4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, Education, Family, History, Homeschool

Beautiful Feet Books: Around California with Children’s Books Pack: A History of the Golden State Review!

(Gifted)

The Melanated Gold Review Squad team was once again given the honor of showcasing more of Beautiful Feet Books History and Science History curriculums. Our family was sent the Around California with Children’s Books Pack: A History of the Golden State. I was very impressed by the selection of picture books and equally impressed by the books included in the rabbit trails and library recommendations.

When you think of history does California come to mind? Probably not, because when teaching US History we traditionally think about the eastern coast of the United States first and don’t usually venture further west until after the Civil War. Well while the east coast history plays a significant part in US History Beautiful Feet Book Around California with Children’s Books Pack: A History of the Golden State brings the excitement about the West Coast.

Beautiful Feet Books curriculums are a Charlotte Mason-inspired. The company creators are homeschoolers themselves and have been inspiring families for 30 years with their beautiful illustrated literature.

To help homeschool parents ignite wonder and connect with their kids through the best stories and guided lessons.

Beautiful Feet Books History and Science History curriculums

Around California with Children’s Books Pack: A History of the Golden State starts its journey through California’s rich history with the Ice Age. Students will embark on learning about animals during this time period and natural disasters. My learner and I spent time researching the La Brea Tarpits and the weather conditions of the world during the Ice Age. I thought of some fun movies (Ice Age animated series) and suggested documentaries suggested in the lesson guide. Around California with Children’s Books Pack: A History of the Golden State covers history, geography, nature study, culinary history, and art study. Each lesson is estimated to take an hour for grades 4-6. You can find a complete scope and sequence on the product page.

Around California with Children’s Books Pack: A History of the Golden State includes:

  • Teacher Guide
  • 80 Multi-Sensory Lessons
  • Blank Notebook
  • 17 Books
  • Downloadable timeline sheet

What is intriguing about Around California with Children’s Books Pack: A History of the Golden State is the inclusive diversity of lessons presented. I was very pleased to see the inclusivity of African Americas and Asian Americans in the later lessons. Indigenous studies were included throughout the lessons as well which were done respectfully and with attention to detail. The selection of books was broad and packed with beautiful illustrations that held my 5th grader’s interest.

My son enjoyed the relaxed feel of learning about California he really spent time writing his journal and adding to his notes. We spent time painting, reading, and engaging in discussions about animals, culture, and global perspectives of California. We visited the story Kalifia as a rabbit trail we went down. He really enjoys geography, art, and culture.

Around California with Children’s Books Pack: A History of the Golden State is meant to be covered in a complete school year. I can see how one can make this their entire year’s history because it is so much you can do that will combine other historical information about the US in this one curriculum. I hope that in the near future that Beautiful Feet Books will add more states because there is so much to unpack in US History.

What I did notice is when it was time to do the lessons we set up the environment. My son cleared our table and prepared a light snack, set out the materials, and turned on the diffuser with little lavender essential oils. I always made sure there was something art relative for us to do while I was reading the literature for that lesson. He did art, snacked and we talked. I don’t know what it was about setting up the environment this way but it made our lessons enjoyable and special.

We will be stretching this curriculum over the next 2 years and it will become our special interest history. I want to take our time with this one because along with what the curriculum provides I want to be able to include more historical information during certain time periods.

Library finds we added to our studies

At the time of this review Around California with Children’s Books Pack: A History of the Golden State cost is $252.95. Be sure to check out the other Melananted Gold Review Squad’s reviews of Beautiful Feet Books by clicking the banner below.

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1st Grade, 2nd Grade Curriculum, 3rd Grade Curriculum, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, Art, Charlotte Mason, Curriculum, Education, Family, Geography, History, Homeschool, Math, Reviews, Science

The Schoolnest History Notebook and Timeline Review!

Last year when my son and I were studying voting rights I remember the frustration I had writing down the timeline of the sequence of events on our board. I wanted him to have a visual keepsake of this important historical time period. So on our little whiteboard, I squeezed as much as I could and left it up there for a week as we studied. When it came time to erase it I took a picture of it and went on a hunt to find a way to record things for our history. What I was finding I wasn’t happy with so our timeline would have to live on my phone in the meantime. Then it happened The Schoolnest published a History Timeline notebook.

About The Schoolnest

Megan is a Michigan homeschool mom of 2 littles who is bringing love for learning through art, nature, creativity, and reading. Her approach to education is respecting the beauty of childhood and play. You can’t help but notice how she embraces Charlotte Mason, Waldorf, and Montessori philosophies in her homeschool. Her website is full of beautifully crafted simple journals, notebooks, and homeschool resources. She also writes a wonderful blog that is full of helpful ideas for parenting, homeschooling, art, and mindfulness. All are welcome on The Schoolnest website and blog, I found several diverse blog posts and literature recommendations.

I was so happy when Megan the founder of The Schoolnest launched her rainbow notebooks, from the first glance on her Instagram I knew I had to have them all. I purchased several of the notebooks for our school year then she published her History Timeline and it blew me away because it was exactly what I needed.

History Notebook and History Timeline

The History Timeline notebook is one the most unique books I have seen. The notebook gives you the ability to track history from:

  • Prehistory
  • Ancient
  • Middle Ages
  • Early Modern
  • Modern Times

What I feel like is a great family heirloom in History Timeline, is the beginning pages called “My History” I love these pages because we can record our family history and document things we felt were important to us during a year. The paper quality is excellent there are 115 pages and there are blank pages at the end. The entire is book is grid paper except for the dates, there is also B.C.E-C.E also included. There is plenty of space to write and post pictures, drawings, and clippings for creativity. The grid paper is excellent for writing and helping students contain their writings neatly. What I like about this timeline notebook is that it is just that a notebook. I can keep everything contained neatly in one spot and it is easy to flip through and we can use this 1 notebook over a long period of time.

The History Notebook is great for notebooking. We have used ours to notebook our unit study of Mesoamerica and currently, we are working on Ancient China. We study so much history in our home and notebooking has allowed him to have fun with notebooking. In the history notebook, there are 100 pages on the left page is 1/3 blank and the rest of the page is a grid. On the right side, the bottom is lined and the top is blank. There is a blank table of contents page and a study reference page. Kids can draw, color, cut and paste, make notes, and be creative. We have added pictures and written notes in our history notebook and added notebook printables. The paper quality is excellent, writes, glues, and colors smoothly.

Rainbow Notebooks

If you are looking to explore the other notebooks in The Schoolnest collection you will not be disappointed. So far we have collected:

  • Science
  • Vocabulary
  • Spelling
  • Mathematics
  • Commonplace
  • Project Planner
  • Reading Journal
  • 4th Grade

All of the notebooks come in 12 vibrant rainbow colors, 8.5 x 11, matte softcover, and superior binding. The Schoolnest notebooks are inexpensive ($8) and can be purchased from Amazon. If you are in the market for a planner The Schoolnest has you covered she has a Homeschool Lesson Planning Notebook, you can check out a review of this great planner on Brittany Olga Youtube and Home Life with Quin 5 Instagram (Planner and Reading Journal) and check out Mama Sweet Baby (Spelling Notebook).

The Schoolnest notebooks are a must-have for your homeschool if you haven’t checked them out I highly recommend you do. We love our notebooks and I am looking forward to seeing any new books The Schoolnest publishes.

Blessings,

Mom and J

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1st Grade, 2nd Grade Curriculum, 3rd Grade Curriculum, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, Critical Thinking and Logic, Curriculum, dyslexia, Education, Games and Apps, Homeschool, Language Arts, spelling, Vocabulary, Writing

Mrs.Wordsmith Word Tag Review!

Complimentary review through Mrs. Wordsmith!

Are you looking to add some excitement to vocabulary building? Have you ever heard of Mrs. Wordsmith? Well if you haven’t heard about Mrs. Wordsmith what better way to introduce you to this company than telling you about their new app Word Tag.

Mrs. Wordsmith is an award-winning company based originally in the UK. The company was founded in 2015 by Sofia Fenuchell who wanted to create educational materials that actually worked and kids would love it. Using quality animations and game design to improve how kids learned vocabulary, Mrs. Worthsmith was born. Mrs. Wordsmith since their early beginning the company has grown and developed a full line of products for kids ages 4-13. The company has created books, games, curriculums, tons of free resources. We own several of the curriculums, books, and vocabulary sets. Mrs. Wordsmith’s newest addition to their line of literacy and vocabulary materials is the Word Tag app.

We were invited in July to join the team as a tester and my son has loved playing the Word Tag app. The company has taken video games to an entirely new level with fun vocabulary-building adventures. My son loves Hip-Hop culture so the game won him over instantly with the graffiti. The game takes place in Los Angeles, kids will go on a quest of collecting spray cans and spraying words while trying to avoid the street cleaners. Kids will complete daily activities at their paces, challenges, and pop quizzes.

With a methodology designed to teach challenging vocabulary, Word Tag boosts reading comprehension, advances creative and academic writing, and improves exam performance.

Mrs. Wordsmith

Word Tag 3D adventure is visually appealing to players and it encourages them to keep playing and learning new words. The kids are constantly reviewing the words they have learned. Kids will learn up to 1,000 words. Words a present in context to help reinforce their learning. The more words your student’s master more levels open for them to play. Players can earn more coins and unlock materials from the pop quizzes. I love how the words show the kids the definitions, parts of speech, and synonyms. The vocabulary the kids learn is Tier 2 academic words that are frequently used on SSSA. ISEE, SAT, STAR, and MAP exams. Word Tag also will increase your students reading levels.

Word Tag also allows students to connect with other players and their friends if they are using Word Tag to share the gameplay and compete with each other. Word Tag takes your student’s safety seriously and incorporated a safe social player. The program is adaptive and you will have access to player reports. The company also provides a parent guide that includes a sample word list and learning objectives.

So why does Word Tag work :

  • Active engagement
  • Word repetition
  • Learning progressin
  • Self-directed learning
  • Character-based learning

Our Review

I love Word Tag for all the reasons above I mentioned. I am familiar with the company and its products, so their brand is one I trust with my child. Now my son is crazy about Word Tag he was super excited when the Mall level opened for him and he has been playing non-stop. He said the graphics are cool and it is fun to learn the new words. The other great thing is he sees characters from Mrs. Wordsmith’s Storyteller’s Illustrated Dictionary, How to Write a Story, and Reading Comprehension Vocabulary.

I highly recommend you try out Mrs. Wordsmith’s Word Tag it is available on Apple Store and Google Play and is currently a free download.

Until the Next Time,

Mom & J

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3rd Grade Curriculum, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, Charlotte Mason, Critical Thinking and Logic, Curriculum, Education, Family, Geography, Homeschool, Read Alouds, Reviews

Heritage Mom: Civil Rights Movement

Complimentary product received!

If you don’t know who the Heritage Mom is I am super excited to be able to tell you about this wonderful blogger, mom, homeschooler, philanthropist, and Charlotte Mason guru. Okay so I had had the pleasure of meeting Amber O’Neal Johnston and once a member of her Heritage Homeschoolers group in Georgia and I can honestly tell you she is one of the sweetest and kindest people I have met during my homeschooling journey.

When Heritage Mom offered to have the Squad review 3 of her culture guides, I knew had to be part of this opportunity. Let me keep it real I own about 90 % of her culture guides already and we are still working our way through Amazing Africa. We own Schomburg, Heart and Soul, Harlem Ressianance Stomp, and now the Civil Rights Heritage culture guide. All of the culture guides are excellent, Heritage Mom gives you everything you need to use these guidesto teach African and African American history.

The Civil Rights Movement guide is divided into 10 topics of study starting the journey in the 1950s and ending with Civil Rights today. The guide is meant for grades 4-6 but you can review the suggested living books and materials you can stretch to 2nd grade. Civil Rights Movement is 36 weekly lessons now you can stretch to the entire 36 weeks or you can do more lessons a week. We are averaging 3 lessons a week in Amazing Africa, but after looking through the Civil Rights Movement guide we will spend a little more time on our lessons because is one of my son’s favorite areas of history to study. Anyone who says they were able to unpack any of her culture guides in 8 weeks, I can honestly say they didn’t give these carefully planned guides the respect they deserve.

The Civil Rights Heritage Pack is a survey of the brave men and women who risked their reputation, livelihoods, and often their very lives to press towards what they knew to be right.

Heritage Mom

The Civil Rights Movement includes two core books, you need to select one of these books to use with the guide, both reasonably priced. She also includes bonus books and recommends not substituting the core books because those books are impeded throughout the guide. She also has movie suggestions that hyperlinked and inserted disclaimers to prescreen them to make sure they are appropriate for your family. There are additional books used in the lesson plan, they are a nice mixture I love she included picture books and chapter books. Now that my son is reading more chapter books I miss those days of really great picture books. I found all the books listed in the lesson plan at my local library. There are also additional books for older or advanced children but these books are not scheduled in the lesson plans.

The lesson plans are easy to follow, with clickable links that take you to videos and she tells you what book you will be using and pages to read. There are 4 weeks of plans one page. The culture guides are meant to be just that guides, if you are looking for a long-drawn-out lesson plan with tons of writing and worksheets you aren’t going to find it in this guide. Amber O’Neal is a Charlotte Mason-inspired homeschooler and her guides are written in that way of homeschooling. These guides are literature-based and meant to allow you and your student to explore and go down rabbit holes.

Out of respect for her and all her hard work you won’t see pictures of pictures of her hard work in this review. You can literally go on her social media and you will feel the admiration so many people have for these creative works. Each guide of the Heritage Mom packs are filled with so much potential you can stretch these materials for years to come.

Until the Next Time,

Mom and J

3rd Grade Curriculum, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, Charlotte Mason, Curriculum, dyslexia, Education, Family, Homeschool, Language Arts, Literature Base, Morning Basket, Parenting, Read Alouds, Reviews, Writing

Brave Writer Arrow: Amari and the Night Brothers Review

Complimentary product received through Melanated Gold Review Squad!

This year I was confident in my choices for grammar and writing until mid-August when I started to notice my son was less than enthused about his lessons. Observing his lack of enthusiasm I started to think we may need a change. We have used the same curriculum for the last 2 years and he has a pretty solid foundation in grammar, but writing is still a work in progress. I was thrilled when the opportunity to review Brave Writer Arrow Amari and the Night Brothers was made available to our family. So here we are taking the leap and using Brave Writer Arrow and we are loving it.

About Brave Writer

Brave Writer uses a Charlotte Mason-inspired approach to teach grammar and writing. The goal is to continue to strengthen the parent and child bond by creating a safe environment to learn and work at their own pace. Brave Writer programs are designed to be the complete opposite of the traditional learning style of grammar and writing. Brave Writer supports the whole child and lets them be in control of the process with the parent gently leading them. Brave Writer program believes students go through different stages of writing and each stage deserves respect and students should only progress when they are ready for the next stage. The growth stage of writers are :

Jot It Down

Partnerships in Writing

Faltering Ownership

Transition to Ownership

Eavesdropping on the Great Conversation

The growth stages start at ages 5-18 years old and students will work on mechanics and literature through online classes or using one of the product packets such as Arrow.

Arrow

Arrow is a digital year-long writing and grammar program for students ages 11-12. Families can purchase the entire year’s bundle and each month you will receive the Literature Arrow guide or you can purchase individually. With your purchase, you will receive the Arrow guidelines and the literature guide. The Arrow guideline teaches you how to present the literature guide. Arrow literature guides cover spelling, literary elements, writing activity, punctuation, and grammar, each monthly lesson is paired with a novel. Each week the lesson directly correlates with the novel. The monthly lessons are divided into 4 weeks, which include vocabulary, dictation, and grammar. The guides also come with discussion questions, a planner, a skills tracker, and book party ideas. There are 10 Arrow guides for a complete school year older guides are available to purchase, but new books are added every year.

We teach both parents and kids how to build a partnership in writing that leads to both creative expression and academic success, all while preserving the parent-child bond.

Brave Writer

Our Review

Amari and the Night Brothers have been on our list to read since it was released so I was super excited to have a literature, grammar, and writing guide to pair with it. At first look, I knew I had to sit down and prepare for working with a non-traditional way of teaching grammar and writing. The biggest issue had was letting go of my thinking of how grammar and writing are taught. Once I was able to release this way of thinking it made the transition easier. My son and I decided we would both read and listen to the book. I really enjoyed the cultural context section it gives background information on the novel, this little information was really nice and helped us better connect to the book because we are actually living 20 mins away from the Atlanta area.

Arrow is really the complete opposite of a traditional grammar and wiring curriculum, I was expecting to see some worksheet practice sheets and a huge writing assignment for this novel. I was blown away because what expected was not what I received. The Arrow guide gives you a quick start that instructs you to read the Arrow Guidelines. The Arrow Guidelines are key to understanding how to implement the Arrow program, not reading these will confuse you about the literature Guide. The guide also gives you sample routines and it is where you will find the Arrow Skills Trackers and Our Week With Arrow.

The Spin and Spiral told me exactly what we were going to be covering in this month’s literature guide. I pulled a couple of extra supplements, just in case. I was blown away by how Brave Writer uses a novel to teach grammar, in a million years I would have never thought to pull passages out of a book and examine the grammar components. My son was introduced to writing and literary elements such as how to indent, first-person narratives, and dialogue, and much more over the 4 weeks. The grammar areas are highlighted in what Brave Writer calls Spotlights, we found the grammar sections a welcomed review of concepts he has covered previously. What I did appreciate is that I was able to identify some areas of his grammar that he needed more practice on.

Students will tackle:

  • Proper Nouns
  • Commas
  • Conjunctions
  • Idioms
  • Pronouns
  • Parallel Structure and much more

What I like about Brave Writer is that my son and I were having meaningful conversations about the book and we talked about grammar in a new way that he was really thriving and loving. He asked several times mom can we do Brave Writer over his current language arts curricula. I begin to see both of our frustration and stress levels come all the way down while using Arrow. We went from fighting over getting his lesson done to letting us just talk, drink tea, and enjoy each as we learn.

Dication for us is something new we haven’t done much of this type of writing before so we took things very slow and I assured him that we weren’t in a rush and we are both learning how to do things. I did the first dication for him just to show him how. We did 1-2 sentences at a time so he didn’t feel overwhelmed moving forward. We did modify a few things to make it work for us, we used highlighters to highlight the grammar and literary elements in the literature guide. My son didn’t want to mark up his book and I was okay with this. I also printed my son his own the literature guide, I used mine on my tablet but I did have the Arrow guidelines printed out for myself.

Parent Involvement

By now you may realize that parent involvement is a necessity for the Brave Writer Arrow curriculum. The program does require the parent to be their child’s partner in this process. That brings me to the Brave Writer Partnerships in Writing growing writers stage one of the most overlooked stages according to the Brave Writer website. “Your child shows growing proficiency in handwriting, reading, and spelling, but still finds the hard work of transcription tiring if asked to write for more than a few minutes.” We didn’t receive this to review, but after using the Amari and the Night Brothers Arrow, I feel that this is something we will need in order for us to continue forward with the Arrow curriculum.

Final Words

We really like Brave Writer Arrow Amari and the Night Brothers, my son has requested to do this over his current language arts curricula. We have put what we were using on the shelf and have moved on to the November 2021 Brave Writer Arrow Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids. I will be looking into Partnerships in Writing for us as well. It has been so nice to have a great month of learning and enjoying our time together making memories. At the time of this review for the full program is $129 or $14.95 per literature guide (includes Arrow guidelines). To learn more about Brave Writer programs please click the banner below to read more of the Melanated Gold Review Squad reviews.

Social Media

Facebook-Brave Writer – Home

Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/juliebravewriter/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/BraveWriter

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/bravewriter/_created/

3rd Grade Curriculum, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, Charlotte Mason, Curriculum, Education, History, Homeschool, Literature Base, Read Alouds, Reviews

Beautiful Feet Books : Early American Intermediate Pack Review!

I received this product through The Melanated Gold Review Squad in exchange for my honest review.

History is one of our favorite areas to study. In our home, we have an enormous collection of gentle true literature. I am very meticulous about selecting history curricula that are reflective of truth and give an inclusive view of history. We were sent the new Early American Intermediate Pack from Beautiful Feet Books to look over as a possible history resource.

Early American Intermediate Pack Grades 4-6th

About Beautiful Feet Books

Beautiful Feet’s Books uses a Charlotte Mason approach to history through literature-based learning that inspires the child to naturally create a healthy environment for wonder and exploring.

We are no strangers to Beautiful Feet Books we spent some time when my son was in 1st grade using their Around the World with Picture Books Part 1. My son still has fond memories of learning about the terra cotta soldiers from that unit. We also enjoyed the book Ruby’s Wish and a few other books. With this being said we are familiar with how Beautiful Feet curriculums work.

The Curriculum

Early American Intermediate Pack takes students on the journey of the nation’s founding. The lessons begin with the Indigenous people and travel through history to the civil war. There are 129 lessons, with the suggested timeline of 3-4 lessons a week for a year’s worth of history. Areas of study are the following:

  • Indigenous Culture
  • The Vikings
  • The Age of Discovery
  • Colonial Settlements
  • Revolution
  • Slavery & Emancipation
  • Civil War

In the pack, you will receive 23 books, a teacher guide, a notebook, and a timeline. You will also need to download the New Early American History for Intermediate Picture Packet from the free downloads on the company’s website. The curriculum gives parents and their students an abundance of resources. Students will have the opportunity to try recipes, crafts, and character-building (Biblical) activities. The rabbit trails section in the lesson planner books offers nice ideas and books. Overall you will receive an adequate curriculum for teaching early American history.

Our Review

At first glance of looking over the 23 books received I separated the books into 3 different piles approve, maybe, and questionable. Books that I approve went right on our shelf, maybe books went into a bin and questionable went straight to my desk for further research. History is a lot to unpack and getting it just right for what will work in our home takes some planning and research.

Some of the books I did take issue with I wasn’t fond of some of the images of Indigenous people, one book showed them being unclothed, overweight, and unkempt. Books that were sent were decent choices I would have liked to have seen 2 of the books that were in the rabbit trails included in the pack (Before Columbus and Turtle Island). I felt these two books would have given a better insight into the Indigenous culture. I was a little deterred from the curriculum starting with 3 lessons of the Indigenous people and then the next 10 lessons were dedicated to the Vikings with a sprinkle of the Indigenous people being within those lessons. There was no mention of the Moors or Africans already being in what is now America.

The books that were included in the rabbit trails resources were books that reflected a more truthful look at time periods covered in the Early American Intermediate Pack . The landing of the pilgrim’s story tells the same story of the Pilgrims landing on American soil to escape religious freedom from Europe. This story is misinformation when in reality the Pilgrims did not come from Europe they actually came from Holland where they were free to live and practice their religion as they pleased and the only reason why the left is because they didn’t like that the Holland culture was influencing their children. There were other issues I found with these lessons.

While Early American Intermediate Pack does include some culturally diverse books to lend to the lessons, the book suggestions inside of the teacher guides would have given the curriculum pack a better view of history. The core book A Child’s First Book of American History offers some gentle truths but I would not let this book be the be-all for teaching American History it would be a starting point to research the time periods discussed. I still feel like this curriculum is told from a European viewpoint of history with some dabbles of diversity. A few of the books are meant to be comical such as the Jean Fritz books Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution and Where Do You Think You’re Going, Christopher Columbus? . The Viking book my sons and I found it hard to get through and we had to look for another resource.

Overall the curriculum will give you a guideline to start with American history but you will need to do some research to make sure it is accurate. The rabbit trail resources inside the teachers guide I would use more so than the ones that were sent in the pack. At the time of this review, the Early American Intermediate Pack is $245.95 plus taxes and shipping.

I would like to thank Beautiful Feet Books for sending us the Early American Intermediate Pack be sure to check out the other Melanated Gols Review Squad reviews on Beautiful Feet Books .

3rd Grade Curriculum, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, Art, Critical Thinking and Logic, Education, Family, Homeschool, mindfulness, Morning Basket, Read Alouds, Reviews, S.T.E.A.M, Writing

Owl Crate Jr: October Box Review!

Complimentary product received through the Melanated Gold Review Squad!

We received the October box from Owl Crate Jr if you aren’t familiar with the Owl Crate Jr is a monthly box subscription for middle-grade readers ages 8-12 years. Each box is carefully crafted with a customized book cover sleeve just for Owl Crate Jr subscribers.

Owl Crate Jr October 2021

October’s Owl Crate Jr box theme is the Science is Magic. The book of the month is a signed copy of Amira & Hamza The War to Save the Worlds by Samira Ahmed. Inside this wonderful magical box includes hands-on activities for your reader related to the monthly theme.

On the day of a rare super blue blood moon eclipse, twelve-year-old Amira and her little brother, Hamza, can’t stop their bickering while attending a special exhibit on medieval Islamic astronomy. While stargazer Amira is wowed by the amazing gadgets, a bored Hamza wanders off, stumbling across the mesmerizing and forbidden Box of the Moon. Amira can only watch in horror as Hamza grabs the defunct box and it springs to life, setting off a series of events that could shatter their world—literally.

Amazon

Books Goodies

  • Ooze Labs test tube kit from Thames & Kosmos
  • “The Wild Robot” inspired book accessory designed by @shaferbrown
  • His Dark Materials Compass Enamel Pin
  • The Magic School Bus lanyard
  • Science is Magic Monthly Magazine (inlcudes a science exiperiment)
  • Science is Magic monthly collectible sticker
  • Bookplate with letter from the author to your Owl Crate Jr Reader
  • Wrinkle in Time Umbrella

The monthly magazine includes an October box photo challenge, Owl Crate Jr readers can perform 6 challenges in chances they can win 1 of 6 free boxes. They can upload the pictures to their parent’s Instagram accounts and tag @owlcratejr.

Overall Thoughts

We were sent two Owl Crate Jr boxes. The company sent us the January 2021 box that theme was Inner Magic and the book of the month was Amari and the Night Brothers, which we happen to be in the midst of finishing up. The January box encourages healthy self-image-building activities.

Owl Crate Jr box subscriptions are a good way to make reading magical. The themes we received were beautifully crafted with lots of learning opportunities. I also looked over the previous month’s books and discovered they have a diverse collection of book titles each month which is gladly appreciated. However, their social media pages don’t reflect that same diversity of children and families. Owl Crate Jr’s website is inviting and has a community blog for Owl Crate Jr and Owlcrate 14+. You can compare boxes on their website to see which box best works for your reader. I did poke around on the Owl Crate Jr shop I love all the extra book goodies they have. I am going to purchase a few of their teas for our monthly tea and chat times.

One of the things I find unique about Owl Crate Jr is its attention to detail. The Owl Crate Jr boxes make reading an adventure and not just words on pages. If you have a reluctant reader aged 8-12 Owl Crate Jr box is perfect for them. You use the monthly books as read-aloud or an independent read, we happened to be reading the Amari and the Night Brothers book already when the October Owl Crate Jr and my son are completely engulfed in this book and we will be moving on to the Amira & Hamza The War to Save the Worlds book soon. My son saw the “Dragons” in next month’s Owl Crate Jr box he is begging me to get him the November box also! Of course, I said yes because I am thrilled he wants to keep reading more novels.

Owl Crate Jr boxes are $29.99 a month, the company offers several different subscriptions option. The Owl Crate Jr box is for middle-grade readers ages 8-12 years. The boxes ship between the 15th and 20th of the month. You can purchase past Owl Crate Jr boxes in the shop. I have signed me little up for a subscription after receiving these 2 boxes complimentary so be on the lookout for updates on our instagram.

Until the Next Time,

Mom and J

Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OwlCrate/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/owlcrate/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/37437502-korrina-owlcrate

4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, Curriculum, Education, Geography, Language Arts, Science, Writing

Blossom & Root Year 5 Review!

Complimentary product received through the Melanated Gold Review Squad, in exchange for my honest review.

Have you ever encountered a curriculum that just made you feel at peace? I have tried several different curricula over the course of the last 5.5 years and they all seemed to lack a real connection to homeschooling. I always felt something was missing and then I felt rushed and that I had to finish it or I had somehow failed my child. Three years ago a friend of mine told me about Blossom and Root and I was hooked. I am so honored to review Blossom and Root Level 5 Language Arts, Science Wonders of Worlds Beyond, Part One: Oceanography, and Art. I will update this review when Wonders of Worlds Beyond, Part Two: Astronomy and Nature Journal releases. Blossom and Root takes your student on a wonderful journey of learning.

Blossom and Root Level 5 is a digital download that also includes clickable links. I personally printed out the lab and student notebooks. The parent guides I uploaded to my notability app on my iPad for quick access. I combined them and use heavy card stock for the covers and the backing. I used my fast draft option and double-sided printing.

Language Arts

Blossom and Root Level 5 doesn’t disappoint. Level 5 language arts covers 36 weeks of lessons that are literature-based and include areas q writing, poetry, social studies, vocabulary, and geography. The chapter book selections for the weeks are diverse and a mixture of classic books and new releases. I was able to find every one of the books at the library, Thriftbooks, Amazon, and eBay. The poetry section is optional but the books suggested were also easily accessible and reasonably priced and the required book list isn’t ridiculously long. Kristina (creator of Blossom & Root) and her team have thought of everything including a completely optional books list for you and divided them up by weeks (THANK YOU). There is also a general supply list that is very basic you will pretty much have about 80% of the items already in your home. you can find a full scope and sequence on Blossom and Root.

Each week has 5 days of lessons, there are helpful tips to that help you decide the best way to navigate the lessons :

  • Transitional (students who are ready for some independent but not completely)
  • Independent ( students who can work independently and guide themselves)
  • Adult-Led (student still need adult guidance)

Science

Blossom & Root Level 5 Science Wonders are Worlds Beyond, Part One: Oceanography and Wonders of Worlds Beyond, Part Two: Astronomy (releases November 1st, 2021). The Blossom and Root Level 5 Science Wonder is a relaxed and hands-on approach. Parents can do the traditional 36 weeks of lessons with the first 24 lessons being Oceans and the second part of the lessons being Astronomy. Parents also have the option to do approach the science wonders with a relaxed schedule and work are their own pace stretch out the lessons as long as you want. Science wonders are meant to be parent-led, prefer this way of learning science because I learn so much and we have great conversations.

Science Wonders follow these three steps:

  • Step One – Wonder (introduction to the wonder)
  • Step Two – Explore (exploring the topic with activities/ experiments etc..)
  • Step Three – Record (allowing your child to record their journey)

My favorite part of doing this science is the permission “to go off the grid” going off the grid is something we do all the time and enjoy the learning process so much better and I can see the light and excitement in his eyes. My son is always so eager to show with his dad at dinner time everything he has learned for the day and going down a rabbit hole is the best way I know he is really learning and enjoying his journey. Let’s talk books for Worlds Beyond, Part One: Oceanography surprisingly I had 2 of the books listed as recommendations and I need 2 of the spine book Dk Smithsonian Oceans!, which happen to have already been sitting in my amazon cart. Once again the book list for optional books and the spines are easily accessible and when you need them is listed with the corresponding wonder. Each Wonder has an oceanography topic, an optional profile of a scientist or influential person to the topic, and a few have rabbit hole ideas. The Worlds Beyond, Part One: Oceanography parent guide also includes lesson ideas for minimalist, book basket, visual learners. The laboratory guide also includes activities for outdoor learners, table-crowd, and crafts and project families.

Secret Notebook, Geography , Art

The Secret Notebook is a child led project and it is just that a secret. The only part I play in the secret notebook is taking him to the store letting him pick the notebook and printing the Secret Notebook. Even though I have the guide in both of our sections I glimpse over the supplies for each week and just set them out for him on Fridays and he takes over from there I only help when asked. I love this part of Blossom and Root, it gives him such pride to work on something all on his own. The Exploring the States notebook which is optional, but I do recommend is also 36 weeks that students will research important geographic information about the states including map work. Nine Profiles in Art is 36 weeks of 9 artists with a 10th artist as optional. Each artist is studied for 3 weeks, a supply list and optional book list are also included. The student will do a picture studying, exploring the artist, and exploring with art doing a piece of artwork.

Last Thoughts

I am looking forward to working our way through Blossom and Root Level 5, I love the relaxed feel of the curriculum. The language arts are perfect for the pace I would like to go and review areas we have already covered in other curricula. Do you need to supplement if you need to absolutely and I love having that option no curriculum has it all? The science is adaptable to use family-style with kids in grades 1st through 6th grade. I don’t feel hurried to get things done using Blossom and Root. Kristina Gardner has done an exceptional job of understanding the homeschooled child and parent. The curriculum is diverse and secular and she has put notes/ tips throughout the pages. Blossom and Root will always have a place in our homeschool, only wish I found her sooner.

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4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, Critical Thinking and Logic, Curriculum, Education, Homeschool, Reviews, S.T.E.A.M

Genius Games : Periodic: A Game of The Elements Review !

Complimentary product received through the Melanated Gold Review Squad, in exchange for my honest review.

Looking for a fun game that teaches you and your kids the periodic table? I was sent the Periodic: Game of The Elements to review from Genius Games. As a science-loving family and we love any opportunity to game school.

The Periodic: Game of The Elements is a great way to introduce the periodic table to your budding chemist. My son has a little knowledge of the elements but not much and he has recently shown interest in learning them. Periodic: Game of The Elements is for students ages 10+ , 2-5 players, and gameplay is 40-60 mins. The game board is sturdy and the elements are in bright colors. Players will move around the board using 1 of the 5 Erlenmeyer Flask as they research and learn the elements and their atomic numbers.

The goal of the game is to move along the periodic table and collect elements in order to score goal cards. Periodic: Game of The Elements is a strategic game and you have to plan your moves so you can complete goal cards for points. The game has two game movements one is moving your flask around the table and the second movement is moving your microscope around the board and completing your secret agenda cards for extra points. Players also have to decide on how to spend or gain energy to activate trends. The person with the most points wins the game. Periodic: Game of The Elements comes with 172 small pieces, 1 game board, and a rule book.

I really like this game for teaching the elements and their atomic mass. The game offers a great lesson in teaching students about protons and neutrons. The goal cards have different combinations of elements on them and what they become when combined. on the back of the Periodic: Game of The Elements box, you will find a QR scan that makes it easy to retrieve the rules of the game and video of game play.

Periodic: Game of The Elements does has had a lot of moveable parts and does require a certain level of mental play, and logic skills. This game is defiantly for older kiddos I highly recommend it for kids ages 12+. There are a lot of rules to remember and follow to be successful at the game. My son did find it a little confusing as we played the game but, I decided to scale the game back a little for him. We only did the primary movements of the game. Keep in mind my son is just 1 month shy of being 9 years old and he has a strong background in science. He really likes the game board, learning the table as well looking over the goal cards, and researching. We just tweaked the game little for him, I also had a little trouble following the gameplay rules, but the video was very helpful.

I would recommend Periodic: Game of The Elements from Genius Games for students 10+. I wouldn’t recommend to children younger than 9 years. We did enjoy the game and I am sure we will continue to grow into it over the years. At the time of this review the cost of Periodic: Game of The Elements is $39.99 plus taxes and shipping.

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1st Grade, 2nd Grade Curriculum, 3rd Grade Curriculum, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, Curriculum, dyslexia, Homeschool, Language Arts, Read Alouds, Reviews, spelling, Writing

LightSail for Homeschoolers Review!

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

For the last few weeks, we have been using LightSail for Homeschoolers Premium Subscription. The crew was given given a 1-year online subscription to review. LightSail for Homeschoolers focuses on four areas Reading, Writing, Vocabulary, and Fluency it also includes World Book.

LightSail for Homeschoolers program focuses on the 4 areas of literacy. Before students can venture into the program they are given an assessment to determine their Lexile level. The assessment is lengthy so I recommend breaking it up into 2 days. After the children finish the assessment you will see their score and you as a the parent can assign books for them to read that are on on that level or any level you would like. LightSail for Homeschoolers has excellent content security, I noticed that a lot of books I went to assign my student or I was just researching to add for him to read I had to grant permission for him to access.

LightSail for Homeschoolers Reading has a huge selection of literature, I was very pleased to see lots of culturally diverse materials and topics. My son has a major passion for the Negro Baseball League and we found several books, videos, and documentaries about the players that I created him a unit study so he could access them faster. Speaking of unit studies WOW this feature is fabulous, I was able to create unit studies for our science, history, and language arts lessons. The unit study feature allows you to assign the study to all the students or to individual students. The LightSail for Homeschoolers Reading provides:

  • Unit Studies, Booklist and Memory Work
  • Read-Alouds
  • Assessments
  • Augment Reality
  • Interactive Books
  • Videos
  • Parental Control

We really enjoyed the augmented reality section we were able to explore areas of the world and places. The LightSail for Homeschoolers Reading also helps you set reading goals, track your students data, reading badges, and much more.

LightSail for Homeschoolers Writing from what is reviewed is going to be a great program that will encourage your student to work on grammar skills, writing, journal, and write books. Parents will be able to assign writing assignments, grades and provided feedback to their students writing. At the time of this review, this section was not available.

LightSail for Homeschoolers Vocabulary is fabulous students can work on vocabulary building and spelling both of which we really need assistance in this area. Students will work on definitions and interactive activities. One of my absolute favorite sections is the Clozes in text, how can sing this practice praises. Several of the books in the library uses the clozes. The books the students read are missing words, and have interactive in-text activities. The students can’t move on in the book until they do the activities. The activities require the student to use comprehension, context clues and vocabulary skills to fill in the blanks.

LightSail for Homeschoolers Fluency will work on improving your students fluency, through read-alouds & re-telling, memory work, listening, speaking and writing.

LightSail for Homeschoolers Reading, Writing, Vocabulary, and Fluency is an excellent language arts online platform. There is a lot of content in the LightSail for Homeschoolers , you will need to undergo a learning curve when using the platform. I highly recommend you watch all of the videos and take some time getting use to the platform. I am still learning the platform myself, several of the areas are still under development so you will not have access to all areas. The one thing I was very disappointed with is that this program will only work with Chrome and Edge. We are an Apple family and I had to download the Chrome browser on my iMac so I could manage the parent dashboard. My son also wasn’t a big fan that he couldn’t use this on his iPad and had to be stationary in front of his laptop. I would encourage the company to make this available on Safari and Firefox.

At the time of this review, the company offers a 7 day free trial, thereafter $99 for the LightSail for Homeschoolers Premium account. Be sure to check out the other crew’s reviews of LightSail for Homeschoolers by clicking the banner below.