Saturday, April 18, 2015

Weekly Wrap Up/THMJ

In our life this week..... We are busy with spring cleaning. We have gotten the dinning room done and the schoolroom is almost done. The kids have been working on their rooms. Princess P got a new mattress for her bed, which she needed desperately. She loves it! Now she wants her room repainted and a new comforter set. She'll just have to wait a few more years. I told her when she turns 12 or 13 we will switch her room. I think by then she will be more mature and will be able to pick out a set that will last her until she goes to college. We had appointments on Friday and Princess P is getting new glasses. We also went searching for a new bike for her birthday. Grandpa is buying her a new bike for her birthday! She wanted a blue or teal bike, but settled for this one.


In our homeschool this week....Monday was an ordinary day of school. Tuesday, we finished up school early and headed outside to enjoy the beautiful day. On Wednesday, we skipped school and headed to the park to meet up with friends from our old CCM co-op. The kids hadn't seen each other since February, so they were excited to see one another.

Thursday was a fun day. We headed to a local children's museum for their homeschool days. We got to see the museums new location. The kids have been wanting to see the new museum and really enjoyed the exhibits. 

Friday, we did school. I can't believe we are slowly winding down with some of our subjects. The kids are getting excited since that means we will get to study what they want for the summer months!

What the kids are reading.... Lego Man is reading though the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. He is in the 6th book now, Martin the Warrior.

Princess P is reading the American Girl Molly books. She had started them, stopped, and is now almost done with the collection.

What I am reading....I am currently reading The Buys Homeschool Mom's Guide to Daylight by Heidi St. John.

I was given a free download for an upcoming review for The Schoolhouse Review Crew. I am really enjoying the book so far. Keep your eyes open for my upcoming review.

What I am working on....Cleaning and preparing for Princess P's birthday party. She is having a Paris themed party. 

I'll be sharing some of the fun stuff we created for the party and the fun games we played!

Till next time,

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Friday, April 17, 2015

ARTistic Pursuits Review~ Book 1: The Elements of Art & Composition

For years now, I have been wanting to explore the ARTistic Pursuits art curriculum but just never got around to trying it. So when I was picked to review this program for The Schoolhouse Review Crew, I was extremely excited.

ARTistic Pursuits Review

ARTistic Pursuits is a wonderful company that provides a homeschool art program for families and co-ops. Their goal is to make teaching art to students simple and fun. Their techniques are easy but very thorough.  They strive to combine all aspects of art in order to teach children how to create. I love how the book combines art history, art techniques, art appreciation, vocabulary, and observation in their program. This program is perfect for children to learn about art but more important to appreciate art!

We received the physical book Elementary 4-5 Book 1: The Elements of Art and Composition from ARTistic Pursuits for this review.

ARTistic Pursuits Review

The list price for this book is $47.95. The book is geared for 4th and 5th graders and recommended for ages 9 and up. They have plenty of other books ranging in grade levels from preschool to high school. If you have little ones, you can start there and build on your knowledge or you can pick you grade level and start there. We have never used this program before and it was extremely easy to jump right into the Elementary 4-5 Book 1.

Art and creating has always been a part of my kids lives. My kids have been exposed to art since they were in preschool (maybe even younger). I studied art in college, so I always made sure my kids had access to different types of media and paper. I made sure they had time to draw, paint, and create. The one area I did have problems with is trying to teach the technique. I had the knowledge in my head, but for some reason I just couldn't get it out. It was difficult for me to get certain ideas across to them. This book helped me do that. It gave me the terms I needed to get them to understand what was in my head. Art techniques are described in simple terms. This made it easy for me to teach and for them to understand what I was trying to say.

The Elementary 4-5 Book 1: The Elements of Art and Composition is all about the composition of art. By this I mean, the book talks all about how children can take different aspects of art and turn them into a whole picture. This book teaches children to draw realistically. It teaches them the importance of observing the world around them. Too often we go outside and look around, but don't really see the world around us.We think we see everything, but do we really?
Do we see how each leaf looks different?
Do we see how the petals on flowers vary in shape? Some are pointed, some are rounded.
Do we see the different hues in the shades of yellow on the daffodils?

I love how this book encourages the children to slow down and really look and observe their surroundings. It shows them to truly appreciate the world God gave us. To enjoy the beauty that God created for us. 

Getting Started
I love how the book has a section called Getting Started. It is a great way for parents/teachers to see what will be taught. The first page in the getting started section contains the table of contents and a list of art supplies needed to complete the projects. It's a great page to start on!

The rest of the Getting Started section deals with how the book is broken up, how to use the book, and how to schedule your art lessons. It is recommended to do two classes a week for an hour a day. 
I will tell you once you children get started they will not want to stop. My children wanted to have art everyday!

The Lessons
The book is broken up into Units. There are 16 units in the book. Each unit contains 4 lessons. Three of the lessons are about teaching the element and technique for the week. The final lesson is a project. With 64 lessons, parents have an entire year of art for the kids to work on!

Lesson 1
Introduces the element, art vocabulary, and has a creative exercise.

Lesson 2
Introduces a famous painting and artist. It encourages art appreciation. It also has a short history lesson to go along with the time period of the painting and artist.

Lesson 3 
Introduces the art technique. It explains the technique and shows how to accomplish it. It even gives ideas for the children to try!

Lesson 4
The Final Project. Here is where the children get to put into practice all that they have learned.

In Elementary 4-5 Book 1, the children are taught about space, line, shape, texture, value, form, contrast, and so much more. The lessons in the book teach a specific technique or element. At the end of the unit, the children create their own finished pieces of artwork that uses the elements and techniques taught in the previous lessons. 

Each lesson builds on the previous lesson. This allows the children to learn the art techniques in an easy way. The techniques are taught in a simple way making them easy for children to understand. At the end of each unit, the children create their own masterpieces. As they progress through the book, they are able to see how their artistic abilities have improved over the course of the program.
One of the best parts of the program is that the kids get to pick their own subject matter. The book doesn't dictate what they have to draw. It is left up to the children to pick their topics. What better way to encourage creativity!

In each lesson, children are exposed to art in nature and art done by famous American artists. I love how the program introduces the children to a famous painting and artist.

The children are able to view the painting in the book. They are given a short biography of the artists. If you wanted to dig deeper, you could check out books from your local library or just search the internet. Each painting is discussed as it pertains to the art technique or element that was taught. The book breaks it down so the students can see how the artist used that technique in his or her own painting. As an added bonus, the author of the book includes a brief section on what was going on at the time of the painting. A quick history lesson!

I like how the children are taught techniques that artist used and are encouraged to give them a try. I have to add this book did not focus on color. My children have a tendency to add color. They really dislike leaving their pictures in black and white. I will definitely have to look into the next levels so my kids can learn how to add color successfully.

I can't tell you enough how much I LOVED this program. The entire book is user friendly. It makes teaching art extremely easy even for non- artists. Older children could easily read the lessons themselves and work on their projects with little to no help from mom or dad. My children loved it! They have asked to do art everyday since starting this program. Right now, we are currently using the program 2-4 times a week. If we have more free time or if it was raining out, the kids have asked to do more in the book.

So if you, like so many other parents, dread teaching art or have no idea where to begin I would highly recommend the books from ARTistic Pursuits. You will find them very easy to follow and you will be absolutely amazed at your children's artistic abilities.

What to learn more about ARTistic Pursuits head on over and check out their Facebook Page.

Till next time,

ARTistic Pursuits Review

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Traveling Thursday's~ Second Time Around Art Field Trip

We were lucky enough to attend a field trip recently to a local museum for an art tour and fun class about recycling items to make art.

The exhibit was called Second Time Around. It featured art made from hubcaps! When I first heard about the exhibit, I was not that impressed. I definitely lacked imagination about what could be done with an old car hubcap.

Boy, was I wrong!
I had no idea you could create so many beautiful pieces of art work with hubcaps.

Don't believe me?

Have a look for yourself!

A variety of painted scenes.

A space ship, but I see a turtle.

This one looks like it was inspired by Georgia O'Keeffe.

A beautiful sketching.

A color wheel that actual spins!

After the tour of these creative pieces of artwork, the kids got to try their hand at making their own hubcap art.
With simple tin pie plates and various media, they got to work.



A Flower Garden

A Bubbling Creek

Till next time, 

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Spring Has Finally Arrived!!

Till next time,

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Star Toaster~ Orphs of the Woodlands Review

Recently, we were given the opportunity to review Orphs of the Woodlands from Star Toaster for the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Star Toaster Review

Orphs of the Woodlands is an online educational series that encourage learning while working on positive character traits. It uses a 3 step approach!

1. A Reading Adventure
Orphs of the Woodlands is a tale about a squirrel that becomes a spy in the fight against Night Creatures that are terrorizing the animals of the woodlands. A fun aspect of the story is the kids get to name the squirrel, who is the main character! 

2. An Academic Treasure
Orphs of the Woodlands is a wonderful story that has lessons in math, science, vocabulary, grammar, thinking skills, character, life skills, the arts and so much more tucked into the story. So as the child progresses through the story he/she will learn so much more  in their amazing journey through the woodlands.

Star Toaster Review
                            Star Toaster Review

The story is packed with tons of knowledge!
There are tips on how to remember things and memory games to help with the child's memorization skills. They even have reminders for the kids to pay attention!

The story is broken up into chapters. 

At the end of each chapter, the lessons are reviewed before the spy squirrel can do jobs to earn his pay in the woodlands.The jobs are fun exercises that help the child with his/her learning skills. Once the child completes the lesson, he/she is rewarded with gold stars. The more skills he/she learns, the more gold stars they will receive. More skills equals higher pay! 

* Parents have access to a Skills Page for the child. The Skills Page show the child's progress. Parents can easily track their child's progress and see what they are learning!

3. A  Rewarding Game
After the child earns his/her gold stars, it's time to play the game! The gold stars that are earned are used as currency in the woodlands. The kids get to build a settlement in the Woodlands. It's a fun and engaging strategy game for kids.They have to plan the settlement, care for the settlement, and sustain it. The game is a wonderful way for kids to master skills and help their settlement grow.

Star Toaster Review

For this review, we received online access to Orphs of the Woodlands for 1 year for up to 3 children. A normal subscription for Orphs of the Woodlands last for two months. It costs $19.99. You can use it for up to 3 children. They offer a free trail and you can add a 30 day extension onto your subscription for just $6.99! You can read more about here. The program is geared for children in the 4th-7th grade. Of course, this is just a guide line.You know what your child is capable of. The free trail would be a great way to see of it's right for your child!
Star Toaster Review
So now that you know the basics about Orphs of the Woodlands from Star Toaster, we can get on to the good stuff. When requesting to be on this review, I had Lego Man in mind the whole time. I knew he would love the setting of the story. He loves reading books like The Hobbit, The Red Wall Series, and The Lord of the Rings. After reading the short synopsis of the story, I thought it was right up his alley.
After registering, we longed in. I will say we had a slight hiccup when we first went on. Lego Man started to read the first chapter of the book The Treasure of HighTower, but after he finished chapter 1 his progress was not saved. Thanks to some other helpful moms that are also doing the review, I realized that I was logged into the parents account. So we logged out and logged back in as Lego Man. He was a little annoyed that he had to read the whole chapter again. We couldn't figure out a way that he could just skip to Chapter 2. Oh well, life happens and reading is good for him! Other than that mishap, the program is really easy to work with. It's very user friendly!
I forget to tell you that before reading chapter 1, readers get to fill out an application. They can pick the name of the spy squirrel, chose their favorite color, and pick their qualifications like honesty, faithfulness, brave, and diligent. 

 Lego Man picked Rock Slinger for his squirrel's name. He did wish he could have picked his own animal from the forest. I'm sure he would have picked something a little more intimidating. 
While Lego Man reread chapter 1, I sat with him and read through the chapter with him. I love how they highlight different vocabulary words. The kids can mouse over the word and are immediately give the definition and form of speech. Other words are highlighted that are important to the story. Readers can mouse over a name and information about that character is given. The have quotes from famous people. There are sound effects.  Recipes to try. It really is amazing how that add all this into the story!
After bothering Lego Man by reading over his shoulder, I left him alone to read. He has slowly been working through the chapters. Reading online is a new thing for him. He really doesn't like it. He prefers to have a book in his hands. He's like his mama like that. There is nothing like the feel of a book in your hands.
He would rather have the story of the Orphs of the Woodlands in actual book form. Sadly, this would not allow for all the neat features that they have in the online version.  Maybe having an E-book option and then an option for kids to log in and answer questions, complete lessons, and play the game. Not sure of that would work either.
Each reader gets their own journal. The journal allows the reader to keep track of all the orphs they have rescued, jobs they have completed, gold stars they have earned, and how their settlement is growing and doing.

Lego Man's Thoughts.....

He has enjoyed his journey through the woodlands. Besides wanting a "real" book, he thought the chapters were a little too long. Sitting at a computer reading seemed very tedious to him. He can sit and read a regular book for hours, but he found it difficult to sit and stare at the computer screen. I have suggested shorter reading sessions, but he loves to complete a chapter when he starts reading. He hates leaving a chapter unfinished and wandering what is happening.

He did suggest being able to retry the games. He is kind of a perfectionist. If he doesn't get a perfect score, he gets a little bothered.  I think not being able to retry the games is a great way for him to learn how to read thoroughly and to double check his answers before submitting them. 

He enjoyed the lessons and jobs. He wanted to be able to do the all the jobs at one time and play the game. In his mind, who needs to read when you can play. The game was fun and engaging. He really enjoyed it. He liked the idea of building a land. His only complaint is the price of the land was too high. He wished it was a little cheaper.

My Thoughts......

I love how they made only certain jobs available after each chapter. It encourages the child to continue reading. In order to play and have fun, you have to do the work of reading and lessons. This is a important lesson to learn in life! Life isn't all about playing.

I would highly recommend this to any parent who has a child that would enjoy the woodland story. Another suggestion would be to make a more girly version for those girls that would be prefer that would be nice too!
Want to learn about Orphs of the Woodlands? Check out the following pages.
Pinterest Page
Facebook Page
Twitter Page
Till next time,

Star Toaster Review

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