Tag Archives: high school

Stopmotion Explosion ~ a Crew review

Stopmotion kit

We are not a huge technology family. We don’t look for the latest things on the market and we don’t go for expensive cell phones. We are not tech-y, you know? When the opportunity was presented to review the Stop Motion Animation Kit, I just didn’t know whether to even try or not. After all, it felt overwhelming to me. But I presented the idea to Miss L and she was excited to get to try Stopmotion Explosion. It is right up her alley!

The Stop Motion Animation Kit is a set that gets anyone ready to begin creating stop motion videos. Stop motion is when a video is created by taking any number of still images that show minute changes in position, strings them together quickly, and creates a video out of that. Think a digital flip book. Did you ever have one of those? We had one that had a cartoon of the Road Runner in the corner of it and you flipped fast to make Road Runner run. This is like that only done digitally.

Stopmotion Explosion has created a kit to get newbies like us headed in the right direction. The kit includes

  • a 1080p HD video camera with microphone, manual focus and flexible clip;
  • CD with animation software (though you can download it from the website, also, with the book to provide the code word neeeded);
  • a quick start guide; and
  • a 294 page book full of history, tips, ideas, and instruction.

In addition to the kit, access to the internet will be needed if you want to access the step-by-step video tutorials and other materials available on the website or if you need to download the software. There are minimum requirements for the computer operating systems so be sure to check that before purchase.

The recommended age printed on the kit is 13+. This would be a great age for independence with the kit, though an 11 or 12 year old could probably use it if they are fairly tech-savvy. Younger than that and adult assistance will be needed, particularly in getting the software set up or in trouble shooting if issues occur.

Using the Kit20190308_201414

We were able to get started fairly easily with the kit. The Quick Start Guide is enough to help get the software loaded and figure out a few of the troubleshooting things that come up early on (like how to focus the camera or getting an image to show up from the camera – yep, had both of those and found the question right there in the booklet).

Once we had the basics figured out, Miss L just wanted to play with it and see what she could do. She had been thinking about ideas since we had asked for the review so she was ready to at least try. We decided it was best to just start with playing around, rather than try to make this a very formal process. So, she opened the software and starting capturing images. She used the bigger book to answer a couple of more detailed questions and we went to the website for some help, also.stopmotion software

One of the issues we had was that our software quit. (I have not yet figured out why that happens but it didn’t stop the creative process – just slowed it down.) So, I headed over to the Stopmotion website and guess what? Right there was a video showing how to grab those already captured images and move them into the software once it was running again to pick up right where it had left off. The only thing here was that the video showed a different version of the software than we had, as the import feature looked really different. Not a problem, though. It was enough information that I was able to assist Miss L in getting those images back to the software so she could keep going.

She figured out just how wonderful some of the features are, like the onionskin. It allows you to superimpose the previous image over the one you are about to take so you can see how your change looks before capturing the image. This was something she use. A LOT! It allowed her to make those changes as small as she saw them in her head.

Animate ANYTHING and Make MOVIES

20190416_084925This is the title of the 294 page book that comes with the kit. It can also be purchased separately. It is full of information, tips, ideas, and helpful things for stop motion video. It is not really designed as a class but could very easily be made into one. The book starts with a short history lesson. It then takes the reader through “actors”, creating stories, making sets, different cameras, lighting, and more. There are some chapter that address specific video sequences such as flying or fighting.

It would be very easy to make this into a high school elective credit but creating assignments to go with each chapter. For the one on different actor options, have the student come up with a certain number or to create an armature using the instructions in the book. The student could write a story script in the chapter teaching about that. Backdrops, lighting options, and more – each of these could have several assignments that build on each other and create a good solid film credit for high school electives. This book is so full of hands-on options that it could easily keep the student working creatively for quite a while. This is a great book!

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While Miss L has not read the book all the way through, it is something she has picked up a few times and read interesting parts of. It gave her some good ideas and spurred her on when she got stuck. We are planning for Miss L to go back through the book and actually read it later on this summer, when we are doing “fun school” stuff and have some extra down time. She has some ideas and would like to work on it.

Capturing images and Creating videos

Miss L has created two videos at this point. She figured out that she had to have a stabilizing element for the camera. Using a suggestion from the book, she created a stand for it from blocks.

camera

After getting it sturdy, she started capturing and has created two videos at this point. Check out her work so far.

I am sure there will be much more use of the kit in the future. End of study projects can take on a whole new meaning. Creating a literature summary or filming a science video – all options have a new possibility now. I can’t wait to see what she and her sisters come up with.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

There have been some pretty amazing videos created by other students using the Stop Motion Animation Kit from Stopmotion Explosion. Visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog by clicking the banner below to find other videos to view.

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Transcripts Made Easy ~ a Crew review

Transcripts Made Easy

Transcripts for high school make so many of us home educators cringe. But they don’t have to! Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High-School Paperwork is a walk through the transcript options and paperwork requirements, made simple for home educating parents. Janice Campbell from Everyday Education has put together a book that will walk each of us through the nitty gritty of getting it right.

In its 4th edition, this updated version of Transcripts Made Easy includes all that we need to know from one who has walked this path before us. A home educator herself, Janice Campbell helps us to see just what it can look like for the end of the high school years. Whether there is college in the student’s future or a great trade job coming, the encouragement, ideas, and information included here help us guide our students to be prepared with the necessary paperwork for stepping out into the world.

What You Get –

Transcripts Made Easy came to me in an ebook format. It was easy to download right onto a Kindle so that I could easily read it. There is also a paper format available for purchase. The book has almost 140 pages in it, guiding me through all the different aspects of high school planning, record keeping, grading, and transcripts. It also includes a number of reproducible forms so that you don’t have to recreate all the forms to get started.

Transcripts Made Easy and easy to read

There are six sections to the book:

1 – Meet The Transcript: This section is about what a transcript is and what the parts of the transcript include. It also guides where to begin in the book since we need different things at different stages.

Transcripts Made Easy get started

2 – Plan With The End In Mind: This section packs the punch with immediately applicable information for our family. When I look at the end of the high school journey, where does my student need to be? That is what this sections helps with. From choosing classes to ideas of what to do during high school, from how to schedule courses to which tests to take, this section has the nitty gritty of what I found most intimidating about high school.

3 – Keep Simple Records: Here we are guided in putting together a binder to help contain the samples and schedules and course descriptions. This sections also includes special needs records and transcripts from leading educators Judith Munday and Kathy Kuhl.

4 – Grades, Credit, and the GPA: This sections walks through how to grade, how to award credit, and how to calculate a GPA. There is information here that helps when you are awarding credit for things like dual enrollment or advanced education classes. There is information about weighted GPA vs. regular GPA and how a college might view that. There is a lot here.

5 – Creating The Transcript: Here you will find a look at all the different types of transcripts there are and samples of each one. Whether a transcript is needed tomorrow (hello check-off transcript) or planning ahead while the student is still in elementary is the current basis, there is something here for everyone educating a child.

6 – References, Resources, and Reproducibles: This section has the remainder of the information needed to be prepared. This is where the ebook comes in super handy – just print the blank forms directly from the book.

Things to Note –

There are some special needs articles included that will show a family how to create the types of records that they need. There are some additional short articles on things student can do to be successful in college. These are helpful articles that I will be having my daughter read in a few years as she prepares to go off to whatever she chooses after high school.

How Did I Use This?Transcripts Made Easy

I downloaded this onto my Kindle and I found myself reading through the book a couple of times to absorb all that is written here. It was not difficult to read; it just did not stick in my head. The easy-to-read writing style makes it feel like I was sitting with a friend who was sharing her wisdom gained in the struggle and that she didn’t want me to feel the struggle.

I appreciated the knowledge shared about planning and scheduling options. I felt much better after reading that section since we are doing a modified schedule for high school this year with two days focused on science and two days focused on history. This really made the schedule feel more manageable and my student to feel like she really had time to dedicate to the learning.

While we don’t know what the “after high school” time period will bring, having these resources at my fingertips now will allow us to be prepared to create whatever kind of transcript will be needed for her dreams.

I felt like I was doing pretty well with our planning and record keeping. But this book showed me that there were a couple of ways to do this better. One of these is the activity log. Keeping an activity log will allow me to give credit for the activities that my daughter is participating in that don’t truly fit elsewhere. For example, tonight my daughter was scheduled to be the sign interpreter for a little league game. With the activity log form from the book, she can now note her time dedicated to this. When she gets enough, I can give her either an applied sign language credit or volunteer hours or something else entirely that I haven’t thought of yet.

Transcripts Made Easy check off transcriptsAnother of the helpful forms was the check-off transcript. We do not have need for this yet but it will allow me to see at-a-glance what is done or being worked on so that the plan can fall into place.

Transcripts Made Easy class pageI also printed out the class profile pages so that I can keep good track of the classes that Miss E has taken in the last year or year and a half that will go on the transcript.

Transcripts Made Easy cover

All-in-all, this is an easy to read ebook that will help guide you through the sometimes scary world of high school record keeping, transcript writing, and creating a special diploma. These things are all part of homeschooling high school and it is an exciting time. This book keeps the focus on the exciting parts and not the difficult things.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Be sure to visit Everyday Education to find their Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High-School Paperwork. Or click on the banner below to read more of the Crew reviews on this product. You can also find a review of another product from Everyday Education that I have done: Working It Out, featuring the poetry of George Herbert.

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Romantic to Victorian Age Poetry Set ~ a Crew review

Poetry set from Memoria Press

My middle daughter really enjoys poetry. Finding her often reading or writing poetry, this review seemed a natural extension of her interest. Memoria Press has sent us the study set for Poetry Book Three: The Romantic to the Victorian Age Set.

Miss L has been working with this set, which included the poetry anthology, the Student Book, and the Teacher’s Guide. In addition, we have needed a notebook for which we are using a simple composition notebook. Each of these pieces are indeed necessary for the study as designed by David M. Wright.

poetry study anthology

The poetry anthology is The British Tradition: Book Three – The Romantic to the Victorian Age (1785-1901 A.D.). It is a comfortable softback book that is about 9×7 inches. It is broken up into two sections – the Romantic Era and the Victorian Era. Each section begins with an introduction to the era and its poets. The Romantic Era covers eight poets, including Robert Burns, John Keats, Thomas Grey, William Wordsworth to name a few. Many of the poems are well recognized, such as Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Ode on a Grecian Urn. The Victorian Era includes poets such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, and Emily Bronte. The poetry includes well known selections such The Charge of the Light Brigade, Sonnet 43 (by Elizabeth Barrett Browning), and The Land of Counterpane. The anthology is solely a book of poetry, plus the introductions. It is beautiful with black and white illustrations on almost every page. This book alone would be a lovely poetry book to add to any collection.

Poetry anthology for Memoria Press Poetry Set

 

The anthology works in conjunction with the student book Poetry Book Three: The Romantic to the Victorian Age Student Guide, Second Edition. This book is not consumable and guides the student through each poem with questions, discussions, vocabulary, and background information. The poems mostly follow the same pattern of four stages – Pre-Grammar/Preparation, Grammar/Presentation, Logic/Dialectic, and Rhetoric/Expression.poetry study student book

  • In the Pre-Grammar/Preparation stage, one or two questions are given draw out prior knowledge and help them understand the poem.
  • The Grammar/Presentation stage presents Reading Notes and Words to be Defined. The Reading Notes generally has words that are a bit different that our common usage or facts and background that will help the student understand the poem. The Words to be Defined section is just that – words and their definitions. There are also Comprehension Questions in this section that include things like rhyme scheme, meter, the use of imagery, and other ideas.
  • The Logic/Dialectic stage Socratic Discussion Questions to force the student to dig deep into their abilities to think and reason, struggling with abstract thoughts.
  • The Rhetoric/Expression stage has the student summarizing the poem and focusing on the Central One Idea.

Student Book for Memoria Press Poetry Set

 

Not every stage was included in every poem. Especially with some of the shorter poems, the Logic and Rhetoric stages were not included.

Lastly in the Student Book, at the back, you will find a master list of the Words to be Defined, information on how to memorize a poem, and a rhetoric essay template.

poetry study teachers guide
The Student Book works hand in hand with the Teacher’s Guide. The Teacher’s Guide has the same questions and information as the Student Book. Each page has an exact copy of the Student Book with a border of the answers to each of the questions or discussion points. The back of the book also includes reproducible tests for each poet along with an answer key. The Teacher’s Guide is very handy and I would not recommend trying this program without it.

Teachers Guide for Memoria Press Poetry Set

How We Used This

We have been using the program every day. Each day, Miss L works on one or two parts of the Student Book with the current poem.

On the first day of a poem, Miss L would work through the Pre-Grammar stage, writing the answers to the guiding questions in her notebook. She would then read through the Reading Notes. Next, she wrote the Words to be Defined in her notebook along with the definitions of each. She then read the poem.

Student notebook work Memoria Press Poetry Set

On the second day, she would read the poem again and then write the answers to the Comprehension Questions in her notebook. She almost always needed some help here because there is no instruction in the book for meter or rhyme. We had to look up an online resource to help us figure out what the meters are or what the answers in the Teacher’s Guide meant for the meter.

 

The third day, Miss L and I would tackle the Socratic Discussion Questions. She had her Student Book and I had the Teacher’s Guide. We only had one copy of the poem, though, so it kept getting passed back and forth as we discussed ideas and words directly from the poem.

The fourth day, Miss L and I would sit together and work on the Rhetoric stage. She would write her summary in her notebook and I would give her the rest of the information. We found the Central One Idea very difficult and unclear. So, I generally just fed her the information and she would copy it down into her notebook.

As I stated, not every poem has all of the stages so sometimes, she would only spend two days on a poem.

Thoughts On The Program

The program is labeled as grade 8+. I have an advanced 7th grader working through the program and she has needed a good bit of help. She loves poetry but this program has challenged her. A lot. I definitely consider this a high school level program.

I would like to see more instructional information included. As I stated earlier, we needed to find some additional resources to help us do the basics with the program. I had no idea what “trochaic tetrameter with catalexis, with a few lines in iambic tetrameter” meant. The word scancion was unfamiliar to me but was used in almost every lesson. (It means the rhythm of a line of verse, in case you don’t know either.) The description for the program did not indicate that the poetry series needs to be completed in order; in fact, the descriptions for all of the books in the series are extremely similar. However,  these things have me questioning whether that is indeed true, as this is called Book Three.

Overall, I think this is a fabulous program when adapted for your student and her needs. We did adapt some of this, not requiring some of the writing and eliminating the Central One Idea by the time the review period had come to a conclusion. I believe we have both learned a lot about formal poetry.

We are going to further adapt this as we continue on with it. Miss L has chosen to continue with this program but our modifications will fit her a bit more personally. She will now focus on each poem for two days. The first two days of what I described above will be the study for each poem. We are dropping the Logic and Rhetoric stages for now. Perhaps we will revisit those when she is in 10th or 11th grade. For now, we are going to focus on the poems, their language, and their imagery. Miss L will really enjoy that.

We are also looking forward to studying Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning, as we will take a trip to the Browning Library here in town during those poet studies.

Want even more Memoria Press? You could also read our previous review of First Form Latin from Memoria Press or one on their Traditional Logic program. We have also used their 6th grade Literature Set and their Greek Myths program.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about other families using products from Memoria Press. In addition to different poetry sets, families have been reviewing phonics and Latin program. Click the banner below to head over to the Crew blog.

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CashCrunch Careers ~ a Crew review

Screenshot 2018-10-02 at 10.33.35 PM (1)

We were recently were given the opportunity to review a career attributes survey from CashCrunch Games. This career testing is suggested for students from middle school up through adult. CashCrunch Careers can be a useful tool in deciding what you want to do with your work time. The vendor site has a game or two to use to learn about money and some other purchase options but we spent the majority of our time on the careers part of the vendor sites.

The theory behind CashCrunch Careers is that traditionally we approach careers backwards. Looking at what we have been trained for and finding an appropriate job is what they say is typically done, leading to wasted time and money. CashCrunch is suggesting that you take their survey to find your best fit careers based on inherent attributes.

CashCrunch Careers is based on corporate recruiting tools and the US Department of Labor. That means there is a bias to the types of careers that come up and it was very obvious in our outcomes and reports. We found almost no artistic and creative based jobs on the site. We found musicians and singers but there was no information about them. And there were some marketing jobs and choreography mentioned. Other than that, we struggled to find active and artistic careers that would be of interest to the girls.

The CashCrunch Careers survey is 75 questions long. It takes somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes to complete. The survey gives you sets of either/or questions and you are to decide which one of the two options fits you best. These terms have nuances that affect the outcome. For example, one of the choice sets is thoughtful OR deep-thinking. It is possible to hover over the term to get a definition if you aren’t sure about the word. These nuances were really difficult to work with because they sometimes put the girls at odds – both well described them so it was hard for them to pick one over the other. Miss L described it as feeling like “my brain is blowing up.” At the end of the survey, you are given a report.

Capture

The report lists work styles that should fit you. It lists things that should motivate or de-motivate you. It lists what it determined to be your strongest career attributes. It ends with a listing of 20 career matches that it has decided fit you perfectly.

After you have read through your report, you can click on any of the career matches and it will take you to a page for that main career. Each page has the projected growth of the career, possible needs to fill the openings projected, and a description of the career’s tasks and activities. There is also a section that shows you the attributes of people who typically fill these positions and checks them to show you fit them. You can click a different tab to be shown a list of colleges that offer education in this field; this is not an exhaustive list. (I do wish I understood how they chose these particular colleges. That part is unclear.) There is another tab that will show a short video about this career.

part of a career's specifics

What We Thought

Miss E, age 14, and Miss L, age 12, took the quiz and received reports. We saw some differences in the reports but felt they were overall very similar. Even their job listings were almost identical. Funny thing is, these two are extremely different. I cannot see either one of them doing the majority of the jobs listed. Management is not appealing. On top of that, these are end-point positions, not starting jobs where you can build up to it. Management is not where one starts fresh out of college and these reports and job descriptions did not direct the girls toward where you would start in this type of a career.

Miss E said that her list showed a lot of administrative jobs where you sit behind a desk and tell others what to do. She doesn’t like that; she wants to “do.” Miss L said something similar, noting that the list did not have her ideal job. By searching through the careers not included in her list, she did find a couple that she thought might be interesting for her (PK teacher and child care worker).

The girls enjoyed spending time looking through the website and seeing what careers they could locate that sounded somewhat interesting. But, as I mentioned earlier, since the girls are looking at wanting to do things like teach dance, play violin, be a sign language interpreter, or write, (all of which meet their strengths as shown in this report) there were difficulties with feeling like this report was accurate for them.

a few career categories

some of the general career categories that can be explored by clicking on it

After choosing one of the general career categories, a list of some specific careers comes up and you can read more about each one by clicking on its title.

some specific careers

Needed Changes

  • The videos on the site are approaching 20 years old, as indicated by Congressional acts mentioned and the technology shown. They are not very appealing to young teenagers and it is hard for them to feel like this is relevant to them. Additionally, the video quality is just poor for the technology we have available at this time.
  • Some videos were used in multiple careers so it makes it feel like it is just filling space and not truly representative of the career.
  • There is no place for this to take into account the personality of the person looking at career choices and that is huge in discussing career options. This would be a much better survey if it were to use not just the attributes survey here but also a personality survey and a preferences survey. Miss E noted while working through the questions that she felt they were not asking the right questions and reiterated this after she got her report with nothing but management or administrative careers.
  • Miss E noted that a search function on the site would be very helpful. To be able to search for careers that sound interesting to them but are not on their list would be really helpful. Some of the positions were not where we expected them to be and so were difficult to find.
  • Miss E also noted it would be helpful to know how the attributes and skills listed in their final report fit into different careers. Along those lines, it would be great to be able to search for how a skill fits into a job. For example, if you want to use ASL in a career, searching for the careers that include this skill would be great.

While the list was different than we expected, there is much that we gained from this experience – lots of discussion about what the girls WANT to do, what interests them, what they think about different options and frankly, whether some of the careers mentioned are Christian occupations. Their experiences in searching the careers listed OUTSIDE of the list given was fun for them and they enjoyed reading about different options, talking about whether it was what they would have expected for that particular career. Looking hard for options that sounded interesting to them led them to open up files about some they would never have come across.

So, while this wasn’t quite what was expected, we gained some great insight into options (or paths to avoid) for both of the girls who took the survey. Overall, this was a good experience.

One additional note: This company also produces games that help teach financial responsibility. There is at least one that we found on the website that is free to use online. Others are available for purchase. If I understand it correctly, the company is about to roll out a new version of the game that should make it much easier to use. The game we played (as a team) was about how to make financial decisions and to spend and save money wisely. An interesting idea for a game.

Blessings,
At Home.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about the experience other families had with CashCrunch Games and their CashCrunch Careers survey.

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Take a Look at Curriculum ~ 5 Days of Homeschool Encouragement

Take A Look Tuesday
Curriculum is such a personal choice – not just from parent to parent but child to child. Each child may need something completely different for the exact same subject and grade level. That can be challenging. But I have found that taking a look at things others have used and reading their honest comments about it can help get me some ideas to discuss with my girls and give them options.

When it comes to curriculum, we have some non-negotiables. But there is plenty for them to have a say in and help make the decision of. So, as I go through this list, I’ll share with you the input that we had and the input the girls had. Maybe it will give you some encouragement to include your children more as they get older, giving them more say in what they are interested in.

morning time

Morning Time –
This is a non-negotiable time. We sing a hymn and work on Bible memory work. We do some folk music and poetry. And we have at least one read aloud going on. For now, that is plenty. Our hymn comes from Hymns of Faith, which is an Ideals book. We also have several hymnals that we keep in our stack for use. The Bible memory work is from the KidSing cards. They are important things from the Bible and memorizing where to find different things. For example, Acts 2 covers the birth of the church and Hebrews 11 is about faith. Acts 20:7 gives us the example of Sunday worship and preaching and I Timothy 3 discusses the qualifications of elders and deacons. We are using Diana Waring‘s history through music to do folk music for now. We are currently using the one about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s musical experiences. Our poetry work is coming from Poetry Memorization from IEW. Our current read-aloud is A Tree for Peter by Kate Seredy. These are all things At Home Dad and I chose for us to do as a family.

9th Grade Curriculum 2018

9th Grade
Math – No Nonsense Algebra – algebra I program that is both book and video based. At Home Dad did the majority of the evaluation of this program but with the video aspect, Miss E was okay with it. We knew that she wanted video based learning but that wasn’t so advanced that she couldn’t understand it. So far, so good.
Science – Friendly Chemistry – She loved this program and asked if there was a follow-up to it. When I did my research, we found that we had completed about 1/3 of the actual program. So, I contacted the company to find out what we needed to continue on and it arrived yesterday. She is very pleased to tackle this course and she chose it. Obviously we had the final say but it was easy – begging to do a chemistry program? We’ll take it.
History – timeline – We decided that everyone would tackle American History this year. For Miss E, we found timeline books that give dates and events from about 1100 to the present time. She is using these to research each event and write a summary of the important information from each one. She has a notecard binder (a cute little thing!) that she is keeping her notecards in. So, this gives her both history, research, and writing experiences.
Language Arts – She is finishing the Characters In Crisis book from last year. Then she will take on Learning Language Arts Through Literature – American books (Gold Book). She attempted Grammar Planet but that kind of fell through for a number of reasons (review next week). She is also completing a daily writing assignment from the Daily Writing and This Day In History prompts on SchoolhouseTeachers.com. She has loved the writing and is keeping it all in a single notebook. Again, she has to research for a lot of the history prompts so she is hitting several areas that she needs skills in. She wanted to do some daily writing this year and when we came across these prompts, she feel in love with them. Do note – we had tried these before and they were a complete fail. So this is something she grew into – don’t give up if your child doesn’t like the writing early on. Maybe it will come. She loves it so much that she writes every day, even Saturday and Sunday, most days completing more than one prompt.
American Sign Language – She adores sign class with Mrs. Pat and is looking forward to it again. She chooses sign but Mrs. Pat chooses the curriculum course.
Logic – Miss E is not terribly excited about the Logic course from Memoria Press that she is continuing but it will be beneficial to her in the long run so we are enforcing this one.
Speech – When told she needed to work on a speech class, she wasn’t excited. Until I showed her the class from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. She is really liking the speech class offered there and I know it will benefit her when her debate class begins meeting in the spring.
Latin – Miss E is working on PictaDicta, a website based program for learning Latin vocabulary. So far, she isn’t loving it but this is a call I made that she would do and continue. I believe she will be tackling Latin once more before too much longer through Memoria Press’ First Form Latin so we are starting back to it with this program. Review to come.
PE – Miss E is taking 5 – 6 hours of dance a week so this is a solid PE credit for her and she loves it! Ballet, tap, and jazz are what she is taking but she enjoys tap most.
Code for Teens – I thought she had a pretty full course load until she asked if she was going to get to continue this book. Well, when I said something about not scheduling it, she was very disappointed. So guess what? We changed course and added it back in.
Extras – She also wants to take voice lessons, so we are looking into that right now. We’ll see. Another option that she is really considering is volunteering at the library during her sister’s violin class.

What happens when you schedule the courses that the student is interested in? Yes you may get some pretty long looking lists but guess what? When they are interested and their input is given weight, they feel valued and things just work better. Our original list looked quite different for the first year of high school. But, by taking her input into consideration and having conversations with her about her needs and requirements, we came up with a program for her freshman year of high school that makes tons of sense and is of interest to our daughter.

Definitely, I encourage you to have conversations with your students about their course of study. Take their ideas under advisement and pay attention. They may be telling you a whole lot more about themselves than just what book looks interesting.

With this getting so long, I will share our 7th grade and 4th grade curriculum choices in another post. (Hope I don’t forget!)

Blessings,
At Home.

There are more than 40 homeschool moms writing encouragement posts today on this Take A Look Tuesday – from school rooms to curriculum to a bundle of ideas, go take a look! I encourage you to visit the anchor post for the Crew and also some of the ladies’ blogs to gather more encouragment to yourself. You can do that by the linky on the Crew blog or by visiting some of the blogs below.

Nicole @ Bless Their Hearts Mom
Patti @ Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy
Rebekah @ There Will Be a $5 Charge For Whining
Rodna @ Training Children up for Christ
Stacy @ A Homemakers Heart
Tess @ Circling Through This Life
Wendy @ Life at Rossmont
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Code For Teens ~ a Crew review

learning coding with Code for Teens

A while back, Miss E had opportunity to do some computer coding. She realized that she really enjoyed it. Code for Teens then asked for the Crew to review their new book on writing JavaScript – Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner’s Guide to Programming (Volume 1). This has been a great book to get to use and learn some new skills.

Code For Teens is the brainchild of Jeremy Moritz. Mr. Moritz and his wife (the illustrator) have extensive home education knowledge, as they educate their own six children. Mr. Moritz has been a software engineer and developer for over a decade. Thus, this book comes straight from his knowledge and background. And, with his experience of working with children (he also coaches chess and has directed lots of musicals), he knows exactly what will catch the student’s attention.

Code for Teens

Written in a conversational and humorous style, the information is clear and easy to follow. It is written directly to the student so that she is teaching herself. Each chapter has plenty of explanation and exercises to help gain experience and understanding. The student is encouraged to type the exercises right along with the book, being given the exact information to input and the exact expected outputs. Sometimes, the book encourages wrong inputs so that the student can experience how to problem solve the situation. (That’s fantastic since they won’t always have a step-by-step guide telling them where the problems are in the code.) By the time the end of the chapter is reached, the student will have worked with the code quite a bit through exercises and drills, helping cement the concept. There is a quiz, an overview of the key concepts for the chapter, drills, an aggregate review, and a DIY project at the end of each chapter.

If for some reason, you reach the end of the chapter and still don’t quite understand it, you can go back and do it again. The concepts and skills build on each other throughout the book so it is important to understand one chapter before moving on to the next. But with the variety of exercises, and being encouraged to change bits of the code to see what happens, the student should be able to get it figured out. There is no expected pace, so take the time you need to learn it right.

The ten chapters cover all you need to learn JavaScript and you finish with programming a game. The back of the book contains an answer key to help the student if they get stuck. There is also a glossary of terms back there with the definitions for some words that the student might need, as well as the symbol.

Code for Teens - working on the chapter

My Thoughts:

I like this book. It is a nice weight and high quality printing. The glossy pages are not going to tear easily and the print is easy to read on them. The humorous style makes it a pleasant read and easy to follow. The instructions are extremely clear and well written. A lay-flat binding would be a fantastic addition to the next printing of this book, though it worked well with the book stand that Miss E has.

I have a friend who is a graduate student working on a doctorate degree in mathematics. She has quite a bit of programming experience. One day while over at the house, she saw this book and picked it up. She was immediately interested and spent some time reading through the book. She commented quite a bit about how well written this was, how easy to follow, and how much clearer it was than many programming books she has worked with. She was very impressed with this book and hopes that this company will continue to come out with more programming books because there are a couple of language she wants to learn.

Miss E’s Thoughts:

It was really good so far. I like that they had the exact things you are supposed to type highlighted and colored and the responses highlighted and colored differently. At the very beginning, it gave instructions for more than just using Chrome and it is nice to know that those instructions are there for others who might need them.

It is very funny and I like the way it is written. It feels less like a lesson and more like someone is actually talking to me. Some texts are just “blah-blah-blah” and this is written more like a conversation. This makes it easier to understand and also to feel less boring and classroom-ish.

One thing that I didn’t like was that in the first chapter they had me do things wrong that were obviously wrong. I could tell it was going to be wrong before I did it so I didn’t see why I should do it wrong on purpose. There was one thing that I couldn’t find how to do in the chapter, though it was in the quiz, but I had someone here who could help me with that so I was okay. (Mom edit: On the quiz p 24, question 11 – had to do with the single = implies what?)

When a student wants to use a book and they don’t have to that day, you know it is a good product. Miss E picked this up more than once late in the evening just to work some more on learning to use JavaScript. Code for Teens really hit home with her and she has enjoyed it quite a bit.

Blessings,
At Home.

Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read what other families thought about Code for Teens and find out how they used this program.

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The Master and His Apprentices ~ a Crew review

themasterandhisapprentices

Art history is something that I am not well versed in but something that I can see the benefit of. Being able to relate history and art can bring an understanding of past cultures, religions, and world events. That is what was sought by The Master and His Apprentices when creating this curriculum.

Authored by Gina Ferguson, The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective is a versatile curriculum. When approached as noted in the Teacher’s Guide and the syllabus found there, this program can serve as a full credit for high school. However, it could also serve as a supplemental curriculum for any level, or as a refresher (or first art history) course for adults. The versatility is part of what makes this a nice study, though I might classify this more as a history study than an art study.

chapter 2 start and worksheet

As written, the program consists of a textbook and a teacher’s guide. Included in the teacher’s guide, there is a suggested syllabus or schedule, discussion guides and worksheets for each chapter, and four tests. There are also art history papers to write four times in the course. In addition to these, there are helpful suggestions for teaching the course in different settings (homeschool vs a co-op type setting) and an answer key for the discussion questions/worksheets. The teacher’s guide is available either in a PDF format or a printed softback format.

The textbook for The Master and His Apprentices is where the meat of this program is found. It is a hefty 380 pages of text and full-color images. We received it as a fixed-format PDF that can be printed but it is also available in the printed format. We have been using it directly off the computer and that is really quite difficult, especially with the timelines being so important for understand the relationships of different people, places, and artifacts.

The program goes from an introduction to art history and then into the art of God’s creation. From there, different people and times are addressed.  Included are

  • Ancient Cultures
  • Classical Antiquity
  • Middle Ages
  • Renaissance
  • Baroque Era & Beyond

There is also an appendix containing some articles to further study topics and ideas, a period chart, a timeline, a listing of pieces by location, an index, and a couple of other required elements (like acknowledgements).

Working through the text, the information covered the history of an era or people and then some of the artwork, artifacts, architecture, and other pieces that represent them. The text is arranged chronologically. Each period is begun with an introduction to the history and place. The setting within world history and Christian history is a significant part of this portion. Then, it features works of art that are seen as important, either for secular or Biblical reasons.

cover and questions

Our Use of the Program

We have worked through about the first 3 chapters. What we have found is that, while interesting, it is necessary to skip parts of the text for continuity’s sake. Sometimes, the author’s attempt to keep God at the center really diminishes the ability to understand the information shared. The text often seems preachy and heavy-handed in the attempt to keep the Christian perspective so visible.

The worksheets that are in the teacher’s guide correspond to each chapter. Each culture basically gets its own chapter. The worksheets are simply numbered questions or statements designed to help the student think. These are great if your student is a worksheet oriented thinker but if you child is a discussion oriented thinker, these don’t really do much for the student. The teacher definitely has to get involved, which then makes for some good discussions.

After having using this program for a few weeks, we are going to modify it for continued use. We are going to go to the end and work forward. We have found is that because so much of the study is history based, you have to have something to tie it together with. If you do not have that timeline in your head to place the new cultures and pieces in, it is just random information that doesn’t really go anywhere or connect to anything. So, we are going to start with pieces that are recognizable and artists that we have studied. This will allow Miss E to connect with the material more concretely. Working backward through time will help her understand where things fit together and will help the material make more sense.

Because I am not a fan of the worksheets as they are designed in this program, we are going to create a project for each chapter for her to demonstrate her understanding and grasp of information. It might be a timeline for the chapter or a crossword puzzle with the names of artists and their works. It might be a drawing or a recreation of one of the pieces of artwork.

worksheet

The other thing we are going to do is print the text and print the large timeline from the appendix of the text. Reading online is just not as brain-engaging as reading from a piece of paper. I don’t know why but we have found this to be true over and over. We will keep the PDF file handy for viewing the pieces in color since we only have a black-and-white printer. Having the printed timeline will also allow her to color code to her heart’s content and mark those connections that she finds and understands.

If you are looking for art history or a history program through art, take a look at this program. Because it is a Christian perspective, The Master and His Apprentices does not contain nudity. It is, however, unashamedly Christian. Each chapter has multiple references to God, the Bible, and Biblical history. There are specific paragraphs in each section reminding the reader to praise God and thank Him for so many wonderful creations.

I don’t mind the bold statements of Christianity and belief. However, there are some statements that are leaps of understanding. There are statements that I don’t necessarily agree with, even being Christian. I see these particularly in the second chapter on the creation account from the book of Genesis in the Bible. I think if we have any additional children use this, we will just skip that chapter.

Blessings,
At Home.

Many other families have used this program in various ways. Please click the banner below to see how they used The Master and His Apprentices.

 

The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective {The Master and His Apprentices Reviews}

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