The crazy life of the ClarkClan. Living a life of grace through Jesus Christ.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Review—Apologia—Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics

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About the Product

Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics is an amazingly in-depth elementary science curriculum. This course is written from a creationist world-view. God is glorified again and again as the Master Designer of the world and how it works. 

The main focus of the course is the textbook. This is a hard backed, full color textbook of approximately 280 pages. It contains 14 lessons as well as supply lists, an answer key and index.

Each lesson is designed to take approximately 2 weeks. A schedule is available in the notebooking journal, or each family can decide on natural stopping points depending on the level and interest of their kids.

There are multiple experiments for each lesson. “Try This!” activities throughout the lesson reinforce the concept being studied. Then each lesson ends with a larger project or experiment.  Even more reinforcement can be found by visiting the book extras on the Apologia website and entering the password provided in the textbook. This provides multiple websites general and specific for each lesson.

A notebooking journal is available in two formats, a junior version and a upper elementary version. While not strictly necessary to the success of the course, it is a very in-depth and easy way to record the learning that is occurring. These notebooking journals provide a place to complete assignments from the textbook as well as puzzles, copywork, booklets to make and even extra experiments. By the end of the book it becomes a unique record or learning.

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I used the Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics course with Ben (12), Rebekah (10), and Miriam (8). Ben and Rebekah used the Notebooking Journal and Miriam used the Junior Notebooking Journal. We would all work together on this science course, with mom reading the book and kids doing the notebooking journals and experiments (under supervision).

This is a very “hands on” curriculum. There are many experiments to try throughout the chapter. Some are very simple, while others are a little more complex. All the experiments take common materials. While I did not always have everything on hand, things were easy to obtain as needed (like a soda bottle).

I started out using the schedule that was in the front of the notebooking journal. This is a weekly schedule, having lessons two days a week. What we quickly found out was that this pace was a little bit fast for us. Between the reading, the notebooking journal and the experiments, science was taking us up to two hours. So we began to spread the lessons out a little bit every day.

The kids all really enjoyed this science curriculum. The experiments were a big hit. They loved that there were so many of them. Ben, Rebekah, and Miriam were not used to notebooking, and they all began by being very brief. As the lessons progressed they began to write longer and longer entries. They also liked the other types of activities, crossword puzzles, copywork and little books to make.

One of the best features of the notebooking journal is that all the papers needed are in the book. When there is a little pop-up or miniature book to be made, it is in the back of the journal ready to be cut out and made. Basic materials are needed for this journal, pencils or pens, crayons or colored pencils, glue and brads.

To make this science curriculum the most effective, gathering supplies for the experiments is essential. I quickly found out that a lesson can be abruptly stopped when I did not look at what was coming up next or what was needed. Checking the supply list included in the back of the textbook, makes it easy to gather what is needed.


I have been very impressed with this curriculum. It is in-depth, yet easy enough to understand at any level. If you are looking for a thorough, hands on science curriculum then Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics is an excellent choice. I think my kids are learning a lot by using this curriculum.


Many of my Crew Mates also reviewed the Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics. Visit the Crew Blog to read what they thought about the program.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Review—Carole P. Roman with Away We Go Media --

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I”f you were me and Lived in. . . Mexico, South Korea, France, or Norway”. These are cute picture story books designed to introduce children to cultures around the world. The “If you were Me and Lived In . .. “ series highlights what is special and unique about each culture with the underlying theme that as different as all cultures are, all people are basically the same.

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Each book follows a similar pattern. There are two characters, male and female. The book shows where in the world the country is and what city you might live in. It gives a sample of what name you might have or what you would call your mom and dad. Money, food, toys, school, holidays and more are covered within the pages of the book. A pronunciation guide is included in the back of the book to help in pronouncing the foreign words.

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Rebekah (10) and Miriam (8) were the ones who reviewed this book set. I gave Rebekah two of the books and Miriam two of the books. I then had them read the books silently.Then they read the books out loud. To make it more fun, I set up a stool which they sat on while reading to an audience of Mom, Aunt, and Grandma. We started off with a globe and had each girl show what country they were going to read about.

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After the reading, we took large pads of paper and I had them use the book to answer a series of facts that I had written on the paper.  They had great fun with this assignment.  The books sparked discussions about how people live in other countries. A favorite thing to learn about was food. The girls had a good time talking about what foods from other countries they would like to try and which ones they would not.  Money was also a good topic for discussion. Each of the girls have seen and had money from other countries that we could discuss the differences.

The author, Carole P. Roman, began her writing career with a book series about Captain No Beard. The “If You Were Me and Lived in . . .” series combines her teaching past with the world around us. There are four books written in a series of six about other countries.


We enjoyed these books. Rebekah and Miriam are at the older end of the age scale but both of them liked the challenge of reading the books out loud and trying to pronounce the foreign words correctly using the pronunciation guide. I added the writing activity to help cement the information that they were reading about.


Many of my Crew mates also reviewed this book series Visit the Crew Blog to read what they thought about the books and how their children liked them.

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Friday, November 1, 2013

Review—Rosie’s Doll Clothes Patterns

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  • Rosie’s Doll Clothes Patterns
  • Designed for ages 8 to adult
  • Learn to make doll clothes-Video Course
  • Over 130 step by step instructional videos
  • includes 8 free doll clothes patterns
  • $47.23  (Australian prices, exchange rate may vary)

Doll clothes. Fun to make? Or too tough with too many fiddly little bits to deal with?  Most of the time, doll clothes are not the easiest thing to sew. The seams are tiny and hard to maneuver through the machine. Doll clothes can make even experienced sewers cringe.

Rosie’s Doll Clothes Patterns work hard to change the idea that doll clothes are hard to sew. Roseanne, called Rosie by her friends, has been sewing since she was 8 or 9 years old. She began by sewing doll clothes for her own dolls, now she sews doll clothes for her own daughter. After lots of frustration and trial and error, Rosie discovered many secrets to sewing doll clothes. She threw out what she knew about sewing clothes for adults and figured out many different tips, tricks, and shortcuts for sewing clothes for dolls.


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About the Course

Rosie has created a course filled with over 130 helpful videos to teach others how to create simple, yet beautiful clothes for dolls.  This course teaches sewing from the very beginning.

The main course is six weeks long. This is much more than just sewing doll clothes, but is also a great learn to sew course. Videos detail different ways to set up your sewing room, introductions to how different sewing tools work, fabrics, notions and much more.  “Cool Tips” videos are tips and tricks for making sewing a lot easier and more enjoyable. Trouble shooting videos help by describing trouble spots and how to fix them. At the end of the six weeks, you will have learned much more than just sewing doll clothes, but will have an arsenal of great sewing advice.

Along with the learn how to sew videos, Rosie’s Doll Clothes Patterns include eight free, downloadable patterns for 18 inch dolls. These patterns are great for practicing all the skills learned in the video course. Along with each pattern, a full array of videos detailing each step of sewing is included.

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We had a great time with this review. I watched all the videos, learning many new things along the way. I have been sewing for many years and was surprised to find that I really enjoyed watching Rosie’s videos. Maybe it was the delightful Australian accent, but I found Rosie easy to watch and informative.

I watched Rosie use a few tools that I never thought I needed, but have decided that I really could use them. One of these was a “looper”. This tool looked very handy while Rosie was demonstrating how to use it. I liked the way that Rosie demonstrates how to use each tool.

The videos were very well shot. I liked the steady camera angles. Everything was easy to see and understand. Each video stuck to the point and kept on topic.

When making up the patterns, the instructions were very well written. They were thorough and detailed, great for beginning sewers. Videos that showed each step being performed were also a huge asset. If a step did not make sense or if I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right, I could just click on the video for that step and watch exactly how to complete it. 

My sister and I got together and spent an afternoon sewing up the patterns. What we found was that they were easy to use and super cute. We let the girls pick the fabrics and help with some of the cutting and sewing.  One thing we noticed about the doll clothes we made were the ease of getting them on the dolls. These clothes were cute,. but also easy to put on the doll.

When the patterns are printed off on your home printer, some of them need to be glued together. This is extremely well marked making them easy to put together.  Through watching Rosie using her rotary cutter to cut out the pattern pieces, I decided to try using mine that way. This is new for me, I always use shears when cutting out patterns and a rotary cutter for quilts. I was pleasantly surprised to find that a small rotary cutter works very well when cutting out patterns.

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I would recommend Rosie’s Doll Clothes Patterns for both learning to sew as well as a more advanced sewer. We have made beautiful, fun doll clothes that the girls are very excited to use. The only thing that may need to be watched is some of the different language between Australia and the United States. For example, in the costume pattern, wadding is called for. Here in the United States, that is called batting. There are not too many of these little idiosyncrasies, but just something to be aware of.


Many of my Crew Mates also reviewed Rosie’s Doll Clothes Patterns. Visit the Crew Blog to read what they thought about the program.

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