Bella & Harry Series ( Book review )

 

We were in a super rush to head out the door for the library again today and just last minute, I remembered to get a picture of these guys. So not the best picture, but hey.. you do what you gotta do 😉 !!

The Bella and Harry series was a lucky grab a few weeks ago and we were pretty excited that our small library actually had quite a few from this series. This was our second grab already and we enjoyed each one of these.

They are clearly  for the younger audience ( 5 and up ) but if your child loves travel stories I think just about every age would still enjoy these. I know my almost 10 year old had fun reading these with her little sister. They both just love these little Chihuahuas !  We have studied many countries through homeschooling in many great details and I love adding little fun stories in between just to recall some of the basic facts, these were perfect for that !

The little puppies travel along with their family to all kinds of amazing places in the world and get to have little adventures. Each page is beautifully illustrated and very colorful. The story is brought to life in fun ways with little dialogues between the puppies as they travel through each city and full of great educational information.

They would be a wonderful addition to anyone’s library, educational, inspirational and just a whole lot of fun !!

 

Check out some of the other books from the series, maybe Bella and Harry have already visited the city you have on your next travel plan !!




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Greetings from somewhere – Book review

The kiddos have been reading a lot again lately. For the first time, in a long time, we are even keeping a reading log and they both have filled their pages continuously.

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One serious that we picked without knowing what we were really getting into, was ” Greetings from somewhere”. 

I love stumbling on great books, especially series, that I had no idea even existed.

Who would have thought that this family is actually a homeschool family ? The parents in the book are travel journalists, a photographer and a writer and they have taken the kids out of school to travel around the world.  My girls were so thrilled, since books about homeschooled children are still in the minority. Several of these books fitted perfectly in some of the studies we did with Moving beyond the page as well. They visit places in  Africa, travel to VeniceParis and the Coral Reefs in Australia and many more.

Both my 9 and 6 year old enjoyed these. They were a quick read of about 100-115 pages. There are some bigger pictures on some of the pages as well though and they are written in an easy to read style. Perfect for kids that just started reading on their own, beginner readers, or older kids that still enjoy this style and just want to have fun reading.

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In all the books, the kids travel to a different city and explore it together with their parents. In each one they encounter a mystery and have to find a way to solve it. Again, both my girls love a little mystery while learning about different cultures, history, and geography !

Our library had several in stock, but I think I will try to add these to our personal library as well 🙂

 

Community | Concept 1 | MBTP 6-8

Concept 1 from 6-8 MBTP has been community. All in all this topic was a little boring because I thought we have covered it so much already in the past, but given the recent move again it was actually quite useful.

Due to the weather we did not venture out through the community as much as I hoped but we have met and discovered some wonderful parts of our community nevertheless. It was fun looking up the Mayor of our town, and for whatever reason my little one thought it was fun to incorporate his name into their PLAYMOBIL adventures as the evil mayor.. somewhat like in the LEGO movie, hilarious.

And given this big change of community (from big city to little, country town) this unit probably helped cope with alot of the changes. The map in one of the first units was actually one of her favorite things. ( and once again it was once I was ready to skip. ) She loved making this map, and added so many things throughout the weeks to it, that it even ended up as a little playworld for lego people in her room. Win win.

The map didn’t have to be realistic to your own hometown, which made this a lot easier. The project was great and fun and really let our her creativity. Once she started she wanted to add so many more places.

 

The family flag was also a fun little project on the side.

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Venturing out and learning about our community was very hands-on in between lessons 🙂

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Here are some parts of one of her final projects during this Concept.

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We also dived deep into animal studies with this concept which was a delight for my youngest. She is still dreaming of becoming a Vet and even though she knew a lot of the information given already I felt it was much needed background and cleared up a lot of little questions she had. These were just some of our library books used for this Unit. I really enoyed Raptor Rescue!: An Eagle Flies Free
and the whole series of YOU WOULD NOT WANT TO is simply incredibly funny !! Rain Forests (Magic Tree House Research Guide)
was also a good addition for our montly reading.

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Today we wrapped up the lesson about this wonderful book .

One that seems to bring just a few tears to our eyes each and every time. I swear the first time I read it, I could not stop crying. My 6 year old is normally not my sensitive one but even she had tears in her eyes. Oh boy, these are the moments when homeschooling is worth every penny. The talks we have during these moments are really just priceless.

We also watched a few more videos on how we depend on nature and what exact products come from nature.

|Book list| 50 STATES CONCEPT 1 UNIT 1 9-11

For every Unit with MBTP we check out additional books from the library. Now that we are in a new place it has taken me a little while to get used to the new library etc, but we are starting to finally get along 😉

I miss our big, used book stores, but luckily Amazon and abebooks is always available.. So hunting for new books, we discovered a new series of books through this lesson. I honestly have no clue, how we have never discovered this series before, but maybe we have and I have forgotten 😉  and i just never realized how awesome these were… it happens.

Anyways. With the Unit you will mainly be working with Smart About the Fifty States . Really a fantastic book, easy to understand, read and work with. It answered most of her questions without having to do much extra research, but of course we like to dig a little deeper. Here are just some of the books we checked out in between. I think we had one of the short study books for each state in between, but i have forgotten to take pictures in between.

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National Geographic Picture Atlas of Our Fifty States is quite a bit older but the information in the book was really good so I agreed to carry the heavy book home. The maps were very detailed, the pictures a bit outdated but overall an awesome book to work with and I am thinking of putting it on the buy as a used book list 😉
There is another newer version out, but im not sure it is as good. But you can decide. Sometimes the older versions are great and so much cheaper.
National Geographic Our Fifty States

What I really wanted to order along with this unit, and had totally forgotten about, was this fun coloring book. I really need to look and work ahead again to have things more ready. This move .. i tell you.. Maybe for the next kiddo. Or an extra fun later one for us.
United States Coloring Book (Dover History Coloring Book)

L Is for Last Frontier: An Alaska Alphabet (Discover America State by State)Now this is the series I was talking about at the beginning. The ” alphabet books”. Wow. We worked with the poetry book that goes along with this unit and absolutely loved it. Then we discovered all the other books in the series. There is one for every state, every country, all kinds of amazing subjects, animals, weather, money, you name it… Some of them have so much information that even my 9 year old can’t read it in one chunk to comprehend it all at once. But all the ones we have read so far, were simply so much fun to read and also very beautiful to look at, so that my younger one caught interest as well. Needless to say we added a couple of these to the wishlist for Christmas. ( I will try to post other favorites in another post ).

Here are a few more of the other states…

L is for Lonestar

B Is for Beaver : An Oregon Alphabet (Alphabet Series)

E is for Evergreen: A Washington State Alphabet (Discover America State by State)

P is for Potato: An Idaho Alphabet (Discover America State by State)

B Is For Bluegrass: A Kentucky Alphabet (Discover America State by State)

Okay so I’m sure you get the idea about the alphabet series.

When we moved to Oregon, Grandma had also sent us this little fun book.O Is for Oregon: Written by Kids for Kids (See My State)

It’s basically the same idea, the alphabet, but a lot simpler. So maybe a fun book for the younger kids to go along with the study if you are trying to teach multiple through the unit. It’s a beautiful book, and I love that it was written by kids for kids. Again they have these for almost every state.

Another treasure from National geographic was National Geographic Kids Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Atlas: Maps, Games, Activities, and More for Hours of Backseat Fun.We had pruchsed this book before our big roadtrip and it is a fun book to look into for a little inspiration and just quick, fun facts. It doesn’t give you a lot of details, and I was a little dispaointed about the actualy activities it offers, nevertheless for the price this book is great and my daughter has spent hours reading it.

Now if you really want to spend even more time on each state , then I would recommend the Heinemann Study books.
I saw these first in Texas (online) and was always hesitant to order one and no one was able to tell me more. Now i actually found one about California in a used bookstore here and these are pretty awesome. They have quite a few about each state, about the history, plant life, animals, culutre etc… You may not find them all through amazon but will have to check abebooks for maybe older versions as well. Or you might just get lucky to find them in your library.
Texas Plants and Animals (State Studies: Texas)

I think the list of books could be endless for this subject, and honestly I am looking forward to finishing this unit up.  My daughter is still spending lots of time finishing up her big, detailed map and I would have never thought she would enjoy this unit as much as she has, but of course I am thrilled and happy when she enjoys learning. I will update the post with her map soon.

 

 

 

 

50 states Concept 1 Unit 1 9-11

With the move and everything else that has been going on we are still only in concept 1 9-11 MBTP  . We are nearing the end of Unit 1, the 50 states. It was one of the units she looked really forward to, and with all the recent traveling it really was very enjoyable. I had many people tell me, there were better ways to study the 50 states and I can’t disagree that there are about a million cool ways you can learn about them (traveling probably thee best anyways ) but for bookworms like us, this way was pretty fun, too.

The book Smart About the Fifty States (Smart About History) is used throughout the unit. It is made like a class report and every student reports about a few states or one specific region. So it really feels like reading a class report and like the book was written by kids, which again makes it easy to understand for kids. She was able to pick out information easily and gather facts quickly.
Since we had purchased the complete 9-11 curriculum we also received a a super fun game , the Scrambled States card game. It is such a fun game that we have played it over and over again and  I loved that it was so easy to understand that little sister was even able to join us.  We had some fun family game nights and I am sure this game will be played many more times.

With starting 9-11 we also hit a major milestone and a big change with MBTP. Now we are working with the independent student books, which means all the lessons are completely directed towards the child. No more, tell your child to do this, or that. On the one  part, super cool…. On the other, a lot to get used to !  Luckily ( so far, at least ) this seems to work out well, and she is very happy to work on her own. I am not sure how it will work with the later units, but of course if needed there is always the parent book in the back to refer to. So far, I love that I can send her off with her studies, and she will work through the activities and check mark them when finished.  Both kiddos have also just recently gotten their own laptops so now all the individual research projects are easily taken care off.

Since we are quite a bit behind I feel like we need to skip a little here and there, but since she is in charge, she also gets a bit more to say on what to skip and what not. This was something I really kind of wanted to skip, but after she saw the word cookie and decorating this battle was over and I just agreed to make the cookie for the western US states 😉 What the heck.. it’s Christmas time anyways and I pretty much had the baking stuff still out from the day before. I made a double batch and we had plenty of cookie dough left to make Christmas cookie’s with cookie cutters and little sister was super happy about decorating cookies as well !

Here is a super simple sugar cookie recipe that will work. We simply cut out the state map provided with MBTP and copied it on parchment paper, rolled out the dough and cut it out on the dough. Since it’s a rather large piece we made sure not to roll it out too thin, adjusted the baking time a little and stuck the cookie in the oven. We decorated with food coloring, sprinkles and chocolate chips 🙂

Total Time:
2 hr 25 min
Prep:
2 hr 15 min
Cook:
10 min

Yield:approximately 36 2-inch cookie
Level:Easy
Ingredients
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (or 1 stick) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 -1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Salt to taste
To decorate: 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
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Directions
In an electric mixer cream the butter with the brown sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs one at a time, mix well. Sift together the flour and salt, add it to the wet ingredients beating until just incorporated. Place the dough in a 1 gallon size plastic bag. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured board roll the dough to approximately 1/4 inch thick. Remove rolled dough to a lightly floured board and using any shape cookie cutter cut the dough into shapes. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 7 to 10 minutes (depending on the size of the cookies). Remove to a rack and cool before decorating. Place the rack with the cookies over another pan to catch the excess chocolate. Put the chocolate in a quart size plastic bag. Place the bag with the chocolate in a saucepan with hot water. Allow the chocolate to melt, squeezing the bag to mix occasionally. Snip one of the corners off and drizzle chocolate over the cookies. Allow chocolate to set before serving.

So much for now, I will post some fun stuff about the Poetry Unit that we are also currently working on, soon !