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Monday, January 30, 2017

Making Fine Arts a Priority #hscurriculumfair

Seeking Beauty, the Fine Arts and Everything that Brings Beauty into our Homeschools 

I am a very crafty hands-on person. If I have a project I don't like to read the directions unless I really have to. This has worked to my advantage over the years and it has also caused me to redo things when I could have avoided it. I love to read, but I was never a very good student growing up. In high school I took all the classes I felt like I was suppose to take to go to college when all I really wanted was to get married and have kids.
I now know the importance to some of those subjects I hated and my kids still have to complete most of them, but I still want them to pursue things they love to do or try things they may enjoy. If I include these into our school day they will spend more time improving these skills.

Music is one of those things I always wanted to be good at and never was. I wanted to provide all five of my kids with piano lessons. Three of them enjoyed their playing every day and going to lessons but for two of them it became pure torture. Two of my girls still at home play piano and they have also picked up a few other instruments they are teaching themselves to play. They practice every day and will sometimes play for hours. My 15 year old has even taken on a few piano students to earn a little money.
My oldest daughter studied photography the last two years of school. We owned a decent camera and she took pictures all the time. She wanted to learn as much as she could about it, so she checked out every book at the library. She filled several notebooks with notes and put into practice the things she learned. I remember one time she wanted to get a good picture of a raindrop, so she made me hold the umbrella over her and the camera so she could get a good picture and not get the equipment wet. Now she is an adult and she takes nature photography and has just recently started selling them.

One of my daughters loves calligraphy and other fancy lettering. She has several sizes of calligraphy pens and she practices this every day. Some day she practices letters and other days she writes words. I'm not sure this is considered a fine art, but it is an art and add beauty to her school day.
The girls in the family also love to draw. Every evening I will read out loud to my family and they like to draw or color while I am reading. Some of them are better at this than others and my youngest and oldest daughters both have a natural talent for drawing.

There have been days that I feel like we do not have time for fine arts or that we should be spending the time on more weightier subjects but I feel these things are just as important as every other subject. It brings out the creative side in my kids and allows them to use not only their brain but their hands along with it. If we are really busy with school and outside activities and I don't allow myself time to be creative I get really frustrated. I think my kids would probably feel the same way if they didn't have a creative outlet in their school day too.

Now I invite you to visit my fellow homeschool bloggers who are talking about seeking beauty in their homeschools:
Links will all be live by Monday at 12 noon EST.
Living & Loving Art by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Putting the Fun in School by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Art Fun In Our Homeschool by Amanda @Hopkins Homeschool
Fine Arts Is The Fun Part by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
Washing Dust Off Our Souls by Lisa @ Golden Grasses
Bringing Beauty Into Your Homeschool Through Poetry by Dana @ Roscommon Acres
Seeking out the beauty... by Kim @ Good Sweet Love
Joy in Home Education by Sarah @ Delivering Grace
Teaching Drawing (When You Can't Draw) by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home
Homeschool Art for the Artistically Challenged by Brittney @ Mom's Heart
Jesus, Peace, Freedom & Our Homeshool by Meghan W @ Quiet In The Chaos
Fine Arts Options in High School by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Reluctant Artist? What do you do? by Annette @ A Net in Time
Creative Pursuits by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Arts and Crafts in Our Homeschool by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed
Where Do You Find Beauty? by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens
Looping our Beauty Topics Saved our Homeschool by HillaryM @ Walking Fruitfully

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Save Money with Groupon Coupons #GrouponCoupons #ad #spon

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and all opinions are my own. 

I am always trying to save money by using coupons and rebates on things that I use every day. I also like saving on things we do on occasion when we are out of town or when we order online. Now I can look for Groupon Coupons before I shop to save money almost everywhere.

My oldest daughter lives in CO and my younger girls like to go shopping when we go for a visit. We usually stop by several stores, the mall, and we even like to stop by Sam's Club to grab a few things we love. I knew I would be able to find a Groupon Coupon for some of our shopping, but I didn't realize I could find them for Sam's Club also. There are 108 Sam's Club Groupon Coupons for memberships, instant savings, cash rewards, and more. One of my daughters loves to shop at Urban Outfitters and I found 12 Groupon Coupons for there also including one for free shipping. If I tell her she will want to get online and order something now.

While we are shopping we like to treat ourselves to a specialty coffee. The Starbucks Store offers BOGO drinks, Bonus Stars if you have the app, and percentage off coupons. Of course when we are traveling we like to stop at other coffee shops. While I was searching for Groupon Coupons I stumbled upon a coupon for Purple Door Coffee in north Denver. Next time we head to CO we might have to try this coffee. Groupon Coupons make saving money on things we do while out of town so easy. I have access to so many places we like to shop without having to have a local sale flyer or newspaper coupons.

We live in a fairly small town and can't always find what we want or need here, so I do order a lot of things online especially when it is gifts for my kids. Groupon Coupons also offer online savings as well. Before the next birthday I will be looking online for gifts at Best Buy, Dicks Sporting Goods, Forever 21, and Target by using a Groupon. It will be so nice saving money on things I will order online with these coupons & it will allow me to shop at many different stores to find just the thing I am looking for.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Great Courses Plus Recipes

I am always on the lookout for a good bargain. Back in November I found a good price on The Great Courses Plus. This is an online membership of The Great Courses. We have purchased a few DVD lectures from The Great Courses in the past and knew the quality of material they offered was well worth the price. 

One of the courses Alaina wanted to start using right away was Mediterranean Cooking from The Culinary Institute of America. There are 16 lessons included in this lecture and she decided she wanted to skip to lecture 11 Sharing Abundance: The Cuisine of Greece. She watched the lecture and took notes as the instructor went along. She made a list of ingredients she would need to make some of these dishes. When she started cooking she used the iPad to bring up the lecture to the section for the recipe and would pause it when she needed to while she cooked. 

The first day she made the Greek recipe for roasted chicken.
To go along with it she decided to make cheesy biscuits and brussel sprouts mixed with cranberries that we have frequently. It all tasted wonderful. 

We made chicken broth with our chicken bones and some vegetables. Alaina used that the next day to make a five ingredient Greek soup called avgolemeno. The soup was very easy for her to make and tasted really good.

I can't wait to see what she decides to make next.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Five Minute Friday Middle #fmf #amwriting #cakefilling

This weeks Five Minute Friday prompt is MIDDLE!

I have thought about this off and on all day and couldn't decide what to write about. Being the middle child of the three oldest siblings? My middle child? I just couldn't decide and then it just hit me I should talk about the middle of cake and cupcakes!

I have decorated cake for many years, over 26 to be more accurate. What goes in the middle of two layers of cake or in the middle of a cupcake?

Anything you like.

I have filled cake with different flavors of icing, fruit fillings, ganache, creams, oreos, ice cream, and coffee beans to name a few.

Wedding cakes come in every flavor and sometimes each tier will be a different flavor with a different kind of filling in the middle.

Cupcakes can be filled with anything also. I think my all time favorite cupcake I have ever made would have to be my chocolate cupcake with coffee icing and coffee flavored ganache in the middle, and course ground coffee beans sprinkled on top.

My kids love ganache, ganache with peanut butter icing, chocolate icing, almond icing, cookies & cream, and raspberry in the middle of their cake or cupcakes.

The middle of the cake or cupcake can be anything your heart desires. What is your favorite thing to put in the middle of cupcakes or cake?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Words! Words! Words! #hsCurriculumFair

Week 2 of the Virtual Curriculum Fair is about Language Arts. Thanks again to Susan at Homeschooling Hearts and Minds for hosting the VCF every year.

Words Words Words
Words are everywhere. We read them, we write them, we learn their meanings and roots and we strive to use them correctly. All five of my kids like to read, two of them love to read, two of them love to write, and one of them loves words of any kind. They are all different and learn differently. Here is a little bit of what we use in our home.

My adult daughter started keeping a journal when she was very young. She loves the books with blank pages so she can also draw or doodle in her journal. I had my youngest three girls start their journal at a very young age. I would have them draw in it and write what ever they wanted. They started with a few words and a lot pictures. They eventually moved on to sentences then paragraphs and now pages. My kids that like to draw and doodle still include pictures. Usually things they are into in the moment. Logos, cartoon characters, cups, animals, and other random things. Their journals are never graded. Sometimes I read them sometimes I don't, when they were younger they would read their journal writing out loud. I want this writing to just be fun. There are several things my kids learn on their own by keeping a journal.

  • By writing every day they have improved their penmanship. 
  • It really helps in learning how to form sentences and by having them read it out loud when they are young it helps them understand where they need basic punctuation. 
  • Most of the time they write about things they know or something that just happened, but it gets them thinking of topics to write about. This practice has carried over in their writing assignments they are not afraid of a blank piece of paper. 
My 14 year-old daughters favorite things. 

Our favorite elementary grammar program was Shurley English. My youngest three girls loved it the most because they learned and sang their jingles together & they still remember them for the parts of speech. For high school we used Analytical Grammar. I'm not going to say my kids like it, but it works and they don't complain about it. 

My kids read a lot and I read out loud to them every day. We have used so many good products for literature over the years it would be hard to choose a favorite. Progeny Press, WYAM, Memoria Press, and one we all love Illuminating Literature. Two of my girls are only 14 months apart so they have always used the same curriculum for language arts. This is nice when we want to discuss a book. I usually read the same book and then we can go over it together.

We started using Spelling Power when it was first published about 10-11 years ago. I had my two oldest kids use a variety of spelling and vocabulary programs when they were young. It seemed like my kids were working on words they already knew. With Spelling Power I can place them where they need to be and we only work on the words that they need to. We work on memorizing and spelling vocabulary words from our literature books or other school subjects. We also love Visual Latin and Word Up! from Compass Classroom. 

Please visit my fellow homeschool bloggers who are writing about Playing with Words this week:

All posts will be live by Monday, January 9th at noon EST.
Delight Directed High School English by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Act Your Part Well- 2017 VCF by Lisa @ Golden Grasses
The Search For Language by Michele@Family, Faith and Fridays
Our Top Picks for Language Arts by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool
Multiple Approaches to Language Arts in 2017 by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

How We Cover the Language Arts in Our Homeschool by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Use Your Words by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

The Art of Perfecting Macarons by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life
Loving Languages Every Day by Jen K @ A Peace of Mind
Speech Therapy & Elementary Latin by Yvie @ Gypsy Road
The Readin' and Writin' Part of Homeschool by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed
Children Who Love Books by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home
Customizing High School Language Credits by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
A Poetry Feast by Sarah @ Delivering Grace
I know your pain and it is worth it! by Kim @ Good Sweet Love
Language Arts: Our Style by Annette @ A Net in Time
10 Wonderful Word Games (+1) by Lori @ At Home: where life happens
Finding the Right Words by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
What About Reading Comprehension? by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Zonderkidz The Beginner's BibleReview #HSReview #TheBeginnersBible #FaithBuilding #Bible #Zondervan #kidzbible #childrensbible #nonfiction #bookstagram #reading #books #childrensliterature #bookshelf

The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}
Encouraging children to love Bible stories at a young age is very easy with The Beginner's Bible from Zonderkidz

The Beginner's Bible was first published in 1989, and has sold over 25 million copies. This book is a timeless classic that will become children's favorite beginner bible. The newest edition has the same bible stories, but the illustrations have been redone with more vibrant colors. This is a hardback book and at 6 1/2" X 7 1/2" it is the perfect size for little hands. It is recommended for children ages 4-8. 
The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}
Starting with The Beginning and ending with Jesus is Coming! There are 48 stories from the Old Testament and 46 stories from the New Testament. It contains the bible stories that all little kids love including Noah's Ark, baby Moses, Samson, Queen Esther, baby Jesus, the lost coin, and so many more. There are also a few stories that young children don't always know like Psalms 23, the healing of Naaman, and the first Church. In the back of the bible there is a three page dictionary to help children with words they may not be familiar with. 

The new illustrations are beautiful, the colors are very vibrant and pleasing to look at. The pages are glossy and thicker than regular paper. There is also great content on The Beginner's Bible webpage. Coloring pages, activity pages, snack suggestions, trivia cards and more are available free to help children become more involved with the scripture. There is also a special section for parents and teachers with free resources to use at home, in the classroom, or at church. Zonderkidz has now added some new features for our world of technology. There is now an app for The Beginner's Bible with narration, music, and sound effects. It also has coloring pages, puzzles, and games for children ages 2-6. 
Although all my children are too old for this children's bible we had the older edition when they were younger. When they were very young I would read a bible story to them each day. We would look at the pictures and discuss each one. When they started reading on their own I had them read a story every day. I wanted them to establish their own private devotional time every day. They were very familiar with all the stories, so even when they were struggling with sounding out some of the words they could figure out what it was saying (or maybe they just had them memorized because I had read them out loud so often). 

When our new bible came in the mail my 11 year-old was very excited to look through it to see how it had changed. She loves the new brighter colors in the illustrations. My girls baby-sit a two year-old little girl occasionally and they want her to enjoy this bible as much as they did when they were little. 

So many people start out the new year making resolutions for themselves. You could help a young child or a new parent make good choices in this new year by giving them the gift of a children's bible. The memories that a parent and child create while reading God's Word together will last a lifetime. 

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The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}
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Wordless Wednesday Ice Skating


Monday, January 2, 2017

Learning Our Way

Homeschool parents often need encouragement, suggestions, or even just reassurance in how they have set out to educate their children. We often turn to friends, companies, homeschool groups, and curriculum fairs to answer our questions. For the past five years Susan from Homeschooling Hearts and Minds has hosted a Virtual Curriculum Fair. This year she has more than 20 homeschool blogging participants with over 300 years of combined homeschooling experience. During the month of January these homeschool bloggers will share with you the things that go on in their own homeschools.

  • January 2~ See How We Learn, the Nuts and Bolts of What Makes Our Homeschools Come Together
  • January 9~ Playing with Words, the Language Arts
  • January 16~ Discovering Patterns, Math and the Mathematical Sciences
  • January 23~ Exploring Our World, Social Studies and the Exploratory Sciences
  • January 30~ Seeking Beauty, the Fine Arts and Everything that Brings Beauty into our Homeschools

This year I am joining the 2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair and will be reading the other contributors also. I hope you enjoy getting to see what makes our homeschool weeks come together.
See How We Learn, the Nuts and Bolts of What Makes Our Homeschools Come Together
Clear back in 1995 we needed to make the decision about how we wanted to educate our kids. There were only two of them then and I loved spending my days with them. I couldn't imagine being away from them for so many hours a week, so we decided to keep them home. We didn't even think about more kids, algebra, biology, or college prep we just started homeschooling.
Those first couple of years I was so worried I would miss something that I purchased a complete curriculum from one company. That didn't last very long. I decided I didn't want to bring school into our home. I wanted my kids to enjoy learning and learn things they are interested in. That doesn't mean we they can skip certain subjects just because they struggle with them. I want each of them to have an education that fit them and benefit them the most.
So what is working for us right now?
We start our school day with things we do together. We always study the same time period in history and I always have a read aloud to go with the current topic. Some years we also study the same branch of science but this year they all wanted to choose their own. Amber and Delaney are only a year apart, so they read the same books for literature to make our discussions more involved. Alaina still loves lapbooks and she always has one she is working on.
We have a very large home library of school books and great living books from all these years of homeschooling and reviewing curriculum. But we also use other things in our education. I have my girls keep a journal to continually work on their writing skills and I make sure they always have a good book of their choice to read for fun. We travel a lot and we try to hit museums, take tours, visit national parks, attend presentations, and stop by anywhere we think we may learn something. We have also started using The Great Courses Plus to bring lectures and electives into our home. I invite you to see how my fellow bloggers learn in their homeschools.

The Evolution of Our Homeschool by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Us-School Because We Are Us, Not Someone Else by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
It's All About the School by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
New Year, New Goals, New School! by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool
Homeschooling - A Glimpse into How We Do it by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Spotlight on How We Learn in Our Homeschool by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
Our Unique Eclectic Homeschool  by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life
How We Learn on the Go by Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning
Home Education - 10 Ways We Make It Work by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home
Education at Our House by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed
Starting the Day Well by Sarah @ Delivering Grace
Loving the Moment! by Jen K @ A Peace of Mind
Keeping Our Homeschool Organized by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
How We Choose Curriculum by Brittney @ Mom's Heart
This Is How We Homeschool by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair: See How We Learn by Dana L @ Luv'N Lambert Life
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