N is for Night Heron

N is for Night Heron

Last month, we studied a book about bird watching. (Find our Poppins Book Nook post here.) It was an amazing little book and I had no idea that it would spark a whole new hobby around here. I have enjoyed watching the birds out our back window, even now that it is so hot first thing in the morning that I don’t want to go outside and sit on the patio. The bigger surprise, though, is that E enjoys watching the birds as much as I do.

We now keep the binoculars and the field guide on the kitchen table. They get picked up grabbed several times a day. We are often seeing something new. And, that is what I want to share with you today.

Yellow-Crowned Night Heron

N night heron adult

This bird is new. To us. But not to God. We had to look around quite a bit to find information on this bird. Luckily for us, a gentleman from church is a nature guy and was able to identify this fella for us. We have had so much fun watching this yellow-crowned night heron. But guess what is even more fun? Seeing the second and the third yellow-crowned night herons. They have the same stance, walk, feathers. Also, they all have this uncanny ability to stand amazingly rigid and stiff for-ev-er. Not kidding! I can watch the guy, walk away, and come back 10 minutes later (or even an hour later) and the bird has not moved.

These are the two that we see almost daily out our back windows. One has the obvious markings. After some research, we have decided that the other is a juvenile who hasn’t gotten its markings yet.

N two night herons

This one was spotted at the wetlands on our visit there last Friday. (Check out that post for more pictures from the wetlands.)

N heron at wetlands

Yellow-crowned night herons are considered swamp birds, though we don’t really live anywhere near a swap. The property we see them on behind us does have a pond, though, so that must be what they are attracted to. They are supposed to be nocturnal. I say supposed to because we have been seeing them during the day for the past week or so. We had just been seeing them early in the morning and late at night but that has changed as the temperatures have risen in the last week. The adults have the cream or yellow head stripe and cheek stripe. Juveniles do not have that. Also, the juvenile plumes are mostly grey with white spots and white tips. One of the identifying field marks of a yellow-crowned night heron is the red or orange eye. These clearly have that! These birds stalk insects and it is lots of fun to watch them.

N front view juvenile N back view of juvenile

For more information on yellow-crowned night herons, check out All About Birds and NatureWorks.

I have had lots of folks comment on the pictures I have shared of these birds privately so I figured it was time to share some of them publicly. They are evidently unusual to this area and they are really interesting to watch. At Home.

 

Linking up with ABC Blogging over on the Ben and Me blog.

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A Review: Hewitt Homeschooling Resources

Hewitt Homeschooling titleStudies begin and end with literature in our education. Creating a unit study for a topic that is interesting for the girls yet is rigorous enough for them can be a challenge.
Hewitt Homeschooling produces a program that is designed to help do just that: challenge each student at the level they need to be challenged at while studying topics of interest to them and meeting necessary learning objectives. Joy of Discovery and Learning Objectives for Grades K-8 to give home educating parents a guide to creating a winning unit study.

The Joy of Discovery

Designed as a parent/teacher resource, The Joy of Discovery takes you step by step through the process of creating a unit study that fits your student to a tee. This resource also helps you work through evaluation and record keeping, complete with reproducible forms for each step of the process and an example of how to store the unit studies for a portfolio process.

The process is a three step plan, referred to as I³.The Joy of Discovery

  • I¹ is deciding on a topic of Interest.
  • I² is making an Inquiry of that topic by defining a single question about the topic of interest.
  • I³ is the Instruction received by developing a study to answer the question.

Throughout The Joy of Discovery, you will find examples of unit studies that the author and her children used in their education. It gives you concrete examples of just how a completed unit study plan might look. Included in the binder, is the Dial-A-Unit. The Dial-A-Unit is a manipulative to help you and your children put together a unit study that incorporates each of the levels of thinking (Bloom’s taxonomy) and helps brainstorm the final product that will be created from answering the questions. A full unit study will have six products, one for each of the levels of thinking.

The rewards of working in unit studies is plentiful. Working in an area of interest provides students with confidence and the growth of knowledge is compounded. A unit study gives you a say in what objectives your child will learn while allowing your student to answer a burning question.

My thoughts on The Joy of Discovery:

I am impressed with The Joy of Discovery. I will need to read and implement the information to understand it all completely but I feel equipped to create a more thorough unit study that I have in the past. I can see a bigger picture for each study now and I have a more informed plan for creating it. When paired with the Learning Objectives, this unit study will be a force of greater learning than our unit studies have been in the past.

Learning Objectives for Grades Kindergarten through Eight

One of the big pieces of the home education puzzle is making sure that you student is learning the things that you feel he needs to, whether he is a PK kiddo or about to graduate from high school. Another big piece of the puzzle is being able to track that learning of concept and skill. Hewitt Homeschooling’s Learning Objectives is a resource that allows to you work on both of those pieces.

The learning objectives are targets for each grade level. As the grade level increases, so does the detail in the learning objectives. Like you would expect, kindergarten has fewer skills then the older grades. All grades include

  • language arts
  • math
  • science/health
  • history/geography
  • physical development

Also listed in this resource binder, you will find learning objectives for art, music, and character development. The art objectives are leveled by grade but the music objectives are listed by premusic activities, beginning, intermediate, and advanced. Character Development includes good character traits (both spirit/attitude/inner and conduct/interaction/outer traits) and each one has three levels of development.

learning objectivesThe learning objectives have been compared to national standards.

A helpful feature of the learning objectives is the way in which they are listed on the page. Each objective has three columns, allowing for the tracking of up to three students over the course of time. The space to mark the objective is a small box and at the bottom of every page, there is a suggestion on how to mark the objective so that you can tell where the student is with it – not started, starting to learn, understands, and mastered.

My thoughts on the Learning Objectives:

I really like the thoroughness of the learning objectives but to be honest, I am just not that stressed right now about tracking every single skill my girls touch on for every single thing we do. I will be using the Learning Objectives to check sequencing on some things but until the girls are a little older, I am not going to use a checklist like this. It will, however, be a good resource to consult for sequencing.

I also had one concern – the last copyright date on this is from 2000. In terms of learning objectives keeping up with standardized testing and state requirements, I believe that is too old. The basic objectives have changed a lot since then in most, if not all, states. These may need to be updated for someone using it to track objectives in a state with regulations requiring that. If you don’t have that kind of oversight or need to meet legal requirements, these are a very good reference.

How To Get The Joy of Discovery

To purchase The Joy of Discovery and Learning Objectives for Grades K-8, visit http://www.HewittHomeschooling.com/. The cost for the binder with both of these resources is $21.00. This is a great resource for any parent or teacher wanting to incorporate unit studies into their student’s education. At Home.

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Pirates, Origami, and Treasure

Pirates Origami and treasure

Ahoy, matey! We’ve been reading about pirates! Our books this month were rather fun and they were some we just happened to stumble across. Or rather, sail upon.

We started our pirate study by visiting YouTube for this video of the book The Night Pirates by Peter Harris, illustrated by Deborah Allwright. I would tell you the girls’ favorite line in the whole thing but it might spoil it, so you’ll just have to watch. http://youtu.be/2iKLzTs5UqQ

Our picture books this month were Pirate Girl by Cornelia Funke, illustrated by Kerstin Meyer and The Pirate Girl’s Treasure: An Origami Adventure by Petyon Leung, illustrated by Hilary Leung. Both were lots of fun and had unexpected twists and bits.

Pirate Girl

Pirate Girl is the story of a young pirate girl who heads off to visit her grandmother and is captured by pirates. She is eventually rescued but you’ll never guess who her rescuer is!

Pirate Girls Treasure

The Pirate Girl’s Treasure takes you along as the pirate girl heads off to locate the treasure her grandfather left for her. If you follow along and make the origami folds to a page that are indicated, you end up with the same treasure that the pirate girl finds. (Some are a tad bit obscure if you are just reading the text but if you will go through the folds instructions in the back of the book before reading it with the kids, it ought to be much easier.)

pirate shirts

This was a fun activity and the girls enjoyed it so much that they made several different origami shirts, including some for their Barbie-sized dolls and their 18″ dolls. I have even caught them making boats and hats for their Polly-sized dolls.

Pirate origami

One of my goals is to find a chapter book to read on the theme for each month of Poppins Book Nook. This month we found Marooned on the Pirate Coast by Melinda Rice, illustrated by Alan McCuller.

marooned

The girls absolutely enjoyed this story about a 10 year old girl who is shipwrecked alone and has to learn to survive. She is captured by Indians and then rescued by pirates (Jean Lafitte!). This turned out to be a wonderful book that captivated the girls so that they begged for more each time we marked the book for the day. Another wonderful bit about this book is that many of the people, occasions, and activities in the story are based on true life. We learned about a real “privateer” (pirate) in Jean Lafitte, hurricanes hitting the Texas coast, Galveston Island (which they have visited), ways that the Karankawa Indians lived and survived in Texas, Jim Bowie (one of the Texas fathers who was a slave trader prior to that, according to this book), and James Long. Texas history in an unexpected find – a win for sure when they beg for more.

A pirate theme is not complete without a treasure hunt. So, we had two!

exploding ice treasure hunt

The first was an exploding ice treasure hunt. Mix colored water with baking soda (1 to 1 ratio), add a few beads or treasures for each ice block, and freeze. We froze them in recycled single-serve applesauce containers. After they are frozen, we put them in a large pan and gave each girl pirate a squirt bottle with vinegar. Squirting the vinegar onto the baking soda ice blocks makes them fizzy and popping. After being squirted for a bit, the treasures started appearing. The girls were excited to see what would show up.

Pirate Map Treasure huntThe other treasure hunt was thought up by the giggly girls. They decided to pick treasures (colored polished rocks and pretend gold coins) to hide. Each giggly girl hid some treasure and then created a pirate’s treasure map for her sisters to follow. We had a quick map review about how to keep the map oriented while you are drawing it and while you are following it and how clues on the map will help the pirates find the treasure. Of course, every map was marked with a big X. They had fun trying to follow each other’s maps and find the treasure. This was so much fun they created multiple maps each and searched for pirate treasure several times.

Poppins Book Nook main image 2014 - 2015
 (clip art used in this design by: http://www.etsy.com/shop/melonheadzdoodles)

For more pirate activities, visit the other hosts for the Poppins Book Nook.
Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God’s Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~ Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ Kathy’s Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~ Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ Laugh and Learn ~ A Mommy’s Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~ Ever After in the Woods ~ Golden Grasses ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Raventhreads ~ Tots and Me ~ As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~ Where Imagination Grows ~ Lextin Academy ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A “Peace” of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am ~ eLeMeNo-P Kids ~ Simple Living Mama

Don’t forget to make use of the FREE lapbook available for every monthly theme, provided by Enchanted Homeschooling Mom. Visit her Pirate Theme post to download the lapbook and catch up on any you might have missed.

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom: http://enchantedhomeschoolingmom.org/2014/02/poppins-book-nook/
Poppins Book Nook on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PoppinsBookNook
Poppins Book Nook on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/PoppinsBookNook/

Waco Wetlands

title collage wetlands

 

To get out of the house and into God’s creation around us, the three giggly girls and I went to the wetlands. The wetlands were created when the lake level was raised in order to help mitigate habitat loss. As the water moves through the wetlands and into the lake, it is naturally cleaned. About 11 million gallons of water go through the wetlands every day. For more on the wetlands, visit Lake Waco Wetlands.

We enjoy visiting the wetlands for a walk through the marshes, ponds, and forested areas. We look for plants we don’t recognize, birds we can identify (or not), insects that are interesting, and other plants and animals that we cross paths with. Here is a bit of what we saw.

dragonfly butterfly cattail fluff  girls and treasuresblue dragonflywhite flowers   purple flowergirls watching water bugsheronsnowy egret   spiderspurple flowers and water view sunflower water view

Do you have a favorite outdoor place to go and observe nature? At Home.

 

A Review – Flourish

Flourish

Finally — one just for me. And you. And every woman I know. On the day this book arrived in the mail from Apologia Educational Ministries, I was hooked. The book, Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms, by Mary Jo Tate, spoke energy and renewal into my heart.

Flourish Book Review

Mary Jo Tate recognizes the struggles, the lack of confidence, the questioning, the guilt, and the million other things that all women, not just homeschoolers, deal with on a daily basis. She wrote Flourish to help counteract all of that. This book is an encouragement, a tool box, a push from behind where needed, and a breath of fresh air. Flourish is so full of what we need to hear as women straining to honor our God in this world that I think every woman would benefit by reading it.

An overarching statement that came up again and again in Flourish is to find peace in the space between the ideal and the reality. This has been a really good concept for me to hold onto. Ideal is what our world seems to hold up as the standard when the reality is where we all live. We try so hard to live up to the ideal but there is no way we can. The reality can be harsh at times. Being at peace with where YOU are between the two is a relief.

Flourish Book Review

Nuggets of Wisdom

As you read through Flourish, you need to have a highlighter, pen or pencil, and notebook in hand. Throughout, you will find nuggets of wisdom and suggestions of strategies that you do not want to forget. I sat with my highlighter in hand, cap off because I used it so much, devouring the strategies and encouragement.

  • The first nugget I want to share with you is her definition of the word flourish. The definition of flourish is to grow vigorously, luxuriate, be revived, or abound. This gives great insight into her hopes for the women who read this book and helps set the tone of positivity.
  • Another one that I needed came at the beginning of the second chapter. Ms. Tate is often asked “how do you do it all?” She tells the person “I don’t.” She also redefines “it all” as those things important for her life and her family. The strategies she uses for that fill the rest of the book!
  • Yet another nugget I treasure is the talk about juggling and the struggle it creates. Juggling always ends with a dropped ball. Replace that with the balance of a tightrope walker, frequently making small adjustments to maintain balance, and you have a much more peaceful life.
  • A statement that she made that was helpful was that true balance does not mean that you spend an equal amount of time on each area of your life but that you spend an appropriate amount of time on each area.
  • The Making Memories chapter was a tremendous reminder of the opportunities we have with our children. One statement she made that has stuck with me is that I need to not be so focused on checking off the list or watching the clock that I miss the time with my children that can be spent in discovery and wonder.

As I am sitting here going through the book over and over, trying to decide what to share, I find myself struggling. There are so many good bits and pieces throughout this book that I cannot possibly share them all.

Strategies

Throughout the book, you will find various strategies to help you find the balance you are looking for in your life. Some that have been helpful to me, include:

  • FREEDOM is an acronym for different strategies to help meeting the responsibilities of life. F is for Focus. R is for Reflect. E is for Educate. E is for Eliminate. D is for Discipline. O is for Organize. M is for Multitask.
  • In the chapter titled “What Do I Do Next?”, Ms. Tate explores planning tools. These cover the Big Dream, Yearly Goals, Monthly Calendar, Weekly Plan, Daily Tasks, Running To-Do List, and the Stop-Doing List. This was one of the most helpful sections (I know I keep saying things like that!). As a mom, I don’t often stop to think of my big dream or goals. This was a good planning session for me.
  • Chapter 7 helps us deal with the distractions and interruptions that inevitably occur in our schedules. A good reminder here was that saying yes to something means you are saying no to everything else at that same time, so we have to evaluate that choice. This chapter includes strategies and suggestions for how to handle phone calls, texting, email and social media, and setting boundaries of time and space.
  • The chapter on training your children was an encouragement to me. Ms. Tate talks about four areas for training children: responsibility, independence, initiative, and service. She gives ideas and suggestions for each area.

These are just a few of the many, many strategies and resources you will find in Flourish to help you.

So, is Flourish for you? I cannot imagine that it is not. Everyone will find encouragement and helpful tools in this book. You can order the book for $15.00 from Apologia. Visit Apologia’s website to view the first chapter of the book and the table of contents. I hope you will find Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms to be an encouragement, whether you homeschool or not. At Home.

Flourish Book Review

 

Mary Jo Tate is the author of Flourish. She is a homeschooling mom, an international editor and book coach, and is the author of several books, including How Do You Do It All?, Get Started as a Freelance Editor, and Critical Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald. You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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M is for Manners

M - Manners

Manners can be a constant battle. Satan is always after us to try to influence us to be unkind, rude, hurtful, or just plain mean. We are working diligently with the girls, and ourselves, to be Christ-like in our word and actions.

I wanted to have a manners talk with the girls. To do so, I let them have a Bad Manners Tea Party. You read that correct. They had a play tea party and did whatever they wanted, having bad manners throughout. And not just the picking-up-food-with-your-hands kind of bad manners. They talked badly. They were rude to each other. They were unkind. They laughed at each other. They had fun having bad manners. They thought it was all in jest. And they were right. Sort of.

They were also very wrong. You see, we often battle interruptions. We often catch ourselves grumbling. We often find ourselves complaining. We hear the arguing. We often forget to treat others the way we would like to be treated. We often forget to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Did you catch the scripture references?

Luke 6:31

M - Luke 6_31

Philippians 2:14

M - Phil 2_14

Philippians 1:27

M - Phil 1_27

You see, God has given us His Word. To equip us. To assist us. To help us. We need to turn to His Word.

As we chatted about the Bad Manners Tea Party, we tied it into some of what has been going on around the house over the past days, weeks, and months. You see, I let it get out of hand when I get worn down and tired. That is just what Satan is wanting because we allow it to get worse and worse. In our chat, the girls became more and more aware of how many bad manners we were having every day. So, we decided to fight back.

We made a list of good manners and what having good manners means. It means respect. It means kindness. It means love. It means Luke 6:31, Philippians 2:14, and Philippians 1:27. It means being the child of God that we so desire to be. It means work.

Work we will. We are memorizing these scriptures. Or rememorizing them, as the case may be. And we are applying them. Daily. Consistently. Diligently. Because Satan cannot win. He will not win. We are determined to be children of God. At Home.

 

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A Review – HomeSchoolPiano

HomeSchoolPiano review

Does taking piano lessons seem out of reach for you? Do you just not have the time to trek to and from lessons at least once a week? HomeSchoolPiano may be just what you are looking for. Willie Myette is a dynamic music instructor who teaches all aspects of piano to all levels of performers, whether you are just beginning or you have some years under your belt.

 Homeschool Piano Review

We have been using HomeSchoolPiano – Complete Set of Books and enjoying our time at the piano. The Complete Set of Books gives you access to:

  • Core Piano
  • Book 1
  • Book 2
  • Book 3

Price and Age Range

To purchase the Complete Set of Books, visit HomeSchoolPiano. There are two payment packages for you to choose from.

1. The Success Package is one payment of $299. This gives you unlimited life-time access to all of HomeSchoolPiano along with all bonuses (downloads, jam tracks, and sheet music) for up to 5 students.

2. The Payment Plan consists of payments of $99.97 a month for three months. This gives you the same benefits as the Success Package, which is unlimited life-time access to all of HomeSchoolPiano along with all bonuses (downloads, jam tracks, sheet music) for up to 5 students.

One great thing about this program is that it fits every age range and season of life. Whether you are the homeschooling parent of a single youngest or many of various ages; whether you are looking at this for yourself as a hobby; or if you are in your golden years and want to revisit your piano playing days or learn to play since you never did, this program will work for you! It doesn’t matter your age, this program has a lot to offer you and yours.

J at piano

Core Piano

In Core Piano, you will find over two hours of instruction (33 lessons) on the basics to get you started. It is set up a bit differently than the other three books, though, with shorter video times and a single concept to work on in each lesson. Core Piano is where you will want to begin your instruction if you or your student is brand new to piano or returning after a bit away. It covers things like how to sit, how to hold your hands and fingers, the musical alphabet, rhythmic instruction, the different staves, and so much more. Even if you haven’t been away from piano long, this is an important section and it would be a mistake to skip it.

Books 1, 2, and 3

All three books are set up in the same way. You will find six units in each Book. Each unit has seven sections to it. Six of them are the six, overlapping skill areas for playing piano: technique, rhythm, ear training, reading music, song, and improvisation. The seventh section is a bonus lesson with material for the more advanced student that may feel they need a bit more of a challenge. Each Book has a downloadable and printable PDF file to go with it that includes all of the music needed.

Homeschool Piano Review

Lessons

Each lesson is a video of Mr. Myette sitting at his piano, talking directly to the student. One of the things that I really appreciated about every lesson I viewed was that Mr. Myette did such a fantastic, careful job of explaining difficult musical concepts in a way that even J, who is 5, could understand. This often meant that he described it in multiple ways. This was helpful to the giggly girls on more than one occasion.

On screen with Mr. Myette is a view of his piano keyboard AND a computerized piano keyboard that lights up each key he plays and shows it’s letter name. This is a valuable asset for the younger student. This allows them to feel like they have their teacher sitting right there with them showing them exactly which keys to play to be following directions and learning skills.

reading music screen shot2

Musical Skills

If you know much about our family, you know that we are a musical family. The girls knew a little bit of piano prior to beginning these homeschool piano lessons and they knew how to read some music, both rhythmically and melodically, on the staff. Because of this, they were a little bit hesitant to begin with. They didn’t want to go back to the beginning and feel like they were being talked down to. For the most part, they didn’t feel that way at all and enjoyed the piano instruction. They enjoyed putting rhythm and melody together on the piano and the technique exercises did not seem to bother them all that much. They seemed to find the technique exercises fun, which is saying a lot of good things about Mr. Myette’s HomeSchoolPiano. (I majored in music so spent a lot of time on technique exercises and I don’t think I would ever have said they were fun!)

Even having the background that I do in music and enjoying playing piano as often as I can find the time, this program stretched me and my abilities. I am a self taught pianist – yes, I took a few lessons when I was young and had lessons in college where my kind teachers tried hard to fix the bad habits I had developed. But, I learned many things in HomeSchoolPiano that no one had ever bothered explaining to me – for example, where to position myself in front of the keyboard and where your hands should be positioned (figured out that if I sit on a cushion to boost myself about 3 inches, I can play ever so much better – surprise, surprise!). I learned a lot of new things, strengthened my rhythmic abilities on the piano, and found some improvisation abilities that I didn’t know existed anywhere within my bones. Improvisation and me have never gotten along but with this program, I understood what I needed to be thinking and doing and I seemed to be making great strides with it.

E at piano

What I Really Liked About HomeSchoolPiano

Really, the question is what did I NOT like about HomeSchoolPiano. This program is a hit with me and I am unreasonable picky when it comes to music instruction. I really, truly appreciate that Mr. Myette talks TO the student, not at them or down to them. He works with words and analogies they will understand and explains concepts in multiple ways. I am grateful that he begins at the very beginning with concepts that even the youngest need to know and that the older players may have forgotten or dismissed as unimportant (or even allowed to degenerate into a bad habit).

Another thing that is significantly important to me in music instruction for my children is terminology. I want the instructors to use the right terminology, even when it is in the very beginning and working with comparative terms. I want my girls to learn that it is loud and quiet, not loud and soft. This may seem like a little thing but it actually is important and is mistaught often. So, when I heard Mr. Myette using the correct terminology, my heart sang just a bit. If he starts them out right with those terms, I feel confident that it will continue all the way through the piano instruction he provides.

Bonus of bonuses: this program will play on the Kindle Fire just fine. We were able to just pull up the website using our Kindle Fire and login. Once logged in, it was easy to maneuver between lessons and such. Playing the video lesson on the Kindle Fire allowed the girls to be able to be seated at the piano and have the video right there in front of them, just like having their teacher sitting there showing them exactly what they need to learn. It was easy to pause the lesson for the girls to practice something and the restart the video and continue on. I am thrilled that it is so easy to use.

Kindle on piano

A Note or Two

It is easy to forget the nature of music instruction when using a curriculum like this. I did it. I found myself wondering why E was getting frustrated, why she wasn’t enjoying it as much as I expected her to and why she wasn’t making progress. Turns out, I forgot a major piece of the puzzle when it comes to music education. Practice!

Normally, in a lesson situation, you have a lesson once a week or twice a week, and in between, you practice every single day. Well, I had allowed her to go on to the next lesson a couple of times in a row in Book 1. She didn’t get enough practice with the technique and concept and exercises before she moved on. So, she naturally got frustrated. I missed the boat on that! So, we went back and tried again, this time taking several days between lessons to PRACTICE! This makes all the difference in the world.

Schedule this carefully and allow time for your student to view the video at least twice and practice for several days before moving on. And, don’t move on until they feel confident with the exercises. Many a time in college, I would get the same technique exercises and songs to work on week after week after week because I didn’t have the skill down to the point where I felt confident with it. So, allow your student the time she needs to work with the techniques and move on when she is confident and ready.

Just so you know, we will be continuing this. We will get pretty regimented with it in the fall and that includes myself! We will all continue with piano lessons from HomeSchoolPiano and pretty soon, the girls will be playing better than me! At Home.

 

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