Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Creation Illustrated (A Homeschool Crew Review)

I tend to like unit studies.  The idea of having everything all in one, incorporating various subjects like science, language arts, social studies, and math all into one convenient package really appeals to me.

So when we were given the opportunity to review two unit studies from Creation Illustrated, my interest was indeed peaked.  Members of the crew were given the opportunity to review two unit studies :  Snow Unit Study and a study on Pine Trees.

We have a pine tree that sits outside our home.  Since the day we have moved into this home, that pine tree has been an important aspect to our everyday family life.  Its limbs have provided perches for hummingbirds as we observed them closer, it's sturdy roots and trunk have assisted in science experiments and it's long pine needles have been a part of nature and art studies.  Even the pine cones that fall from this tree have had it's lasting influence on the name of this blog, as Garrett use to collect so many of those pine cones that they became manipulatives in our early learning.

Because this tree has been so influential in our lives,  we decided to jump into learning about pine trees.

The Creation Unit study for Pine Trees is intended for grades 5-8.  However, there is a discrepancy in regards to this targeted grade range: while the website states grades 3-8, the unit study itself stated 5th-8th. After looking at the material, I'm more inclined to believe 5-8.  While the kids are slightly below this grade level, we were still able to work through the unit study together, they just required a bit of extra help.

Finding unit studies that tackle science from a Creation science aspect is rare. Both of these studies are written from the viewpoint of Creation science and use Biblical teachings as a platform.  Creation Illustrated's mission statement is to "share the wonders of God's creation by revealing fresh insights of His infinite wisdom, gentle touch, undeniable justice, redeeming love, and flawless design..."

I started by simply printing two copies of the first 13 pages of the unit study.  The full download consists of a 16 page PDF, however, three pages are the answer key to the various activities included. The first page of the study material has clickable links for outside links, such as articles and videos, where the actual material to be learned can be found.

 Once printed, I could simply staple them together and punch holes in them to include in the kid's daily packet of paperwork.

The 13 page study consists of 10 pages of activities that include a Bible study, vocabulary and word study,  a geography activity to locate where particular species of pine trees grow, a science study on how to identify pine trees by their needles, bark and pine cones, and even some math activities involving the Fibonacci sequence.

Ashleigh working on identifying various species of pine trees
This study also introduced us to Creation Illustrated Magazine, a quarterly periodical for all ages.  This was a periodical that I had not previously been familiar with. Part of the reading involved with the unit study had us reading an article entitled The Enduring Pine Tree, where we learned about the two oldest living trees on the planet - a pair of Great Basin bristlecone pine trees located in here in California.  Originally believed to be the oldest living thing on earth, the first tree, Methuselah is believed to be roughly 4,849 years old.  Later, scientists discovered that a nearby tree was actually older than Methuselah and is estimated to be 5,067 years old.

We read this article along with many others together out loud, enjoying the amazing photographs that accompanied each article. As this particular magazine was the Fall 2017 digital issue, we were able to read the article about the total solar eclipse that we had the opportunity to see last year.  We were in a paved parking lot of a convention center when we observed the eclipse, so we weren't able to observe the reaction of wildlife to the event.  So reading this article was really interesting to us.  It turned out to be a really enjoyable magazine for our family to read.  We were also given access to a free copy of the Winter 2018 digital issue of Creation Illustrated as well, as the article "Intricacy of Snow” is used with the Snow unit study.

Ashleigh recently had to memorize all the books of the Bible for Awana so the Bible study activity allowed her the opportunity to use her tablet to look up the required verses.  Ash did a great job looking them up and reading them out loud for Garrett to listen to and then we were all able to work together to complete the activity.
Researching Bible Verses on the tablet for the Pine Tree Bible Study

Working together on a word find activity.

But probably the best sign that a unit study works is when the kids take what they learn and apply it to what they observe outside the classroom.  For my kids, this meant heading outdoors for a nature walk and checking out the various pine and fir trees around the base.  The kids began taking the time to notice the amount and style of needles on the trees as well as if the cones produced seeds or airborne spores.  It's been lots of fun watching them discover a tree they hadn't noticed before and run up and start evaluating it.

While we have not yet begun working on the Snow unit study,  I have looked over it and it appears it will be equally as interesting for the kids. The Snow study follows the same format as the Pine Tree study, consisting of 13 pages of activities, links to videos and articles, Bible studies, math problems, and geography.  It's just really hard to for the kids to imagine snow when we live in an arid desert.

We really enjoyed the way this unit study was designed and learned a lot from it. I'll be purchasing the Joshua Tree National Park unit study in the very near future to learn more about this local park before we go this summer.    Also, we've already started planning a side trip when we go camping in Inyo National Forest this summer.  The kids said we ABSOLUTELY have to go see Methuselah and it's older cousin - if we can guess which trees they are lol.

For more information about Creation Illustrated Unit Studies and to purchase them at a 30% discount, visit their store at https://dv157.infusionsoft.com/app/storeFront/showCategoryPage?categoryId=6

Annual print subscriptions to the ad-free Creation Illustrated magazine can also be purchased at a 25% discount at http://www.creationillustrated.com/subscriptions.   Digital Subscriptions are currently in the works and will be added to the website soon.

#hsreviews  #CreationIllustrated #naturestudy #creationscience

You can also visit Creation Illustrated at the following social media sites:

Facebook:  https://ww.facebook.com/CreationIllustrated/
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/creation_illustrated/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/creationnature/pins/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/CreationMag

Creation Illustrated Unit Studies {Creation Illustrated Reviews}

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