Our Homeschool Nature Study- No Sweat Nature Study

We love our No Sweat Nature Study subscription! (FYI, this is not a promotional post. I’m writing this as my kids enjoy NSNS, and I’m learning along).  This is the second year our  Mia (grandma) got us an annual subscription for Christmas. The kids love it, and it enriches our homeschool in many ways.

My 4 oldest children, 5 to 11 years old, can follow along with the nature study. They each work at their own pace, which is exactly what we want in our homeschool, right?!

I don’t have to think about what to plan for nature study, it’s already done for me. And because all of Mrs. Cindy’s classes are based on seasonal topics, we can use those topics as a jumping off point for some light unit study learning in our home.

I don’t typically do full blown unit studies, (unless we are traveling somewhere new like the ocean, Grand Canyon, etc) but I do enjoy filling our home with topical books, via book baskets and our ledge shelves.

Homeschool nature study

No Sweat Nature Study gives us a perfect way to choose books, games, and other activities to continue our learning. As homeschool moms we are always looking for ways to make learning a natural part of our home. For our family, that means lots of good books, lots of reading aloud, playing games as a family, and lots of open ended play out of doors.

I love that no sweat nature study fits right in with our family values, and how we enjoy learning.

Check out Cindy’s nature study program- there are different subscription lengths, so you can try it and make sure you like it before committing to a longer subscription.  (but I promise, your family will enjoy it!)



Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Homeschool 2021/2022 School Year Choices {5th, 3rd, 1st, and K}

This homeschool year, we are starting slowly. This is the first year we have taken a full blown summer break … we have done maybe a week’s worth of school since the end of May, and filled some time with lap books and other fun schooling activities. We’ve really taken off the majority of days for pool time (because I just can’t resist!), gardening time & family trips; and we have loved every minute of it!

Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2021

Our main core as a family this year will be continuing through Sonlight Core D (Bible, History, and Read Alouds), which is American history. When we finish this core, we will move on to Core E, the second half of American history.  After doing several years of wold cultures and world history, we are very much savoring American history. I’d like to focus on President’s and state capitols this year. There are so many great read aloud, and readers for US History. Just not enough hours in the day for all the books!

I am also finishing reading through the P4/5 Core with my youngest 2. They will be K and 1st this year; they are less than 2 years a part, but one is a fall baby and one is summer, so they’re close in grade levels. We made the choice a long time ago to keep our fall babies back a grade (they don’t meet most cut offs anyway, and like many states we aren’t required to school until age 7). We are very happy with that decision; but I like them being the older in their “grade” for the purpose of Co-op, sports, and church activities. I will start Core A with them at naps and bedtime once they finish P 4/5.

Math- We will be using Christian Light Education for our math, as always. My kindergartener will be using their K2 books, and I hope this bridges the gap between K math and 1st grade math for her. I will probably add in Saxon K worksheets  for her as well. I think CLE K2 combined with some math games and a little Saxon K, will be a fine math foundation.

Science- I just haven’t made up my mind here. I really love Apologia’s science programs. We would do the Anatomy and Physiology  if we go with Apologia … we really need to complete the Sonlight Science for Core D *but* every time we go to do the science, my kids already know  everything we are discussing (thanks Wild Kratts), so I just feel blah continuing with it. I know I don’t have to finish it, but I hate to leave it incomplete; also, it isn’t only animals and biology. Core D Science covers lots of other fun topics, so I should just persevere.

We will also add in No Sweat Nature Study again. We have really enjoyed these classes, and are building some great nature journals.

Language Arts- My beginning readers (K and 1st) will be using AAR plus The Good and the Beautiful. My older 2 will continue with The Good and The Beautiful, in levels 3 and 5. This includes spelling, some phonics, grammar, some writing, and geography. The 1st grader is a great reader, so lessons with her are pretty smooth. The K wants to read so badly, and was killing all the CVC words we practiced on our Florida vacation (during snuggles in the morning). So we are looking forward to her reading this year.

We add in Explode the Code, and Wordly Wise to our language arts. My children love both of these, and it does improve their skills, along with giving extra handwriting practice. I like them because of all this, plus they provide independent work for my children; so while I work with one student on language arts or math, the others have some independent work that keeps them on task.

Handwriting- We begin with Handwriting Without Tears, and after the PreK and K books, we move on to A Reason For Handwriting book K and then A. I like giving my children lots of good handwriting practice. They usually fly through both K books, but then Book A isn’t as difficult and they’re better readers by then, making the copywork easier. My 3rd grader is in their first cursive book. My 5th grader has done so many handwriting copyworb books, and she likes them so much. This year I got her the Memoria Press cursive book … I think it is a poetry copywork.

Extras- We are doing logic this year, with some workbooks I found on Rainbow Resource. They do problems logic in their math, but this is just extra practice; my husband wanted to be sure they were hitting logic, so we are going to try it this year.

My 5th grader is doing French from Memoria Press, which she is sooo excited about. I think I couldn’t given it to her for her birthday and she’s been just as excited. We are adding in some new sets of Brain Quest for fun, Fandex Presidents and States, and Kanoodle for a little brain teaser game.

We are using the Answers For Kids boxed set for our Bible discussions, along with the Heroes of History and Christian Heroes added to our morning basket time.

We are praying over our homeschool year that each step taken is led by the Lord, and that our words glorify Him. I am truly grateful for the blessing of our homeschool journey, even during the hard days (especially) or mornings when life feels heavy, I know the relationships we are building are worth it. At the end of the day, the math and reading, and science topics don’t save my children. Jesus does. And while we love learning (just one reason we homeschool), learning to love each other and serve one another on really hard days, is maybe one of the best things I can give my children. Or at least show them day in and day out.

I hope yall found this helpful. If you have any questions about what we do, or why/how we do it, let me know and I can go more in depth for you!

Are yall ready for the school year? Or school week? Or school semester/term?  You’ve got this mamas!







Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Homeschool Science Online- Chemistry

Homeschool Science online

Disclosure: I received this product free through the Homeschool Review Crew.

We have been using Greg Landry’s Homeschool Science, Young Scientist Chemistry, for some science fun this summer. This course is for grades 4-7, and is a self paced course. Because it is online, you can do it anytime with as many students as you’d like. Self paced makes this course as slow or fast you your family feels comfortable. I have some kids that will fly through self paced courses, and others that like to take a little longer.

For the Young Scientist Chemistry course, there are 13 classes, plus an intro that covers a little information from parents and student.  Classes cover:

  • note taking and test taking
  • the scientific method
  • creation, the atom, matter & quantum mechanics
  • the periodic table (2 lessons)
  • elements, mixtures, and compounds
  • chemical bonding
  • the mole
  • states of matter
  • Density
  • Radioactivity
  • Ph- acids and bases

The course includes easy print out study guide pdfs for each lesson, divided into parts, 1-4.

Homeschool Science online

We have really enjoyed these lessons. My almost 3rd grader tagged along with his almost 5th grade sister. They were both interested in it, but my daughter specifically requested doing chemistry, so it was of more interest to her and at her level.

Homeschool Science online

Classes are lecture style and Professor Landry is so easy to listen to, and is also easy to understand-which is so important for online learning. Lessons include some visuals on the screen, which correlate with the PDF study guide. I recommend printing the study guide before class, that way students can make notes as they go along through the class.

The PDF study guides include activities and worksheets for filling in information for class, which helps the student with note taking and completing their work, as well as comprehension. There are great charts included in the PFDs as well. My daughter loves visuals and reading over notes, so we find the printable guides super helpful.

This is a great way for parents to assess progress in the course, and show proof of learning for any requirements for their state or diplomas. We like making portfolios for our work, so Professor Landry’s guides are a great way to do this.

My children have a pretty firm foundation in the metric system, thanks to their math, so the metric system class was a great way to bring all of that information together, showing how it relates to science. We did one lesson a week, sometimes every other week, usually on Wednesdays. We loved the lesson for creation, the atom, matter & quantum mechanics. I like how Professor Landry handles creation and the topic of God’s creation, the analogies he gives for student’s to understand- we weren’t created from nothing. But instead purposefully, by our Creator.

Homeschool Science online

Classes build upon one another, so I do recommend going in order of the course. There is also review in each video we’ve come across, because students use knowledge from previous classes for the next.

We are super excited to continue on through the course, and continue our learning journey with Greg Landry’s Homeschool Science, Young Scientist Chemistry.


Read more reviews for this, and other science courses, by clicking the banner below:

Online College Prep Science Classes with Greg Landry

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

2019/2020 Homeschool Year- 3rd grade

Instead of posting everything we are doing in one very overwhelming post, I thought I would break it down by grade level this year. I am late … I know. I’ve been in a deep first trimester exhaustion of random naps and no motivation beyond sleeping and eating. We’ve been sick with one stomach bug after another, and of course with 6 people in the house, it takes forever to get over 1 thing just in time for another to hit! (But I’ve stepped up my elderberry syrup and vitamin C game for the family, so hopefully the rest of the winter won’t be so bad).

And I’m feeling better now, that I’m closer to second trimester! Woo Hoo!

This year, my 9 year old is doing 3rd grade, for all intents and purposes.

Math- CLE Grade 3 math. We like this math so far because it is clean, simple, straight forward, and has students becoming more independent at an early age. I am involved in their lessons, but they aren’t dependent on me for learning 100%. I like this because one of our goals as homeschoolers is to create intrinsically motivated, self taught students who love to read and learn as they grow.

Grammar/Writing/Language Arts- This area is a little more gray. We are using The Good and the Beautiful, and also Easy Grammar (which we have reviewed before). For my 3rd grader, this is working out very well. I would like something that is a little more consolidated so I am not using 2 different programs (we don’t use the reading and spelling in TGTB). I’ve ordered BJU English which includes writing, grammar, and mechanics all in one book. I found it used for super cheap, just so I can look through it. We will see how it is, and may give it a try. Other than using 2 different programs, I *really* like TGTB and also Easy Grammar. Both bring a lot of their own qualities, and most importantly, my daughter enjoys both and does well with them.

Reading and Spelling- This is still All About Reading, and All About Spelling. We don’t really use AAR very often … she just doesn’t need it as much as spelling. I have started implementing he reading aloud to us from our History Core, so I can hear her reading, and help with any difficult words. She is a very fast reader, which is great when you’re studying or looking for key words in notes, or need specific info. But I want her to slow down and enjoy what she is reading, read with inflection, and wait for the good parts. haha  When she reads on her own, it is fast and for the purpose of finding out what happens … which is also great; however reading aloud is so beneficial and she is willing to do it with joy!

Homeschool 2019/202 3rd grade

All About Spelling is what we are working through with her brother, still. They just do it together since he is naturally a great speller, it is easy for them to do it together (and takes some pressure off of me to get one more thing done in the day).

Science– Oh dear science, how we love you. We have really slacked in science since last year, short of nature exploration. So it is my intention this winter to take this season of cold weather, and do a *LOT* more science. We will utilize Apologia’s Creation series because frankly, it is just so good. We love listening to the text on audio, and the activity book that goes along is also great. We have reviewed Astronomy and Anatomy, and really love both. I can’t wait to try their Botany and zoology series.

History/Bible/Read Alouds- This is Sonlight Core C for us, this year. We are finishing up our second year of world history, and will move on to American history next year. I am not entirely sure if we will use Sonlight Core D for American History. I *think* we will, but I also want to look around and see if there is anything else we may want to use for AMerican history years.

Other Stuff- We are using Wordly Wise for vocabulary. I do like to pull words from our read alouds for the kids to learn, but this is something they all really enjoy, can do on their own, and helps develop more than just vocabulary skills. These books are simple, yet awesome.

We get to use lots of other fun stuff throughout the year, like Lit Wits, STEM activities, and foreign languages. We have co op and of course all our handicrafts and arts we enjoy freely.

This homeschool year I definitely feel more organized, and like we have stayed on top of things better so far. Last year was full of concussions, flu, puppies, baby goats, and travels. We got behind and did math through August! NOT FUN; I didn’t enjoy it at all. I DO like doing school year round, because we want to … not because we have to, if that makes sense.

So this school year we do math every single day, whether we are sick or not, or we double up if we miss. Any independent or workbook pages are divided into week in folders, like every year. We put that work each week on their clipboard. Some weeks we do 2 weeks worth of work when things are going really smoothly, to account for any sick days we may have.

Baby #5 should be here in June, so I want us to have plenty of time to enjoy the spring weather, play in the pool, and be homeschool work free! Life is going to change a lot with a newborn, so it will be important for the kids to have a solid routine, without me having the stress of “we must finish.”

What are you using for homeschool this year?


Sonlight Curriculum All About Reading Botany Apologia Astronomy




Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Horses in History with Mattie Richardson {a review}

Y’all know when there is a chance to review a book in our home, we jump on the chance. =) We have been reading the Mattie Richardson’s Horses in History Series from Author Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy Books. Formerly known as North Dakota’s Teen Author, Mattie has written a series of books your children and family will love!

Appaloosy Books by Mattie Richardson

Each book centers around the story of a horse (or horses) from history-of course as a mom and homeschooler, this greatly appeals to me! My history buff daughter, 9, also loved the historical aspect of the books, and how the stories were told from the horse’s perspective. Mattie has written books full of love, adventure, integrity, and strength. All characteristics we want for our children. I hold my book standards pretty high; we don’t need ugly words and harsh language to get a point across, and these books definitely held up to my standards.

The first portion of each book begins with a dedication, which sometimes offers some insight to the author’s inspiration for writing the book. Dusty’s Trail, told from the view point of a horse on the Pony Express, begins with an article about the Pony Express, first published in 1860. Next, the reader will find a section of Words and Terms You Should Know. This section is in each of the books, with a small variation. In Day and Night, Mattie has made Civil War-era Words and Terms Used in this Book section. Golden Sunrise offers a Spanish Words Used in this Book section. So each book has a great intro to the topic through a helpful guide in the beginning; my daughter often referred back to this while reading, as did I. Appaloosy gives us the Nez Perce Words and Their Meanings as a helpful glossary to better understand as we read.

Appaloosy Series

The books are nicely bound, with a colorful paperback cover. Day and Night comes in at the thickest with 148 pages, Appaloosy with 125 pages,  Golden Sunrise with 98 pages, and Dusty’s Trail at 66 pages (plus a few un-numbered informational pages). Some books have a few illustrations throughout, the text is appropriate for early readers (not too small), and the pages are a smooth, high quality, crisp white.

Appaloosy is about a horse who wants nothing more than to be wild and free, until he finds the love of a girl named Faith. But when he is stolen and escapes captivity, Storm must decide if he wants his freedom or to go back to Faith on her family’s farm. My 9 year old says:

Faith gives her locket necklace to take Storm home from the man who had him. She was only the 2nd person he let ride him, of all the people that had owned or ridden him. I like his decision and the way the book ended.

Golden Sunrise tells the story of Cheyenne and Jared- “Jared is a man who wants to marry Olivia; they’ve been courting for about a year. But then he has to go off to war to fight for Texas’s freedom. He rides Cheyenne throughout the war, and they are buddies. Cheyenne becomes friends with Davy Crockett, which was really funny. I won’t tell you the end, but it is sweet.”

Golden Sunrise

Day and Night was my daughter’s favorite of all the books. “This book is about 2 horses, Shiloh and Tucker, they take turns having a chapter, so it can be confusing if you don’t pay attention. Tucker is the older horse and Shiloh is the younger sibling horse. Shiloh is lighter in color and smaller; he is gentle and gets very attached to people he likes. Tucker is older and brown. Neither of them wanted to fight in the war but Shiloh was stolen by a girl in the Confederacy, and Tucker got sold to the US army. You will have to read and see what they go through and if they find each other again.”

We also enjoyed using Mattie’s Enrichment Guide for Day and Night, along with the answer key. It includes: vocabulary, history, comprehension, creating your own stories, further reading, and even more! These include activities, coloring, developing character attributes for a story, biographies, geography, and the list goes on! This is definitely worth the small purchase price, and something you can integrate into your homeschool for a large range of ages.


Dusty’s Trail is about a boy, Levi who runs away with his horse, Dusty, to join the Pony Express. “When someone starts stealing the horses and killing their riders, Levi and Dusty push through more runs  (I think 3?) until they find someone they can tell. Eventually Levi gets captured, Dusty gets separated from him … and you have to read the rest (haha).”

Dusty's Trail

As you can see, the books were greatly enjoyed by my oldest daughter. They will be wonderful reads for my horse loving 5 year old. These books will be best understood by those 8 and up, but I think they can be read aloud to just about any age.

Mattie Richardson is clearly a talented young lady, she has more books coming out, that I know we will be reading! We have enjoyed the Horses in History Series immensely. There are countless way to use it as part of a homeschool curriculum, and they are wholesome books.

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Homeschool Practice With IXL {a review}

IXL Learning-For all Children

We have been using an annual membership from IXL Learning. This included all IXL subjects– math, language arts, grades 2-8 science, grades 2-8 social studies, and intro Spanish.

This has been such a fun supplemental program to review! We do plan to continue using it for the year, and will renew our membership.

Customized Learning IXL

How we use IXL Learning

About 3 days a week, each of my older 3 children (8, 6, and 4) work in the IXL program for 20 minutes. The program is very parent and child friendly; each child has their own profile where I customize their learning practice. We really love using the app, but my 8year old used the computer quite a bit to access IXL. Parents are able to select the grade level of practice for each subject, for every child!

IXL Online Homeschool Learning

This is perfect for customizing learning for homeschool children, as many students work on different levels in different core subjects. Parents are also able to customize what “standards” they would like their child to work under. This is of no concern to me, as we don’t teach according to anyone’s standards, (most curricula cover the same concepts, regardless of “standards,” but it is an option for those parents in states that require certain standards!

I found what worked best for us was having 1 child work in IXL on the ipad or computer while I did 1:1 school work at the table with the others. We continued this rotation through, until I had done our reading and LA with each child, and they were all ready for their independent table work.

IXL Learning SIgn In

My 8 year old saw the Spanish section and wanted to practice learning Spanish; this and spelling are her favorite subjects in IXL. Where my son is a natural born speller like his mama, my very intelligent oldest child struggles in that area, so I am excited that she is excited about practicing spelling concepts in IXL.

For my 6 year old, math is the favorite subject, but he has enjoyed working in each one. I like that I can also receive an email letting me know what they completed and has well they did. A quick glance at their profile under any subject tells me what they have completed in each category of that subject.

My 4 year old used the app on the iPad while working in the PreK level. She mostly worked in the Language Arts section, and worked slower than the others. She is still learning about using the ipad, but she truly enjoys IXL.

Here is an example of the 2nd grade language arts subject- you can select any category for practice as seen below: reading foundations, reading strategies, writing strategies, vocabulary, and grammar and mechanics.

What I Think

We don’t use many computer or online learning activities, choosing to limit screen time, but I knew I wanted to try IXL and I am so glad I did! We are diligent about our core studies- reading, language and math and reading aloud (which covers everything else, right? haha)- and IXL is a wonderful supplement for extra practice and learning.

Children can have instructions read to them, as well as having words/problems pronounced aloud. This is a huge help for beginner readers like my 4 year old, or children with learning differences, allowing them to practice independently.

Each time a child misses a question, IXL gives an explanation of how to correctly solve the problem in subjects such as math, or explains the language arts concept for the child. See the example below:


While IXL is wonderful for review and practice, it is not a substitute for teaching. I would say my 8 year old could learn independently with this program, though. If she didn’t understand what was being asked of her, and she missed a question, I feel the explanation would be adequate for her to learn from her mistake. This would work because of her ability to learn independently and her grade level … much lower or much more difficult levels would be better suited for practice only.

It is complete in the subjects covered, and the explanations when answers are incorrect are simple but effective.

IXL Award Winning Learning

Read more reviews from the Crew who used different grade levels:


A Living Book for Fall Nature and History Study: Indiana {a review}

We have reviewed By the Way books in the past, this time we were able to review By the Way Book Series: Indiana (Discovering Biblical Truth in Everyday Life).We have enjoyed it tremendously.

This book is part of a larger series of geographically based Christian worldview children’s books; it has most definitely sparked some interesting conversations in our family.

How We Used it and What We Think

The 48 page, full-color book is absolutely gorgeous (and ourcopy is signed by the author! insert googly eyes here!). The first thing I saw when I opened the book is the most gorgeous fall foliage spread with scripture… insert google eyes again. *love* This is perfect for our fall book shelf! And if ever someone wanted encouragement as a homeschool parent that the world is our classroom to be seen through our children’s eyes and with a filter of our faith, this book is it! (Thank you, Joy!)

By the Way Book Series: Indiana makes a note in the beginning that it is:

  • informative-put the wow in learning
  • integrated- science, geography, and history (and scripture/Biblical truths-score!)
  • intentional- God’s message is right there the whole way
  • inspirational- touching our children’s hearts and minds with God’s beauty

All the above are quotes or paraphrases from the introduction of the book, but I couldn’t describe it’s purpose or message better myself! It is such a rich addition to our home library. What is the best part? Probably the conversations we had while reading parts of it. The story allows you to pick the book up and begin on just about any page, while still getting so much from your reading; this allowed us to discuss the scripture on pages, how the animals or events on that page reflected that scripture, how they relate to each other and most importantly to us and our loving relationship with God.

By The Way Reading {QuietintChaos}

This then became a conversation of all these things we see in our own world, our own back yard, on our farm, that make those same reflections. This week I heard one of my younger children trying to explain the Monarch butterfly’s “God given compass” from page 21, as we watched Monarch caterpillars on our milkweed plants.

There are fun activities such as finding specific animals and pictures (the 4 year old’s favorite) & learning how to geocache with links provided, as well as a precious story line that is sure to keep everyone’s interest. The illustrations are just beautiful, rich, and captivating, along with a little humor.

We still enjoy the Colorado book from the By The Way series (especially since we love visiting CO), but I *think* I may love this book even more. It is perfect for a fall nature study, history studies, and of course a state study. I think children of any age will enjoy the book; it can certainly grow with small children, while older children will enjoy all the information & beautiful illustrations/photography.

I cannot wait to add some of their state card packs from their website, and add more of this series to our home library.

Connect with By The Way

By The Way Read the Reviews


Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Early Morning Homeschool Zoo Trip {wordless wednesday}

Homeschool Fall Zoo Trip

We spent a very cool, fall morning at the zoo with Daddy this week. Not only was the zoo empty of other people-we had the whole zoo to ourselves- but Daddy went with us for a special morning after his travels for the last several weeks.

We got a close up look at everything, and the zoo keepers invited us up to watch them feed the giraffes (one of our favorite animals at our zoo). They are trained like dogs to move when needed to take turns eating.


Homeschool Fall Zoo Trip

Homeschool Fall Zoo Trip


Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Apologia’s Human Anatomy and Physiology {homeschool elementary science- a review}

We have been using (and loving) Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology by a homeschooling favorite, Apologia! Their young explorer series is a favorite elementary homeschool science for our family.

You may remember we reviewed their Astronomy curriculum a while back, and my kids *looooved* it; they soaked up everything we did. It was just the right amount of hands on, listening, and literature learning they needed. Well, the same can be said about Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology!

What’s Included:

We received all the components of the program:

  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Text
  • Junior Notebooking Journal
  • Notebooking Journal (for older students- we didn’t use this because I have younger students, but we WILL use it when we go back through the program when they’re older)
  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology MP3 Audio CD <–my second favorite part!

All of my children have been learning with the program, but I use it more intentionally with my 7.5 year old. The text absolutely captivates all my young learners; my oldest however will sit and read it to herself for long periods of time. The book is hardcover with thick, high quality pages and durable binding that will last many years for many children. The book is divided into chapters and sections with fun activities to do between sections, for a quick break and hands on learning.

The Junior Notebooking Journal, *sigh*, is my favorite part of this program! It is perfect for young learners that enjoy hands on activities; it combines writing, diagrams, coloring, drawing, vocabulary games, and scripture for an overall perfect science for elementary children.

How We Use Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology

Our approach to homeschool topics and subjects is very different from what I experienced in public school. We do a sort of “loop” schedule, which you may have been hearing about lately (it has become somewhat of a buzz word/topic in the homeschool circle as of late, but has been widely used for many, many years). We have been schooling this way since we began homeschooling, it just comes naturally. Basically, at any given time we have a long list of fun interests and activities going that we just slowly loop back throughout out the week(s)-history, read alouds, reading/LA, and math are daily, and the other things we loop through- nature study, science, music, handiworks, sensory play, learning games, music studies, etc.

Many homeschoolers avoid “textbook style” learning, and I 100% understand why- because literature and hands on learning are the best ways to learn for most of our children. Literature is more fun, more interesting, more meaningful, and sparks a love for learning, (not to mention all the statistics on the benefits of literature based learning) while most parents loathed the textbook world from which we graduated. I am one of those parents!

Though Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology does have a textbook by definition, it is written in such a way that even I, a mama with a degree in education, forget it is a textbook! The pictures and photography are lovely, the writing is clear, but not a “dumbed down” version of information; it always leads to God’s design of our world and includes scriptures which we love. I especially enjoy how the author has taken what we know through science, and linked it to examples in the Bible- how different cultures viewed the body, what they thought different parts were for, and what the Bible says about those things, is just one example.

What’s even better for our family is the MP3 audio CD! The author has recorded an absolutely lovely reading of the text; my kids become so interested in her reading of the text. Her voice is easy to listen to, soft, encouraging, and takes a LOT of the weight off my shoulders when it comes to science. I can turn on the audio book while my kids follow along in the textbook, my oldest may color in the Junior Notebooking Journal, or doodle while she listens. This is a favorite time for all of us-learning together is such a blessing in homeschool! I enjoy the new facts and refreshers in science that I am learning alongside my kids. The recorded reading of the book is enchanting and attention-grabbing.

The entire program captures the interest of my children without burnout or dread- Apologia keeps that fire for learning burning. We don’t feel like it is something else we have to check off a list, we look forward to science days!

Below is an example of the junior Notebooking Journal pages vs the Notebooking Journal (for older students). Throughout the Junior Notebooking Journal you will find coloring pictures with scripture, copy work which has elementary dotted lines for writing, the diagrams are less involved/larger, thus easier see for little ones. Vocabulary and more hands on games are found in the Junior Notebook. It also has larger spaces for drawing diagrams and labeling, with less required writing.

Notebooking Journal left) vs Junior Notebooking Journal right)

The regular Notebooking Journal has nicely spaced lines for copywork, but they are “wide ruled” style, not dotted with a midline. The diagrams are a bit more detailed, the images are smaller with more space dedicated to writing and note taking.

I love using Apologia curriculum and products in our homeschool, and Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology is no exception! This is such a fun way to learn anatomy; I was truly amazed when my daughter started showing me the work she had done in her Jr. Notebooking Journal. Her cell in lesson 1 looked awesome and when I asked her to tell me about it, I wrote down her narration of each item:

Lady drew her diagram on her own; I wrote down her labels/narration of the cell parts (short hand)

I am thankful for a company and program that feeds my children’s ever growing love of learning, & provides quality texts that show God is clearly working in ALL things, especially science.

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Bird Watching {Nature Study for the New Year}

This winter (Mostly Jan-Feb) has been bitterly cold on the farm. Between the ice and wind, we have been inside with very little nature study in our school days. When My Dad sent the kids a see through, window mounted bird feeder as a little Valentine special, we were all so excited!

We spend our mornings at a big table my husband made, eating breakfast, reading Bible stories, reciting poems, listening to hymns, and singing little finger play songs (surprisingly my oldest 2 enjoy the songs and nursery rhymes along with their youngest sisters). Now, we get watch birds eat right at our big window!

This may be one of my favorite gifts we have ever received, and oooh how it enriches our homeschool days! It will be fun to add in bird watching with our nature studies, right from our breakfast table. We’ve already had a few different visitors perch and enjoy their seed. And the kids are loving the idea of comparing these birds to other ones in other regions. We’ve had a look at some of the more tropical birds like Toucans after deciding to check out Costa Rica Focus, and the burgeoning birdwatchers are keen to see them up close. Maybe one day!

Part of our nature study this spring will include some beautiful field guides I got the kids this fall-I chose guides from the National Wildlife Federation Field Guide series. I could sit and stare at the pictures in these guides all day long. My oldest pours over books like field guides, and her younger siblings are following suit. I plan to rearrange some nature and science books for spring in the coming weeks, so these are moving from our science book shelf, to the science basket near our bird watching window. 🙂

This week I am so thankful to be thawing out, and have birds to watch, I could care less about the formalities of nature study! Haha but, I am excited to get back into the routine of it.

(As a side note, the bird feeder is very well made, sturdy, and we have had No problems with it mounting to the window. Even in crazy high winds, the feeder stays put! I followed the directions that came in the box for cleaning the window, dampening suction cups, etc, before mounting.)

How does your family nature study? What will you be studying this spring?

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