Homeschool On Purpose

September 22, 2016

Learning French: A Review

We are always blessed to have an opportunity to review wonderful products, such as Armfield Academic Press’s Getting Started with French by Linney & Simpson.

Bookworm Beauty is 11 and in the 6th grade. She is a lover of languages. She started with Spanish in the 2nd grade when she had the opportunity to participate in a Spanish Immersion program for two years of her schooling. It was a tremendous experience and one that opened her world up to languages. She is not quite fluent in Spanish but can fumble her way around just fine.

Last year, she informed me that she would really like to learn French… and German… and Russian… but she really wanted to learn French. When we completed our application for the opportunity to review Getting Started with French, she was wringing her hands and praying we would be selected. Her prayers were answered.

Bookworm Beauty literally hugged the full-sized non-consumable book and snuggled up on the couch to jump right in… and it was still summer vacation for us! I had to pry the text away and go over the brief Preface and How to Use This Book with her. We reviewed those sections together, thumbed through the 172 lessons and took note of the Expressions Francaises, General Advice, Answer Key, Pronunciation Guide and Glossary.

Getting Started with French is intended to be a beginning French course for homeschoolers and self-taught students. It includes 172 lessons that take a step by step approach to the language, allowing learners to learn one concept at a time. Each lesson builds upon previous lessons and offers translation exercises to test one’s learning. Practicing the language is up to the student to make time for in his or her daily life.

I made the decision that since Bookworm Beauty has already proven to be successful at self-study that I would let her run with this program with as little intervention and support from me as possible.

Shortly after getting started in the text Bookworm Beauty lost her steam and ambition. She said that the course felt slow to her. I can imagine this program seeming slow when her experience with learning a language previously was total immersion with limited English for full school days. I had to encourage her to look at the lessons as baby steps, learning one thing at a time. She began having more success in learning but was still lacking enthusiasm.

When further questioning Bookworm Beauty, she stated that the biggest downside was that it did not include any sort of worksheets that would help her to utilize the words she had learned. I try and keep a balanced mind about these things and I know that some people really dislike worksheets and others prefer them. For me, this was not a deal killer. I actually liked the idea that the book did not include any consumable parts and therefore can be used with multiple students.

This is a program that although our experience was not one of fireworks, I find that it is a result of just not being a good self-study fit for my particular student. I truly do not feel it is because the program is lacking in any way. Having had some French in high school, I was able to peruse the book and refresh my own learning. I liked the way that the book took small steps, allowing me to almost meditate on each small step and build upon it as I moved along.

One of the most important parts of learning a language is practicing proper pronunciation. The text does a fantastic job at providing written pronunciation but that can sometimes be misunderstood. There are several resources available at their website  www.gettingstartedwithfrench.com including free audio mp3 downloads for this purpose.

I think that this program may be a good resource for anyone desiring to learn a language at a nice and steady pace.

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September 08, 2016

Exploring Creation with Astronomy: A Review

It has been another fantastic experience with Apologia Educational Ministries as we have been working through their Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition. As always, Apologia does not disappoint, this product has exceeded our already high expectations.

To start with, the quality of the materials we received from Apologia Educational Ministries has become a benchmark in our homeschool to judge other materials from – they are just that good. We received the Astronomy 2nd Edition Student Text ($39), Astronomy 2nd Edition Notebooking Journal ($27), Astronomy 2nd Edition Junior Notebooking Journal ($27), and the Astronomy 2nd Edition Audio CD ($29). We purchased an additional Astronomy 2nd Edition Junior Notebooking Journal to be able to complete this program with all three of our students.

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Apologia Educational Ministries has spared no expense in the production of these products. The Astronomy 2nd Edition Student Text is a full-sized, full-color hardbound book with 216 pages. Virtually every page following the 4 Table of Contents pages are beautifully laid out, inviting the students to learn the story of creation through the study of astronomy. Included alongside the text in each lesson are wisdom from above boxes that contain scripture verses or thoughtful quotes; think about this boxes containing meaningful tid-bits that inspire further thought; fun activities that are easy to complete at home; and end with a What Do You Remember? section, engaging the students in a recap of the lesson. The lesson pages are also filled with charts and colorful images that draw the students in.

The Astronomy 2nd Edition Audio CD is an audio book of the Student Text. The audio book is read by the author Jeannie Fulbright. To me, this is noteworthy because the author knows best what to stress and what was intended for the reader to grasp. Her voice is pleasant and her enunciation is clear, both of which are important when listening to an audio book. The Audio CD makes learning on the road a breeze, when homeschooling takes you away from home. For us, it made the text come to life as we followed along within our Student Text and let the author draw us into her story-telling of astronomy.

Both the Astronomy 2nd Edition Notebooking Journal and Astronomy 2nd Edition Junior Notebooking Journal are treasures. Like the text, they are full-sized, full-color and engaging. My students literally treasure these. All of their work can be done in the Spiral-Bound journals. There are notebooking pages to document Fascinating Facts and Personal Reflections; pages to complete many of the activities; copywork pages in both script and manuscript; coloring pages; crosswords; mini book cut & paste templates; and more. The differences between the two are minimal as they are designed to support the same text. The only significant difference is that Junior Journal offers primary dashed-line style writing pages to support younger writers and has meaninful coloring pages instead of the What Do You Remember? answer sheets found in the Notebooking Journal.  There are many things to like about these Notebooking Journals. The kids seem to really like the activities and the colorful graphics. I personally appreciate the ability to have everything in one concise book to peruse through later and review or share what has been learned. Every time the kids share their Notebooking Journal with others and explain the mini-books or other activities, they are reinforcing their knowledge learned. That is what matters most… they have learned.

I am always delighted to have the opportunity to review anything from Apologia. I am never disappointed. The content in their materials is second to none and they have several titles as part of their Exploring Creation series including Human Anatomy and Physiology, Botony, three levels of Zoology, Physical Science, General Science, Chemistry and Physics, Marine Biology, Physics, as well as advanced level programs. Every aspect of K-12 Science can be covered with their programs, giving a child a rich and well-rounded science education. Although we appreciate having the opportunity to review their programs, we appreciate these programs so much so that we have ordered the entire educational sets of both Human Anatomy and Physiology and Chemistry and Physics. We expect to work through Human Anatomy and Physiology the second half of this year, upon completion of Astronomy. With Chemistry and Physics, however, we are working through it alongside our other science programs at a snails pace simply because my students are fascinated with both chemistry and physics. I imagine that it will take us up to two years to complete that particular program and we are allowing it to segway into other areas of our homeschool education.

20160907_131344_resizedWe have done things a bit differently in our homeschool with Astronomy. As some of my readers know, we have an art group that is meeting on Wednesdays with two additional homeschooling families. I was so excited as I began preparing for receiving the materials for this review that I could not help but share my enthusiasm for this product. That enthusiasm led to changing our Wednesday art class to art and science. To make this happen, the other two families also acquired the curriculum and notebooking journals. I have to admit, it was difficult to wait a week for their materials to arrive to start our Astronomy studies.

Together we have five students working in the standard Notebooking Journal and three students working in the Junior Journal. We also have a preschooler that sits with the group and participates by listening in and helping the younger students color their coloring pages. It would be nice if there was a coloring pages workbook available for a preschooler to color but the older kids actually fight over who gets to have her help them which makes her feel important. We have tried as a group both taking turns reading the Student Text aloud as well20160907_131448_resized as utilizing the Audio CD to complete the lessons as a group. We enjoy listening to the Audio CD the most. Working through Astronomy together has been a wonderful blessing. We have rich group discussions and the activities really come to life when we do them as a larger group. The only thing we typically do not do as a group are several of the activities in the notebooking journals. We take time during the week to complete those. Overall, this has been an incredible experience for us all (adults included).20160907_131624_resized

To take our astronomy studies further, we took a day and scheduled a field trip to NCAR – National Center of Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO. If you are ever in Colorado, this FREE self-guided, hands-on science center is one to be added to your itinerary. Students have the ability to touch and feel displays that generate tornado models, hurricane models, clouds and so much more. We were fortunate to schedule an actual field trip and spent 3 hours studying the Earth’s weather system. This was fascinating. 20160907_103407_resizedEqually interesting were the many features in the center that allowed the students to further expand upon their recent astronomy studies. We had the ability to watch a video display of Solar flares from the Mauna Loa Solar Observatory in Hawaii. Studying the sun in this way was absolutely fascinating. I highly recommend visiting their website when covering the Sun in lesson 2 of Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition.20160907_131732_resized

Also available from Apologia Educational Ministries is a fantastic Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal ($22).  I regretfully neglected to add this to my recent purchase. We really could have used those yesterday and will be ordering those soon to capture all of our science field trips into one location. We will be sure to have them in time for our next field trip planned, when we visit one (or more) of the local planetariums.

It goes without saying, but I will say it anyway… we fully intend to complete Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition in its entirety. This is not a review product destined to our homeschool library, at least not until it is completed!

 

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September 01, 2016

Spiritual Circle Journal for Kids & Teens: Review

Spiritual Circle Journal for Kids & Teens from The Spiritual Circle Journal is a full-sized spiral bound notebook type journal intended for children ages 8 and above. My first thought regarding having the opportunity to review this product was one of ambivalence. I normally appreciate tools designed to increase spiritual growth but I was a bit hesitant about this particular journal. My hesitance was primarily based on the fact that instead of lined writing pages, the nine graphic pictures duplicated on each page seemed to be more of a distraction and I found myself assuming that it trivialized journaling.

After a sigh and a slight gulp, I opened the book and prayed that I would face this product with open eyes and a willing heart. I flipped through the introductory pages and read the three Parent/Teacher/Leader Guide pages. Immediately I found myself rescinding all of my previously unfounded thoughts!

This was not a trivial journaling tool. In fact, this was not just another journal. This journal was birthed out of a desire of an adult woman’s heart to help children learn to hear God’s voice and recognize His hand in their own life.

20160901_083631The author took steps to keep things fun and personal, a must for children’s journals. For starters, there is the ability to customize their own cover. The journal has a heavy duty plastic cover to protect the underlying decorated cover and although there is a basic cover, it is followed by a heavy duty blank white page to be designed by the child. Once it is completed, the child can remove the standard cover to reveal theirs under the clear plastic protector.

The next page to personalize is the Personal Page. This is where the child can basically fill in the blanks on all things relating to themselves and includes a space to paste a selfie picture.

The journaling pages take up the bulk of the book and it is here that the magic happens and children are able to notice themes of how God is working in their life. Each of the 65 journaling pages contains nine simple illustrations, representing specific prayer areas. The illustrations and their representations are: a cloud labeled JE for Journal Entry this is where the child can share anything that is on her mind; a music note with L/V for Lyric/Verse to share any lyrics or verses that seem to be stuck in her head; a book with a M for Message to share anything that she has learned from the Word; a heart with a C for Confession to confess wrongdoings; a car with a GM for God Moving to write down coincidences and things that seem to just happen; a light bulb with LL/LBM for Lesson Learned/Light-Bulb Moment to share lessons learned; a bag with a P for Prayer to journal any prayers; a memo with a TY/A for Thank You/Adoration to document praises; and a shoe with an A for Actions to identify areas that she feels God wants her to do.

The last fifteen pages are Summary Pages and encourage a student to take their journaling a step further.

It was a difficult choice for us to determine whether Bookworm Beauty or Sweetness would benefit the most with the Spiritual Circle Journal. After careful thought, it was determined that Bookworm Beauty would utilize the review copy and we would simply have to order Sweetness her own copy.

Bookworm Beauty struggled a little with her initial entries (which the author mentioned would most likely happen) until she got the hang of the routine. I cannot say that at this time there has been any sort of profound moments, but what she has done is begin to document her spiritual walk, which is the first step.

I believe this product is well worth its $15.00 price tag and I am thinking that this will be the first product that I will commit to offering a follow up review on. I am anxious to see the benefits of Bookworm Beauty’s journaling.

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August 26, 2016

Guest Post: Does a Stomach Disorder Mean that You are “Pepto-Bismol Deficient?” – by Keith Flint

Keith Flint - GodsWaterBoy.Com

Keith Flint – GodsWaterBoy.Com

I would like to propose a practical and logical discussion today!  My name is Keith Flint, also known as GodsWaterBoy.  Google GodsWaterBoy to see many pages of documents and various discussions that I have had about Kangen Water.

I was reminded recently of a statement a Friend of mine made recently, “When you have Acid Reflux, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Digestive disorders, it is certainly a fact that you are not “Pepto-Bismol” deficient!

Why is it that today we create distress (disease) and then attempt to regulate the result with after market treatments or Prescription drugs?

Your Body was designed by your maker, to maintain and heal itself.  That is if you would focus on what the “Body” needs, not what you like or dislike.  Example, You drink Soda’s that are 5 orders of magnitude Acidic and your body goes into shock having to find a way to neutralize this attack on your Organs. It  has to rob the bones of Calcium, manufacture “Buffers” to stabilize and finally store it in Fat on the body to protect vital organs from destruction.

Go to a simple video that shows the comparisons of Bottled Water, Soda, GaterAid, etc.  Discover what you are not being told when you are being sold on their convenience.  <SEE HERE> (<– click to watch)

Your Body was designed to be serviced by your BLOOD! It is the delivery system for Nutrition, Oxygen, Hemoglobin, Energy and waste removal.

See the effect of one glass of Kangen Restructured water on a persons blood. <SEE 1 minute Video Here>

God designed your body PERFECTLY!  You have allowed our culture to destroy it with FAST FOOD, Convenience, Microwave Cooking, Chemical substances added to it, GMO alteration and convenience DRINKS instead of the simple choices. Particularly, the proper amount of water that YOUR BODY requires daily.  DO YOU DRINK A MINIMUM OF 1/2 Oz of water per pound weight DAILY?  If not, you are maintaining your body in a dehydrated condition.  Dehydration is the primary source of most all of our modern day “Disease Disorders” that Medical science has given names to.  Of course they choose to provide “Relief” from Symptoms rather than attempting to eliminate the CAUSE and have the symptoms gone.

You can attempt to provide Supplements, Nutrients, Detox protocols, etc, but if the Blood isn’t functioning optimally, less than 20% of what you are taking is likely to make it to where it is needed.  Wouldn’t it be smarter to give 20% of your daily dosage to each of your family members along with  yourself, because all of you are functioning with active Blood delivery? You would still be getting the same result that you now are getting, taking the full dose  yourself.

To really understand just how important the CHOICE of water is and What not to drink, review a private video site that I maintain for your visiting. I only require a first name and email to send you your personal password to access the information.  I do not hassle people, I educate and respond to their questions via text or phone calls.

my site is <HSCWater.net/keithf >

Blessings on you and your family. Be Healthy GODS way.

Keith Flint 720-281-3965

August 26, 2016

Best Phonics Resource EVER! (A Review)

I have always believed in a solid phonics foundation and with a new reader in the home, I was excited to have the opportunity to review the Can Do Cubes by jollyliteracy.com and just2ducks LLC.

The Boy is a little over 6 and entering first grade. He has been reading simple words for quite some time but has continued to struggle with the more advanced phonic rules. We have spent tremendous amount of time working through various books and trying to progress through the more difficult phonic rules. It has been a struggle. It has not been his inability to learn the rules as much as it just has not been of much interest for him… that is until the Can Do Cubes became a part of our homeschooling repertoire.

59 six-sided cubes, each bearing individual phonemes, arrived in a nicely organized box divided into two stages. Along with the cubes came an interactive DVD, two instruction booklets, two At-a-Glance Word Charts, a large Alphabetic Codes Overview chart and a Teacher’s Guide and Template Book (on CD).

I have a confession to make with this review. To be fair to a vendor and to provide a proper review, I always try and use a product exactly as it was intended. I had a much harder time with this particular product. The Boy and I tried to go through the instruction booklet and figure out where exactly to start him. While we were attempting to navigate it, he began picking up several cubes and rolling them like dice and then quickly tried to make a word (sometimes even made up words). After asking him to focus, I decided to join in and play for a while. We have had such a fantastic time just playing with the cubes. I began looking for harder words within the letters present and asking him to fish for them. Sometimes I just gathered up the cubes and made more difficult words for him. I noticed that he was more eager to 20160826_094247sound out a word on the cubes than he was from a book. What fun!

I would really like to say that we eventually got back with the program, but that would be a lie. We never did follow the program as it was intended. However, the Teacher’s Guide and Template Book on the CD has five pdf files: four different program levels, or the entire 133-page workbook (all four combined). I spent some time reviewing the four workbooks to see if The Boy had any “holes” in his learning that needed to be addressed. We used an afternoon to test through the 42 sounds that make up the Simple Code of the English language. He was able to correctly identify all but eight of them.

Identifying his level of understanding was paramount and allowed me to hone in on his weaknesses. We opened the pdf files on our tab and used the workbook interactively instead of printing it out onto paper. This has been a wonderful tool!

I am not sure that I will continue utilizing this program, as intended, but I will definitely continue using it as a resource and a reinforcing manipulative. The Boy always has a smile when we bring out the Can Do Cubes!

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August 26, 2016

Fieldtrips

One of the greatest blessings of homeschooling is being able to take the children on field trips where their education can be brought to life.

I remember as a child, in public school, we took multiple field trips. We visited museums, libraries, the newspaper and more. When my older children were in public school it seemed as though funding had declined so much so that they took one or none each year. It is unfortunate.

Fortunately, for us, we can take as many field trips as we desire and visit many locations as possible to enhance our studies.

We currently have three trips scheduled through October. Bookworm Beauty has literally devoured all things Laura Ingalls over the last year and as a culminating event we are taking a pioneer road trip through Kansas, Nebraska and Eastern Wyoming. To further our atmosphere studies we will be heading to the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. Lastly, we anticipate completing a unit on aircraft and will be heading to the Pueblo Air Museum.

I am sure we will be adding many other incredible locations to our calendar during the rest of the year.

Where are you looking forward to visiting this school year?

August 19, 2016

Puzzle Fun: A Review

It is always a joy to be able to review a product that is simply fun! As a puzzle-loving family, we were excited when we received the Solar System FlipStir puzzle by Enlivenze LLC.

Trinity FlipStirAfter reading the very simple instructions: flip, stir & solve, I went to work. It took me about 5 minutes the first time to solve the puzzle.

This puzzle is a self-contained unit that includes a stir-type stick to maneuver the 10 individual pieces within the cylinder housing. We have the Solar System puzzle which is a great addition to our home as we have been studying the solar system over the last year. It has proven to be a fun reinforcement of learning for the kids.

Although the puzzle is designed for ages 7 and up, The Boy (6) has had just as much fun enjoying it as Grandpa (78). Grandpa just so happens to also be crowned as the quickest solver in our family. we tend to be slightly competitive in our home and leave the FlipStir puzzle on the coffee table. It goes without saying that if someone inquisitively picks it up then the timer is started so we can get their solve time. Grandpa completed it in 2 minutes, 12 seconds… beating my best score by 15 seconds. I was not thrilled… yes, we are competitive here.

Other FlipStir puzzles are also available. There are two level 1 options: the Tyrannosaurus Rex and Rainbow Pencils and 3 level 2 options: the Statue of Liberty, the Solar System and the Periodic Table of Elements. Each sell for $24.95.

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August 18, 2016

Spanish Immersion: Homeschool Style (A Review)

We understand the value and tremendous benefits of learning a foreign language so we were delighted when we were informed that we were selected to review the Spanish Starter Set 1 by Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids.

IMMERSION

Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids takes an immersion approach to teaching foreign language. The research concludes that immersion students most often reach greater levels of foreign language proficiency than through other foreign language program models (Williams Fortune, 2016). We have firsthand experience with the immersion model as Bookworm Beauty attended a language immersion program for two years before we made the decision to homeschool. She attended the Spanish program at that school during 2nd and 3rd grade, well behind her peers that were in attendance. Within a fairly short time, she was comprehending quite a bit of Spanish and gaining in her confidence in using the language.

Although our other two school-aged children, Sweetness (2nd) and The Boy (1st), will not have the same opportunities that Bookworm Beauty had we still desired adding foreign language to our homeschooling routine.

THE PROGRAM

When Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids arrived, we sat around like kids on Christmas, eagerly awaiting to see the package contents! There were three program levels in the Starter Set 1 that included both a full-color Guide for Teachers and Parents and an activity workbook; an instructional DVD; sticker labels; and flashcards with card game instructions for the flashcard use.

After looking through the materials we had a decision to make. We decided to get Bookworm Beauty (6th) more involved with our foreign language introduction. The program is so easily laid out that it was well within her ability to facilitate the Spanish class with the younger kids. Being that it is primarily video-based instruction, there is really no need to actually teach Spanish. The students are introduced to everyday conversation by watching and re-watching video segments for each lesson.

Starter Set 1 is currently available for $140.25 (15% discount offered on their website) online memberships are also available and offer access to all of the same materials digitally. There’s even the ability to try it FREE for two days!

OUR EXPERIENCE

Bookworm Beauty and I read through the Guides for Teachers and Parents together so that we were both clear on the intended process for the program. After explaining to Sweetness and The Boy the expectations for them and  that Bookworm Beauty is to be treated like any other teacher, we were set to start. I have to confess that it was fun to see Bookworm Beauty step in and facilitate the class because she seemed a few inches taller and had an air of professionalism about her!

She followed the outline in the guide to a “T” without any deviation. The younger kids enjoyed the videos and always seemed interested and engaged, which I would believe it paramount to a program like this working. I was impressed that by the second lesson, Sweetness and The Boy were calling out the names of everyday items as they appeared on the screen.

The kids also had a lot of fun being able to label some items throughout the house with the Spanish sticker labels that are included in the program. It also serves as a good reminder to the rest of us that we are trying to increase our Spanish vocabulary and so we purpose to try and use the Spanish word for those items.

The flashcard set includes the each of the vocabulary words in pictures as well as a set of cards with the written vocabulary word. There is a set of cards for level 1 with 25 vocabulary words; level 2 with 39 vocabulary words and level 3 with 21 vocabulary words. The instructions for the Go Squish Cardgame is similar to playing Go Fish, which most children are familiar with, but with a twist. The kids particularly enjoyed playing Go Squish!

The activity book is a full-color consumable workbook that includes many activities such as word searches, fill-in-the-blanks, secret codes and more. This was a perfect workbook for reinforcing the vocabulary words learned and was well within Sweetness’s ability to complete. We did not order a second workbook for The Boy as it was a bit above his ability level to complete.

LOOKING AHEAD

Foreign language is important to us and we want to find new and creative ways of incorporating it into our homeschool experience. Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids made it very easy for us to begin that process! Bookworm Beauty had fun facilitating the class and being able to brush up on her own Spanish skills. We are not quite finished with Level 1 but fully anticipate completing it along with Level 2 and 3 over this coming schoolyear.

 

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Williams Fortune, Tara. (2016). What the Research Says About Immersion. Retrieved August 17, 2016, from  http://carla.umn.edu/immersion/documents/ImmersionResearch_TaraFortune.html

 

 

M.I.A.

I know… I know… I’ve been M.I.A. Something strange comes over me when the temperatures start creeping up towards 90 and beyond. Like a sunflower, I come alive!

541px-Sunflower_sky_backdropI have lived this summer.

For the last several years, I have approached fall with regrets. I tend to regret all of the things I didn’t get to do during that summer break… but not this year. This year I greeted each and every day with renewed energy and wonder for what the day was going to bring forth!

Consequently, I neglected many other things. I neglected my blog. I neglected my rest. I neglected all of my indoor projects.

Yet, we played. We visited the Red Rocks, Lakeside Amusement Park and Elitch Gardens. We finally made our way to the Pueblo Zoo. We camped. We completed multiple art projects. We swam. I celebrated Angel’s 22nd birthday with her in Phoenix. We began bringing the children’s visions of a playhouse to fruition. I’ve gardened. I’ve read. And mostly, I’ve played.

It was a good summer… and as it comes to a close and we begin diving back into our homeschooling routine, I smile because I have no regrets this year. None.

July 13, 2016

Not Just Another Art Program

We have been a part of a wonderful creativity-inspiring weekly homeschooling art co-op with two other families. This group became a perfect platform for reviewing ArtAchieve.’s Entire Level II.

Kragel ArtBefore bringing ArtAchieve to my homeschooling art co-op, I did my due diligence and ensured that I would not be violating any copyright laws by sharing the lessons in a group format. I received a quick response from the artist/owner that was personal and thoughtfully written. He gave me permission to use the program in our co-op  and informed me that oftentimes teachers use the program a classroom setting. I thought this was very generous as their packages were already affordable. For example, the Level ll package is $53 for a 1-year license and includes 14 complete art lessons (additional single and bundled purchasing options are also available).

The Lessons

Two formats are offered for the presentation of the lesson. You can either follow a PowerPoint version or a video version that is taught by the artist John Hofland. Each lesson centers around a unique culturally-rich item that was collected during the artists global travels. He takes the time to introduce the students to the item, explaining where it is from and offers cultural tidbits. The lessons include additional studies links  in Science, Social Studies and Language Arts to  help students to make connections between the world they see around them and their art.

Rules for Drawing

The lessons follow the same format beginning with the item description and its cultural significance. Next, the students are taught how to take a moment to relax before beginning their art. The Rules for Drawing are then covered, which seemed to help the students to further relax and approach their art from a creative standpoint instead of an attempt at perfection. The step by step detailed drawing instructions broke down the process into simple and easy to follow steps allowing all ages to be able to follow along and achieve success.

After the drawing was complete suggestions for coloring or decorating the drawing are given. This was another area where cultural significance is discussed and the students are taught to view this as an opportunity to bring more than just some color to their piece.

Our Experience

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Our weekly art co-op consists of ten children ranging from 3-15 years old. We found that each of our children thoroughly enjoyed their art time. They celebrated the process, learned about different cultures and took pride in their art. The best part of our experience is that each child, regardless of age, was able to follow along and gained confidence in their artistic abilities.

trin roo Toby Cat Ruby Isaiah cat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Together, we completed three of the projects; The Japanese Goldfish, The Ukrainian Rooster and The Czech Cat (which is always available for FREE). Each of our lessons have been a complete success. My personal favorite was the Ukrainian Rooster, their art pieces were colorful and lively. It seemed like the creativity of the children increased with that particular lesson, possibly as a result of all of us having chickens.

trina cat Staci Roo Maddy roo Richard Cat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Downside

Everything has a downside, even a program that has provided a means to inspire our children to pursue art in a meaningful way. The downside to this incredible art program is that I have to figure out which art pieces I will put on display. With three students in my home, I have quickly run out of room and have found myself with a lot of wonderful artistic pieces to choose from. We already have framed original art throughout our house by our budding artists and will need to get an additional frame for each of them to choose one to bring life to our walls. The rest will have to go into an art portfolio. The kids have also considered using their pieces as gifts for family members which is a great way to share their art with others.

Looking Ahead

Bookworm Beauty is the artist in our family and we are planning a canvas party to celebrate her birthday. We intend to utilize one of the ArtAchieve lessons as the central activity. The lessons are laid out so well that we anticipate a lively and colorful room full of adolescent girls that have gained a sense of artistic success and creativity.

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