I have learned about and had the joy of exploring, so many AMAZING homeschool resources this year. We were happy, and eager, to give Hewitt Homeschooling ~ (http://www.HewittHomeschooling.com/) a try when we had the chance. Yet another one that makes learning fun! My oldest son even chose the material we were to review, My First Report: Reptiles and Amphibians. It came at such a good time too! This was something he got excited about and considering how disinterested he has been in school as of late, I was happy to see that.
This is more than just a workbook and its more than completing worksheets. Its an introduction to self expression; helping children learn how to put their knowledge into words and sentences, to share. There are basic questions given to encourage and direct investigation. Our children are learning reporting skills, they incorporate language, penmanship, and library/encyclopedia/dictionary skills (we needed this!). As they work they create their own reports (with or without a pictures). These come with a set of reproducible forms with varying line heights. There are lots of suggestions within the pages too, for each subject, for art, music, language, reading, math, social studies/history, science/health, P.E., Bible, and field trips. A list of additional resources is included, as well as other details (scientific classifications of animal and/ or plant kingdoms). The packet we received contained sheets on lizards (our FAVORITE!), iguanas, chameleons, turtles, crocodiles, snakes, garter snakes, rattlesnakes, frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders. The recommendation is one topic per week, thus the packet will last for an entire quarter. The packet is $8.95 and these were written with Grades 3 and 4 in mind but they can also be used for grades 1 and 2 with assistance or for remedial work with those in Grades 5 through 8.
My oldest son, he is eight, had quite the time with My First Reports.This really encouraged him in a number of ways. Since we have not done much in the way of writing and reports, this was new territory for all of us. Since we really enjoy reading, it was quite fun to explore each page as we went from lizards, to crocodiles, to rattlesnakes. Seeing as we already have two geckos, it was fun to see how much my boys already knew about our little friends. Each page has vocabulary words to learn and questions to encourage creative writing. One question for example read: In what kind of habitat do lizards live in? MY oldest son reported that they live in the desert (some in jungles and rainforests) while my four year old reported that lizards “live in our house.” haha
Towards the back of the report, you will find lots of additional resources to use as a unit study or just for additional learning fun! There are Bible references and discussion for study, History/Geography/Social Studies, Language Arts, Reading, Math, Science/Health, Physical Education, Music, Art, even ideas for field trips. In addition to all the activities listed here (seriously we could go on studying with this for quite some time – likely we will too!) there are lists of books and magazines, as well as companies and museums which have resources available for study. For the report itself they provide three sizes of lined paper with or without space for a picture. My oldest loves to draw so whatever he does, illustrations are a must. The lines are either 5/8-inch, 1/2 inch, or 3/8 inch. We used the 1/2 inch since my oldest son continues to struggle a bit in handwriting.
This really did encourage and inspire my boys both; it was a fabulous way to gain investigative skills too since there were many times we had to look in a book, and in many cases even after the work was done, they still wanted to know more. I especially love how the Word of God is woven into all of this. As they learn, they see His word, and that really helps them to have a Biblical worldview. Which is so very important! We have learned so much; in fact many doors have been opened for other topics through this packet. It has been such a pleasant surprise. Its been a fun addition to our raising of tadpoles and geckos. My boys even found a few toads in our yard that they created a habitat for and observed for a few days before setting them free once more. They are still hoping to find some salamander or newt eggs to raise but for now, what fun we have had already!
Of course there are many other other topics to choose from. This really had been a wonderful tool in a homeschool that was losing its enthusiasm for learning. These are a wonderful way to learn, as a family, even individually for some of the olde children. With so many topics, and so many ways to learn, these are bound to please everyone (even us moms1)
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