Friday, June 5, 2020

ARTistic Pursuits - Middle School 6-8 Book One - The Elements of Art and Composition Review



Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.



We are HUGE fans of art and drawing. So I was excited to get a chance to review ARTistic Pursuits, Middle School 6-8 Book One, The Elements of Art and Composition.   



Art can be so many things.  It can help a person express their personality.  It can tell a story.  It can be used for advertising.  Art is really all around us.  Caty and Lydia loves to work on art projects and drawing.  With all the craziness of the pandemic, they missed out finishing their in-class class they were taking in drawing.  Middle School 6-8 Book One, The Elements of Art and Composition has filled that void they were missing out on.  And their drawing has continued to flourish with it's help.



The supplies needed for most projects are pretty simple and straightforward.  The Middle School 6-8 Book One, The Elements of Art and Composition strictly focuses on drawing.  Simple materials of drawing pencils, ink, brushes, paper, erasers, The elements of space, line, adding texture, balance, symmetry, asymmetry, space with depth, perspective, and proportion are topics that are covered throughout each of the lessons.


Lessons encourage creativity and really looking at the world around you are. Using observational skills.



Other elements of art are explored, including art history and artist studies.  Students really dig into and look at artists and art culture as they are working on their drawing.


Scattered throughout the lessons is information on how to use what could be new to them art supplies.  Such as using a graphite pencil.  Or painting with ink. These are new mediums for many students.  These materials are not your standard No 2 pencil, and ARTistic Pursuits wants to make sure students feel confident using these items.

Each lesson does have an assigned project.  Reference materials are suggested for the student to look to when working on their assignment.



Caty is sketching all the time now.  She also has a new love of adding ink to her drawings.  She requested a special ink art pen, because she said the brush wasn't fine enough to add details.



The girls are really enjoying working through the Middle School 6-8 Book One - The Elements of Art and Composition.  I am very happy with all the creativity that it has encouraged for them.  And if you have kids on the spectrum, you know that they sometimes find it difficult to be as creative as other kids their age.  

If you are looking for a budget friendly option for art lessons, you need to check out all the materials that ARTistic Pursuits has to offer.  They have a wonderful selection of materials from Pre-school through high school.  Materials that you can use with all your children.  Definitely a money saver when you can reuse materials.

Still not sure if ARTistic Pursuits will be a fit for your family, visit their blog and check out some free video lessons for beginning drawing for students.  This is a special 16 week summer series!!

If you are more of a parent (like me) that does not like to wait for the mail, ARTistic Pursuits now offers online classes.  They have all of their K-3 level books available as online courses.  

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review products from ARTistic Pursuits. Click on the link below to see what products they used and how they used them in their homes.

Art Through The Ages & Art for Children {Artistic Pursuits Inc. Reviews}



Thursday, May 28, 2020

Reading Kingdom - ASD Reading Review



Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.


Caty has had some delay in reading, spelling, and comprehension due to her learning disabilities.  She loves computer programs for learning, so I was very excited to get the opportunity to review ASD Reading from the creators of Reading Kingdom.


The ASD Reading program from Dr. Marion Blank helps students who are struggling with reading to catch up.  It can be used with any child who is on the spectrum that is struggling.  They can be verbal or non-verbal and experience benefits from ASD Reading.  

If you are not sure if ASD Reading is a good fit for your student, ASD Reading has a PDF file that parents can download to see if this will work for your child.  You can start this program as early as 4 years old, if your child is ready for using computer/tablet technology.  You can sit with them.



Upon the finish of using ASD Reading, your student should be at a 3rd grade reading level.  It takes students roughly 12 - 18 months to complete the program, depending on their skill levels at the start and how much time they spend on ASD Reading.  But ASD Reading includes so many more skills than just reading.  Students are also learning several other important skills such as decoding and even writing skills.  

Caty has been using the program for a few weeks now.  She wasn't a fan of the initial placement test.  But I reminded her that it was checking where she was at.  ASD Reading has helped her with the decoding issues that she has been having.  Decoding issues cause her to struggle with writing and spelling. Her spelling has not been progressing well, and even her letter writing skills are a struggle.  I wasn't sure if ASD Reading would actually help with these areas.  But it was definitely worth it to try, to help her with her frustration levels on writing simple sentences even.

After the initial test, Caty was fine.  She loves earning her points, and I am very shocked at how fast she is flying through the program.  Lesson length is perfect for her attention span on most days.  In fact, there are days where she will sit and work on three to four lessons at a time.  She just props her feet up and starts "playing".




I had stopped her simple sentence writing with Caty the last couple months.  She had been struggling so bad, and the frustration was too much for both of us.  Last week, I pulled out her simple 2nd grade Sentence Writing book.  One of the next activities was to take a list of adjectives and create a short story about a make-believe pet.  This would have sent Caty into a fit a few weeks ago.  She would have been screaming that she could not make sentences.  But surprisingly (and even to HER own surprise), she was able to write a simple paragraph using the adjectives provided!!!  




ASD Reading has definitely given her more confidence in her decoding work struggle areas.  She has decided that she wants to write more, and I'm not fighting with her to work on her spelling.  

I know that Dr. Marion Blank has created a proven program.  But I do not completely understand how the questions that Caty was answering was helping her to improve reading and writing skills.  I am definitely not an expert, so as a parent I am grateful that ASD Reading does provide progress reports to parents to show us "non-experts" how their student is doing.  I can check this report randomly to see how far she has worked in the program, and what level she is currently on.  And also check to see if she has been skipping work on her to-do list...lol

I would definitely recommend ASD Reading to parents if their student is struggling with learning delays.  Caty has continued to make a good amount of progress in the past few weeks.  I encourage you to check out ASD Reading if you have a student who is struggling with reading and writing.  You can try it for 30 days at no charge to find out if it's a good fit for your student.

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to try out ASD Reading and also the reading program from Reading Kingdom.  Click on the link below to see how they used these programs in their homes.

Reading Kingdom & ASD Reading {Reviews}



Workman Publishing - Everything You Need to Ace Computer Science and Coding in One Big Fat Notebook Review



Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.




I will admit that I am constantly looking for ways to make my lesson planning easier, especially since I still have three kids with various educational needs and Joey still has a lot of medical issues. So I was excited to get a chance to review the latest release from Workman PublishingEverything You Need to Ace Computer Science and Coding in One Big Fat Notebook.


We are all HUGE fans of the Everything You Need to Know in One Big Fat Notebook series. This series includes titles in American History, Science, Math, and even English. The pages are inviting to kids of all ages with their full-color illustrations and "notebook" feel. It feels like they are reading notes and not just a textbook format book. The pages even have lines to appear as if they are a composition notebook.

Everything You Need to Ace Computer Science and Coding in One Big Fat Notebook features eight units with thirty-nine chapters. The book starts out with very basic knowledge about what computer science is. Some students, even though they have been working with a computer or device, they still do not know what computer science truly is. There is more to a computer than just playing apps. 

  • How data is stored on computers and then how it is used 
  • How computer systems are designed
  • What Algorithms and programming languages are
  • Variables, loops, events, and procedures
  • Programming with Scratch
  • Programming with Python
  • Web Development - including Cybersecurity, Basic web page design, and CSS 
I really like the full colored illustrations and simplicity of the pages. When you are teaching easily distractible kids, too much on a page can be overwhelming. But the Everything You Need to Ace Computer Science and Coding in One Big Fat Notebook keeps it basic and understandable.




At the end of each chapter, there are questions to Check Your Knowledge with. You have permission to copy for within your classroom, but I simply had Brayden write his answers on notebook pages.


And since I am not reading the book with him at the same time, this is awesome....the answers are available also so I can verify what he has written. If writing overwhelms your student though, you could easily discuss this material verbally and still get the same effect.


Each chapter takes roughly 20 minutes for him to complete, the max time is around 30 minutes. That is with extra research or if he has questions about what he is reading. Brayden is able to work independently through this book. I am using it as a basis for him to get started on more Cybersecurity type of classes he will be taking in the future.

Brayden said he is enjoying this study so far, and he is a little over half way through the book. He does 2-3 chapters a week as part of his studies. I plan on both girls going through the study also. 

This book does teach very basic coding with Scratch and Python. This more basic knowledge can then be expanded on if the student wants to explore it more. That is another thing I really like about Everything You Need to Ace Computer Science and Coding in One Big Fat Notebook. It is a great introduction to all topics. Some kids love programming and coding, while others have no interest in material at all. Using this book can help introduce and you can find out your child's interest level in whether or not they want to explore more advanced areas of interests in the computer sciences.

Thanks Workman Publishing for another great title in the Everything You Need to Know Notebook series!!

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review the new title Everything You Need to Ace Computer Science and Coding in One Big Fat Notebook.  Click on the link below to see how they used this product in their homes and what they thought of it.


Everything You Need to Ace Computer Science and Coding in One Big Fat Notebook {Workman Publishing Reviews}


Monday, May 25, 2020

Menu Monday





Joe and I are getting used to working extra and also I'm studying to get my TEFL certification to teach online.  I'm also teaching Outschool classes in Minecraft.  So between the virtual sports and this, we are a busy family again.

Here's what is on the menu this week....

Sunday
B- Homemade McGriddle sandwiches (I use loosely this recipe but just add the maple syrup to the batter and not add as much water.  I freeze them with pre-made bacon so the kids can just nuke them when they are ready to eat.)
L- Frozen pizzas
D- Leftovers (I served noodles and rice w/ the leftover kabob meat and veggies from the night before.)


Monday
B - Breakfast sandwiches or Cereal
L - Bagel sandwiches
D- Salisbury Steak and mashed potatoes

Tuesday
B - Fried potato hash
L - Sandwiches/soup
D- Mexican chicken and rice w/ beans and chips

Wednesday
B - Cereal w/ fruit cups
L - Noodle cups
D -Manicotti and garlic bread

Thursday
B - Oatmeal or Cream of Wheat
L - Chicken and Dumplings
D- Tacos

Friday
B- PB & J crepes
L- chicken parm w/ noodles
D- Creamy chicken and rice

Saturday
B- Open
L- Mexican rice
D- Cheeseburger tater tot casserole


Why I plan.....
Who isn't busy?!?!  Kids schedules, schoolwork, work, WOW!!  Life just does not stop!

When I create a menu, I include our schedule on it also.  In fact, I type the schedule into the table that I created first.  Then I know what is going on that day, and I can plan crockpot meals or even know if I need to have a make-ahead meal ready.  I do not use a fancy downloadable calendar, I simply use Microsoft Word.  I have a table I created on there.  At the bottom, I keep a running list of menu items that either I want them to try or food that is loved by all.

Hope everyone has a great week!!  See everyone next Monday!



Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Busy...Busy...Busy....Storms, New Plants, and a Virtual Horse Show



Life has been ever so busy.  Yard work, house work, and keeping up with the kids is a full-time job.  I'm trying to get my TEFL teaching certification.  So studying thrown in the mix has gotten me totally crazy.  

I have been juggling a new psychiatrist for the kids.  We were left without one suddenly in March.  And with the pandemic, trying to find one that can see the kids has been crazy!!  And now I have to juggle three separate appointments and intake options for them.  Where as before, it was one hour every few months.  He saw them all together.  It's crazy.  Plus I'm dealing with Caty and her diabetes.  It hasn't been kind to us.  And she is not being kind to her body.  Just another rider on our merry-go-round of life.

Here are some storm pictures from last week.  We saw some CRAZY weather.  But also saw a full rainbow.



Joe and I saw this wild dust cloud that was swirling around in the high winds.




A few days later Lydia found a baby bird injured.  So I ran it over to the local nature rescue.  We hope that it is ok.



This was the next day....I thought this was so cute!



I was so proud of this picture....you have no idea how proud.  For almost a month and a half there was a large pile of mulch block our driveway.  I finally got it put around the house and out of the driveway.  It took me so long due to weather, schedule, and health.



Lydia entered her first Virtual Horse Show takes to her coaches.  And she placed 1st!  She was super excited!



The boys got a surprise visit from the county Job Coaches that they work with.  They brought them the ingredients for dinner.  

Caty has been begging to go somewhere, she even wants to go to the mall.  So we went to the local garden center to pick out plants.  Caty and I have a tradition of sharing a dandelion.  She found one in the parking lot 💕

Our little haul.  It included several types of tomato plants, pepper plants, and sweet onions.  Now to get everything planted after all the rain subsides.



Caty wanted kabobs on the grill.  This was a hit.  And with as busy as we have been, it was finally nice dinner with the kids at our new patio table. 



Life is going to stay a bit crazy.  We are doing virtual sports with Special Olympics.  So I'm coaching tennis weekly.  The kids are also participating in Soccer, volleyball, cheerleading, and the weekly sports challenge.

When are you all going to finish for the year.  Or start your next?  How many homeschool year round?  I'm still debating over here.  Brayden has a math and computer science credit to finish.  The girls are reviewing in math.  I really want Caty to finish her History unit.  I think we'll keep going into June and take July off from school.  Or that's my plan at the moment.

But we got this!!  Hope everyone had a great week!!