasures Reviews}

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Bible Study for All Ages {Review}

Bible Study Guide for All Ages is a fun interactive homeschool Bible curriculum for teaching your children about the Word of God and how to apply it in their lives.  The Homeschool Review Crew gave us an option to review this program so Rachel has been working through the Intermediate (3rd and 4th grade) curriculum.  They also offer a Beginner level for ages 3 - Kindergarten, Primary for 1st and 2nd grade, and Advanced for 5th and 6th grade.

Bible Study Guide for All Ages

The curriculum is a four unit program containing 416 lessons total.  It is intended to be completed over the course of four years.  Each unit can be completed in one school year if your student works on lessons 3 times per week.  Each unit is divided into 4 quarters and there is a separate book for each quarter.  For the purpose of this review, we received Unit 1, Quarter 1 Intermediate Level Student Pages, the accompanying Teacher Key, and the Small Bible Book Summary Cards.  I will cover how to use those as we go along.

Rachel begins each lesson with reading the scripture listed for that lesson.  Then she works through the review part called "Remember It?" and "Memory Workout" which challenges students to recall what they have learned in previous lessons and work on drills to help learn important facts like the books of the Bible and the twelve sons of Jacob.

There is a fun "Guess What" section that gives interesting tidbits and facts that relate to the lesson.  Once she has read that she begins working on the "Timeline" or "Map" activity.  There are directions that tell her what to do.  Here she is drawing a skinny cow on the timeline where Pharaoh had his dream.  She chose to make it a pink cow because she likes strawberry milk!  I like how there is structure in this curriculum yet it allows the students to be creative and make it more personalized for them.

The Map section has the student circle towns, mark arrows for travel, etc.  This is important for students to be able to "see" the geography of the Bible and how towns and landforms are located in relation to each other.

The "Apply It!" section is important because this is where the student is applying the lessons they learned in the Bible study to their own lives.  They are given scenarios and asked to finish the story or simply asked direct questions about what they should do or what the Bible says about a particular situation.  This is a great part of the curriculum.  The students aren't just reading the Bible but learning to use the lessons to spread the love of God to the world.

The back of each Student Page has the "Discover the Bible" section.  This page has a comic strip style and the student follows the directions to mark out words that are incorrect, match up pictures in the story, and fill in the blanks.  Rachel likes to add a little color to her pages too.

The Teacher Key has a page that corresponds to each of the Student Pages.  It is really needed if you use the Wall Maps and Timeline set because it directs you on which labels need to be placed on each.  

We are not using the Wall Maps and Timeline set but I still find the Teacher Key to be helpful.  It provides me with a quick reference to the answers that Rachel should be marking in her Student Pages and it also helps me see how she should be completing her individual timeline and maps.

We also received the Small Bible Book Summary Cards.  These are a great resource for any child learning about the Bible, even if they aren't using this full curriculum.  Each lesson refers the child to read or re-read a summary card.

Bible Study Guide for All Ages
There is one card for each book of the Bible.  The front of the card summarizes the book with colorful pictures which serve as a great reminder of what the story is about.

The back of each card has a written summary of the book.  There are also a list of questions about the book that the teacher can use to quiz their child.  The answers to the questions are in small print after the question.

Wall Maps and Timeline Set for $24.95.  The timeline is 76" x 25".  There are three large maps included in the set.  One of the maps measures 36" x 25" and the other two maps are 19" x 25".  We already have a giant timeline on our school room wall so I didn't opt to receive these but they look like great products to help clarify the time line and geography of the Bible.

Bible Study Guide for All Ages

Children's Songs 2-CD set is available for $19.95.  The lessons direct you when to play certain songs from the CD that correspond with what the student is learning.  It is a fun addition to the curriculum but not required.

You can purchase all of the pieces separately but I would recommend buying the Intermediate Starter Pack.  There are two versions of the Starter Pack to choose from.  The basic includes all four units of the Intermediate Student Pages, the Large Bible Book Summary Cards and the Children's Songs CD for $67.80.  The premium version includes all of these item but also the Teacher Keys, Wall Maps and Timeline set and the Label book for book that contains the labels for the maps and timeline.  The premium set sells for $135.61.

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Orange Beach, Alabama 2018

Last year while we were visiting family in Baton Rouge, we decided to take a few days and head to a "real" beach on the Gulf Coast.  We had such a good time that we have decided to make it an annual tradition. 

This year we tried to get other family members to come along with us.  My dad was hoping to come but it didn't work out.  But Stuart's brother and his daughter came.  It was fun for the cousins to get to spend time together.  

We got rooms at the Hampton Inn and Suites right on the beach.  This is where we stayed last year.  The rooms are nice plus they have a great breakfast included with the room price.  And, did I mention that it is right on the beach?!  We bring umbrellas, ice chest, snorkeling gear, sand castle gear, etc so it is nice to be right there on the beach and not have to lug that stuff around more than necessary.

We arrived late in the day but we hadn't even gotten our stuff unpacked when the kids were begging to go down to the beach.  Look how beautiful the view from our room was.

The next morning we got up early to play on the beach.  The waters were no longer still.  Instead they were actually quite rough.

We played in the surf some but we spent most of our time just hanging out in the sand.

Nicholas played around with dripping wet sand on to itself.

Eventually it started to look like a sand stalagmite!

Stuart buried Nicholas in the sand.  Look at that big smile on Nicholas' face!  He loved it!

I love that I can always find THE BEST flip flops at the beach.  I bought a pair of Cobian flip flops when we were here last summer and they were my favorite shoe all year long until they eventually broke.  So, of course, I had to come back to get a replacement pair.

Even the waves hitting the shore were strong.  If you weren't paying attention, they could knock you over.

One great thing about the strong waves is that they brought in a lot of shells. Most of them were not very big but we collected quite a few neat ones to bring home.

Plus Rachel had fun "riding" the waves on her boogie board.

We played and played until we were just wiped out.

We headed back to the rooms for showers and to go searching for food.  I was ready to just sit on the balcony and read a book while listening to the waves and watching the seagulls but the kids were longing to go down to the beach again.

So we headed back down and spent the rest of the afternoon in the sand and surf.

Nicholas enjoys playing in the sand.  He buried Rachel in the sand and shaped the sand to make her look like a mermaid.

Pretty impressive!

Then he wanted to bury Mommy.  I wasn't excited about being buried in sand but then I reminded myself to savor the days.  He had so much fun and it was neat seeing him at work.

He used the tip of the shovel to make a neat pattern that could be used for scales or feathers.

In my case they became feathers as I transformed into an eagle!

There had been some rain earlier but it was short-lived and moved through quickly.  But the waves were still quite strong.  I kept getting knocked over when I went out in it.  But they were beautiful to watch and the sound of them crashing was so relaxing to listen to.

This is our second summer to come to Orange Beach and we just love it.  We love the location of this hotel, we love the quality of the beach, and we love that it isn't too far of a drive.  However, the only problem we have with this beach is..... 

….there are a lot of jellyfish in the water!  And they aren't far out where it is deep and most people don't go.  No, they are right at the shore where everyone is playing.

And look how long their tentacles are!  I think we might have to hunt down another beach to visit next summer, even if it means driving a little further.

Sometimes we saw dead jellyfish that has washed up on the beach.

We have each gotten little stings over the two trips we have made here.  Your skins burns some but fortunately we haven't had it bad enough to keep us out of the water.

This summer we found a new fun thing to do here.  Helicopter rides over the beach with Orange Beach Helicopter Tours!  Even though they gave rides all day and each ride was rather short, we still had to make reservations.  There was a constant stream of people coming in for rides.

The helicopter is only big enough for three riders.  Stuart and I took a helicopter tour in Hawaii so it wasn't as big of a deal for us but both kids were super excited to ride in a helicopter for the first time. 

I got a video of the take-off but somehow the video stops just as they leave the ground.

I love the video of them coming back in for the landing.  They come in so quickly yet gracefully.

We only stayed for two nights so it was a short trip but it was a lot of fun.  The brothers got to hang out and relax.

And the cousins got to spend time playing at the beach together.

Hopefully we can make another trip like this again next summer!