Our Family

Our Family

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Homeschool Crew Review: Doctor Aviation

Our latest review has been for Doctor Aviation, a website for instructing those who are interested in aviation.  Over the last several weeks we have been working on fascinating lessons in Aviation Education.

Doctor Aviation

Doctor Aviation is an online course recommended for high school and adult learners, but you can use it with younger children who are interested as well.  The course contains 15 lessons.  Each lesson has an online video that is streamed and lasts around an hour.  Each video has three sections: Technical Trivia talks about the technical side of flying and airplanes, Notable Innovators talks about people who made a difference in flying, and Legendary Events discusses important and memorable events in aviation.  To go along with each lesson there is a downloadable PDF of guided notes that you or your child can fill in while watching the video. There is also a downloadable PDF called To Learn More that lists books, videos, websites, and activities that you can do to further your study on the topic being discussed.  The course also includes tests.

The videos can be watched on a computer, tablet, or mobile device.  When you sign up and pay for the course you choose on online log in and password.  After completing a lesson, you mark it as complete and the next time you log in it starts you where you left off.  You do have the ability to go back and view the lessons more then once.  Doctor Aviation is $99 for a 6 month subscription. Lessons include:

Session 1 Course Overview: The Aviation System
I. The Aircraft
Session 2 The Major Components of an Airplane Session
3 Axes and Forces Session
4 Why an Aircraft Flies: The Secret of Airfoils and Lift Session
5 Why an Aircraft Turns, Pitches and Slides: The Flight Controls

II. Air Traffic Control
Session 6 How We See an Aircraft Miles Away: The Secrets of Radar
Session 7 The Air Traffic Cops: How Air Traffic Control Works

III. Maintenance
Session 8 Keep ‘Em Flying: Aircraft Maintenance – Propeller Engines
Session 9 Keep ‘Em Flying: Aircraft Maintenance – Jet Engines

IV. Airfield Operations
Session 10 The City in and of Itself: Running a Large Airport
Session 11 The Small Airport and Running an FBO

V. The Aircraft II
Session 12 Flying in the Clear and Not so Clear Air: VMC and IMC
Session 13 Important Pilot Instruments – Attitude Indicator
Session 14 Important Pilot Instruments – Airspeed Indicator
Session 15 Other Aviation Ships: Gliders, Helicopters, Airships

A few weeks ago we did a family read aloud on Orville and Wilbur Wright.  My boys were fascinated with the book and with flying in general.  They even spent their money on drones so they could have something to fly.  They are much younger then the suggested age range for this course but I thought they would enjoy it and that I would watch the videos with them.  We completed one video lesson per week.  We watched the entire lesson in one sitting, but because of the way the lesson is divided, it would be very easy to watch one segment three times a week.

The Doctor Aviation videos reminded me of being in college.  For most of the video, the instructor is standing beside a plane and lecturing all of the information.  There is an occasional graphic or chart, but mostly it was just him standing and talking.  We found the information presented in the course fascinating.  The boys were interested in the technical trivia.  We all loved the sections on Notable Innovators and Legendary Events.  We learned so much!  The first lesson was on the Wright Brothers and even though we had just studied them learned some things that we didn't already know.  Chuck Yeager was a name that we had not heard before and learned some very interesting things about his life. We loved the lesson on Amelia Earhart and her failed flight across the Atlantic.  That was interesting timing as we had just watched a documentary on her.  Daniel Bernoulli was a name we had heard in science but did not know much about before watching the lesson on Doctor Aviation.

Because I was using this with my boys who were under the age range, I did not have them use the guided notes or To Learn More resources but I did look them over for review purposes.  There are some wonderful resources and activities listed in the resources to further your study on all of the topics presented and filling in the guided notes is a great way to ensure active listening and prepare for the tests.

Can Doctor Aviation be used for high school credit? Absolutely.  Watching the videos, taking the exams, and adding a few activities can easily earn a half credit.  Adding in all or almost all of the activities could even earn a full credit.  Because this course discusses so much history, you could even earn part credit in history and or science/aviation. 

Doctor Aviation is a wonderful course for students/adults who are interested in flying and the history of flight.  To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

2017 Changes to Arkansas Homeschool Laws

*Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.  This is what I know of the changes to homeschool laws in Arkansas this year.  If you need further information, The Education Alliance can provide some information.  The HSLDA is a resource for homeschool laws in all 50 states and can help with any legal questions you may have.

In 2017 there were several changes to homeschool laws that will benefit homeschoolers.

The biggest change was in the Notice of Intent and Homeschool Waiver.  Homeschoolers are no longer required to fill in information about their homeschool curriculum and schedule.  They also no longer have to fill out a waiver stating the state of Arkansas is not responsible for their child's education.  The new form is one page and only requires your name, address, date you are starting, and names , birthdates, and grades of your children along with where they attended school last year.  You do sign a statement saying you will be responsible for your child's education.  You must file your forms by August 15th.  They can be sent in the mail, dropped off in person, emailed, or filled out online on the Department of Education website.  I will tell you that they have not updated the online form and it will not be updated this year (there was no money in the budget to update the forms), so if you fill it out online you will still see the old form.  I personally do not like their online system anyway because after filling out your form you are sent an email telling you that your form will have to be approved and the approval email takes months to arrive.  There is no need for any kind of approval in the state of Arkansas. If you fill out your form online you are legal to homeschool.  I have read that you can put a N/A in the section that asks about curriculum.  You will still have to fill out the Waiver in the online form.  You can find a form to print or file online here.

I am not sure why it wasn't legal before, but it has now been made legal for homeschoolers to enroll in individual academic courses at public schools under Act 173.  Each district has their own regulations on this so if you are interested you will have to look into this at your district.  If you enroll in too many courses, you will no longer be considered a homeschooler.

In 2013, The Tim Tebow Law was passed in Arkansas allowing homeschoolers to participate in extra curricular activities in their resident school district.  This year, Act 592 was passed allowing homeschoolers to participate in these activities in any school in the state, not just their own district.  Now, there are some conditions to this.  You have to have permission from the superintendent in the district that you live in and the superintendent from the school you want to participate in.  If either one objects you cannot participate. If you are trying to participate in a AAA run activity, the student must wait 365 days upon approval before being able to compete, but can participate immediately in practices.  So if your 9th grade child wants to play football and you get approval this year, they can practice with the team this year but cannot play in any games until next year, unless they are entering 7th grade then they can play in games/competitions immediately.  The school district can require your child to take a class.  Many activities like track, football, cheerleading and band take place during the school day and counts as a class.  Any activity that takes place after school can require your child to be in school for one class period a day to participate in that activity. This is up to the school.  You also may have to provide standardized test scores to prove your child's academic eligibility. 

Act 453 makes it possible for homeschoolers to participate at a AAA member private school within 25 miles of their home if the school approves.

Act 863 was passed to require public schools to recognize coursework completed by students while they are being homeschooled.  It also prevents discrimination involving awards, honors, and scholarships.

Our Week in Review (July 10th -16th)

This week we did not have very many things we had to do. Alex was gone for three days for Adventure Challenge Camp, but the rest of us had 5 days this week that we didn't have anyplace special that we needed to be.  It was very nice!

Alex has been waiting for years to be old enough  to go to Adventure Challenge Camp in Little Rock.  It is a 3 day 4 h camp for ages 13-15 where they do exciting things like climb a rock wall and go through a ropes challenge course.  In their spare time they can swim, fish, canoe, play basketball, and other activities.  He had a great time and would like to go again next year.

While he was gone, I helped Christian with Alex's animal chores.  The goats were incredibly nosey when we were cleaning out their pen.

I talked about the coughing goat to a man who has raised goats for a long time and he suggested we treat them for lung worms.  We also had to give the goats their CDT vaccine.  So Saturday I had to help hold down two goats while Alex gave them their shots and oral medicine (add that to the list of things I never thought I'd do!)  One of the goats took it better then the other, but Alex did a really good job.

We also worked on finishing the chicken pen.  We moved the birds to their new pen, and just need to get the coop finished up.

Christian, Lily, Emmie and I did some painting this week.

We also watched a lesson from Dr. Aviation, did some math, and learned the words for man and brother in Greek.  We listened to the first part of a new audiobook from Heirloom Audio called In the Reign of Terror.

Chelsea and Liam came and visited on Thursday and went shopping with us on Friday.  He is growing so fast!

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Review: Destination Romance 5 Inspirational Love Stories Spanning the Globe

In Bare Feet and Warm Sand by Kim Vogel Sawyer, Tamiera is a marine biologist on Grand Cayman Island  who has a special love for sea turtles and works very hard to protect them from humans.  When Joe wanders into her workplace, she is intrigued by him.  She has never met anyone like him before. What she doesn't realize is that Joe is there on business to build a new resort near the turtles nesting grounds.  Will she be able to convince him to put the sea turtles needs over making money?

Sufficient Grace by Constance Shilling Stevens is a historical fiction.  In this novella, the town of Pine Ridge is all abuzz over a new mill that is supposed to be being built.  The mill will bring much needed jobs to the area.  Donovan McNeary is helping his boss Asa Bennington with all of the work regarding the new mill.  But when the survey stakes disappear, he discovers that the area is an old Cherokee burial grounds that holds sweet memories for Nora Courtland and her grandfather.  Will Donovan follow his bosses orders or his heart?

Better Together Then Apart by Rose Allen McCauley is a contemporary romance that starts out on a K Love Cruise.  Natalie re-connects with Ken, a man she had met 6 years prior and hoped for a relationship with but it didn't work out. They are attracted to each other but both have opposite goals.  Will they listen to God's leading in their lives?

A Shelter in a Weary Land by Julane Hiebert is a historical fiction that takes place during the Civil War.  Charlotte is taken to a cave in the Missouri hillside by her husband to keep her and her unborn baby safe from the soldiers in the area.  But soon a wounded soldier also seeks refuge in her cave.

Cotton Candy Sky by Kristian Libel is a contemporary romance that takes place in Jamaica.  Danica is on vacation trying to escape from her predictable life.  When she falls for a travel photographer he introduces her to more adventure then she ever imagined, but how can their long distance relationship work?

Destination Romance is a great mix of historical and contemporary Christian romance. It is approximately 295 pages long and can be purchased as an ebook or paperback.  The only author that I was previously familiar with was Kim Vogel Sawyer ( I adore every book she has written!) but I would definitely look for books by the other authors in the future. Kim's daughter wrote one of the stories in this book and I definitely saw some similarities in their writing styles.  Each of these short novellas are full of inspiration and romance and focus on trusting God's path for your life no matter your circumstances.  I think each of the authors did a wonderful job developing their characters in these short stories.  Many times when I am reading a novella I feel like they end too quickly without giving enough of the story.  I did not feel that way with these stories.  I loved the blend of contemporary and historical and that each story took on a completely different topic.  Destination Romance makes a great summer read!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance to the FTC regulations.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Summer Art Project: The Caribbean Lighthouse

We only have a few more weeks of our Creating a Masterpiece subscription and I wanted to get at least 1 or 2 more projects completed.  So this week Lily, Christian, and I painted the Caribbean Lighthouse.

It took 3 days (and a lot of paint!) for the 3 of us to complete this painting.  This was the first time we have painted on canvas.

At the end of day 1 our paintings looked like this.

This was our second day.

Emmie didn't want to do a lighthouse so she did her own painting.

And here was our finished product.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Homeschool Crew Review: Fascinating Biology

Fascinating Education

Fascinating Education is an online science curriculum that uses a step by step audio visual technique to teach science.  Instead of using text as the main part of the lesson, Dr. Margulies uses colorful illustrations that flash across the screen as a narrator explains them.  This approach targets the right hemisphere of the brain that will process the images more effectively then simply reading from a text.  We have had an opportunity to review Fascinating Biology over the last several weeks.

Fascinating  Physics

Fascinating Biology was designed to cover what you would find in a high school biology course, but it has been used successfully with middle school students as well.  It is recommended that the student takes chemistry before taking biology.  If the student has not taken chemistry first, they offer a subset of the Fascinating Chemistry course that can be used to ready the student for biology for an add on fee of $20.  A one year subscription to Fascinating Biology is $79.

There are 18 lessons in Fascinating Biology:

What is Life?
Chemistry Review
The Cell Membrane
Take in Nutrients
Take in Energy-Part 1
Take in Energy -Part 2
Take in Energy -Part 3
Taken in Energy-Part 4
Reproduce-Part 1
Reproduce-Part 2
Reproduce-Part 3
Homeostasis-Part 1
Homeostasis-Part 2
Adapt- Part 1
Adapt- Part 2
Prokaryotes, Protists, Animals, Fungi

Each lesson has a series of visual slides with an audio explanation.  The video for each lesson varies in length but are less then 45 minutes long.  You can stop in the middle of the lesson and when you click on the lesson the next time you log in, it will give you an option to continue where you left off.  You do have to remember what lesson you are on, the program does not keep track of that. At the end of each lesson there is a review of what was covered in that lesson.  There is an option to print out the text for each lesson if your child wants to read along or review the text when the lesson is over.  There are also multiple choice tests for each lesson.

We have been completing 1-2 lessons of Fascinating Biology per week. When you log into the course, the lessons are listed in a table format.

Choose the lesson you are on and click on lesson.

That takes you straight to the video slides.  The program moves through the slides automatically.  You are able to pause and stop if you need to.

 If you would like to read along with the lesson, click on script and you can print out a PDF of the lesson.

At the end of each lesson there is a review covering what was taught in the lesson.

At the end of each quiz, it tells you how many points you earned and what a passing score is.  You also have options to review the quiz, print the results, and retry the quiz.  When you review the quiz it shows what your answer was and the correct response. Grades are not stored in the program and you can retake the quiz as many times as you need to.

I love the visual aspect of Fascinating Biology.  The slides are colorful and clearly demonstrate what is being explained in the video.  The information is split up into digestible chunks making it easy to understand.  For some students, it may be easier to split the lesson up into two or more days, and this is very easy to do with Fascinating Biology.  I love the ability to print out the text for review, or to read along with the lesson.  I love the What You Know So Far review at the end of each lesson.

The course website states that after finishing Fascinating Biology the student should earn a high school credit based on the information the course covers.  But, there are no labs in this course and only 18 lessons at a little less then an hour each.  For those who have to track hours for counting credits you may have to add in some outside resources to have enough hours to count as a credit.  Although the course can be used completely independently by the student, parents will have to keep track of the grades as the program does not store those for you. Also, in the FAQ, there is a question of whether creation vs evolution is taught in Fascinating Education courses. The response is ,"Religious views and scientific views differ, and Dr. Margulies does not see his role with these curricula to argue in favor of one or the other. His role is to describe the forces in the universe and how they play out in our everyday lives without addressing how those forces came into being or whether forces are being manipulated by God in some way." Fascinating Biology does come from an old earth perspective and has several mentions of millions of years.

Members of the Crew reviewed Fascinating Biology, Fascinating Physics, and Fascinating Chemistry.  To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Homeschool Crew Review: Make-A-State Activity

Home School in the Woods

Home School in the Woods offers a variety of hands on history projects to bring history to life in your homeschool.  I have used  many of their products over the last few years and have been very impressed with all of them!  I was delighted to have an opportunity to use and review their brand new Make-A-State Activity from the Activity-Paks series.

Hands-On History Activity-Paks: Make-A-State

Hands-On History Activity-Paks: Make-A-State

There are currently five different products in the Activity-Paks product line: Make-A-State, The Old Testament, The New Testament, Composers, and Artists.  Each of these product have step by step directions, printable masters, and photos to make at least one complete lap book plus 1-2 bonuses.  You can use the Activity-Paks to go along with any curriculum you are currently studying, or add some living books and resources to turn them into a complete study.  They are recommended for grades 3-8 but can be used with students who are a little younger or older.

With the Make-A-State Activity-Pak, you can actually make a lap book for all 50 states plus Washington D.C.!  There are 20 different projects for each state.  Some of the printable masters are generic and used over and over again for each state, while others (such as the flag) are made specifically for each state.  Projects include:

State Song
State Quarter
State Government
State Flag and Seal
State Recipe
State Sports Teams
State Vocabulary
Key State Facts
State Motto
State Symbols
State Industry/Agriculture/Climate
State Wildlife
State Geography
State History
Famous People
Native Tribes
State Landmarks
State Timeline
State Name

There is also a cover page for each of the states and a Name that State File folder game.  While it is recommended that you use your own books and resources to find information on the state you are studying, for each state there is a bonus State Page that gives some information on the state.  Directions and photos are given for each project and also for lap book assembly.

The Make-A-State Activity-Pak can be purchased as a download for $18.95 or as a CD for $19.95.  To complete each lap book you will need some supplies such as scissors, colored pencils, glue, double sided tape, a file folder, cardstock, and computer paper.

We chose to do the state of Arkansas because that is where we live, but what I love about this product is that you do not have to buy something for every state you want to do.  One purchase and you are able to do any state you choose or as many states you choose! 

When you make your purchase and receive your download or CD,  start with the Project Directions section.  This will tell you how to print each of the projects and what to print them on.  I printed out the instructions and then printed out all of the activities so the entire lap book would be ready to go.

There are some suggestions for resources along with one page of information from each state, but you are free to use whatever resources you have available in your home, library, or on the internet to complete the projects.  I used the Make-A-State Activity-Pak with my 8,10, and 11 year olds.  We all worked together to complete one lap book, over the course of about 2 weeks.  They recommend you store all of your pieces in a ziplock bag  and put the lap book together once you are finished, but we added the pieces to the lap book as we finished them.  You need one folder and two pieces of 8.5x11 cardstock to complete the lap book.

Here is a look at our finished project.

Front Cover

Middle of the Folder

Right Flap

Left Flap

Front of Blue Cardstock piece

Back of Blue Cardstock Piece

Front of green cardstock piece

Back of green cardstock piece

Each of the projects have places to draw, or spaces to fill out information.  Here are some photos of the Wildlife in Arkansas mini book, completed by my 8 year old.

The lap book is very personalized because you can choose to add the information that your child finds interesting, rather then filling in generic information.  For instance on our Arkansas history page, we talked about Washington Arkansas being the state capital during the Civil War because it is close by us and we have visited it often.  You can choose not to complete some of the projects and make a smaller lap book.  You also can choose how many famous people to include (we only did three), and the number of vocabulary words.  I was very impressed with the projects that were included with the lap book, you can tell that a lot of time and thought was put in to create this Activity-Pak.  I found it interesting that the included recipe for Arkansas was fried pickles.  I have lived here for 15 years and never had heard of them or seen them.  Right after I printed everything out for the lap book, I went out to eat with some friends who ordered fried pickles for an appetizer. It is a favorite dish around here!

Getting everything ready for the Make-A-State lap book will take some time.  You cannot batch print the masters.  The have to be printed one at a time because some of the pages are printed on the reverse side of the page, some pages are on card stock while others are on white paper.  The finished product is more then worth the time invested in printing everything out. You will end up with a product that your child will be proud of and can look back at for years to come.

I mentioned above that I have been very impressed with every product that I have used from Home School in the Woods.  The first product we ever used was The American Revolution Time Travelers American History Study from the History Through the Ages product line (that was before my blogging days.) The Timeline Figures are the best I have ever seen and we have used those for years in our homeschool.  We were able to review Great Empires from the Hands on History Activity Studies line.  We also have been able to review two of the Project Passport World History Studies, Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece.

Home School in the Woods now offers A La Carte projects for those who might want to add a project or two to their studies but not complete an entire study. There are currently 50 projects available.  You can try out the Erie Canal project for free by using code alacarte at checkout. ( I grew up in Lockport NY, which has the Erie Canal running right through it!)

Members of The Crew reviewed a variety of hands on history projects from Home School in the Woods.  To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Our Week in Review (July 2nd-9th)

Where did the week go?  I think maybe with the 4th being on Tuesday it made the week feel much shorter then usual.  We did not have anything too exciting happening at our house this week.

Monday was out 4th because Art had to go back to work Wednesday morning and did not want to stay up late on Tuesday night.  Lily, Christian, Emmie, and I made a flag cake for dessert.  We also set off fireworks at out house.  The children really enjoyed it, the dog not so much.

They also made a hay feeder for the goats.

It amazes me that Anthony will go out and pet the goats.  Ever since he had an allergic reaction to rabbits he has been afraid to touch new animals.

Tuesday we roasted Smores.  We did not stay out very long though, the mosquitoes have been horrible, especially at night!

Thursday we went and picked up Chelsea and the baby and brought them to the house for the day.

Liam looks like a toy when Alex holds him

Then we all went grocery shopping. 

Friday we had to take a goat to the vet.  One of our goats has been coughing since we got her.  She is eating and drinking and not acting sick, but she coughs like crazy!  I was told to give her a few days to see if it may be some kind of allergy from the move (but really she coughed in the van on the way home.)  Friday it had been almost a week since we brought them home, so I made her an appointment.  It was the first time we had taken a farm animal to the vet.  Her temperature was normal and they said her lungs sounded good, but they gave her a shot of antibiotics to help clear up the cough.  We were told if it didn't get better to bring her back this week.  We have seen no improvement in the cough.

Christian and I made some Strawberry Freezer Jam.

Saturday we started working on a new chicken pen.  Our old pen is starting to fall apart.  I can't remember how long ago we built it ( I should look it up on this blog!) but it needs to come down.  All of the rain we have been having lately has not helped.  One day last week we had to dig a hole under the pen because it was flooded and there were several inches of water in the bottom of it.  I will be glad when we can move the birds to their new home this week.  The chicken pen will be beside the goat pen.  The goats were very curious about what we were doing.

We found horn worms in the tomatoes!  I hate those things!  The boys killed them for me and I sprayed.  I hope we got rid of them.

I meant to have the children do some math this week but we did not get to it.  We are working on learning the Greek alphabet.  Anthony and Christian did some work on their Minecraft Coding from Codakid.  The girls did an art project, making butterflies using rigid wrap.  We also watched a DVD about caring for and showing goats.  After watching the whole thing I thought, "What have I gotten myself into?" but the children have really enjoyed the goats so far.  They are very sweet.  Hopefully we can get the one well, and the boys know that they are responsible for all of the care of the goats and so far they have done a great job.

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!