Tuesday, May 31, 2016

TOS Review ~ Essential Skills Advantage

Essential Skills Advantage Review
For the past few weeks my son and daughter have enjoyed reviewing math and geography concepts using the Complete Home Learning Suite from Essential Skills Advantage
What Is It? ~ Essential Skills Advantage (ESA) is meant to be a supplement online program that can help children improve in math, science, reading, grammar, spelling and geography. Most of the subjects go up through sixth grade material. Science only goes up through third grade. ESA does not follow Common Core, which is a relief to me. ESA was well established before Common Core was developed, so they feel they are providing a complete program. I agree with them. The program is colorful, interactive and fun. The "teacher" is very motivating and the child is encouraged every step of the way.
Essential Skills Advantage Review
My Daughter (12) ~ My daughter used this as a review at the end of her sixth grade year. She decided to do the math and geography sections. She really liked this program, which is a major compliment since she generally dislikes all online learning. She felt that the review material was age appropriate in achievement and presentation. She liked that the lessons were colorful but not babyish. She especially enjoyed the lessons associated with geography. She has really taken to geography this year and is eager to learn more. She liked that the little presentations of each map were short and easy to understand. Anne liked being able to pick the different levels. Geography covers Maps and Globe Skills, World Geography, American Geography and Canadian Geography. She felt that it was not a catastrophe if she got an answer wrong, because she just could try again. She is looking forward to completing the geography section for summer school. 
Essential Skills Advantage Review

My Son (14) ~ My son heard his sister talking about how much she liked ESA and asked to try it himself. He is beyond the grade levels offered in ESA but could use a bit of practice in math. He said that the math was fun using this program and wished that it went into higher grades. He liked the screen backgrounds, but thought that the numbers were sometimes a color that was a bit hard to see. 
Essential Skills Advantage Review

My Impressions ~ I checked out several of the sections that my kids did not use. I liked everything I saw. The grammar and spelling sections were filled with nice graphics. The programs were just as motivating as the math and geography. I especially liked that students can work at whatever level works best for them. For example, a child who is strong in math but weak in spelling can work in the appropriate grade for each subject. My kids both liked it and are willing to work with it even during the summer. Furthermore, I noticed that my son was solving facts faster after just a few days with this program. I also liked being able to see my kids progress. I simply click on the mark's section under each child's name, and I was able to see how much they had completed and their average score. I can even print out a report card for each subject. I  would highly recommend this program for a supplement or review.

Click on the banner below to see what other TOS members think about this fun program.
Essential Skills Advantage Review
Blessings, Dawn

Friday, May 27, 2016

End-of-Year Interview ~ Dean Speaks ...

I conducted the kids' end-of-year interviews last week. You can read Anne's here. This interview with Dean was especially important to me, because he has been losing interest in school this year. He has seemed stunted in his academic achievements and generally withdrawn from his lessons. He also has not shown any growth in independence and relies heavily on me to participate in his school lessons. It seems like I am working harder to keep him on track than he is taking an interest in his own education. So, I chose to have extensive educational testing this year. He was tested for everything from IQ to learning challenges of all varieties. I will talk about the test results at the end of the interview.
Performing as a villager in The Jungle Book
Dean Speaks ~

What did you like best about this school year? I like learning guitar, when you read to us, and finally really learning cursive.

What was your least favorite subject? I really didn't like math. I do like Life of Fred, but the rest of math is boring or confusing (depending on the type).

What do you think helps you the most? I like it when you read to us, and I like when we do workbooks while listening to music.

What was your favorite academic subject and why? I like all of the history. Well, I hated Genevieve Foster books, but the rest of it was great. I like doing all the projects (21 Activities books). I like making historical food.

What do you want to stay the same next year? I like the length of the day and that we start with morning chores and CNN Student News. I like taking a long break at Christmas.

What would you like to see change? Quit lessons in chimes and bells, have more age appropriate school work (especially review items) and stop repeating yourself (this is a complaint he has about me in all things). I want to start high school.

Talk to me more about what age appropriate school is to you. I hate all the silly programs online with the dumb people dancing around. Learning is serious stuff. School is so boring. It's the same stuff over and over again. You repeat yourself so much!

Tell me a list of instruments you would like to learn. Saxophone, ukulele, and keyboard

What do you envision acting classes being like? Mature kids that are close to my age. Where people seriously want to learn. I liked how in youth group we got to write our own skits.

My Reflections ~ My thoughts are still a work in progress. The test results were very interesting. He doesn't have any learning disabilities or ADHD/ADD. He does, however, have debilitating sensory issues that continue to affect his daily life including his school work. Since Dean's biological mother used a variety of drugs during pregnancy and since Dean was born addicted to cocaine (crack), the psychologist felt that he is still coming into his own. The doctor says he has seen lots of cocaine babies not fully bloom until their teens. He suggested that Dean needed more time to develop and was on the cusp of a great neurological bloom. All that said, Dean came out with a 119 IQ with a visual spatial composite IQ score of 132. The visual spatial is in the extremely high range. We knew he was very good at puzzles and games like Q-Bitz. His fluid reasoning score was only average, which makes it somewhat difficult for Dean to use abstract reasoning that doesn't rely on past learning. This may only pose difficulties for him because all of the other parts of his IQ were in the superior range, so he is thinking faster than his fluid reasoning can keep up, which may make him feel dumb at times (to my very basic understanding). He also came out gifted in artistic ability and creativity. He had scattered results with academic achievement. He was a bit behind in some forms of math and spelling and way ahead in other areas.

The End Results ~ Dean is very bright. He needs tons of hands-on activities and internships during high school for maximum success. He is a bit on the bored side but does need some more work in basic math skills (just as I thought). However, the doctor stressed that his education should be as hands-on and real world as possible. Dean needs to know why he is learning things to really embrace learning. He suggested Dean only do partial 9th grade next year to allow me to find ways of making high school hands-on and to allow Dean's brain to develop more.
Trimming tree branches
What We Are Going to Do ~
  • We will be doing only three or four 9th grade classes next year. I think they will be Career Technology Education ~ Career Explorations (with a textbook and lots of career-based field trips), U.S. History I (with A History of Us by Joy Hakim) and Physical Science (Real Science 4 Kids: Physics, Chemistry, and Geology with lots and lots of science experiments and field trips).
  • I am going to try to change over as much of our learning into project based and visual learning as possible. 
  • He will be following a student planner and visual directions as opposed to me giving auditory directions. I will be trying to reduce auditory directions whenever possible. 
  • I hope to start Dean on the piano next fall. I learned to play the piano a little bit as a child, so I can get him started. We will look into lessons as needed.
  • I was going to put him back into Teaching Textbooks and continue with Life of Fred in the fall. However, with the need for hands-on math, I am not sure that Teaching Textbooks is the best fit. I will need to do more research. 
  • Dean will continue with dance in the fall. He loves performing.
  • I hope to find an acting class that is comfortable for him.
  • He will continue to do classes in literature, world history, and art with his sister (all of which will count for 8th grade).
  • My friend and I plan to start a Mindstorm Lego Club to help our sons learn about robotics. This may become a partial 9th grade credit. 
Wow! That was a lot to process. I am glad I have a few weeks before we start school again to get more of this figured out. 

Blessings, Dawn

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

TOS Review ~ Sunya Publishing

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}

We had the opportunity to review a brand new game that will be available for purchase in just a few days. It is called Sunya - The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Multiplying & Dividing by Sunya Publishing. This is a brand new company that is just getting started. They have two exciting math games, one for students mastering addition and subtraction facts and another for students mastering multiplication and division facts. 
Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}

My kids just love games. We play them almost every night. We were very excited to receive this game. Sunya - The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Multiplying & Dividing comes with a 25 page instruction manual, number line and two decks of cards. There are 60 cards between the two sets. The instruction manual is spiral bound and has black and white pages. Sunya is a word from the ancient language of Sanskrit which is used in India. Sunya means empty or void of quantity.

Riddle Cards
One set of cards is of science and math riddles. My kids love riddles and immediately started testing them out on everyone in the family. They soon were solving the riddles by conducting experiments. One riddle said, "Six glasses are in a row. The first three are full of water; the second three are empty. By moving only one glass can you arrange them so empty and full glasses alternate?" They had six glasses set up on the table in no time. I won't tell you how to solve it. Anne said, "These riddles have some funny answers." Dean said, "I had only heard two of these before." He knows lots of math facts and riddles so that is saying something. 

Game Cards
The game can be played in several variations. I am not sure we ever played the game just right. The directions were a bit overwhelming and confusing. However, we understood the basic concept. We picked a dealer and the kids began attempting one by one to make math sentences. They enjoyed building on top of each other's sentences and getting rid of their cards. You win the game when you run out of cards. When a person is going out of play he/she yells, "Sunya". If they do not and are caught, they forfeit the win. This is a great way to get kids to practice math skills without realizing that they are doing math. There is also Sunya Solitaire if you want to play alone. 

The instruction manual also holds lots of nuggets of knowledge. It has a glossary of math terms, parts of a number sentence, famous math quotes, math "magic" and more amazing facts and riddles. My kids loved the math magic game. This is really a variety of games in one package.

This would make a great summer set of games to keep math facts fresh in a child's mind. The company also is coming out with Sunya - The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Addition & Subtraction. Please go check out all of the great reviews by other TOS review crew members by clicking on the banner below. 

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}

Blessings, Dawn

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

End-of-Year Interview ~ Anne Speaks ...

Every year I conduct an end-of-year interview with my kids. I love to hear what they have to say about their school year. Most of it isn't a surprise because I am with them all day, but I like to hear and record it anyway. It is one of the steps that I find important in the planning of their next school year. Since they are getting older, I decided to break up their posts this year so that I could reflect on their school year separately.
Raksha ~ Mother Wolf
What did you like about this school year? Dance, time used for personal growth (this is what I call time I've assigned her to do her stretching exercises, sign language and extra practice of cursive), cursive lessons, fictional story writing, and CNN Student News.

What was your least favorite subject? Spelling, although I like the way we are doing it now better than last year. I didn't like that we switched math around so much this year.

What do you feel helps you the most? I like "paper school."(Paper school refers to workbooks and writing activities.)  I need to write stuff down. I also like projects where we make things. Also, the geography games helped me learn this year.

What was your favorite subject this year? Dance! Dance! Dance! What else? I like home economics (especially painting, rearranging rooms and cooking) and geography.

What do you want to stay the same next year, as far as the order of our lessons during the day and the scheduling of our school breaks? I liked that we took very few breaks this year, so that when we took a break it was for a whole month. I really liked having a month off for Christmas. I felt like the flow of the school year went better without all of the starts and stops.

What would you like to see change? If we are going to stay on the TOS Review Crew, try harder to avoid online programs. I don't like most of them. I really prefer paper school. I also would like my own space to do school some of the time. I like learning at the table when it is group stuff, but I would rather be elsewhere when we are doing different things. The table gets too messy and noisy.

I was planning to move you to my antique desk in the hallway. Do you think that the lighting and dining room chair work for you? Yes, that works great.

Is there anything else you wish you could learn that you are not currently learning? Jazz dancing, how to read music better (but not necessarily with chimes teacher) and how to hand sew.
A village woman ~ she is pretending to sew
My reflections ~ 
  • Anne loved discovering the 10 Days series in board games. We currently own 10 Days in Asia and 10 days in the U.S.A. I hope to acquire more of the board games before next school year. 
  • She really was opposed to all of the online programs, with only two exceptions, Essential Skills Advantage and the Veritas Bible online (I will be reviewing both soon). I will be trying harder to get fewer online programs in the future. Dean doesn't care for online school, either.
  • Anne has been accepted to Junior Company at the dance studio next year. It is the highest level for teens. I hope they will be incorporating jazz dance into the program. One of her teachers says she has raw talent in that form of dance.
  • Spelling will stay the same, since I saw a huge improvement this year. We are using A Reason for Spelling
  • I noticed that Anne was much more unsure of herself during end-of-year testing this year in regards to math. She got many of the answers right (from my spot check), but she was uncomfortable. We are returning to Teaching Textbooks and keeping Life of Fred. I may work on Math U See Fractions for the first month of the new school year since that is a place of struggle for her. It seems like the more ways I hit it, the better. 
  • We are really going to have to buckle down and learn to hand sew better next year. We both struggle to fix costumes backstage during performances. It seems like there is always a hole that needs fixing just minutes before the show. 
  • The plan is to do school with few breaks next year. The kids didn't wear out this year at all. In fact, when I informed them that there were only a few days left of school, they were shocked. Dare I say, one of them was slightly disappointed!
  • There is no doubt that, at this point, dance is the most important thing to Anne. I find it unlikely that this will change since it has remained the same since she was three. She states that she wants to own a dance studio and talks often about what courses she will need in college to accomplish her goal. She also intends to work with children in several different capacities this summer to start learning more about teaching. 
A flower
Blessings, Dawn

Monday, May 23, 2016

TOS ~ Science Shepherd

Science Shepherd Review

We have been reviewing Introductory Science from Science Shepherd for the last few weeks.  We received access to online videos of the course as well, as a hard copy of  the workbook and answer key. You have a choice of Level A (ages 6 to 8) or Level B (ages 9 to 11) for the workbook and answer key. The workbooks are consumable and meant for one student only. Introductory Science is intended for ages 6 to 11 year old students.
Science Shepherd Review

What It Is ~ This is a creation-based science curriculum. Each video lesson is very short -- less than five minutes long. The videos are of a man talking while pictures appear on the screen behind him. After each video lesson, the child answers the question in the workbook. There are experiments that are very simple and use household items throughout the course. 

How We Used It ~ My 12 year old daughter was the reviewer of this program. She watched the first six weeks worth of videos in one week. The videos are very short and to the point, so she was able to move through them quickly. After the first six weeks of videos, she felt that she wasn't learning anything new and requested to change it up a bit. She asked permission to stop watching the videos and instead just complete the workbook as a "test of her knowledge." I agreed, as long as she understood that she would have to resume the videos if she started getting answers wrong.  She completed the workbook through week 21 over the next two weeks with near perfect accuracy. 

My Daughter's (12) Impressions ~ My daughter really didn't care for this program at all. She found it extremely easy. She felt that the material was so simple that she had covered all of it in kindergarten or first grade. She felt that the workbook multiple choice questions often made the right answer obvious, because the wrong answers were "very silly." She felt that the videos were acceptable and very easy to follow. She liked that they were super short. She didn't do any of the experiments because she had done them all before when she was much younger. However, she said that she remembered them and they were clear experiments that work and teach the point of the lesson.

My Impressions ~ I agree with my daughter. This program is very junior and is appropriate for kindergarten through maybe second grade, at the most. I never really thought of myself as that much of a scientist, but I must admit I had taught all of these concepts to my kids before the age of eight. I thought that the workbook would be a little bit more complicated since I requested Level B (for ages 9 to 11). However, I found the material very easy and presented in a way that led students to the right answer without them having to think about it. I also noticed that some experiments were ones I used when I worked in an academically minded preschool. However, I did appreciate that the experiments are easy to carry out, take hardly any time to execute, require things that most people usually have on hand, and, most important, WORK. The video teacher is clear, easy to follow and to the point. He also keeps the student engaged.

In Conclusion ~ If you are looking for a creation based video curriculum with workbook for very young students, this may be the one for you. 
To see what others from the TOS review crew had to say about this curriculum, click on the banner below. 
Science Shepherd Review
Blessings, Dawn

Saturday, May 21, 2016

We Are Done!

We made it! We completed 38 weeks of school and more than 135 hours in all subjects. Additionally, we simply came to a good stopping place. I am ready for a change of pace. We will keep up with review items over the summer, but that will be less than an hour a day.

So, I took six photographs the entire week. That must be one of my all time lows. On top of that, half of the pictures were food!
We are having lots of garden fresh strawberries. I am not a green thumb. It is such a relief to have something thriving!
We celebrated the last day of school with homemade funnel cake!
This week was tech week for my two youngest. They just love performing. The Jungle Book opened last night to a sold-out crowd with people being turned away at the door. One show down ~ seven shows to go. Anne was very nervous about the quick costume changes (some are only two minutes long), but she made it on stage fully dressed every time. I am going to have to work hard to get photos of all three of her costumes. She doesn't spend that much time backstage killing time anymore. She is mostly changing, in the wings or on stage. Here is her flower costume. The two photos I took of Dean didn't come out. His eyes were closed. I will try again today.

Another indication that it was time to close up school is a glance at our school shelves. They are pretty bare. During the school year, these shelves are bursting with books. Now, there is just a few remnants left behind.

We finished out the school year with our end-of-year interviews. I will be posting them early next week. This coming week will be consumed with house cleaning, gardening and Jungle Book shows. I am looking forward to it!

Also, I posted two reviews this week if you are interested. You can learn more about Traditional Logic or Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization by clicking the links.

Update ~ My Dad is home again and has a visiting nurse visiting him every day. We are glad he is back in the comfort of his home. He came home with several medical procedures that need to be completed every day. Thank you for keeping him in your thoughts and prayers.

Blessings, Dawn

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

TOS Review ~ Traditional Logic I Complete Set

Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review
I received Traditional Logic I Complete Set from Memoria Press to review with my 14 year old son. 
This set comes complete with a DVD of lessons, textbook, teacher key, and quizzes and tests. This program is intended for high school. The author, Martin Cothran says he has used it with 7th and 8th graders on occasion with success. 
Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review

What Is Traditional Logic? ~  The very basic definition of Traditional Logic is the science of right thinking. It is also referred to as Formal Logic. Formal Logic concentrates on the form or structure of reasoning in an argument. Martin Cothran's Traditional Logic defines concepts and terms one uses in Formal Logic. This program can be used for language arts during the second phase of the classical trivium. Traditional Logic should not be confused with Modern Logic, which is mostly math based.

How Does One Use this Program? ~ This course teaches formal logic systematically. The DVD lessons are short and clear. The students follow the DVD lesson (taught by the author) and then work through the lesson in the textbook. There are writing exercises as well as fill-in-the-blank and true or false questions at the end of each chapter. There is a quiz for each chapter followed by a final exam at the end of the course. Martin Cothran suggests completing this course over a semester, but he says many homeschoolers may choose to use it over an entire school year. This program is designed to be taught by a teacher with no Logic background. It is also intended for homeschoolers or very small groups of students. 

How We Used this Program ~ When the material arrived, I realized that this was a bit too advanced for my son this year. He has some learning challenges and is working with adapted 7th/8th grade material this year. I talked it over with my husband who is interested in Logic, and we decided that he would watch the video lessons with my son. My husband said he would read through the text book himself and take a few of the quizzes. In other words, we used this as a survey course to expose my son to a new topic which he might explore further when he's in high school. 

What My Son Thought of this Program ~ My son is very particular about voices. He finds many DVD courses irritating because of the speaker. However, he found this one easy to follow and clear. He liked that the teacher was mature and that the backgrounds were not distracting. My son felt that the material was very dry and not really of great interest to him. However, he liked that the lessons were short and easy to follow. He felt like he had a basic understanding of the material. 

What My Husband Thought of this Program ~ My husband did this program with my son. He found it clearly written. He felt that it had very good examples and lots of exercises to reinforce the concepts. The concepts are clearly defined. My husband felt that it was important to do the chapters in order rather than starting with chapter 4 (which the author stated is possible). My husband felt it was important to go in order because the concepts build on each other. He found the quizzes to be a good review of the presented material and the answer key clear to follow. He also liked the DVD instruction and felt that it aided him as the primary teacher.

We as a family are closer to a Charlotte Mason style of learning than a Classical Trivium style. That said, we found that this program would be a good match for any high school student who is interested in knowing more about Traditional Logic. I liked that it could count for a semester of language arts. 

To see what others on the TOS review crew had to say, click on the banner below. 
Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review

Blessings, Dawn

Sunday, May 15, 2016

TOS Review ~ Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review
I am new to Institute for Excellence in Writing, so I was very excited to be able to review Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization. I had heard great things about it and I wasn't disappointed. 

What Is It? ~ This is a really exciting program that helps children and adults memorize over 100 poems and speeches. Memorization is quickly becoming a lost art, but it is so helpful to the learning process. The poems are in a variety of lengths from very short to a substantial length. The poems are divided into four levels. Everyone begins on level one. There is also a level five which is famous speeches. The students have a book with all of the poems in it and an audio CD in which to listen to the poems. Students memorize the poems one at a time until they accomplish them and then go to the next. Each day the students recite the poems they have memorized before going on to the next poem that they are working on. The program comes complete with a DVD called Nurturing Competent Communicators, teacher manual, student workbooks (in a PDF file) and 5 CD's. Institute for Excellence in Writing allows the parent to photocopy the student materials for their own personal use. You can also opt to purchase a hard copy student work book separately. 
Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review
Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review

How We Use It ~ 
We listen to the CD in the car and listen to it on many car rides. The kids (12 and 14) also read the first few poems over and over. The early poems in level one are fairly short, and they quickly picked up the first two. Then they went on and learned one after another. My son currently knows five poems after just a few weeks (three or four times a week).  

What the Kids Think ~ My daughter is picking them up with ease. She finds it much easier than she thought. I have not pushed her to learn the poems daily, because she has been busy memorizing her part in the Jungle Book that she will be performing very soon. My son also likes the program. I was concerned that he would think the early poems were junior and too silly (he is a very serious child), but he found them fun. He is relieved that they are short and not overwhelming. 

What I Think ~ I am so pleased with this program. I am from a generation where memorization was rarely found in school. I must admit that I have feared memorization my whole life. I was under the impression that I wasn't good at it and did not want my children to fear it. I found a lot of comfort and encouragement in the teacher's manual. It points out that memorization is something we do all of our lives without even thinking about it. Also, the manual explained that poetry is often easy to memorize, because it is enjoyable, tells a short story of sorts, and has rich vocabulary. A double plus in my book is that my kids are learning great poetry and learning more sophisticated vocabulary. I am finding the poems easy to pick. I love that the program is stretching my kids' minds. I suspect that we will be working through this book for a few years. There is so much rich material, and I would love for my kids to put as much of it to memory as possible. 
I highly recommend this wonderful program. It is one of the best things I have reviewed so far this year. Check out what the other crew members have to say by clicking on the banner below.

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review
Blessings, Dawn

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Our Week in Pictures

It has been a good and bad week around here. My Father is still fighting for his life. I don't mean to sound so dramatic, but it really is a very challenging situation that is unfolding. He is not in pain and is able to move around his hospital room and the hospital hallways. However, fighting the fungus in his brain is cutting edge technology, and no one knows exactly what to do and what will work. Please pray for him.

I am flowing through our days, trying to stay present in the moment. Here is a peek at what we experienced this week.
We have been doing lots of spring cleaning and cooking/baking.
  • Anne completed the CAT test and it has been mailed back to the testing facility.
  • I finished the parent surveys for Dean's very comprehensive educational testing and emailed them back. We should be called in for results soon.
Elijah played the guitar on Youth Sunday and wrote a skit about forgiveness and getting into heaven.
  • We finished Life of Fred and math workbooks for the year.
  • The kids finished homeschool co-op and performed in the co-op showcase. The videos are too long to load here, sigh.
Mama bear is a frequent visitor to our yard this week.
  • We wrapped up two reviews this week. You can read my reviews about ARTistic Pursuits, Inc.  and a new music appreciation program by Zeezok by clicking on the links.
  • The last of the kids' regular dance classes finished this week. Next week is tech week and two weekends filled with eight performances.
  • I attended a meeting for Goldilocks that was positive. Everyone on her team is pleased with the most recent psych eval. This is the second time in two weeks that I have seen her cry when tears would be expected. She is showing more appropriate emotion currently. 
  • I also attended Goldilocks' six month check up with the pediatrician. She seems to be almost done growing and will likely be no more than 5'4" (and that is if she can gain a bit more height). For some unknown reason, this is a disappointment to her.

My Iris garden is starting to bloom.
  • We accomplished art, music and poetry.
  • The kids are almost done with Science Shepherd Introductory Science. This is a review item, and we quickly realized that it was far too simple for my crew. They completed over 100 workbook pages this week. They decided to skip the videos and just fill out the workbook as a "test" of their knowledge. We also are not young earth creationists, which is taught by Shepherd, so this led us to an extensive discussion about old earth vs. young earth creationists. That discussion then led us on to the differences in intelligent design versus evolution. 
Our strawberry garden is really starting to produce.
  • Most importantly, the week started off with a bang of tension, stress, too much to do, and just plain grouchy attitudes. Thankfully, the week came to an end with peace and resilience. For that, I am grateful.
Blessings, Dawn

Thursday, May 12, 2016

TOS Review ~ Artisitc Pursuits

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. Review

My children like doing art, so I jumped at the chance to review Sculpture Technique Model from ARTistic Pursuits, Inc..

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. Review

I am delighted to be able to review Sculpture Technique Model. This spiral book follows the book, Sculpture Technique Construct, but can also be used as a stand alone program. It is intended for upper elementary through high school. I used it with my 12 and 14 year old children. The book is divided into three units. Each unit focuses on a different modeling medium. The students will learn about creating mass with putty, creating scale with clay and creating surface with wool. Once the student completes the 12 projects in the book, they will have a good understanding of sculpture. The book retails for $47.95.

How We Used It ~ We completed the first two projects in Unit 1 creating mass with putty. I had never used Durham's Rock Hard Putty before. I found it at our local hardware store. It is very cheap and I  got a small can. We used the entire can for two kids. I probably should have bought the 4 pound can since they wanted to create more. It is a powder to which you add water; the consistency can be controlled by how much water is added. The children created small animals with the the first project. Anne made a fish and turtle. Dean made a shark. They found the step-by-step instructions with pictures easy to follow. After I introduced what mass was and showed them the sculpture in the book, they were able to work independently. The first project needed to be done in stages several days apart to give time for the pieces to dry before painting. I was pleasantly surprised to see how much my son enjoyed this medium, considering his sensory issues. He worked with the putty for a long time before forming it into a shark.

They found the second project to be much more difficult. In this project they worked with a static mass. They created a form out of newspaper and masking tape and then covered it with thin layers of putty. They "painted" the putty onto the structure and then allowed it to dry overnight. Dean made a squirrel and Anne made a rainbow tadpole and a snake. Dear husband painted the tadpole. He liked getting in on the painting. Overall, they liked how detailed the lessons were. However, Dean really did not care too much for sculpture work because of his sensory issues. 

My Impressions ~ I really like how each project is set up. Each unit is filled with colored pictures and the step-by-step instructions are very easy to follow. The entire study is broken down into very manageable lessons. A weekly lesson plan and schedule is provided in the back of the book. I like that each unit begins with a short lesson, vocabulary and an art piece to study. The evaluations at the end of each unit is a helpful tool for the parent/teacher to see how much understanding the child accomplished. There is also an answer sheet for the evaluations in the back of the book. I feel that this program is a complete unit that could count for a partial high school credit. I would certainly recommend this curriculum for middle school or high school.

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Blessings, Dawn