Hi, my name is Melissa. Pour yourself a cup of tea and stay a while. I'm completely devoted to my Savior, madly in love with my husband, and joyously raising my daughters. I'm so glad you stopped by and I hope you enjoy your time here!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Artistic Pursuits Full Video Lesson Grades K-3 from ARTistic Pursuits Inc.: A TOS Crew Review

 ARTistic Pursuits

Teaching art can be a pretty intimidating prospect for homeschooling parents. We see the value, but unless we have had a thorough art education ourselves it is a subject that can feel overly difficult and get set on the back burner. I don't believe any family would deny the value of art education, but finding the right resources to effectively and systematically teach this subject matters. You won't need to look any further than ARTistic Pursuits Inc.. This well-established company knows how to make art fun for the student and simple for the teacher! We reviewed
Art for Children, Building a Visual Vocabulary, part of the ARTistic Pursuits Art Instruction Books with DVD and Blu-Ray from ARTistic Pursuits Inc.

 ARTistic Pursuits

 For this particular course I allowed my 12-year-old to be the teacher to her younger sister, Grace, who is 8. Rose has a strong love of all things art, both its creation and history. She desires to be an art teacher one day and is often looking for opportunities to spread her wings. I love giving her these chances and I have the opportunity to guide her along the way. We all liked the layout of the hard-cover book. It is engaging and vibrant as well as laid out in a clear and consistently organized manner.

I love that the textbook is for both the teacher and student so there are not lots of unneeded extras lying around. I also really like how classic works of art are used to teach various concepts. In this title there are a wide variety of mediums used so students can have the opportunity to explore all sorts of different types of art including paper folding, sketches, oil pastels, water color crayons and more! In addition to learning different mediums students are also taught artistic techniques. Some are basic and some are quite complex. The lesson on drawing figures teaches body proportion and is full of clear instruction and tips. 

One of girls' favorite lessons was learning about texture and using oil pastels. Rose sat with Grace and walked through the lesson in the book. Grace enjoyed having her sister teach her for this course!
The book is very easy to go through, making it perfect for anyone! Rose has not had extensive art lessons, just what she has picked up on her own and through books. This shows me that anyone can pick this up and use it! Grace had so much fun creating and learning. 
Although this is geared towards K-3 I think all ages can benefit from the art techniques taught. It is not a "crafting" sort of curriculum as some art I have seen. Rather it teaches very clear art technique using famous art for observation. I as well appreciate the diversity represented in the artistic styles, but also the cultural diversity in the historical art chosen. Art spans all cultures and heritage and I love having my kids see this represented in a curriculum. 
We all highly recommend this and other levels from ARTistic Pursuits Inc. I had the chance to stop by their booth when we were at a homeschool conference a few weeks ago! It was so fun to see the wide variety of options available!
Don't forget to check out what my Crewmates have to say! 
Artistic Pursuits Full Video Lesson Grades K-3 {ARTistic Pursuits Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Week in Review: June 4-8

We are still working through math and language arts while tossing in some other various things for review and fun! This was also the first event for all three of my girls clogging! We visited a local nursing home with our clogging team. It was so fun to see all three dancing. Beth had a great time last year, but she seems to be having even more fun with her sisters involved!

Aren't they darling in their calico dresses? Both Rose and Grace were a bit nervous, but they did great and had fun. Here are some action shots!

Friday, June 8, 2018

The World's Story 1: The Ancients - A New Book Review Crew at NLPG review

History...possibly the most important subject taught in school. Although mathematics and reading are vital to function in everyday society, history is the story of who we are as a people and how we came to be where we are. Many in the world today are looking to gloss over hard things in history, pretending it never really happened. Some countries even have leadership which denies certain provable and documented aspects of history. We need quality resources like The World's Story 1: The Ancients by Angela O'Dell from Master Books.

The World's Story 1: The Ancients

The very first year we homeschooled our curriculum covered the story of the Pilgrims in very great detail. This was first grade. It became increasingly apparent to me that I was given a very minimalist view of history, one that did not include the God of this universe. My dad loves history and he supplemented my school learning with wonderful facts and stories. I decided I wanted to teach my children as my dad taught me, with living history. The problem I came across was a lack of God-centric living world history books. The most commonly used world history book in homeschool circles started with evolutionary teaching and put all religions on an equal playing field. We are very open about other religions on our home, but we do not say they are equal and viable options. While I have used this book, and others, I always have had to stop and teach the biblical view of false religions. Yes, it has provided some excellent conversations, but I felt there must be a better way! I was right.

This history book is by far my favorite I have ever read. So much so I'm reading it through for myself first which I honestly don't do that often! Angela O'Dell writes in a beautifully conversational way, just what those of us who love living history like. Beautifully vibrant art graces nearly every page and delights your eyes. The most important aspect, however, is that the author believes the Bible is the true, historical account of God's story, preserved by Him through time. She does not shy away from hard things like evolution, ancient mythology, or even the belief some hold onto of early alien visitations! The key to teaching and learning these hard things is to do so with the Bible beside you as your guide. 

One concern I have with some history books which are labeled as Christian is the decided European perspective. They basically center their teachings in the Europe. While European history is important, so are African, Asian, and Ancient American histories. I really love the inclusion of all of these cultures which gives a very different view of what was happening world-wide after the tower of Babel than any other world history book I have viewed. 

This coming fall Grace will dive into world history with me. She will officially be in 3rd grade and we will still be using our core curriculum. The difference from her sisters will be that we have a solid Bible-centered history text to draw from and I can't wait to dive in with her! 

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the New Book Review Crew at NLPG in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Gospel Reset: A New Book Review Crew at NLPG review

Have you noticed that our society has changed rapidly? It seems that almost daily something new an different is the trend and it is hard to keep up. One thing that never changes is the truth of God's Word. Paul talks about reaching others for Christ by determining how to relate to those around him in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. Romans 12:2 then guides us to remember to be conformed to God's will rather than the world's. The pairing of these two ideas is the theme behind Ken Ham's new book from New Leaf Publishing Group, Gospel Reset: Salvation Made Relevant.

Ham does an excellent job of outlining the reason for a change in how we take the gospel to our culture. In all honesty, reaching the lost has become a bit of a cross-cultural experience for those of us who grew up in solidly Christian homes. Where as the generation before me had a basic understanding of and respect for the Bible, my generation generally does not. 

The most insightful moments of how the culture has changed were the percentage graphs broken up by age. One of the reasons this really hit me was that the small congregation my husband pastors is generally older and we are often trying to answer the question why there aren't more young people in the church. These graphics give a clear, visual understanding as to the shift in culture based on generational breakdowns. 

The conclusion is that we must reset our thinking and presentation of the gospel in order to meet the masses where they are, a place of very little knowledge or understanding of the God of the Bible. I think the greatest benefit of this book is opening the eyes of the generations who continue to lament the overall social change of the American landscape, but still assume the average person has a basic working knowledge of the Bible. This is simply not true. My one disappointment was that there was only one chapter dedicated to how to do this now. The information presented in this chapter was excellent and I agreed 100%, I would just like to have had more. 

I personally think this is an excellent tool for anyone within an aging congregation. The first step to fixing any problem is fully understanding the problem. The significant problem now is not knowing how to effectively share the gospel to a generation who has no working knowledge of the Bible. We need to know the Word of God so we can share it with the world!

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the New Book Review Crew at NLPG in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

NIV Kids' Visual Study Bible: A BookLook Blogger Review!

I love all the new resource Bibles now available for kids! I had a Precious Moments Bible when I was a kid and a Teen Adventure Bible when I was in middle school/high school. Do you remember those? One of my favorite parts of those Bibles was the "extra" features. There were little tidbits that let you dig deeper into various parts of Scripture. There were also beautiful pictures I very much enjoyed just looking at over and over again. The key with a resource Bible it to give kids the desire to dive in on their own. This is exactly what the NIV Kids' Visual Study Bible does.

One look at the cover and my kids were ready to dive into the pages. They are very busy pages for sure. This is not a bad thing, but if your child is easily distracted or needs a simpler reading experience, keep this in mind. My girls really enjoyed finding out the history. I did note, however that in Sunday School they would often forget to listen to the teacher (Sometimes me, sometimes not) because they were reading all the extras. Again, it's just good to know if this would best suit your home environment or church.

The one thing I do not prefer is that it seems to be only available in the NIV. I'm not anti different translations, and I do know this is one of the easier to read versions for younger kids, but we do all of our studying out of a different translation. It is nice to keep things consistent through AWANA and school as much as possible. NIV is not mine or my husband's preferred version for a few reasons, but this is the only version option. I would like to see this and other Bibles provide at least a few translation options. I realize there is a cost factor to it, but I do think your audience is limited when you provide a beautiful resource Bible like this but only use one specific translation. The side elements should still relate and be the same as cultural and historical facts won't change from one translation to the next.

Overall my kids loved this and I do recommend it as a great resource for studying more in depth about life and times of the Bible.

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.