Our Family

Our Family

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Review: Create! A Girl's Guide to DIY, Doodles, and Design

Book Description

"Ready, set, create! Whether you’re an aspiring artist or a just-starting-out doodler, Create! A Girl’s Guide to DIY, Doodles, and Design is the perfect book to inspire your creative side. From coloring pages to quick-and-easy crafts—like photo frames and duct-tape bags—and everything in between, this full-color book from the trusted Faithgirlz brand provides step-by-step guides to more than 50 fun and easy projects. Learn how to make your own DIY projects, create one-of-a-kind jewelry, and draw like a pro. Perfect for individual use or for sleepovers, birthday parties, and more, Create! is sure to bring out your inner artist."

I requested this book to review because I have a 9 year old daughter that is very crafty.  She loves making just about anything and is always looking for new ideas.  There is quite a variety of different crafts in this book.  It is split up into 3 different categories: DIY, Doodles, and Design.  The DIY section has 28 projects such as personalized pillowcases, Upgraded Clipboard, Cross String Art, and Pocketed Pillow Runner.  The Doodles section has coloring pages and 10 different project ideas such as: How to Draw a Butterfly, Artistic Bible Journaling, and Doodle a Dress.  The last section is on design and features 15 different projects such as Tie-Dye Heart T-Shirt, Glitter Button Earrings, and Duct Tape Bag.  Each project has an easy to follow tutorial.  There are also helpful hints and  suggestions for "jazzing up" your projects.  This book would be a great resource for parties, rainy day activities, or just something to do for the crafty girl in your life.

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, June 28, 2018

Homeschool Crew Review: The Master and His Apprentices

Over the last several weeks, we have had an opportunity to review The Master and His Apprentices: Art History From a Christian Perspective from The Master and His Apprentices.
The Master and His Apprentices

The Master and His Apprentices is an art history curriculum written from a Christian perspective for high school students.  After completing the course, high schoolers will earn 1 full elective credit in art history. The course begins with an introduction to art and then with The Creation then moves on Ancient Cultures, The Middle Ages, Renaissance, and finishes up with Baroque Era & Beyond.  Within each era there are several different categories and topics.  For instance under Ancient Cultures you will find Ancient Near East with 13 different topics such as Noah's Ark and Solomon's Temple. There are two components to the course, a textbook and a teacher's guide.  The textbook has all of the reading assignments.  The course has a total of 19 chapters.  In the back of the student text there is an appendix with 5 different essays, period chart, complete timeline, pieces by location, terms to describe art, consulted sources, and an index. The Teacher's Guide contains a sample syllabus covering 36 weeks of work, terms to describe art, art history paper instructions, worksheets to complete after reading each chapter, tests, and answer keys. These can be purchased as a digital download or as a physical book.  For review purposes we received the digital download.

The PDF download of the student text is 380 pages long.  It can be viewed on a computer or tablet, or printed out, 3 hole punched and placed in a notebook.  Each chapter contains several pages of text and color images of art work.  The PDF teacher's guide is 116 pages long.  You can choose to print the entire thing or just the necessary worksheets and pages that the student will need to fill out.  It is possible to use the worksheets in the teacher's guide with multiple students by purchasing print/photocopy rights for $2 per student.

I did not want to read the text from a screen, so I printed out the first 6 chapters of the student text, 3 hole punched and placed it in a notebook.  I also printed out the student worksheets to go along with these chapters.   The sample syllabus in the Teacher Guide gives a pacing schedule for a weekly class. I have been reading through one chapter per week.  In our state, we do not have any specific homeschool laws as far as what type of classes homeschoolers are required to take.  But, we stick close to what our local public school requires and here they are required to take an art course and earn at least .5 credit.  My oldest son has already fulfilled his art credit but I have another son going into 9th grade so I wanted to take a look at this course to see if it will be a good fit for him in high school.  Also, I was very interested in reviewing this for myself as well.  I love history and I love art so I was excited to have a chance to review an art history course.

The course was different then what I thought it would be, but it is amazing. The first thing I love about this curriculum is that it was written from a Christian point of view.  It starts with the Master (God) and the beauty of creation.  There is no nudity or other objectionable material.  The timeline follows a creationist viewpoint.  There are over 600 beautiful images included in the text.  There is a variety of paintings, sculptures, architecture, and more.  There is so much history included in this course,  a lot more then I expected.  A thorough historical background is given for each chapter along with a timeline.  Each topic also has a thorough explanation of the history behind the art.  For example in the Mummification/Canopic Jar topic it talks about Mummies and the Afterlife, The Muffication Process, Canopic Jars, Mummification and the Bible, and Mummification today.  Throughout the pages you will see examples of mummified remains, and canopic jars.  I really am amazed at how much history is included in this text.

Younger children may enjoy looking at the beautiful artwork and a brief summary of the chapter but the chapters are quite lengthy and uses advanced vocabulary.  The questions/papers are written with high schoolers in mind as well.  My younger children very much enjoyed looking over my shoulder at the photos, especially of Ancient Egypt which we studied recently, but as a full course it is definitely as the author recommends, for high school and beyond.  You could use this course in order moving chronologically through time, or if you are studying a specific time period you can focus on that period.

I will continue to read and study The Master and His Apprentices myself because I find the information fascinating and will use this course for my high school children.

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Homeschool Crew Review: Grammar and Writing 3

Hake Publishing

A few months ago I started making plans our next year's curriculum.  I was not sure what to use with Lily for language arts.  We did a couple of different things this year that just did not seem to be a good fit and I wanted to find something new.  We were offered an opportunity to review a new homeschool grammar program from Hake Publishing called Hake/Saxon Grammar and Writing 3 right at the perfect time. 
Hake Publishing Writing and Grammar

Grammar and Writing 3 is designed to be used with students in the 3rd grade and the 111 lessons will take a full school year to complete.  Grammar topics such as: parts of speech, sentence structure, diagramming, word usage, capitalization, and punctuation is covered along with spelling rules, vocabulary lessons, and writing instruction.  Lessons are meant to be completed in order and they recommend that all the exercises in each lesson be completed.  The curriculum includes:

Teacher's Guide- The Teacher's Guide is a paperback book that is 3 hole punched and has perforated pages.  A script for each lesson is in the Teacher Guide along with the tests, extra practice pages, and answer keys. A schedule for the year is also included.

Consumable Textbook- The consumable textbook is a paperback book that is 488 pages long.  It is also the student workbook that they complete their assignments in.  Each lesson is around 3-4 pages long.

Writing Workbook- This paperback book is 92 pages long and has the students 21 writing lessons with space for them to complete their answers.  This book also has perforated pages that are punched and can be removed and placed in a notebook if you wish. 

Each lesson starts with a grammar meeting followed by a vocabulary lesson.  The vocabulary lesson teaches two words by teaching a Latin root for the word.  For example the Latin root popul means people.  The two words taught in that lesson is population and people.  Next there is a page or so of text to read explaining what that day's lesson is about with examples given.  After reading through the text there are practice problems that focus on that day's lesson.  After completing the practice problems, students then complete the review set which reviews concepts taught previously.

The first test is given after lesson 10.  After that tests are given after every five lessons.  The writing assignments in the writing workbook are completed on test days.  The writing notebook begins with writing sentences, then paragraphs, and different types of writing such as: persuasive, expository, narrative, and descriptive.

I have been using Hake/Saxon Grammar and Writing 3 with my 9 year old daughter Lily who has not had very much formal grammar instruction.  The Teacher's Guide gives an approximate amount of time for each lesson to be around 45 minutes, but it also assumes you are teaching it to a class.  Our lessons only took around 20 minutes to complete.  The grammar meeting with just one student goes rather quickly without multiple children to answer.  I asked Lily the question from the grammar meeting, went over the vocabulary root and examples, and then moved on to the lesson.  I sat with her and read the text aloud  and watched her complete her work in her text to make sure she understood the lesson.

My first impression was that I loved that the text and workbook were together.  The book is very clean looking without any distractions.  The program does not require advanced teacher preparation.  It is open and go.  The concepts are explained in an easy to understand format and examples are given to help the student understand.  Students have plenty of opportunity to practice what they have learned.  I love all of the built in, continuous review.  I have never been big on making my children take tests, but the included tests are very helpful to make sure they understand what they have learned.

The main reason for teaching students grammar is so they will be able to write and communicate well.  I love the writing component of Grammar and Writing 3.  It teaches in a very gentle manner going from basic sentences and moving on to paragraphs and different types of writing.  This approach is wonderful for those who do not have a lot of experience writing or for reluctant writers.

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Our Week in Review (June 18th-24th)

Last week I wrote our week in review post right after I had gone to pick up our brand new goats that we decided to get at the last minute.  They are pretty little, around 3 months old , and the boys named them Caramel and Vanilla.  Our two other goats are significantly larger then these two babies and one of our bigger goats was not being very nice to the babies so Art quickly set up something in the pen to temporarily separate the two sets of goats until we can get the supplies to build permanent stalls.  Well, I went out Monday morning early to check on everything and all was well.  A little while later we went to feed and water animals and the big goats had knocked down the temporary pen.  So Alex and Christian and I hurried to get animals fed and watered and a wall put back up.  We had to leave for a 4 H meeting so we were in a hurry.  We got it put back up and was only a few minutes later then I was supposed to be.  I hate to be late, but it turned out that no one else made it to the meeting.  We had set up the day and time a month before to meet at the park and play frisbee golf (none of us had ever played before.)  My 5 children went ahead and played (Nick was working) 6 holes in an hour and 15 minutes.  By then we were really hot and hungry so we headed out.

Later that afternoon when checking the goats again, I found that the big goats had gotten the door open to the small pen and they were in the small side and the babies were in the big side.  All the stories you have heard about goats really are true.....

Tuesday was 4 H District competition.  We had to leave bright and early.  Nick and Christian were competing in Gun Safety (Nick as a senior and Christian as a junior) which required them to take a test and shoot BBs at a target.  Alex did Sports Fishing which required him to tie knots and take a test.  Anthony did not compete and the girls were not old enough.  We went in and watched Christian and Nick compete.  Nick was very confident he did well but it was stiff competition and he did not place.  He was pretty disappointed. It was the first time he has competed at district.  Christian thought he did terrible but he ended up placing 5th out of around 20 juniors.  Alex placed 4th so he can compete at state.  Nick will also be going to state but not competing in Gun Safety.  Nick, Alex, Anthony, and Christian all received trophies for their record books.  On the way home we stopped for ice cream.  It was a long day and we did not get back until after 5.

Lily read her new Susan K. Marlow book during the hour and half we were in the competition.

Tuesday was also Liam's first birthday.

And we had another rabbit die.  This one appeared to be natural causes.

About a month ago, I received an invitation from the Rotary Club to bring 4 of my 4H club members to come and speak at their monthly meeting which was this Wednesday.  I confess that I do not like getting up in front of people and speaking.  I have no problem with groups of children, I just don't like speaking in front of adults.  But, I encourage my children to do it and if I am going to ask them to I have to be willing as well.  I thought it would be a good opportunity for the children and to show what we have been doing in 4h.  I made a slide show showing some of our meetings , community service projects, and county activities.  I asked Alex and Christian to speak along with two other club members.  We got to eat lunch first.  I only had to speak for a minute or two and then turned it over to the children.  I thought they did an outstanding job and it was a good experience for all of us (though I was glad when it was over!)  When we came out of the restaurant it was raining.  It was so nice to see the rain!

Lily also had piano on Wednesday.

Thursday and Friday Lily participated in 4 H Cooking School.  The workshop was 6 hours both days.  They made several recipes including french toast, fiesta taco salad, chicken pot pie, fruit parfaits, peanut butter fruit dip, muffins, lasagna, salad, peach cobbler, and salad dressing.  They also got an apron, cookbook, and a bag full of cooking goodies.  She really enjoyed it.

Liam's party was on Saturday.  He is getting to be such a big boy!  He really liked the Little Tykes Dinosaur Car we got him.  He enjoyed his other gifts and his cupcakes as well, although he was not too sure of the candle on his cupcake!

We did a little bit of school work this week.  Emmie was so excited to get her new math book that she had to do three lessons as soon as I took it out of the box.  We also did some grammar (upcoming review), Bible (upcoming review), and Art Appreciation (upcoming review.)

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Free Downloadable List of 200 Chapter Books Your Children Will Love

*this post contains affiliate links

Chapter Book Series Library Lists

 My children love to read.  It can be so hard to find good, quality books for them to read on their own and for me to read aloud to them.  I do not have the time to pre-read every book they are interested in.  I am always looking for book recommendations from sources that I can trust.

I have been a fan of All About Learning Press for years.  We use both their All About Reading Program and All About Spelling.  Even after doing may reviews of different reading and spelling programs over the last 9 years as a product reviewer, I always stick with All About Learning because I have seen it work for both struggling and advanced readers and spellers. 

When I saw the blog post from All About Learning with a free downloadable list of over 200 chapter books, (15 different series) I was very excited.  All you need to do is enter your first name and email and you will have immediate access to download the list.  You can read it from your screen or print it off and take it to the library.  Pictures and a short description of each series is included.  Some of the series we were familiar with, but there were several that we have never hear of before.

AALP also recommended a series on their blog called The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood (more info in the link.) There are currently 5 books in the series with the sixth releasing at the end of summer. I have started reading book 1, The Mysterious Howling , aloud to my 7,9,11, and 12 year olds and we love it!  I cannot wait to finish up this book so we can read the others.  

You may also be interested in this library list of Picture Books for All Ages.

Happy Reading!

*links in this post are my affiliate links. I make a small commission of off any purchases made through these links.  I only form affiliate relationships with companies whose products I actually use and can recommend!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Our Week in Review (June 11th-17th)

Monday morning Nick and Alex had to be up by 4:15 am to leave by 4:45 to drive to a church in town get on a bus and take a trip to Dallas Texas to go to 6 Flags with a local youth group.  I set an alarm so I could make sure they were up on time but they were up before I was (proving when its some place they want to go they have no trouble waking up early :)  It was not horribly hot that day thankfully and cloudy.  They had a good time and did not get home til around midnight that night.  The rest of us stayed home on Monday which was also very nice after all the running around we have been doing the lately.

Tuesday afternoon I sat outside for about an hour to watch the girls swim.  After coming in we were all downstairs doing various things.  I went to the kitchen two hours later and Nick went out to take the trash and found one of his rabbits, his beautiful mini rex Snowball  had been drug out of its cage and killed, most likely by a dog.  Sigh... we have had rabbits die before but not like that...

Wednesday Chelsea and Liam came over to visit.  We put him in his little pool I got for him and he loved it!  He has one at home too.

Thursday was a VERY busy day.  In the morning we had a goat and sheep workshop that lasted from 8:30-11:30.  Then we had to run by the school and choose Nick's classes (one for each semester) for next year so he can play soccer.  Next up was the library, the co-op, and Walmart.  I made it home with just enough time to unload groceries and run Lily to piano.  After piano we loaded the camper and fed all of the animals so we could go camping.

It was a good camping trip.  We went to one of our favorite places, Jefferson Ridge.  I like it there because even though they have a swim beach you can also swim easily right outside the water front camp sites.  The children can swim most of the day.  We do all go in to the camper for a few hours each afternoon for a "rest time" during the hottest part of the day.  They can watch a movie or play games quietly. 

They thought this alligator gar skull they found was really cool

Emmie was proud of her big fish

She cleaned off the scales then after daddy had cleaned it, cooked it over the fire and ate it

Chelsea and the baby came to visit us on Saturday for a few hours.

We came home Sunday.  Nick and Alex had driven back Saturday to feed and water animals.  We had to feed and water again Sunday morning and then after lunch Alex, Christian, Emmie, and I drove about an hour to pick up our new goats.  It was a very last minute decision (like Thursday morning during the workshop.)  We cannot show our last year's goats as market goats and they cannot be taken to the state fair.  We can show them at county as commercial doe but that's all.  One of the people teaching the workshop breeds sheep and goat and had some goats left (its kind of late to be looking for show goats), so we decided to go ahead and buy two more females.  The idea is that we will hopefully breed last year's goats this fall and then will have babies to show next year or sell.  We will see how it goes with this goats we just bought and will decide to either try to breed them next year or sell them.  This whole animal thing is getting a  little crazy!

We did a little bit of school this week.  The girls did an art project from ARTistic Pursuits on Monday.  We did our Bible lesson from Bible Study Guide for All Ages every day and Lily did grammar out of Hake Grammar every day.  The boys did some math.  Emmie also read to me.  The girls were excited that their favorite author, Susan K Marlow's, two newest books released early and I bought them as a surprise.  Lily spent most of the afternoon yesterday reading.

Next week is a very busy week as well with several 4 H activities going on.

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!