Thursday, July 26, 2018

Northwest Treasures ~ Dinosaurs and the Bible (An online Geology classreview)

Northwest Treasures is a nifty little niche company (based in Washington state) that offers online and live classes in geology, as well as field trips and educational kits, all with a Biblical Worldview. We were offered two of the online classes to choose from for the purposes of this review: Dinosaurs and the Bible, and Geology and Apologetics, as well as Taking the Mystery Out of Geology. I chose Dinosaurs and the Bible, as I figured it would have the broadest appeal for our family, although we are all interested in Geology, rockhounding and such. (I seem to have passed on my interest which was definitely nurtured by growing up in the fossil and rock rich state of Montana, with a history buff for a father, and a rockhound for a grandfather. ;) )

Here is a trailer to give you a feel for this particular class:

Trailer of the Dinosaurs and the Bible class from Patrick Nurre on Vimeo.

Each lesson runs around 20 minutes, and comes with a worksheet (Set of 8-13 questions) to check comprehension and retention of the information found in the lesson. These worksheets are a little tricky to locate, so here are some instructions (that I think could be included on the course page).
When you are logged in (on a computer), there is a list of lessons with a "watch" button following each one. It isn't clearly obvious that the lessons themselves are clickable links that bring you to an overview of the lesson and links to the worksheet, and answer key (the answer key only needs to be downloaded one time, as it covers all 6 lessons). 

The final lesson also includes a 15 question multiple choice exam that covers information from the entire course.

The lessons are pretty much Vimeo powerpoint slide presentations (We watched on our TV via the Vimeo Roku channel, but you can also watch in a browser on your computer or tablet), with narration/instruction by Patrick Nurre. Through each of the videos, Patrick discusses the differences between Secular Paleontology and Christian Geology, always bringing it back to the framework of the Bible, as well as pointing out inconsistencies promoted by Evolutionary theorists and noting when Science becomes confused with Philosophy...

One of the things I particularly appreciated was the placement of the scientists in historical and geographical context, which helped to explain some of their philosophy and personal opinion/conjecture. The lessons progress from general discussions of the modern secular view of dinosaurs (and how it came about), their classification, to discussions of the catastrophic events that would have caused their demise and fossilization. All very interesting and intriguing for both my 11-year-old and myself. The lessons are:

  • How We Got Our Modern View of the Dinosaurs 
  • The Classification of Dinosaurs
  • The Great Dinosaur Rush
The first three segments are more historical/technical aspects of the discussion, the terms, and classification. The last three highlight the Biblical answer of "how" the extinction occurred, and the fossils were created... something that eludes those who hold a secular view, but so simply explained in the Bible. 
  • The Extinction of the Dinosaurs
  • Dinosaurs and the Ice Age
  • Fossils, Age, and Soft Tissue
I particularly enjoyed the last two lessons, as they referenced my home state, Yellowstone National Park, the Gallatin Valley, and other National Parks we visited last year as a family including Devil's Tower and the Petrified Forest. I grew up hunting for fossils (Although sadly I don't know what happened to the trilobites and others that were discovered on hikes and outings as a kid) and petrified wood. Thankfully I still have the chunks of petrified wood that I found as a kid in the Gallatin Valley. 

my petrified wood, crystals, and a piece of jewelry created by my rockhounding grandfather

I mentioned the worksheets at the beginning of this review, and I would suggest that if you are using them with kids on the younger age that they are printed up and used as a note-taking exercise while watching the video. Older students could use them as quizzes...

Taking the Mystery Out of Geology clarifies 13 terms that are frequently used in the field of Paleontology and Geology and shows how Science, History, and the Bible really do go together. 

As mentioned at the end of each of the video lessons, Northwest Treasures offers kits and hands-on material to enhance the lessons, and they also offer field trips to those fortunate enough to live in the Northwest, and/or those who have funds to travel for school. My father had moved out to the Glendive area where the Dinosaur and Agate Expedition tour takes place, and I would highly recommend anyone able to participate to do so. The Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum doesn't get the press of the Creation Museum, but it is actually a larger facility and extremely close to the dinosaur site digs. We found it fascinating when we were there in 2016, and would have loved the opportunity to go to the fossil fields (weather and time constraints did not permit...). 

Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum

I understand that they offer some classes on, and while I haven't personally used/checked those out, if you have a membership and are interested in Geology, I expect they are well worth checking out. ;) 

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
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Please click the banner below to visit the TOS Homeschool Review Crew and see what others had to say about this and the other two courses. As always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you choose where best to spend your homeschool budget.

Online Geology Classes{Northwest Treasures Reviews}

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Progeny Press ~ The Green Book - eGuide (Upper Elementary Literature guide review)

Over the years I have been blessed to review a number of Progeny Press Literature Guides, for a variety of ages. The vast majority of them (as you will see when I list links to them towards the end of my review) have been for the High School crowd, and then the Middle School ages, but Progeny Press also caters to the elementary ages (I've reviewed one title from Lower Elementary), and my latest review is from the Upper Elementary level, The Green Book - eGuide.

I probably would not have known about The Green Book by Jill Paton Walsh if it were not for this review, and we would have been missing out! My Youngest LOVES to read and may have been put off by the slimness of this volume (he goes for books in the 300-page realm) if left to his own devices. However, good things come in small packages is not true simply for girls and little boxes. This is a gem of a story with many good themes to be pulled out, with the help of Progeny Press and Rebecca Gilleland.

One of my favorite things about Progeny Press (that you will find repeated in each of my reviews) is the lens through which each work of literature is viewed. In addition to learning vocabulary and completing comprehension questions, students are challenged to "Dig Deeper" and discuss the story and the characters through a Christian Worldview. To see how choices and consequences of the characters line up (or not) with the Bible, and how they might apply to our lives today.

So, what exactly will you find in Progeny Press' The Green Book - eGuide?
You will receive two files to download. The actual study guide is an interactive adobe file in which your student can type their answers (or you can print the pages up). Note~ if you have a Mac, you need to open the file in Adobe, not Preview, or it won't work... at least with my old, un-updated Mac... I have no idea how it performs on a non-apple product.


  • Note to the Instructor on how to use the guide
  • Synopsis of the Story
  • Background information on the Author of the Story/Novel
  • Prereading Activities
  • Chapter-by-Chapter guide broken down into
    • Vocabulary work~ (Which takes a number of forms from defining words to matching words and definitions to crossword puzzles and wordsearches~ not the same thing for each chapter. I appreciate the variety!)
    • Questions~ covering content
    • Think About the Story~ comprehension questions, and literary elements (simile, metaphor, foreshadowing, etc...)
    • Dig Deeper~ Worldview questions, discussions, and application
    • Optional Projects and Activities~ these range from discussions to writing assignments, related science experiments, hands-on projects (including art and cooking to name a couple), field trip suggestions, etc...   
  • Overview (Discussing the plot, conflict, themes, etc..) This particular guide also includes a Venn Diagram and a crossword puzzle. 
  • After You Read Projects that include science, art, cooking, research and writing, performances, etc... 
  • Additional Resources ~ lists of books and links to extension activities
Answer Key
The second file is the Answer Key for the Instructor, pictured above. 

As I mentioned above, The Green Book is a slender volume (69 pages), but you can get at least six or seven weeks of in-depth Literature study out of it, and I suspect your student will adopt the story as a favorite (this has happened with almost every story for which we have used Progeny Press guides)! Although all the extras (science, cooking, art, and other hands-on activities) are great, I feel that this affinity for the books often comes about possibly as a result of the application of the story to our lives from a Christian perspective, in addition to the selections being quality stories on their own.

In this particular instance, many of the activities included for The Green Book were things that we have already explored~ making a journal (from an art review), visiting the aquarium (Jellyfish!), spinning fibers, cooking, learning about maple syrup, making an oil lamp... so I thought I would include some photos of those aactivities that we were able to relate back to, even if we didn't actually do them this time around. It's always nice to be able to connect past activities to a current read. :)

If you would like to check out some of my other reviews they are listed below...

2012 Pride and Prejudice and the Bronze Bow High School and Middle School
2013 The Hobbit and Treasure Island High School and Middle School
2014 The Hunger Games and The Giver  High School and Middle School
2015 Sam the Minute Man Lower Elementary
2015 To Kill a Mockingbird High School
2016 The Scarlet Pimpernel  High School

My son really enjoyed reading The Green Book, and I feel that this is a very valuable literature unit, that would be a good addition to any upper elementary homeschool study.

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
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Please click the banner below to visit the TOS Homeschool Review Crew and see what others had to say about this and the other titles reviewed (One from each level, Early Elementary reviewed The Josephina Story Quilt, more Upper Elementary reviews of The Green Book, Middle School reviews of The Scavengers, and the High School selection of Perelandra. Other than The Josephina Story Quilt the rest of the titles were new to me!
As always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you choose where best to spend your homeschool budget.


New Study Guides for Literature From a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press Reviews}

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