Monday, February 20, 2017

Review ~ History Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Egypt

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study

We love Home School in the Woods products, so I jumped at the chance to review History Through the Ages Project Passport World History: Ancient Egypt. We received a digital copy that we could download and print off what we needed. This study did not disappoint. It is chock full of lapbook materials, hands-on projects, audio recordings and much more. We are enjoying it so much that we may order their newest Passport to History: Ancient Greece.
HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study
My kids were quite familiar with Ancient Egyptian history, so I chose to do many of the hands-on projects and listen to the MP3 recordings with my teens. We chose to bypass the lapbook at this time, because we recently had studied this time in history. However, I looked over the lapbook materials and they are wonderful. We also found the timeline and timeline figures to be very useful. The timeline really helped everyone keep track of the events and important people of Ancient Egypt. The first project the kids did was create a shoe box diorama of an Egyptian temple. I simply printed out all of the materials, and they colored them in and assembled the walls and floors. There were many people and information blocks to choose from to add to the diorama. The picture below is of the project about two-thirds done. 
Next, we decided to try out some of the wonderful recipes that were provided with this unit study. My kids love to cook and there are 11 recipes to create. We chose to make a lovely Egyptian yogurt dip to eat with pita bread and stuffed dates. They were so good! We enjoyed a delicious lunch. We hope to try a few more recipes soon. 

The kids went on to make a cartouche, which is a name plate. They used the printable worksheet of hieroglyphs to write out their names on clay. The directions were easy to follow. 

Lastly, we did a quick study on artifacts from Ancient Egypt and then made several out of clay. The kids made an Eye of Horus, Ankh and a Nemset Vessel. We loved these simple hands-on projects that really reinforced our knowledge of Ancient Egypt. 
There are many more hands-on projects in this unit study. We could have dressed up like Egyptians, made a reed boat, made a chariot and so much more. We still plan on making a shaduf and studying how farmers used the Nile River to water their fields in the middle of a vast desert. We are also enjoying Tomb Dash, a folder board game. I printed it all out and assembled it on a normal folder. This is a wonderful way to review all that they learned.
This program gets a thumbs up from our family. I used it with two 13 year old students and one 14 year old. It was exciting and they learned lots of new things. They thought that the projects were mature enough and they liked the audio recordings. I feel that this program could easily be used for all grade levels in your home. That is a huge plus in my book. There is truly something for everyone. Whether you have a reader, a hands-on child, a budding cook, an auditory learner or one that loves to lapbook, it is all here and every individual's learning style can be nourished.
Check out what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew had to say.
HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study Reviews
Crew Disclaimer
Blessings, Dawn

Saturday, February 18, 2017

For Today ...

For Today

Looking Outside My Window ... at today's sunrise. It is going to be another warm day. We are having such strange weather here in Western NC.
Image may contain: sky, tree, twilight, cloud, outdoor and nature

I Am Thinking ... How to help my son Dean. He has been struggling with depression for a few months now. He is in my heart and thoughts every second of the day. 

I Am Thankful for ... a comfortable bed.

One of My Favorite Things ... is taking power walks around the city while my kids are in dance classes.

I Am Creating ... as much laughter and peace in my home as I can during this challenging time.

I Am Wearing ... red and white pajamas.

I Am Reading ... Smart but Scattered Teens by Richard Guare, Peg Dawson, and Colin Guare.

I Am Watching ... The Crown, a series about Queen Elizabeth II on Netflix.

I Am Hoping ... that I will find a way to rejuvenate myself. I am feeling very much on empty these days. I also hope my husband gets the job he interviewed for this week. It is a job he has wanted for some time. 

In the Kitchen ... I hope to get a few meals made and put into the freezer to ease the week.

In the Schoolroom ... We are wrapping up a unit study on Ancient Egypt and just finished our semester of chemistry. Teaching teenagers is still fun with hands-on projects.

Blessings, Dawn

Friday, February 10, 2017

Three Movies, a Mini Trip and a Play

A Trip ~ We had a very busy week. It started with a quick trip to Charlotte, NC. We needed a break. Our family has been stressed out lately and we needed a little bit of time away from the grind. Fortunately, my husband had worked overtime several times over the past month, so we had a little extra money. We decided to have a 24 hour break in Charlotte over the weekend. We picked a hotel with an indoor pool and away we went. The kids spent hours in the pool; I read two out-of-date Reader's Digest magazines; Dad got to watch cable TV; and most importantly, I DID NOT HAVE TO MAKE A SINGLE MEAL!
We ate delicious food!

We ventured out to visit the Carolinas Aviation Museum where we saw the actual plane that Captain Sullenberger ("Sully") landed on the Hudson River. We had watched the video of Miracle on the Hudson on New Year's Eve, so we really enjoyed seeing the airplane. It really was battered. 

We visited a large mall and did a little bit of clothes shopping and then visited Ikea. It was the kids first time ever at an Ikea store, and Dean, who is really interested in design, was in love with the entire store. He liked EVERYTHING! He was put in charge of finding a new clock for our family room and a new lamp for his desk. He had a blast!

A Play ~ We saw Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. The performance only had three actors and left us rather confused. This was one of the few Shakespeare plays that I wasn't familiar with and I hadn't prepared them well. We ended up deciding that we were going to need to review the story line in a different way.

Three Movies ~ We decided to see Much Ado About Nothing in movie form and understood it better this time.

We also went out with our homeschool friend S to see Dr. Strange. I am not sure this could be considered educational in any way, but the kids enjoyed it immensely.

Lastly, Anne is working her way through The King and I for our February musical. She is watching one musical each month as part of her musical course.

Art ~ We also had a lovely morning of art with Grandma. We learned about Edvard Munch and The Scream. My mother always does a tremendous amount of research and gives a great presentation. The kids went on to make their own parody of The Scream.

We also accomplished much of the basics. It was an all around good week.

Blessings, Dawn

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Sometimes You NEED Ice Cream!

Watching my kids grow is an awesome experience. I love to see them spreading their little wings. One of the places I really am seeing growth in both of them is in writing. We really started concentrating more on writing about six months ago. Don't get me wrong, we had done writing for years, but last year I said we had to see an improvement and really made writing one of the main goals of this school year. We did lots of writing and rewriting for a few months. I started to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Then we decided to start Cover Story. I must say, I saw an improvement almost immediately. The kids just finished their first section of Cover Story, which was to write a review.

They were really struggling to figure out what they were going to review, so I suggested that they review ice cream from a local ice cream parlor. They were delighted and we packed out books up and headed out. I told them each to pick a flavor they had never had before. I suggested they eat it slowly and really look around the store environment. They then filled out their outlines in the ice cream parlor.

Once they were back home, they wrote their drafts, which Grandma edited. Later in the week, they wrote their final papers. Here is an excerpt from each of them:

When I arrived at the store, a combination of the comforting interior and pleasant smells filled me with delight. The building was glittering from the beautiful yellow morning sunlight reflecting off the brightly colored wall tiles placed randomly around the floor, walls and ceiling. I walked up to the counter to order my ice cream from a perky, smiling cashier. I ordered my ice cream only after gazing upon the delicious selection of creams below the sparkling, clear glass counter. A few of the flavors were “Champagne Sorbet”, “Grasshopper”, which was a combination of Oreo cookies and vanilla, and “Blood & Guts”, which was strawberry ice cream with bacon sprinkled into it. ~ Dean

The Hop is a bright, happy place where you can find yourself a whole bunch of unique ice cream flavors! The staff are very friendly and will let you sample the ice cream before you decide what you want. One of their most popular flavors is the “Urban Orchard Fruit Salad”. They sell this as an ice cream or a sorbet. I chose this as an ice cream. The flavor reminds me of tart apple cider. The ice cream was very creamy, smooth and delicious. You can choose to have your ice cream in a cup, sugar cone or even a waffle cone. If you bring your little pup, they even have ice cream specifically made for dogs. But the only flavor for your dogs is peanut butter made with Greek yogurt. ~ Anne

They both managed to come up with 300 words and were pleased with their work. That is a win-win in my book!

Blessings, Dawn

Monday, January 30, 2017

Kwik Stix Thin Stix Review

The Pencil Grip, Inc. has a new and exciting product called Thin Stix, 12 pack. I reviewed the original Kwik Stix last year and you can read my review here.

Thin Stix is a solid tempera paint stick in a plastic tube like a pen. There is no mess. You no longer need to worry about spilled paint. Thin Stix is thinner than the original Kwik Stix, which gives them even more options for arts and crafts projects. They apply smoothly to any type of paper. We even used them on paper bags.

We decided to use them for a charity project we were working on. The kids were making lunches for the homeless. They wanted to design lunch bags and include inspirational words. The Thin Stix made it easy to write words. These are thick enough for new writers or special needs people who may need a more stable writing tool, but they are still thin enough to create words and thin lines.

The colors are vibrant and cover all of the surface. They go on smoothly like a crayon, but they are darker and cover more surface. They dry instantly.

These can be bought from Amazon in a variety of colors, sets and types. 

Disclaimer ~ I was provided with this free product for my honest opinion. All comments and opinions are my own and not influenced by the company or affiliates.

Blessings, Dawn

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A Homeschool Day with Teens

Our days have really changed over the last few years. The kids spend so much more time attending activities out of our home. I imagine this will only increase over the next few years. Sometimes it is a difficult balance to still get in what I feel is enough core lessons. However, we make it work. Since my children are faced with a host of special needs and challenges, they do not do their schooling as independently as many their age. Nonetheless, they are growing and stretching all of the time. These are my last two students. After 18+ years of homeschooling, most of the time I feel confident that I am crafting their days to prepare them for a successful adulthood.

There are very few days a month when we stay home for the whole day. Most days are filled with a few precious hours of schooling at home and then off into the world we go. Here is my snapshot of our day in the life with a 13 and 14 year old.

Morning ~ My husband and our disabled adult son are both home sick today. I felt a stomach virus/cold coming on earlier in the week, but fought it off. Now it has struck them. They do not seem to be fighting it off as quickly as I did. I spray the house down with Thieves oil and then start the diffuser going with a cocktail of essential oils called Germ Buster. Breakfast this morning consists of blueberry smoothies and toast or cereal and oranges. Everyone collects what they want and gets ready for the day.

Everyone does their morning chore. This school year, Dean rotates the dishwasher and wipes off counters while Anne gets all of the dirty laundry sorted and rotates the washer and dryer. I do different things each morning. This morning I make Cinnamon Butternut Squash and start it in the Crock-pot.

By 9:20 am we are on our way to a performance downtown. We meet up with friends and see the school matinee of Shadowland by Pilobolus. It is an amazing show. After the show, we eat lunch at a little sandwich shop and take our homeschool friend (S) home for English class. We homeschool with her two times a week.

Afternoon ~ We return home and get right to work on our English class. The kids are working their way through Cover Story. They complete lesson 11 over the next hour or so. Since it is 2:00 pm (our normal time to end school), I allow the kids to have free time. S, Anne, and Dean scurry off to draw, play guitar, get ready for dance and generally shriek and laugh. I busy myself preparing chicken and baked potatoes for my husband to put in the roaster oven at a later time. This will be a warm dinner with the added butternut squash that is in the Crock-pot.

Once everyone is assembled, we leave to pick up one more friend from the local high school and I drop off all four kids at dance. I decide to walk despite the biting wind. I manage 5,000 steps and retreat to the car to fill in today's lessons in my lesson planner and make a few phone calls.

The kids get out of dance after two hours and we head home to a warm dinner.

Night ~ Everyone is tired and has a two hour free time after dinner. After our break, we come back together to do chores, watch CNN Student News and listen to a chapter from The Twenty-One Balloons. We wrap the evening up with showers and a third dinner for Dean (ahem). Sweet dreams!

Blessings, Dawn

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Mid-Year Ramblings ...

This seems to be the year that I need to remind myself over and over again that slow and steady wins the race. We are "schooling" every day, but progress is slow. I just keep reminding myself that we are blessed to homeschool, and we can choose our own pace. It was my choice to let Dean work on two different grade levels this year, and I knew he would not complete every course for 9th grade. Also, Dean is struggling with depression and teenage hormones. All of these things have made our year slow. However, it has been filled with quality and progress. That is the truly important thing.

What is working for us ~

Art ~ Art has been a blessing on several levels this year. It is a wonderful release for Dean as he struggles with his feelings. He is going to Miss Laura's home two times a week now to work on his art. He also does art several times a week at home. Anne has decided to drop out of art classes with Miss Laura for now. She would prefer to spend that time working on math and spelling (the two areas in which she lacks confidence).

Science with our homeschool friend ~ Science has been a blast this year with our friend S. I teach all three students for several hours one time a week and then assign homework or a project to work on during the week. We have concentrated on chemistry during the first half of our physical science course this year. This will count for Dean's ninth grade science credit and seventh grade science for the girls. We are moving on to geology, which will be part two of our physical science course in February.
Testing food for starches
English ~ English has evolved this year into a place we are comfortable. We are doing less literature than many years and more writing. The children, including our homeschool friend S, are slowly sloshing through the Cover Story program. I like the program. They think it is hard, but they admit they are learning. Each of them will have a magazine of their very own at the end of the course, which is really cool. They are also writing 500 word papers every month. We have read several books this year together, and most of them have been Newberry winners. We are currently reading The Twenty-One Balloons.

Field Trips ~ I thought we would be doing many more field trips this year. However, life hasn't taken that turn. However, we have done some decent ones and are planning several more for science and history. This week, all three students and I explored the Urban Trail that winds through our city. We only made it through half the trail, but it was a great history lesson. We plan on combining a tour of the home of Thomas Wolfe with a remainder of the Urban Trail in the next few weeks.
Dean, S, and Anne

Music ~ Music has been a blessing across the board this year. Anne has been learning a new song on the piano almost every week. She is still working her way through a Christmas carol book. Good thing we like Christmas music all year around here! Dean is starting guitar lessons again next week. He had about six months of group lessons last school year. This time he will be taking private lessons. He is also making tons of progress with the ukulele and his electric ukulele by watching lessons on YouTube.

Dance ~ Dance is a struggle every week for Dean. He loves it but is very disappointed in his lack of flexibility. The teachers are really encouraging and feel that he is doing well. He is caught in the teen cycle of comparing himself to everyone else, and then he often isn't pleased with his progress. Anne, on the other hand, is flying high and loving all things to with all kinds of dance. She is pushing her boundaries at every turn and pleased with where she is.

Life skills and home economics ~ This area is going well this year. The kids have learned skills for painting walls and furniture. They have improved their yard work skills and can both handle a lawn mower (although Anne needs it turned on for her). Dean can handle a small chainsaw with supervision. They can both do all tasks involving the laundry. I plan to get them back into cooking more in the second half of the year.

Subjects that are moving very slowly and need improvement ~  The below subjects are areas we are experiencing some difficulty in this year. We are plodding along, but I would like to see more accomplished.
  • Math
  • U.S. History I (Dean)
  • 7th grade History (Anne)
  • World History (Dean)
So, we are making slow and steady progress. I really can't complain.

Blessings, Dawn