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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Creating a Masterpiece Review #hsreviews #artinstruction #homeschoolart #onlineartprogram

Creating a Masterpiece
Alaina loves art, she loves to paint, draw, color, and sculpt. She is very creative on her own, but she also enjoys learning new things. Recently she has been using the Monthly Plan from Creating A Masterpiece to develop new skills. 

Creating A Masterpiece is just what the name suggests. It is online fine art lessons for all ages given by Sharon Hofer. There are over 144 lessons available in a Monthly Plan for the whole family for $39.99 a month. 
Sharon has been teaching art classes for over 15 years. She wanted to focus on the quality of the project as well teach different techniques. Children as young as 4-5 can create masterpieces that are normally completed by high school students. They not only create quality artwork they also develop skills that will help them create masterpieces on their own. 

The lessons are divided into levels. The Beginning level is meant to be fun and simple. The project is divided up into small sections and takes about an hour to complete the project. Levels 1-5 offer 3-7 full lessons with each lesson taking 1-2 hours to complete. There is Art in History section that discusses the history of an artist and includes instructions to complete a similar project. This section is just being developed and is a wonderful addition to the course.
Alaina was so excited when we received Creating A Masterpiece. We already own quite a bit of quality art products, so I gave Alaina the option of where to start. There are so many great projects to choose from she wasn't sure what to do first. I suggested looking at the different medium and choosing what she wanted to do first that way. 
  • Acrylic
  • Batik
  • Block Printing
  • Carving
  • Conte' Crayon
  • Copper Tooling
  • Glass Mosaic
  • Gouache
  • Ink
  • Mixed Media
  • Oil Painting
  • Oil Pastel
  • Pencil/Charcoal
  • Sculpture
  • Silk Painting
  • Soft Pastel
  • Watercolor
  • Wood Burning

She decided to start with the Himalayan Kitten which is a Level 4 Lesson in Oil Pastels. There are four lessons in this project. Along with the video lesson, there is a list of supplies that will be needed, helpful tips for this project, pictures of the lesson highlights, and project downloads that include a list of supplies, and a high-resolution image.  

Sharon starts each project encouraging the kids and reminding them that no two pictures will look the same and they will all be masterpieces and unique. She talks a little bit about the oil pastels and other supplies that are needed. This particular project uses a velour paper, but Alaina didn't want to wait to buy some so she just used her drawing paper. Sharon describes exactly what is going on and her instructions were very easy to follow. 
Alaina chose to access the video content on her iPad mini. This worked great for her, she could take it to the table and could easily pick it up if she wanted a closer look at something. She also liked to pause the video if she was taking longer to finish what was just being shown on the video. After Alaina finished the first project Amber decided she wanted to join in on the fun. Amber is not as artsy as Alaina, so she wanted to start with an easier project. They did the Lesson in Oil Pastels Winter Cabin from the Beginner Level and then moved on to the Lessons in Colored Pencil: Tropical Clown Fish Level 1. Alaina is always painting or drawing, but Amber doesn't normally like to. She was very pleased with her work and that it actually looked good. 

Alaina is loving Creating A Masterpiece. She has completed her work entirely on her own. She hasn't needed any help with the program or the content. She is already thinking ahead and wants to work on wood burning and copper tooling next since that is something she has never done. 

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Creating Beautiful Art at Home {Creating A Masterpiece Reviews}
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Monday, March 20, 2017

Eclectic Foundations Language ArtsReview #hsreviews #languagearts #mcguffeyreaders #eclecticeducation

Language Arts {Eclectic Foundations }
Eclectic Foundations offers an all inclusive Christian Language Arts program. The first book in the series is the Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level A and is recommended for children just learning to read or struggling readers.

Currently, there are three levels available from Eclectic Foundations with plans for six more. The nine levels will have your child reading at college level upon completion while covering Phonics, Grammar, Spelling, Reading Comprehension, Handwriting, Composition, and Poetry. 
Level A contains 144 lessons and will last 36 weeks when 4 lessons are completed each week. Eclectic Foundations comes with a Teacher's Guide, Student Workbook, McGuffey Flashcards, and an Appendixes booklet. It uses the McGuffey's Eclectic Primer (revised edition) and other books from the early 1900s. These books can be found and printed online free of charge or you can purchase them as a physical book. The McGuffey reader is not used until the second quarter and the rhymes from the Real Mother Goose are printed directly in the Teacher's Guide. 

There are detailed directions in the Teacher's Guide for each lesson, and it includes games, and a Mother Goose poem for each day. The Student Workbook is 266 pages of consumable worksheets. Each week there is a new letter introduced. Every day the student will start by reciting the alphabet then they should practice writing the new letter in a multi-sensory way. Worksheets are for provided for each day using the new letter and combining it with letters already taught and includes finding the letter, mazes, handwriting, matchings, and a reading page. There are five laminated pages in the Appendixes book that are used during the game time and writing activities. The flashcards contain words that should be colored according to the correct part of speech. 
Language Arts {Eclectic Foundations }
This is not a new curriculum, The Eclectic Education Series was used from mid 1800s-mid 1900s. The language has been updated so that it is easier to understand and teach, but the original biblical worldview is still there. It has proven itself to be successful with those mid 1800s-mid 1900s educators having their students ready for college after completing the eighth grade. This collection of textbooks were the most popular until the public school system was secularized. 

Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level A is very easy to understand and simple to use without unnecessary busy work. The student is encouraged to form the new letters out of play dough, colored sand, or by using a dry erase board and markers and the games are set up for the student to hear the sounds used in the words. The short simple daily lessons offer enough variety to keep young kids interested without becoming overstimulated or discouraged. 

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Eclectic Foundations
Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level A

Language Arts {Eclectic Foundations Reviews}
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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Laura Story Open Hands Review & Giveaway #OpenHands & FlyBy

We listen to music every day, we all have our favorite songs and listen to them over and over. It is always nice to have a new CD to add to our collection. Our newest CD is Open Hands from Laura Story. Our local radio station plays Blessings by Laura Story a lot, so she isn't a new artist to my family.

This new album is about learning to live with open hands, constantly saying "Lord, my life is Yours. Do what you will." The songs on Open Hands are a lifeline that someone needs to hear when they are having a hard time, and Laura hopes God will speak through her music to offer hope.

Laura included some well-known songwriters on this album including Matt Redman, Matt Maher, Mia Fieldes, Hank Bently, Sarah Hart, and Seth Mosley to name a few. As Laura was writing both by herself and with the others she began to see a thread of surrender emerge. The theme for Open Hands was not chosen first it presented itself after the lyrics were written. Laura says sometimes the theme comes out of what is written not only in the music but in her life.

Laura Story Open Hands
Death Was Arrested
Open Hands
You Came Running
Give You Faith
For The Love of My King
Awake My Soul (A 1000 Tongues)
Every Word You Breathe
Grace Abounds

We have been listening to Open Hands and every song contains powerful and meaning lyrics.

Not only is Laura an award winning recording artist she is also a wife, mother of three, author, and songwriter for other artists. She has built her career around submission to her calling.

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I have one copy of Laura Story Open Hands CD to giveaway. Just enter the Rafflecopter below.
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Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Circle C Stepping StonesReview #hsreviews #oldwest #horsegirls #fictionforgirls

Kregel Publications
If you read my blog often you already know that Susan K. Marlow is one of my girls' favorite authors. Going on adventures that contain horse riding is always great fun even if you are just reading about it. We just received Andi Saddles Up and Andi Under the Big Top from the new Circle C Stepping Stones series published by Kregel Publications
Susan K. Marlow has written several books about Andrea Carter growing up on the Circle C horse ranch in California during the 1800s. Your 6-9-year-old children can read about a very young Andi and her adventures with her colt in the Circle C Beginnings, then your 7-10-year-old kids can move up to the new Circle C Stepping Stones series, The Circle C Adventures are great for ages 9-13, and your kids 11 and up will like to read about Andi in the Circle C Milestones series. 

We just finished reading the newest Circle C Milestone book, Courageous Love. My girls had been looking forward to reading it since they finished the other titles in the Milestone series. We were first introduced to Andi back in 2011. Since then we have read a lot of books from Susan K. Marlow and reviewed several. Although the new Circle C Stepping Stone series is below my girls' reading level and ages they still wanted to see what Andi had gotten herself into this time. 
Andi Saddles Up is the first book in the Circle C Stepping Stones series. She just turned nine and she wants to learn to trick ride like her friend Riley with her horse, Taffy. Of course, her big brother isn't willing to let that to happen. When Andi makes a new friend she also has new things to worry about. This new friend offers her a gift she knows she shouldn't accept and Andi is afraid of losing her when the two families start quarreling over boundary issues. 

Andi Under the Big Top takes Andi to the circus. She is excited to see the all the circus has to offer especially the champion bareback rider. She makes a new friend while she is there and thinks he has the best job ever with the circus. Once she learns the truth and sees how circus life really is she wants to help him. 

There will be a total of six books in the Stepping Stones series. The first two books are a little over a hundred pages and contain longer chapters for7-10-year-old kids that are ready for longer books. They offer a great story line and have the look and feel of a big kid book. 

To make the most out of reading these books Susan K. Marlow has a free Study Guide for both books. Language Arts, Geography, History, Math and Science, Character and Bible, music, crafts, and just-for-fun are in both guides. They include a recommended schedule, questions about the book, activities, crafts, puzzles, and pictures, free coloring pages are also available. 

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Andi Series {Kregel Publications and Susan K. Marlow Reviews}
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Creative Freewriting Adventure Review #hsreviews #celebratingmanhood #waodani #CreativeFreewriting

Home School Adventure Company
Writing can be fun, it can be work, and sometimes it can cause tears. Some of my kids can write all day and some of them hate even writing a short paragraph. We recently started using the Creative Freewriting Adventure: A Journey Into Freewriting from Home School Adventure Co. We also received the corresponding Creative Freewriting Adventure Coloring Book Edition

Creative Freewriting Adenture

Creative Freewriting Adventure: a journey into freewriting is meant to be a fun writing experience.The 61 pages are divided into 10 engaging exercises.  There is no preparation required of the student or teacher, you just set the timer for 15 minutes and write. There should be no emphasis on spelling or grammar so students can just use the short time to have fun and enjoy writing. The writing prompts start with some history and philosophy then the Your Journey Section introduces the student to a story that will get their imaginations going. The assignment follows by asking the student questions about the background, the dialog, and incorporating their senses. 

Creative Freewriting Adventure Coloring Book Edition
The Creative Freewriting Adventure Coloring Book Edition contains the same great writing prompts but also includes a coloring page for each one. These are a great addition if you have a younger child writing or if your teens are like some of mine and still like to color. This gives them a visual to go along with their writing. 

The Freewriting Adventure is available in print and digital form. We received the digital book and I was planning on printing a copy out for my 14 & 15-year-old girls, but when Delaney (age 14) realized what I was doing she said she would rather type her stories than write on paper. She loves to write and she said if she was only allowed to write for 15 minutes she needed to type or she would not be able to get all of her thoughts written out in that short of time with pen and paper. Then Amber (15 at the time) hates writing said she wanted to type hers as well because typing isn't as much work as writing. They are complete opposites when it comes to writing. Delaney is always writing and writes to the extreme and Amber only writes what she has to. When the 15 minutes were over Delaney wanted to keep writing and finish her story and Amber was ready to be done. 

Delaney was good with reading the introduction and the Journey to get her going on her creative writing. Amber on the other hand really liked having the questions there to help her create ideas in her mind and describe them vividly on her paper.

I love the concept of freewriting to allow my kids to enjoy writing without getting bogged down with correct grammar and punctuation. I have noticed they are less fearful of writing when they don't have to worry about it at first. I think this creative writing book is fun for teens that don't like to write and for those that love it.  

A Sample of Delaney's story.

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Twitter @HomeSchoolAdven

Stacy Ferrell has written several titles for homeschool families. The Crew received several different ones to review, and you can read reviews for Celebrating Manhood, Walking with Waodani, and I'd Rather Be Your Mommy.

Resources with a Biblical Worldview{Home School Adventure Co. Reviews}
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Amber's Birthday

Birthdays are so bitter sweet. I love watching my kids grow up and develop who they will become, but it is one step closer to their independence and moving on with their own lives. 

Amber turned 16 this year and she has a wonderful disposition and you can't help but love to be around her. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Five Minute Friday Abandon #fmf #amwriting

Brainard Lake, Colorado ~ Morgan Paige Photography

Today's Five Minute Friday prompt is ABANDON.

I have thought about this word all afternoon. It brings so many things to my mind, but after reading it this morning the song Live With Abandon by the Newsboys has been stuck in my mind. If you haven't listened to this song you should. 

Chasing after this world makes me tired
Praisin' my own name leaves me dry
There's gotta be so much more to life than this
A higher calling that I missed
I want my life to count, every breath
I wanna live with abandon
Give you all that I am
Every part of my heart Jesus

It is easy to sing the lyrics. I have been all day and I think my family is tired of hearing me (I'm not a very good singer). Lyrics get stuck in my head. If I hear a song even if I haven't heard it for twenty years I can still sing almost every word. Or sometimes I hear a phrase or like today just one word and it will bring a song to memory. If I don't have the music sometimes I will change the words to what I want them to say. My kids get irritated when this happens, probably because the song ends up with things that are going on at the moment or I add their names into it. 

Do I mean the words that I say? Most of the time I don't. I subconsciously sing them without thinking. But when I think about the words of songs they have so much meaning in them and they can inspire me to think about my own life and how I am living. 

There's gotta be so much more to life than this
A higher calling that I missed
I want my life to count, every breath
I wanna live with abandon
Give you all that I am

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