Everything You Need to Ace {Math, Science, History, English} in One Big Fat Notebook – Book Review

Everything You Need to Know to Ace...In One Big Fat Notebook Book Review

 

{disclaimer ~ the books were provided by Educents and I was compensated for this review}

We have added a wonderful set of books to our homeschool resource collection thanks to Educents and Workman Publishing Group.

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When Educents contacted me for this review I had never even seen these books before and was very curious. The colorful covers of the books drew me in. However, I knew that what was on the inside was what really mattered. I turned to my husband for the more detailed review of these books. He is a co-teacher with me in our homeschool and is currently in grad school himself. In the end he will have his Master’s degree in Christian Counseling. He teaches our kids history and science, and oversees their math. This is the main reason I turned to him for his thoughts so I could share with you!

One intimidating aspect about being a homeschool teacher is the question, “how will I be able to teach the many different subjects through the years?” As an adult I am fully aware that I have not retained much of what I learned in school, and when I teach my kids I am having to relearn. It does not take much to kick start my brain and find the file I have tucked away for so many years, but a large textbook is a bit much in my busy life.

The Everything You Need to Ace — in One Big Fat Notebook series is an excellent resource for middle school subjects. The books are quite impressive with the amount of information they put in each of their subjects, and I found myself intrigued as I read through them. I wish I had these when my oldest son {currently 9th grade} was going through middle school as they touch on all the major themes and definitions that pertain to specific subjects.

The science book is a great example of this as it is full of the many basic concepts we have all learned. I remember Newton’s laws, but there are things about them that I just cannot easily recall. They simply cover velocity, acceleration and speed in simple language. It all came flooding back to me as I flipped the pages, and I could not help to think how good of a resource this would be for my kids as well.

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The editors claim, “this Big Fat Notebook makes all the stuff you learn in school sink in,” and I would completely agree. The simple language, it’s organization, and illustrations allow the subjects to be a bit more palatable and make what they learned fun. There are also many places where they use acronyms that are helpful in memorizing information. They use creative study techniques.

This is not a Christian resource, therefore, subjects are not approached from a Christian worldview. The subjects are covering all the basic materials that are accepted in public schools. I was not a fan at first of some of the world history language, especially in the pre-history area. However, I did keep in mind that this is what is being taught on a grand scale, and it allows me opportunity to have great discussion with my kids. I got a greater appreciation of the World History book as I read more and noticed that they were touching on all ancient civilizations and beliefs. I believe this is extremely important for my kids to learn, as they are growing up to carry the gospel out, not to already-believers but rather those that are of different or no faith. For example, when I as a Christian talk about the Spirit, it is not the same as the Hindu spiritual power. This allows a great place for me to discuss with my kids the differences, and the need for us to listen and not assume that people are talking about the same thing. I can teach them to learn to ask what they mean when they say “spirit.”

There are only a few places that my discernment really had to kick in, as most of the literature was straight forward teaching basic fact and theory. The books are organized clearly where readers can easily pick and choose what they want. I read through them but rarely would they be used like this. You may just want to have your student read a small portion to just brush up on the information they have already learned. Using this as an extra resource can only help the information seep in and it can help our kids see the information in different, concise, and creative ways.

 

I fully agree with my husband’s review. I love the details he shared and hope they are helpful to you also. Personally, the books were very engaging for me. I loved the organization and how easy it was for me to quickly brush up on a subject and even “test” myself. Here’s a peek inside of the math book for an example…

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You can buy these awesome books on Educents using the links below!

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GoldieBlox Review

GoldieBlox Review

 

{disclaimer ~ Educents provided the GoldieBlox for this review. Affiliate links are included in this post.}

Educents is the trusted resource for every child’s education. Whether you’re looking for curricula and science experiments, or tips and ideas, we hope we can help you discover new ways to make learning fun! logo-highres126214

Click here to find innovative products and ideas created by a community of experts in education!

Recently we were sent the GoldieBlox Craft-Struction Box from Educents to review! This was pretty exciting since we had never had any experience with GoldieBlox!

Want to jump straight to the VIDEO review? Click here!

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The Craft-Struction Box combines the best of crafting and construction for the ultimate open-ended play experience!

  • Builds spatial skills, engineering principles (prototyping), and confidence in problem-solving.
  • Perfect for ages 6+
  • Comes with 275+ pieces, including a poster, new construction pieces, stickers, and pompoms for the best crafting session ever!
  • All building pieces are compatible with existing sets.
  • Perfect gift for a curious and crafty kid.

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My daughter wasn’t so sure what to think at first since she had never seen this. Once she realized what it was she got busy and spent hours creating!

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She chose to make the Leap Bot first and absolutely loved him!

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She made the Pom-Pom-apault next!

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I took several video clips of her in action and shared our thoughts as we built new creations. She shares her final thoughts at the end of the video. She’s gotten to be quite the toy reviewer!

My 10 year old loves these too, and sat by her building. When we get review items they are usually intended for one of our children and this was obviously sent for Ladybug. But he soon realized that this “girl” toy is not just for girls. He loves building and creating too!

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His car…

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Final Thoughts…

As we mention in the video, we love our GoldieBlox set! I definitely recommend this kit, but there are a few things to note. My daughter is 7 and had very little trouble putting things together or following the plans. She did have some trouble taking some of the pieces apart and had to bring them to us for help. We had to use a pliers on some, they were pretty tight. This didn’t bother my kids, as they like that their creations don’t fall apart easily. They were fine with needing a bit of disassembling help.

My daughter ended up making all of the creations outlined in the kit and several of her own creations. I ask her in the video if she would like more GoldieBox and she does! That’s the true test for me.

As a mom, I love the concept, love the creativity involved, and even love the challenge of sticky pieces.

You can buy the GoldieBlox Craft-Struction Box here on Educents.

See more GoldieBlox sets here!



One of their FAVORITE Toys ~ Magformers!

Magformers Review

{disclaimer ~ Educents provided the Magformers for this review. Affiliate links are included in this post.}

Educents is the trusted resource for every child’s education. Whether you’re looking for curricula and science experiments, or tips and ideas, we hope we can help you discover new ways to make learning fun! logo-highres126214

Click here to find innovative products and ideas created by a community of experts in education!

Last year we were sent the Magformers 30 Piece Rainbow set to review and all of my kids fell in love. Since then, they have been played with SO SO much and my younger two kids have asked for more Magformers to add to their set. Imagine my delight when we were asked to share Magformers again and got two new sets to review for Educents!!! This time we were sent two new sets; Inspire Set and Magnets in Motion Gear Accessory Pack.

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I think she spent almost 2 hours playing with these on the day we opened them. I tried to take pictures of as many creations as I could, but even these don’t show all she made!

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You can see she loved adding the gears, I definitely recommend adding this set if you own some Magformers already. It is an inexpensive way to add an entirely new element of play.

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I took several video clips of her in action and as you will see, she got very into sharing her creations!

 

My 10 year old loves these too. When he came home from gymnastics the night we got them he was so excited and asked to build for a bit right away! He built this awesome cross!

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They play with these together a lot and now that we have more pieces, that goes much better! They made matching iguanas!

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I think my favorite recently has to be the puppy playground. She made a swing, a slide and a rolling ride for her puppies.

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Oh, and the skates. Love the skates.

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Final Thoughts…

I highly recommend Magformers. I was so skeptical in the beginning, mostly because I thought they were expensive for what they were. Now that we have had them for awhile {the first set of 30 we have had for almost a year}, I have changed my tune. Not only has she played with that set of 30 continuously, it was even one of the ‘chosen’ toys to bring to the beach this past summer! We only allow a few toys to be brought on vacation and the box of Magformers was a huge hit! She has only intensified her love for Magformers since adding the extra sets and is begging for one of the themed sets with curved shapes for Christmas, like this Dinosaur Set or this Deep Sea Set. Who knows? Her wish just might come true!

Magformers are a great gift idea because you can easily start small with the 30 piece set and it truly is fun all on it’s own. Adding to the set over time just makes the fun grow!

Save on Magformers and more!

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You can buy the Magformers Inspire Set here on Educents.

You can buy Magformers Magnets in Motion Gear Accessory Pack here on Educents.

See more Magformers here!

Remember ~ use code: GIVETHANKS for 10% off and Free Shipping!

Magformers at Educents



Evan-Moor Geography Books Review

Evan-Moor Geography Review

{disclaimer ~ Educents is a blog sponsor and provided the 5th Grade Geography book for review, I bought the K-2 book on my own}

Educents is the trusted resource for every child’s education. Whether you’re looking for curricula and science experiments, or tips and ideas, we hope we can help you discover new ways to make learning fun! logo-highres126214

Click here to find innovative products and ideas created by a community of experts in education!

As you may have seen in our 2nd and 5th grade curriculum choices posts, we are giving Evan-Moor Geography books a try! We had great results using Evan-Moor Science books last year and I decided to simplify geography this year.

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When I bought the Beginning Geography book I wasn’t completely certain about my choice, but as I began planning I was excited about my choice. Now that we are 3 weeks in, I am confident this was a good choice for her this year! It is low-prep {mostly no-prep}, simple, engaging and educational.  We did a much more high-prep geography last year with our study of the United States and other countries so I wanted to change things up this year. This workbook is a perfect fit!

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Once I realized I loved her book I began looking at what Evan-Moor had for 5th grade and stumbled upon the book we are using. Educents sent me the 5th grade book for review and it too has proven to be a great fit! My video below explains more about why I love this book for my 5th grader. It also is low-prep, simple and educational.  I won’t say he is quite as enthusiastic about his book but most 5th grade books aren’t nearly as exciting as 2nd grade workbooks!

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Sometimes it is easier for me to show you, so I made a video sharing our yearly planning guide and a peek inside of each book.

 

As I mention in the video, I created year-at-a-glance plans for each of these books.  I like to see what the year will look like and keep a master record of where we are at. I build my weekly lesson plans {I only plan one week at a time} off of these master plans.  You are welcome to download my plans if you are using these same books! Just click on each graphic to download the PDF files.

Evan-Moor Beginning Geography Plan     Evan-Moor Daily Geography 5 Plan

 

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You can buy Evan-Moor 5th Grade Geography here on Educents.

You can buy Evan-Moor Beginning Geography here on Educents.

See more Evan-Moor products here!



Peel, Play and Learn USA Map Set Review

Peel, Play, and Learn USA Map Review

 

{disclaimer ~ Educents is a blog sponsor and provided the USA Map Wall Play Set for review}

Educents is the trusted resource for every child’s education. Whether you’re looking for curricula and science experiments, or tips and ideas, we hope we can help you discover new ways to make learning fun! logo-highres12621

Click here to find innovative products and ideas created by a community of experts in education!

We were excited to get the USA Map Wall Play Set by Mona MELisa Designs for review! I was very excited about this and just knew it would be perfect as we review our states this year! Our set came rolled in a sturdy tube, rolled up smoothly.

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I decided to put it on our dry erase board but it can be put right on the wall we just already had the board mounted and this was the perfect spot in the school room!

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I got it set up in preparation for the homeschool year to begin and my 7 year old daughter spotted it and immediately became engaged. Yes, the dog likes it too.

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I told her I was going to add 3-4 more states on the perimeter for her to place each day.  She begged for more right away!

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My ten year old son took notice a few days later and got in on the action, although she was pretty territorial with her map.

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She shooed him away after kindly letting him place a couple of things and got back to work on her own.

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See a video here sharing Ladybug’s first impressions and a bit of my thoughts!  You can also see what a great homeschooler I am as I make an error in state labeling in the video!

 

Mom’s Final Thoughts…

My main concern was durability and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the small pieces to see if I felt they would really resist ripping and wrinkling. I am pleased to say that I am very impressed so far. They really do bend and twist as shown in the video on this page.

Here’s a bit about the material the map is made out of. As a mom I was concerned about these things. Now that I have seen it and felt it, I can say it’s true!

  • A fabric that is endlessly adhesive because it’s cleanable – all it needs is a little rubbing alcohol
  • A fabric that is durable – tearing and ripping is out of the question
  • A fabric that has maximum versatility – walls become a creative canvas
  • A fabric that is safe for every family – No BPA, lead or PVC

My goal in using this map for our homeschooling this year is to consistently review state locations, names, and capitals. We learned all of them last year and this map came at a perfect time for a fun way to provide hands-on review. I am thrilled!

I definitely recommend investing in this map if you are looking for something interactive like this. Initially I thought it was a  bit pricey but now that we have it I see it is totally different than other wall decal sets we have used in the past.

You can buy the USA Map Wall Play Set here on Educents.

See more Mona MELisa Designs play sets here!