The Master and his Apprentices Review

If you are looking for a Highschool Art History curriculum, then you might check out The Master and His Apprentices company.   We recently had the opportunity to review their product called The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective.

The Master and His Apprentices:

Art History from a Christian Perspective

Covers Art History from Creation to Modern Day

Highschool Elective

Full Color Illustrations

Two Versions Available: Digital & Physical

Digital:

Digital Text $34.99

Digital Teacher Guide $19.99

Physical:

Hardcover Text $149.99

Softcover Teacher Guide $24.99

The Master and His Apprentices is designed to give students a solid foundation in art history.  It is written from a Christian worldview and incorporates scriptures into the study.  The Master and His Apprentices helps readers understand history through art and helps create a “visual” timeline of biblical and world events.  Unlike most other art history curriculum, this one does not contain nudity, but instead focuses on various masterpieces artists created during specific historical periods.

Art History Periods covered:

  • Creation: God is the Master Artist
  • Ancient Cultures: Ancient Near East, Egyptian and Aegean
  • Classical Antiquity: Early Greek, Etruscan and Roman
  • Middle Ages: Medieval & Islamic, Early Christian & Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic
  • Renaissance: Proto-Renaissance, Early Italian Renaissance, High Italian Renaissance and Northern Renaissance
  • Baroque and Beyond: Baroque, Rococo to Today (modern art) and Global Highlights (non-Western art)

The Master and His Apprentices can be completed independently by highschool students or adapted to be used by the whole family. This course is available in both a digital version and a physical book version.  This is a full curriculum, covers over 125 hours of instruction (text, notes, discussions, worksheets, research papers, and exams), and can be used for highschool elective credit.

Text:

The Text is about 372 +/- printable pages and contains reprints of ancient art, architecture, statues, paintings, and relics from around the world throughout history.

It covers around 19 different historical and cultural focuses condensed and divided into 6 historical periods.  The course starts out with an introduction to art history.  Then a brief focus on the first six days of creation and Father God as the first artist.  Next it covers man-made art, sculptures, relics, and buildings from around the world throughout different cultures and periods in history.  It also covers art related vocabulary and related concepts used in art such as: Design and Composition, Line and Shape, Value and Color, Style and Texture, etc.

Teacher Guide:

The Teacher Guide is about 60-70 +/- printable pages (they are not numbered).

This book includes a suggested schedule with week by week instructions, worksheets that can also be used as discussion questions, four exams, instructions for writing four course papers on artists from different time periods, grading chart, answer keys, and more.

A suggested schedule is to do the class over 36 weeks or divided into (2) 18-week semesters.  This course can also be used as a supplement to other curriculum (world history, bible history, ancient history, etc).

Author:

Gina has been a teacher and author for over 12 years. She is a home school and college graduate. I have been very impressed with things she has shared about her experiences and why she wrote this curriculum.

She states her goal in writing this curriculum is: “From the beginning, I’ve been praying that God would use this book to draw non-believers to Himself and to push believers even further into Jesus as His fingerprints become more visible in creation and history.”

She says she has watched students transform as they connect the Creator to Art History.  From her website, she states “In fact, often for the first time in their lives, they were able to make connections between their different classes. Visually “seeing” the periods allowed them to create a framework in their minds for combining various timelines from other disciplines, be it history, Bible, literature, science, philosophy, etc. More importantly, many students were awaking to the fact that the Bible isn’t just a story, but real history – a history that overlaps other famous periods, places, people, and events.”

Our Experience:

For the purpose of this review, I focused on my son who loves art.  He wants to be an artist (drawing and painting), and a craftsman (with wood and leather) himself.  However, all three of my highschool boys are taking this course for highschool elective credit.

We were sent the digital versions of this curriculum which included:

  • Digital Text ~ The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective
  • Digital Teacher Guide
  • Digital Print/Photocopy Rights for our household.

With the digital versions, you can view the curriculum on the computer and you have the option to print out what you need if desired. The Print/Photocopy Rights give you the permission to print additional copies for multiple students in your household.  Or you can purchase the physical book versions if there are things you want a physical copy of and if you don’t want to print them yourself.

After using the program on the computer (Text and Teacher Guide), and printing the worksheets as we needed them, I decided to purchase the physical copy of the Teacher Guide too.  I actually purchased three Teacher Guides so that all three of my highschool sons have their own book to write in.  We were fine with the colorful digital copy of the Text book to read on the computer, but having a physical copy of the Teacher Guide in front of me and my sons simplified things so I didn’t have to go back and forth to the printer for the worksheets.

So far, my son is enjoying this course.  There is a lot of information covered and he is very motivated.  He has other courses with overlapping information that he is doing at the same time for: Ancient History, Bible History, and World History and Art.  So this class is mirroring what he is learning in those courses and increasing his knowledge about various art, history, cultures, and what we know about them.

He has no problem completing the worksheets.  The worksheets are filled with questions and give you space to answer, usually answers are a phrase or a few sentences.  You can also use these questions for discussion.  There are also a few pages to diagram.  We have not yet completed a test or a research paper though.  But I have no doubt he will do well as this is a subject he enjoys and is motivated to complete.

My Personal Thoughts:

I hope I am getting wiser in my “old age”.   I know I am getting bolder in my faith and sharing what God has put on my heart and my understanding of scripture.  So that is what I am about to do, and you can skip this section of my review if you don’t want to hear it.  I have a lot more to say, and I will post more (a continuation) in a future post.  But here is a very brief statement.

I appreciate the Author’s love for Father God and her desire to help students understand bible history as they learn about art history.  I also appreciate her hope that people will draw near to Jesus as their savior.  She has done a good job putting art history and bible history together.  The bible scriptures she has included and in depth timelines help to connect the dots of events in history, bible events, and art.

However, I have some misgivings about using art history or any art appreciation curriculum to draw students close to “god”.  There are so many different gods and idolatry represented in artwork from cultures around the world that I believe people can actually be led away from Father God while they are “appreciating” art if they are not very careful.

I personally believe most things in this world that fall under “art appreciation” and “art history” and “ancient history” and “world history” would be things Father God has warned us to stay away from.

Colossians 2:8  ” Watch out, so that no one will take you captive by means of philosophy and empty deceit, following human tradition which accords with the elemental spirits of the world but does not accord with the Messiah (Jesus of Nazareth, Yahusha HaMeshiac).” 

I have sincerely questioned over the years whether or not Father God wants us to study what the world calls “art” from history.  There is a HUGE difference in knowledge and wisdom.  Much of what we learn in academics is just knowledge. Society asks us “How much do we know?”  Society “ranks” us and often pays us by what we know.

The “god” of every society on earth is the same deceiving serpent from the garden that was there when man first fell away from Father God, Yahuah, our Creator.  Do we really want to teach our kids to glorify and appreciate the statues, buildings, pyramids, paintings, and man-made creations that honor another god? Should we not sound the alarm and send out warnings and cautions to teach them not to glorify it?

Matthew 24:6 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise and be against the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (riches, money, possessions, or whatever is trusted in).”

But the real question should not be “what do you know” but rather “Does what we “know” draw us closer to Father God?” OR “Does “knowing more” draw us farther away from him?”  For example in scripture, Adam and Eve bit the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil when the serpent deceived them and told them to “appreciate” the forbidden fruit, he told them to “behold it, look at it, taste it, it will give you more knowledge, you will not die but you will become like god”.  Another example is in the lives of the Israelite’s who mixed all the cultural practices of Egypt, Greeks and Roman gods and traditions (and so many more examples) and what they “knew” and their “appreciation” of the “art” and idols of these other cultures actually drew them away from Father God, not closer to him.

Mark 7:9  “Indeed,” he said to them, “you have made a fine art of departing from God’s command in order to keep your tradition!”

Or put in context, it reads as “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away from me.  Their worship of me is useless, because they teach man-made rules as if they were doctrines.  You depart from God’s command and hold onto human tradition. Indeed, you have made a fine art of departing from God’s command in order to keep your tradition!”  Mark 7: 7-9

Until the church members of the Bride of Jesus of Nazareth, Yahusha HaMeshiac, wake up and see the truth, their brains will continue in gaining knowledge, but their spirit will lack discernment of truth, vision of the spirit, wisdom, and the power to defeat spiritual wickedness.

Perhaps most “great works of art” are proof of man’s sin against Almighty God.  Most famous works of art are a direct violation of God’s command to not create a graven image and not create idols and not worship any other gods.  Most are attached to demons and worship of deities and even in more modern art, many artists have shared they were under the influence of something evil and supernatural when they created their masterpiece.  In my early Christian walk, I was shocked when I first learned that demons are real, not just something from two thousand years ago, and not just someone’s imagination in modern horror movies and mental illness as we are led to believe, but instead they are real entities.  More recently I was also shocked to learn that many famous artists, musicians, and writers of “great” masterpieces were plagued by demons and blood sacrifice.  Yet Christians glorify these things that “artists” create and display them in their homes, education, communities, and churches.

1 Corinthians 12:2 “Remember the way you used to live when you were Gentiles (pagans) apart from God? You were engrossed—enchanted with voiceless idols, led astray by mere images carved by human hands.”

Jesus of Nazareth said that “traditions of men nullify the power of God in your life”.  The church has no power because they have traded their trust in the anointed word of Father God for “trust” and “appreciation” in man-made traditions.  He also said if the spirit of Father God is in you, then you will do greater things in this earth than he did.  How many Christians do you know who have done “greater”?  How many do you know who have healed someone, opened prisons, gave sight to the blind, raised the dead, made the lame to walk, cast out demons, etc.?  The church today is in bondage to buildings, demons (denominations) and “famous works” of literature and art and the traditions of men, academics, sports, pharmacia, artificial intelligence, music, and material possessions, and it lacks power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit of God.

I have prayed for discernment and have prayed that my family will see the world as Father God sees it.  I pray that we will avoid being deceived by the “things that look good to eye” and “desirable” in this world.  I pray Father God will give us eyes full of compassion, that look for his goodness,  and beholds what is upright, and for lips that speak truth and show kindness and charity to others, but also hearts that are wise and filled with truth and discernment.

Matthew 10:16  “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”

Final Thoughts:

If you are looking for a thorough Art History curriculum, then The Master and His Apprentices will give you a historical understanding of famous works of art and artists, and an indepth timeline of art pieces and events, including biblical events, in history that will meet highschool requirements for Art History and Art Appreciation.

Social Media

Facebook
Pinterest

Homeschool Review Crew

Be sure to check out what others on the Homeschool Review Crew had to say about using this product in their home.

Please share.

Hake Saxon Grammar and Writing Review

If you are looking for a Grammar and Writing curriculum, then you might want to check out courses from Hake Publishing.

We were recently sent their Hake/Saxon Grammar and Writing 3 Language Arts curriculum set to review in our homeschool.

Hake Publishing has had great success helping students in both homeschools and public schools with their Grammar and Writing Language Arts curriculum series.

  • Grammar and Writing 3
  • Grammar and Writing 4
  • Grammar and Writing 5
  • Grammar and Writing 6
  • Grammar and Writing 7
  • Grammar and Writing 8

The Grammar and Writing curriculum series is written by Mary Hake (teacher, homeschool parent of 5, and grandparent) and Dr. Christie Curtis (teacher in public schools, private schools, and universities, parent of 3, and grandparent).  Together Mrs. Hake and Mrs. Curtis have worked hand in hand with Stephan Hake who is the lead creator of the award winning Saxon Math textbooks.  Mary Hake is Stephan Hake’s wife, and together they also homeschooled five kids.  Stephan Hake is also the owner of Hake Publishing.  Stephan has extensive experience writing and publishing curriculum.  He began writing curriculum for the well known Saxon company in 1984. The Grammar and Writing curriculum is written in a similar format to Saxon Math.

Grammar and Writing is an award winning, proven curriculum series that has been used by elementary school, middle school, high school, and even college students.  It is recommended for students to complete at least two years of the program to fully master skills and be ready for college level essay writing.  This will ensure that a strong foundation of language mastery is developed which will serve students well during higher education endevours and adulthood. Grammar and Writing 3 is Hake Publishing’s newest level in this curriculum series to come to the educational market.

Grammar and Writing 3

Grammar and Writing 3

Consumable Textbook, Writing Workbook, Teacher’s Guide

English Language Arts Curriculum

Writing

Vocabulary Development

Spelling

Grammar

Retail: $87.80 on sale for $63.30

The Grammar and Writing 3 course is designed for students who are reading at a 3rd grade reading level and above.  This is an easy to use Language Arts curriculum.  This course emphasizes lots of practice to develop good writing skills, vocabulary development and mastery, rules of spelling, dictionary skills, correct word usage, and mastery of grammatical rules of the English language.

This course contains 111 lessons with daily reviews and 22 tests overall.  A test is usually completed after every 5 lessons, except the first test begins after 10 lessons and the final test is after only 1 final lesson.  Writing Workbook lessons are recommended on test days, however the Consumable Textbook grammar lessons are not suggested on test day, so this creates an opportunity to utilize all the different aspects of this curriculum.  A suggested schedule for completing the lessons and daily reviews, tests, and writing assignments is listed in the Teacher Guide.

Grammar and Writing 3 meets and/or exceeds State Standards for English Language Arts.  See the downloadable Scope and Sequence  and the Faq page for more information.   Versions of this product are sold both to public schools (Hardback cover) and to individual homeschools (Softback cover).  Homeschools can purchase the Writing and Grammar 3 curriculum through the Hake Publishing Homeschool Orders page.

Consumable Textbook:

The 488 page Consumable Textbook contains 111 lessons with daily reviews.  Each lesson and review is 2 to 5 pages long.  Lessons and daily reviews are designed to take approximately 30 to 50 minutes to complete.  The suggested schedule in the Teachers Guide recommends completing 1 lesson and review per day.  However, you can go as fast or as slow as you like, but do not skip ahead in the order of the lessons.

Each lesson follows the same format and includes information that builds upon the learning skills of the previous lesson.

Each lesson begins with a brief “Grammar Meeting” to train student’s ears to listen (in the upper levels, this step is replaced with dictation); then a brief vocabulary exploration; then a lesson instruction, and finally a daily review.

  • Grammar Meeting: Speaking & Listening 2-3 minutes.
  • Vocabulary Words 2-3 minutes.
  • Lesson 10-15 minutes.
  • Review Set 20-25 minutes.

Teacher Guide:

The Teacher Guide is 391 perforated pages.  It contains 111 complete lesson plans and a suggested schedule.

Lesson Plans include “Teacher Scripts” (what to say to the student during the Grammar Meeting) for each lesson, a format for the lesson including a timeline for each lesson, and specific teaching tips.

The Teacher Guide also includes answer keys, student test masters, and the test answer keys, and also “More Practice” masters.

Writing Workbook:

The 92 page Writing Workbook contains 21 lessons in addition to the Textbook lessons.  These pages are perforated and hole punched for ease of use.  The workbook contains assignments for further practice and mastery of good writing skills. Each writing assignment in the Writing Workbook is approximately 4 to 6 pages and consists of a combination of fill in the blank, write the sentence, write a paragraph, or write a summary types of assignments.

Writing lessons are recommended to be completed on test day, but you have the freedom to choose to teach the Writing Lessons on days other than tests days also, use them which ever way works best for your student.  Writing Lessons should be completed in order, don’t skip ahead, and they build on skills progressively.

Video:

Check out this video to hear Stephan Hake and Dr. Christi Curtis explain the Grammar and Writing curriculum series:

Our Experience:

We received the 3 piece set of Grammar and Writing 3 to facilitate this review.  The books are very well made and contain a lot of information.  I like the way the books are laid out for both the student and parent, and the Teacher’s Guide makes this curriculum very easy for a parent to teach to their students.

This curriculum is geared for students with a 3rd grade or higher reading level, however my fourth grader felt frustrated at times as she tried to understand some of the information.  After working through the first three lessons with her, I found the curriculum to be more advanced than her reading level. She was not able to read it independently. She is currently using an online reading training program that is assisting her to be able to read proficiently at a third grade level, however she is not at this skill level yet.

After doing some research on the website, I found out this curriculum is meant for students who can read well at least at a third grade reading level or higher.   The series numbers 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 after the title, has more to do with the level of reading proficiency (understanding of language, comprehension, and use of vocabulary) and not actually a specific grade level. So it could be used by various grades as long as they are reading at that level or above.

According to the website, even highschool students as well as college students can benefit from these books and should choose a level based on their level of reading proficiency.   The website also states that as long as you complete two years of either books 3 and 4, or 5 and 6, or 7 and 8 consecutively, that you will have covered enough grammar and writing material to benefit the student to write well.

So with that in mind, I asked my older boys if they would like to work with this curriculum.   One of the boys agreed to work through a few lessons with me to see how he liked it.

It was a great fit for him.  He felt he learned a lot in just a few lessons and stated it was just what he needed to help his grammar and writing.  He will continue to work through the rest of this course on into the new school year.  We will purchase the next level up for him as soon as he is finished with this one.   He is also currently taking a composition course that he loves and it helps him write short stories, but it doesn’t break down the structure of sentences and the roots of vocabulary.  So he is really glad to have Grammar and Writing 3 curriculum to help him understand even better.

I found the Teacher Guide to be essential for this course.  It was easy to guide my child through each question in the practice and review sections.  We did not use the optional “More Practice” worksheets, but we might at some point in the future.  It was very easy to follow the suggested schedule and lesson plans.  The lesson plan for each lesson and all of the information needed to teach that lesson fits into 1 page and is easy to view in one glance. The answers to the practice questions are listed on a corresponding page in the answer key section.  The information in the Teacher’s Guide is well organized and written in a step by step method so that it is easy for a parent to implement the lessons.

Final Thoughts:

I believe it is important to practice good grammar skills and learn to write well.  Writing is an important form of communication to convey information and ideas to others.  It is beneficial to find a Language Arts curriculum that works well for your kids to help them improve in these skills.

I am putting a list together and will be getting curriculum ready for the upcoming school year soon.  The Grammar and Writing curriculum is a good fit for our homeschool and I have decided to add it into our upcoming school year.  I will purchase additional sets for all three older boys for this coming school year and I would also like all three of my younger students to work through this curriculum too in a few years when they are ready.

I would encourage other homeschool families to check into this curriculum and see if Grammar and Writing 3 from Hake Publishing is right for their family.

Homeschool Review Crew

Be sure to check out what others on the Homeschool Review Crew had to say about using this product in their home.

Please share.

Father’s Day Miracle

We spent this last weekend celebrating Father’s Day.  It was a wonderful weekend and we didn’t want it to be over so fast.  We are thankful for the hard work Dad does to care for the needs of our family.  So our efforts to celebrate him this past weekend seems to pale in comparison.

We have another Father to celebrate too.  Our Father God is also a GOOD FATHER!  He spends our entire lifetime caring for our needs.  He knows what we need even before we ask him.  He meets our needs over and over and our cup overflows with his goodness and blessings.  He is amazing!  He can do anything!  Don’t forget to thank him.  Don’t forget to celebrate him.  He is good and his mercy endures forever.

One of our favorite songs is “Good Good Father”.  If you haven’t heard this before, I would encourage you to take a minute and listen to this video:

Be sure to check out our Father’s Day Weekend story about all the fun times we had with Daddy on Saturday and Sunday.  In the story I am writing today, I wanted to share with you our wonderful Father’s Day Miracle that happened on Sunday.

On Sunday afternoon, we drove to a place along the river and took a drive around the adjoining lake.  We tried to find a quiet place along the shore with access to fish and with shady cover.  Most areas are privately owned and there are many houses all around the water’s edge.  We ended up returning to a little cove we had fished at six months ago.  Though it was a quiet spot in December, it was jam packed in June for Father’s Day.

We eventually found a small piece of shoreline with a few trees that we could use.  It was just what we needed. One of our boys got out his binoculars and did some bird watching.  Another one of my sons put up his hammock in the shade of the trees. The rest of us set up our fishing poles and got busy casting them out into the water as far as we could.

Then after about an hour, some people next to us ended their Father’s Day get-together and after they left we were able to spread out more and have a larger area of shoreline to fish, and now more trees for shade, and we acquired the use of the picnic table too.

I love fishing.  It is one of my favorite activities.  This is something I did with my dad growing up.  He loved to fish too.  He died many years ago.  But I have fond memories and think a lot about him on a day like today, especially because it is Father’s Day and we are fishing.

I am so glad my husband and kids like fishing too.  It was a hot day to be out fishing.  We spent about four hours in the heat, casting our lines.  One casting reel of one of the fishing poles broke when it fell on some rocks.  We also got some gear caught on a log out in the water, etc.  As usual, we kept Dad busy fixing things.  Despite the heat, we kept faithfully casting our lines even though we only had a few nibbles.

The younger kids got bored and eventually fished by hand for minnows with small hand held nets.  They actually caught a few.

During this time of fishing with my family, I prayed and sang to Father God quietly.  I felt so full of joy.  Even though it was hot, and even though I had not caught a single fish.  I was still filled with joy over the blessings Father God has given me.   I noticed as I sang, what appeared to be 100 small minnow size fish would show up very close to me in the water.  It was strange because when I didn’t sing and I just walked along the shore, the kids and I would notice maybe five to ten little fish nearby.  But when I would sing, nearly 100 would suddenly appear and stay until I stopped singing.  I have never seen fish do this before.

One of the prayers I prayed was to ask Father God to send fish to bless my husband for Father’s Day.  I wanted him to have a good experience fishing today.  I wanted him to catch a fish.  I wanted him to go home with some good memories and good sized fish to eat.

I asked Father God for a crazy request, and I knew that nothing is impossible with God and if it happened then no one could say it was their skills or their fishing gear that led to the outcome.  When my prayer would be answered, all you would be able to say is that “Father God made it happen”.  I prayed He would send a whole school of fish all at once for us to catch so that no one could deny that He had blessed us.  For several hours I believed without a doubt that He would send the fish.

My youngest son also started telling me about how he believed Father God was going to send fish, because He said he knew that “Father God could do anything”.  He was so happy when he said that.  I agreed with him.

I told him the story about the men in the boat on the lake who had fished all day and all night and hadn’t caught anything.  Then Jesus of Nazareth, Yahusha HaMeshiac, called out to them from the shore and told them to cast their nets on the other side.  They were so discouraged and basically said what is the use?  But then they obeyed and trusted him.  Next thing they did was haul in so much fish the load almost sank their boat.  They had to call for help and have more men bring their boat to help them too.  That was a miracle!

“Simon Peter told them, “I’m going fishing.”
They said, “We’ll go with you.” They set out in a boat, but throughout the night they caught nothing.  Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples didn’t realize it was Jesus.  Jesus called to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”  They answered him, “No.”  He said, “Cast your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”  So they did, and there were so many fish that they couldn’t haul in the net.  Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard it was the Lord, he wrapped his coat around himself (for he was naked) and jumped into the water.  The other disciples followed in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they weren’t far from shore, only about one hundred yards.  When they landed, they saw a fire there, with fish on it, and some bread.   Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you’ve just caught.”   Simon Peter got up and pulled the net to shore. It was full of large fish, one hundred fifty-three of them. Yet the net hadn’t torn, even with so many fish.   Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples could bring themselves to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.  Jesus came, took the bread, and gave it to them. He did the same with the fish.”  John 21:3-13

Then my son said “Mom, did you know the son of God can feed millions with bread and fish?” I agreed with his wisdom and faith at such a young age of only six years old.  Then he continued to tell me the story about how Jesus of Nazareth, Yahusha HaMeshiac, fed 5,000 men plus women and children with 5 fish and 2 loaves of bread.  After he prayed and blessed the fish and bread, he divided it and fed all the people.  Then his followers collected 12 baskets full of leftovers.  My son knows the truth and he knows Father God and His Son will feed you when you are hungry, and he can feed you in a special way that is bigger than anything you can imagine.

“When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion for them and healed those who were sick. That evening his disciples came and said to him, “This is an isolated place and it’s getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said to them, “There’s no need to send them away. You give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here except five loaves of bread and two fish.” He said, “Bring them here to me.” He ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves of bread and the two fish, looked up to heaven, blessed them and broke the loaves apart and gave them to his disciples. Then the disciples gave them to the crowds. Everyone ate until they were full, and they filled twelve baskets with the leftovers. About five thousand men plus women and children had eaten.” Matthew 14:14-21

So we continued to trust Father God for our bounty of fish, even though it got later and later and the sun was starting to go down.

While the younger kids enjoyed trying to catch minnows in their little nets, the older boys enjoyed other activities to pass the time.  One of the boys whittled sticks.  He found several buoyant very hard sticks to whittle and play with that must have spent a long time in the water before they washed ashore .

Another one of the boys just enjoyed watching the water and wildlife from his hammock and enjoyed relaxing. Another one of the big boys had brought binoculars and enjoyed bird watching.  There were geese, a variety of ducks, herrings, etc. to see.  Before long, a huge four foot tall snowy egret with a huge wingspan flew in and landed very close to us.  He was so thrilled.

About 7:30pm, a boat pulled up to our fishing spot.  I was a little irritated that they pulled up right in the middle of us fishing.  The boat was carrying three men.  One of the men jumped off the boat at the shore and walked up the hill to retrieve his truck and trailer.  As he passed by our fishing poles, folding chairs, and picnic table, as he kept walking hurriedly, he quietly asked do we need any fish and he kept walking up the hill.  He never stopped, but just spoke as he went.  I thought at first he was being friendly and saying “Hows the fishing?” Which seemed a little insulting after pulling a boat right through the middle of our fishing poles.  But then as I thought about it, I was sure he didn’t say that, but instead said ” Do you want any fish?”  He kept walking at a fast pace, so it was hard to hear exactly what he said.

He walked to the back of the parking lot to his vehicle.  Then he backed his trailer down to the boat dock to pull the boat from the water.  We were not fishing at the boat dock, the dock was around the corner in deeper water.  So the boat entering our shallow water fishing spot was really out of the ordinary and is enough to scare any and all fish away.

I felt disappointed.  All of my family felt it too.  They all looked back at me and then at the boat several times as if they didn’t know how to feel.  I felt that if Father God had brought the fish in to take our fishing lines, surely this boat had just ruined our only hope of catching anything. However, I was making a big mistake, because that very disappointment showed that I was at risk of forgetting how big and amazing my Father God is.  I swallowed my discouragement, and put on a smile, and eventually I mustered up a friendly wave to the other two men in the boat as they drove their boat away.  We are told to forgive, pray for and bless others, no matter how they treat us.  So I let the dissapointment go.  I now waved at them with a genuine blessing of peace and kindness.

Internally, I thought to myself “Where was my faith?”  I had just trusted Father God to bring us a school of fish, and I know He is God and if I put my complete trust in him, then why would I doubt his ability to overcome a boat that might disrupt his answer to my prayer?

God is AMAZING!

Before we knew it, the three men we had just seen come to shore in a boat, were now in the parking lot above us.  Their boat was securely on their trailer and they were doing the last steps of putting their gear away before leaving.  They asked us if we had “something to put some fish in?”  I said “we have a cooler”.  They said “is it cold?” and I said it had a little ice left from chilling water bottles earlier and that we would stop and get more ice on the way home.

Next thing I knew, there was fish being pulled out of the belly of their boat.  I wouldn’t have believed what I was seeing had I not said the prayer and trusted Father God to answer my prayer earlier.  I knew without a doubt Father God had worked a miracle for me.  He proved it was him.

It wasn’t a special fishing pole, or special gear, or the right spot along the shore, or anything that I could have done to “bring in the school of fish all at once”.  No, instead Father God answered my prayer His way, by sending three men on the water enjoying Father’s Day together.  They were lead to show up in the middle of our fishing trip in the middle of our fishing poles and stir the water and bless our family with their school of fish they had caught.  It was truly a miracle that only Father God could have done.

This Grandfather, Son, and Grandson trio of fishermen just kept pulling out more and more fish from the boat.

I told the men what had happened.  I told them all of it.  I told them how I trusted Father God for a whole school of fish that would arrive all at once.  I told them how my youngest son believed fish were on the way too.  I could see their shock and amazement on their faces.  I told them that I knew Father God had sent them.  I shared with them about the prayer I had prayed and how I had trusted Father God to answer my prayer.

Then the oldest Father in the group said “never doubt what Father God can do, he can do anything!”

 

YES! Father God is amazing! He is a good Father! He can do anything!

“Stay united with me, as I will with you — for just as the branch can’t put forth fruit by itself apart from the vine, so you can’t bear fruit apart from me.  I am the vine and you are the branches. Those who stay united with me, and I with them, are the ones who bear much fruit; because apart from me you can’t do a thing.  Unless a person remains united with me, he is thrown away like a branch and dries up.  Such branches are gathered and thrown into the fire, where they are burned up.  If you remain united with me, and my words with you, then ask whatever you want, and it will happen for you.  This is how my Father is glorified — in your bearing much fruit; this is how you will prove to be my disciples (talmidim – student teachers – followers).  Just as my Father has loved me, I too have loved you; so stay in my love.  If you keep my commands, you will stay in my love — just as I have kept my Father’s commands and stay in his love.  I have said this to you so that my joy may be in you, and your joy be complete.  This is my command: that you keep on loving each other just as I have loved you. No one has greater love than a person who lays down his life for his friends.  You are my friends, if you do what I command you.  I no longer call you slaves, because a slave doesn’t know what his master is about; but I have called you friends, because everything I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose me, I chose you; and I have commissioned you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last; so that whatever you ask from the Father in my name he may give you.”  John 15:4-16

Please share.

Father’s Day Weekend

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Father’s Day.  Seems dad’s just don’t get enough special days though out the year.  I heard recently some folks are trying to do away with calling it Father’s Day and have put forth legislation to change the name to “Parents Day” so it is more “inclusive”.  Such a shame though to take the focus away from Father’s.

We spent the whole weekend celebrating Father’s Day.  Why not?  He works so hard to care for the needs of our family.  Dedicating this entire weekend just to him pales in comparison.

Father God is also a good father and He spends our entire lifetime caring for our needs.  He is amazing!  He can do anything!  I want to encourage you to not forget him.  Don’t forget to thank him.  Don’t forget to celebrate him.  He is good and his mercy endures forever.

On Saturday, Daddy opened a couple of gifts we had picked out and some that were made for him.  One of the special gifts this year we have been focusing on has been learning “skills” from outdoor survivalist Creek Stewart.  For Dad’s birthday a few months ago, we got him a bimonthly subscription to Apocabox, and he will get six of these boxes during the year.  So for Father’s Day, we stayed with that theme and we ordered him a bow drill from Creek Stewart, so he can learn to make friction fire, also a folding saw for cutting tree limbs, and a Special Edition Apocabox.   However, the Apocabox had not yet arrived before he opened his gifts Saturday morning so I figured the box might be here by Monday.   We told him it would be coming, and we gave him his other gifts and he was quite pleased.  We gave him the Creek Stewart bow drill, a collection of some fire tinders that were hand collected by one our boys including homemade charcloth he made, an extra large coffee cup that says “make it happen”, a swiss army military style clipper set, and his favorite chocolate pecan turtles.  One of our sons is working on a special paracord bracelet that is still in progress, but not finished yet.  Another one of our son’s made him a beautiful leather bag.  I will post a story soon about him creating the bag.

We got ready to leave to take Dad to lunch.  We had a few plans including taking him to lunch at a Mexican restaurant and then take him to Cabela’s to get a new fishing pole.  To round out the special weekend, we planned to take him fishing on Sunday afternoon.

Just as we were planning to leave the house Saturday, the mailman brought a package.  My husband met the mailman in the driveway and he was beaming ear to ear when he got back in the house with his box.  It was the Special Edition Apocabox from Creek Stewart, and he (and our boys) couldn’t wait to open it.  I will post a story soon about this box.

After looking through his Father’s Day gifts and spending the morning together, we went to lunch.  We ate at a place we have eaten at a few times for special occasions such as birthdays.  We had actually been there two weeks earlier to celebrate our oldest son’s eighteenth birthday.  They make delicious tasting Mexican food and our whole family enjoys it.

After lunch we took Daddy to Cabela’s to look around and see if he would like a new fishing pole and gear.  Our family has some fishing gear, but with eight people in the family, and with little ones, some things get broke and we all share what we have, and sometimes Dad is so busy fixing the poles, lost gear, tangled gear, or re-baiting them etc, that he doesn’t even get to fish.  We thought it would be nice to get a new pole just for him.

Cabela’s is a very interesting sporting goods store.  On this day, they had set up a pool in the parking lot and were giving Kayak lessons.

Another cool feature inside the store are the wildlife animal displays and the huge aquarium.

But at the end of our time at the store, the only thing he really wanted was a tee shirt and a flashlight.  So we came home without a fishing pole, but we enjoyed spending time with him anyway.

After we got back home Saturday, we ate some Father’s Day cake our daughter made.  Then we spent time in our back yard trying to make a fire by hand with Dad’s bow drill. 

My husband had our 13 year old son assemble the Creek Stewart Take Down Bow Drill.  He was thrilled to get to assemble it. These bow drills are custom made by hand.  They are made so you can disassemble “take down” the bow and put it into your backpack to carry with you on camping trips.

My son had also made a tinder “nest” for this special occasion.  He is learning so many skills and I am very proud of his efforts.

After it was assembled, they headed to the back yard to practice.

The two of them worked together to run the bow drill.

They had smoke coming from the friction several times.

But each time they would check for a “coal” from the smoke, there was not a coal.

But they did have lots of ground up and smoking wood dust, created by the friction of the two sticks, that could become a coal in the right conditions.

I don’t know if you have ever tried to make a fire by rubbing sticks together, but it is not easy.  They tried for a long time.  They tried up on a table so it was easier on my husband’s 50 year old back.  But when that wasn’t successful, they moved it to the ground.  They also tried making it on a flat rock.  But it proved to be too difficult this evening to get a friction fire going.  We plan to re-watch Creek Stewart’s video about how to use the bow drill to create a fire and then “make it happen”.

Later after dark, the family all went back outside and played with flashlights. Dad got out his new flashlight, and the boys got out their flashlights and they all played around seeing who’s light could shine the brightest out into the yard and go the farthest down the driveway.  As they get bigger and older, it seems Dad might be feeling a bit challenged.  But Dad’s new light won the “farthest” competition with the flashlights and he felt very proud to still be the top dog!

Sunday morning, we got up and made coffee and pancakes.  Knowing we had plans to take Dad fishing later, we played around the house for a bit, and we watched a few videos together.  There are some really good weekly videos on youtube that show current events each week.  There are also some wonderful bible teachings.  When we have time, if we are home on a Saturday or Sunday, we watch some of these bible teachings, and videos that show current events worldwide, including world wide weather events (hurricanes, floods, volcanoes, earthquakes, mudslides, etc), and some that focus on events in the USA.  It is a good way to catch up on the news from a Christian worldview, something you don’t get on regular TV.  It helps to see what is happening in current events, and understand from a Christian worldview what is happening and how it lines up with bible prophesy.  We are told in the scriptures to watch and to understand.  We are living in the end times, and though we don’t know the day or hour it will all take place, I would encourage everyone to try to keep a watchful eye however they can and learn as much as they can.

Then we headed outside to load our fishing gear and cooler into the van and headed out to find a fishing spot and to enjoy the rest of the day with Dad.  We stopped along the way to get a bag of ice, bread, lunch meat, chips, bottled waters and Gatorade.  We planned to have a lunch picnic.  It was 95 degrees out today and we wanted everyone to stay hydrated.  We drove around for about two hours looking for just the right fishing spot.

Finally we found a nice little spot along the water that faced away from the sun, and it had some shade trees.  This seemed like a good spot to put our fishing lines in.  Shade trees can be a blessing, but you can also get your lines tangled in them when casting.

But it was so hot outside, we were sweating while just standing still, and having that little bit of shade from the trees was important.  Eventually we realized the fish don’t like the heat either and we were not catching anything.  After several hours of trying on our part, the fish were just not biting on our lines, other than an occasional nibble.  Then, not long before dark, we had a Father’s Day miracle.

We didn’t get home until very late, and we were all tired, but it was a great day.  Despite the heat, we had fun just spending time together as a family and we enjoyed each other’s company and enjoyed the special day and our special Father’s Day Weekend with Dad.

Be sure to read the next post for an amazing outcome to our Father’s Day weekend:  A Father’s Day Miracle.

Please share.

Apocabox Special Offers From Creek Stewart June 2018

I recently found out that Creek Stewart from Apocabox was offering a few specials and I wanted to let you know about them right away.  I am not affiliated with Apocabox or Creek Stewart.  I simply believe in his mission to teach others about survival and life skills.  I believe in the idea that “if you give a man a fish then he will eat for a day, and if you teach a man to fish then he will eat for a lifetime”.  I want to encourage other families to check out the life skills and survival skills challenges that he teaches.  My family has been blessed to learn from him and all of these skills are useful and could help you in a survival situation someday.

Anyway, the free offer was for a folding survival saw that fits in your back pack.  I watched his video about the saw and ordered one to put into my husband’s Father’s Day gift.  The saw is FREE, but you do pay $3.95 for shipping and handling through the offer on his website, and he will send it out to you.  If the offer is not posted on the front page of his website, then it is over.

After placing that order, there was another notice for a Special Edition Apocabox ONE TIME OFFER. If you decide you want it too, then both orders will be billed and shipped together.  Creek Stewart has loaded a box with almost $200 worth of leftover gear from previous boxes and he will send it out for the standard $50 Apocabox price.  He is hoping that after folks get this and try out the gear, they will want to join.  But there is no commitment needed, it is a one time offer.  One other offer pops up after that for the entire collection of Creek’s pocket survival guides at a huge discount.

I watched two of his videos he made, one is about the knife and one is about the gear he included in the One Time Offer Special Edition Apocabox, and I thought both of these would make a nice addition to my husband’s Father’s Day gift.  He will have some really nice items to use for camping, hunting, fishing, and to keep some gear in his vehicle if he ever needs it.

I am waiting for my order to arrive and I am hoping it arrives today or tomorrow so the kids and I can give it to my husband for Father’s Day.  I was sent an email yesterday that it has shipped.

I wanted to get this note out to other homeschool families and other folks who might be interested.  Creek Stewart said this is a One Time Offer.  It won’t last long and supply will run out soon. It is a first come first serve basis.  So once the supplies are gone, the offer will be over.  I will post a story about the contents of this box after it arrives.

More about Apocabox:

Apocabox by survival instructor Creek Stewart, is a DIY Survival Skills or you could think of it as a Survival School In A Box.  It is shipped bimonthly to your door (Feb, April, June, Aug, Oct, and Dec) for a cost of $50.  Each box has a different theme for the skills being taught.

We joined the bimonthly subscription at the beginning of this year and have received the Feb 2018 Mass Exodus and April 2018 Silent Hunter boxes so far.  We are waiting for the June 2018 Flat Line box to arrive.  Flat Line is a first aid theme and we are looking forward to learning more.  I had researched the Apocabox service months before joining and watched several of Creek Stewart’s videos.  Then we joined when it fit best into our budget.

We are using Apocabox for a life skills curriculum with our kids.  There are 8 of us in the family, and we are all learning together.  All of us have enjoyed learning, and when you work on these projects together as a family, it draws you closer.  I would also say my husband and our teenage boys have been really challenged and motivated with this learning adventure.

Within the boxes we’ve received so far, there have been around 10-12 skills to learn in a pocket survival guide, one or two special skills that are sent with raw materials and templates and instructions in the main newsletter, plus links to exclusive training videos, and 5-10 survival gear items.  To do the other skills in the pocket guide you will need to source your own materials, or the skill being learned might involve practicing with one of the gear items in the box, or it might involve making something like a survival kit for your backpack or vehicle with the gear that is included.  For our family the cost equals out to be about $50 box / 10 lessons (average) = $5 per new skill lesson / 8 people = 0.625 per lesson per person every other month.  So it has been a very affordable learning program for us so far.  However, I don’t think his boxes always include the pocket survival guides and when they don’t, there is less instruction / guidance to learn from.  I do wish he would include a pocket guide in every box, but it is what it is.  It is possible to find enough instruction in other places to make up the difference.

Anyway, I have shared 3 stories about these boxes so far, and if you want to learn more about it, see these posts:

Apocabox: About & Forager

Apocabox: Mass Exodus

Apocabox: Silent Hunter

Creek Stewart has several services where he shares his knowledge and skills with others:

Outdoor Survival School called Willow Haven

Author of several books and survival guides available on his website and amazon.

Creator of numerous survival skills videos on Youtube

Host of S.O.S. How To Survive (on the weather channel)

Host of Fat Guys In The Woods (on the weather channel)

Apocabox bimonthly service

Wild Edible of the Month Club

Surivival Skill of the Month Club

And he has a couple of online stores where he sells various survival products from books to knives to camping and survival equipment and more.  You can find all of this information including the special offers on his main website for CreekStewart.com and also learn more about the Apocabox subscription membership on myapocabox.com

Bottom line:  there is a special time limited opportunity to get a Free Folding Survival Saw offer and if you order the saw, there is an additional opportunity that will appear on your computer dashboard to get the One Time Offer Special Edition Apocabox from Creek Stewart if you are interested.  I want to encourage homeschool families to check out the services Creek Stewart has to offer and see if it might be a good fit for your family.

Be blessed!

Please share.

ARTistic Pursuits: Art for Children, Building a Visual Vocabulary Review

If you want to learn art skills in the comfort of your home, then you might check out the fun professional art lessons for all ages from ARTistic Pursuits, Inc.   Everyone can learn art skills.

Our family recently reviewed one of their art curriculum products called Art for Children, Building a Visual Vocabulary, which is volume 1 of the 6 part series called ARTistic Pursuits Art Instruction Books with DVD and Blu-Ray.

Art for Children, Building a Visual Vocabulary

Instruction Book

Hardback Book

Colorful Step By Step Illustrations

18 Lessons

64 Pages

DVD

6 Video Lessons

&

Blu-Ray

6 Video Lessons

Cost $39.99 on sale for $33.99

Each field of study has it’s own vocabulary and the field of “Art” is no different.  In this curriculum, over the course of 18 lessons and hands on activities, students learn vocabulary words that artists use and much more.  They will learn about famous artists and their artworks, experiment with art supplies and various art techniques that will communicate ideas and develop skills too.

ARTistic Pursuits, Inc. curriculum is created by art instructor and author Brenda Ellis.  She has an extensive background as an artist, teacher, and author.  With her latest curriculum series for grades K-3, she wants to encourage your kids to develop a solid, hands on, “visual vocabulary” because it is the first step in learning about art.

Visual vocabulary words in this curriculum:

  • artist
  • art materials
  • compose
  • imagine
  • observe
  • elements
  • shape
  • form
  • texture
  • subjects
  • landscape
  • still life
  • portrait
  • artworks
  • and much more

Famous Art in this curriculum:

  • The Courtyard of a House in Delft by Pieter Hooch, 1658-1660
  • The Birthday by Mark Chagall, 1915
  • In Flander’s Field – Where Soldiers Sleep and Poppies Grow  by Robert Vonnoh, 1890
  • THe Christening Feast by Jan Steen, 1664
  • Flower Day by Diego Rivera, 1925
  • Boy with bagpipes and young bear by Artist Unknown, 20th CE
  • The Sunflower by Gustav Klimt, 1906-1907
  • Monte Sainte-Victore above the Tholonet Road, 1896-1898
  • Still Life with Coffeepot by Vincent Van Gogh, 1888
  • Sentinel of the Plains, by William Herbert Dunton, 1910
  • Blue Dancers by Edgar Degas, 1898
  • Henry VIII by Holbein The Younger, 1540

Lessons in this curriculum:

All of the lessons are professionally illustrated and contain step by step instructions.  Six of the lessons are described in greater audio visual detail on the DVD’s.  You can chose to play the lesson either on the regular DVD or Blu-Ray DVD.  The DVD’s make you feel like the teacher is right there in the same room with you and they are very easy to understand. With DVD’s you have the freedom to pause or rewind if needed, or hear them again and again.

The 18 Lessons in the book with 6 lessons on DVD/Blu-Ray include:

  1. Watercolor Crayons (full lesson also on DVD)
  2. Artists Compose
  3. Artists Imagine
  4. Identify and Mix Colors (also on DVD)
  5. Artists Observe
  6. Artists Communicate
  7. Contruction Paper: Cut (also on video)
  8. Artists See Shapes
  9. Construction Paper: Fold (also on video)
  10. Artists See Form
  11. Oil Pastels: (also on video)
  12. Artists See Texture
  13. Artists See Landscapes
  14. Artists See Still Lifes
  15. Artists Draw Shapes (also on video)
  16. Artists See Animals
  17. Artists See Figures
  18. Artists See Portraits

The Instruction Book also contains additional chapter resources on:

  • Materials List
  • Teaching Simply
  • Welcome To The World Of Art
  • Objectives (specific learning goals for each lesson)
  • Learning Shapes Templates

Video explaining K-3 Art Instruction Books With DVD and Blu-Ray and a sample lesson:

The Homeschool Review Crew had the opportunity to chose 1 of 4 of the 6 Books with DVD’s in this newest K-3 curriculum series called ARTistic Pursuits Art Instruction Books with DVD and Blu-Ray. Be sure to check the Homeschool Review Crew link a the bottom of this post to read what other families thought about these products.

Art for Children, Building a Visual Vocabulary (Volume 1)
Art of the Ancients (Volume 2)
Art of the Middle Ages (Volume 3)
Artists that Shaped the Italian Renaissance (Volume 4)

With this newest series of products, getting started learning about Art from a professional art instructor in the comfort of your home is easy.  Once you have your instruction Book with DVD’s and have collected your materials, you can choose your own schedule and learn at a pace that meets your needs.  Plan what day of the week you want to begin, get out your book and DVD of choice, and immediately start learning about famous works of art in history, art vocabulary, famous artists, and then imitate their techniques to create your own masterpieces.

A fine arts education is easy with curriculum from ARTistic Pursuits, Inc. because they incorporate art instruction, art appreciation, and art history together in text and video lessons for seamless learning and mastery of skills.

With ARTistic Pursuits, Inc. curriculum, students will:

  • Develop observational skills.
  • Develop creativity skills.
  • Practice skills and techniques of famous artists.
  • Participate as a budding artist creating their own one of a kind masterpieces.

ARTistic Pursuits, Inc. has lots of curriculum products available. They are well known and loved by many families in the homeschool community.  On their website, you can find something for all ages Pre-K through 12th grade and even adults can learn easily with their curriculum.  This newest K-3 series that contains the hardback Instruction Books with DVD lessons replaces the 2013 spiral bound K-3 curriculum editions.

Video about ARTistic Pursuits, Inc:

Our Experience:

We chose Art for Children, Building a Visual Vocabulary Instruction Book and DVD set for the purpose of this review.  It came with a hardback Instruction Book, a DVD, and Blu-Ray.

My kids ages 6, 9,  and 10 work on this curriculum together.  They really enjoyed this learning experience.  I also had their older brothers join them for part of the learning experience too.  I just love homeschooling and having the freedom to adapt learning programs to the needs of our family!

It only takes about 10 to 15 minutes to explain a lesson (or watch a video), and then your student can work on recreating the project independently.  All of my kids enjoyed these lessons.  On the days we all did them together, several sat on the couch and we pulled up additional chairs to use as tables, a folding table, and another sat at a workbench etc.  We had a living room full of young artists!

On other days, it was just the three younger kids learning or perhaps one older brother would join in when his own school lessons were finished.  For a few of the lessons, my 9 year old son or my 10 year old daughter worked on a lesson by themselves.  Out of all the younger kids, it was my 10 year old daughter who loved this curriculum the most and she wanted to work on it as often as she could.  She often chose to repeat a lesson several times, just enjoying the process of learning and practicing her skills.

Lesson Examples:

Below are just a few of the lessons we have worked on over the course of a couple of months.  We tried to maintain a plan of 1 or 2 lessons a week.  We are about 1/2 way through.

I had some art supplies on hand to use when the book first arrived.  The items that I didn’t have, I ordered at a discount online through ebay.  ARTistic Pursuits, Inc. also sells art supply kits on their website too.  You can also find most of the items at a local retail store near you if you don’t want to order items online.  We used a combination of watercolor crayons, oil pastels, watercolor pencils, ebony pencils, art paper, construction paper, tape, glue, and various props to do these lessons. Also my youngest son also wanted to use his watercolor paints for one of the lessons too.

Lesson 1: Watercolor Crayons

Using watercolor crayons and watercolor pencils was a new experience for us.

Son age 9:

Son age 6:

Daughter age 10:

Lesson 5: Artists Observe

My 13 year old son wanted to observe, draw, and color a pine cone on a tree branch.  He did an amazing job on the details.

He recently did a Davy Crocket unit study and a Pine Tree unit study, and he is currently taking a survival skills course that involves skills such as learning to identify resources from different kinds of trees.  This opportunity to learn observation and practice techniques from ARTistic Pursuits was a perfect match for him and fun for the younger kids to see how these skills can be useful and put into practice for more than just art enjoyment. Being observant and knowing what things in nature actually look like could help you find resources that your survival might depend on someday.

Lesson 9: Construction Paper- Fold (Construction Paper Folded Animals part 1)

The kids created 3D animals from construction paper.  In this lesson they learned to draw, cut, fold, and make a bear that stands up and is looking toward you.

Lesson 10: Artists See Form (Construction Paper Folded Animals part 2)

Big brother helped two younger brothers create 3D animals from construction paper.

They created the side profile of horses.

Sister made a dog and a lion from this lesson too.

Lesson 11: Oil Pastels

We learned it is hard to color and make fine details on pictures with oil pastels!  They smear and smudge easily.  But with perseverance, it can be done.

The task was to watch a video lesson, gather objects from around the house, then draw and color them using techniques from the video using oil pastels.

My daughter age 10 created a picture of a tea set using oil pastels.

My son age 6, started out wanting to make his picture of a sea shell, but later he changed his mind and wanted to create a picture of his toy wooden airplane.

My son age 9 wanted to make his picture of different houses.

My son age 17 wanted to create his picture of various colored beads. He loves geometric shapes and patterns.

My son age 15 wanted to create his picture of a toy tractor and include it in a farm scene.

Lesson 13: Artists See Landscapes

We enjoyed learning to make trees and landscapes in this lesson.  We recently reviewed a T is for Tree Bible ABC book and learning to make trees fit in perfectly with the focus of that book too.

Materials: watercolor crayons, paper, brush, water, and paper towels.  My youngest son’s picture is at the top of the photo below and he wanted to use his watercolor paints instead of his watercolor crayons.  The picture below his in the same photo was done by my 10 year old daughter with her watercolor crayons.

I tried my hand with this lesson too and learned how to make landscapes and trees.  I made the picture posted below with watercolor crayons, but had not gone over it yet with a water brush to smooth out and blend the colors when I took this picture of it.  But I love how it turned out anyway.  I have 0 art skills, but somehow, it came out despite my lack of skills.

I tried to make three different types of trees with mountains and a stream, and show the light shining on the trees from the right side and made the trees get darker further down on their left side and back side of the mountains.  This was my first time to use the watercolor crayons.  See I told you adults (even with no previous art experience) can learn from these books too!

Lesson 14: Artists See Still Lifes

The task here was to collect three items to use as a “still life” and draw and color with watercolor crayons.  My six year old son collected three objects he wanted in his still life picture: a starfish, a clam shell, and a fish.  But part way through, he changed his mind, flipped to a new blank page, and wanted to create a still life picture of his boot!  His BOOT!!!

After coloring with the watercolor crayons, the technique is to take a brush and plain water and paint water over what you have colored and it blends together to look like watercolor paint.  He loves these crayons!

Lesson 16: Artists See Animals

My thirteen year old son loves to create, draw, paint, color, etc.  He is a budding artist.  He ventured further ahead and did this lesson.   He has more experience drawing and is also using the ARTistic Pursuits Middle School Book One: The Elements of Art and Composition that is all about sketching and drawing.

The younger kids have not completed this lesson yet.  The task is to look at a picture of an animal of your choice (such as a horse) and draw and color it.

Lesson 18: Artists See Portraits

The task in this lesson is to use oil pastels, ruler, construction paper, tissue, and a mirror to create a self portrait.  My 10 year old daughter learned to make a self portrait and then she made a portrait similar to an example of a girl in the textbook lesson.

She did very well for her first time ever!  It is amazing how well these lessons communicate the ideas so that kids can understand the task and create their own masterpieces.

Final Thoughts:

It is about mid June now, and we are finishing our school year, but I am sure the kids will want to finish this course and then repeat all of these lessons again and practice these new skills they have learned during the hot summer days ahead too.  They have really enjoyed this curriculum.

This Instructional Book and DVD set contains 18 Professional Art Lessons at a reasonable cost, for about $2.22 per lesson. If you are like me and have multiple students using this curriculum, then the cost for each lesson is even less.  For example, in our homeschool, we have six kids plus myself using this material, so that is $40 Book with DVDs / 18 Lessons = $2.22 per lesson / 7 art students = $0.32 per lesson per person for our family.  That is a budget friendly deal for professional art lessons!

Art is a subject we are expected to teach and learn about in education.  I have used products from ARTistic Pursuits and other companies for our homeschool Art curriculum.  However, to be honest, I have been hesitant over the years to jump into “ART” curriculum for a good reason!  I have learned to approach using art lessons with my kids with prayer and from a biblical worldview.  I am cautious because I do not want to violate my faith in the art projects we create including the art lessons on creating a “graven” (carved) image.  We trust in Father God, our Creator, and one of the 10 Commandments (rules to live by) that Father God gave his followers is:

“You are not to make for yourselves a graven (carved) image or any kind of representation of anything in heaven above, on the earth beneath or in the water below the shoreline.” Exodus 20:4

Father God himself made the image of mankind from his own image and breathed into it:

“Then Adonai, God, formed man (mankind) from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, so that he became a living being.” Genesis 2:7

As I wrestled with this rule, I met others along the way who took it very seriously and I met others who didn’t care at all.  One town I lived in previously had stone / concrete statues that were hand painted placed up and down the sidewalks on every street corner.  I have also met people with statues in their homes and yards, government buildings, market places, and church buildings, where they had statues of angels, statues of dead people (heros and saints), statues of gods and goddesses, and parts of their bodies like the huge phallus that is on the grounds of many public buildings, and statues of animals, and birds too.  One man I used to know gave us a huge wooden statue of an eagle he had outside along the pathway near the garden.  It was hand carved and abeautiful.  However, we knew after he gave it to us that it was wrong to have such a piece of “art”.   Some people I have known lined their “knickknack” shelves in their homes with carved images because they enjoyed collecting them as a hobby.  I’ve met people who pray to statues either at home or in religious buildings, and people who place their trust in statues to protect them too.  I have also met people who have a carved image of a man crucified on a cross and hang it in their homes or next to their beds or around their neck and they believe the carved image has power to protect them.  We are instructed in the scriptures not to do this.  I had a roommate in college from Tiawan who prayed to pictures of dead relatives and burned incense to them believing they had power to protect her.  I had friends from Japan and China who also believed this way.  I had Hindu friends from India and Pakistan who had images and figurine statues of various “gods” they prayed to daily and placed red colored stickers or a dot of face paint or stuck red gem stones onto their foreheads.  I had another Christian friend in college attending graduate school who had grown up in India and prayed to religious statues in church and at her private religious school.   I also had an older Christian friend from the USA who sat beside the grave of her dead son and dead husband next to their gravestones and she would pray and also talk to them about current issues in her life and seek their spirit as well as pray to statues at her church where she prayed each Sunday to protect and guide her.  I have been to modern museums where there are waxed sculptures of well known people and animals, and museums that have human looking robots who speak and move and tell stories.  I have also met people and spent time in their homes who are on the other extreme too such as the old order Amish who wouldn’t have any statues of any kind either outside in their yard or inside their homes, or around their neck or wrist and would not even get their picture taken or have any pictures in their homes at all.  I have met people from around the world who were in between these extremes too.

However, I share all of this personal information to say that we need to be careful to obey the commands Father God gave us to “love and obey Father God with all your heart”, “have no other gods”, “do not make a graven image”, “do not create idols”, etc. as well as obey the commands his son gave us to “love Father God with all our heart, and also love your neighbor as yourself” and do not cause any child to stumble by what you teach them because the kingdom of God belongs to them.   The scriptures say that it would be better for a millstone to be hung around your neck and be cast into the sea than for you to cause a little one to stumble and fall away from Father God.  WOW!  This is serious!

“He called a child to him, stood him among them, and said, “Yes! I tell you that unless you change and become like little children, you won’t even enter the Kingdom of Heaven! So the greatest in the Kingdom is whoever makes himself as humble as this child. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me; and whoever ensnares one of these little ones who trust me, it would be better for him to have a millstone hung around his neck and be drowned in the open sea! Woe to the world because of snares! For there must be snares, but woe to the person who sets the snare!  So if your hand or foot becomes a snare for you, cut it off and throw it away! Better that you should be maimed or crippled and obtain eternal life than keep both hands or both feet and be thrown into everlasting fire!”  Matthew 18:2-8

Art (as well as many other things) can easily lead us to break these commands and lead us or our children down the wrong path.  I do not believe that having your picture taken or making a drawing or painting is the same as creating a graven image.  I could be wrong about pictures and my Amish friends could be right.  So my advice is to pray about it and trust Father God to show you the truth.  For me, over the years I have come to understand the difference between an image and a graven image as two different things though they can be one and the same.  I believe a graven image to mean any “carved image” made of stone, wood, or metals that represents something that is dead (no breath in it) but is in the image of something that could be alive or have lived (such as people, birds, land animals, water animals), or possessed by a demon spirit, and any idols or images you might be tempted to place your trust in (such as angels, heros, saints, sun, moon, stars, planets, gods, demigods, demons, fairies, elves, wizards, witches, gargoyles, dragons, talismans, charms, serpents, trees or plants).  Father God made mankind in his image and gave us the breath of life.  We choose to place our trust in him and obey him. We are set apart and He has forbidden us to make graven images.

I understand that sculptures and carved images are part of learning about art history, religions, empires, governments, fame, and fortunes, and these images are all around us in this world.  However, for my family, though we can learn who made them and why they made them as part of learning about history, and we obviously observe their existence in every culture today, we believe we have been warned by Father God in the scriptures not to create these images ourselves, not to have or posses these images, and also not to place our trust in them.

We are to be “set apart” to bring Father God glory.  We are to love others, but we do not follow them and their traditions.  This makes us different from the rest of the world (you are in the world but not “of” the world) because we trust in Father God and obey the 10 commandments He gave us and ask his forgiveness when we have disobeyed, and we believe He sent his only begotten son who perfectly obeyed Him, to die in our place and purchase back our lives to save us from the eternal death and destruction that will come upon this world for rejecting Father God and breaking those commands.  This is serious!

“did not turn from what they had made with their own hands — they did not stop worshipping demons and idols made of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they turn from their murdering, their involvement with the occult and with drugs, their sexual immorality or their stealing.” Revelation 9:20-21

Creating graven images isn’t the only concern with products marketed to children.  There are many things that could have spiritual consequences.  I would encourage homeschool families who desire to obey Father God, to pray about the art products and curriculum they use and ask Father God to show them what He wants them to teach their children about art and any other subject.

Thankfully, ARTistic Pursuits, Inc has curriculum that meets different families needs, and is flexible, and has several art lesson options to choose from that don’t violate our faith, or we can avoid certain lessons if needed.  These flexible options have helped us learn about art, art history, and practice art techniques that don’t involve carving images into graven image sculptures.  We mainly chose to focus on the lessons that involve drawing, sketching, making crafts, coloring, and painting for our hands on portion of the curriculum and avoid lessons that pertain to carving sculptures.  ARTistic Pursuits, Inc. has a huge variety of products from the toddler-preschool ages all the way through senior year in highschool that can help prepare students to take art courses at the college level too.

Social Media

Be sure to check out ARTistic Pursuits, Inc on their social media links for all the latest news and product updates.

Facebook

Twitter

Youtube

Vimeo

Homeschool Review Crew

Be sure to check out what others on the Homeschool Review Crew had to say about using ARTistic Pursuits, Inc products in their home.

Please share.

Apocabox April 2018: DIY Survival Skills

This was our second box we received from our bi-monthly subscription.  Apocabox is shipped six times a year, February, April, June, August, October, December.  Each box has different survival skills themes.  Please check out the first post I wrote in this series to understand more about Apocabox and see the example of the “Forager” theme, and my second post on the “Mass Exodus” theme to understand why I believe this is such a great educational and life skills investment for homeschool families.

Silent Hunter

The theme of the April 2018 box is “Silent Hunter“.  This box goes over several skills challenges to help you learn a few “quiet” hunting skills and techniques that could help you in a survival situation.

Contents:

  • Torque Slingshot by Simple Shot
  • Steel Shot Ammo
  • Powder Ball Ammo
  • Silent Hunter Canvas Belt Pouch by Rothco
  • Pocket Survival Guide: Survival Slingshots
  • Fabric Spinner Targets x 2
  • Rubber Spinner Targets x 2
  • Paper Targets: 3 pack
  • Digital Paper Targets: print out, unlimited quantity
  • Interrupted Pattern Diamond Bench Stone: Sharpener
  • Bait Snare Skills Kit
  • Shepherd Sling
  • Newsletter: 4 page high gloss contains Apocabox contents, skill challenges,

Skill Challenges:

  1. Target Practice With Sling Shot
  2. Build A Target Practice Ammo Trap
  3. Shepherd Sling
  4. Bait Snare Skills Kit

Pocket Field Guide: Survival Slingshots

This is an 88 page 4×6 pocket sized field guide.  It is filled with DIY Skills Challenges to Master making a variety of sling shots from different materials and a lesson on how to make an ammo trap.

Chapters with multiple skills challenges:

  • Band Sets and Pouch Design
  • 10 Improvised Sling Shots to build
  • Survival Style Sling Shot Ammo
  • Creek’s Sling Shot Shooting Basics
  • Target Practice Ammo Trap

 

Videos

  • Video by Creek Stewart teaching How To Use the Sling Shot Video
  • Target Practice Ammo Trap Video
  • Bait Snare Video
  • Exclusive sling shot training videos by Simple Shot, the creator of the sling shot.

After looking over the reading materials and watching the videos, the first activity we did was to put together the Silent Hunter Sling Shot Practice Kit.

Everything stores nicely in the belt pouch and is easy to access for practice.

 

When I get more time to do so, I will post here more pictures of the activities and skills we did as I write more about the Apocabox DIY Survival Skills in a box series.

Final Thoughts:

My family loves to practice with this sling shot.  Creek Stewart has motivated us to improve our sling shot skills, learn about sling shots, and up our game considerably.  Everyone in our family is improving their skills each time we practice.

I decided to do a little research about the legal issues of hunting with a sling shot.  The kinds of animals might you be able to hunt with sling shot in a survival situation include a variety of birds, rabbit, and squirrel to name a few.  Sling shots work great for small game.  However a modification that Creek Stewart suggests is checking out an adapter to use a sling shot to shoot arrows and then you could hunt for larger game. With an arrow, you could bring down a deer or other large animal.

Currently there are 32 states in the USA that do not ban the use of a sling shot with nongame animals and nonprotected species.  The rules are more friendly toward land owners when wild animals have ventured onto their property and are causing damage to it (such as eating crops, attacking livestock on farms, tearing up buildings or fence, etc), and then they are seen as a nuisance.  Before hunting with a sling shot (or any other weapons or traps) be sure to check with your state wildlife agency about the rules of your state.  Another suggestion is to take a hunter’s safety class.  These classes are usually offered by the state parks department or hosted at sporting goods stores like Cabella’s or Bass Pro where hunting gear is sold.

Though we have enjoyed practicing shooting at paper targets our yard, we had not seriously planned to hunt for our food with a sling shot in a survival situation.  However since getting this new sling shot and the Silent Hunter box, now we are target practicing for fun and with a purpose, in the event we might have to use a sling shot to put food on the table someday.

Please share.

Memoria Press Classical Composition Review

If you need a Composition course for your homeschool students, then you might want to check out the Classical Composition I: Fables Set and Classical Compostion II: Narrative Set from Memoria Press.

Memoria Press is a curriculum publishing company that focuses on the Classical Education method with a Christian worldview.

Classical Composition

Memoria Press has published 9 courses in Classical Composition.  You can begin these courses as early as 4th grade and use them all the way through 12th grade if desired, or start when it best fits into your student’s homeschooling journey.

  • Fable
  • Narrative
  • Chreia/Maxim
  • Refutation/Confirmation
  • Common Topic
  • Encomium/Invective/Comparison
  • Characterization
  • Description
  • Thesis & Law

These Classical Composition courses are unique and highly successful.  They were developed by Jim Selby, a teacher from Kansas.  He found that all of his students were able to master the skills of composition with this curriculum.  When his students take these Classical Composition courses, they have “a 100% qualification rate on the optional essay portion of the college entrance exams (ACT and SAT) versus the national average of 23%” and many have “gained college credits with successful completion of the English AP exams.”  That is quite a record of achievement!

Classical Composition I: Fable Set

Student Book

Spiral Bound-Paper Back

101 pages

20 Lessons

Teacher Guide

Spiral Bound-Paper Back

Lesson Plans

Answer Key

101 Pages

Instructional DVDs 

4 DVD’s covering 20 Lessons

Retails for $85

Classical Composition I: Fables is the first course in the Classical Composition series.  Composition is learning how to write well.  The premise is that as students learn about writing and begin to understand and imitate good writers, they will master the techniques of composition and become good writers themselves.

Classical Composition 1: Fables uses short fables to teach students to become good writers.  A fable is a short story that uses animals for characters, has humor, and has a deeper message, a common truth that is wise to learn.  This common truth is called a “common place” because it can apply to everyone.

In each lesson, students will read a fable, become familiar with the contents of the fable as they study the various words and learn the meanings and synomyms of those words, make an outline of the main parts of the fable, narrate the fable from memory, the rewrite the fable with variations or paraphrases using synonyms for the key words while still maintaining the overall meaning of the deeper message.

Course Contents:

Teaching Guidelines
Introduction to the Fable Stage
Definition of Terms

Lessons:
Lesson 1 – The Ant and the Chrysalis
Lesson 2 – The Ant and the Grasshopper
Lesson 3 – The Fox and the Grapes
Lesson 4 – The Hare and the Tortoise
Lesson 5 – The Fisherman Piping
Lesson 6 – The Flies and the Honey-Pot
Lesson 7 – The Bear and the Two Travelers
Lesson 8 – The Dove and the Ant
Lesson 9 – The Thirsty Pigeon
Lesson 10 – The Dog and the Shadow
Lesson 11 – The Dog in the Manger
Lesson 12 – The Mountain in Labor
Lesson 13 – The Sick Lion
Lesson 14 – The Ass and the Lapdog
Lesson 15 – The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
Lesson 16 – The Ass and the Mule
Lesson 17 – The Frogs Asking for a King
Lesson 18 – The Mischievous Dog
Lesson 19 – The Old Woman & the Physician
Lesson 20 – The Fighting Cocks & the Eagle

Appendix:
Figures of Description With Examples
Introduction to the Progymnasmata by James A. Selby

The complete set includes the Student Book, Teacher Guide and a set of 4 DVDs.  These items can be purchased separately or as a set.  You will save money buying them together as a set.

The Student Book has the fable, plus room on 4 worksheets to complete each written exercise.

Student Book sample:

The Teacher Guide has the student’s worksheet, additional lesson helps such as vocabulary definitions and lesson structure (not a daily schedule plan), and the answers to the corresponding student worksheet included all on one page.  It also has additional teaching tips scattered throughout, a grading rubric, and plenty of room to write extra notes if needed.

Teacher Guide sample:

The DVDs brings the fable to life with an audio visual component rather than just reading from the Student Book.  The DVD set contains a set of 4 DVDs and each one contains 5 lessons from the Student Book and covers all 20 lessons of the course.  Be sure to click the link below to see and hear a sample of Lesson 1 and how the instructor presents the fable and explains the tasks to be completed.

DVD Video Sample:

Classical Composition I: Fable DVD Sample from Lesson 1 on Vimeo.

Grading:

Course grades are based on:

  • Handwriting
  • Mechanics (spelling, punctuation, grammar)
  • Content (storyline)
  • Vocabulary/Diction (word choice)
  • Figures of Description

Classical Composition II: Narrative Set

Student Book

Spiral Bound-Paper Back

156 Pages

20 Lessons

Teacher Guide

Spiral Bound-Paper Back

156 Pages

Instructional DVDs 

Retails for $85

This is the second course in the Classical Composition courses.  Classical Composition II: Narrative Set uses narratives to teach students to become good writers.  Each lesson in the Student Book begins by reading aloud a narrative.  The narrative may contain a few difficult words, and the Teacher’s Guide contains lists with definitions to go over with the student.  Through a process of writing an outline, and writing 2 rough drafts of paraphrasing and a final draft, the students will narrate the narrative in their own words to master the writing skills in this Composition course.

Course Contents:

Teaching Guidelines
Definition of Terms
Introduction to the Narrative Stage

Lessons:
Lesson 1 – The Rose
Lesson 2 – Chico and the Crane
Lesson 3 – Elijah and the Widow
Lesson 4 – Giufà—Eat, My Clothes!
Lesson 5 – The Song of the Vineyard
Lesson 6 – Giufà and the Judge
Lesson 7 – Elijah and the Prophets of Baal
Lesson 8 – Elijah and the Burning Sacrifice
Lesson 9 – Nathan and David
Lesson 10 -The Frog Prince
Lesson 11- Elisha and the Widow’s Jars
Lesson 12 – Conrad Von Tannenberg
Lesson 13 – Latona and the Rustics
Lesson 14 – A Vine Out of Egypt
Lesson 15 – The Sower
Lesson 16 – The Good Samaritan
Lesson 17 – Baucis and Philemon
Lesson 18 – The Foolish Rich Man
Lesson 19 – The King and Two Servants
Lesson 20 – The Pen and the Inkstand

Appendix:
Figures of Description With Examples
Figures of Speech With Examples

The Classical Composition II: Narrative Set includes a Student Book, Teacher Guide, and a set of 4 DVDs.  These items can be purchased separately or as a set.  However, you will save money when you buy these together as a complete set.

The Student Book has the narrative story, plus room on 6 worksheets to complete each written exercise.

Student Book sample:

Each page of the Teacher Guide has the student’s corresponding lesson page in a subset, lesson vocabulary and definitions, lesson structure (but not a daily lesson plan schedule), and the answer key included all on one page.  Some pages within the book also contain teaching tips.  The Teacher’s Guide also contains a grading Rubric, examples of figures of description, examples of figures of speech, and room to write extra notes too.

Teacher Guide sample:

The Classical Composition II: Narrative Set has a set of 4 DVD’s.  Each DVD contains 5 lessons from the Student Book covering all 20 lessons.  The addition of the DVD to this course brings the Narrative story to life with an audio visual component rather than just reading from the Student Book.  Be sure to click the link below to hear the Narrative sample from Lesson 3 and see and hear how the instructor explains the narrative composition tasks to be completed.

DVD Video sample:

Classical Composition II: Narrative Sample DVD from Lesson 3 on Vimeo.

Grading:

Course grades are based on:

  • Handwriting
  • Mechanics (spelling, punctuation, grammar)
  • Content (storyline)
  • Vocabulary/Diction (word choice)
  • Amplification (figures of description, inverting in draft, etc)

Our Experience:

We were glad to receive Classical Composition I: Fables Set and Classical Compostion II: Narrative Set for the purpose of this review.  The arrival of this course was perfect timing for my son’s English Composition course work.  These courses count for a full credit on his highschool transcript.

We have loved the Classical Education products Memoria Press has sent us to review in our homeschool.  Memoria Press has many wonderful curriculum products that can be used by homeschool families who use a variety of homeschool education methods (Classical, Traditional, Eclectic, Charlotte Mason, etc).  Classical Composition is one of those great versatile products.

My son is doing an accelerated plan to get both of these Classical Composition courses done in his final year of highschool. That means working daily on Composition instead of spacing it out a few days a week.  He has to be laser focused to work on it each day.  Hopefully at the accelerated pace, he will accomplish each Composition course in about 18 weeks. These courses are flexible and can also be stretched out for a whole school year if you don’t need the accelerated pace.   He needs to finish two courses, and perhaps even a third course, before he graduates.  So this accelerated plan is a better option for him.  Memoria Press also sent us their Classical Composition Accelerated I Lesson Plan (9 pages) for him to follow so he can complete both of these courses together in 1 year.

Though he is a strong reader, with excellent comprehension, he is not a strong essay writer.  He really has had no desire to write stories or essays, until recently.  However, this course has motivated him to want to write.

He starts each lesson out by reviewing the short lesson on video and reading it in the student book.  Then he completes the activities in the student book through out the week.  There are approximately 4 pages of activities to a lesson in Fables and 6 pages of activities to a lesson in Narrative (he has not begun the Narrative lessons yet).

The course instructor on the DVDs is Dr. Brett Vaden.  He is very easy to understand and my son and I enjoy the sound of his voice and his explanations.  Having these DVDs made a huge difference in my son’s motivation level to do the writing exercises.  Though you could do the course with only the student book and teacher guide, I would encourage everyone to get this course as a set with the DVDs because they really do enrich the learning experience.

Though Memoria Press recommends students start learning Composition as early as possible (as early as 4th grade to get through all 9 levels of their courses), the everyday reality is that most students focus on Composition as a structured course during their highschool years.  Given the research and success record of Memoria Press curriculum, it is obvious that the sooner you begin these courses, the more opportunity and more time you will have to master all the skill levels.

Memoria Press

In addition to their publishing company, Memoria Press also own a private Christian school called Highlands Latin School in Louisville Kentucky that uses their award winning curriculum.  They have scored in the top 1% of schools in the country for 9 years in a row.  The quality of the Memoria Press curriculum is top notch.  Using this curriculum, their students score an average of 3 grades above their grade level.

Memoria Press curriculum products are available to the public and are well loved by many in the homeschool community.

They have every grade level available in both a complete subject grade package format and also as individual subject products.  So you can choose what best fits your homeschool student’s needs, and search for products by subject area or by grade.

Special Offers

You can save $50 when you buy ANY TWO Classic Composition Sets (Student Book, Teacher Guide, DVDs)!  Be sure to use the coupon code CCSET at checkout.

Social Media

Keep in touch with Memoria Press through their social media links for all the latest news, special offers, and product updates:

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Instagram
Google+
YouTube

Homeschool Review Crew

Memoria Press recently sent a variety of products to The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew:

New American Cursive 1
New American Cursive 2 (Scripture)
New American Cursive 2 (Famous Americans)
New American Cursive 3 (Famous Quotes)

Traditional Logic I Complete Set
Traditional Logic II Complete Set

Classical Composition I: Fable Set
Classical Composition II: Narrative Set

Be sure to check out what others on the Homeschool Review Crew had to say about using products from Memoria Press in their home.

Please share.

Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary Review

Do you want to get smarter?  Do you want your kids to improve their grades?  Then you might want to check out the over 200+ Award Winning products from The Critical Thinking Co.™

Critical Thinking Detective

We recently checked out the Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary Book 1.  Critical Thinking Detective is a whole series of books that helps you learn to think logically to solve dilemmas.

So far, the Critical Thinking Detective series includes:

  • Beginning
  • Book 1
  • Book 2
  • Math
  • Vocabulary Book 1
  • Vocabulary Book 2

Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary Book 1

Student Workbook

AnswerKey

12 Cases To Solve

Softcover

Colorful Illustrations

40 Pages

Retails $8.99 on sale for $7.99

Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary Book 1 is a 40 page softcover workbook for grades 5-12+ (would be fun and challenging to most adults too).  This student workbook contains 12 mystery cases to solve.  The student uses vocabulary, and critical thinking skills to logically solve the case.  As the student evaluates the details of the case, understands the meanings of words and learns their meanings and synonyms, uses inductive and deductive reasoning, analyzes the information, they are then able to solve the case.

Table of Contents:

  • How To Solve These Cases
  • The Antique Double-Dealer
  • The Stray Accomplice
  • The Pilfering Today
  • The Ring Coveter
  • The Acrid Saboteur
  • The Contrary Instigator
  • The Brazen Biker
  • The Cogent Denigrator
  • The Disgruntled Defacer
  • The Unencumbered Employee
  • The Wandering Wayfarer
  • The Cunning Customer
  • Answer Key

So how do you solve the case?  Well, first of all you need to CAREFULLY read the description of the case.  Read the statements from one or more witnesses, and read the statement from 4 possible suspects who may or may not have committed the crime.  Then look up the words given in the clues. These definitions will help you understand what really happened and who did it.

Here are the steps to solve each cases:

  • Read the clues.
  • Use a dictionary!
  • Understand the definition of each word.
  • Understand the synonyms and antonyms of each word.
  • Take notes.
  • Reason it out.
  • Solve the case.

Following each case, the student is introduced to 18 to 25 new vocabulary words to learn. There is also a worksheet full of fill in the blank sentences to complete to practice using the vocabulary correctly.

Author

Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary was written by Diane Hartsig.  She is also the author of Vocabulary Riddles – A-Z Catastrophes, Books 1 and 2.  She is a wife, the mother of 3 kids, and an elementary school teacher.  She is passionate about kids acquiring and learning how to use language.

Our Experience:

We received Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary Book 1 in exchange for writing an honest review.  The Critical Thinking company is also offering special savings for our readers.  I think it is great when companies send products to be reviewed and also send discounts to those who want to try out the product because they read the review and were inspired to try it.  So be sure to check out the special offers listed below for a discount code, and get the free Critical Thinking Puzzle too!

I gave this workbook to my 15 year old son to include in his schoolwork. My thoughts on giving it to him was that the mystery cases are short and he might be able to do them without adding a lot of additional work onto his schoolwork.  I thought as he accomplished the cases, it would build more confidence for writing.

After reading the case, he tried to reason it out, but was not quite sure who did it.  So I had him go ahead and work through vocabulary words and complete the sentences before trying to solve the crime.   However, after working through the first handful of words, perhaps 10 or so, he was ready to quit before he had even accomplished the first case.  He wanted to quit because he found the words unfamiliar and didn’t like looking them up to find what sentence they fit into.

These are hard words!  I don’t even know most of them myself.  They are not commonly used.  Here are just a few examples:

  • congent
  • flummox
  • espy
  • sedulous
  • vacuous
  • superfluous
  • credulous
  • madras
  • tantamount
  • puce
  • tenable
  • senescent
  • foist
  • spurious

However, after a few days of setting the workbook aside (and I don’t blame him), he put his mind to it and persevered.  To complete the task, he only needed the workbook, a pencil, and access a dictionary (he used an online dictionary on the internet).  It’s portable, so he doesn’t have to sit in one place.  He can take it with him and fill in the gaps in his time.  He enjoys being outside and working on it if the weather is nice.  Having the freedom to choose where and how to learn is one of the beautiful benefits of homeschooling.  Just being outside seemed to help motivate him to work on it.

After he looked up the meaning of the new word, and learned it’s definition and other words that have the same meaning, then he would compare words and fill the words into the correct sentences. Each word can only be used once.  Taking time to do the vocabulary words gave his brain time to ponder the details of the case.  Finally, he was confident in various word meanings to reasonably solve the case.

After completing the first case, he was more confident in working through the rest of the workbook.

After completing the first few cases, he was well on his way to improving his use of vocabulary and logic.

He is motivated to finish and I have no doubt he will finish the workbook and raise his knowledge and skill level to be way smarter than me!

The Critical Thinking Co.™

Created in 1958 by John Brown, The Critical Thinking Co.™ helps students master skills needed to achieve high standards for education.  They have extensive knowledge in math, logic, reading and writing, science, and social studies.  They guarantee better grades and higher test scores when you practice your critical thinking skills with their books and software.

The Homeschool Review Crew is currently reviewing several products from The Critical Thinking Co.™

Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary

Understanding Pre-Algebra

Dare To Compare: Math Level 1

Critical Thinking Detective Book 1

Vocabulary Riddles Book 1

Something Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha

SPECIALS:

Special Offers from CriticalThinking.com!

  • Free Critical Thinking Puzzles!
    A $75 Value! Delivered weekly to your inbox. Choose PreK – Grade 8.  Sign Up Now!
  • Free Shipping
  • 15% Off Any Size Order!
  • Use Coupon Code: TOSCREW18.  
  • Expires 12/31/2018.

Social Media

Be sure to connect with The Critical Thinking Co.™ on their social media links for all the latest news, sales, and product updates.

Facebook

Google+ 

Twitter

Youtube

Pinterest

Blog (Articles & Advice)

Homeschool Review Crew

Be sure to check out what the Homeschool Review Crew members had to say about using these products in their home.

Please share.

Apocabox Feburary 2018: DIY Survival Skills

February was our first box we received from our Apocabox subscription. Apocabox is a survival school in a box that teaches various survival skills and project challenges.  Apocabox is a bi-monthly subscription and is shipped six times a year: February, April, June, August, October, December.

Each shipment of Apocabox has a different theme.  The box contains a few survival gear items, has a main survival kill challenge kit, sometimes a second challenge kit, and also several additional skill challenges to master through various written challenges such as in the pocket field guides and exclusive subscriber videos.

To learn more about Apocabox and how it works, please check out my first story and review of Creek Stewart’s Apocabox where I went into more detail about Creek Stewart as a survival instructor and details about the Forager box from the 2017 themes.

Mass Exodus

The theme of the February 2018 box was “Mass Exodus”.  This box was all about learning skills that could help you survive in a mass evacuation situation.

A few questions to think through in a Mass Exodus situation:

  1. If you suddenly needed to evacuate from home, school, or you office, what have you prepared ahead of time (food, clothing, first aid, navigation and plans) and what skills have you mastered, that could help you in that situation?
  2. Also if everyone was leaving a specific area at the same time, and the roads were bogged down with traffic and wasn’t moving very fast (or at all), and your vehicle got stranded on the road, what skills do you have to get your car going again?
  3. If you had to live in your vehicle until you were rescued, what resources do you have with you to facilitate shelter, water, fire, and food?
  4. If you had to leave your vehicle and start walking, what skills have you learned that could help you stay alive?

Contents:

  • Mora 511 Knife and Sheath (useful for multiple tasks and food prep).
  • Pocket Field Guide: How To Survive Being Stranded In Your Vehicle.  Includes 12 Vehicle Survival Skills
  • Exodus Stowaway Backpack (folding backpack). Easily pack food and a change of clothes or other gear in this light weight backpack.  Folds down small enough to fit into your glove compartment when not in use.  
  • Exodus Necker Wallet (wallet with a strap and is worn like a necklace under your clothes): store valuables, ID, money, etc inside your shirt.
  • Last Ditch Ankle Stash (wallet worn around your ankle): store valuables inside your pant leg on your ankle if you need to leave your vehicle.
  • Exodus Hammer (cuts seat belts, breaks glass, etc).
  • Go Cubes (chewable coffee cubes)
  • Apocabox Newsletter (large, high gloss pages, you can whole punch and put into a binder): with a complete contents list and full explanations, detailed skills challenges, pictures of other subscribers completed December Apocabox knife skills challenge, and more.

Mass Exodus Skill Challenges:

There were two specific skill challenges in the Mass Exodus Apocabox, and both of these skills were described in detail with great illustrations in the Pocket Field Guide.

  1. Make a Roycroft Pack: improvised Canadian military backpack made from three sticks, cordage, and a tarp to carry your belongings in if you had to take off on foot.
  2. Build Bug Out Gas Siphoning Kit

We completed both skill challenges.

Skill Challenge #1 We learned how to lash three poles or sticks together and attach the tarp and fold it with our belongings inside to create the Roycroft Pack style backpack.

Skill Challenge #2 We also made the gas siphoning kit.

  • Gas tank funnel
  • Siphon with tubing
  • 1 gallon gas can.
  • 36″ tubing
  • 72″ tubing

We purchased two different siphons with tubing for this kit.  One is a small squeeze ball siphon like Creek Stewart suggested in the field guide, and the other is a pump siphon similar to a bicycle pump.

Pocket Field Guide: How To Survive Being Stranded In Your Vehicle

This pocket guide contains 12 survival skills to master:

  1. Turn Your Vehicle Into A Super Shelter
  2. Start A Fire Using Battery and Pencil
  3. Get Unstuck With A Tank Tire: Make tracks for tires.
  4. Car Mat Muklucks: Upcycled Snow Boots
  5. Avoid Suffocation: Automotive CO
  6. A Modern Day Fire Horn: How to safely transport a burning coal to a new location to transfer fire.
  7. Improvised Signal Mirror
  8. Parabolic Fire Start: Using the bowls of headlamp reflectors (or a parabolic lens) to start a fire.
  9. Make a Roycroft Pack: improvised Canadian military backpack made from three sticks, cordage, and a tarp.
  10. Build Bug Out Gas Siphoning Kit
  11. Reflective Vehicle Dash Shade
  12. Two Pole Flip Wench
  13. Vehicle Emergency Kit

In addition to the two skill challenges mentioned earlier, we also completed some of the other skills from Pocket Field Guide:

  • Created a Vehicle Emergency Kit. All of the items in the Mass Exodus Apocabox can be added to the vehicle emergency kit, plus you will want to add many other items too.  Our kit contains gloves, hat, socks, blanket, water, food, cook stove, metal bowl to boil water, food prep knife and cutting board, tarp and plastic sheeting for super shelter, paracord, emergency whistle, first aid kit, lighter, fero rod and striker, candles, flash light, tow rope, duck tape, and the gas siphoning kit skills challenge we made.  There are several more items we still want to add such as back up charger for cell phones, portable toilet, flares, road cones, etc.
  • Purchased items to turn the vehicle into a super shelter if needed.  We haven’t yet completed the task of creating the actual super shelter in the vehicle.  But we have the resources on hand if needed. Essentially what we will do is use clear plastic sheeting, and a mylar blanket to create walls that capture the heat from a campfire outside on the ground and retain the heat inside the shelter.
  • practiced fire starting skills to make a campfire,
  • learned how to transport a fire tinder coal to move a campfire and start the next fire from the coal,
  • purchased a reflective dash shade and added it to the vehicle emergency kit for multiple uses: heat reflector, sleeping liner, ground pad, solar stove, signalling tool.

Final Thoughts:

I found the Mass Exodus theme to be very thought provoking.  Due to the condition of our world, mass exodus from various locations within the USA and around the world have become common place.  Fires, economic crisis, bad weather, flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, mudslides, droughts, food shortages, unclean water, riots that block city streets, riots that block highways and interstate roads, and in many places around the world there is war and rumors of war.  I truly believe we are living in the latter days the bible mentioned.  Even now, many people have become homeless and displaced just in the past few years after these major events, and too many don’t survive mainly due to lack of safe shelter, clean water, fire, and food.  If you have to leave your house or office, and can’t go back to the house to get things you normally use in everyday life for a while, having a few survival items in your vehicle, and knowing a few basic survival skills could make a huge difference for many people in the days of tribulation that are soon coming upon the earth.

Mark 13: 5-8 “And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you: For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.  And when ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.”

Mark 13:14-27  “But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains: And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house: And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment. But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter. For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days. And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things. But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.”

Please share.