Homeschooling

GraviTrax Review: Homeschool STEM and Physics

GraviTrax Review: Homeschool STEM Marble Run

Teaching Elementary STEM (Engineering!) and Physics at Home

We’ve had a lot of indoor time lately — and I’m not even talking about sheltering-in-place due to COVID-19! Since baby Lochlan’s premature entrance into the world seven months ago, our usual social outings have been stripped back a great deal. (Master Lochlan would rock a shirt with the phrase, “I was social distancing before social distancing was cool.”) Our family has always loved games and building sets, but this rainy housebound winter, we’re enjoying them even more than usual.

[Disclosure of Material Connections: I received a complimentary GraviTrax set from Timberdoodle in exchange for writing and publishing this review. All opinions — and photographs! ;) — are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.]

Continue reading “GraviTrax Review: Homeschool STEM and Physics”

Homeschooling

‘Natural World Workshop’ Gouache Painting Review

'Natural World Workshop' Gouache Painting Review

Our homeschool tends toward the colorful and the eclectic. We’re over here doing copywork in Prismacolor and jazzing things up by printing assignments on neon paper. Art projects, shelves of books in rainbow order, and primary-colored Lego bricks abound. Even when everything is tidy and cozy and organized, there is color.

In the summer, I take color for granted. But as the year creeps on and monochromatic gray takes over the landscape, I find myself craving color’s rich gifts more and more. Color brings hope, cheer, and has the power to transform.

Continue reading “‘Natural World Workshop’ Gouache Painting Review”

Homeschooling

Review of Apologia Science Journal (Zoology 2)

PIN IMAGE for Review of Apologia's Junior Notebooking JournalLife has been crazy. Here’s how we put elementary science on autopilot.

So, it’s been a little bit whole lot bananas around here trying to homeschool my bookish daughter with a high-needs infant in the mix — one who doesn’t tolerate baby carriers, has reflux, needs to be held in very specific ways, doesn’t nap unless he’s held, has mostly no interest in gripping toys, and is homebound (hello, preemie NICU graduate + flu season).

And at six months now since baby was born, advice like “just take a break” doesn’t fly. (Truthfully, that never works with my intense, academic-minded daughter anyway. Breaks in routine mean a breakdown in behavior.)

So as I planned our year, I knew dropping science wasn’t an option.

Continue reading “Review of Apologia Science Journal (Zoology 2)”

Homeschooling

Homeschooling with Graphic Novels (like Robin Hood!)

PIN IMAGE: Homeschooling with Graphic Novels

Do you use graphic novels in your homeschool? Like Robin Hood and his merry band of thieves, graphic novels can be a bit of an edgy subject in conservative home education circles. But they’re amazing! And there are so many good options. (Keep reading to see my list of favorite graphic novels for your homeschool.)

A few years ago when Aveline was five years old, she quietly colored her entire face green with a marker, then hid in the entryway planning an ambush. When my husband came home after work, she jumped out and screeched, “What is your business in Sherwood Forest, papa?!” (Sugar and spice and everything nice, right? This is also how I learned Crayola washable markers are not washable on the skin.) From the day she was first introduced to Robin Hood and his gang, she’s been in awe.

[Disclosure of Material Connections: I received a complimentary copy of The Adventures of Robin Hood from Timberdoodle in exchange for writing and publishing this review. All opinions — and photographs! ;) — are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.]

Continue reading “Homeschooling with Graphic Novels (like Robin Hood!)”

Homeschooling

Homeschool Robotics: Review of Robotis Dream 2.0 (Levels 1 and 2)

Homeschool Robotics: Robotis Dream 2.0 Review, available at Timberdoodle
Puzzled over how to teach robotics in your homeschool? Want to introduce your kids to more STEM topics, but not sure exactly how to go about it? Although robotics can be an intimidating topic to explore, it doesn’t have to be.

Disclosure of Material Connections: I received complimentary Robotis Dream 2.0 Level 1 and Level 2 kits from Timberdoodle in exchange for writing and publishing this review. All opinions — and photographs! ;) — are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

Continue reading “Homeschool Robotics: Review of Robotis Dream 2.0 (Levels 1 and 2)”

Homeschooling

Chroma Cube: A Single-Player Game for Gameschooling

PIN IMAGE Chroma Cube: A Single-Player Game for Gameschooling in your homeschool

Using games as teaching tools is such a popular practice in homeschool circles there’s actually a term for it: gameschooling. Have you heard of it? While gameschooling might conjure up images of a large family gathered around the dining room table, it doesn’t always look like that. There’s a place for single-player games, too, especially logic puzzles which teach deductive reasoning skills. My daughter particularly loves these sorts of challenges!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary Chroma Cube from Timberdoodle in exchange for writing and publishing this review. All opinions — and photographs! ;) — are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. Aveline’s sweatshirt is compliments of Primary

Continue reading “Chroma Cube: A Single-Player Game for Gameschooling”

Homeschooling

Why Use Science Audiobooks? (An Apologia Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures MP3 CD Review)

Pin image for Why Use Science Audiobooks? An Apologia Science Review of Zoology 2 Audio MP3 CD, by the Oaxacaborn blog

Do you struggle with the available options for teaching elementary science? Over and over, I hear from overwhelmed parents who are stuck trying to figure out how to fit science in to an already-full homeschool schedule.

Maybe that’s you.

Maybe science is the one subject which keeps getting pushed down the priority list, and tends to eventually get left out altogether. Maybe you have the idea that science needs to be heavily hands-on, with dramatically impressive experiments all the time. Realistically, you can’t be the mad scientist too, on top of all the other hats you wear. And maybe you even feel a little guilty about that.

Continue reading “Why Use Science Audiobooks? (An Apologia Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures MP3 CD Review)”

Homeschooling

Thinking Beyond Grade Levels (& a Timberdoodle Announcement!)

Thinking Beyond Grade Levels When Planning Your Homeschool Year

If you’re brand-new to this blog, coming over from Meet the Timberdoodle Blog TeamWELCOME! I’m so thrilled you’re here.

I’m Gina Munsey, a second-generation homeschooler and a third-culture kid, child to homeschool pioneers and missionaries. I was born in Southern Mexico (Oaxaca wuh-HA-kuh specifically, thus the name of this blog), and then spent my formative childhood years behind the Iron Curtain in the former Yugoslavia. (Fun fact: I was in Germany the day the Berlin Wall fell, and came to America just after the tanks rolled in to Yugoslavia, but before Sarajevo fell.)

After stints in the Midwest, Florida, and the West Coast/Best Coast AKA California, I now find myself in the idyllic historic town of Franklin, Tennessee, just outside Nashville. I homeschool my neurologically gifted 8-year-old, and our school days usually involve an abundance of books, lots of math, and yes, Mandarin Chinese, too. I’m expecting my second (miracle!) child this fall, so our school days are about to get a whole lot more…interesting.

And a whole lot more heavily caffeinated.

I’m in the thick of planning for it all now.

Are you like me? Do you love planning for a new school year? I definitely do. I obsess over delight in all the new catalogs, text about curriculum endlessly with friends, click through book preview thumbnails until my eyes cross and water, shuffle through my note-ridden index cards, and track down all the used book sales in the area, tempted to buy enough schoolbooks to teach at least half a dozen more students than I actually have.

Homeschoolers love to talk about curriculum, don’t they?

Whether it’s in person or online in my FREE homeschool community for outliers, people always have questions about curriculum.

But curriculum really can pose quite a conundrum for our differently-wired kids. If there’s anything I’ve learned through the years of being a child to homeschool pioneers — and now a second-generation homeschool parent to a neurologically gifted, asynchronous child — it’s that homeschooling allows us the immense privilege of creating a completely personalized custom education for each child.

Continue reading “Thinking Beyond Grade Levels (& a Timberdoodle Announcement!)”