littleBLAST ~ Review and Giveaway

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{disclaimer ~ we received our BLAST free for this review and littleBLAST is a blog sponsor}

We are excited to share something new with you, littleBLAST!

littleBLAST science for young children

littleBLAST offers monthly themed science BLASTs for little scientists! These are created for your preschool aged child or can supplement early education (suggested ages 3-7).  I have a 5 year old and an 8 year old and they both enjoyed our projects immensely!

We were sent the Air Pressure BLAST to review and it came neatly in a package with EVERYTHING we needed.  This is a huge bonus for me, as I am not a science-y person and don’t like gathering tiny materials. The all-in-one feature was very appealing to me.

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Each activity in the BLAST includes all the materials needed to complete 3-4 experiments. This includes instruction guides for the adult, all supplies, an adventure map, super achievement badge chart, and badge.  Read more about the BLASTs here.

Ours had what you see below, which was basically all resources for 3 experiments revolving around the theme of Air Pressure.  When I say it was all included, I mean ALL.  I didn’t need to go hunting for a thing.

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Here’s a detailed shot of all included for the first experiment, Air Cannon.

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The guides are very simple and easy to follow step by step.  We were able to clear a table and jump right in quickly.  The kids were blowing the pom pom across the table in no time!

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See the holes in the bottom for the experiment?  They were pre cut like that which made me oh-SO-happy!

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There’s even a recording sheet included to keep track of our results.

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We also completed the Rocket Balloon experiment and this too was a big hit with both kids. Everything we needed was included as you can see, even tiny pieces of tape.

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Ladybug was my coloring and cutting helper to get the rocket ready.

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This one was more hands on for me so I wasn’t able to take as many action shots.

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The only thing not included for this one was our chairs!  We tied the rocket balloon between two of our dining room chairs.

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After the experiment was complete, she continued to experiment and play on her own with the rocket.  It was really fun.

We have one experiment left to complete, which is entitled Barometer.  We will complete this one soon, once we officially begin school!

 

Overall Thoughts…

I absolutely love the idea of littleBLAST and it is perfect for moms like me who dislike gathering all of the materials.  They also have a digital download option for those of you who don’t mind gathering materials but just want the instructions for the experiments.  You can save money and use your own stuff, or spend more and get the all in one kit sent straight to you!  I love that there are choices.

My kids loved the experiments but honestly I think they loved the attention the most.  They loved that we had something special to do together.  They know I don’t like science much {sadly} and were thrilled to know this was a box of “experiments.”  Ladybug calls them “experiences” and I think that sums it up for me.  It is about the experience of doing this together, it’s special.

I do recommend littleBLAST and think it would be a great fit for many families. You can see all of the purchasing options here. You can purchase a monthly subscription or buy individual BLASTS {digital or the all in one box}.  They are adding new BLASTs and currently have the following available…

  • Air Pressure
  • Float-Sink
  • Ice
  • Construction
  • Bubbles
  • Magnet
  • Lubricant
  • Seed
  • Ramp

GIVEAWAY!

I am excited to be able to give one of my readers the Air Pressure BLAST we reviewed!littleBLAST AirPressure

Use Rafflecopter to enter to win below {come to the blog if you are reading in RSS or email}

Giveaway is open to US residents only and ends 8/8/14.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Peek into our Homeschool ~ End of 2013

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I am not giving up on sharing Weekly Wrap-up post, however, mine are more like couple-of-monthly wrap ups. Below will give you a peek at what I captured from about late October – December 2013.

{disclaimer: affiliate links are used below}

We wrapped up our Australia Continent Box and each child plowed through their Continent Box Challenge.  We took an afternoon all together one day to do lots of Australia work and finish up the challenges.  Ladybug colored about every Australian animal we had, and then some!  See all of our Australia ideas here on our Pinterest board!

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One of the favorites during a continent study is opening any Little Passports packages we have from that continent.  I save them all to open when we study the continent.  We had one package saved for Australia!

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We are still using our Picture Smart Bible, although we have gone way too slowly in my opinion.  The boys both LOVE this and so do I, I just always seem to forget about it since it is an extra for us. I only use this with the boys, not Ladybug.

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See our Homeschool Curriculum Choices for this year!


 

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Krash finished up all of the lowercase letters and most of the uppercase from Logic of English’s Cursive Handwriting program. We both love the program and would definitely recommend it!

We are continuing to use All About Spelling 2 and three All About Reading 2 in place of Calvert’s spelling and phonics components.

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When reading either from the All About Reading book or the fluency sheets, he is usually moving somehow!  Here he was doing mushroom work {pommel horse trainer} while reading.  He would read a page and do some circles, then read more and circle more.

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We continue to love Singapore’s Math in Focus that Calvert offers now. He recently learned multiplication and we enjoyed many hands on activities to help him.  Below he was using our cookies to work…

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Many of our Spielgaben pieces came into action during this unit. They were VERY helpful to him.

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Math in Focus has lots of word problems, which I normally hate but LOVE now.  He is forced to THINK, deeply. He can solve much higher level problems than P could at this age.

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We have other supplemental math items too, he enjoyed the Multiplication Wrap Up as he was learning to multiply.

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Playing with the Base Ten Blocks has become a favorite too.

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We are using Calvert’s science and finished up learning about seeds and plants. This experiment was about how roots always grow down.

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He has also been learning about landforms and the earth.  Below he was making a model of how an island forms in water.

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A mini model of the Earth…

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Krash is a builder, and loves to follow directions and complete big projects.  Ladybug wanted me to make her this huge dinosaur in the manual for Zoobs, I kindly said, “not right now.”  K chimed in and offered to make it for her!

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Pac was upstairs, and K decided to be funny and leave the dino working at P’s desk.

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I don’t get many photos of PacMan, since 6th grade isn’t always a photo-worthy as the younger grades! 

He made it through his poetry book {not very enthusiastically}, One Hundred Years of Poetry for Children.  He is now enjoying a fiction novel again, Esperanza Rising.  He GREATLY prefers novels.

 One Hundred Years of Poetry for Kids Esperanza Rising

 

We have been referring to our Big Book of History Timeline during our history lessons recently.  It is a neat resource to have and get out to compare.

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6th grade science overwhelms me.  I honestly just don’t enjoy it, but he does. I love history and could read it all day long with him, he prefers the science. Below he was completing one of his experiments involving baking soda, vinegar and a flame. I found this online that explains what we did.

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That’s certainly not everything we did, but a glimpse of what my camera captured over the final months of 2013! To see more weekly wrap-ups, visit…

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Calendar Connections ~ Pond and River Life

It has been a long time since we have had a new set of Calendar Connections cards! My wonderful friend Shannon took a break but she is back with a new set and plans for more in the near future! She writes the Calendar Connections cards for us, I design and host them. We have a new Pond and River Theme Calendar Set for you!

Pond Theme Calendar Connections



The facts are written at a 3-6th grade level but you will be able to water them down for younger kids. It’s a great way to involve your entire family in exploring a particular theme.

NOTE: these do NOT print front to back, only the premium design does. These are the original cards, which we still offer for free. You can see an example of the bundled set here! We do not have a pond premium set yet.


The cards fit my particular pocket chart calendar. I put the image cards in the pockets backwards and flip each day We either keep the information cards in a folder or behind the image card and pull it out on the correct day to read it.

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You could use a poster foam board and velcro to easily create your own set up. You could also use a standard pocket chart.


I am now creating smaller sets to go along with the small pocket charts found in the Target $1 section. Be sure to visit this post for a tutorial of how to sew your $1 pocket chart into a calendar!

Calendar Connections Small Pond and River Life

There is also a new sheet included to be used in a Calendar Notebook if you are using those too!

I printed my numbers on cardstock and laminated them before cutting them apart.

You can download these for FREE here!


You can use most of our Calendar Connections cards for any month! We now have 14 sets to choose from, and we will still be adding more too!

Calendar Connections Set 1

We are taking suggestions for upcoming themes.  Leave suggestions in the comments!

A Peek Into Our Homeschool ~ October 2013

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Woo-Hoo!  My goal is to keep up regularly with a Weekly Wrap-up post, this is my 2nd this year, I am off to a good start!

{disclaimer: affiliate links are used below}

This year we don’t do much as a whole group, it just wasn’t working.  The boys have been participating in some of Ladybug’s Integrity Time lessons, I “make” Krash sit in and I invite Pac when I think he might like it.  Recently we did the letter D for Determination lesson and explored magnets together {they stick with it}, as an object lesson.

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See our Homeschool Curriculum Choices for this year!


 

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I decided to make a few changes to K’s curriculum.  Although we use Calvert through a cyber school, I have a lot of freedom and basically use what I want and change if needed.  I am very blessed with my situation.  One thing I have always disliked about Calvert is their Calvert Script, so with Pac I used a basic cursive and with Krash I have decided to use Logic of English’s Cursive Handwriting program. I wanted a plan and this gives it to me.  I did TONS of reading prior to choosing this one and purchasing it.  I am really happy so far and he loves it.

We are learning 2 letters per day, going through the sequence of using the salt tray,

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A dry erase marked on large lines…

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Finally the pencil and paper practice.  We each circle the letter we think he wrote the best each time.

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I have decided to let go of the phonics and spelling program that comes with Calvert.  It’s not bad, I just like All About Spelling and All About Reading better. I was having him do both, but realized that at this point it’s not necessary.  We are now doing two AAS 2 lessons per week and three AAR 2 lessons per week.

Below he was using the AAR/AAR word cards to work on alphabetizing to the second letter.

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I am keeping the literature portion of Calvert, which brings in sight words, vocabulary words and awesome stories and themes. I really like this aspect of Calvert.

One thing I love about Calvert this year is the option of using Singapore’s Math in Focus. We are in LOVE so far, it is a great fit for Krash and for my teaching style! This is an aspect of Calvert I am definitely keeping and love.  The hands on aspect is a big win for both of us.  I won’t say it’s always easy, he does struggle with some of the intense methods that are teaching the WHY behind the problem.  However, I am glad he is being taught this way, I think it will benefit him in the long run.

Below was an activity he did, to find the missing number in the addition problem.

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Our Continent Box is a fun extension to our homeschool, Krash likes working towards his goals on his Continent Box Challenge.  Below he completed the one of the challenges from our Australia Continent Box to create the continent out of a material of his choice, he chose rainbow blocks!

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Here he was matching the 3 part animal cards

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Recently Krash had to write a story, to work on writing structure {we use Calvert’s writing portion}. He uses a Try-It notebook for words he has difficulty spelling.  It’s a technique I used when I was a classroom teacher.  He tries a word on the left side and then brings it to me and I write it correctly on the right side. This enables him to use his phonics and spelling skills while also having the correct end result to reinforce correct spelling.

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He had to read his final story aloud, and since it was about Minecraft, PacMan was an eager listener!

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We are using Calvert’s science and have been learning about seeds and plants. We soaked bean seeds and investigated them the next day.

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He learned to identify the seed coat and the embryo.

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Ladybug joins in when she thinks it looks fun!

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Best part of homeschool, the cat gets to come!

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I don’t get many photos of PacMan, since 6th grade isn’t always a photo-worthy as the younger grades! 

Below you can see his study notebook.  Calvert uses assessments every 20 lessons and they can sometimes be a bit overwhelming in my opinion.  In order to stay prepared throughout the entire 20 lessons, he utilizes printed flashcards I prepare in advance.  I use the free flashcard creator software here, and print them out and file them in a study notebook. As we read he looks for key terms and writes the page number and definition on the paper.  In the end, before the tests, we cut them out and work through the flashcards to prepare!

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He is currently reading City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction, and learning a lot.

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This book as amazing drawings, I learned SO much when I read it this past summer to prepare to teach him!  He is enjoying it, but he much prefers novels with more of a story line.


That’s certainly not everything we did, but a glimpse of what my camera captured over the past couple of weeks! To see more weekly wrap-ups, visit…

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A Peek Into Our Homeschool ~ 2nd & 6th Grade

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It’s a new school year and once again I will attempt to keep up regularly with a Weekly Wrap-up post.  I will probably fall off of the wagon again, but it’s worth a shot!  This year we have a 6th graders, 2nd grader, and preschooler. I hope to share every couple of weeks or so.

{disclaimer: affiliate links are used below}

A common view these days…

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I am using the Picture Smart Bible lessons with both of my boys. 

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My younger son colors.  They both LOVE it and so do I!Picture Smart Bible -7311

The Picture Smart Bible will take us through each book of the Bible, I love the teaching manual {it tells me what to say}, Bible passages we read together, and of course the fun element of artwork!  Krash actually begs to do it, I was surprised!

I am not combining many subjects as I did last year, It just doesn’t work well for my personality and teaching style.  This year I am mostly separating individual subjects.  Below I will share a peek into the older boys’ school!

See our Homeschool Curriculum Choices for this year!


 

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Krash is in second grade and is moving along at a very typical pace.  I am so grateful that God led us to homeschool, I think he would be falling behind in traditional school.  Thankfully I am able to adjust and teach in a way that helps him.

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This year Calvert switched to using Singapore’s Math in Focus {they also have their own math program}. We are in LOVE so far, it is a great fit for Krash and for my teaching style!

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It is filled with hands on work, and we even increase the amount since it benefits Krash’s learning style.  Here’s he’s using pieces from our Spielgaben set in a tens frame.

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There is a large written, and oral part too, which I like.  These are more challenging for K, but he is doing well.  Math is taking about double the time I had scheduled but I  am finding he just needs more time with me to grasp things. I am adjusting as needed for this.

Below you can see his math mini-office, which actually was Pac’s when he was in lower grades!

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We bring hands on into other worksheets too. He isn’t fond of writing, and instead of pushing I let him use materials like this to mark answers sometimes.

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We are using Calvert’s science and have done 2 experiments so far, which he loves. First was about how a frog balances on a lily pad…

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The second was mixing oil and water…

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My oldest son is a joy to teach and is really transitioning well into more independent learning.  Homeschooling this young man in the early years was anything BUT easy, so I am very grateful that we found our groove back in about 4th grade.  We have our moments, but overall he is a great student.

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He is currently reading Theras and His Town, and learning a lot about ancient Greece. I am learning a lot too!  This is a simple read {I read it over the summer to prepare}, but very engaging and educational!

 

He loves science and his first experiment was about dissolving hard colored candy…

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I had him explain the results and experiment to his captive audience…

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We were shocked to see making Oobleck and experimenting with it was his second experiment!  We had just made Oobleck a few weeks prior!

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He had to invent his own experiment and process, he chose to add vinegar to see how it would change.6th grade Homeschool -6681

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That’s certainly not everything we did, but a glimpse of what my camera captured over the past couple of weeks! To see more weekly wrap-ups, visit…

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