Monday, October 27, 2014

Getting Some Well Needed Rejuvenation

Photo Credit Little Farm Diary

As many of my readers remember I blogged a few weeks back about a tough time our family was going through. Even though things are much better and life has resumed to normalcy, I still jumped at the chance to attend a local women's retreat held at one of my best friend's home. Getting to spend time with the ladies in the above photo was truly a no brainer. Each of them brings something  magical to the retreat. Some are homeschooling moms, some are incredibly creative, some are new friends, some are King and I friends, others I have know for many years and 7 out of the 8 are all bloggers.
Photo Credit Little Farm Diary
 Amy from the Little Farm Diary as our host and one of my best friends to boot. She had lots of yummy food for us and a craft to keep us busy. Amy is the truest sense of hospitality and her home is incredibly inviting.
Photo Credit Little Farm Diary

Photo Credit Little Farm Diary
 Amy will be hosting another retreat on December 6th to usher us all in to the Christmas holidays with a renewed and refreshed spirit. This time the retreat is open to the community. So if you live locally and would like to attend you need to get in touch with Amy at the Little Farm Diary. Hoping to see you there and participating with all the magic of a group of women getting together to help refresh each other's lives for at least one night and hopefully into the holiday season.
Photo Credit Little Farm Diary

This is what happens when lots of bloggers get together. You jokingly or not so jokingly discuss all the ways you are going to create a post for your blog about the event and everyone is whipping out cameras to take photos to memorialize the night.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up - The Week of No Blog Posts But Lots of Life

I haven't blogged much this week but that certainly doesn't mean that we didn't do anything blog worthy. Just that life got in the way and needed to be lived. Last week we attended Gold Rush Days in Dahlonega and spent the day there. Mostly I just hung out in the local Starbucks, drank coffee and read a book while Grace got to spend time with a new friends. The things we do for our children. We did get to visit a new chocolate shop that was absolutely amazing. All homemade chocolates right there on the premises. It was a beautiful day to sit and watch - a small town festival, a parade, and all the people attending.

Living in our neighborhood is just plain awesome. The Northeast Georgia Mountains in my humble opinion is the best place in the world to live.

After weeks for planning for the art show two weekends ago Grace has taken a break from creating. This was one of the last pieces she created before her artistic juices stopped flowing. Hoping she picks it up again this week.

Two of our favorite book series came out with new editions. Michael Vey is probably the book series many people might not be familiar. It is a great series the whole family can read. I also purchased the new and last book in the entire Percy Jackson Series. We are very sad that it is ending as me and Grace have been reading this series together from the very beginning when she was maybe nine years old.

I decided to share a couple of pics of the littles that I tutor three times a week. They are bundles of energy. Some of the materials I use with them include teaching textbooks, Story of the World, Language Lessons, Jeannie Fulbright Science books, and quite a few others. Here they are painting with the See the Light series.

Of course we attended Cooperative classes. Love all my kids there.

Last night we visited the local community theatre to see friends in Alice in Wonderland. This is the same theatre where we performed  the King and I. It was quite weird sitting and watching instead of performing. It was also great to see many of the folks we performed with and catch up.
This week Grace worked very hard studying for her mid-term in Spanish class which she took on Thursday. Her Literature class finished up The Giver and started on Fahrenheit 451. In biology it is different systems in the body. She is almost finished reading Before You Meet Prince Charming.
We have another busy weekend coming up. I am attending a local women's retreat at a friends house and Grace is having a friend over all day on Sunday. Truly never a dull moment around here.

Friday, October 17, 2014

TOS Review - Standard Deviants Accelerate

Standard Deviants Accelerate Review
We are a visual family. Watching educational videos is something we have used in our home for many years. Six or seven years ago when my son was in 11th grade we would check out from the library the Standard Deviants DVDs for him to solidify different concepts in his education. Standard Deviants Accelerate has now taken their product a step further with Standard Deviants Accelerate Homeschool Courses. They have sold millions of videos worldwide over the years. Standard Deviants came up with this winning concept over 20 years ago. Take academic subjects, pack a ton of information into the video, then make the video funny and entertaining to the student.
Standard Deviants Accelerate Review
Since I was very familiar with the concept of Standard Deviants I jumped at the chance for my family to review their new product. A completely online program that can be used anytime, anywhere - as long as an Internet connection is available. We were blessed to receive a year's subscription that allowed us to check out all the available subjects. Currently one course/subject can be purchased for $99.00 a year or $24.95 per month. AP courses are also available at $14.95 a month. Standard Deviants offers courses for ages 8 and up.
Current Available Courses
Fundamental Math
Earth Science
English Composition
U.S. History
AP Biology
AP Chemistry
AP US Government and Politics
AP U.S. History
AP English Composition
In our home we concentrated on U.S. History and Biology because Grace is taking these courses for her 10th grade year. Included in each subject area the parent and student will find videos, quizzes, written transcripts, tests, drag and drop diagrams, note taking sections, and red flag alerts which will alert the parent when low scores are taking place. The parent and student will have two separate accounts. This way the parent can go and view grade reports, red flag alerts, editable scoring Rubrics, and progress indicators. There is a wonderful video the parent can view with all the particulars of what the parent account has to offer. On the same page is a video of what the student is offered through their account as well. Standard Deviant uses an immersive approach in teaching a subject and takes a neutral stand in the world view arena. I only mention this because some homeschool parents may wish to skip the videos on Evolution in Biology and The Big Bang Theory in the Earth Science class. For us it isn't a big deal as we have listened and watched information from both viewpoints in the past so that Grace is prepared to debate this issue intellectually in the future.
Standard Deviants Accelerate Review
As I mentioned before we decided to us Biology and U.S. History. We found the website very easy to maneuver around and had absolutely no technical difficulties or glitches. Topics available in the Biology course were; Molecules and Cells, Heredity and Inheritance, Molecular Genetics, Evolutionary Biology, Organisms and Populations, Human Physiology and Immune Response, Ecology, and a subject review area. At the time we started this review our own personal Biology course was starting the body system studies so Grace concentrated on Molecules and Cells as well as Human Physiology and Immune Response. In History the topics available include; American Presidents, Women's Movement, Civil Reform, America at War, Economic Changes, and again a subject review area. Unfortunately none of the mentioned subjects lined up with her current history studies so we jumped around in this section.
Tons of information is packed into each video and will need to be watched repeatedly for retention. Standard Deviants recommends this program as a supplement to other programs. It would be great to watch the videos to begin a new topic or as review after studying said topic. I would definitely like to use this in the future, especially for Government and Chemistry to help Grace understand principles and concepts better. Catchy, funny videos are always a great way to capture the attention of students at any age.
Take the time to visit Standard Deviants Accelerate as well as visit the Crew Page and read their thoughts concerning this new product.
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Homeschooling and Tutoring

As I mentioned in a previous post I have three 5th grade girls that come to my house three days a week for tutoring. It is refreshing to get to revisit all the elementary material that I once was able to share with Grace. Our literature book this month is Treasure Island. I chose to use a very abridged children's version of the book to read aloud during class, a couple of chapters each day. I may regret this choice because to me the book is kind of disjointed in places. It moves very quickly but from what I have read on line the unabridged version is the same. Sometimes hard to follow. When we finish the book, which should be in a couple of weeks, I plan on creating a Treasure Island day. The girls will get to watch the Disney version of Treasure Island and compare it to the book. We will create a compass rose, pirate flags, treasure maps, dabble in some creative writing dealing with pirates, show how a compass works, pick a pirate name, and do an exploding treasure chest science demonstration. I love the elementary ages - you have so much flexibility with learning.

A couple of weeks ago Wal-Mart put on clearance just the right size table Grace needed in her room for art. Recently she has taken up painting which required lots of space for canvases, paint bottles, etc. This was the perfect fit.

Grace has a fascination with sugar skulls, so her first painting of course ran in that direction. She also likes to do make up sugar skulls as well. Grace currently spends a fair amount of her day drawing and painting after she finishes her school work. This is a weird year as far as homeschooling goes. Most, if not all of her work is being done independently or through another teacher. I really miss that one on one time with her. Hearing about what she is learning and discussing everything.

The "littles" as I refer to them have also had a big art week. Each week I try to do a special class and this week was art. We used the See the Light series - Marc Chagall inspired painting of Joseph and the his dreams from the Bible. So far they have completed the first two lessons. Hopefully next week we will finish the last two even though on Monday we have a field trip to the library.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

TOS Review - Apologia Educational Ministries - iWitness Book Series

Apologia Review
Recently my family was given the opportunity to review a series of books published by Apologia Educational Ministries. This series includes; iWitness Biblical Archaeology, New Testament iWitness, and Old Testament iWitness. The iWitness book series is authored by Doug Powell and recommended for ages 11 and older. Each book currently retails for $14.00. We received each book as a physical product.

Apologia is a well known company within the homeschooling community and always seems to provide worthy products to share with our families. This go around they didn't disappoint. Here you can find an interview with the author of the iWitness Series, Doug Powell. Mr. Powell has a Masters Degree in apologetics from Biola University. In this interview I found it interesting when asked who he hoped the book series would reach and he simply stated people like him who needed a book with answers to the questions many of us have about the Bible and Christianity in general. A book that isn't so hard to read you can't understand it, but also not so watered down that the answers and information is too simplistic. In my opinion he accomplished this.
Apologia Review
iWitness Biblical Archaeology
This book deals with many artifacts, writings, and archaeological sites that support the history told in the Bible. Topics covered include Noah's Ark, The Exodus, The House of David, Dead Sea Scrolls, and many more. Of the three books this was probably our favorite. I enjoy so much reading about items found in the past, what they represent, and how they relate to the Bible.
Apologia Review
New Testament iWitness
This book in the iWitness series discussed who and why the books of the New Testament were chosen. Evidence is provided and presented to help you the reader decide and debate about the accuracy of the books that were and were not included in the New Testament.
Apologia Review
Old Testament iWitness
In this edition Doug Powell tackles some of the age old questions about who wrote the books of the Old Testament and should they be considered myth or accurate history. The back of the book also provides a detailed timeline of early history, judges, and kings.
Each book is loaded with illustrations and writings to make them seem representative of an archaeologist's field book or scrapbook. Different font styles are used throughout the book to I would assume make them look like authentic, ancient, well-used field books that an archaeologist would tote around from site to site or a scrapbook with collected information. To me the different font styles were distracting and small for my poor older eyes to read. Not sure if this would be a factor with a younger person. There was tons of information, a lot of it very new to me to learn from this series. We will definitely need to read the material numerous times to get the full benefit of all the information provided. Even though the recommended age is 11 and up, I found the material to be more on a high school level. I plan on handing the series over to my husband to read because he really digs (pun intended) this kind of reading material. I would recommend using this series as a supplement with any Bible study time with the family or when questions come up concerning accuracy of the Bible.
Be sure to check out the iWitness series published by Apologia Educational Ministries. Also take a look at what other Crew Members thought of this product.

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Living the Artist Life

Grace got to see what a true artist's life is like this weekend while showing her art in a two day art show. Friday was pretty slow but it picked up on Saturday. She stayed all day on Saturday with her dad who was also showing some of his own art. Grace is the youngest member of this particular art guild and most of the artists have shown her lots of love and taken her under their wing so to speak. She helped pass out flyers at another venue, priced all of her work, interacted with artists and the general public that were attending the show. Grace also had the opportunity to meet a new friend and spend some time talking cosplaying, anime, etc. (all her favorite subjects). It was a great weekend all around for her. She sold four pieces of art and also acquired a commission to work on as one of the pieces had already sold that a patron wished to purchase. Thanks to all the family and friends that came out and supported Grace and Scott in this endeavor.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Bible Study Journaling

As I mentioned in early posts the past 4-6 weeks have been really tough around here. I know all families go through tough times and ours is really no different than others out there, but to me it was all consuming. Hard to focus on daily tasks kind of tough times.
Something I started during this time was a new Bible study. The end of April was the last time I picked up me Bible to do any real studying and at that point I was attending a small women's Bible study group. I knew something needed to change and I desperately needed to get back to it.
You know how God shows Himself to you in different ways - well I feel that is exactly what He did when I stumbled across as Instagram account of a woman who journals about her Bible readings in a art journaling kind of way. She actually calls it Bible Marking - Journaling. It put a spring back in my step so to speak.
Something else that we have changed is routinely getting back in to attending Sunday morning worship. For the better part of the year our attendance has been sketchy for multiple reasons. We have found a new church that has great potential for our family. So basically some changes needed to be made and we are trying to do just that.
Life is slowly getting back to normal - taking it one day at a time.