Biology 101 {Review}

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

As we head into the high school years I am so thankful for homeschool companies who have gone to great lengths to provide tools for a quality education. I first happened upon the 101 Series a few years ago when I was looking into chemistry programs for my son. I was playing with an idea to make our 8th grade year high school credit worthy, and again and again Chemistry 101 came up as a recommendation. I bought the program and I could immediately see why people enjoy this program so much. We used Chemistry 101 last year and enjoyed it so much that as we head into high school biology I absolutely wanted to also check out Biology 101.

 I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review this program as I am already a fan of this series. I appreciate that the 101 Series is designed with the homeschool family in mind. As a busy homeschool mom I am happy to see that this program set up in a way that is easily implemented on a weekly basis. Let me share the program's components.

Biology 101 is a high school level DVD video course that comes with a downloadable guidebook.

There are 4 DVDs in the course.

 All 4 DVDs have a total of 9 segments which cover the following lessons:
  • Introduction: Defining Life and Life Classification - 15 min.
  • Plants - 37 min.
  • Aquatic (water) Creatures - 40 min.
  • Avian (flying) Creatures - 44 min.
  • Land Animals Part 1 - 22 min.
  • Land Animals Part 2 - 28 min.
  • Mankind Part 1 - 27 min
  • Mankind Part2 - 24 min.
  • Conclusion: Cells, Genetics, and a Brief History of Biology - 40 min
  • Guidebook and Accreditation Booklet PDF 

Our family enjoys watching this series. I appreciate that science is taught from a biblical perspective in a clear and interesting way. Wes Olson is an absolutely fantastic teacher! You can see his enthusiasm come through in the way he explains the lesson. You can watch the introduction to the course here.

Each video lesson is broken into several parts. As the new subject begins, that topic is highlighted on the screen. The printable guidebook also follows the same format.

 The boys enjoy the videography of this series and giggle when Wes Olson uses some sort of digital trick to illustrate a concept. It's obvious a lot of work went into the production of these videos!

 The 4th DVD has a printable Accreditation booklet. You can find a sample here. The booklet is a schedule that lays out how to use the course in order to fulfill one high school biology credit with lab. You accomplish this over 27 weeks, doing 135 hours of total study to earn the credit. Your student will use the following methods to study biology:

Use DVD and Guidebook
Biology Notebook
Research and Lab reports
20 Hours of Biology Labs
Discussion Questions
Online Resources and Library Books
Field Trips

 This represents three weeks of work out of the accreditation booklet. You can find a sample here. There are great suggestions throughout the booklet for lab work to fulfill that requirement for biology. One of the labs for plants was to identify 10 non-vascular and vascular plants in our yard. I appreciate that there are also essays assigned to give them practice on writing in an academic way about science.

 Aedan watched the plants segment with me. I checked out some library books on plants and trees as suggested in the accreditation book. One of the lovely things about this course is that you can add living books to bring it even more to life.

 We also took a trip to a local nursery to identify some plants. I love that there are field trips suggested throughout the course. Field trips are the ice cream of our school days and such a fantastic way to experience what we are learning together. I hope we will be able to enjoy many of the suggestions in the year to come.

Another thing I really appreciate about this course is that it can be as much or as little as you want it to be. It can be a full blown course that gives your students the opportunity to really dive into researching topics that interest them, or you can use it as a supplement to other biology materials. If your student is drawn to independent research and going on rabbit trails of learning, this is the perfect program. I love that it gives so many opportunities for diving deeper into a topic of interest.

The printable guidebook has a lesson for the student to read either before or after the video lesson. There is a sample of the guide book here.

I've found that it's better for Aedan to read it before the video lesson and to answer as many questions from the lesson quiz as he can from the reading. If there are ones he didn't find in the reading the answer is often in the video lesson.

At the end of each reading there is a short multiple choice quiz. It is a good review of what they are learning and a good way to tell if they understood the main points of the lesson. There is an answer guide at the back of the guidebook that makes the quizzes easy to grade.

I hope you will check out the 101 Series for your homeschool! Be sure to check out Chemistry 101. We loved how it explained chemistry in the context of history. We traveled from the birth of chemistry through the development of the periodic table. We especially loved learning about many the many chemists who developed chemistry into what it is today. I am looking forward to using Physics 101 in the future! 

Disclaimer: In exchange for my review, I received a free copy of the Biology 101 DVD course. All of the opinions, however, are my own and are shared honestly.

Week in Review - HOD MtMM Unit 35

Friday, May 19, 2017

We have come to the end of the end here at Monarch Room. My first born school completed his final year of middle school this week. I will have more to say about our year as a whole later, but for now I will update our final week.

Since we finished our work we have taken every opportunity to spend time with friends. Our sweet friends drove up from the country to come and see Aedan's artwork at the Kemper Museum. I still haven't shared about this, but I took lots of pictures. More to come soon!

Week in Review - HOD CtC Unit 35

Thursday, May 18, 2017

This was our final week in HOD Creation to Christ. Tears. We had a beautiful year reading from the creation account all the way to the final chapters of Acts and about how the apostles spread the gospel to the ends of the earth. It was fun returning to this guide and seeing it through Silas's eyes this time. We have already packed up our box of books to ship off to another family to enjoy. Ending the year is always a little bittersweet. It means we accomplished oh so much, but it also means my boys are growing up.

We dug out all of Silas's Robert Frost poetry paintings to admire. I am glad we made it through to the end with both boys on these. They are such a treasure of learning.

Week in Review - HOD MtMM Unit 34

Saturday, May 13, 2017

This was our almost last week of school. Yay! As I shared in Silas's post, it was also our last week of co-op. Both boys enjoyed each of their classes. Aedan took a pottery wheel class and a digital art class.

Of course Aedan couldn't just make a plate in pottery. He made this "french pilot guy" Pierre. It got cracked in the firing, but I still thought it was quite clever. I'm my boys' biggest fans of course!

Week in Review - HOD CtC Unit 34

We are almost to the very end of the end here at Monarch Room! This week we wrapped up our classes at co-op. Silas took a pottery wheel class. Additionally, he took a class called Money Town. We have a local program in town called Exchange City that I remember doing when I was in 5th grade. It is basically a day where kids get the opportunity to have grown up jobs. There was a bank, many different kinds of shops, restaurants, etc. I was a jewelry designer way back when on that day. Our co-op decided to base an 8 week class on that model. Silas had so much fun!

Our co-op was a neat experience because they got to create their own business from the ground up. He decided to open a restaurant called Charred Meat N' Stuff.

Week in Review - HOD MtMM Unit 33

Friday, May 5, 2017

This week our history was especially fun because we were reading about my childhood. It's strange when you realize that you are the history tale bearer for kids who didn't live during a period. I very much remember many of these events. My husband loved Reagan, so it was fun for him to discuss with Aedan more about his life.

A child of the 80's most memorable event was the Challenger explosion. I remember sitting in my classroom watching this happen in 5th grade. Aedan drew the Challenger out of one of his Draw and Write Through History assignments.

Week in Review - HOD CtC Unit 33

Thursday, May 4, 2017

I already mentioned how we were trying not to rush through these last few weeks. Silas got the idea that he wanted to work ahead, and then he changed his mind. He was used to trying to get done soon, but he also decided that there's no need to rush. Our days have been pretty short anyway because we have been getting done with all the side subjects here and there. Last year we were done before May 1, and it was cold anyway. This month has been no different, so it has totally worked out.

We completed our final Robert Frost poem and painting. Our poem this week was "A Time to Talk." We are both happy to put away our paint brushes for a while although I am very happy we made it all the way through.

The End Is Not The Goal

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

I don't know what it is about this time of year, but it always has me more in a contemplative mood. We have 2 weeks more left on the clock of this school year, and while part of me longs for the break, the other part wants to finish in a way that's meaningful. This year I took a different approach to getting through the year. In years' past we have always rushed to the finish line, packing in extra work just to get a few extra weeks of summer. Silly me. This year I purposefully chose more breaks for me and the boys in favor of more trips and time together during the school year. Here we are later into the spring, and I'm ok with that.

For any of you limping across the finish line, take a deep breath with me. There's no need to cram in extra lessons, check off one more box, fit in just one more math lesson to get to the end sooner. Take it from me, a former end goal recover-er. You'll get there I promise. You may as well enjoy each of these final school days. I promise that there are plenty of lazy days of summer to come. But, there are only a few more days left of kindergarten, 3rd, 5th, 8th, or maybe 12th grade, only a few more days left of sitting alongside your kids at this very stage.

Don't worry, there will be plenty of time to clean the house, make appointments, or to catch up with that friend you haven't seen in a while. We moms know that the to-do list is never really all checked off anyway right? Each time I've rushed to the finish line that list was just as long as it ever was. When my kids were little, a friend passed along that well known poem about quieting down cobwebs and housework left undone, so that you could have just a little more time to rock that baby because of course "babies don't keep." It's no different with toothless first graders, and growing tweenagers, and teens that are even taller than you are. They don't keep either do they? 

For some of you, this is your last year of homeschool. Maybe you're graduating your last student, or maybe you have decided that public or private school is the option that will work better for your family next year or maybe forever. (Hugs.) Being a mom is a long series of goodbyes don't ya think? These are very precious days indeed.

 So, just remember (with me) that the end really isn't the goal. The goal is to soak in each of these remaining days in whichever way you choose to spend them fully. I'm cheering myself on just as much as I am you. Maybe we can slow down enough together to enjoy our stroll to the end.

Week in Review - HOD MtMM Unit 32

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

One of my favorite things about HOD is the many, many biographies we have gotten to read throughout the years. It's one thing to read a little snippet about someone's life, but another to see how they grew up from childhood into the person they ultimately became who they became to be. This week we read about the life of Mother Teresa, but also began a biography of her life.

I have always wanted to read a biography about Mother Teresa. What compels a person to leave the familiarity of home to live in complete want of comfort and safety? Obviously in her case she felt a very clear call of God, and he provided for her in every way. Her life was the furthest from easy, but she inspired us in so many ways.

Week in Review - HOD CtC Unit 32

Monday, May 1, 2017

This week we reached the most important event in history: The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It has been really cool reading from creation all the way to this moment in history and to see why God chose to bring Christ into the world at this exact moment in time. This age old story never gets old.

Week in Review - HOD MtMM Unit 31

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

We are nearing the finish line of our school year. I have loved working toward modern day history with Aedan. I feel like we have both learned so much. The one thing I have loved most about this year is that we have focused not only on the events of modern history, but of how God's people rose to the occasion often facing death with a bravery that only He can give.

Week in Review - HOD CtC Unit 31

Monday, April 24, 2017

This week we spent our time reading about the final days of Christ's life. Homeschool is such a unique and wonderful responsibility and privilege. Reading about the persecuted church in Asia with Aedan in his history lessons makes me even more thankful to have the opportunity to share the gospel each day with my boys. 

Week in Review - HOD MtMM Unit 30

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

We have entered the final stretch of school. I feel like that we are on that last 45 minutes left on a really long road trip back home. There is so much to look back on for which to be thankful, but there's no place like home. The boys are still doing a great job at doing their best, but all of us feel the call of the lazy days of summer.

This week we read about the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, Festo Kivengere of Uganda, and life during the 60's and 70's in America. Aedan drew a picture of Dr. King from Draw and Write Through History.

Week in Review - HOD CtC Unit 30

Monday, April 17, 2017

As I said in Aedan's post, we are doing our very best to finish strong. These last few weeks have been going well, but I also am looking forward to a break. In year's past we have rushed to the finish line, but I decided this year that we should just take the days as they come. There are plenty of summer days to go around without having to make ourselves miserable to get there.

Week in Review - HOD MtMM Unit 29

Monday, April 10, 2017

This week we learned more about the Civil Rights Movement, The Six-Day War, and the OPEC Oil Embargo. We have had more and more interesting conversations around the dinner table because my husband has always loved to talk about history, but now my kids have the context.

We learned more about Martin Luther King Jr.'s impact on civil rights.

Week in Review - HOD CtC Unit 29

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Hi again! We enjoyed our week off, and I am finally catching up here. It's been fun reading through John with Silas for history. It's my favorite gospel, so it's been really neat discussing it each day. We read the feeding of the 5000, Jesus calming the sea, the healing of the blind man, and other miracles. While doing so we have read the prophecies from the Old Testament, and their fulfillment in the New Testament through Jesus.

I love how HOD history projects are a way to make what we read more memorable. This week we made an origami boat and painting of a stormy sea. We read about the day Jesus walked on its stormy waters and calmed that troubled sea.

Lightning Lit & Comp - Junior High - Grades 7 & 8 {Review}

Friday, April 7, 2017

Well hello there, you book lover, you! Who else would click on such a blog post title? Choosing a literature program can be a difficult task given the many options that are available. I've always been a lover of classic books, but I could never find a program that chose the kinds of books I would have on my personal list of favorites. When I happened upon Hewitt Homeschooling's Lightning Literature last school year, my heart skipped a beat. Not only did it include many of the books I already hoped my kids would get the chance to read, but it included writing lessons based on literary elements used by these fantastic authors. Not only has my son especially enjoyed the books, but he has also learned to love writing. What mom wouldn't smile about that?

Week in Review - HOD MtMM Unit 28

Monday, March 27, 2017

This is our final year in a full 4 year history cycle. As we get nearer and nearer to current history I realize how little has changed. Even as far back as the history we are studying in Ancient Rome, there are so many similarities. Humankind has had many heroes and many villains throughout all time. The have always been meaningless wars, and until Jesus comes again there may always be. As my boys get older and we read about the drafts of various wars I long for peace in the world. I don't know how I could have faced some of these historical days without the Christian hope.

This week in history we learned about the presidents that came after the assassination of Kennedy and the war in Vietnam.

Week in Review - HOD CtC Unit 28

Sunday, March 26, 2017

This year we have really loved learning ancient history from the time of creation up to the point of the Roman empire. This week we finally got to read about the event that changed the course of human history forever; the birth of Christ. Because we have read about all of the events that led to his coming to earth, and it makes his arrival so much more meaningful.

For weeks 28 through the rest of the year our history spine is the Bible. We will read through all of John and through Acts for the rest of the year. We have had lots of neat discussions about this.

Week in Review - HOD MtMM Unit 27

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Welcome to the 60's! This week we learned about The Cuban Missile Crisis, the Space Race, and the presidency and assassination of John F. Kennedy. We had the opportunity to chat with my inlaws about their experiences and what they remember from the 60's. They grew up in D.C and Alabama and then went to college in Florida. Many of the events we have read about these past few weeks happened in their own back yards. The Cuban Missile Crisis happened while they were students in Florida. They said it was a frightening time, and I can see why! The one great regret I have is not having asked my grandparents more questions about their lives. I didn't know I would be such a lover of history when they were still around. Go talk to your elders while yous till can.

Week in Review - HOD CtC Unit 27

We are happily moving forward here at Monarch Room. It took a few days to adjust to Daylight Savings Time, but the longer days and sun have helped perk us up after a long winter. Hopefully we won't regret taking more breaks and ending a little later this year. The extra breaks have really helped us relax more and enjoy catching up on life outside of school.

Lightning Lit & Comp - American & British Literature {Review}

Friday, March 17, 2017

Are you ready to swoon? If you're a bibliophile like me, you will have to fan yourself a little once you take a look at all of these lovely treasures we get to explore over the next few years. Nothing, no nothing gets me as excited as a beautiful stack of books!

I remember the moment I fell in love with history, and it wasn't in a history class. I fell in love with history in my first literature course I took in college. It was the first time I heard the voices from the past, and it was then that I wanted to learn more about the history of humankind. I was so tired of dry and dusty textbooks. It took me a while before I found a literature program that focused on the types of books I personally would choose. I found it was really difficult to find a company that chooses classics based not only on literary merit, but also historical significance. I love that Lightning Lit's book choices not only highlight excellent writing, but often also give a voice to a time and place. My hope is that my boys, too, will fall in love with literature and history when they hear these voices from so long ago.

Week in Review - HOD CtC Unit 26

Monday, March 13, 2017

This year we have the joy of doing the same history program as dear friends. This means that we sometimes get to combine activities. We are currently studying the rise and fall of ancient Rome. We read about how the Romans were initially farmers, but eventually began to live more for pleasure, luxury and entertainment. Our history activity was to have a Roman feast to show what it might have been like. Our friends are 3 weeks ahead of us, but they still wanted to do the Roman meal together. These activities are always way more fun with friends!

We skipped lunch and decided to have the feast in the afternoon. The boys were all very excited about all the great food!

Week in Review - HOD MtMM Unit 26

Sunday, March 12, 2017

We are really enjoying history this year. After leaving the ancients, medieval times, and the American Revolution behind, it's nice to hear the voices of the people we are learning about. One of the benefits of the modern age is we have footage and audio of the last hundred years that are preserved for all time which at times is for the best and for the worst.

This week one of our focuses was on modern evangelists. I had the opportunity to hear Billy Graham preach in his later years in one of his last crusade tours in our city. I've always loved Billy Graham, but I have even fonder feelings toward Ruth Bell Graham. Sometimes we never get to meet our mentors, but I would consider her one of mine.

Apologia - Exploring Creation with Biology {Review}

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

High school is upon us (gulp.) Way back when I was a new homeschool mom to a preschool-aged child, I remember shaking in my boots at the thought of eventually teaching high school math and science. As we progressed through the years, however, I started gaining confidence and worried less than I did in those early years. What I’ve found is that there are so many companies that make it easy to homeschool. We modern homeschoolers have the benefit of the pioneers who paved the way for us and made so many great products available to us who would follow in their footsteps. 

Week in Review - HOD CtC - Unit 25

Monday, March 6, 2017

It's interesting sometimes swinging from modern history to ancient history, but somehow it's working. This week I learned about the Civil Rights movement in the U.S. with Aedan and about Rome's defeat of Carthage in ancient times. I've done history a little differently this time with Silas. We have been reading history together, and it seems like we both enjoy it so much more. He was handling it fine on his own, but he's still my cuddly fellow. We are really enjoying learning together. What's great is that you can do one or the other depending on time or ability.

The Roman army used catapults in battle. Our history project was to make a few different types of catapults. We already had one from when we did a unit study on Leonardo DaVinci last year.

Week in Review - HOD MtMM - Unit 25

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Don't you love when what you are reading in a book dovetails with another area of your life? While we learned about Civil Rights in school I was finishing up Uncle Tom's Cabin and To Kill a Mockingbird. Having read those books helped me to more clearly communicate to Aedan the dire need for brave souls to step up and make a way for African Americans during the 60's and into the future.

I was moved by the stories this week. I often ask myself if I had lived during this time if I would have been one who would have been brave too.

My Homeschool Journal - February 2017

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

It is the last day of February! We have turned the corner on the winter, and I'm starting to see buds on the trees. We have been fortunate to have a very mild winter, but I'm ready for the sun to shine a little brighter. I am down to the wire on getting my February homeschool journal entry in. I decided to wait until the end of the month this time, so that what I share will have happened this month.

Week in Review - HOD CtC - Unit 24

Saturday, February 25, 2017

 Hello! Mighty fine seeing you here. We had a great week learning about the struggles between Rome and Carthage. It's been so fun doing this period again. I feel like it's finally sinking into my mind what was going on all those many years ago, and even then we are really only scratching the surface.

 Our history project was to play a game called "Go Trade." It's basically Go Fish but with items of trade ancient Mediterranean ports. We had items like silver from Spain, linen from Egypt, frankincense (!) from Arabia, wine from India, copper from Cyprus etc.

Week in Review - HOD MtMM - Unit 24

We enjoyed a nice school break, but this week we were back to the books. It was nice enjoying some time to relax and get caught up around the house. I think I could get used to the whole sabbath school idea. While we were still a little rusty getting back to work after a week off, I felt far more rested than I normally do after waiting to take a break until I'm exhausted. I think the boys felt the same.

I shared earlier how Aedan has the opportunity to be a part of an art program with our local museum. As part of that he got to preview the newest installation by Rashid Johnson at the Kemper Museum of Modern Art. The artist did a presentation for the kids, and they got to tour his works with an explanation from one of the curators. Soon they will get to have an art show at the museum displaying their work. I'm so thankful he has had this experience!

Week in Review - HOD MtMM - Unit 23

Friday, February 10, 2017

It's really hard to say what year has been my favorite.  Each year I say the newest year is my favorite, but then I remember why we loved a previous year so much. I have to say though that Missions to Modern Marvels is really fantastic. Not only are we learning the how and why history happened during this period, but we are also learning how it felt to be one of the people who experienced the heartbreaks of this time. What's even better is that we are also seeing how God's people were raised up and meeting the needs of the hurting during some of the darkest days of history. It gives me hope for our future that God will always remain involved. This week we learned about the Cold War and the "Iron Curtain" as Churchill called it. Even though a dark curtain had been drawn God was still bringing light to those nations that were being oppressed in so many ways.

Week in Review - HOD CtC - Unit 23

This week we learned more about Rome and why it became such a powerful world power in ancient times. I am so thankful to have to opportunity to teach my boys, but sometimes to be honest, I love the chance to learn and grow with them just as much. This year's studies have shed so much light on Biblical history of which I have always been fascinated. In re-reading these parts of history again I am understanding all the more. I love that the boys will have an opportunity to re-visit portions of history in years to come. I'm seeing the benefit in my own understanding after touching on it again. The more you understand the more rabbit trails there are to follow. Silas has asked some really amazing questions which have taken launched us off into searches about the hows and whys of things. Homeschooling can be so awesome!

Cooking with Kids - Won-Ton-A-Fun

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Nǐ hǎo! Any of you who have followed our little blog for a while know that we are no stranger to international cuisine. For that reason I was especially excited to see that our Raddish delivery this past month was inspired by the Chinese New Year. One of the things I love most about our Raddish boxes is that it forces us out of our rut. Most families have go-to recipes, but sometimes it's nice to mix it up a bit.

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