Quality Science Labs, LLC – Science Lab Kits for Middle to High School, including AP
Age Range: 7th grade to AP High School
Cost Range: Middle School Topics: $124.95 High School Topics: $137.95 to $249.95
Subject: Chemistry, Biology, Earth Science, Physics, Life Science
Location: Lake George, CO
E-mail: website form
Science can be one of the most challenging subjects to teach in any setting — public schools, private schools, and especially in a homeschool environment. The majority of us cannot afford the thousands of dollars in equipment and technology that schools spend to outfit their science labs. But even well-funded schools may lack laboratory resources for many subject areas, most prominently AP science courses. The dismally small number of students interested in AP science courses means the interests of those few advanced students are sacrificed; however, nearly all schools maintain science labs. And without those high-quality lab tools, easy access to biological specimens, or a degree in science, most parents simply make do with found materials, homemade scientific instruments, and a “can do” spirit. Although this may work while children are younger, it can become increasingly overwhelming as students study more advanced content. Thankfully, Quality Science Labs offers laboratory kits that are the ideal solution for every homeschool science curriculum.
Developed by science instructors with more than 133 years of instruction in both high school and college courses, Quality Science Labs offers a wide variety of laboratory kits for homeschooling families. Each one makes teaching science accessible to every parent — empowering them with the tools and knowledge they need to be successful. The kits include all of the tools and science resources you need, developed to turn any clean table into a real scientific laboratory. The entire kit is compact and well-organized (two priorities in overcrowded classrooms), made of high-quality, durable materials. And because the kits are designed to enhance traditional science textbook learning, QSL coordinates the kits to many of the most popular homeschooling science courses. Most importantly, all of the kits are accompanied by step-by-step manuals that are written in plain English. These guides are a breeze for kids to use in the lab, providing the directions and questions students need to address during their experimentation process. Every experiment is detailed, including the goals, background review, materials and equipment preparation, procedures, and the results.
Students can find kits in Earth Science, Life Science, Physical Science, Biology, AP Biology, Chemistry, AP Chemistry, Physics, and Marine Biology. Kids will want to dive in head first as soon as their QSL kit arrives! Each one explores scientific topics in-depth, providing a year’s worth of labs that solidify the content your students cover in their textbooks.
The Earth Science Lab Kit offers students more than 30 different activities that cover 10 major areas, including volcanoes, tsunamis, making fossils, and much more. Another 30 experiments are provided in the Quality Science Labs Life Science kits, from cellular reproduction to flower reproduction, and everything in between. The 2nd Edition of the MicroPhySci Kit is now available, accompanied by a 207-page guide and 36 lab experiments that address every topic in your current Science textbook. QSL Biology kits cover all the classic labs, including mitosis, osmosis, photosynthesis, and the memorable specimen dissections, including a cow’s eye, a fetal pig, and a frog. The AP Biology kit plunges kids even further into science exploration, including biotechnology, mathematical modeling with genetic databases, and data analysis. And the award-winning MicroChem Kit offered by QSL is one of their best-selling products; after it arrives it is easy to understand why. Based on the Microscale method, a complete chemistry laboratory arrives to your doorstep in a small, carefully packaged box. No need for fume hoods and other expensive safety equipment! The QSL Physics kit is a must-have for all students of Physics, bringing abstract concepts to life and allowing kids to “play” with these concepts using hands-on experiments. But the Marine Biology kit from QSL is arguably the most transformative of all the products — literally bringing the ocean into your classroom or home.
Plus, QSL lab kits are the most cost-effective way to offer your students a real laboratory experience with a fraction of the prep time that is traditionally required. All of the experiments have been repeatedly tested to reduce the time, confusion, and money that is so often wasted by well-intentioned, homemade science experiments. This overwhelming preparation is eliminated by the QSL kits, allowing parents to join their kids on the journey of scientific discovery. And a disappointing number of science curricula have now switched to a “virtual laboratory” setting. Despite the heightened realism and attention to detail, these programs lack the hands-on experiences that are an essential part of being a scientist. With a few simple household items, parents can use Quality Science Lab kits to unleash the natural scientific curiosity inherent in every child. These kits are so well designed, they are virtually foolproof.
For more information, including pricing and custom lab kits, please visit their website at www.qualitysciencelabs.com. Ω
The Joy of Knowing How To Learn, Languages Skills Series
All books are 8.5” x 11” soft cover
Spelling – 173 pgs ISBN: 9781545100196
Vocabulary Level A – 266 pgs. Gr 1-3 ISBN: 9781089137252
Vocabulary Level B – 190 pgs Gr 4-6 ISBN: 9781093239065
Author: Dr. Joyce McPeak Robinson
Assessed by Michael Leppert
Dr. Joyce Robinson has been a classroom teacher and administrator. She holds Masters and Doctoral degrees from Boston University. Her series of books is inviting and attractive.
The underlying premise of Dr Robinson’s method is that the first question about learning is: How, not What. If children are taught how to learn, they can take in much more information before they might require aid from a parent or teacher (which many children are reluctant to seek in the first place).
Modern brain research has demonstrated that spelling improvement relates positively to learning other language skills – particularly, reading. Spelling was largely overlooked by the Whole Language Method in the 1980s, which supported an approximate spelling approach. Children who were burdened by this “think” method grew up having difficulty unlearning the approximate (incorrect) spellings of youth. Recent studies have shown that correctly writing out spelling words activates four different sensory receivers. This means that spelling positively affects reading, writing, speaking and listening on a neurolinguistic level.
Joyce Robinson offers a method based on proven educational and psychological research, which include testing of knowledge of material presented; small increments of information; correction; repetition; learning words in context improves spelling; frequent feedback; copying/handwriting – these activities have been shown to improve spelling by 50% and the neural systems connected to reading and memory are also improved by writing the words.
The book begins with the 100 Most Misspelled Words and then following that, are 100 Study Sheets, each one focused on one of the 100 words. The page has 10 Steps relating to the subject word: Using the word in a sentence; having the word written, defining the word, filling in two missing letters from the word, etc., making it easy for the child to remember the word’s definition and use in context by the end of the work page. After the 100 Study Pages are 10 Pre-Test pages for groups of 10 of the 100 words and an Answer Key so the parent can easily check for errors or no errors. Next, are 10 Post-Test pages for groups of 10 each and the student has the opportunity to improve his/her performance from the Pre-Test.
In her two Vocabulary books, Dr. McPeake Robinson follows a similar method as in her Spelling Book.
The 100 Often Used Words are divided into working groups of 10 and are listed in the Pre-test section. There is a Study Sheet that corresponds to each word. The student takes the Pre-test for Group 1, which consists of matching words in one list with their meanings in a second list. Once the student corrects his/her list it’s time to turn to the Study Page for each missed definition to delve more deeply into the meaning and uses. The Study Sheet offers the opportunity to write the word, which provides a deeper connection than merely reading it. It also show syllabication – the act of breaking a word into its syllables, providing another way to see and think of the word, repeating it on the brain.
A large, well-oiled vocabulary is one of the most significant tools a person can possess. Your speech and writing will clearly communicate your thoughts to others and will also aid your mental organization. Knowing more than one word for a concept and being able to pick just the right one is like building muscle in your body – it affords you complete autonomy and enjoyment in writing or speaking tasks.
Visit Dr. Robinson’s website and order her books for your child. They are easy to use and enjoyable! MjL
Easy Grammar Systems – Grammar texts & Videos for grades 2-12
P.O. Box 25970
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
Reviewed by Staff
Easy Grammar Systems has developed a series of texts and video lessons for students that finally make the English language approachable for everyone. Struggling students, English Language Learners, accelerated students — all children can benefit from using this innovative approach to grammar instruction. In one study, conducted of 282 students using these texts, 85% increased their test scores between 20% and 61%. The results were amazing! This is most likely due to the strong emphasis on content mastery found throughout the Easy Grammar Systems series.
The key feature of the Easy Grammar texts is author Wanda C. Phillips’s use of the “prepositional approach” and encouraging students to engage with grammar “hands on.” While she not the original developer of the prepositional approach, Dr. Phillips immediately understood how to translate it into a classroom environment. By combining this innovative approach with various ideas and strategies that she found effective in her years as a teacher, Dr. Phillips developed a series of texts that ensure that every student will master the concepts and will succeed in grammar.
Students in elementary school are introduced to the basics of grammar and guided step-by-step in building upon knowledge. Second graders begin with 180 daily lessons that present content in a fun and friendly format. Lessons are limited to 10-15 minutes and include review of previous materials, ensuring young children are not overwhelmed by new content and long lessons. Students in Grades 3-6 can find an Easy Grammar text to correspond with their grade level or learning level. Each text introduces new prepositions for students to learn and then leads them through the process of deleting those phrases to simplify their language. It is through this process of simplification that even struggling students just seem to “get it” by using the Easy Grammar texts. Because each text includes reviews and assessments—both unit and cumulative—parents will be amazed at the resulting increase in mastery that produces an increase in test scores. Parents may visit www.easygrammar.com and click on “Placement Tests” to help determine a suggested starting level. Otherwise, Dr. Phillips recommends starting children at grade level.
Easy Grammar Plus is a non-grade level text, but it is often used for 7th graders. This is also a great text for older students who continue struggling with the basics, or who never learned the foundational building blocks for the English language. Maybe your high schooler has never fully grasped proper capitalization, or learned English as a second language—even older homeschoolers (and many parents) will benefit greatly from the content. If you are unsure of where your older child should begin, this is a great text with which to start.
In addition to these texts that deliver grammar content in units, there are corresponding Daily GRAMS by grade level. The Daily GRAMS provide content for student review and are designed as daily lessons, unlike the Easy Grammar texts, which are organized in larger unit. There are 180 daily, 10–minute lessons reviewing capitalization, punctuation, parts of speech, correct grammar usage, sentence types, synonyms, analogies, root words, spelling, combining sentences for improved writing, and more.
For grades 8-12, students can continue with the Easy Grammar Ultimate Series by grade level. Each grade includes 180, 10-minute teaching lessons, combining grammar with history, music, nutrition, and more. The concepts are presented cyclically and expanded/reviewed throughout the year to enhance mastery learning of every concept. At each grade level in the series, students work on capitalization, punctuation, proper use of grammar and vocabulary, as well as improving student writing through higher level sentence structures. Parents already using another teaching series can supplement the curriculum with a revised Daily GRAMS: Junior High/Senior High.
Dr. Phillips helps students to develop higher-level sentence structures and sentence variety using an easy, step-by-step format in Easy Writing. Two levels in this text guide both upper-elementary and high-school students in improving their quality of writing. More than just a review of writing formats, students learn the skills needed to be successful writers.
Dr. Phillips’s latest book, Easy Grammar’s Guide for Parents: Improve Your Grammar in Minutes, helps adults determine—in 2 five-minute assessments—if they make grammar errors. This is not a do-every-page workbook; she guides adults only to a page that explains their particular concept.
For more information regarding any of the Easy Grammar Systems products, including free pages, a product catalog, a “Scope and Sequence” for concepts covered, etc., please visit the website at www.easygrammar.com. JN
Tags: 10-minute lessons, analogies, curriculum, Daily Grams, Dr. Wanda Phillips, Easy Grammar, Easy Grammar Plus, Easy Grammar review, English, Grades 2-12, English grammar video lessons, English grammar, English Language Learners, grammar, homeschool English, homeschoolers, homeschooling, improved writing, Language Arts, parts of speech, review of Easy Grammar, root words, SAT Prep, Scottsdale, spelling,
Up-Words® Reading Program – Great Approach & Clear Lesson Plan Instructions
by Valerie Schuetta, M.Ed
Up-Words® Reading is an excellent program in 3 Levels, for any teacher of grades K-3 or 4, with children having alphabet familiarity. Also, it is an especially perfect tool for any Reading Specialist trying to help students with reading difficulty.
The first thing that is noteworthy is that the sequential Lesson Plans have clear instructions and are easy to use. All of the teachers I know will love that time-saving feature. Each of 3 levels contains everything you need for a literacy-rich program in five components: Teacher’s Manual, Student Workbook, Decodable Reader Series, Resource Kit, and Progress Manual. These are all components of a cutting-edge reading program, teaching phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, sight words, and reading comprehension. I attribute this to the fact that Up-Words was developed by a Speech Pathologist and a Reading Specialist.
Decodable readers are especially important for beginning readers who are just learning to put together sounds to make words. This is why phonemic awareness is so crucial for beginning readers to master. If young readers have the ability to play around with sounds, that is, delete sounds and substitute with new sounds, recognize rhyming words, add sounds to word families, and truly master the ability to recognize the first, middle, and ending sounds, they are well on their way to becoming successful readers. Decodable readers are a very useful tool and can only enhance these skills. They give children that well-deserved pat on the back that says “Yes! I’m a reader!”.
The format reminds me of how I actually prepare my own lesson plans, showing the different activities in easy-to-read columns for Monday through Friday. For example: Phonemic Awareness: 1. Rhyme Time Activity. Phonics: 2. Determine the Letter of the Week 3. Handwriting Practice 4. Auditory Discrimination. 5. Scavenger Hunt 6. Playdough letters Sight Word Work 7. Introduce New Sight Words 8. Literature and at the top of each lesson it tells you what new letters are coming in the lesson. All of the skills are listed vertically, below each day, and the learning activities that correspond to each reading component. It is all in an easy-to-read format that anyone would find easy to understand, including a substitute teacher. The best part about the easy-to-read format is that there is no instructional time lost trying to figure out the lesson. Just looking at the lessons made me feel enthusiastic about actually teaching it!
Each lesson has 8 activities, but all begin with a phonemic awareness lesson, which is a crucial skill for a successful reader to acquire early on – for instance, “Monday, Level 1, Rhyme Time Activity” and when you turn the page, you see the instructions for exactly what that means for the activity. The instructions guide you to page one of the work-book, where you will find the Rhyme Time Activity. The work-book activities are meant to be used as master copies and there might be 5 activities for Phonics. Up-Words® covers all of the learning styles, too. For tactile learners, there are activities using colorful sand and play dough; for auditory learners, the teacher reads a piece from the Literature section and then has the students read themselves. This is a thorough and complete reading program that any teacher will find exciting and useful. VS
Reading and Spelling Pure & Simple (RSPS)
by Emerson Sandow
Reading is the most important academic skill we can possess, tied with Critical Thinking. Today, many children have problems processing letters, sounds and words and special teaching is required. There must also be special books written to address problems with reading.
Such a book is Reading and Spelling Pure & Simple: Phonics-Based Lessons for Teen, Elementary and Adult Students by Deede Hinckley Cauley. Ms. Cauley wrote RSPS to be used in teaching children with dyslexia and/or who have trouble with reading and she has repeatedly had children who use her book go from being non-readers to being accomplished readers in 90 lessons. No special teaching training is required; anyone who can read, can teach reading to another, using this book.
In 1999, Deede began working with children, after 20 years of working with teens and adults. She specially wrote lessons to help the younger students succeed and that is RSPS today. She states that there was nothing like it then and there still isn’t. The student learns the 48 sounds of the letters and the spelling of them and once s/he has solidly mastered the contents of the book, s/he can read virtually anything. There are no pictures and no storyline in RSPS, so the student cannot guess the words, but actually has to read them. All 90 lessons are written in the same format, keeping teacher preparation and planning to a minimum. Lessons 1-23 of RSPS contain all sorts of focused teaching tips for professional teachers and parents alike. Each of the 90 lessons come with one page of easy-to-understand instructions for the teacher.
Lesson 67 introduces diacritical marks to the student. These are the marks that show pronunciation, accent a syllable or separate a word. One example of a diacritical mark is the horizontal line above a vowel, meaning it has the long sound. This mark is called a macron. In this lesson, Deede suggests using a dictionary that features diacritical marks so the student and teacher can be sure of word pronunciation.
After the 90 lessons, there are many pages of reference or supplemental material, such as an Index of Letters and Sounds to make reviewing easier and a set of Completion Charts to mark the student’s progress.
If your child is having trouble with reading, no matter what the cause, please visit the website, http://www.realreading.com to see videos of a child using RSPS and a teacher discussing its value. There is a section for Classroom Use and another for Homeschool Use, so you will gain plenty of information to see how Deede’s excellent book can help you solve the problems.
Tags: adult reading, Deede Hinckley Cauley, elementary reading, Emerson Sandow, high school reading, homeschooler, homeschool, homeschooling, Michael Leppert, middle school reading, phonics, reading, remedial reading, thehomeschoolreview, Real Reading Company,
Bad Wolf Press – Musical Theatre Curriculum K-9+
216 Mt Hermon Road Ste E372
Scotts Valley, California 95066
by Emerson Sandow
Bad Wolf Press has created a series of clever musical plays that teach basic concepts in an imaginative and fun-inspiring way. Not only is academic information delivered via the plays, but the cast members practice important social skills, such as camaraderie, public speaking, teamwork and cooperation.
One example is the musical play “Character Matters”, wherein the (recovering) Wicked Witch and others, help in character-building issue — Cinderella with anger management, the Big Bad Wolf learns the Golden Rule, etc.
Because the scripts are not preachy, audience students pay attention to them and acting students can enjoy playing the roles.
“Character Matters” is typical of the packages offered:
$39.95 buys you everything you need for a successful production! (Buy 2 or more plays and get each for only $30.00.)
- Illustrated script (with the right to make copies for your students/actors)
- CD with rehearsal music and performance music – On the recording you’ll first hear our singers demonstrate all the songs, then just the musical accompaniments to each song so you can hear and perform the shows. You don’t have to sing or play a note!
- Teacher’s Guide: 10-15 pages of how-to suggestions
- NO performance royalty as long as no tickets are sold
- Lifetime performance rights!
Bad Wolf also offers licensing packages that make it affordable to bring a performing arts curriculum to a grade level or entire school.
Because what we learn in enjoyment lasts for many years, Bad Wolf’s approach to communicating a variety of ideas and facts in an enjoyable way, makes it very effective and powerful.
Since 1995, over 150,000 Bad Wolf classroom productions have been staged, world-wide, proving it is a powerful resource for homeschool support groups and others. Visit the website for complete information. E.S.
Tags: acting programs, acting resources, Arts, Bad Wolf Press, bullying lessons, bullying plays, Character building, drama packages, drama resources, elementary school drama lessons, Emerson Sandow, Language Arts, middle school acting classes, middle school theatre arts, Musical Theatre curriculum, Public Speaking, scripts for middle school, Theatre Arts, Theatre Arts packages
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