Wednesday, 20 July 2016

You gotta smile when....

.... discussing how some children's elbows work differently when they hold their arm straight, Lilly says 'it's because of evolution' and my reply 'how ?' results in me being told 'their environment is altering them cause they have to put their hands up so much at school, you know to ask to go to the toilet and stuff'

Her reasoning is sound apparently because all the kids she knows who go to school have weird elbows (I fall into that category too because I went to school) but her homeschool friends don't.

Monday, 11 July 2016

ArtAchieve - TOS Review

Art is not my strength but the girls love it. I've always struggled to come up with any lesson plans so I was very happy (and so were the girls) when the chance came up to review Entire Level ll  from ArtAchieve.
ArtAchieve is a complete homeschool art curriculum providing drawing lessons for kids (and adults), it was created by John Hofland (a veteran homeschooler) who firmly believes that anyone can learn to draw, that drawing is essential skill and that like math, that skill can be taught. Puling on his combined experiences of teaching in school, homeschooling and studying with the masters he has created a hassle free on line curriculum that does the teaching for you.

We received a years access to the Entire Level ll for review. Its so simple to use - you literally create an account and the lessons are all on line and available once you have logged in.

There are 14 lessons in level 2. You can opt to print a pdf of the lesson or watch a video (approx 25 mins) outlining it step by step. Each lesson starts with some tips on how to relax and prepare yourself mentally and physically for art - my favourite tip was when he said to paint/draw without talking to improve concentration and to see the girls take this on board while I sat enjoying the silence while they worked (Sunflower even told her sisters "please be quiet, I need to concentrate"). Next comes a  'warm up' which is a grid with some of the squares containing elements from the picture for you to copy, then it moves on to discussing different aspects of art like types of lines, motifs etc before showing you how to draw. Lessons also include elements of geography, history or literature which are a great addition (I love sneaking in extra lessons) and he even has a play list of inspirational music to help you.

The lessons are professional, engaging and memorable (I've spotted Rose using one of his relaxation techniques when her sisters were annoying her) - they are so easy to use and I was really impressed with how someone with no historical art skills (me) could even produce an amazing piece of art and enjoy doing it.

This really has been so simple to incorporate into our schedule, the girls have loved this and it has fast become a firm favourite in our house. Lilly has spent hours working on minute detail within her pictures and has adopted a couple of his techniques in her various doodles. Sunflower said that this was the best lesson of the week while Rose has requested to do more. Tulip summed it all up nicely when she said 'I never knew that art was so much fun - can you get me some more paints'

I loved the confidence it gave me to include art in our weekly schedule and I loved the impact it had on the girls. I was also impressed by how varied their work was even though they were working from the same instructions.

ArtAchieve Entire Level ll is available for $53 and there are various different options to buy (including single lessons).

You can see what my crew mates thought over at the TOS Blog


Sunday, 10 July 2016

Tis that time of year....

.... when we go on the home ed camps, our first this year was the craft group camp where we worked on some Viking weaving.

These are the instructions for Viking Cord Weaving 

The girls loved it and were to be found weaving all weekend - except when they made some time to practice their photography

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Spray can art

We went to a fab workshop where the girls learnt to use aerosol's to make pictures.

They started by lightly spaying black over their paper, then white over the black and used crumpled paper to texture it, next they masked off a circle (lid/plate etc) and sprayed over in black paint.

To finish they sprayed their fingers and splattered white paint to make the stars.

A few kids took it a step further and created backdrops and landscapes to go with their moon.

Notebooking Pages - TOS Review

We do lots of notebooking here, this means I've spent hours scouring the internet for pages that would work for us or having to design them. Thankfully that part of my life is over now we've been given a Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership for to review.

Notebooking is an amazing way to cut out the busy work and really improve your learning, it's flexible, creative and is an excellent way for journaling your students work. Notebooking can be used to assist hand writing, copywork, vocab or spelling lessons, map work, history, grammar, project work, unit studies and more. It can be used for all topics and fits in with many learning styles and most curriculum. was created by Debra Reed, a homeschool Mum of ten, she has designed vast array of notebooking pages for your use. There are thousands of topics to choose from and they are divided into subjects for ease of navigation, these include;
  • Any Study (generic pages, mini-books and 3D pages)
  • A-Z (alphabet copy work, A-Z animals, A-Z sports, A-Z transportation)
  • Bible/character
  • Famous People
  • Fine Arts
  • Geography
  • History
  • Holidays
  • Language Arts
  • Science/Nature
Debra's pages are well thought out, she seems to have thought of everything - some are plain, others include spaces to draw in or stick pictures in, some have beautiful images for the child to colour in, still more have fill in the blank spaces and more.

We downloaded some work from her artist study of Georgia O'Keeffe to go along with our current art studies


and also from her Plant and Tree study for our nature and botany work,

both were enjoyed by all the girls, they fitted easily into our existing studies and were simple to use.

I was very impressed by both the range available and the quality. I loved that she had created an easy start guide and tutorials to help those who haven't notebooked before. I received a number of emailed tips and video links when I first signed up which were very useful.

My favourite aspect by far was that all the work was done for me, I no longer have to trawl various sites to try and find something suitable - its all in one place, there is a massive variety to choose from and it only takes seconds to download. You just need to pick and choose what page layout and style will work best for your students.

Debra has even added lapbook templates including mini layered books, matchbook books, popup book, top tab books and bordered templates, which you can use to make your own lapbooks.

The lifetime membership is available for $97 which full you full access to all the notebooking pages and any new ones that are added. She even has some free resources for you to try so you can see how it works for your family.

You can see what my crew mates thought over at the TOS Blog.

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