TOS Sweet Critique: AIMS – Earth Rocks!



What:  AIMS – Earth Rocks!

Cost:  $29.95

Recommended Ages:  Grades 4-5



AIMS – Earth Rocks! is an activity book that covers Earth science topics for grades four and five.

Topics taught include:

  • Rocks and minerals
  • Soil
  • Water
  • Earth changes
  • Resources
  • Pollution

The book provides a multitude of activities such as make-your-own books, experiments, worksheets, and more.

A complete materials list is also included.


Babydoll is a huge fan of science and rocks and outside stuff; she loves Earth science.

She also enjoys working with her hands making things like little booklets, cutting, gluing, etc.

She’s a huge fan of activity books and will sit there on her own completing them.

All this means:  she enjoyed AIMS – Earth Rocks!.  I felt bad that I didn’t have some of the items on hand that she needed for the experiments she chose, but she still made a few of the booklets and read through some of the material.

I was quite impressed with the variety of worksheets.  I can’t stand getting an activity book that has all of the same:  all matching, all multiple choice, etc.

AIMS did a great job of incorporating drawing, writing, coloring, matching, and lots more.

The material covered is quite thorough and each chapter gives an assortment of experiments.

I would like to see perforated pages in the book for times when you might need to tear pages out, but I’m sure that’s just me being OCD and weird.  It of course does not affect the content.

With the variety of subjects covered by AIMS, I would definitely recommend taking a look at their site to see if there are subjects that you would like to include in your homeschool or as extracurricular activities for your kids.


See what other members of the Crew thought about the different AIMS books they reviewed here.

True Confessions:  I received our copy of AIMS – Earth Rocks in exchange for an honest review of the material.  All opinions are my own.

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschool Methods


There are a variety of homeschooling methods out there.  I’m still learning about some…

Really, the way you homeschool is a method.  It may be strictly one style or it may be a combination of several.

Still trying to figure out which one {or ones} work for you?

Here you go, the ultimate guide to homeschool methods!

Homeschool Mosaics Homeschool Methods – This is a new site, but it’s great!  There are methods on here I’ve never heard of before.

Choosing a Homeschooling Method:  Which One is Right For You? – An extensive list of homeschooling methods.

Homeschooling and Its Many Faces – Lots of links for a variety of methods.

Homeschool Methods – Finding a Method That’s Right for You – More links for a variety of methods.

Homeschool Methods, Uniquely You – A great post with curricula/resource info, too.

The Ultimate Homeschool Blogroll – This is so cool:  homeschool blogs are linked up based on their homeschooling method.

Homeschooling Methods – Lots and lots and lots of links!

Methods and Styles Directory – Exactly what the title says.

Homeschool Approaches – A few I’ve never heard of before.

Discover the Homeschooling Method That’s Right For You – A great bulleted breakdown of several methods.

Resources for Exploring Various Homeschooling Methods – Links to not only website, but books and other resources as well.

Best Homeschool Method Blogs 2010 – The voting may be over but this is still a great list of blogs about specific methods.

8 Homeschooling Methods – Um, eight homeschooling methods…

Curriculum Methods and Reviews – I think we all love learning about new-to-us curricula.

Homeschooling Approaches and Methods – Again, self-explanatory.

Carlie is looking to feature YOU!  She’s looking for posts on a variety of homeschooling methods.

Enjoy Some Vintage Content

I’m away at the beach this weekend {squeee, I know!}, so I thought I’d hook you up with some snazzy Sweet Phenomena content:

Have a great weekend!


The Ultimate Guide to Homeschool Portfolios


Some states require extensive homeschool portfolios be maintained to ensure parents are complying with regulations.

Other states are fairly lenient, but many parents still like to keep a portfolio to document a child’s work and progress.

In my quest to become a better portfolio parent, I decided to share the bounty of links I found.


Homeschool Essentials:  The Portfolio – Great breakdown on getting a portfolio started

Donna Young’s Homeschool Portfolio Planner – A great assortment of printables to help you get started

Homeschool Portfolio Evaluations Shouldn’t Be Scary! – Q&A about portfolios

Homeschool Portfolios – How one mom puts together her portfolio

Homeschool Portfolios – An extensive list of what this mom includes in portfolios

Homeschool Portfolio – Complete with editable PDF printables

Recordkeeping:  Portfolio & Grades – Includes ideas of what to include for each subject

Creating a Homeschooling Portfolio – A PA mom’s guide to creating a portfolio

Preparing a Homeschool Portfolio – Another guide to creating a portfolio

How to Create a Homeschool Portfolio – A list of essentials to include

8 Benefits of Creating Homeschool Portfolios – A list of the benefits of having a portfolio

Creating, Maintaining, and Presenting a Homeschool Portfolio – This takes from the beginning to the end of the process

Preparing the Homeschool Portfolio – Another list of items to include

Homeschool Portfolio 1, 2, 3 – Great step-by-step process with lots of pictures

How to Make a Homeschool Portfolio – More great pictures

How to Make a Homeschool Portfolio – Tab ideas and scrapbooking suggestions

Create the Perfect Homeschool Portfolio – Another mom’s way of doing things

Keeping a Homeschool Portfolio for High School – A list of high school specific ideas

Homeschool Portfolios:  Evaluation Checklist and More – Includes a link to a free checklist

A Homeschool Portfolio – An extensive post about this family’s homeschool portfolio

How I Do Our Homeschool Daily Lesson Planning – Part 2

The first post in this series can be found here.

So how, specifically, do I use Dropbox for our daily lessons?

I was already inputting daily lessons into Excel.  I printed each spreadsheet and put it into a binder for Babydoll.

She had a week’s worth of lesson spreadsheets in her binder and she used that to know what work she would be completing each day.

When we didn’t get around to completing some lessons, we had problems with the system.  The rest of the spreadsheets in the binder reflected completion of the prior day’s work.

Sure, it was easy for me to go into the computer and make changes on my end, but that meant I had to re-print this stuff to give it to Babydoll.

Dropbox allowed me to continue using my spreadsheets and sharing them with Babydoll, only it was done electronically.

This way, if changes needed to be made, I could make them and they would automatically be updated on her computer.


  1. I decide on what work we’ll be doing for the week and input the lessons into Excel.  Each day has it’s own spreadsheet, and is saved as it’s own file with the date {this would be “3-17″}.
  2. Each file is saved in a Dropbox folder.  This folder {named by Babydoll} contains all of the daily files I have.  Generally that means the current week’s worth of work, and the days we’ve completed.  As we complete a day, the file name is edited to read “Date – Complete”.
  3. Each day Babydoll knows to check her Dropbox folder after her chores are finished.  She works on her independent work first and then we complete the work we need to do together {this stuff is italicized}.
  4. After completing each assignment, Babydoll opens the file and fills the cell with color and adds a little note to me.

As I said earlier, this system has worked really well for us for several months now.  If I need to make changes, I can do so immediately and they’re also updated immediately on Babydoll’s computer.

I can  make changes from my phone or my computer.  It also keeps a record of attendance for me since I mark each day’s file complete once it’s finished.

This might not work for some, but it’s something that’s proven to be a great way for us to do this aspect of homeschooling.

What’s your favorite way to keep track of what your daily work should be?