The Natural Homeschool Entomologists

Thank you Tanya.

Examining the Characteristics and Life Cycles of Insects (and Spiders)

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Have you found the perfect Science curriculum yet? We have! I am so excited to share with you the one we have and how amazing it is. I will tell you all about it and why we love it so much. We are sticking with it for a long while, for sure! This is a review post for  Nancy Larson Science 1 Unit F: Examining the Characteristics and Life Cycles of Insects (and Spiders).

Examining the Characteristics and Life Cycles of Insects (and Spiders)

Examining the Characteristics and Life Cycles of Insects (and Spiders)

Let me explain to you how this curriculum works. This year has 6 units and every unit focuses on a different topic. This is the sixth and last unit. It focuses on insects and spiders. We had so much fun with this unit in particular. Take a look below at the awesome lessons we covered in this unit!

Examining the Characteristics and Life Cycles of Insects (and Spiders)

We took our time examining the characteristics and life cycles of insects (and spiders) to learn about insects. We learned about how many legs and body parts they have. We learned about different insects (earwigs, praying mantises, beetles, etc).

These are some of the best books we read about insects: 1) The Best Book of Bugs 2) Big Book of Bugs 3) Familiar insects and Spiders (already included in the kit) 4) Bugs A to Z.

Examining the Characteristics and Life Cycles of Insects (and Spiders)

One of our top reasons to love Nancy Larson Science 1 so much is that it is hands-on, visual and also quantifiable by having paper and pencil activities as well. I simply love that balance!

For our butterfly unit, we received a voucher to order our caterpillars (kit is included in the curriculum, so no extra charge) and got them in the mail a couple of weeks later. You can specify to the company which week of the month you would like to receive them.

We watched them eat and eat and grow and molt and eat some more. We recorded our observations in the record sheets included in our curriculum. Then we watched them go into the chrysalis stage and then we waited as we learned more with pictures (included in the kit), mini butterfly and caterpillar replicas and activity sheets.

Examining the Characteristics and Life Cycles of Insects (and Spiders)

We read several butterfly books and we learned so much more. We learned the differences between butterflies and moths and we went exploring for butterflies during the day and we scouted for moths around our lights outside at night.

Finally, our butterflies came out! We fed them (instructions included for every step of the process) and watched them flutter around in their habitat for a few days. Once the last one came out, we released them. Their habitat is a cylindrical net, so we went into our trampoline for a giant habitat feel before they flew out into the world.

It was bittersweet, fascinating and beautiful, all at the same time. We really enjoyed examining the characteristics and life cycles of the beautiful insects! Here is part of our butterfly reading list 1) Butterflies and Moths 2) Crinkleroot’s Guide to Knowing Butterflies and Moths 3) Are You a Butterfly? 4) From Caterpillar to Butterfly

Examining the Characteristics and Life Cycles of Insects (and Spiders)

Enjoying what you see on  Nancy Larson Science 1? Well, come take a look at our lessons studying the ladybug life cycle, up close and personal. Our kit also included a ladybug (ladybird beetle) habitat and a voucher to order our larvas.

We received them about a week or two after our caterpillars arrived, so, while the caterpillars were in their chrysalis stage, we were had fun observing ladybug larvas scurry around, eat and eat and eat and then go into their pupas. We recorded our observations in each stage with them as well.

This experience was just as fascinating! Once the ladybugs came out of their pupas, we fed them and then we opened their habitat and let them crawl on our hands over a couple of days. It was so much fun! Here is part of the ladybug book list 1) Are You a Ladybug? 2) The Grouchy Ladybug 3) A Ladybug Larva Grows Up

We also studied the life cycle of grasshoppers, but we didn’t grow any. Here is part of our grasshopper book list 1) Are You a Grasshopper? 2) Grasshopper 3) Grasshopper life cycle

Examining the Characteristics and Life Cycles of Insects (and Spiders)

This post is titled: Examining the Characteristics and Life Cycles of Insects (and Spiders) and now, we have arrived to the spider part. Spiders are arachnids, from the arthropod family. They are not insects and we learned all about that! We recognized the differences, different kinds of spiders and their general behavior. It was fun leaving the hands-on part out of the equation for this one, hehe.

We have truly enjoyed using  Nancy Larson Science 1 this school year. We love it and look forward to Science 2 this Fall! Stay tuned for our posts about it! In my honest opinion,  Nancy Larson Science 1 is definitely worth the investment. It comes with so much material to cover (71 lessons in all) that it would have taken forever for me to put something this thorough and hands-on on my own.

Examining the Characteristics and Life Cycles of Insects (and Spiders)

Interested in Nancy Larson Science? Find them everywhere! Take at the list below. ?

Follow Nancy Larson on social media: Pinterest   Twitter @NLScience   Instagram

Nancy Larson Science for Homeschool and Why Nancy Larson Science Works

Facebook group Nancy Larson Science Homeschoolers

YouTube Channel (with videos answering many of your FAQs)

Blog BloomingScientists (where many parents share their stories)

Examining the Characteristics and Life Cycles of Insects (and Spiders)

Thank you for reading our Examining the Characteristics and Life Cycles of Insects (and Spiders) post! Here is the list of past posts from this year’s curriculum. You get to study them all with your children! Every single unit has been amazing!

Why Nancy Larson Science Works – Science 1

A parent asked if it what necessary to start the Science 1 lessons in order. Here’s why it is.
Nancy writes the lessons with the intention that they be taught in order. The scientific information builds on previous lessons, reviewing and referring back when teaching new concepts, and helps children learn new applications and adaptations of information.
Nancy also focuses on learning strategies, those lifelong learner skills that we want our children to master. These are woven intricately into each lesson, through the science conversation created in the scripted lesson. Also in Science 1, Nancy purposely begins with a familiar topic (people) through which they become comfortable with the science conversation, observing characteristics, creating scientific illustrations, and developing a science lab book. These basic skills will continue to be developed through progressively more rigorous topics and reading.
So we feel it’s important to stress the order of the lessons in each level of Nancy Larson Science. Please know that we are here to answer any questions, and help make this the best possible learning experience for homeschool children. Plus, we love to hear from our parents and share in the adventure.
Take care and please stay in touch,

Madon Dailey

3rd Grade Mid-Year Curriculum

Jolanthe of Homeschool Creations recently posted this update.

We’re at the halfway point in our homeschool time, and even a few day beyond. Even though it’s technically a little closer to the middle of January, our Christmas break provided more of a chance to sit down and look at how each child is progressing and see if there are any changes we needed to make to what we are using.

Overall, we’ve been really happy with our homeschool curriculum choices, but we have tweaked a few things – and I thought you all might like to see what the kids are enjoying the most as well! Over the next week or so, I’ll be sharing a post on each of the kids (it seemed easier than grouping it all into one post!).

3rd Grade Mid-Year Curriculum Review

Overall our 3rd grade curriculum choices have been a great fit. We have added and/or delayed a few subject areas. Kaleb’s favorite subjects are definitely science, grammar (he loves Daily Grams), and anything art related. He strongly dislikes diagramming though (my heart breaks). While history hasn’t been his favorite, adding in comic strip illustrations to help his take notes and remember the lessons has made a difference the last two months.

Kaleb is one of our most dedicated learners (i.e. not one to complain about his work other than possibly reading). He is typically working on school work before it’s even time to start the day and it isn’t uncommon to find out that he’s finished his math and handwriting – always a nice start to the day! He is also the boy that wants to do as much as he can 1:1 with me, so this year we are pushing him a little bit in working on math via the computer (last year we used Teaching Textbooks, but I did all the lectures with him because he said the computer was too hard – it wasn’t, he just wanted to be with me more).

On the other hand – he is my baby and I want to enjoy every last minute of this 1:1 time that we have together (shhhh – don’t tell him).

3rd Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Here’s a look at our overall plan for the 3rd grade year…

Our cursive handwriting has really been fun too (although there are complaints some days). I haven’t figured out a way to share the printables yet, but each week we review a verse from the Bible and practice letters and words based on those verses from our Seeds Family Worship albums. It’s been a great way to review verses we’ve learned via song and further cement them in our hearts (for me too!).

The youngest three and I are working on history together and combining Mystery of History and Story of the World has been great. With comic strip illustrations, he is remembering the bulk of what we are learning. Through history we are looking at past and modern geography (I’ll admit that I’m learning a thing or two!).

The vocabulary cards aren’t Kaleb’s favorite, but he is remembering quite a bit, although he is slower to grasp the words than Zachary and McKenna. He tolerates them, but gets frustrated easily since the older two want to give the answers quickly. They have been a fun way to start the morning though.

What We’re Adding (or already have)

  • Life of Fred Readers – We added these in about a month after we started school and they have been a HUGE hit. You can read my Life of Fred beginning readers review for more information, but Kaleb LOVES them. We are using our 3rd grade reading list for additional book choices too.
  • A few unit studies from Ivy Kids. So far we’ve used A House for Hermit Crab and are in the midst of Make Way for Duckling – absolutely loving them.
  • Big Truths for Young Hearts has been our Bible time, until we start Grapevine in February.
  • PE – The kids decided to participate in swim team for the year. Kaleb has practices 3-4 times a week, depending on our schedule and he has really enjoyed swimming (and is improving quickly).
  • Weekly LEGO, Keva Brain Builder, or Little Bits projects – Kaleb is typically finished with his school day a little earlier than the rest of the kids and he LOVES challenges and projects like these. While this has been on our initial list, we haven’t worked them in yet, but I am planning out a weekly project for him to do
  • Kaleb has LOVED his Rock Hound’s backpack and has already added that into his school time. He is constantly looking for rocks to learn more about and I love that it has inspired something in him. While this isn’t a daily subject, it has definitely been a great addition to his learning.

What We’ve Put Aside & Postponed

  • Writing – We absolutely love WriteShop but are focusing on Kaleb’s reading for now. He does have writing prompts and copywork through his handwriting and history, so we have shelved it for the time being. If we are at a point where we can add in lessons, we definitely will.
  • Geography: Although I had grand plans with this for the year, we are focusing on what we are learning through history and not working on a specific program. Waiting until next year on this one.

What Mom Needs to Focus More On

Looping subjects – Occasionally there are areas that I tend to push aside (or they just get pushed aside) because we have other things happening or something interrupts and we get sidetracked. Spelling and learning games are two of those areas (as well as read-alouds – see below. With these two, as well as science projects, we’re going to put onto a loop schedule where we rotate what comes next. Rather than having an assigned day of the week for each subject, they are going on a rotation schedule a few days each week and work on the next in line. That way if we miss a day, it’s really not a big deal because we can work on it the next day and no area gets lonely.

Reading with Kaleb – I also need to focus more on reading alone with just Kaleb – my reading TO him, other than our read-aloud time. He is a ‘get it done’ boy and focuses in on making sure everything is done properly (cough) and doesn’t always take a lot of time to relax and enjoy – and that is so important too.

Read-alouds – Much of our read-aloud time was spent with audiobooks in the car, but was also hard since one child was here and another was there and no one wanted to miss out on anything. We’ve decided instead to push along in a book and later tell the missing sibling what happened when they were gone. That way we can cover more ground together. Having the kids DOING something (like building with LEGOs or drawing) has been a huge help.

That’s about it for our 3rd grade mid-year curriculum review! How is your year going so far?


Hip Homeschooling Learns about the Human Body

Have you ever asked your kids what they want to learn about? Mine told me one day they wanted to learn about the human body. Well kids, that’s perfect, because that happens to be a unit in our Nancy Larson Science curriculum! We have been loving this unit, it is so hands on and fun and hands everything we need to complete our lessons… without me having to search in 10 different places! By far the best part of this unit was the human body skeleton X-Ray’s… getting to see how everything fit together. We did a YouTube video on that lesson, so keep reading to see what a sample lesson with NLS looks like!

Learn about the human body with Nancy Larson Science

Learn about the human body in a way that kids can understand.

One of my favorite things about Nancy Larson Science is that it is scripted, meaning it is written TO your child’s level. You just read out of the text without having to stop every few minutes to explain a concept. It works really well for multiple age groups, we use our Grade 1 curriculum for 3 different grades (gr. 1, 2, and 3). Human anatomy can be a complicated subject for young learners, however the curriculum does a great job of giving an introduction and overview of how the human body works without overwhelming early elementary students. Our kids loved the book included in our kit, “Your Insides” by Joanna Cole. It is so fun and bright!

Learn About the Human Body with Us!

Each unit in the curriculum is separated into a student booklet. We put those together in a binder or folder for each child. This month the topics covered included:

  • Identifying parts of the human body.
  • Identifying the function of parts.
  • Skeletal system.
  • Digestive system.
  • Respiratory system.
  • Circulatory system.
  • Nervous system.
  • How to keep our bodies healthy.
  • And more!

Our grade 1 program included 6 units, and therefore 6 student booklets. To see exactly what was included in our box, CLICK HERE. To learn more about Nancy Larson Science, click on the image below!

Watch a complete sample science lesson here!


The Homeschool Scientist Chooses Nancy Larson Science


*This post contains affiliate links.

Choosing the right science curriculum for your children can be the difference between them loving or really disliking science. There is no “one-size-fits-all” curriculum, so homeschool parents have to search and find the right fit for their children.

For our youngest, Nancy Larson Science was the right choice. Take a look at these 5 reasons we chose Nancy Larson Science and see if it might be a good fit for your young scientists.

5 reasons to choose Nancy Larson Science

1. Hands-On

One of the main things I look for in a science curriculum is a quality hands-on aspect. If you are a regular reader, you have heard again and again that science isn’t found in a text book. Science is all around us. It is hands-on. Nancy Larson Science has a hands-on activity for every lesson.

Students get to dig into the science everyday through exploration, experimentation, sketching, and recording results. Those hands-on experiences drive the lesson home.

2. All-Inclusive

How many times have you gotten ready to do a really cool science project with your kids only to find that you are missing some of the supplies necessary or just don’t know where to find something on the supply list? One of the biggest reasons parents do not do hands-on activities and experiments with their kids is that they do not have the right supplies.

Nancy Larson Science fixes that problem. The program comes with the student texts, teacher’s manual, related books, a CD full of resource materials, and a tool kit with nearly all the supplies you’ll need for the entire year of hands-on science! I love when the Nancy Larson box is delivered. I know that everything I need is inside!

3. Teaches study skills

4. Developmentally appropriate

Nancy Larson Science not only teaches reading and study skills that build as the year progresses. NLS teaches in a away that builds on developmental progress, well. Madon Dailey, the homeschool representative for Nancy Larson Science, put together is video that addresses this very well.

5. Open and go

Sunday nights can be long for a homeschool mom trying to prepare lessons for the week. The scripted teacher’s guide and all-inclusive nature of Nancy Larson Science makes it so easy. There is hardly any prep work at all! Just grab a few items from your supply box that are listed in the teacher’s guide and you are ready.

We’ve really enjoyed Nancy Larson Science. If you have any questions about the curriculum, I’d be more than happy to try and answer them for you!

To see more of our adventures with Nancy Larson Science, check out these posts.

Beginning Nancy Larson Science

Nancy Larson Science Review

Properties of Liquids Printable

Observation and Classification Printables

Animal Report Printable

Learning About Animal Habitiats

Oak Tree Identification Help

Fall Tree Study Projects

Make A Habitat Map

Where Homeschool Parents Share Nancy Larson Science