Archive for the ‘Course Review’ Category

Exploring Creation With Chemistry

I have never been one to take issue with evolution. For me, God can do what he wants and who am I to say he hasn’t chosen evolution.

It is difficult to review textbooks. These books are really the same but written differently. I have four different versions of calculus books and can say they are equal. It is the instructor that makes the difference. This is more of a hey this book is out there than anything else. As an owner of now three chemistry book, two of which are college level, I can say this book is okay.

The book contains 16 modules. These modules are designed to take two weeks to complete each module. Within each module, there are problems that are to be completed by the student. There are review questions and practice problems. Of course, the instructor should have all of the answers.

This course is best done as a rigid instructional piece. Take specific days and a time to have your child work on this. A consistent method of learning helps prepare your child for the future and helps to keep the flow of understanding. Irregular sessions restricts the complete understanding.

I do recommend you work with your child with any experiments but let your child do the experiment. Set a block of time for the test and test your child as if they are in a classroom setting. This is to prepare your child for the future.

If your child has difficulty on a module there is enough time built in for you to go back and work with your child until they understand. Often times this is a result of the child cutting corners.

What is my opinion of this text? My oldest used this book to study chemistry. No shortcuts were taken. He took a placement exam at a university and scored high enough to be able to test out of freshman chemistry. This doesn’t mean some other textbook is not as good. What this does reflect is the result of no shortcuts.

Buy all that is needed for this text. It makes everything easier for all. If you have a chemistry text then utilize it to its fullest. Work this material as if your child is taking a class as a school. You are preparing your child for the future in education.

Now for an opinion on homemade chemistry courses. I knew a minister that was caught up with creation. Being a minister, he thought he could create a nice chemistry curriculum to educate children based on creation. His text was set in a small binder and consisted of many experiments. If you bought this curriculum you were buying equipment for experiments. This material was readily available elsewhere and likely cheaper. I reviewed this course and found it extremely wanting. He was a minister and NOT a chemist. You could do better buying some of the experiment books I have mentioned in the past. Have considerable doubt when reviewing homemade courses.


Wordly Wise 3000 Review

January 20, 2014 Leave a comment

The curriculum I am writing about has been used in our family for a number of years. It has replaced just about all other vocabulary development curriculums we have tried in the past. Youth 2 is the person using this course. Youth 1 has moved past this even though there are times I think Youth 1 should be doing this.

The course is broken down into lessons. There are four lessons before a review is done. Now we break the lessons down. The beginning of the lesson has a word list. This displays the word, how to pronounce the word, a definition and a sample sentence. The student can review this before beginning the lesson or engage in the lesson part A.

Lesson A is about finding meanings. There are ten problems. Each problem has a – d of choices which are parts of a sentence. The student must match two of the four that go together.

Lesson B is crossing out the bold word or phrase in a sentence and replacing it with a word from the wordlist. There are ten problems to work with.

Lesson C is applying meaning. A question is asked and there are four choice for the answer. In this case there may be more than one answer. An example question is: Which of the following can be shammed?

Lesson D is the word study. This is where you circle the words that are synonyms and then do one for antonyms. There is a total of 16 problems for this section.

Lesson E is the passage section where the student read a short story and then answer 15 or so questions.

The review section is a crossword puzzle based off of the previous four lessons.

This curriculum can be done by the child with minimal parental supervision. A lesson a day is sufficient or even a section of a lesson for a day is fine. This is dependent on your schedule. If there are questions, the parent should be available to answer. The parent does grade the work, and this is where the parent needs to evaluate the child’s comprehension. If you think you shouldn’t have to be involved, why are you homeschooling?

What do I think of it? It does the job it is designed for. Are there better methods or curriculum? There may be, but we have not found it. Like all educational material, it is not a one size fit all. This may work well for one child but not the other. This curriculum may seem easy, but do you want difficulty or do you want your child to learn?

We give this a thumbs up.

TOPS Science

January 20, 2014 Leave a comment

Early in our homeschooling years, we struggled to find a science program suitable for our children. Like any new homeschooler we had no idea of what to use. There are plenty of failures out there, but TOPS has been with us for many years.

TOPS offers courses on Physics, Math & Measurement, Earth & Space, Life and Chemistry. Each of these are broken down in sections that have grade levels. This provides a variety for the homeschooling family as well as age appropriate subject matter. These course do have a wide grade range such as grades 6 thru 10.

The course book is broken down into sections. Each section the student does an experiment and learns some physics or earth science. It was never uncommon for me to find some strange concoction around the house. I knew enough to leave it be. Open my closet door and see a lima bean growing. Visitors to our house would not find it so normal. Your children are doing experiments. What better way to investigate and understand.

This course works best with a parent teaching or assisting. You may not wish your child to tackle some of the experiments for a child could get hurt. Maybe a burn here or there or damage part of the house. Maybe it was my youths taking the experiments to a new level. Parental involvement will help the child learn. If the parent isn’t involved how can they ask questions?

There are teacher books to go along with this science. If purchasing from their site, there are combo discounts. You can download these books as pdf or have a hard copy.

For those doing portfolios, you can take pictures of the experiments going on, scan finished paperwork written on the experiments or you can include our write up.

This is a wonderful way to introduce your child to science and keep it fun. Thumbs up for this one.

AVKO Sequential Spelling

January 20, 2014 Leave a comment

I sit at my dining room table looking to the other side and spy a booklet. It is Sequential Spelling, our spelling curriculum.

It is my duty to work with my youths on this program. This gift of spending time with my youths has been bestowed upon me by the Educator. What can I say? I believe this to be an effective course for Youth 1. We have tried other methods. I have no problems with them. My belief is each curriculum appeals to a different child. Youth 1 struggled with other versions. This curriculum is different.

The spelling words are broken out in 180 day increments of 25 spelling words. You are given words like resemble, thimble, tumble and so on for one round. The next day the words are: resembles thimbles, tumbles and sometimes the day after this is resembling and so forth. There are some words such as Wimbledon thrown in. Each the word list builds on the previous days list. You can have extreme, extremes, extremity and extremities four straight days. There is an evaluation test every so many days.

How does it work? It works wonders for my oldest. This is the method that fits best. Youth 2 works with this method but any other method would work, too. As I stated, other spelling curriculums work but for my oldest this is the best method. Oh, how my oldest hates to do spelling with me. We start from the first word and continue to the last word. When a word is missed we go back to the beginning. How rotten is it when you get to 24 or 25 and make a simple mistake. My madness is designed to have my oldest concentrate on the words and not throw them out.

Do I recommend this program? This is a thumbs up. This programs works for both of my children but more importantly with my oldest where spelling can be difficult. Be mindful of your child’s learning. This program may not be suitable. If not, feel free to move onto another program. Keep in mind all children learn differently.

Review of Analytical Grammar: a systematic approach to language mastery

January 11, 2014 1 comment

Grammar has always been a bane for me even though tutors and others that have tested me said otherwise. This stress has been placed my two youths. It is the Educator that does the major of the work and actually selects the curriculum. This particular material has been in use with use for several years.

I do not know the price. You can easily look that up.

The curriculum is broken into roughly 34 units covering nouns, pronounces, adverbs, semicolons, commas, clauses as so on. You can say at 380 pages for this particular grammar set, it covers everything. There is a part of the unit describing and explaining the specific subject matter being covered. This is a nice basic grammar course. After working through a unit you go to the next step.

This step will be the exercises. The nouns, articles and adjectives unit has three exercises. After the exercises you have the skills support where in this particular units the student deals with paraphrasing. Next is the test where each problem is weighted. For example, you have a raw score of 117 but each problem may have a different value. There is a instructor’s version providing the answers and how to score the test.

I have mentioned to the Educator of how I would like to go through this course myself. It would be a nice refresher. It has been decades since I did diagramming.

This is a three year program, and how this course should be used is mentioned on page 1. The first year, the parent is to teach the first 10 units. This takes 10 weeks to accomplish. After completing the 10 units, you are to do reinforcement and review exercises. This section is an independent section where your child is expected to not only do the work but grade it themselves. There is an expectation of the student book becoming a reference book.

This curriculum now has a High School Reinforcement book.

If you have the opportunity to look over this curriculum, please do so.

I give it two thumbs up!