The Complete Aquarium Adventure!

We love love LOVE going to the zoo as a family!

My sister bought us a family pass for all of our birthdays this year {BEST present!} and we’ve already been seven or eight times since March!

Lucky for us, our amazing zoo also has an awesome aquarium! Sometimes we just go to the aquarium and take our time looking around in there! And now we have even more to explore and learn as we go through with this great book from Master Books

The Complete Aquarium Adventure by Merilee and Bill Clifton is just what it says on the front cover: “A Field Trip in a Book!” This beautiful, colorful, hardcover book will help you plan every aspect of your trip to the aquarium and make it a fun learning experience for the whole family!

The first section, Before the Aquarium, includes an overview of the book, a trip planning section, devotionals, and scripture memory verses.

Next is the At the Aquarium section, highlighting animals you may find at the aquarium and divided into the following sections: Birds, Fish, Invertebrates, Mammals, and Reptiles. Each featured animal page has full color pictures, scientific information, and fun facts to share with your kiddos!

Lastly, the After the Aquarium section of the book contains a variety of follow-up activities to use once you get home. This includes word puzzles, coloring pages, and more!

As if all of that awesomeness wasn’t enough, I haven’t even mentioned the boys’ favorite part yet! At the very end of the book you will find a treasure chest {it really looks like a treasure chest!} with animal fact cards, ocean info, and these…

When we went to the aquarium earlier this week, I gave Big J and his two friends each a “BingOcean” card and we headed on a hunt for the animals on their cards!

We found these awesome creatures…

Got out the book to read more about penguins {The Hubby’s favorite!}…

Oohed and aahed over these cuttlefish…

And even witnessed cleaning and feeding time!

We’ve been to the aquarium many times, but The Complete Aquarium Adventure added lots of extra fun to our trip! Big J has had the book out every day looking at it, doing activities, and asking questions! I love that he wants to keep learning all the time! Just today we learned that the beluga whale is white so it can stay camouflaged in its icy habitat and hunt for its prey!

Master Books also has The Complete Zoo Adventure with similar features and format to take to the zoo with your children!

I know you’re already planning to order both of these books because they sound so fabulous, but how about winning your own copy?

Master Books is hosting a Twitter party Thursday, June 21st at 8pm CST where you could win…

*One of four copies of The Complete Aquarium Adventure

*One of four copies of The Complete Zoo Adventure

*The Grand Prize: one of each book AND a $25 gift coupon to Master Books!

Just follow @MasterBooks4U & @mamahall and tweet along with the hashtag #TeachtheTruth for your chance to win!

I hope you’ll join us!

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Disclosure: I received a review copy of The Complete Aquarium Adventure.  I was not compensated for my review, and all opinions are 100% my own! This post contains affiliate links.

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Milk and the Moon

What do milk and the moon have to do with each other?

Oreos, of course!

Confused?

Let me explain…

We’ve been studying astronomy for science this year, and when I found this great idea for learning the phases of the moon through Pinterest earlier in the year, I knew it would be a must when our unit on the moon came around! We made this activity part of our 100th day of school fun!

Big J told me all of the phases and I labeled a notecard for each one…

We then used a dull knife to scrape off the middle of the Oreo to match the phases. {I did the scraping, but Big J gave me instructions!}

We lined them up in order to better understand the progression of the phases…

Very simple, but fun and memorable! This guy loved it…

Or maybe he’s just grinning because he knows he is about to EAT some of these Oreos!

All this studying of the moon has the boys constantly looking for it in the sky and asking which phase it is in – love their curiosity!

So do you know the phase of the moon for tonight?!

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Apologia Science {Curriculum Review}

This week, we’re celebrating our 100th day of our first year of homeschool! We were blessed to receive review copies from several homeschool companies, and now that we’re this far into our year, I want to share some reviews of the curriculum we are using! I will be posting reviews all week so stay tuned! And if you dont homeschool, I’ll be posting regular posts as well – never fear!

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Science can be a very intimidating subject to many homeschool, myself included. But when I discovered Apologia Science and the Exploring Creation series, all of that changed!

This series, written for elementary students by Jeannie Fulbright, covers all basic areas of science in a God-honoring and mom-friendly manner. It became even more student-friendly for all elementary students this year as Apologia added junior notebooks for younger students, like my kindergartener!

Year-long courses are available in Botany, Zoology 1, Zoology 2, Zoology 3, Anatomy & Physiology, and our course for this year, Astronomy.

Here are my thoughts on our experience with Apologia Astronomy so far…

Big J LOVES learning about space and the planets. Astronomy was the perfect science for us this year!

The notebooking journal {regular or junior} contains a possible layout for the year – I’ve followed it loosely in my planning, but also gone at our own pace without any problems. I like having a guide, but not a strict schedule, so this is wonderful.

There is a LOT of material for the teacher, aka me, to read to Big J in each chapter. That was rough for us at first. Big J had a hard sitting still and retaining the information, until I figured out a few things:

*The coloring pages at the beginning of each lesson are perfect for him to work on while he listens – and he is still able to answer questions at the end of each segment.

*I can break up the reading any way I want depending on his attention span – I’m being flexible.

*If something seems to in-depth or complicated, we skip that part – for now. This hasn’t happened very often, but as a kindergartener, there is some info that can wait!

The project and experiment ideas have been the amazing! Hands-on is the best way to learn science, especially for boys!

We’ve made balloon planets to hang from our ceiling…

…sculpted a mini-version of Stonehenge…

…made Venus volcanoes, shut ourselves in a dark room with a flashlight and a tennis ball to recreate the phases of the moon, melted chocolate with a magnifying glass and the sun, and many more fun things! The projects are not complicated and use mostly household items.

The junior notebooking journal is the perfect compliment to the text, with areas for Big J to write AND draw what he is learning, as well as Scripture copywork and minibooks, useful for review at the end of a chapter.

Our current activity is journaling the phases of the moon! Both boys are noticing anytime they see the moon and commenting on the current phase. Today is a full moon – lots of excitement around here!

I was never really crazy about science in general throughout my school years, but I look forward to anytime I pull out these books to work with Big J! From my experience over the last semester, I highly recommend the Exploring Creation series from Apologia!

If you would like to read more from Apologia Science author Jeannie Fulbright, check out my interview with her from earlier this year!

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Disclosure: I received a review copy of this curriculum from Apologia in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own.

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Summer “School” Science

I hesitate to call this “school” because we haven’t officially started homeschool yet…

But I’m throwing all those preconceived notions to the wind and saying YES! We ARE doing school because we ARE learning about science with these fabulous new books from ZonderKidz…

These colorful, fact-filled books are part of the “Nature of God” series by Peter Schriemer, host of the Smithsonian HD Channel’s Critter Quest.

Wilderness Discoveries covers animals in the forest, on the beach and all over God’s green earth. Of course, the boys are drawn to the bugs right away, but every page draws their attention with up close pictures and engaging narratives!

This has been a great book to read before or after a trip to the zoo or nature center in our city! Even if we don’t see the exact same animals, we draw relationships between them – habitats, diets and the like!

For an extra-effort activity, you could take each habitat in the book and look up more neighbors of each animal! Make a collage of the plants and animals that would be living together! Look up on a map where you could find each type of habitat! The possibilities are endless!

And the “Crazy Cool Facts” for each animal are so interesting! They usually fascinate and surprise me as well as the boys!

See – it’s science time! We’re all learning together!

Ocean Adventures explores an area the boys aren’t familiar with in person – the ocean and beach – but they love it just the same. And I think the mystery adds to their curiosity! Whales and sand creatures and fish come to life in this fabulous book as well!

You know your kiddos love a book when they wear the cover off in a matter of a few weeks! These books are well loved in our home – by all of us!

AND there are Nature of God DVDs on their way to bring even more action to our “lessons!” We got a sneak peek at parts of the six DVD volumes and the boys could not get enough!

Summer is the perfect time to explore nature and all of God’s amazing creatures – these books are the perfect companion for learning as we go!

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What does “science” look like in your home during the summer?

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I received these books to review from Zondervan. I was not compensated in any other way for this post and all opinions are 100% my own!

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