Week In Review

A short and quick week in review. It has been so hot here, we really haven't been out much. Waiting for cooler weather. My boys were at Trail Life summer camp this week. My girls and I hung out at home and the girls went to a local church's VBS this week.


Week In Review

This past week, my two boys had the opportunity to go on a mission trip with our church. They were in Conway, SC helping an organization called Fostering Hope. They painted, built walls, and packed backpacks for foster children in the Myrtle beach area. They had a great time.

My oldest daughter went to The Wilds camp in Brevard, NC with our church. She comes back this afternoon and I can't wait to hear how her week went.

Since I only had my youngest daughter at home, we did some fun things. We went to the aquarium, Fort Macon, and to see Finding Dory.

My boys came home Thursday evening and my youngest son turned thirteen yesterday.  We went out for lunch. Today, Saturday, they left for a week of camp with their Trail Life group. Praying they have a great week at camp.


Beric The Briton ~ Review

You all know from my past reviews that my children and I love audio dramas. I love when audio dramas come up for review and pray that we get picked to review them. We especially love audio dramas produced by Heirloom Audio Productions. Their newest drama is Beric The Briton.

To be honest, I had never heard of G.A. Henty before I started listening to the Heirloom Audio Productions of his books. I never would have thought to introduce his works to my children if it had not been for the dramas.

About G.A. Henty:
Born in 1832, Henty became an exceptional English author and war correspondent. His stories are historical and adventurous. They became popular in the late nineteenth century and are still widely read today.

About Beric The Briton:
This story takes place around 60 AD during the Roman invasion of Britain. Beric is a young man at this time. He fights with the Iceni tribe which is led by Queen Boadicea. Even though he defeats the Romans, he is eventually captured and sent to Rome. There he is trained to become a gladiator. He gains fame when he defeats a lion with bare hands and is then sent to serve in Nero's palace. He does eventually get back home to Britain after Nero dies, but he is not as welcomed as he thought he would be.

Beric The Briton audio drama is recommended for children age six and up. There is over 2 hours of listening time which is a great way to have fun while learning some history. The cast of Beric The Briton includes some well known actors such as Brian Blessed, Tom Cox, Cathy Sara, and John Rhys-Davies.

Not only do you get to listen to a great story, but you are able to expand on the story with the included 48 page digital study guide. Your children learn historical facts from listening to the story and also from answering the questions provided in the study guide. They are also able to learn the meaning of different words throughout the story. And while reading through the study guide, I found a recipe for Roman Noodle Bake. Sounds good.

I also like how they incorporate the Bible in the study guide by offering several Bible Studies.

Some of the other digital freebies I received are as follows:

  • Beric The Briton MP3 Set
  • Beric The Briton E-Book
  • Official MP3 Soundtrack
  • Printable Cast Poster
  • Inspirational Verse Poster
  • Behind the scenes video

What we thought of Beric The Briton:
We loved it! This series is so well produced and it really does bring history to life. This is the fourth Heirloom drama we have listened to and we look forward to hearing more audio dramas produced by Heirloom Audio Productions. We try to spread out our listening time, but we always seem to get hooked and just have to listen to more. We did manage to spread out our listening this time to a few days. We did not use the study guide at this time, but if we listen again, I will probably go through some of the guide with my older children. 

5 Stars for Beric The Briton!

Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions  Review

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Random Five On Friday

1. My kids had a great time at VBS this week.

2. Our 1st two weeks of school have gone great.

3. Looking forward to next week when the older kids are at camp. I have some special things planned to do with my youngest.

4. Trying to come up with some field trips for when the days get cooler. We have a zoo trip planned in October for my older daughter's birthday, but other than that we don't have anything planned, yet.

5. I gave up sugar for 60 days earlier this year and I need to get back on it. I felt so much better not eating sugar and had more energy.


ArtAchieve ~ Review

Having children who love art, but not being able to draw anything myself, I am always on the lookout for good art programs for our homeschool. For the past few weeks, we have been using the Entire Level I from ArtAchieve.

What is ArtAchieve?
ArtAchieve is a series of online courses that was developed by John Hofland. The project was created when John and his wife were homeschooling their children. He had a career in arts and language arts and has visited over 30 countries which helped in the development of the program.

What is included in Entire Level I?
There are eleven lessons included in level I. The first two lessons are free on the website for any one to try out before buying. The lessons include:

  • Simple Lines (free)
  • The Czech Cat (free)
  • The Hungarian Insects
  • The Haitian Gecko
  • The Dragonfly from Ecuador
  • The Chinese Dragon
  • The Owl from Bali
  • The Kitenge Tree Wall Hanging from Tanzania
  • The Plate from Nepal
  • Four Suns with Four Faces
  • The Sheep from Wales
Not only do you learn how to draw in the lessons you also get a history lesson. For example, in The Hungarian Insects lesson, we were given some background about these insects in Hungary. We were also given facts about insects.

You are given the choice to watch a video of the lesson or to go through a power point of the lesson. We chose to use the power point for each lesson. Each lesson starts off with learning about the country or object you are drawing.

Then, it tells you what supplies are needed and gives some relaxation tips. For the warm up, you print off a warm up page to become familiar with the lines in the drawing.

After doing the warm up, the slides go through each step to create your masterpiece. When you are finished drawing, you are to add color to your drawings.

The supplies needed for level I are simple. A fine point permanent marker, markers, watercolors, oil pastels, and liquid acrylic paint to name a few. You can click here and then click on each lesson to see the needed supplies. Each lesson takes about 60 minutes to complete from start to finish. The videos last about 25 minutes. It can be more or less depending on how fast or slow you want to go through the lesson.

A sample of our drawings:

What we thought about ArtAchieve:
We loved it.  We loved learning the background behind each drawing. We loved learning the facts about the insects and geckos. And, we loved our drawings and how simple and easy these lessons are to follow.

Several things I like about this art program:

  • I, the teacher, do not have to know how to draw. In fact, I did the drawings with my kids and I think my drawings came out good. See my gecko below on the right.

  • It really is a relaxing experience. My kids did not become frustrated with not knowing how to do the drawing. They loved the step by step directions.
  • It is planned out. You only need to buy the supplies before hand. 
  • Your child can work independently.
  • You are given a 1 year license for each lesson you purchase. You can go through the lesson as many times in a year as you want and create it differently each time.

We definitely give this art course a 5 star rating!

Art Lessons for Children ArtAchieve Review

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Random Five On Friday

1. In two weeks, I will have another teenager. I cannot believe how fast the time has flown by. He will actually be on a missions trip during his birthday, but we will celebrate the next day.

2. We have completed our first week of our 2016 - 2017 school year. Everything has gone great so far.

3. I am starting to get tired of this heat already. I know it's only July in NC, but I would love some cooler days. It's been in the high 90's with heat index in the 100's this past week.

4. Next week is VBS at our church. My 2 boys are volunteering and my 2 daughters are attending. I am looking forward to the quiet time.

5. The week of July 17th, my 2 boys will be on a missions trip and my oldest daughter will be at camp. It will just be me and my youngest during the day. I have lots of things planned for us to do.


Laurelwood Books ~ Review

My youngest is just starting her kindergarten year . She needs some practice with writing manuscript and Patriotic Penmanship, Kindergarten (manuscript) from Laurelwood Books has been a great summer project for her. She already loves school and she needed something during our time off to keep her occupied.

The Patriotic Penmanship is a complete series of books that are available for kindergarten all the way through high school. It starts out with writing manuscript in the lower grades and eventually transitions over to cursive in the upper elementary grades. There is a transition book available to help your child transition from manuscript to cursive.

Laurelwood Books offers new and used curriculum on their site. They also offer many workbooks and readers written by Mary Ellen Tedrow. The Schoolhouse Crew was able to review her books ranging from penmanship to Latin to  state facts.

There are many things I liked about this penmanship book which I will list below:

~ There are twenty four lessons. Each lesson is designed to be covered over one weeks time. You are able to use this by itself for one school year. I think it can also be used as a supplement with another writing program. This is what I will start doing now that we have started back to regular school lessons. There are actually no lesson numbers, so the child can do as little or as much as they (or you) want.

~ This book starts by introducing the vowels before the consonants. Since other programs also introduce letters this way, it helps the child especially if you are using this book as a supplement. It does introduce the consonants in alphabetical order. Since I am using this as a supplement and my daughters curriculum does not introduce the consonants in ABC order, I can just skip to the letter we are working on that week. This book has a lot of flexibility which I really like.

~ As the consonants are introduced, it also has the child write the blend (consonant, vowel) before moving onto writing full words.

~ There are mostly short vowel words in the book for the child to copy. My daughter is not reading yet, but writing the short words has not been a problem.

~ Each letter or blend has a full row of tracing and a full row of writing their own. The words are only traced once and written once. I like that the words are only traced once and written once, because, from experience, the child can get frustrated with having to trace and write the words multiple times. (Or is that only my children?)

~ There are also Bible verses throughout the lessons.

During the review period, since we were not using our regular school curriculum, I had my daughter work on this book about three times each week. There were some days that she would only finish 1 row and other days where she would do 3 or 4 rows. She and I both liked this book. It's not colorful like other books, but it didn't matter to my daughter. I actually think it helped her to focus better without all of the colors. We will continue using this book and possibly others in the series over the years.

Latin and Penmanship {Laurelwood Books  Review}

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