Sunday, September 28, 2014

R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Lab Fun & Early Review

This year, Celeste is following the Pandia Press R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Biology 2 curriculum. 

After completing all the levels 1 of R.E.A.L Science Odyssey (Life, Earth & Space, Chemistry) over the last few years, it was logical to move up to level 2. 

Level 2 is geared to children from 5th to 9th grade. Celeste is 10 years old, technically 5th grade. We are just starting this curriculum, only on chapter 4, but already we can see that at times it is advanced for her. Still, we have been enjoying this course and pause whenever we need to find extra explanation. Unless it becomes increasingly frustrating and confusing for her, we will continue as I think this will end up being a great introduction to higher science. 

We follow the 5 day schedule outlined in the teacher guide (a must have in my opinion!) and so far, this routine has worked great for us. The teacher guide is very well organized and gives me a clear view of learning goals, summary of the lessons, extra information about the labs, answers to the worksheets, and extracurricular resources which I use to find library books. Links to videos are also listed which have been a great addition to our lessons. 

The main lessons are clear and the text speaks directly to the student. As I mentioned earlier, we stop whenever she doesn't understand something and look for extra explanations. Celeste loves the hands-on part of this curriculum, the two weekly labs, especially the microscope ones! 

The Famous Science Series lessons every week have also been very interesting. So far, we have learned about polio and Jonas Salk, Antony Van Leeuwenhoek with his microscopes and lenses, and sickle cell disease. 

The general labs have been great too. We have done a plot study in the backyard, looking for different living organisms. We made apple sauce and learned about safe canning procedures. Celeste can't wait to try her pink apple sauce! We used Paula Red apples. 

This past week, in the general lab, we made a 3D animal cell model out of modeling clay and plaster of Paris. The instructions in the student text were very clear and the project was so fun. Celeste loved it! It did help her visualize and remember the names of most of the organelles. 

So far, we are both enjoying this secular homeschool science curriculum very much! R.E.A.L. stands for Read Explore Absorb and Learn. It is a very fitting name for this curriculum. If you are curious about it, check out the Pandia Press website for more information and for long "try it before you buy it" samples. 

I did not receive any compensation or products to write this review. This post reflects my own opinion and desire to share information with others. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

oTENTik at Cavendish, PEI National Park

Last night, a friend and I visited the Cavendish campground at the PEI National Park for an open house hosted by PEI National Park showcasing the new oTENTik tents. 

oTENTik Tents are a great idea and different option available for accommodations, a cross between a small cabin and a large tent! 

There are now six oTENTik tents available at the PEI National Park, Cavendish location. These are spacious and six people can sleep in one. The beds are off the floor, on a wooden platform and include mattresses. There is a table with four chairs and a bench, as well as a wood stove inside for cool nights. The sides and roof of the oTENTik tents are like a strong regular tent material, but the floor is off the ground and looks like a wood floor. 

I thought these were a great idea for a different camping option. I imagine that you would still get the feeling of camping, but with a bit more cozy accommodations! 

One major advantage would be that you wouldn't need to invest or bring along camping equipment. Everything besides your own sleeping bags and personal belongings is here. There is even a BBQ outside of each tent on the porch/deck area, along with a lovely sitting area with fire pit (see my top photo mosaic)! 

The little village of oTENTik tents has its own facilities, including an accessible bathroom, as well a covered outdoor eating area with sinks. I had to take a photo of the shower area in the main bathroom, only because it was so nice for a campground! 

One of our favourite spots was a common sitting area, with a beautiful view of the water and sand dunes. What a lovely spot to have a quiet morning tea or coffee! The chairs are so nice, I really liked the detail of the Parks Canada logo on them. 

Just down a path, you can find the beach. It was a beautiful evening, I wish we could have stayed there much longer! 

You can read more about the oTENTik tents and see other photos at the Parks Canada site: Parks Canada presents oTENTik. There are 100 units across Canada! 

I did not receive any compensation or products to write this review. I only was curious about these and visited the open house. This post reflects my own opinion and desire to share information with others. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Documented Life Project ~ Weeks 36 & 37

Week 37 of the Documented Life Project asked us to use a white pen on our page. I didn't have so visited Michael's and picked up an inexpensive white gel pen. I did a quick acrylic background. I then added a quote and some doodles with the white pen. 

Week 36 was a simple prompt "black and white"! I photocopied a favourite Studio Ghibli postcard and added it to the background I had painted and rubbed with newspapers. I added a little black and white washi tape to finish the page. 

Still enjoying this project so so much. Check out this page for all the prompts, and if you would like to see my previous pages click here. 

Our Back to Homeschool Week!

Back to Homeschool...Or as some say "not-back-to-school" week! 

This past week, Celeste and I started our homeschool year. My teens started back last Thursday at the local senior high school and we enjoyed the last days of Nana's visit on Thursday and Friday. 

Monday was "back to the books" and the routine. We had a great first week, with just a little drama! We met with homeschool friends on Monday afternoon and again on Wednesday afternoon at the beach. 

I share photos on instagram pretty much every day, so I made a mosaic to share here with several snapshots from our week. A bit more details about each photo can be found below the mosaic. 

From the top left, going clockwise on the edge: 

*Celeste reading aloud to me from "The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: the Mysterious Howling" by Maryrose Wood. This is the book we are reading this month for Brave Writer Arrow. We both love it so far and just finished the sixth chapter. 

*Celeste making herself a second shoe, the Middle Ages way! She is wearing the first one in the photo. We also made a black wig with braids. She is wearing it under the scarf. She loved both projects & kept saying how cool they were. Fashion and history is a great combination for both of us! We are using the Pandia Press History Odyssey curriculum this year. 

*Getting her "flat stanley" ready for mailing, after colouring them. We are taking part in an exchange with a facebook secular homeschool families group. Her Fluttershy is going to New York State, and Rainbow Dash to Texas. We will be hosting two soon! It should be a fun homeschool project. 

*Microscope lab for biology. Celeste is really happy that her science this year includes two labs each week, one of those being a microscope lab. We use Pandia Press R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey. 

*Friday Freewrite. Celeste is using the prompt from the previous week at the Brave Writer blog to do a little free writing. 

*Happy girl after some time at Victoria Park at the end of our homeschool day.

*Microscope lab for science, another photo from the same day. We looked at a printed piece of paper, focusing on one letter. She recorded and made a sketch of her observations. 

*Sketch Tuesday. The prompt this week was something from the kitchen drawer. 

The beach photo at the centre of the mosaic was taken during our time at the beach with other homeschool families. It was a perfect afternoon, playtime for the kids and talking for the parents! 

On Tuesday, we started back our routine of Poetry Tea Time. It was so wonderful to read poetry and have our tea together again. Celeste kept asking for more poems! I will share some of the books we are reading from this year very soon in a separate post. 

Celeste and I are happy to be back to our routine and learning together. Learning happens all year long, but dedicating some time to learn with the help of curriculum and interesting resources works for us as well. 

She requested we take a photo of the two of us. So here we are saying hello and hope you had a great week too, wherever you are! 

I am linking this post to the 6th annual "not" back to school blog hop. You can see many more homeschool parents writing about their experiences at the iHomeschool Network.