Tuesday, June 27, 2017

{Homeschool Product Review} ~ Science For Every Teacher

Science can at times, be tricky to teach. I was recently given the opportunity to review a neat product from Novare Science & Math. Science For Every Teacher is a book meant to help teachers (or parents) teach science to elementary students.

Novare Science & Math

What It Is:

I received Science For Every Teacher Volume 1: Physics. Like I said, this book is intended to give the proper tools to those who teach elementary students. Think about it, we are teaching our children these concepts and need to have a higher level of understanding so that we can address questions as they arise. This book is not meant to be used as a curriculum, but as a resource for teachers to use, to learn more about physics. The book does go beyond what a typical elementary science curriculum would cover, but it really needs to. We as teachers need to have a deeper knowledge of the subjects we teach.

This soft cover, 294 page book does exactly that. The chapters begin with the basics of scientific knowledge and include chapters on energy, momentum, substances, electricity, magnetism, and much more. There are 15 chapters in total. 

Each chapter begins with a list of goals and a short summary. There are helpful diagrams, photos, and charts that aid in understanding.  And key points are highlighted and in a separate box to make them stand out. I was also was happy to see sections in each chapter called Ideas for your Classroom. This page listed experiments and projects you could do to help students grasp the concepts. And for those that love to see the equations behind the concepts, these are shown as well.

At the end of the book there are some helpful appendixes. These are on converting units of measure, significant digits, scientific notation, and measurement basics. 

Novare Science for Every Teacher

How I Used This and What I Thought:
So I have never had any physics in my life at all. But once I looked through the table of contents I realized that yes, I have learned about physics, just not in depth. I read through the first few chapters and then jumped around a bit. I really appreciated the style of writing. This is not a textbook in any sense and the author, John D Mays, does a wonderful job of making this subject seem not as complicated as you might think.

I also liked his description in the first chapter on basic scientific knowledge. He makes a differentiation between truth and facts and shows that truth is unchanging while scientific facts can change as we progress as a civilization. 

One chapter that I really enjoyed was on simple machines. This chapter described the six basic machines: lever, incline plane, wedge, screw, pulley, and wheel and axle. I loved that for each machine there were photographs of the machine working. There was also a section on combinations of simple machines which I found quite fascinating.  

I also read through the chapter on substances. We are going to be studying chemistry in our co-op next year and got some great ideas for teaching my charges. In this chapter there were some photos that gave a visual picture of volume and others that helped to explain the difference between heterogeneous and homogeneous mixtures. I know I will definitely be returning to this chapter in the coming months.

As I read through other parts of the book I realized that this is not just a good resource for elementary students, but can help me teach science at all levels. And I am very excited to see on the website that volume 2 in this series is on chemistry, volume 3 on astronomy, and volume 4 on biology. Adding these to my resource library is a must, and will be a huge help as we tackle science in our schooling. 

Like I said, I really loved the writing style of the author. Perusing their website, I was happy to see that he actually wrote a high school Introductory Physics book that is also published by Novare Science & Math. I would really love to check that out in the next couple of years, as Dasher moves into high school science. I also saw in my recent Memoria Press catalog that they are now carrying Novare Science & Math products as well! 

Other Crew members reviewed the physics textbook, a chemistry textbook, and an earth science one as well. Check out what they thought by clicking below.

Biblical Based Science {Novare Science & Math Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Monday, June 26, 2017

Monday Musings

I haven't done one of these in a while. Enjoy.

What I'm thinking: That I love living here, with this weather, and especially in this season. I love the warm summer nights, the sun coming up nice and early helping me wake up, and yes, the heat.

What I'm reading: A friend let me borrow Hamilton, by Ron Chernow. This is the book that inspired the now very popular musical, so I want to see what all the fuss is about.

What I'm listening to: The kids are watching Singing in the Rain so I'm hearing fun songs and dialogue. That is one of my favorite musicals.

What we're learning: We are doing modified school for the next few weeks. I have a couple of things we are reviewing, and then I made up these fun daily packets for the two girls to do. There are two math fact sheets, and then a couple of other worksheets that are mapwork, grammar review, fun mazes, and other neat worksheets. And that is the extent of school right now.

What's cooking: This week I am making meatloaf, Jalapeno Lime Sauce Tostadas, Spaghetti, and a chicken stir fry. The girls are on a baking craze and have banana bread, lemon cookies, and cheesecake in the plans for this week.

What I'm thankful for: I am thankful that we have access to a pool. Not just to cool off in, but I am swimming again in the mornings with My Sweetie. Five days a week we swim laps for about 45 minutes and I love this kind of exercise. Low impact, but gets my heart rate up.

What I'm creating: Tonight I have a couple of reviews to write for The Schoolhouse Review Crew. One is a science resource for teachers and the other are some fun essential oils I've been trying.

What I'm planning: We have extended family coming later this week so I am meal planning for while they are here. Some of the baking the girls are doing will be a part of this - I really am thankful that they like being in the kitchen with me.

What I'm looking forward to: I'm looking forward to the family visit. We are taking them to Tahoe for the day and it will be good to just relax with them. We are also planning on seeing long-time friends this weekend also. Friends and family are a treasure.

A picture to share:

This little guy. Hopefully I don't kill him.

Thursday, June 22, 2017


So something horrid happened this last Monday.....my phone went swimming in the pool.

I take full responsibility, yes it was ME. I was with Nutsy and since it was 105 degrees that day, I was bringing water bottles and a couple of future homeschooling curriculum books too. I put my phone in my swim suit pocket so I could carry all this stuff. We walked into the pool area, it was blazing hot, I dropped the stuff I was holding and jumped in.

Goodbye, phone. Yes, I tried the rice. I also got some of those packets that keep moisture out and even today, it's sealed up in a bag with a few of them. Each evening I take it out and try and nada, nothing happens, it is as dead as dead can be.

So I've been unplugged the last few days. No checking my weather app. No need to, all I need to do is to step outside and feel that it is 110 degrees out there. No calls either, but I really don't talk on the phone anyways. No checking Facebook, Instagram, or getting notified whenever anything happens with our politicians, or there is an attack somewhere, or anything news worthy.

I am not completely cut off since each morning I check all of these things on my laptop. But then I don't just sit around all day, staring at the screen and I do shut it off and get on with things.

I really thought I would miss being plugged in. But the last few days I have realized that my world keeps going even though I don't know the exact temperature, or see constant Facebook updates. In my free time I have found myself reading more. I have actually read three books so far and we aren't even done with the week yet. I have felt a bit more productive this week, which scares me a little. How much time was I really spending checking things on there?

What conversations have I maybe missed out on with my kids, because I was sitting in the same room, but we were both on our phones or devices? Of course I'm not meaning that we should always be engaging others, but this time has made me stop and think about this.

What about not knowing what is going on in the world? Really, I can check the news and Facebook each morning and that is fine. If something catastrophic happens, isn't that what our whole emergency broadcast system is for?

Of course I am looking to replace my phone - it would be dumb not to, but I am surprised to be enjoying this time without one. Our family has a rule that I now really appreciate - except for emergencies, we don't have the phones out on Sundays. I now see how many other things I can fill my time with, if not on my phone.

So I encourage you to take a break. Don't jump into a pool with your phone, but maybe rethink how often you are checking things on it.

Friday, June 16, 2017

County Fair 2017 ~ Part 2


This is lamb day. The lamb show starts at 8 am, but FFA was first this year so we have time to get ready.

This was my morning tea in the barn.

The girls washed their lambs and got them all ready.

Market was first.

Everyone did very well, and Bookworm made it into the final drive of the Hamps.

In between shows there were some competitive card games going on.

Nutsy had a headache so she made herself a bed and took a nap.


Nutsy was first in juniors and got 6th place.

Dasher and Bookworm were both in seniors.

Our fair is pretty competitive in lamb and they got 4th and 5th. Very nice job!

This year, Dasher was our family's top showman, with 3rd in goat showmanship and 4th in lamb showmanship.

This evening our dinner was a nice homemade taco salad. We took it out and ate by the horse arena.

Saturday we were at fair, but didn't really have too many obligations. The girls hung out and then in the afternoon took the Purple Circle Test. This is a written knowledge test on all large animals.

Saturday afternoon we had some paper airplane competitions.

Sunday we are at the fair, bright and early, to get ready for the auction. This morning we did another project breakfast. We had a real treat this morning, with bagels and all the fixings.

Not only do we get the animals ready, but the girls get ready too.

This is the day when buyers are walking around, and so we get all ready before 9 am so that all the members in my project have time to go talk to buyers.

A great bunch of girls!

This buyer was looking at our sheep and also was quite knowledgeable about showmanship, so kindly gave some advice to them.

Many people actually use the Junior Livestock Auction as their meat source. The kids that participate in these programs are trained to treat their animals humanely, to feed them correctly, and basically baby these animals during their life.

I love the relationships that my kids form with business owners and buyers....Dasher's lamb was bought by a large company in Sacramento that has bought our animals before, and when she went to thank him, he talked with her for a bit and gave her a huge hug.

My 2016-17 Market Goat Project.

And the 2016-17 Market Lamb Project.

Tonight we say our goodbyes to the auction animals - they leave late tonight.

Nutsy and Canyon.

Monday is clean out day. In the morning my whole project comes to clean out the auction animal's stalls. We are there all day again, but the highlight of the afternoon is master showmanship. For the first time in four years no one from our family was in this competition, so we got to enjoy just watching it. Our friend won 4-H master, and Nutsy's FFA friend did very well and got 3rd in FFA.

We finally get released, and it's a mad rush to clean out stalls, pack everything up, and load animals. This year was not too bad and we were home by 7:30 pm.

Another fair is done. Again, I see SO MANY life lessons that we learn. How to deal with disappointment. How to help others. How much we all need to work together, and how to deal and talk with others: graciously, humbly, and with kindness.

And once again I am very thankful, for those opportunities we have in 4-H and for those who help to make all of this happen.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

County Fair 2017 ~ Part 1

Another fair is done. As always, we saw friends we only see a couple of times a year, had early mornings, learned lots of lessons, and had successes and disappointments.

Really, we spend an entire week with 4-H related stuff. Monday sees us out  fitting our goats in the morning.

We then headed to another spot where the girls coached three other members in fitting their own goats. All six goats were done by about 5pm.

Lamb was the next day. Lambs take about twice as long as goats do, so we only got two of them done before we had to start loading stuff into Cal Expo.

The first thing we do is lay down these tarps thingys. The stalls can be different sizes so each year, we 'sew' the tarps together using zip ties. I bought the material at Lowe's a few years ago and inserted grommets all around the edge. We put this down so that the animals don't eat the straw we lay down, and get that typical hay fat belly.

We stuff a full bale of straw into each pen under the covers and they are good to go for the whole week. But be warned and stand clear when we clean out on the last day - they do reek by then.

We also decorated our project signs and the kids all made their stall cards.

It's handy having the same color scheme each year - I save everything from year to year and only have to buy a couple replacements.

The next day the animals come in.

This year, our goats were on one side of the big aisle.....

and the lambs on the other side.

We had weigh in all afternoon; everyone made weight and then the girls fit the doe. Fitting does is tricky. It does not take long, but you do certain things, like only shave a strip on the back, and leave the hair all up the legs.

The next day - this would be Thursday - is our first day of competition.

We are there early, by 6:30 am, to clean out and get everything ready.

We did a project breakfast this morning.

This morning it was hard boiled eggs, yogurt, trail mix, and muffins.

One thing I make all my project kids do each morning is to walk their animals for 10-15 minutes.

Then this happens.....

And then we prep the animals and they get into their whites.

All ready to show!

Market was first. Bookworm and Nutsy got third place in both classes. Our fair is pretty competitive so we were really happy with that placing. And the breeder who we bought our goats from was here to watch so that was special too.

We also competed in the club/chapter class and got second place.

Dasher was next in the breed show. She was showing a doe so was not in the market class.

She did very well in her class also.

We had a bit of a break before showmanship so the card playing started up.

Back in the ring in the afternoon for showmanship classes. Since Nutsy had won Junior Master last year she now had to show as a senior in goat and so all three girls were in the same class.

Horrible photo I know, but here you can see all three of them. Final results were Nutsy got 6th, Bookworm got 4th and Dasher got 3rd.

We were really proud of them and their accomplishments in goat this year!

Tonight was pizza night.

After dinner the girls found some friends and all got our animals out to help one another and work them.

This young lady is in FFA and is a freshman in college and this is her last year to show. She and Nutsy always find each other at fair and hang out. Most of the FFA and 4-H kids here are so friendly, polite, and we have made great friendships over the years.

Tomorrow was another early morning, getting ready for all of the lamb competitions.