We love technology in our home, and lately, my son has really gotten into coding. He has tried several online programs and has taken online classes for coding. I like having him code things that allow him to be hands-on and interactive. With the fast growth of technology, it is really important that students are exposed to coding early. I am very grateful that many companies like Timbersdoodle Co understand this importance and are including resources such as Let’s Start Coding Base Kit in their curriculum kits.
12 pieces of electronics including a mini speaker, LED lights, and makers board
50 + Projects
Coding Reference Cards
Let’s Start Coding Base Kit is free to install directly on your computer. The process was easy to install and my son was coding away in 5 mins. The project board for the Base Kit has informative videos that I highly recommend you have your student review before getting started. The get started videos cover a wealth of information for the student, just in case they run into problems. After looking over the first set of videos students will jump right into the coding project.
How it works
Let’s Start Coding Base Kit is a beginner’s program for students 8+, so keep this in mind if you have a student who is an advanced coder they may jump right to the challenging part of the project in which they can change the code around. The initial code for the project is already given to the students all they have to do is properly insert the parts needed for the code. I really like that the student has a visual so they are sure they using the correct parts and inserting the correctly. My son is a visual learner and he really appreciated this assistance. The students connect the parts and run the code, but once they have successfully run the code, students looking for more of a challenge can move onto the checklist. I also like the reference cards that are included the cards teach the student the proper coding language and definitions.
My son did an estimate of ten codes during the review process and also explored the challenge checklist. He said the Let’s Start Coding Base Kit is easy to use and he liked how the website gave him a lot more ideas for coding. We plan to use the Let’s Start Coding Base Kit over the holiday for extra coding practice. I personally like how he could independently set up the program and run it. My son keeps his Let’s Start Coding Base Kit on his desk for easy access.
Complimentary product received from BookShark in exchange for my honest review.
When you have a science-loving kid, finding the right science curriculum can be a daunting task. When my son was in 2nd grade, he breezed right through an entire science curriculum in eight weeks. For 3rd grade, we decided to forgo another box curriculum and chose to use a variety of supplemental resources to build our own science curriculum. This year things changed. My son requested an engaging and challenging science curriculum that was:
Hands – on
Experiments he could do independently.
Interesting and fun!
With so many requests I knew I had to find the best curriculum that would work for him and myself because I had my own set of requirements.
Easy lesson planning
I looked around and then I came across BookShark Science Level D and I was blown away by what I read and saw in the package. I had heard of BookShark, but I didn’t know a lot about the company until I started researching the science.
Who isBookShark ?
BookShark is a literature-based multi-subject homeschool curriculum company. Their curriculum is secular and they follow all the state standards. Their leveled curriculum covers a three-year age span. With the 3 years, age-span families can find it helpful that they can use the same curriculum for all their students within those ages.
BookSharkScience Level D ages 8-11
BookShark Science is a literature-based science that uses engaging and recent book resources to spark the love of science in budding scientists. BookShark Science follows the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). What makes the BookShark homeschool science curriculum unique is the company gives you everything you need in one package. Unlike many homeschool science curricula, BookShark Science is a secular science curriculum. I know what you are thinking, not another box curriculum with a ton of books and materials that need a lot of prepping.
BookShark’s Science curriculum combines a hands-on and literature based approach that is engaging and fun! Students will focus on three to four topics per year and gain in-depth knowledge of subjects including Geology, Meteorology, Physics, Biology, Animals, Electricity, Human Anatomy, Chemistry, Astronomy and more!
BookShark Science Level D is for ages 8-11 so this will work well if you have more than one student that fits in that age range and you can do the lessons family style. You will receive:
Classic BookShark D-binder
10 Literature- Based Books
Experiment book and kit
You will find prepping your BookShark Science Level D requires minimal prepping. The instructor guide includes 36 weekly student activities sheets and schedules, you will need to purchase another set of student activities sheets if you are working with more than one student. The instructor guide is easy to read and follow.
Bookshark Science understand kids , because they dont repeat the same kind of lesson they put a different spin on things!
BookShark Science recommends that you work with a working binder. The working binder is for your daily use of the lessons. It is suggested that you pull four weeks of student activity sheets and place them in the binder. When I pull the activity sheets I also pull the experiment recording sheets that are printed on sturdy card stock and experiment materials from the kit.
Let’s talk about storage. I keep the BookShark D-binder and books in a cube storage unit and the experiment kit in a latchmate box, but you could keep the items in the sturdy box the materials come in! I store all of these in a cube on our shelf, and his working binder is on our homeschool cart along with the books for that week’s BookShark Level D.
BookShark Science Level D works on a 4 days a week schedule. The fourth day is for experiments, the curriculum gives you the flexibility to work at your own pace. The 5th is suggested for field trips, exploring that week’s topic further, or just a day off. On our 5th day, we play games and find extension activities on that week’s topic.
I like the Bookshark Science because it has topics that actually interest me and I can do the lesson on my own!
The schedule tells you what book you are reading, pages, and what questions from the activity sheet exercise for that day. The schedule also tells you what materials you need for the experiment kit and what you need to prepare for the next week. You will also find vocabulary words on the schedule – don’t skip over this part because these words show up in the reading. I decided to have my son keep a science notebook, in his notebook are the vocabulary words and anything he found of interest from that week’s lesson.
The experiment kit is probably one of my favorite items in BookShark Science Level D because of the convenience. When we were winging it, I was always scrambling to purchase something at the last minute or skipping the experiments altogether because the materials were hard to find. . Now I am able to just pull the needed materials out of the kit, and my son can start his experiments. The kit is so well labeled, that even my son can pull the necessary materials by himself. EThe BookShark Science Level D experiment book has easy-to-follow instructions with illustrations. You know how you may do experiments with your kids and you’re not 100% sure of the “Why”? BookShark Science Level D has you covered with objectives, questions, and conclusions. Students will encounter projects that require them to use all of their five senses, engineering, art skills, logic, and critical thinking skills.
Currently, we are moving into Week 9 – Sea Animals; during the first 7 weeks, we learned about food chains, animal adaptations, wolves ecosystems, animal adaptations, living things, characteristics of animals, ocean, and coral reefs. Can you believe we covered all of these topics in-depth and it has only been 7 weeks?! BookShark Science Level D also allows you to go down rabbit holes that have
During October, we took a break off from homeschooling for 2 weeks, but he insisted on doing science. BookShark Science Level D has found a place in our home and we look forward to finishing up Level D and next year starting Level E. My son was so impressed he asked me are all of their subjects this much fun and if so can we get those also? With all the planning done for me including the books, experiment supplies, student activity sheets included, I can spend the time I would spend agonizing over what to do for science, enjoying our weekend as a family.
My favorite book is Bringing Back the Wolves! Who knew that wolves had such a impact on the ecosystem!
At the time of the review, the cost of BookShark Science Level D is $250.94 plus tax and shipping. The virtual access is an add-on for $50. I find the cost of BookShark Science Level D very reasonable for 36 weeks of lesson plans, activity sheets, science kits, and books. The cost breaks down to $6.97 a week. If you are looking to try out a lesson the company offers a 3- week sample lesson on their website. BookShark offers generous freebies on their website such as the new Volcano Unit. The company has great customer service. Support team, and you can request a catalog.
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 RootLevel 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.
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)
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.
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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