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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Math-U-See Zeta Review

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The first year we homeschooled I bought a complete packaged curriculum because I was afraid I would miss something when it came to teaching my kids. Michael did fine, then I started Morgan on the same curriculum. She did great with all of it except the Math. She struggled! I talked to other homeschool moms & they recommended what worked for their family. Well, it still didn't work. After starting her over & switching several times someone finally suggested Math-U-See. I ordered it thinking it probably wouldn't be any different than the others. I was wrong, she finally started to understand Math. She still said she didn't like it, but she was getting it. She was happy & I was happy. I continued to use Math-U-See with the younger girls until this year. I decided to try something else. Amber has been fine with what she is using. Delaney was miserable & Alaina is begging to switch back. We received Zeta for Delaney to review & I will be ordering Amber & Alaina their next level from Math-U-See very soon.

Math-U-See is a multi-sensory, mastery program using DVDs & manipulatives to teach math concepts. They believe math is more than memorization and they strive to build understanding. It is available for grades K-12, but the sequence does not follow grades. They are divided into levels and if you would like to use Math-U-See with an older child I would recommend having them take the placement tests to see where they should begin. If you have been using Math-U-See from the beginning then Zeta would be used for 6th grade.
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Delaney has been using the new edition of Zeta, and she was very glad to be back. We received the DVD, Instruction Manuel, Student Workbook, Test booklet, Manipulative Block Set, and the Algebra/Decimal Inserts. It is divided into 30 lessons and covers Decimals & Percents. Lesson 4 DVD segment & worksheet are available for your viewing along with the Table of Contents.  

Zeta Concepts and Skills:

  • Expanding understanding of place value from positive powers of ten to include decimals.
  • Fluently adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing multiple digit decimals using place-value strategies.
  • Solving real-world problems with decimals and percentages. 
  • Understanding the metric system and converting from one unit of measure to another.
Additional Concepts and Skills:
  • Understanding and simplifying exponents.
  • Understanding negative numbers and representing them on the coordinate plane. 
  • Using properties of operations to simplify and evaluate algebraic expressions.
  • Interpreting and graphing relationships between dependent and independent variables.
  • Understanding of plane geometry & geometric symbols.
  • Using ratio reasoning to solve problems.

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Every lesson is taught on the DVD by Mr. Demme. He explains each concept and uses the marker board and manipulatives to show the student how to work each problem.

The Teacher Manuel offers a written explanation & examples for each lesson. All the answers to the Student Workbook & Test booklet are included in the back.

The Student Workbook is three hole punched and the pages are perforated for easy removal. Each lesson contains 7 worksheets labeled A-G. The Lesson Practice is on pages A, B, & C, a Systematic Review is on pages D, E, & F, and page G covers Application & Enrichment.

The Test booklet contains a test for all 30 lessons, plus 4 unit tests, and a final test.
Delaney started each lesson by watching Mr. Demme on the DVD, and then she would complete the worksheets. She learns by doing so she has been completing all the worksheets for each chapter so far. When we come to a topic that she grasps quickly we may skip some of the practice pages and move on to the review, and application & enrichment. The DVD & worksheets are very easy for her to understand and her attitude toward math has changed since we have started using Math-U-See again.

The Teachers Manual is very user friendly and easy to understand. I haven't had to use it to reexplain anything so far with Zeta because Delaney has understood the concepts just from watching the DVD. All the answers are included in the back of this book which makes it easy to check her work.

Math-U-See has just came out with a new edition for Primer through Zeta. The DVD has stayed the same. The instruction manuals have been edited to improve diction and accuracy. An Application & Enrichment page has been added to each lesson and the activities rang from dot-to-dot and coloring activities for younger levels and more difficult activities for Epsilon & Zeta.

Changes in Zeta:

  • The instruction manual has been edited for clarity & accuracy. The changes in the teacher manual are:
    • Lesson 4: Using zero as a placeholder.
    • Lesson 6: Official abbreviation for "deka" or "deca" is "da".
    • Lesson 7: One inch is exactly 2.54 centimeters.
    • Lessons 6, 7, 8, and 15: Updated discussion of metric measures and metric conversions.
    • Lesson 16: Including units of measure in area and perimeter problems. Introduction to negative numbers and absolute value.
    • Lesson 19: Algebraic expressions.
    • Lesson 25: Statistics and variability. 
  • The student workbook includes the "Application & Enrichment." They include these topics:
    • Using different kinds of graphs
    • Solving ratios with charts and tables.
    • Introduction to simple statistics.
    • Negative numbers
    • The language of Mathematics.
    • Solving inequalities. 
If you already use Math-U-See & order the new edition student book you can use the DVD you already own & the answers to the new Application & Enrichment activities are available on the website. 

  • Zeta Instruction Pack includes DVD & Teacher Manual is $45.00.
  • Zeta Student Pack includes workbook & tests is $30.00.
  • Algebra/Decimal Inserts is $22.00.
  • Manipulative Block Set is $38.00.

Sail over the the Schoolhouse Review Crew to read reviews on all 14 levels of Math-U-See. 
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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dial Kids Body + Hair Wash Review and Giveaway

One afternoon I was not home, but the rest of my family was. Alaina called to tell me that the FedEx guy just came with another box from Purex and wanted to know if she could open the box. I told her that was fine & we got off the phone. Not even 5 minutes later she called me back a lot more excited than the first time. Why was she so excited? Because this time the Purex package contained the New Dial Kids Body + Hair Wash and it was watermelon scented. As soon as I got home she wanted me to smell her new body wash! She was more than happy to get in the shower that night.

Dial brand has been making personal care products for the skin for 65 years. Their new line of Kids  Body & Hair Wash is age appropriate to address the skin needs of children. It was developed by pediatric dermatologists and there is a formula for children ages 2-5 and 6-10.

The New Dial Kids Body + Hair Wash for children 2-5 is perfect for kids who don't need baby soap but isn't ready for adult strength. It comes in a Peachy Clean Scent.

The New Dial Kids Body + Hair Wash for children 6+ is the one we have been using. It offers mild cleansing without drying out the skin. It comes in Watery Melon and Berry Cool scents and comes in bright colors to make bath time fun.

The best part of this new kid's soap is that is it tear free, hypoallergenic, no artificial dyes or added parabens, and is Ph balanced. 

Your kids will want to try this new fresh soap, so make sure you enter my giveaway below. 3 of my readers within the United States will win a coupon for a free bottle. 

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Disclaimer: As a member of Purex Insiders Dial provided me with a free bottle of Dial Kids Body + Hair Wash free of charge in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own and no other compensation was received. 

Dial Coconut Water Body Wash Review & Giveaway

My girls love using body wash in the shower, they think it is so fun to choose different scents. We have been using the new Dial Coconut Water Body Wash and everyone loves it. It has a very mild coconut scent and leaves your skin feeling soft and clean. 

This new Dial Coconut Water Body Wash is the first of its kind to contain coconut water. Coconut water is found in young green coconuts. It is rich in antioxidants and electrolytes to naturally hydrate your skin. 

Would you like a FREE bottle of the New Dial Coconut Water Body Wash? Just enter my giveaway below and 3 of my readers within the United States will win a coupon.

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Disclaimer: As a Purex Insider Dial Soap provided me with a free bottle of Dial Coconut Water Body Wash in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own and no other compensation was received. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

B is for Books

My girls love to read. They really like to read in bed at night & sometimes I feel bad for telling them they have to go to sleep.

The other night Amber said, "It is too bad that you can't read all night and wake up refreshed." 

Of course then everyone had the giggles and Delaney said, "Oh, I just woke up from reading all night and feel so good."

We have a huge collection of books, and we try to go to the library once a week. We usually go on Monday afternoon after piano lessons. I'm not sure if there is a limit on how many books you can check out on one library card, but I know you can at least get 20 because that is how many Alaina checked out this week. It seems like every week we come home with cookbooks, animal books, biographies, history book, books about other countries, and of course some picture books.  
Our books from this week......I didn't pick any!!

I love a good picture book that is well written and this week Amber found Music for the End of Time. This book is written by Jen Bryant and is based on the true story of French composer Olivier Messiaen who was taken to the German prison camp in Gorlitz during WWII. Despite the poor conditions and lack of food Olivier composed his Quartet for the End of Time. Two prisoners had brought their violin & clarinet to the camp & Olivier talked the guards into finding him a run down piano & cello. Later he received permission to play the quartet for the entire prison camp.

 Blogging Through the Alphabet
Thanks Marcy

Piano Lessons ~ Adventus MusIQ Review

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If my girls had their way they would read & play their musical instruments all day. They all three play the piano & ukulele, Delaney also plays the saxophone & Amber plays the flute & just started guitar. Last month we added a keyboard to use with MusIQ Homeschool from Adventus.

MusIQ Homeschool program is multi-level piano & music lessons used with a midi keyboard. This is a seven year curriculum that contains 20+ levels of instruction for beginners to intermediate piano students. It is recommended for children ages 4-18. It can be purchased as a computer software or a monthly subscription for $10.95. You will need a midi compatible keyboard with either one.
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We received access to all levels, and this is what you would receive with the monthly subscription.
It is suggested that you sit with your child at the beginning and then let them work on their own making sure to listen to them once a week.

All of my girls are currently taking piano lessons. I had Amber (age 12) work on the Ear Training Coach, Delaney (age 10) worked in the Piano Suite Premier, and Alaina (age 7) used the program the most in Children's Music Journey Year 3.

When Alaina logged in she would go to her lesson that is taught by Beethoven. Once she completes the lesson she can practice with Mrs. Melody. After her practice session she can play some games & visit the library.

During her lesson with Beethoven he will show & play for her different rhythms and notes, and she has to play them back. She has to repeat the exercise until she gets it correct. When she makes a mistake she is told to be careful. Beethoven will even have her work on her own piece of music that she composed in Mrs. Melody's classroom from a previous lesson.

After the lesson with Beethoven Alaina would visit Mrs. Melody where she practices what was just taught & she can make up her own songs. We attended the Omaha Symphony when they came to town last week & when Alaina got to lesson #65 she recognized the music of Felix Mendelssohn right away. She couldn't remember his last name, but she recognized the music & she remembered his first name immediately.

After the lesson & practice Alaina had access to games, a library of music, and a room to play her own songs.

The biggest benefit from this program for Alaina is her timing. She has to hit the note exactly when she is suppose to & hold it down for its full count or the note will be highlighted & she will be told to be careful. This was frustrating to her at first, but it has improved the timing of her playing.

Delaney worked on the Piano Suite Premier. When she logged on she could choose between Piano Player, Theory Thinker, Composer's Corner, History Happens, or play Games. Her favorite part was the Composer's Corner where she could compose her own music. When she visits the Theory Thinker she could choose what lesson she wanted to work on. She did not work straight through the lessons, she chose the topics that she needed to improve. In History Happens she could learn about Composers & their music. In the Piano Player Delaney could choose a song from her level of difficulty to practice playing. When playing songs the notes are green if they are played correctly or red if they are incorrect.

Amber worked on her Ear Training. She had the choice of working on Rhythms, Melody Playback, Sight Reading, Intervalo, and Games. In the sight reading she had the choice of rhythms or melodies. She has been taking piano lessons for about six years & for the past 3 years her teacher has been having her play songs by ear, so really she just used the keyboard to play music or create her own songs.

We really like the Composer's Corner & the History. All three of my girls would look up composers they are interested in the Composer's Corner.

I think this program is wonderful & I really wish we would have had it six years ago when Amber started taking lessons. I feel this is a very well rounded program & could have saved us a lot of money on lessons for 3 girls over the years.

Who would have thought you could get piano lessons for all of your children for $10.95 a month.

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Art of Poetry Review

I have had my eye on The Art of Poetry from Classical Academic Press for awhile now. I've  just been waiting for my girls to get old enough to use it. When it came up for review on the TOS Crew I knew we wanted to try it, and it has exceeded my expectations by far.

We received the student edition, the teacher edition, and the DVD disc #1 covering chapters 1-2. I have been using this with my 6th & 7th grade daughters and I have been learning right along with them. I have never studied poetry and after flipping through the student book I was a little overwhelmed. There were questions for the poems that I didn't know & I wondered how I was going to get my girls to learn this. After looking through the teacher edition and seeing that every answer is explained in detail I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

This curriculum is recommended for grades 6 and up and covers:

  • The Elements of Poetry
    • Chapter One ~ Images
    • Chapter Two ~ Metaphor
    • Chapter Three ~ Symbols
    • Chapter Four ~ Words
    • Chapter Five ~ Sound and More Sound
    • Chapter Six ~ Rhythm
    • Chapter Seven ~ Shape: Stanza and Line
    • Chapter Eight ~ Tone: Putting It All Together
  • The Formal History of Poetry
    • Chapter Nine ~ History of Form, Movements, Genres
    • Chapter Ten ~ Verse Form
    • Chapter Eleven ~ Shaping Forms
    • Chapter Twelve ~ Emily Dickinson: A Case Study in Form
    • Chapter Thirteen ~ Open Verse
    • Chapter Fourteen ~ Walt Whitman: A Case Study in Open Verse
    • Chapter Fifteen ~ Narrative Poems: An Anthology
  • Application
    • Chapter 16 ~ Growing Your Interest

The Art of Poetry Student Edition is a 268 paper bound book and can be purchased for $24.95. Each chapter starts with a very informative lesson on what is being looked for within the poems, and it can be read by the teacher or student. Right after the lesson portion is Learning To Read Closely. Here we are given a poem with a detailed explanation of what we are looking for within the poem. Next we are given a group of poems with a few questions to answer. A set of activities and vocabulary words are included at the end of each chapter. The appendix contains Short Biographies of Poets In the Book, A Simplified Plan: Poetry in the Classroom or at Home, Glossary of Terms, and an Index of Authors and Titles.

The Art of Poetry Teacher Edition contains 313 pages and can be purchased for $29.95. It includes everything from the student edition as well as an Introduction to the Teacher, Poetry Timeline, and Quizzes with answers. After each chapter there is the Explications and Answers for each poem.

The Art of Poetry DVD set is currently $89.99, but will be lowered to $69.95 as of April 1, 2013. It contains over fifteen hours of the author teaching the entire book to four eighth grade students, this is essentially a "teacher in a box". We get to see the author go over each chapter with the students and listen to their discussions. She also demonstrates the activities found at the end of each chapter.

We watched the DVD with the first two chapters, but starting with chapter 3 I read it to my girls. We actually enjoyed reading and discussing the information on our own. It gave us more opportunity to discuss things ourselves, but we were glad we had the first two chapters to kinda figure out how things should go. Christine Perrin is a wonderful teacher & her love of poetry really shows in the DVD classroom.

Delaney is my 6th grader & she really had an attitude about using this course when we first started. I told her she didn't have to work with us for the review, but could use it in a couple of years. After seeing how much Amber & I were enjoying this curriculum she changed her mind & joined us.

The teacher prep was very minimal & if you use the DVDs with an older student they could complete it on their own. Before our class I read through the lesson & the first poem with the explanation in the Learning To Read Closely section. Immediately before we read the poem together I would read it & the answers to the questions, so I could help my girls when needed. While we were working through this I found myself wishing the answers to the poems were included on the same page as the poem instead of the back of the lesson. The Teacher's Edition is a must for me, there is no way I could teach this class without it.

The student book is not a workbook, so each of my girls set up a notebook for the questions and activities. The amount of time we spent each day differed according to how much we ended up discussing, and a lot of the information for the poems never ended up in our notebook. I read the lesson portion of the chapter to the girls first & then we took turns reading the poems. Since we haven't studied poetry extensively before I also wanted to work on our oral poetry reading, so some of the poems we all three read or one person would read the same one a couple of times.

The Learning to Read Closely section does such a good job walking us through the first poem of the chapter that my girls knew what they were suppose to look for. If there was something that they couldn't find I would help them along. I was more concerned with my girls learning about poetry than if they had the correct answer every time or not. We really enjoyed the selection of poems used. We read some that made us feel happy, some sad, and some of them made us laugh. I've noticed my girls picking out metaphors & symbols in their other readings. I'm planning on finishing the Elements of Poetry this semester and completing the Formal History of Poetry in the fall.

The Student book, Teacher's Edition, and the DVD can be purchased separately or after April 1, 2013 you can purchase the entire set for $99.00

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Friday, March 22, 2013

A is for Admit...

I missed a few of the letter weeks on the last alphabet challenge, so I think I'll try it again.

A is for Admit!
Sometimes it is hard to admit when you are wrong, especially when you are trying to impress someone. When my husband and I first started dating we were both in the Air Force stationed in Japan. One day I was out running errands and my car wouldn't start. I was only a few blocks from his dorm room, so I walked over to get him. He walked back over with me & started messing under the hood, and I got inside to keep trying to start it. After a few tries I looked down and noticed the car wasn't in park! Don't laugh I was young! I slid the car in park & and few minutes later Mike had me try it again. It started!! He gets in the car & tells me that he knew that was the problem because his dad had taught him how to work on cars.

Did I admit to why the car didn't start in the first place?

I did, but it wasn't until several years later. First of all I didn't want to admit that I was a little air headed! Secondly he was so proud of himself for "fixing" the car & I knew he wanted to make me proud of him.

If you would like to participate in Blogging Through the Alphabet you can link up at Ben and Me.
Blogging Through the Alphabet

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Essentials in Writing

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Essentials in Writing is a complete Language Arts Curriculum and their goal is to produce confident writers who enjoy the study of language. This is our newest SchoolHouse Crew Review and we received Essentials in Writing Grade 3 curriculum.
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Essentials In Writing was founded by Matthew Stevens. They offer curriculum for grades 1-12 and a couple of electives for High School. All grade levels come with an instructional DVD and worksheets/assignments in PDF format or the printed workbook may be purchased separately.

All grade levels follow the same format. The video lessons are taught by a certified teacher, Matthew Stevens. He goes over the lesson material and then he assigns the practice. The video lessons and worksheets have the same corresponding number with some worksheets also being labeled with a letter. Letter "A" will be completed on the same day you view the lesson & the "B" on the second day, and "C" for the third day. The suggested format is to look at the worksheet for the lesson, then watch the DVD lesson, complete the worksheet, and then have the child explain what they have learned. Additional worksheets labeled with "B" or "C" will be completed the next two days.

Essentials in Writing Grade 3 (ages 8-9) curriculum with PDF download sells for $40 and the printed workbook can be purchased for $20. There are 52 lessons that are divided into two sections. Section I uses 28 lessons to cover Grammar and Other Topics, and Section II uses 24 lessons to cover Composition. We received the PDF download and it contains 119 pages. The Table of Contents shows you exactly what is covered in Grade 3.

I have been using this with Alaina who is 8 years old. We have been following the suggested format for the lessons, but we have doubled up on some lessons. We started at the beginning of the Grammar section, and decided to work on some of the Composition section at the same time. Section I Grammar covers parts of speech, subjects, predicates, run-on sentences, commas, alphabetizing, and more. The focus on Grammar is to aid the student in their writing. The Composition section starts with a friendly letter, paragraphs, narrative & descriptive writing, the writing process, and more.

The PDF file was very easy to download & print. The worksheets use black text with a few colored clip art throughout. Alaina really liked the little pictures & there isn't so many that I was concerned about using a lot of colored ink. This curriculum is very teacher friendly & it covers a lot of information. The only thing I really had to do was print the worksheets because all the information is taught directly to the child. Alaina understood most of the lessons we have used, but there were a few that I reexplained to her. I had her read the directions on the worksheet & then tell me what she was supposed to do to make sure she understood what was going on. One reason we went ahead and started the composition section is because it starts with writing a friendly letter & Alaina has a couple of pen pals. It has really helped the appearance of her letters & she can keep her thoughts more organized. She just finished learning about paragraphs & is ready to start Narrative Writing. The examples of writing & exercises are very age appropriate and are things Alaina is interested in like cats, dogs, and loosing teeth.

If you are looking for an inexpensive solid writing curriculum that is self taught and requires very minimal time from the teacher you may want to check into this curriculum. The Crew received every grade except 2nd, so you can sail over to the Crew Blog to read about other grade levels. 

Disclaimer: As a member of the SchoolHouse Review Crew I received Essentials in Writing Free of charge to use with my children in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Soft Scrub Giveaway

soft scrub
I like when my girls want to be in the kitchen. Sometimes they get an urge to make something and most of the time its a dessert. They don’t have any trouble following a recipe, but they are not the best at cleaning up. One evening after cooking dinner I noticed little black burn spots on my stove top. After some thought I realized it was sugar that the girls had not cleaned up & of course it burnt when I turned on the gas. I used the new Soft Scrub Total All Purpose Bath & Kitchen Cleaner on it & it came right off.
Soft Scrub Total All Purpose Bath & Kitchen Cleaner has a new improved formula with superior cleaning power and is tough on stains but gentle on surfaces. It has more whitening power & less residue for easy cleanup. The new bottle & cap gives you better dispensing to prevent spills. It can be used on sinks, showers, bathtubs, and faucets. The lemon scent makes cleaning pleasant.
  • One Grand Prize winner will receive $1000 and a 1-year supply of Soft Scrub coupons.
  • 250 additional winners will receive one Soft Scrub Coupon.
softscrub sweepstakes

I will choose 3 people within the United States to win 1 coupon each.
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Disclaimer: Soft Scrub provided me with a free bottle of Soft Scrub so I could try it. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Happy Birthday

Happy 12th Birthday Amber!!

I cannot believe she is already 12. Time goes by so fast. Amber has such a sweet disposition and is always willing to volunteer. She has to constantly be learning something and gives 100% in everything she sets her mind on.

Morgan was in town last weekend, so Amber wanted to celebrate her birthday when she was here. We only had one gift & it was a little too big to wrap so we decided to have a scavenger hunt to find her present. 
First we had cake. She wanted a chocolate and peanut butter marble cake with peanut butter icing and chocolate ganache on the top of the icing. She also wanted Kit Kats around the edge with crumbled Oreos and gummy worms on top. 
It was very good......we definitely needed milk with it.

She was so excited for a scavenger hunt & her first clue was "Despicable Me". She was off in a hurry!!
 The clue there said "Thirsty?" Amber rushed to the kitchen.

 There she was told "Clean Out Your Ears!". To the bathroom we all went.
 Clue #4 "Lets Go For A Drive".

For clue  #5 we missed the picture but it said "Let's Talk To An Old Friend". We have an antique phone in our dinning room, so she knew exactly where to go for her final clue.

 #6 "Go Make Your Bed!!" Ok, my secret is out. I don't make my kids make their bed everyday! :)
 Of course we had lots of blankets piled on top of her present so she had to dig it out.

 The only thing she wanted was a guitar, so she probably knew what she was getting. Plus the week before we had a field trip to Kittle's Music in town & I let her stay after to mess with the guitars so I would know which one she liked. 

Now she just needs to learn to play it.

Happy Birthday Amber!!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

JJ Heller Loved Giveaway

JJ Heller released a new album titled LOVED. I had never heard of her until I was asked to review her newest album. There is a Christian music concert in our town on Sunday & we noticed on the flyer today that she will be singing. We would love to go see her, but we have youth group and church on Sunday night so we will miss out on it this time. You can check her website and see if she will be touring near you.


  • If You Fall
  • For You
  • Redemption
  • Loved
  • Create In Me
  • Stay
  • Better Things
  • Come Back To Me
  • Who You Are
  • I Believe

About JJ Heller's LOVED
When JJ Heller and her husband/co-writer, Dave, began writing for their sixth studio album LOVED, life looked a few shades darker, more painful and confusing than it had during the work on their work of the recent past. Over the past few years, the duo steered much of their material toward the whimsical and simple joys of life, love and new parenthood. But, when confronted by illness, death and broken marriages within their community, the Hellers chose to stay true to the weight of their season of life when crafting lyrics this time around.

We have been enjoying this CD & I have one to giveaway to one lucky reader.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Monday, March 11, 2013

ARTistic Pursuits Middle School Book 2 Color & Composition

My oldest daughter Morgan truly is an artist, she loved to color & draw at an early age. She maintained art journals all through school and they are beautiful. They are not only filled with just pictures, but full of her & the things she loved growing up. My younger girls like Art, but since their artistic abilities don't come as easy as Morgan's did they will need a little more instruction. That is just one reason I like Artistic Pursuits.

We have been using the new 3rd edition of Artistic Pursuits Middle School 6-8 Book 2 Color and Composition. I wanted to primarily use this with my 6th & 7th grade girls, but my 3rd grader didn't want to be left out of this class, so she joined us & I am very surprised at how well she is doing.

Artistic Pursuits Middle School 6-8 Book 2 Color & Composition can be purchased $47.95. This 92 page book is divided into 16 Units and is recommended for children ages 11 and up. It is written directly to the student if they want to work alone or it reads very well if you want to read & use it with several children at a time. It is also non consumable, so one book can be used with all of your children. Hard or soft pastels and oil pastels are the media used in this book & there is a complete list of art supplies located with the table of contents. With the suggested schedule this book will last you a full year giving you two 1-hour classes a week.

I have been using this with all three of my girls. We started out learning how to properly handle the pastels then moved on to hue & intensity. The color wheel is taught in a couple units before moving on to monochrome, complimentary pairs, neutrals, warm colors, cool colors, rhythm, texture, and more.

I love the way this art curriculum is set up. In each Unit the child is given the topic & then instructed to observe this topic in their environment. Art Appreciation and Art History is taught by looking at famous artists and their work with the child creating their own work of art. Then new techniques and tools are taught with the student creating their own artwork. The 4th lesson in each unit has the child create a final project using a variety of objects.

Having the Art Appreciation and the Art History included in each unit has been so nice. My girls are usually in such a hurry to get to the assignment that they don't want to spend too much time learning about the history & the artists. Each lesson was just the right length that my girls weren't getting too anxious to start creating, so they could really enjoy the lesson. On each project page there is a Student Gallery containing a piece of artwork by a student. I really like having those in there because it gave my girls a realistic look at about how their artwork should look.

My girls like this curriculum so much they ask to do art first thing in the morning. This has been their first instruction on using the pastels and they are definitely getting the hang of it and have already improved over the last few weeks.

I am learning right along with my girls & am very grateful that the book is non consumable and we can all benefit from it. Having the art supply list in the front of the book is such a help. I knew within just a minute what we needed to purchase. We already had plenty of art paper & the erasers that were listed, so the only thing we needed to purchase were the pastels.

Artist Pursuits just revised all of their curriculum to include more instruction specific to art materials & techniques artists use. Members of the Crew reviewed the curriculum for elementary, middle school, and high school. Sail on over to the Crew Blog to learn about other levels.

Disclaimer: As a member of the SchoolHouse Review Crew I received Artistic Pursuits Middle School Book 2 Color and Composition free of charge to use with my children in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own & no other compensation was received.
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