Driveway Art

Driveway Art whatever inspires

Do your children pretty up your driveway with art? I just love it when I walk out, or am backing out of the drive, and see it all cheerful and colorful. Lots of bright images and plenty of things to make me smile.

It brings a smile to my face when I see artwork that welcomes daddy home from work.

It makes me grin to see a funny drawing.

Driveway Art How Wonderful

It makes me proud to see an image about something related to their belief and understanding of God. Especially when that is directed at sharing about him to passersby.Driveway Art Christ

Driveway art just makes me smile.

Driveway Art

May these pictures of our driveway art make you smile today.

At Home.


Doctor Aviation ~ a Crew review

A life of learning. That is what we want to teach our children and one of the best ways to do that is to always be learning ourselves. I took this to heart for the Doctor Aviation review and decided it was something I wanted to learn about, for me. Not because I needed to for one of the girls’ lessons but because I was interested.

Doctor Aviation
Doctor Aviation is an aviation education and history course run by Daryl Smith, aka Doctor Aviation. An Air Force Command Pilot with 24 years of experience flying aircraft and teaching about it, Doctor Aviation knows his stuff. From being an instructor pilot and a research pilot to being an United States Air Force Academy instructor and a published author, Doctor Aviation has dedicated his career to flight and shares his love of flight through this course.lesson dashboard

The course is an online course, intended for ages 16 and up, with instruction done by video through the Doctor Aviation site. There are printable Guided Notes for each lesson that are accessible through the website. Each lesson also includes a printable listing of additional resources to help extend the lesson beyond the video presentation.

Lessons –

Each lesson includes a video presentation. To access it, you log in to your account. You will see a dashboard that shows your next lesson. All you have to do is click on it to launch the lesson. You are then taken to a page that shows the next video, action steps that might be needed, and the printable resources (Guided Notes and To Learn More pages).

video and resources on dashboard

Clicking on the video will launch the next presentation. Doctor Aviation presents each lesson in an aircraft hangar with nothing fancy to cause distraction. Using a clipboard for his notes (boy does this show how well he knows his materials!), he talks the students through all the details of the lesson.

Each lesson is between 45 minutes and an hour long and includes three parts:

  1. Technical Trivia
  2. Notable Innovators
  3. Legendary Events or Aircraft

Technical Trivia is not trivial. It is the meat of the lesson and is kept to around 15-20 minutes. Those minutes are packed, though! Doctor Aviation covers all you need to know in an introduction to aviation. The aviation systems is the very first video. It is followed by section 2, which is four lessons on aircraft, from the major components to why an aircraft flies and how lift works. Also included in these four lessons is information on how an aircraft’s systems are manipulated to cause the movement  on the axes. Section 3 covers air traffic control and Section 4 discusses aircraft maintenance. Section 5 takes on the topics related to airfield operations and the last section is more about aircraft themselves. Aviation education is found in the technical trivia part of the course.

Notable Innovators is second part of the video and it is where Doctor Aviation highlights some of the men and women in the aviation field that have made discoveries or completed feats that allowed for significant advancements in aviation. People like Chuck Yeager, the Wright brothers, and Amelia Earhart are discussed in this section. Many other aviators and scientists are also covered.

Legendary Events or Aircraft is a fascinating section. It takes a look at important moments in time, such as the breaking of the sound barrier, the first powered flight, or aircraft that significantly changed the path that aviation history took.flight education

The Guided Notes are intended to be downloaded prior to the start of the video and completed as the video proceeds. It is an easy to follow, fill-in-the-blank sort of note page and I found it helpful in retaining information. These are links that are clicked on from the website and open in a PDF reader. I just hit print from that and never had an issue.

The To Learn More page is printed the same way and is a valuable resource for extending the video lesson. If you have a student taking this for credit, these pages will be where the additional activities are found for making it a solid credit. There are books to read, videos to watch, and hands-on, creative activities to complete. Many of the videos and websites are hyperlinked, making it simple easy to use; just click on the hyperlink and it will open the page you need. The document is broken down by activity and then with a subcategory on the topics from the lesson. Additional research and hands-on activities are suggested at the end of the document.

Periodically throughout the course, there are also tests available. You receive these by contacting Doctor Aviation; they are not found on the website. If you are using this for a high school credit, these will be needed. It is listed in the action steps when there is a test coming up and then again when you need to take it. For example, the first one appears in Lesson 4 and it says to contact Doctor Aviation for the test, to be taken after Lesson 5. On the Lesson 5 page, it shows in the actions steps that the test is to be taken after watching the video and completing any extension activities.

flight education Doctor Aviation

My Thoughts –

Until I had watched the introductory video and first lesson, I would have told you that I had no desire to learn about aviation or aviation history. But then I watched the video and found myself wanting to learn more. I was drawn to the stories told and the revealing of the “mystery” behind flight. I have thoroughly enjoyed having this course to enrich my own learning and I enjoyed watching the videos at night, after the girls had hit the hay, when it was quiet. I found that I truly enjoyed learning all that Doctor Aviation had to share.

The presentation of the video is simple. I mentioned this before. It is one of the things that drew me to the course. When needed, there are drawings, images, or photos to help illustrate the point. But when they aren’t needed, they aren’t there, causing distraction. Doctor Aviation spoke from the heart about the facts, the people, the places, and the aircraft he was talking about. You could tell that this is something he is passionate about and it comes through clearly.

This simplicity of presentation is one reason this course is definitely better suited to a high school course or adult education course. If you have a younger student (probably as young as about 10) that is just fascinated by aviation, I can see them being able to use the video portions of the course successfully, though there are a number of advanced concepts covered; the Guided Notes might be a bit difficult due to the speed with which the information comes at times.


Absolutely. This is a wonderful and surprising course that will “take you to flight.” And what a wonderful, exciting place that is.

At Home.

Be sure to read the other Crew reviews on Doctor Aviation. The course used was the same but different families used it different ways. So check out the reviews by clicking on the banner below.

Aviation Course {Doctor Aviation Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Creating a Creative Habit – Middle School Monday

Creating a Creative Habit MSM

How do you encourage creativity in your students? If we don’t encourage creativity, it is so easy for students to not become creative.

“I just don’t know what to do.”

“I can’t do it.”

“I’m not good at that.”

These excuses and more are often closing doors. But if we encourage them and create opportunities, the creativity will blossom.

I want to share with you 5 ways in which we try to encourage our girls to be creative.

1 – Give them the needed materials. Whether it is needles and thread and fabric for sewing or glue and paper and tape, even glitter (I know some of you are cringing) – we give the girls the materials they need to create whatever it is that their brains are dreaming up. Cross-stitch, sewing, crafts, legos, paper, tape, glitter, sequins, beads, string, googly eyes, and more make up many, many spaces in our home.

2 – Step away. Once they have the materials, let them use them. Let them experiment. Let them read or dream and create. Without interference, who knows where their ideas will take them. At the same time . . .

3 – Provide instruction. After the experimentation, art classes or fiber arts classes or field trips to learn about the materials and how they are used can all help provide instruction and inspire further creativity. Whether it is taking a child to a specific class or teaching them at home, instruction will give direction to their ideas.

4 – Allow them time. Don’t structure their time so closely that they have no time to just create. I fail at this one quite often. I plan to work on a project with them – getting out the paints or coloring materials – and let it go right by without a second thought. Time is a critical factor in creating and seeing ideas to fruition.

5 – Remind them that no one is good at everything and sometimes, it takes a while to find out where their own strengths lie. So try things. Be willing to make and learn from failures. Because in those failures, learning occurs.
Creating a Creative Habit

These are just some thoughts that have been running through my head today as I watch my girls work with their hands on various things – Lego creations, crochet, creating projects from an American Girl book, finger printing with inks, drawing, and more. All of it is a joy to see, even when I end up with 33,000 bookmarks made by one who just learned to braid and another who loves creating with duct tape. Add to it all the drawings and finger printing – well, family just better be looking for some packages in the mail. 🙂

At Home.

Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet

Z Zipadeedoodah

Are you looking for a good day? Are you having a good day? Are you looking for a smile? This is the song that pops into my head.

Have a wonderful day!

At Home


Please visit A Net In Time and Hopkins Homeschool and link up your ABC posts.

We Stood Upon Stars ~ a book review

We Stood Upon Stars review

Travel is such a unique, inspiring opportunity. It is different for each person travelling the road, even following the same directions. And, when you approach it from the aspect of looking for God and meaning no matter where you are heading, it becomes something that shapes your life.

We Stood Upon Stars by Roger W. Thompson will take you on the adventures you dream of, finding peace and life and hope in the wilds of the continent. From a secluded fishing spot to the highest peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park and back down to the lowest lows of Death Valley, Mr. Thompson explores life at its fullest. Because in those adventures, life happens and meaning, purpose is found.

Full of tidbits of life learning, I found myself smiling along with the adventures filled with beauty and biting my nails when there was tenseness. From a family outing with his children to remembering the outings from his own childhood, there is much wisdom to be found by looking at nature and what God has placed all around us.

While the presence of God is found throughout the many stops in the book, Mr. Thompson’s observations are right in line with a peaceful, pleasant outlook. The magnificence of God’s handiwork is just part of life and it is treated that way in these memories. It is there and there is no denying it. This was so pleasant and encouraging to read.

Not to be ignored are the wonder-full maps that express some of the beauty and special places along the road. These hand-drawn, personalized maps show not just the main stops along the book’s discussion but they highlight many other moments that can help you find yourself and connect with friends, family, and more importantly, God.

Read about Roger W. Thompson or read the first chapter or just look up more information on We Stood Upon Stars.

I have had a desire for a while to take my girls to many of the natural wonders of our nation and this book just solidifies that desire within me. Finding these peaceful, hopeful, and inspiring outlooks from nature, seeing God through his world, that is what We Stood Upon Stars shares with the reader and what I want to take my girls to do. And this book? It just might be a guidebook to take along.

At Home.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Hands-On History from Home School In The Woods ~ a Crew review


When learning something that is full of ideas and images, such as history, hands-on learning brings a concrete element to it. Home School in the Woods (HSITW) is a hands-on history company that brings some understanding to ideas, elements, and cultures that we cannot get without a tactile activity. We have had fun this summer with some relaxed learning about our home state of Texas through HSITW’s new product, Make-a-State Activity.

Hands-On History Activity-Paks: Make-A-StateMake-A-State is a part of the Activity-Paks series. Other titles in the series include:

*The Old Testament
*The New Testament

HSITW is a company focused on bringing history to life through hands-on activities and informative readings. Each of the products in the HSITW lines are well-researched and well-written. The information is written at a level that upper elementary students and older are generally able to read and understand it on their own. However, with just a little bit of help, even younger elementary students are very capable of using and learning with all of the HSITW products that we have used over the years.
(Project Passport: Ancient Greece, Project Passport: Ancient Egypt, U.S. Elections)

Hands-On History Activity-Paks: Make-A-StateMake-A-State is a Activity-Pak that can be used to study any state in the U.S or Washington D.C. The activities all work together to create a lapbook that includes more than 20 mini projects. All together these projects will give an overview of the chosen state. Most of the topics are generic in theme, allowing it be created specifically for your state. These topics include things like the agriculture of the state, the industry, the climate and the government. Also included are projects about the wildlife, the state song, and sports teams. From the history of the name of the state to the native peoples that live there, many topics are similar from state to state. Creating a tourist brochure and a mini newspaper are a couple of the projects that take a tad bit longer but are well worth the increased efforts.

There are also some projects that are designed to be specific to your state. These include a recipe, the motto, and the state bird and flower. There is also a map to create for your chosen state that you can personalize or mark in a way that fits what you are emphasizing for your state. Not to be forgotten, each state also has a state quarter that is designed to well-represent the state and there is a project to show that off, too.

Lastly, there is a folder game included to help learn about all of the United States. There are three versions of the game included and a set of double sided cards to cut out. Depending on what you are wanting to focus on, you use a different game board but the cards stay the same. Here’s a video of me attempting to explain the variations and how I put them together in a single file folder.

How We Used  Make-A-State:

We chose to use this Activity-Pak as a family. Since we are planning some field trips after the weather cools down to some places related to the history of Texas, we decided to use this as a fun summer projects. And it was well enjoyed. There were several days when the first thing that the girls wanted to do was to work on a mini book or two from Make-A-State (even before breakfast).

We divided up the projects and each of the girls chose something that she was interested in to work on. We used the included information sheet about Texas to get some of the information from (such as for the timeline). We also used the internet to do some research, mostly accessing a known Texas history and information site. For many of the images we needed, we used a Google search for black line coloring pages and printed them at a reduced size of about 30%.

Over the course of several days, working an hour or two a day, we completed the project. We finished it by placing each of the mini books onto blank paper and putting it into a three-prong folder. This way it can sit on our bookshelf easily and as we add to out states collection, they will all be similar. Here is a quick video showing you how it looks put into the folder.

A Couple of Notes:

We have not found a good double sided tape to use for these projects. We have also found that glue sticks don’t work for most of them. White glue really would not work due to the required drying time. So, our solution is to use tape. If you know my girls, you know that we have a deep love of tape. 🙂 Tape works really well and can hold up to the strain that some of the folds put on the projects.

We have become pretty familiar with Home School in the Woods and the ways in which their projects work. There is a bit of a learning curve with this company but it is well worth taking the time to beat that learning curve. Each project in a pack is put together a bit differently to create variety. This means that each project needs a little bit of thinking to put it together right. There are detailed instructions included but, honestly, it still takes some thinking to put some of them together. There are always images included of the completed project and those are terribly helpful.

Printing can also be tricky. You do have to know your own printer. Due to the differences in printer, each page of a project is presented to you separately with printing instructions (print 1-b on the back of 1-a, or something like that). You do need to read through those and print them as instructed to make the projects easier to put together. If you are like me, each time, I have to experiment a bit to remember which way to take the first page out and put it back in the printing drawer to get it printed in the right direction on the back. But, again, it is well worth taking the time and effort (and sometimes paper) to figure it out. My youngest still remembers working on Project Passport: Ancient Egypt from, what, 3 years ago?

A-La-Carte Options:

Home School in the Woods has recently introduced an a-la-carte option for some of their projects. This is a way for you to grab and use one or two of the projects, without having to commit to a longer study of the topic. Perhaps you are reading on a subject and your student shows an interest, you could head over to HSITW and see if there is a single hands-on project to do related to that topic. Or it could be a jumping off point. For example, here is a post about the mini unit study we did last week on the Erie Canal based off of the a-la-carte projects HSITW is offering (free at the time of this writing).



This is a company that we enjoy a lot. Their products are well-researched, well-put-together, and lots of fun. Add to that the retention of information, and this hands-on history company is one worth looking into for your history needs.

At Home.

There were 100 families using products from Home School in the Woods. Click the banner below to read about what they thought from the product lines that were reviewed:

Time Traveler American
*New World Explorers
*Colonial Life
*The American Revolution
*The Early 19th Century
*The Civil War
*Industrial Revolution through Great Depression
*World War II

*U.S. Elections
*20th Century in America
*Wonders of the World
*Benjamin Franklin

*The Old Testament
*The New Testament

Timeline Trio


Hands-on History {Home School in the Woods Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Create In Me A Clean Heart – hymn

Create In Me A Clean Heart

When you look for this song, you find a couple of different versions.

This version, by Acappella, is the one I knew first. I sure do like it. It is what always comes to mind when I read Psalm 51:10.

This second version is one I heard just a while back. I like it, as well, but don’t know it all yet. It is one that our teens sing. Of course, we don’t use the instruments but the words are a plea to God, Himself, to wash us clean and that is what we need – to be washed and found clean through the gift of redemption He gives.

What a plea – create in me a clean heart O, God! Renew me!

I plead that for myself and that the desire will also be found in my children’s hearts as they grow.

At Home.

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