Monday, July 18, 2016

D.E.A.R. Monday - July 18

I can't believe my summer is halfway over! Have you had much time to Drop Everything And Read this summer?


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

ArtAchieve Entire Level 1 Review


This summer I had plans to improve me; I wanted to learn something new. Since anyone who knows me would tell you that I can barely draw a stick figure, I thought it would be fun to do some art lessons. It was also a good time to check out a homeschool art curriculum that I could use with my girls. I thoroughly enjoyed the lessons from the Entire Level I bundle from ArtAchieve and can't wait to use these lessons with my girls this school year.
For this review, we received one year access to all of the lessons in the Level I bundle on the ArtAchieve website. This includes 11 lessons.

Art Lessons for Children ArtAchieve Review

Like I said earlier, I have NO artistic ability whatsoever. In fact, it was a standing joke in my botany co-op class whenever I would draw something on the board to show what we were talking about that I teach the science class and not the art class for a reason. ArtAchieve lessons, though, are so easy to follow and understand that even I was able to produce some decent artwork.

Each lesson consists of 4 parts:
  • A PowerPoint version of the lesson
  • A printable warm-up activity
  • A video version of the lesson
  • A printable example for the lesson
The PowerPoint is simply a written, visual version of the video lesson. I didn't use this much because, while I am fully capable of following written directions, I do much better with auditory directions. I know my girls will also do better with the video lessons. 

The PowerPoint and video lessons give step-by-step instructions for drawing the item in the lesson. They also give background information that goes with the lesson. For example, in the lesson on The Haitian Gecko, they teach about geckos and where they live. They also teach about how the people of Haiti often cut metal into gecko shapes and paint them. 

The printable warm-up activity involves copying sets of lines from one box to another. Usually it is a scrambled version of the object or theme of the lesson. The instructions for the warm-up say to remind yourself of what kind of line you're drawing as you are drawing it; I found this extremely helpful.

The printable example of the lesson was good for giving me a baseline for how to draw what I was supposed to for the lesson.

For me, one of the best things about the lessons wasn't the instructions; it was the "Rules for Drawing" given at the beginning of the lesson. The reminders that it's okay not to always like what I draw, that it's a process and what might look strange in the middle of the lesson might look better when it is completed, and that I need to draw for myself and not anyone else were all extremely helpful in keeping me focused on why I was learning to draw. It wasn't to impress anyone but to help me learn something new.

By the time I got to the lesson on The Chinese Dragon, I was really beginning to enjoy myself and my final products. In fact, I don't even mind sharing this one with all of you. Ha! Ha!


ArtAchieve has 5 levels to choose from. Level I was a great place for me to start since I am such a beginner, and I know that my girls will be able to do these lessons as well. Some of the lesson topics in Level I include:
  • Hungarian Insects
  • Haitian Gecko
  • Chinese Dragon
  • Kitenge Tree Wall Hanging from Tanzania
  • Four Suns with Four Faces
You can learn more about ArtAchieve and the Entire Level I bundle on social media:

Are you interested in what others have to say about ArtAchieve? Check out more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Art Lessons for Children ArtAchieve Review

Crew Disclaimer

Monday, July 11, 2016

D.E.A.R. Monday - July 11

Another week without a lot of time to Drop Everything And Read. We spent 3 days last week at the Regional Track Meet where Little Red qualified to compete in the National Junior Olympics.


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Our Road to the National Junior Olympics

I'm sure you've seen the slogan "Road to Rio" often recently. The Olympic qualifying trials have been fascinating to watch and follow over the past few weeks. The road I'm sharing today isn't to Rio, but it's just as big to Little Red. Her journey is the "Road to Sacramento."


Little Red has qualified to compete at the USA Track & Field National Junior Olympics in Sacramento, California the last week of July.

Her journey began in Spring 2015 when she first joined the track club in our town. This wasn't because she's a great runner (she's not!) but because we were looking for an activity that she would enjoy. She had tried ballet, soccer, and softball, but none of those were "her thing." We thought that we would have her try track because, even if she never became a track and field superstar, it would be a good activity that would keep her from just sitting on the couch all the time.

For the first couple of practices of a season, the kids are allowed to try all of the events that they can compete in, and then they narrow their events down to 3 to focus on for the season. I mentioned earlier that Little Red isn't really a runner, so she decided to try racewalk for one of her sessions. It was a perfect fit for her.

If you aren't familiar with racewalk (few people are), let me try to describe it. It's a very fast-paced walk in which athletes have 2 basic rules:

  1. One foot has to be in contact with the ground at all times.
  2. The front knee has to be straight when the foot makes contact with the ground.
This is a great video of racewalk basics.

Little Red did extremely well at racewalk in the 2015 track season. She came in first in the state association meet and first in the regional meet. So last summer, we packed up to go to Jacksonville, Florida, for the National Junior Olympics. Jacksonville is only a few hours drive away so this was an easy trip to make.

During a racewalk race, there are judges stationed around the track to monitor whether or not athletes are following the rules of keeping one foot in contact with the ground and keeping their knee straight. Each judge has paddles that they show athletes who are violating the rules as a warning. After giving warnings, they give red cards for athletes who are continuing to have bad form. If 3 different judges give red cards for an athlete, that athlete is disqualified. There is a DQ board next to the track during the race where they mark how many red cards an athlete has.

During the National Junior Olympic race last year, Little Red had one red card as she began her final lap. It was really hot and she struggled maintaining her form during her last lap. She finished the race with the 5th fastest time in the race but was told afterward that she was dq'ed - her time didn't count. She was devastated! 

For many athletes, this would be the end of their journey. They would become discouraged and quit.

Not my Little Red - she's a fighter. She immediately decided that she was going to work extra hard to get her form right so she could make it back to the National Junior Olympics this year. 

This past weekend, she competed in the Regional Meet. She came in 3rd in her racewalk - the top 5 qualify for the National Junior Olympics. Not only did she qualify, but she didn't receive one warning paddle in the entire race! Not only did she qualify for the National meet in racewalk but she also ended up coming in 5th in mini-javelin. 

SHE'S HEADED TO SACRAMENTO!

I don't typically ask for money on this blog (or in my real life LOL). This trip is a chance of a lifetime and an opportunity for her to redeem her performance from last year, but it won't be cheap. We'll have to fly from South Carolina to California, stay for 5 days in a hotel, and rent a car for our time out there. We can't afford to take the whole family, so it will just be me and her going but it will still be expensive.

If you are inclined and able, we would welcome any donations for her to reach her goal of getting to Sacramento. You can contact me at the email address on my About Me page.

Another way you can help us is to use my Amazon Affiliate link below when you shop on Amazon. It doesn't change your cost at all.



If you aren't able to help, we completely understand and would appreciate prayers for safe travel. We would also appreciate you sharing this with others. Thanks!

Monday, July 4, 2016

D.E.A.R. Monday - July 4

I've had a couple of crazy weeks, and they included lots of time to Drop Everything And Read.


(This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting this blog and our homeschool by using these links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

What I've Finished Reading:
  • Fudge Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke - I love Joanne Fluke's books, especially the yummy recipes she includes throughout the story. Her main character, Hannah Swensen, owns a bakery while also helping to solve the murder of the sheriff, who died while eating one of her fudge cupcakes. ●●●4 of 5 stars for this one.
  • Unashamed: Healing Our Brokenness and Finding Freedom from Shame by Heather Davis Nelson - You can read my review of this book here. (You can also enter the giveaway for a chance to win your own copy!)
What I'm Currently Reading:
Up Next on My TBR List:
What have you read lately?
What's on your TBR list?
What should I add to my TBR list?

Link up your book-related posts below.
(Family Friendly, please.)


Items of interest in this post:

 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Unashamed: Healing Our Brokenness and Finding Freedom From Shame - Review and Giveaway

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

(This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting this blog and our homeschool by using these links. For more information, please see my disclosure policy.)

Almost everyone I know suffers from some sort of shame problem. And those I know who don't seem to suffer from it are simply doing a better job of hiding it. If you are like me, you would love to lose those shameful feelings and become more confident in who you are. In her book Unashamed: Healing Our Brokenness and Finding Freedom from Shame, Heather Davis Nelson shares how Jesus Christ and the Gospel can free us from our shame.

About the Book:
Unashamed: Healing Our Brokenness and Finding Freedom from Shame offers hope to those struggling under the burden of shame. This book shines the life-giving light of the gospel on the things that leave us feeling worthless and rejected, directing our attention to the God who promises to forgive and restore us—no matter what.

About the Author:
Heather Davis Nelson (MA, Westminster Theological Seminary) is a writer, counselor, and speaker. Heather writes regularly at HeatherDavisNelson.com and has been a featured writer at the Gospel Coalition, as well as a contributing author to the Journal of Biblical Counseling. She and her husband are parents to twin daughters and live in southeastern Virginia. 





My Thoughts:
Like I mentioned earlier, I struggle with thoughts of shame and would love to lose those feelings. Unashamed is a great reminder that Jesus came to release us from those feelings, to give us freedom in Him. This book touches on the most common areas of shame, especially for women - body shame, social shame, and performance shame. It also addresses how we usually respond to shame and how we, through Jesus, can change our responses. 

I love that each chapter ends with questions for reflection and discussion. This would be a great book to read with a group of friends and discuss.

You can find Unashamed: Healing Our Brokenness and Finding Freedom from Shame on Amazon

Not only was I given the opportunity to review Unashamed: Healing Our Brokenness and Finding Freedom from Shame, but I also get to give away a copy of the book to one of my lucky readers. Just enter the giveaway below for your chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 30, 2016

End of the First Half

Today is the last day of the first half of the year. It's hard to believe that this year is going by so quickly.

I'm looking at today like halftime of a ball game - a time to reflect on the first half and see what needs to happen in the second half.


My word for this year is DISCIPLINED.

If I'm honest about how disciplined I've been in the first half of the year, I would have to say I still have a LONG way to go.

Homeschooling - This past spring, I felt was better and more focused than I had been in a while. I've started planning for this coming year, and my goal is for this to be one of our best years yet. (Of course, that's my goal every year.)

Relationships - I'm more disciplined in carving out time for them, but I'm still not where I would like to be. I still tend to have better intentions than what I actually follow through on.

Our Home - It's nowhere near as decluttered as I had hoped it would be by this point in the year. The nice thing about midyear evaluating is that there is still time for me to work on this.

Academic Tutoring Business - I've had to put this on hold for a while. I would really like to start this, but I'm not sure I have time since I have to take the kids to soccer practice, track practice, dance classes, etc., in the evenings.

Personal Growth - I've been doing a lot more reading this year. I still have to finish Sassy's Christmas stocking and have some other personal projects I want to work on.


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