Thursday, October 31, 2013

Elemental Science for Biology-Logic Stage Review

We have been homeschooling for eleven years now and I've always just done unit studies with science but this year I wanted something different.  With a sophomore knee deep in biology, I needed a curriculum that was written well that I could combine with several kids.  I found it with Elemental Science.

Elemental Science's classic science series is awesome.  Biology, Earth Science and Astronomy, Chemistry, and Physics are available for both elementary and intermediate levels; the only exception is the intermediate level for Physics which is due out in 2014.  They also have a Preschool series that includes two science curriculums and a history curriculum.

The Biology Logic Stage uses two books as the spines: Encyclopedia of Nature (DK) and Kingfisher Science Encyclopedia.  There are several other reading options that include Human Body (DK), Usborne Interlinked Encyclopedia, and Usborne Illustrated Dictionary of Science.

The schedule for the units is broken up into two options: a two day or five day schedule.  The units are:

  • Unit 1          Introduction and Ecology
  • Unit 2          Plants
  • Unit 3          Invertebrates
  • Unit 4          Vertebrates
  • Unit 5          Animal Overview
  • Unit 6          Human Body
I opted to purchase the downloadable version of both the teachers edition and student pages.  With four girls going to use this program, this seemed the easiest option for me.  The $25.50 cost was very reasonable for the program, although the printed copy does have a bigger cost.
The student guide includes assignment sheets, unlabeled sketches, experiment pages, and blank report pages.  There are reading and writing assignments with each week.  The writing assignment pages are left blank to allow the student to summarize with an outline, summary, or do both on the reading assignment.  Vocabulary and memory work in included for each unit.  Also, each week, dates relevant to the reading assignment are entered on timeline pages.
The experiments are easy to do and a nice list of items that are needed are included at the beginning of the book and divided up by chapter.  I love that the experiment sheets work through the scientific method which really reinforces this method to the students.  
At the end of every unit is a test.  We are almost done with unit one and should be doing our test next week.  I have previewed the test and it reinforces the vocabulary and information that has been taught to the students.
We have thoroughly enjoyed this program.  I have already decided that we will be purchasing the next book which will be the Earth Science and Astronomy for intermediate.  I honestly cannot find any problems or issues with the program.  It is very detailed and thorough and a lot of fun for the kids and myself.
I really wish I had been able to get the preschool series for my two littles this year but it wasn't in the budget.  I have already decided that I will be getting the history book also for next year.   
 I cannot say enough good things about this program.  We love it!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tasty Tuesday

I'm trying to get back into posting several times a week so I'm restarting my Tasty Tuesday and Farming Friday posts this week.

So today, I'm sharing some crock pot recipes that we have tried and enjoyed the last few weeks!! Enjoy!

Chicken Taco Soup
1 lb cooked de-boned shredded chicken
1 cup chopped onion
1 16 oz can of beans (kidney, pinto, black...the original recipe calls for two cans but my kids aren't huge fans of beans)
1 cup corn
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth
1 14.5oz can rotel tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 packet of taco seasoning

Mix ingredients in slow cooker.  Cook on low for 7-8 hours, stirring several times.  Serve with tortilla chips, cheese, and sour cream.

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken
2 lbs chicken, boneless, and skinless
1 cup salsa
1 cup petite diced canned tomatoes
2 Tbsp taco seasoning
1 cup onions, diced fine
3 Tbsp sour cream

Place chicken in crock pot.  Sprinkle taco seasoning over meat.  Layer other items and pour 1/2 cup water on top.  Cook on low 6-8 hours.  Shred meat and add back into crock pot with shredded cheese.  Stir and cook until cheese is melted.  Serve on tortillas with sour cream.

Crockpot Apple Butter
5 lbs peeled cored and finely chopped apples
4 cups sugar
2 tsps. cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt

Put ingredients in crock pot and stir until coated.  Cook on high 3 hours, stirring every 30-45 minutes.  Then turn to low and cook another 5.5-6 hrs, stirring every hour or so.  Place in food processor or blender and puree.  Can or refrigerate.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


I haven't posted lately because we've had this bug floating around.  High temperature for a few days and then about a week of a nasty dry cough.  I think we're finally on the tail end of it.  Thank goodness because I'm tired of buying cough medicine! 

We have been getting ready for winter.  It has been very cold here the last two weeks, most of the days are only in the 40s.  Little low for this time of year.  I'm glad that I ordered a load of wood before the cold hit because we've already had several fires. 

I still have to cover the raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries.  I hope hoping for some nice warm days before I did that but it doesn't look like that's going to happen so I'll be out there this week getting that done.  We still have to bring the hoses in so they don't split in the cold.

Our hens finally started laying a few weeks ago.  We're getting 4-5 a day.  We have 18  hens, but like I said its starting to get cold out and they don't like the cold that much.

Our momma cat and her nine babies are doing well.  I got her a high protein cat food and been feeding her a milk supplement because she's not too big herself.  She's been eating all her food and then going out hunting so I know she's burning the calories.

Next spring we're looking at a calf and several pigs.  I have a friend that wants one so we'll be raising it with ours and it looks like the guy that I rent our back 8 acres to for his cows, wants a few also.  Doing chores for one pig or three doesn't really matter and they will all pitch in to cover the cost AND I know what goes in the animals that we are eating!  We're talking about raising hens and butchering....but that will be in a few years.  No time for that now.

On the school front, we haven't gotten everything done these last two weeks but we're getting there.  Tomorrow I will post a review on Elemental Science: Biology and what I think of it.  It has been a great program so far and we've really enjoyed it, but I'll give you the low down tomorrow.

Have a wonderful night!!  I have company coming over for WD tonight.  Can't wait!!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum part 2

Laura during a book signing

Laura and Almanzo in the house that Rose built for them out of stones

Teaching school

Princess Buttercup in school

I'd never seen a wagon fully loaded before, there wasn't any room for people.

Doing business at the post office

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, Walnut Grove, MN

Photo of Pa and Ma

A buffalo coat like Pa's

In front of one of Laura's quilts with Grammy

Bug-a-bug doing laundry

Photo of the Ingalls Family 1891

Trouble preaching at the church

In front of the fireplace recreated like the one on the tv series.  Michael Landon's wife and son donated the mantle that was used in the series

A painted wall just like the backdrop from the tv show

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Busy busy oh my!

School is in full swing here.  Boy Scouts, American Heritage Girls, and volunteering on day a week at our after school program has taken up most of my time.  I canned and froze produce from our garden.  I need to get out there today to pull tomatoes to make salsa and make another batch of apple butter.  My cucumbers did not do well at all.  Next year I will build a raised bed for them.  I already have plans to double the size of the raised beds I have now and add a few more.  It will  make a lot of work in the spring but we will reap a much greater reward in the fall.

My mom came in for a week.  We did a lot of shopping and explored Mankato, which is about an hour from here.  We also painted the living room.  Its so nice to have color on the wall.  I can't wait to paint the rest of the downstairs.  I've decided to go with a fall color pallet.  The living room is green and the foyer and one wall in the dining room will be a burnt orange.  The other walls will be probably a tan.  Next summer I will paint the kitchen a gold with a deep purple color for the cabinets.  I would really love to redo the kitchen but its not in the budget right now.

This week we are doing school in the  mornings.  It is supposed to be in the seventies all week long.  It won't be long before the temperatures really plummet and we have a lot of outside chores that need to be done.  I've decided to take advantage of the weather to clean out some of the barns, clean out the raised beds, prune the trees, and clean the garage.  Its also nice for the kids to get out and enjoy the weather before we're locked in for the winter.

I will hopefully post photos tomorrow of our trip to Walnut Grove, MN to the Laura Ingalls Museum.  My mom is a huge fan so we took the trip while she was here.