Bible, Elementary(K-6), Grades K-12, Jr. High(7-8), Reading, Reading, Sabbath, SDA Resources, Special Needs, Teaching Helps, Unit Studies

Resource Review: Learning About God’s Letter to Me

My Sabbath School class is learning about the Bible as our theme program/lesson.  We are using a resource from My Bible First that would be a definite blessing for family worship, a Sabbath afternoon activity or for Sabbath School.   Learning About God’s Letter to Me is a two-part resource consisting of a spiral bound, 46 page booklet and a separate device booklet.  The 23 lessons in the booklet are 1 to 3 page stories that teach how we got the Bible, how to find things in your Bible, how the Bible is organized, etc.   The back of the booklet includes a brief summary of each book of the Bible as well as the music and lyrics for three complementary songs.   Don’t read music?  That’s okay, because you can go to the product page for God’s Letter to Me and download the MP3 music file for each song.   What a blessing!

The device folder is purchased separately.   The folded 17″ x 11″ full-color cardstock device includes two sheets of full-color illustrations to cut out and glue in the device as you read through the booklet.

My Sabbath School class is a unique group of children from ages 3 to 13, including a few with learning and developmental disabilities. A large portion of my class is new to attending Sabbath School.    I have found the language of the lesson booklet to be accessible for all of the ages in my class.  Having the device in their hands as we talk helps those who need a visual connection with what they are hearing.   I will cycle through this book again in a few years to make sure the youngest students have another chance to learn the material.

 

The price of the this resource is more than fair!  The spiral-bound lesson booklet is  $4.25, and the full-color device is just $1 each.   Very budget friendly for homes and Sabbath Schools.  My Bible First offers extra resources to expand on this theme, including additional question cards, illustrated Scripture songs and more.

 

There are several other topics available in the Learning About series. including the importance of the Sabbath, and the 10 Commandments.   You can be sure that my Sabbath School students will be going through those topics as theme lessons as well!

Curriculum Reviews, Extracurricular, History, Unit Studies

Curriculum Review: Draw and Write Through History

Draw and Write Through History

Written by  Carylee Gressman and Illustrated by Peggy Dick

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I pulled down these books to do this review and the children took off with them!  Our children LOVE these books.  This is a very engaging program.  They are filled with “fun facts,” extra challenges, and a helpful Bibliography at the end of each book for additional reference material and study.  It is designed for ages 8+, but can easily be used with younger children.  Ours have enjoyed it as young as five and six years old.  From the title, it covers three subjects, but we have used it for four.

Art-  The step by step drawing lessons are easy to follow.  Our children just pick up the books and start following along.  There are simple tips for the artistically challenged yet room for the more advanced to add lots more detail.

 Book4

Handwriting-  These are the Zaner Bloser Cursive.  Each book starts with a simple review of the letters.  It would be easy to copy the handwriting assignments in print for younger children.  There are only 4-5 handwriting pages in each book, except the “Creation through Jonah,” which has 7.  I add more handwriting assignments, using some of the additional fun facts or verses from the Bible.

History-  The history lessons are simple.  They are meant to supplement another History program and could be used with any teaching approach.  They are perfect for “Story of the World” or “Mystery of History.”  We used “Pilgrims, Pirates, and Patriots” with “Light and the Glory for Children” by P. Marshal and “In God We Trust” by J. Ashcroft.  Our children’s favorite has been “Creation through Jonah.”  We used a pictorial History Encyclopedia and the Bible with it.  We scrap-booked that year and then entered the books in the county fair.  It was great fun!

 DrawWriteBook1

Science-  There is also a fair bit of Science in these.  Again, the sprinkling of fun facts helps direct us to further study about God’s creation and some of man’s inventions.  The Research Ideas and Science Facts are also a big help.  The boys especially want to start building things, like catapults, sail boats, and cool armor.

This program could be used as a base for a fun year of Unit Study or they can be supplemental to a more structured curriculum.  They would also be a lot of fun for summer to keep the children busy when they are cooped up in the house on very hot days!  You can find Draw and Write Through History at  http://www.drawandwrite.com/.

Review by Dawnita F.

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Thanks, Dawnita, for your review!  If you have used something in your homeschool and would like to review it here, please contact us at adventisthomeducator@gmail.com

Your turn!  Please rate this curriculum if you have used it in your homeschool and feel free to leave a comment so others can learn more about this product.

Curriculum Reviews, Unit Studies

Curriculum Review: My Father’s World – Creation to the Greeks

Curriculum: My Father’s World
Year: “Creation to the Greeks” Grades 2-8

My Father's World. Creation to the Greeks

I chose this curriculum this year because it it an integrated, Christian-based curriculum that covers science, history, social studies and Bible and can be used for children at various grade levels simultaneously. Also, I wanted our 3rd and 5th grade girls to study more in-depth into the old testament, which it covers. It is a 34-week curriculum with daily lesson plans that make it very easy to use. Various easily-obtainable and interesting books are required. Student notebook pages are provided. As you go along the children make a time-line of events (quite elementary), do various notebook pages and you read to them about ancient civilizations. My children really enjoyed learning about Egypt and the pyramids, mummies, etc. There are quite a few hands-one projects to do, and they don’t take very long each day. Jewish Feasts are studied in the first few months. There are plenty of hands-on activities that can be done in preparation to celebrate the feasts. The Sanctuary is also part of the curriculum and kids can make a paper model of it. Later Greek mythology is covered. They do use books like Aesop’s Fables, which we are specifically counseled to avoid, according to the Spirit of Prophecy, so we have not done that part. There are read-aloud books recommended, which did not seem to be up standard for our family, so we did not use those. They are optional. Music and art are included in the weekly program, but are also optional. They do teach Greek vocabulary words, which was interesting. There are lots of supplemental books (often available at the public library) suggested.

We have enjoyed having a curriculum where everything is laid out. A whole year on this time-period may be a bit much, but the curriculum is not heavy or full and so we have plenty of time to supplement with other topics and studies of our choice. I feel that the Bible lessons need to be supplemented. They do have the kids memorize scripture, but it is mostly passages we already know, like the ten commandments. For Bible they use “Victor Journey Through the Bible”, which is very good, but does not take long to cover. There is a story to read from the Bible itself almost every day. You have to use your own Language Arts and Math curriculum. It is not included with this curriculum.

Review by Heather K.

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Curriculum Reviews, Unit Studies

Currriculum Review: The Weaver Curriculum

Product Description: (from the Alpha Omega website)

The Weaver Curriculum is a unique unit-based, Christian homeschool curriculum. For grades PreK-12th, this family-based curriculum uses the same daily Bible theme as a foundation and then creates lessons for each student. Your students are then studying the same main subject the same time with individual lesson assignment geared to each student’s grade level. For example if you were teaching about the plagues of Egypt, your student would learn about frogs in science, Egyptian topography in geography, pharaohs in history, and so forth. Using this one-room schoolhouse type teaching, students are able to glean information from each other.

In this Christian homeschool curriculum, hands-on lessons include experiments, maps, murals, timelines, models, field trips, and more! The Weaver Curriculum is as flexible as it is fun. Parents can decide what topics to teach and what activities to do. Divided into volumes and supplemental volumes, this Christian homeschool curriculum uses binders to organize student lessons by grade level. Multiple subjects are included within each volume and woven into lessons, unlike separated subject focuses like other curriculums. Subjects covered are Bible, Social Studies, Science, Geography and History, Language Arts, Health, and Art.

SDA Notes:

This was a curriculum that Raymond and Dorothy Moore suggested, and they used to carry it in their catalog.  While they later taught others how to create your own unit studies, they found a unit study curriculum often helped parents think outside of the traditional school method of teaching and help them discover the unique method of unit study.

A friend once mentioned that you can easily follow the Bible study portion and add to it SDA thoughts by pulling out the SDA Bible Concordance and reading the appropriate sections as you prepare for your lessons so that you have that information in your thoughts as you teach it to your children.  This can be a great way for parents to get a good study out of it alongside of their children.   Another idea might be using SOP books alongside with your Bible study for older children, for example, Patriarchs and Prophets could be used alongside of Volume One.

My Thoughts:

I have used Volume One twice.  The first time, I used it with 3 of my kids and I found it took a lot of preparation to get all of the activities accomplished and finding all the books we needed to find.  I spent a lot of time at the library searching for books, some of which are not easily available.  If I took books out on library loan, sometimes they didn’t get to me in time for the unit or got to me too early, so the books were hard to use in relation to where we were at.  I found the easiest thing was to go to the library and search topically for books, and use newer books if the older books were not available.  I also found the supplement to be a little difficult to use (the supplement is the book for 7th-12th graders).  The suggestions seemed way ahead of my 7th grader at the time and I struggled to find just one or two items per chapter to add to our studies.  However, I later found out that for that grade level that is all one actually needs.

This second time around, I am doing it with only one child and I am finding the planning much easier.  I am not trying to compile hands on projects for 3 kids, but just for one, which is more manageable for me.  The assortment of books is not as varied, so I do not feel as flustered with needing bi-weekly library visits.  I do have quite the collection of books, and often can find something at home that is comparable to what we need to learn.

I like the thoroughness of the curriculum.  I like that I don’t have to always plan a unit study and that someone has done the work for me, even bringing alternatives so I can switch it up, if we already understand a concept.  I think it is important however to relax and not feel you need to accomplish everything… there is a lot in each Volume and you can easily skip many things and still be doing enough.

There are some helpful things to know with Weaver that will make planning and implementing it much easier.  Try to get the main resources ahead of time.  You often can find these on used book boards or eBay or Amazon.  Skim the book lists so you have an idea of the topics being taught so you can find appropriate books easier.  Join the Unofficial Weaver email list and use their website for additional ideas and helps.  I found this the most helpful, because often someone has already taken the time to figure out an alternative craft that works much easier… or perhaps a review sheet, or sharing field trip ideas and more.

The Day by Day’s are not necessary, but are very helpful for finding age appropriate materials for the study.  It will make planning much easier on you, as well.  The early editions of these are printed so that you need to turn your notebook and it takes up more table space.  The newer editions are printed the same as the other materials in the Volume, so you can put them together and not be turning your book back and forth.  It is best to use similar editions (with the volume package) for page numbers to match up as well.

Wisdom Words is a K-6 Language Arts program that goes along with the Weaver program.  The Day by Day will refer to this book in its Language Arts assignments.  What is nice is if the concept is too hard, you can go back a year and try to work at that level for that concept… or, similarly, move ahead if your child is able.

Teaching Tips and Techniques is a nice book for the parent.  It has helps for ideas for teaching and using the Weaver Curriculum.  It is not necessary, but if you have time to go through it, you may find some tips to make teaching unit studies easier for you.

The Volumes are the main resource of the curriculum.  In it, you will have the Bible Lessons, vocabulary, book lists, field trip ideas, Science, Social Studies, and Language Arts ideas.  It is color coordinated by grade level, so it is easy to find your materials.  It is suggested to take a 2 week time span and make plans.  It is easiest to remove the two week section from the large binders and put it altogether into a smaller binder that you can work with on a daily basis. Just remember to put it back.  When I went back to the volume after not using it for several years, I was missing a unit and I had to hunt for quite a while to find it.

The Supplement Volumes for grades 7-12, are nice if you want to combine your older children into the study.  I have found my children at that age typically are ready to study on their own, but sometimes it is nice to add them in for an occasional lesson to have some family fun together.  So while I agree you can use this curriculum for grades K-12, I prefer different programs for my older children so they can work more independently without needing the constant planning and direction from me.

All in all, I think it is a great program.  The biggest thing I found and heard from others is the amount of teacher planning in the program, which again I think is felt more heavily the more kids you have using it at the same time.  The kids typically enjoy it, but the parents are ones that can burn out with the planning.  However, it is a great way to learn how to create unit studies if you haven’t used one before.  You can jump right in and feel confident you are doing what you are supposed to be doing.

Review by:  Melissa B.

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We appreciate those that are helping with curriculum reviews. If you’d like to help out by writing one or more reviews, please email Melissa at adventisthomeducator@gmail.com

Adventurer Club, Bible, Pathfinders, Unit Studies, Unit Studies

Fun Links for February

Let’s start February with some fun links for your homeschool!

The Great Backyard Bird Count takes place February 18-21.  Why not use the Adventurer Feathered Friends award and the Pathfinder Birds and Birds-Advanced honors to turn the bird count into a fun unit study?

Do you have the Uncle Arthur Bible Story books?  Here’s a great free resource to accompany the series.   This two-part curriculum is designed for classroom use, but is a great source of ideas for creative worships and Bible lessons.  It is designed to be an 8 year program.  DOWNLOAD NOTE: The documents are large, the first set is 293 pages!

This South Pacific Division elementary Bible curriculum was developed by and for Pacific Island Adventist schools. This teacher’s guide includes lesson or story plans to accompany Uncle Arthur’s Bible Story series, Volumes 1-6. Concise, clear, adaptable, utilizing multiple intelligences, this Adventist religious education resource is free of copyright, ready for use or translation. See also the companion Pacific Island Bible Story Plans 7-10