Pearson Homeschool Interactive Science: A Review

Disclaimer: Pearson provided me the materials for this review free of charge. They have also compensated me for my time to write this review. They did not require me to write a positive review. As always, opinions about products or services I review are entirely my own.

When my oldest daughter was in first grade, I wasn’t sure how I should go about teaching science. I knew I wanted her to know about a variety of subjects, but I didn’t really know how to attack this animal. I purchased a science workbook at our local teacher supply store, but it was too simple and she was finished with it in a few weeks. We read tons of science books from the library, and this is really where she received much of her true science education that year. As my youngest daughter is just starting first grade science, I was looking for something that would make my life easier. I jumped at the chance to review a copy of Pearson Homechool’s Interactive Science curriculum, as it sounded like it would cover a variety of topics, but in an orderly and systematic way.

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The Pearson Interactive Science curriculum has been exactly what I needed. Patterson uses the student book, which is a consumable workbook with beautiful illustrations, activities, and text. I have access to the online Teachers Edition eText, which provides teaching helps as well as lesson plans.

What Is Being Taught?

The topics covered are perfect for someone studying science for the first time.

  • The Nature of Science
  • The Design Process
  • Living Things and Their Environment
  • Plants and Animals
  • Earth and Sky
  • Weather
  • Matter
  • Energy
  • Movement

Pearson Homeschool

 

How Is It Being Taught?

I review the Teacher’s Edition eText before I start the week to determine which components of the lesson I am going to use. It is also helpful to review the experiments so that I can be sure I have the materials on hand. When I sit down with my student, we read the text and discuss the questions. She writes the answers to the questions, which are short and require minimal writing skills. We complete the activity and review the vocabulary cards. The vocabulary is a little advanced for first graders, in my opinion, but she has done well with it when I provide further explanation. The Teacher’s Edition eText provides differentiated instruction for students who need additional instruction in order to understand the concepts. This has been quite helpful, as science isn’t Patterson’s strong suit. The Lesson Checks provided in the Teacher’s Edition eText are also helpful to ensure the student has really understood the lesson.

Open Book

If you’re looking for a new science curriculum, I highly recommend Pearson’s product. It has worked well for my family and provided the “meat” I was looking for in a science curriculum. You can use code BLG25 to receive 25% off their Interactive Science Bundle for Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, and 5th Grade.

The coupon code is also good for their other products:

  • MCP Plaid Phonics Bundle Grades K-6
  • myWorld Social Studies Bundle Grades K-6
  • enVision Math Bundle Grades K-6

This code expires September 15, 2014.

Pearson is a great partner in your child’s education. You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

And… We’re Off!

I guess you can tell by my impromptu, albeit unintended, blogging hiatus that school and fall activities are back in full swing around The Hill Hangout. We started our 7th (!!!) year of homeschooling last week, and we have littles in 7th and 1st grades. I never really intended to make a career of homeschooling, but we are so blessed to have been able to enjoy the lives of our children for the last 7 years. It has been a gift to be their teacher for both school subjects and the subjects of life. Because of homeschooling, we have the gift of TIME with them. I thank God for knowing this was the best path for my children before I was convinced. His ways are most definitely higher than our ways.

We have started back to ballet, acro, pointe, and soccer. The girls are fortunate to have classes they enjoy and friends, coaches, and teachers they love. Until you have children, you don’t quite have an appreciation for kind, caring adults who are in places of authority and influence over kids. But when it’s your kid that they’re influencing, you totally love them for leading your kids in the right direction.

Wednesday night church activities started back last night, and we are gearing up for a terrific year of growing in the Lord and in His word. Both of my girls will have the opportunity to be involved in choirs where they will praise and worship Christ. They will both be taught by sweet teachers who want them to know God and His ways. My big girl will have community in a small group, where I know she will thrive in her walk with the Lord. I love the accountability she will have and be able to give in a small group.

While this summer has had its challenges for both Jonathan and me, we are confident that the Lord directs our steps. We are excited about another year of community with our Sunday school class and our soccer families. We still crack up at the sheer goodness of God that He would give us a group of soccer parents who are as much our spiritual community as our church is. He has gifted us with godly families that inspire and encourage us and are the kind of parents we strive to be. I can’t tell you how thankful we are that since we spend four days a week with these families, that they are the kind of people we really want to be around! Iron sharpens iron.

I hope your fall is shaping up to be one of the best ever. No doubt, if you look for the things that are wrong, you will find them. But if you look for the joys, the happiness, and the bright spots, you will find those as well. Happy fall, y’all!

Summer Salad

Summer Salad

One of the best parts of summer, at least from a culinary standpoint, is the abundance of sweet summer fruits. My children and I love to visit our favorite blueberry farm and pick a gallon or two. Our famous Chilton County peaches are at the height of sweetness. Our light and healthy Summer Salad incorporates both of these delicious summer delicacies.

I used my Homemade Ranch Dressing recipe for the dressing, as I believe that freshly made dressing tastes SO much better than bottled. But if you don’t have time, by all means use your favorite bottled dressing.

The first step in making our Summer Salad is to grill the peaches. I cut mine in half from top to bottom and removed the stone. Then I cut them fro top to bottom again so that they are quartered. Then I grilled them for about 10 minutes on each side. They should have a nice caramelized exterior, without getting too mushy. If your peaches are really ripe, you might not have to grill them for the full ten minutes on each side.

The next step in making a Summer Salad is to toast the walnuts. I line a cookie sheet with foil to make clean-up easier. Then I spray the walnuts with cooking spray and salt them. Toast in a 375 degree oven for about 6 minutes. Watch them closely, as nuts burn quickly in the oven.

With the peaches and walnuts done, you are ready to start assembling your Summer Salad. First mix together the greens and dressing, tossing to coat. Place your salad greens onto plates. Top with peaches, blueberries, coconut, and walnuts. Serve and enjoy.

How do you do summer salad in your house? Do you take advantage of in-season, juicy fruits?

Summer Salad
This delicious salad uses fresh summer fruits.
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Ingredients
  1. One bag of salad greens (I used romaine)
  2. 2 peaches, quartered and grilled
  3. 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  4. 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
  5. 1/4 cup coconut
  6. 3 tablespoons Ranch dressing
Instructions
  1. Cut peaches in half and remove the stone. Cut again so that they are quartered. Grill peach quarters for about 10 minutes on each side.
  2. Toast walnuts on a cookie sheet in the oven for about 6 minutes on 375 degrees.
  3. Toss salad greens with dressing to coat. Place greens onto plate. Top with peaches, blueberries, toasted walnuts, and coconut.
The Hill Hangout http://thehillhangout.com/

Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes. They were once a little like Rodney Dangerfield. In a world of gourmet burgers fancy-pants grilled cheeses, the blue-collar Sloppy Joe didn’t get any respect. Once hailed as lunchroom fare, the Sloppy Joe has made major strides in the last few years to find its place at the American dinner table. Thanks in large part to some fabulous cooks who took the meat and Manwich combo to a new HOMEMADE level, Sloppy Joes are now a favorite comfort food in many families, including my own.

To make Sloppy Joes, first start with about two pounds of ground beef. Brown it, and then drain it to remove all the fat. In the same pan, sautee a diced onion and a diced bell pepper for about three minutes. Add the beef back to the pan and mix together well with the onions and peppers.

Sloppy Joes

To the meat and veggie mixture you’ll add:

1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar (This adds the traditional sweetness that balances out the tang of the ketchup. However, if you don’t want a sweeter sandwich, leave out the brown sugar. We leave it out.)

Sloppy Joes

Mix it all together rand let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Do yourself a favor and buy a good quality hamburger bun from the bakery at your grocery. They just taste better and make a better sandwich.

Sloppy Joes

Y’all dinner doesn’t have to be fancy. Formal or casual, just get your family around the dinner table so you can connect and share in each others joys and struggles. And invite a friend into the mix. It might mean more to them than you can imagine!

Sloppy Joes
This is NOT your typical lunchroom Sloppy Joe!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 pounds ground beef
  2. 1 onion, diced
  3. 1 green bell pepper, diced
  4. 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  5. 1/4 cup water
  6. 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  7. 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  8. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  9. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  10. 2 tablespoons brown sugar (This adds the traditional sweetness that balances out the tang of the ketchup. However, if you don't want a sweeter sandwich, leave out the brown sugar. We leave it out.)
Instructions
  1. To make Sloppy Joes, first start with about two pounds of ground beef. Brown it, and then drain it to remove all the fat. In the same pan, sautee a diced onion and a diced bell pepper for about three minutes. Add the beef back to the pan and mix together well with the onions and peppers.
  2. To the meat and veggie mixture you'll add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Serve on good quality hamburger buns.
The Hill Hangout http://thehillhangout.com/

Breakfast Casserole from My Life Well Loved

My friend Heather Brown from My Life Well Loved is back today with a delicious recipe for Breakfast Casserole. We love breakfast at The Hill Hangout, and I am always on the lookout for new breakfast ideas. This one is full of eggs, cheese, and sausage, so I know my peeps will gobble it down. And don’t be afraid to step out of the box and serve this for dinner!

Breakfast Casserole

This is pretty much the only breakfast casserole I’ve ever made or feel like I need to make. I got this recipe from my mother-in-law and it has served me well over our 5 years of marriage so far. I have made it A LOT over the years for BRINNER (breakfast for dinner), company, and just to last us on a tight budgeted week.

This recipe makes a ton of food, so it’s great for weeks when I don’t want to have to cook a lot during the week and we need plenty of leftovers. This casserole is so good that my husband and I will sometimes fight over who gets to finish it! We take ours smothered in ketchup, please. Yes, that’s another weird habit I’ve picked up from the hubs. I used to think it was so weird to put salsa or ketchup on your eggs and now I’m one of those weirdos too. ;)

The Best Classic Breakfast Casserole
Serves: 8

Ingredients:
8 eggs
2 c milk
7 slices white bread torn into small pieces (take off the crust)
1 t salt
1 t mustard
1 lb crumbled breakfast beef or turkey sausage (cooked)
1 & ½ c shredded cheddar

Beat eggs, add milk, sausage, bread & seasonings.
Bake at 350 for 45 min or until done.

Salisbury Steak

Salisbury Steak

Salisbury Steak is one of those meals I grew up eating. I don’t remember my mom making it, necessarily, but I do remember that it’s what I’d order from a restaurant menu anytime it was available. It might have also been my go-to choice in TV dinners, which were often my after-school snack. Haha! I can still recall those little aluminum trays, each frozen food in its spot. I loved it, but I’m so happy that I’ve learned how to make homemade Salisbury Steak now. It’s a salt-of-the-earth kind of meal, and I believe it’s best served with homemade mashed potatoes and a good country vegetable like creamed corn or field peas. My peeps love hamburger steak, so I tried out this dressed-up version on them recently. They loved it, so I’m going to be sure to add it to the regular rotation around here.

2 lbs ground beef
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 small onion, very finely chopped
1 egg
1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

1 package fresh mushrooms, sliced

2 jars beef gravy
1/2 cup port wine
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

In a big bowl, mix together the ground beef, bread crumbs, onion, egg, worcestershire, dry mustard, salt, and pepper. I usually do this by hand (literally, with my hands), but you could use a Kitchenaid stand mixer. When it’s good and blended, divide into patties. I usually make about 6-7 patties from 2 lbs of ground beef. Place them into a skillet heated to medium. I use my Le Creuset braiser because it’s big enough to hold 6 or 7 steaks at one time. Brown on each side for about 5 minutes.

In a separate bowl, mix together the gravy, port wine, garlic powder, and onion powder.

When patties are browned on the outside, I remove them from the pan so I can pour off the extra grease. Return steaks to the pan and cover with mushrooms. Pour gravy mixture over all, being sure all mushrooms are covered in gravy. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes or until steaks are cook through and mushrooms are tender.

Salisbury Steak
Comfort food!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs ground beef
  2. 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  3. 1/2 small onion, very finely chopped
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
  6. 1 tablespoon ketchup
  7. 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  8. 1 teaspoon salt
  9. 1 teaspoon black pepper
  10. 1 package fresh mushrooms, sliced
  11. 2 jars beef gravy
  12. 1/2 cup port wine
  13. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  14. 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Instructions
  1. In a big bowl, mix together the ground beef, bread crumbs, onion, egg, worcestershire, dry mustard, salt, and pepper. I usually do this by hand (literally, with my hands), but you could use a Kitchenaid stand mixer. When it's good and blended, divide into patties. I usually make about 6-7 patties from 2 lbs of ground beef. Place them into a skillet heated to medium. Brown on each side for about 5 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the gravy, port wine, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  3. When patties are browned on the outside, I remove them from the pan so I can pour off the extra grease. Return steaks to the pan and cover with mushrooms. Pour gravy mixture over all, being sure all mushrooms are covered in gravy. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes or until steaks are cook through and mushrooms are tender.
The Hill Hangout http://thehillhangout.com/

Sunday Dinners: A Cookbook Giveaway

Sunday Dinners

Andrews McMeel Publishing has sent me another terrific cookbook to review and giveaway to you guys. This one is called Sunday Dinners: Food, Family, and Faith from Our Favorite Pastors. Sunday Dinners brings readers into the family and meals of several of America’s most well-known and well-loved pastors. I love a cookbook that tells stories as well as shares recipes, and this one has family stories from T.D. and Serita Jakes, Joel and Victoria Osteen, Ed and JoBeth Young, and many others. Along with their family tales, you’ll read about the recipes that have accompanied their families at meal times for generations.

You’ll fall in love with Serita Jakes’s Homemade Banana Pudding with meringue and scratch-made custard. You’ll be introduced to the Texas Fudge Cake that Victoria Osteen makes EVERY WEEK for her family. Jeannie Glenn, whose husband Mike serves as pastor at Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, TN, shares a crab appetizer that will make your mouth water. She also shares the recipe for Strawberry Cake, made for every Sunday dinner served by her mother and grandmother. Reverand Martin Lam Nguyen, who is a native of Vietnam and serves at Congregation of Holy Cross at the University of Notre Dame, shares an authentic Vitenamese Goi Cuon recipe. That’s Fresh Shrimp and Pork Spring Rolls for those of us who only speak English. ;)

Sunday Dinners shares not only terrific recipes from pastors who are successful serving their churches, but it also gives us a glimpse into what makes their family life successful. Many of them champion the cause of the traditional Sunday dinner as being the meal that glues the family together. I hope you’ll enjoy hearing their stories as much as I have.

To be entered for the giveaway, leave a comment on this post and let us know our favorite Sunday dinner memory!

Five Days of Praying for Your Homeschool: Joy

5 Days of Praying for Your Homeschool

Today is the last day of our series entitled Five Days of Praying for Your Homeschool. I hate to see it some to an end because I could spend many more days praying with you over our precious ones at home with us. There is nothing more important that we can do for our children than to pray for them. And as I said in day 1 of this series, I know that I wouldn’t have made it through those first few years without the sustaining power of God. I feel like we kinda made it on a wing and a prayer. Without His encouragement and clear direction, I would have given up and sent everybody off to school. However, He did sustain us, we didn’t kill each other, and we even had many many moments of pure joy.

Since joy didn’t happen naturally in those first few years of homeschooling my children, I had to make it a priority. I had to be purposeful about praying for joy and be intentional about creating times of joy for us. Since joy is a fruit of the Spirit, I knew I needed to abide in the Spirit more so that He could do His work in me in this area. Focusing on joy paid off for us, and I can say that homeschooling my children has been an absolute JOY for six years. It has been one of the biggest blessings of my life to be able to educate my girls at home. And I thank God for restoring that joy when it was lost. Using Galatians 5:22 and Psalm 16:11 as our guide, we can pray, “Father, thank you that Your will for us is JOY. Thank you that You want us to experience fun in our homeschool and in our life. Thank you that we don’t have to settle for boring and dull, but that You love for us to enjoy Your work and Your creation. Lord, the fruit of Your Spirit is joy. Fill us with Your Spirit and help us to abide there, so that our joy might be complete in You. Fill us with joy in Your presence.”

Aren’t we grateful that we serve a God who is a source of joy? Let’s have fun in our home schools this year, friends!

If you missed days 1-4 of this series, you can go back and read about praying about wisdom, unity, attack, and health. If you’d like to ready other 5 Days Hopscotch posts on iHomeschoolNetwork.com, please click here.

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Five Days of Praying for Your Homeschool: Health

5 Days of Praying for Your Homeschool

We all have preconceived ideas about what our homes will be like when we homeschool. One of my faulty lines of thinking was that since we weren’t around hundreds of school children everyday, we’d avoid most of the sicknesses that blaze through schools. Ha! Little did I know that we’d pick up every germ, bug, and virus that came along in the first couple of years. I’ll admit, it was pretty disheartening to catch every little illness. We felt like we couldn’t establish a regular routine in our homeschool, because we were constantly having to take a few days off. But as I began to pray for our health and safety, it seemed that we’d go longer and longer between illnesses. We were finally able to establish a daily routine for our homeschool. It felt really good to be in our groove.

The Lord is gracious and longs to give good gifts like health to His children. Does that mean that we can always avoid sickness? No. Does it mean that if a family experiences a lot of illness, they aren’t praying about their wellness enough? Absolutely not. God is sovereign and He alone chooses how He acts. However, often times the Enemy of our soul wants us to believe that sickness has to be commonplace. He wants us to believe that our prayers for health are ineffective. Can I encourage you today to use Psalm 91 and Isaiah 53 as guides as you pray in power for the health and safety of your family? “Precious Lord, how grateful we are that You love us enough to care about our health. You want us to prosper and be in good health, according to Your word. You were pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities. The punishment You took for us brought us peace, and by Your wounds WE ARE HEALED. Lord, You alone are our refuge and our fortress, and we trust in You. You save us from the fowler’s snare and from deadly pestilence. You cover us with Your feathers. Though a thousand may fall at our side, ten thousand at our right hand, no disaster will befall us. Thank you, Lord, for Your strong watch care over our bodies. Thank you that Your word is more powerful than the tricks of the Enemy. Grant us continued good health that we may serve You in our homeschool and in life.”

Aren’t you glad that we serve a God who is stronger than germs and more powerful than viruses? He maintains our good health, and we owe Him a debt of gratitude for it.

If you’re new to this series, you can click through to our posts about wisdom, unity, and attacks from the Enemy.

If you’d like to take a look at the other 5 Days Hopscotch series, please click here.

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Five Days of Praying for Your Homeschool: Attack

5 Days of Praying for Your Homeschool

Welcome back to Five Days of Praying for Your Homeschool. In day 1 we discovered how to ask for God’s wisdom as we make decisions about educating our children. In day 2 we discussed having unity in our homes, both among our children and with our spouse in the area of homeschooling. Today we’ll look at how to cover our home schools in prayer when Satan tries to attack.

Anytime we are walking in the ways of God, the Enemy wants to throw us off. He will try to use confusion, insecurity, defeat, distraction, and all kinds of other methods to get our eyes off of God’s call. Our home schools are no exception. Satan will attack our home schools just as he attacks any other good plan of God in our lives. And while God has given us the tools to defeat Satan, he does still wage war against us and we do have to fight him off. We can use Ephesians 6:11-17 to pray against the attacks the Enemy will form against us in the area of our home schools. “Father, we choose this day to put on the full armor You have given us to take our stand against the attacks of Satan. You have given us power over him, and we wield that power against his plans for destruction. We know we don’t war against each other, but against the plans he has schemed against us. We put on the belt of Your truth, knowing that it is the ONLY truth. We do not believe the father of lies who tells us that we cannot live up to Your calling. We put on the breastplate of righteousness. We know that because of our sin, we are unrighteous. But because of the blood of Jesus Christ shed for us, we take on His righteousness. We stand before you wearing his atonement, substituting His death for our punishment, knowing full well that He now holds our hearts. Lord, we shod our feet with the readiness of the gospel of peace. You have anointed us to use every situation to spread the reconciling peace of Your gospel with everyone, in our homeschool and beyond. Jesus, our faith is in You. This includes the faith that You have the power and the authority to redeem us. We take up the shield of that faith to extinguish the fiery darts of the evil one. Our authority to fight against him comes from You, and in Your Name we command him to flee from our home. We put on the helmet of salvation. Your salvation covers us today as we fight the Enemy. And lastly, we keep our sword of the Spirit ready, the Word of God. We have studied it and stored it up in our hearts. Call it to mind today as we use it to fight against the attacks and lies of the Deceiver. Help us to trust what You say in Your word more than what the Enemy tries to convince us of. Lord, having done all this, we stand. We stand against evil because we stand with YOU.”

When we expect attacks from Satan on our homeschool, we will see them clearly and be able to address them quickly through prayer. Those days that we are consumed by doubt, fear, and insecurity, we can quickly turn to God and put on our full armor to stand against the Enemy.

To see more 5 Day Hopscotch posts, please click here.

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