Oh my goodness, can you believe that Thanksgiving is already upon us? I don't know about you, but I am not ready at all. Hopefully, the next few days will be relatively quiet, so I can clean, shop, bake, and all around prepare for Thursday. We'll be having a small family gathering, so I'm not feeling stressed. For tonight, we're enjoying a relaxing evening of football and chilling. Happy Sunday!
Sunday, November 11, 2018
On this, the 100th anniversary of WWI, I would like to say thank you to all of the veterans who have served, and are serving our country! My favorite veteran though, is my dad, who proudly served in the Navy. He always recalls his time in the service with fondness and nostalgia. Thank you Dad! I love you!
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
I have heard more than a few times, that many schools are cutting way back on their art programs. That always made me happy that we homeschool, because we have all the say on what goes into our curriculum. Sadly, I must admit that when our schedule gets crazy, as schedules sometimes do, art is what gets pushed out of the school day. I never would have thought that could happen in our household because I love art. Painting, sculpting, drawing, just creating, is something that I love. Art was a major for me in college. As a preschool teacher, it was the most important part of my class' school day. I love to get lost in a project. It may sound weird, but the smell of paint, the beautiful rich colors, the feel of clay, the moment when I find a composition that is simply...right, the process relaxes me. Yet, it has often been neglected.
All of that being the case, this latest review could not have arrived at a better time. My 14 year old and I were stalking the mailbox as we waited for Master Kitz The Starry Night from Kidzaw.com . This fun little kit has everything you need to create a personalized version of the famous painting from Vincent Van Gogh. What a fantastic, hands on way to learn about the masters of art! As our Homeschool Review Crew wraps up within a few weeks, this is a very nice way to end the cruise.
What's included in the kit?
- Reusable Artist's Tool Box
- Three Custom Paint Colors
- Custom Van Gogh Roller
- Sponge Roller
- Five Artist Quality Oil Pastels
- Two Pieces of Deluxe Art Paper (16" x 20")
- Composition Stencil
- Star Mask Sticker Sheet
- Van Gogh Learning Materials
- Easy to follow Instructions
It is very easy to complete, from start to finish. You will definitely want to prepare an area before painting, because you will get painty! The only extra items required for this project are, a hard surface to tape the art paper to - we used cardboard, tape that peels off easily, and paper plates or a palette for the paint.
The beauty of Master Kitz is that it combines the hands on fun of an art project, with the history behind the artist and in this case, his painting. Inside this kit is a sheet that features a simple summary of the life of Vincent Van Gogh. You might choose to use this project to enhance a study on Van Gogh, or famous paintings. You might also do this just for fun, which is what we did. When you open up the summary sheet, you'll find the easy to follow instructions inside that will help you recreate a beautiful print of The Starry Night. Let me show you the steps in pictures.
The Summary Sheet. Use this as a quick history lesson, or as a jumping off point.
The summary sheet opens up to reveal the instructions.
Tape your paper to a sturdy, hard surface. We used a piece of cardboard. We used painter's tape, but it was actually too easy to peel off, so we secured it with regular scotch tape.
Affix the star stickers wherever you like. You'll peel them off after painting over them.
Pour some paint on your plate...
Roll that paint all over your paper.
Peel off the star stickers.
Put the stencil over the paper, tape it on, and paint black paint over the open spaces to create the buildings.
Remove the stencil, and you are ready to personalize!
Add your personal details to make this picture your very special creation.
This is a fun, easy to complete project, suitable for, as the kit states, ages 5-105. Younger kids will need help with certain steps. The design of the toolbox that all of the materials come in, cause the paper and stencils to be rolled up. This does create a challenge in getting them to stay flat. I pressed the papers under heavy books overnight, but they still curled up a bit. Make sure your tape sticks well enough to keep everything flat, but not so much that it rips the paper when removing it. This kit says that it makes two projects, but we found that the star stickers stuck so well that they pulled some of the paper off, and could not be used again. Likewise, the stencil could probably be wiped off after painting, but it is fairly thin, so it could be tricky. So, we only made one print. Other than those very minor details, we really did enjoy the process of creating this project, and would work with other kits like these. What a wonderful, fun, and educational activity. Click the links below, and order a kit today!
Sunday, November 4, 2018
It's that time of year again, when every tree in our yard drops its leaves. You don't realize how many leaves a tree can hold until the Fall arrives. Up until now, we find the trees so lovely. Then they turn on us, lol. I really hate raking leaves. Fortunately, I now have two teenage kids, who like to make a little extra cash, and I am more than willing to pay them to do this odious task. So now, without further ado, I present to you, homeschool P.E. - for this week anyway, ha! Seriously though, it is a decent workout. Enjoy our photos. I'm just glad that the raking for 2018 is now in the books!
Friday, November 2, 2018
As a stay at home mom, one of the most annoying questions that can be asked is, "What do you do all day?". Can I get a witness? We know that our days have a seemingly unending amount of work involved, and we don't have the luxury of nine to five hours either. Nope, we go 24/7. Some of us are not only stay at home moms, but we homeschool as well. That keeps a body pretty busy, and when you throw in a work from home job to the list, life can get pretty hectic. So, moms, this review is just for you. How can you balance all of this, without losing control of your home, or your mind? Thanks to a fellow Crew member, her company, Lisa Tanner Writing, has provided us with the online course, Balancing Diapers and Deadlines . So grab a cuppa, and join me as I tell you about it.
This course was written with the "Mompreneur" in mind, meaning the moms that are either running, or thinking of starting, a business from home. "But that's not me", I hear some of you saying. Stay with me now. I don't personally have a business from home at this point either, but there are plenty of suggested strategies in this course that every mom can find helpful. So, let's go...
The course outline is as follows:
- Welcome to Balancing Diapers and Deadlines
- Building Your Foundation with the Basics
- Minimize Your Decisions
- Minimize Your Decisions: The Annual Meal Plan
- Sustainable Growth
- Growing a Business with Your Kids Around
- Boost Your Productivity
- Closing Thoughts
When I heard that it was an online course, I first thought of live classes or videos, and I was wondering how I might fit it into my schedule. Is that what you think of? I was happy to discover that this course is not set up that way. It is beautifully simple and concise. There are no videos or live classes. It is really a book, with a short outline, and then an action step that can help you organize your household.
What will you learn?
- You will be encouraged! Life may feel chaotic now, but there are steps that can create a more organized atmosphere.
- You need a goal. Decide what it is. Write it down
- Share your plans with your family, and the hoped for outcomes.
- Have a (flexible) daily family plan, and prioritize the most important tasks.
- Start the day with a family meeting to set expectations.
- Meal planning! This is where I often go sideways, ha. I found this section very helpful.
- Sleep, it's um, important!
- Free time. Have some fun sometimes!
- Set boundaries. Turn off your phone occasionally. Limit screen time, emails, etc.
- Get your kids involved. There are many smaller jobs that they can help with that will provide them with experience, educational opportunities, and it helps you out too.
- Family writing time. I really like this idea! Set up a time where everyone has a set time to write. It could be a creative story, poem, journal, whatever you like.
- Tips for working with children from infants to teenagers, including kids with special needs.
There are so many good ideas in this course. Don't let the title fool you. The mention of diapers may have more seasoned moms feeling that this wouldn't apply to their situation. As a homeschooling, blogging mom of over 11 years, I can say that I found plenty of great tips and reminders to make my home not only better organized, but flowing peacefully. I also think that calling this a course might scare a few moms away, but it shouldn't . This reads like an encouraging workbook or study. I love that each section is short, and can be read within ten minutes, give or take a few. The action steps are helpful in getting you moving towards an organized household.
The biggest areas for me to work on are planning each day. For me, that means getting up a couple of hours before the kids, so I can have my devotions, and emotionally prepare for the day. Then, I can determine which tasks need to take priority. Being an introvert, I need a time of quiet to charge my batteries. When I am able to accomplish these things before my girls wake, I'm in a better frame of mind, which sets the tone of the day on a positive note. I'll be revisiting this course a few times I think. I hope you'll check it out!
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
There are plenty of things that I am good at in life. I love to read, and write, and because I am somewhat proficient in those areas, I have a decent amount of confidence in my ability to complete tasks that relate to those subjects. Math, on the other hand, is a subject that I struggled with during my school years. If there were going to be tears during my homework hours, it would most likely have something to do with Math. I simply do not have a mathematical mind. I admire those who breeze through lessons, and explain it as though it was a walk in the park. I've had some good, patient Math teachers, and I have had some of the nastiest, arrogant teachers who called those who had difficulty grasping certain concepts, losers. Yes, they did. Oh well, that was my unfortunate experience. But, as they say, I digress.
I had enough negative experiences in this subject, so when I began homeschooling my daughters, I decided that my goal was progress, rather than perfection. I have always tried to approach Math with a positive attitude, explaining the benefits of learning it, and working in short, frequent lessons. Well, as it turns out, my girls do struggle with Math more than any other subject. So, I am always looking for that Holy Grail of Math products that will transform all of our thinking relating to the subject. I was then very happy to have Whizz Education provide us with a 12 month subscription to their Math-Whizz program to review.
Think of Math-Whizz as your child's personal tutor. They say that every child has a "Math age", which is really simply the highest level that they are proficient with their Math skills. As with any other subject, their goal is to increase your child's Math age, and they do this through an interactive program that uses vivid animations, lessons, tests, and games. Before students begin the actual lessons though, it is necessary to find out where they are in their Math age. In order to find their age, they will have an assessment done. They estimate that the time that this will take ranges from twenty to forty five minutes, depending on the student. My girls were closer to the forty five minute side. The program does allow a student to stop and take a break during the assessment, if necessary. Their place will be marked and saved, so they can log back in later, and pick up where they left off. My daughters chose to do it this way.
The results of the assessment were pretty much what I expected. They need some help in certain topics. Going forward, the program, keeps track of correct and incorrect answers, and adjusts the lessons accordingly. This frustrates my youngest a little bit, to have the same material come up, but it reflects the concepts that need work.
Math-Whizz does make the work fun with very cute animations that activate and dance or provide various stunts and sound effects for correct answers. The main character is a professor type man, who encourages a certain amount of Math practice per week. Students are rewarded with points, which they can spend on different games, or by "purchasing" various treats and decorations for their personalized study room. Those are features that my girls do like.
We have been using this program for about a month now, for about thirty minutes a day, on average. At this point in their progress, both of my daughters have mixed feelings. My thirteen year old is definitely liking it a lot more than my fourteen year old. She, the younger, loves the animations and the rewards. Her study is getting decked out nicely. What she doesn't like is that when she gets an answer incorrect, or has trouble with a test, the same questions (meaning, the identical questions, using the same numbers) come up, with no explanation on what was done incorrectly, instead, they only give the right answer. She lamented the fact that after a time, she could just spit out the correct answer, but only because she had memorized it, having had it repeated every time. There is no explanation of what was wrong in the original problem. My fourteen year old had the same complaint. She had the same issue come up. They would both prefer a more detailed lesson provided when presenting new material as well, as they feel that certain concepts are presented with a simple illustration, but not much explanation in the how to's.
I do like that they tailor the lessons to each student's grasp of the material, and that they use so many fun extras, to keep lessons interesting and engaging. I think that I would say that this definitely a great tutor for students. For us, most of the material has been done independently with no problem. For those frustrating topics, I do sit down with my daughters, to give a more thorough explanation. We will be continuing this program along with our main studies because it does keep the subject so fun. As we head closer to Christmas break, you might be considering how well your Math program is going. This would be a good program to check out, so click on the links, and start a trial!
Sunday, October 28, 2018
Hi all, I'm checking in for a quick hello. Once again, another weekend has passed, as well as the opportunity to accomplish long awaited tasks from my to do lists. It was a busy weekend, and we did get a lot done, just none of them from my list. Oh well. We celebrated my mom's birthday with a great dinner out, a bit of shopping, and plenty of sweets. Today, on this cool and blustery Sunday, we had a very nice, leisurely lunch with my father in law. Before I knew it, it was 5 o'clock. Whoosh, weekend over. We passed the evening with some family time around the tv, and now, I'm catching a few moments to myself before I answer the call from my pillow. I hope your weekend was a good one too. Let's have a good week!