Exploring Your World
Homeschool Review Crew
Do you do school in the summer? We school year round but in the summer and fall we tend to do more outside activities. We call it exploring your world. Because that’s what we’re doing! We’re exploring the great big wonderful world around us. As part of our exploring your world this summer we’ve been using some My First Reports from Hewitt Homeschooling.
About My First Reports
My First Reports are are ideally for grades one through four. However, I have had my children in fifth and sixth grades using these this summer too and they’ve been amazing! Know your child and you’ll know if these will work for them. For my kids they were interested in the subject matter and really loved the reports. Could they have dug a little deeper and done a bit harder work? Sure. But did they need to to learn? No.
Within the My First Report curriculum your child not only learns about the topic on hand but they also incorporate so much more! There are hands on activities. You’re going to see science, history, math, music, PE, and the list goes on. I love that they are little unit studies that you can work through at your own pace.
Each My First Reports packet contains at least twelve different topics within the topic of the entire packet. So if you use one sub-topic per week the packet will last you an entire quarter of school. So two My First Reports per semester or four per year (or five- six per year if you school year round) would be all you’d need. Oh and the report forms you use are reproducible. LOVE that. Plus the lines come in varying heights so it’s perfect for your super neat small writer or your large and sloppy writer.
We received several different My First Reports to review. I’m going to list them below and chat about each one a bit. But first I want to say I love how they come to me just staples but with holes punched so they’re ready to go in a three ring binder or folder. This makes keeping track of them easier and you can personalize how you keep them together. If we’re going on a field trip we can just grab the one sheet we need versus taking the whole binder. Also the front and back pages are a cardstock type paper rather than just standard printer paper making them a little more durable.
Remember the classification system? Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species? Well you will after this study! You’re going to learn all about the animal kingdom within marine life. And it’s fun learning! I really wish we’d lived closer to an ocean or beach for this study as explore your world -the beach just sounds like so much fun! But instead we satisfied our longing with a trip to our pond and the large aquarium at the zoo.
You’ll find Sponges, Jellyfish/Coral, Sea Animals/Shells, Octopuses/Squids, Crustaceans, Sea Stars, Fishes, Sea Mammals, Sharks/Rays, Dolphins, Sport Fishes, and Aquarium Fishes as the topics within Marine Life. It’s 45 pages without the reproducible copy pages at the end.
Our favorite sub topic would have to be on the sharks/rays. My kids loved it! Of course sitting in the tunnel in the zoo aquarium while we were working on that lesson and the sharks swimming over and around us didn’t hurt either. Plus they had a little petting area set up where the kids could touch sting rays. I’m all freaking out about it because that’s definitely not on my bucket list but the kids loved it.
Plants by Christine Dillon
My dad is a horticulturist but I’m ashamed to say my plant knowledge is rudimentary at best. I definitely learned a lot going over and through this with the kids. If you’re like us and use “exploring your world” as a base of study you get all kinds of plant questions. “Mommy what’s this?” “Mommy what’s this flower called? Why does this have have this bump on it? Can I eat this?” and the list goes on and on and on!!
While exploring your world in the realm of plants you’re going to learn about roots, stems, leaves, flowers, seeds, fruits, clones, defenses, habitats, unusual, conifers, and seedless. This is a great study to do with gardening because you can literally watch a bunch of this stuff happening before your eyes in the garden while you learn about it on paper. Choose a fast growing plant though.
For this study I want to chat about one section that is in all of them. Bible. They all have a good sized section dedicated to how the Bible incorporates into this topic. For plants you learn about lots of places where the Bible mentions plants and how they relate to us. One section we took out of that and explored more was linen. How linen is made, where it comes from, when we started using linen, etc. This really is one of my favorites sections in all the reports because of the sheer volume of learning that is done in it. Not just by my children. It’s amazing truths spoken to us.
Birds by Christine Dillon
We love birds in our house. Bird feeders hang outside our windows so we can watch the fun birds through our window. Of course, these are just the standard “yard” birds. This study covers so many more birds!
The topics covered in this study are NonFlyers, Penguins, Sea Swimmers, Tall Waders, Sea/Shore, Water, Game, Birds/Prey, Owls, Tropical, Perchers, Hummingbirds/Swifts, and NonPerchers. Our favorite to study was probably the birds of prey. We live in the country and are near a wildlife refuge that hosts the largest number of Eagles in our area. Driving around and spotting the Bald Eagles is always a fun activity. There is even a juvenile pair that we spotted roosting in our trees!
This is again a great study to involve going somewhere. We did some nature walks, we went to the refuge, we went to the zoo. I really wish we had an actual aviary somewhere close that we could go see all the birds! We loved the activity of grow sunflowers as we already have a few volunteer sunflowers coming up under our bird feeders.
This study is the one that was done by my six year old. It’s one we could easily do as we live on a farm. The topics covered are Cats, Dogs, Goats, Horses, Pigs, Sheep, Cattle, Poultry, Rabbits, Fish, Monkeys, Birds/Fowl, Hamsters, and Turtles. We have almost all of these on our farm!
We did have to go off our farm to find pigs, cattle, rabbits, fish, monkeys, and hamsters. Monkeys just don’t run wild around here! We do visit a farm often to get our milk so that was an easy stop to look at cattle up close. Driving by them is not quite the same. My kids have always wanted rabbits so this was another chance to beg their daddy. He still says no! Hamsters are a house pet that we won’t have as we have cats inside. Lastly it’s the fish. Fish we easy to go look at nearby at lakes and the refuge for “wild” ones or the store for inside ones.
The read alouds for this section were so fun. Lots of favorites plus we added several of our own as well. Anything animal related could be included here and we included a lot of them!
My ten year old boy is a reptile lover. Every time we go to the zoo his favorite exhibit is the “swamp” where we get to see alligators and crocodiles. They have several learning stations that teach the difference between the two and all about them.
The topics within this study are Lizards, Iguanas, Chameleons, Turtles, Crocodiles, Snakes, Garter Snakes, Rattlesnakes, Frogs, Toads, Newts, and Salamanders. Rattlesnakes was one I made sure the whole family heard and learned about in this study because we do have a population around here. It’s always important to be able to identify snakes and know which the poisonous ones are.
While exploring your world you should know all the poisonous animals and plants. These two studies(combined with some from plants) made up a semi unit study that I did with the whole family. I wanted to make sure my children weren’t going to be eating things that would make them sick.
My son definitely loved this study and would really like to expand on it and do more individualized animals. There wasn’t an alligator section so he’s currently applying all the information he’s learned about reports and gathering information to create his own alligator study. I think another zoo visit is going to be happening soon.
This was another fun study to work through! Definitely going to be doing it with all of the kids next semester. It’s one that contains several animals local to us which makes it fun to go walk along our property and look for animal tracks. We found lots of possum(opossums) and raccoon tracks. Oh and squirrels. We have lots of squirrels!
The topics contained are beavers, foxes, skunks, opossums, koalas, raccoons, otters, porcupines, squirrels, pandas, moles, bats, and armadillos.
Foxes are the bane of our existence lately as they’re loving our chicken dinners. This was a lot of fun and really informational for my son doing this study. It allowed him to come up with possible habitats that our foxes could be living and why they would have chosen those spots. I loved watching their minds work!
Large mammals were also fun as it included several of our favorites from the zoo. It also had a one that we could see locally(like our backyard) that made it so we could tie it into our everyday life. I love tying things into actually exploring your world in our backyard!
The topics covered are Bears, Hippopotamuses, Deer, Tigers, Apes, Elephants, Moose, Lions, Kangaroos, Whales, Giraffes, Camels, and Zebras. Obviously most of these don’t live in the wild in the midwest and whales is one we are not going to be able to see.
Our favorite animal to talk about and learn about was definitely the lion. We love to incorporate Jesus as a lion and the symbolism behind that into things so that was fun. It also allowed us to read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe again which is fun. We love that book!
How We Used Them
I’ve mentioned some of how we used the various studies above. For the purposes of getting them in for the review period I let one child each choose a study. They worked through it primarily on their own with my help. The other kids just gleaned by listening plus I had the one assigned to that study share with them occasionally what they were learning and the fun stuff involved.
We all did ALL of the fun nature experiments, field trips, and such together for ALL of the studies. So we were kind of doing seven studies at once as a family but then again not. If that makes any sense. I would definitely if buying the studies only work on one study at a time with all of the kids together.
Ages for the studies. I had two 12 year olds, two 10 year olds, a nine year old, an eight year old, and a six year old assigned to the studies. They each got to choose which one they wanted to be their primary study and we went from there. These are a lot of fun to use and we are definitely going to be getting one or two to work through next summer as well. All the thumbs up from us if you like hands on go out and explore schooling these are for you! Exploring your world just got easier!
On our list of to buy next and use would be the Bugs and Worms! We found a slug that was huge yesterday and it started all kinds of questions!
Make sure you check out the Main Homeschool Review Crew blog for all the great Hewitt Homeschooling reviews. They go from the small ages way up to high school ages so I’m sure you can find an appropriate age range for your homeschooler. Make sure to particularly check out the other My First Reports reviews as there are so many fun titles to choose from! You can also find Hewitt Homeschooling on facebook, pinterest, twitter, and google +. Now get out with us this summer and start Exploring Your World!