Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Wedding Wednesdsay

From this past weekend. 

Branch Out World Paddington Bear REVIEW

Branch Out World
If you like unit studies in your homeschool, and especially if your child likes Paddington Bear as much as mine does, then you just may love Branch Out World
Branch Out World offers a lovely Paddington Bear unit study that, for us, brought about a different approach to Paddington Bear than we'd experienced before now. 
This unit study offers over 45 pages of printable activities that cover:

- Migration 

-Grammar Skills

-Design and Architecture



-Creative and Critical Thinking

There are timelines, minibooks, maps, flags, and notebooking pages. 

Picture Book Explorers - Paddington
Our Experience

Mr. B has loved Paddington Bear for as long as I can remember. When he was just a tiny little baby, I found the cutest stuffed Paddington at a thrift shop. He has always loved that little bear. Of course the book has been a permanent addition in our home, THEN the movie came out. Mercy sakes I don't think I've ever watched the same movie so many times in one day! THEN came Paddington 2! Sigh...his love for Paddington knows no end.

Seriously, is there anything sweeter than this silly, mischievous bear from "deepest, darkest Peru?" Branch Out World's unit study is a great way to explore the Paddington Bear book, and foster the love of this classic bear's tale (bear's tail HAHA!)

The first thing I did was print the whole thing. We received a digital file, and it was just over 3MB. At 69 pages, this PDF isn't too terribly long, but there's enough oomph there to make a good unit study. 
The beginning pages are your typical "how to get started" type pages. They give you a basic overview and guidance, and also let you know what supplies you are going to need. I don't really like to run out and buy supplies just for one thing, so I always try to see what we have here on hand. The supply list is pretty much what any homeschool, or school age family will have on hand anyway-with the exception of ingredients for some recipes like Caster Sugar, which we ended up attempting to use Powdered Sugar instead. 
For this unit study, I'm not sure if any other editions of the picture book exist, but the artist is Robert W. Alley. I like how the study gives details that aren't in the book, such as life details about Mr. Alley. Given that I'm not sure if other editions are out there, that could explain why the study says "...turn to the page that begins 'Fortunately, before anyone had time to answer'. Use the illustration immediately opposite which shows the Judy and Paddington arriving at 31, Window Gardens." instead of giving a page number.
I like the variety of activities. For the above mentioned activity, your child is tasked to look at the picture for a set period of time, a minute or two, then you close the book and the child must describe the picture from memory. This is a fun way to build memory skills. There's also a suggestion to make this into a game where you child has a set time to list as many details as they can on a sheet of paper. For older kids, that's a great activity to work on penmanship, memory, etc. You could even have younger kids, or non-verbal kids,  try to draw from memory.

Similar activities are on the same days, such as Day 3-Exploring the Pictures. I prefer a bit of variety and mix up, so we didn't exactly follow the plan in that way. For example, we did the memory game on one day, then another day we studied the Architectural Features activity on the same page/day in the study. For us, the architecture part was too time consuming to be done on the same day as the game. He enjoyed both, equally, so we wanted to devote the same length of time to each. 
My favorite part is the printables section in the back. There are mini books, maps, etc. that you cna print out to really fluff out this unit study. There's even lap book features to create. This is designed for five days, but to be honest we spent a lot more time on it than that. We never really spent longer than about a half-hour on any given activity-except for baking which took an hour or longer, but that's to be expected. But we split the days up. For example, Day One's activities may have spanned three or four days. We took our time and really got into the geography of the setting. There are included maps, so Mr. B colored those, and we labeled them, too. Then he did a lot of internet research into each area to study the political geography, as well as the climate of each area. I had him compare/contrast Peru to England, too.

Disclaimer: Our oven died. So we've been using a counter top convection "toaster" oven. This may work for others, but we were not able to get the recipes to really turn out in the toaster oven. Thus, no photos of that because well...pride. HA! If you have success with a toaster oven plan, comment and let me know! 
Overall, this is a well developed unit-study that is centered on a beloved picture book. It covers math, reading, science, social studies, and language arts. It can be done in only five days, or you could do as we did and spend more time.  The activities are fun, and it's super convenient to have the printables at the end. We highly recommend it. 
Paddington Bear {Branch Out World Reviews}
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Friday, August 10, 2018

Prayers Please

Hello Everyone, 

I'm set to have some medical tests over the next couple of weeks and I would greatly appreciate all of your prayers. Thank you! 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Home School in the Woods Project Passport Ancient Egypt REVIEW

Home School in the Woods
Y'all!!!! We have had the enormous blessing of using Home School in the Woods the last few weeks. WE LOVE HOME SCHOOL IN THE WOODS!!!!! For the last 6 weeks or so we have been knee deep in Ancient Egypt studies using their Project Passport World History Studies
You may remember other Project Passport reviews we've done in the past, and Ancient Egypt follows right along with those. Since we have done others in the past (pun TOTALLY intended HAHA!) we were able to skip a large portion of Stop #1 which was creating the travel case and passport. But never fear, I saved photos from the first time around!  This one is from The Middle Ages! We kept our case,and we just keep adding to it! 

So for this review, we received a digital .zip file containing all of the files to download and print off. I prefer the digital download to the physical disc because I can't tell you how many times I've lost our discs! We have several Time Travelers series on disc, and I MUCH prefer the digital downloads! Now, if you are without adequate internet service, or if you're on the go a lot, then you'll want those disks. This file was over 300MB in size, so that could take a while on a slow connection.'s my one and only "negative." Home School in the Woods powers that be, if you're reading this (and why wouldn't you??? Hello? My blog is AWESOME!) PLEASE do something to make it easy to just batch print! I would LOVE to be able to open the PDFs link and just print all of the masters at one time. Actually, it'd be amazing to have them all arranged per stop. So...Stop 1 file, Stop 2 file, Stop 3 file, etc. It would be so much more user friendly for moms like me to just say, "Ok, we're on stop 3. Let's print off everything we need!" I know some things require colored paper or card stock, but copying or choosing those, or arranging the paper as needed in the printer, would be a heck of a lot easier than printing off all of THIS (photo below) one file at a time. 

That's like a whole ream of paper. So, Home School in the Woods, you know I love you dearly. You know I have almost everything you offer, do me a favor and make this happen. PLEASE? It'd be great! 

So, we attempted to batch print. Having an IT guy is handy, right? Wrong. He did do a massive batch print and...nothing was in order. We had M1-1 then M13.5, then M8-2, then M 25-2. We spent about 4-5 hours all together printing, then sorting and putting everything in the proper order. I almost never print everything out all at once, and this time I did...I'm not sure I'll ever do that again HAHA! It's great now that it's all finished, but whew! Was I ever exhausted after that! 

So, after we sorted everything I then put it all into nice little packets. It's a lot better for Mr. B to have little packets to work on, on his own. I did NOT include the masters, only the Travel Itinerary and the text pages. This way he could see what he needed, read the lesson text, and go from there. I keep all supplies readily available to him, and I hole punched and stuck everything else in a 3 ring binder for easy access. If he needed to copy onto card stock or colored paper, I helped him do that, but we also found it was easy to glue onto the card stock at times, too. I wouldn't suggest that with games or larger diorama style activities, but for things like the post cards it worked very well. 

We love the lessons and hands on activities. Seriously, when you're building a Home School in the Woods lapbook, it is a true work of art. I  love them. I keep each one we do, and hope that one day we will be able to sit down, when Mr. B is all grown up, and look at them together again and remember the fun time we had making them. 

Here are a few photos of a couple of things we did. 

You have the option to print this in color, or in black and white. this is the guide book cover, and there's also the lap book cover and spine covers, too. I prefer to print in black and white, then color it in as we want. 

Each stop on your journey back in time includes a Travel Itinerary. this is basically your directions for the activity you will be doing for that section. It includes a bit of history, too, but the real history lesson is found within the text pages. There's also suggested reading, too, but you don't HAVE to do all of that if you don't want to. I like to have Mr. B really get into the parts that interest him the most. So we may work on one stop's topic for a week or so before moving on to the next, while others we may do in a day and then move on. 

Like I said above, we were able to skip the travel case and passport parts of Stop #1. Stop #1 is really your base stop that sets up the rest of the series of stops. You will do a LOT of printing here since you're printing out the entire time line that will be used in future stops, and other things that are going to be used later on. Speaking of the time line....I think it would be a lot of fun to laminate the time line, and the pieces, and use adhesive Velcro so you can use it over and over again. I keep saying I'm going to do that, and I keep never doing it. One day I will! 

The time line pieces are pretty small, but we really like to color them in. I think it makes it look so much better. 

It doesn't even have to be perfect. Just toss on some color, and poof! Pretty!

This was a fun, yet tedious project. I couldn't find the Exacto knife because M had used it. But this was a fold over booklet that adheres to the lap book, and it taught about the upper and lower halves of Ancient Egypt. I must not have remembered this from my school days, because I didn't know there were two parts! 

The book folds up to look like this, and then you open one side and there's the text, Open in again, and inside you learn about the crowns worn by the rulers, and how they were combined. 

The one on the right there will just be the all red one. 

Overall, I can't recommend Home School in the Woods enough. We've reviewed several of their products over the years, and love them all. This is definitely one of those curriculum companies that when someone asks what we're using, Home School in the Woods is ALWAYS on the list. I tell every new homeschooler about them, and urge all my veteran homeschool friends to try them out. They offer A La Carte options, too, so that you can just get a project here and there to target what you're specifically working on, too. As I mentioned before, we've used a coupe of others in the Project Passport World History Series, and we own several Time Travelers American History disks. I think we also have a disk full of map outlines, too! Home School in the Woods has been a staple in our homeschool since very early on, and I think they'll be here for years to come! I can't wait to get my hand on their newest product, Ancient Rome! 

Project Passport Ancient Rome

Previous Home School in the Woods Reviews

Does Home School in the Woods Pass My 4 Ingredient Test?

1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit “us?” Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?

The lessons build on each other so I wouldn't skip any or jump ahead at all. You can work at your own pace, and even omit activities if you want. We frequently will delve deeper into topics of interest, and speed through those he doesn't find as interesting. 

2.) Value: Is it long lasting? Will it cover multiple grade ranges? Are you locked in to one specific grade level? Are there hidden fees?

There are no hidden fees, except you will have to have supplies on hand such as paper, folders, crayons, colored pencils, double sided sticky tape, scissors, glue sticks, etc. This will cover multiple ages. I'm honestly not sure of the "intended" age range, but I could easily see grade school through high school using this. As an adult, I even learn from it and enjoy it! 

3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long? 

This is PERFECT for special needs learners! It's hands on, fun, entertaining....and you can work at your own pace. If you need a sensory break, by all means put the colored pencils down and jump on the trampoline for a while! Those with fine motor issues may need assistance with the cutting and coloring parts. 

4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.

This would be great for any study on Ancient History. 

Please be sure to check out the Homeschool Review Crew for more reviews!!!!
Hands-on-History, Project Passport, À La Carte Timelines and Time Travelers {Home School in the Woods Reviews}
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