Book review REDWOODS and the Tree Lady


Last week I grabbed these books at the library to read with the girls at home. Since the MBTP 6-8 Concept 1 deals with a lot of plant types, plant cycyles and also being mindful of our nature in general ( Giving tree )  these seemed a great fit.  Now that we live in Oregon I am trying to gather more and more information about all the amazing places that are just so different that anywhere else we have lived before.

Every so often you just make this awesome catch of books at the library, where you have a few books that you would just love to keep or just go ahead and buy them one way or another. These were just like that…

The tree lady is the story of Kate Sessions. A wonderful woman, who was one of the first women to go to college in California to study science. She loved trees and nature more than anything and made it her life work to turn San Diego into a little oasis.

It is in Balboa Park that the legacy of Kate Sessions is most obvious. She leased land in what was then called “City Park” in 1892 for a nursery. For this privilege, she was to plant one hundred trees a year in the park and furnish three hundred more for planting throughout the city. In 1902 she was instrumental in the formation of the park Improvement Committee with her friends George Marston and Mary B. Coulston. Their work resulted in assuring the park’s place in the life of the community.Kate Sessions died March 24, 1940. She has come to be called the “Mother of Balboa Park” and a bronze statue of her was erected there in 1998.

The book is beautifully illustrated  and it’s just one of those books you wish you would have read before or even better, you end up longing for actually going back in time and meeting this amazing lady. It is a beautifully written book about a lovely person who clearly deserves to be recognized for her amazing work and dedication. It is incredibly inspiring, especially for young girls.


And then there was the REDWOODS book.

A book that shows a little boy walking and day dreaming with his book in his hands, the book you are holding, the book about the REDWOODS. The book is once again beautifully illustrated ,the charming little pictures of the animals and especially the little cute squirrel my daughter had discovered after a few pages are just adorable.  It even shows the magnificent DRIVE TRHOUGH REDWOOD which made it so much clearer how big some of these trees really are. We loved how it referred back to the roman times to explain again how old some of these trees really are. The details and information given was more than I really expected from a picture book, and I think it will take a few more times to fully understand each bit of it. The whole ecosystem of the redwoods is simply amazing and it is so important we learn more about it.  I am beyond excited about the summer, it will be an unforgettable little trip to go there and see these giants for real !

This is the place we have picked out for on of our first adventures here.

If your hungry for more…

More about the REDWOODS

And a wonderful video that shows almost exactly what is described in parts of the book.How the scientists literally have to climb up these giants to confirm or do any research at all. My daughter thought it was funny that a scientist would have to learn how to climb trees in the first place to even do the research.. who would have thought that can be important 😉 Maybe another homeschooling benefit hidden here ?! 😉

Anyways hope you enjoyed today’s journey through the trees !

Holes Concept 3 8-10

Holes has been a unit my daughter had her eyes on, since we started with the 8-10 level. I had again never read the book, and could not quite imagine what story was waiting for us. The geology, the science part that goes along with this unit looked very promising and fun as well. It comes with its special little science kit and you will do multiple tests, labs, experiments throughout this unit. Once again we had many opportunities to all work on things together, her little 5-year-old sister had plenty of moments to observe along with her, go on a rock hunt and big sister even let her help discover the skeleton of the T- Rex.




The book ” Holes ” was a great story. I was not sure how my daughter would react to the feel of the book at first, the whole idea of “bad kids” at a camp being punished for things. There is a little bit of violence in the book ( hitting, kicking, a few guns etc with the mention of the wild west ) but we had no problems with it at all, I guess my little girl is really growing up. She surprised me many times again, with her wonderful insight and great ideas. As we were discussing the final project, to make a better camp for juvenile kids, she instantly had wonderful ideas how kids could be helped. We have not started with it yet, and I was nearly set on skipping the final project here, but with her wonderful ideas it would be a shame to do so… This weekend we will also watch the movie ” holes” which is currently available on Netflix 😉

Our geology studies were great fun throughout this unit. We started with cookie mining !



We learnt lots about rocks and minerals and another activity that surprised me as being fun, was reading through all the labels in our pantry ! She sat there for multiple hours and dug through the whole, entire pantry !! She was amazed about what we are eating and shares her facts with us nearly daily now !



Above are some of the rocks and minerals that come with the science kit. I would loved it to be even more rocks, even though we already had some from other kits we still wished for more to just really be able to do the experiments better and have a wider variety. I found some great rock kits on amazon and I will be ordering some for her birthday in the summer. She had such great fun with this unit that I know she will be happy to pick it back up again.

This is an amazing series of books, which we have gotten from the library. It is fun and brings science to life !

Overall there are many great kits available on amazon. I will update this after I have chosen another one and we have tested it. For now it looks like I will be ordering another one of these.
ROCK & MINERAL COLLECTION Kit with 2 Easy Break Geodes Activity KIt with Over 150+PCS Comes with Identification Sheet EDUCATIONAL DISCOVERY TREASURE KIT SORT, FIND, IDENTIFY

Of course we also got to break our geode. She was a little disappointed to see how little the geode was and the size also made it harder to actually break it. Again, I plan on buying a few more to let her try it again and maybe get a better chance at finding a colored one. Ours was white, and still very beautiful.


We had multiple activities that called for lots of outdoor time. Unfortunately our weather her in Texas has been very awkward for our state lately and we have had rain, rain and more rain. We still ventured out a few times and had a great time collecting and hunting for rocks. Our great exploration to an actual Fossil park will have to wait until better weather though.



Some of our crystal experiments did not work this time, but we got some amazing sugar crystals !


Working on different fossil types. We learnt about imprint, cast and mold fossils !



This was the T-Rex dig !! It was a lot of fun for them, the spent two days outside just working away on it !


We love the variety of activities throughout Moving beyond the page. You really learn in so many ways. Cooking is a favorite of my daughters and she loves learning about culture, history and food al at the same time. Here we made Katherine Barlow’s famous spiced peaches !!
Ps: Here is another fun site to go along with Kate.

So as you can see, this Unit kept us very busy ! I didn’t feel like it was a very difficult unit, and it was fun and easy to go through and along with all the activities. Sometimes some units feel like they have an intense work load, or just way too much to read. But the chapters in HOLES are short and sweet and easy to read. My daughter actually finished the book on her own at some point, because she was too excited and just could not wait. The Geology rocks is a wonderful book, that will be kept in the library for a very, very long time. Many more experiments that can be done at a later point, just for fun !

So if you are curious about this level of Moving beyond the page, the Unit HOLES and the Geology can be found in the 8-10 level here. You can buy them both separately and both can be done independently but they are so much fun together !

8-10 Little house in the big woods

I must apologize for blogging some of our units rather later and out-of-order. Life has been busy and I have not been able to blog consistently but a great thing about Moving beyond the page is also, that you do not have to do the Concepts in order for them to “work”. Using the social studies and science studies along with the matching literature unit however does make perfect sense, because you learn so much through the relating subjects and learning really seems easier that way.
Little house in the big woods, is the first literature unit in 8-10 and together with learning about Pioneers you learn about nature, soil and natural resources. We conducted a lot of fun experiments alone for these units, learnt about trees and plants, and went on a lot of nature walks and collected leaves and other things.

During studies with Moving beyond the page the kids will learn how to independently do their own research. We have several websites we use, for example, Wikipedia of course, and most often YouTube. I have made playlists on YouTube where I save everything that fits into our study units, so I can tell the kids to go ahead and watch those certain videos on their own.
Here is a link to the Playlist I created for the 8-10 Little house in the big woods unit along with the Science subjects it gives you a glimpse at some of the other studies that follow along. The first video link will take you to the whole playlist. And the second one just shows one of our favorite videos, a family showing and explaining how to make maple syrup. This comes up every week now when we eat pancakes and seriously made us wish to live in the North 😉

I love that MBTP is really hands on, so many times you will have to leave the cozy nest for nature walks or special cooking projects or you even get told to do research at the park or zoo.
Here we copied a delicious recipe by Laura Ingalls and made Maple Bars and then followed to make our own pancakes.



One of the many nature walks, together with a paper where we compared seasons in Texas to Laura’s area, Wisconsin.IMG_6217


And another experiment, chlorophyll extraction…




The Kite Experiment 8-10 ( electricity and magnetism through ben franklin )

The year 8-10 with Moving beyond the page comes along with a lot of science and my daughter couldn’t wait to start some of these. I can highly recommend the Manipulative Kit
it has been so easy to organize everything and just have it available when we need it. No running around the house trying to find various objects or making another stop at the store to get something like paperclips. Everything you need is pretty much there, from magnets to paperclips and it comes labeled for each Unit and lesson. It couldn’t be much easier.

So anyways. We have already finished the Ben franklin Unit, and since the weather was just plain yucky we held off on building our kite for a little while. Last week we had some extra time though and we started painting the kite, which… well… I don’t recommend.. lol. We totally got over excited on decorating this kite and my daughter picked out several colors and “layers” on how to design the kite. Well end of story, the kite got a little heavy with all the paint. I had not thought of that at all… but it’s a science experiment and even from failed experiments we can learn. So we finished the assembly, which was a little confusing at first, but then super easy and with a little patience done in a few minutes. And a few days after it we took it out for some flying lessons 😉

It flew pretty well overall. We just had gusty winds, and no steady wind which always makes it harder to fly the kites. We have flown several store type kites, and well I have learnt that flying a kite is sometimes harder than it looks.

Here are some little impressions from our kite flying 🙂




This Unit covers electricity and magnetism. We are a big fan of Elenco Electronic Snap Circuits, Jr. Kit
in our family and already have several kits. However Moving beyond the page has picked a different version to somewhat explain the same things. With both kits it was easy to compare. The ScienceWiz Electricity Kit, which will come with your manipulative kit if you order it along with the rest of the year, is done in a much more simple way. Pure wires, simple instructions, really not much to it. But it is cheap and I think the simplicity made it easy for my daughter to see how everything actually worked. You can read further reviews on Amazon. ScienceWiz / Electricity Kit

Here are a few more pictures from our experiments.


I have to look for pictures for some of the experiments with the magnets. Those were some of our favorites. You will get some great magnets with the kit through Moving beyond the page, but again we also purchased a little magnet kit while it was on sale Learning Resources Super Magnet Lab. My younger daughter had touched the bar magnets and dropped one of them, and it broke into a few pieces. Definitely be careful with the bar magnets, they are really fragile. With this kit my younger daughter was also able to follow some of the experiments and we all really had a lot of fun with them. I will try to add some pictures later…

If you are curious about the 8-10
and have more questions, feel free to ask and I will try to answer. We aren’t all the way done with it yet, but we are enjoying it and not trying to race through it just to finish it. Also, you can always purchase separate units from moving beyond the page, and make it fit your needs. One of the many great things how you can use this curriculum and why we love it so much.