Monday Musings for Monday, September 10, 2018

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So this is the week that things start to get back to normal for our homeschool life.  This afternoon the Strings program portion of our Homeschool Band and Strings program begins.  This year, my husband and daughter will continue playing the violin.  Our oldest son will continue playing the cello (once his full-size cello arrives), and will be adding the string bass to his instrument list once we are able to get him one.  I will be learning the violin and our youngest son will be learning the viola.

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Then on Thursday, band classes begin.  I am going to try playing the flute again in beginner band while playing trombone in the advanced band.  However, if the flute does not go well, I will play the french horn in the beginner band.  I figure since I already know how to play the french horn, I should be good there.  My husband is going to use our youngest son’s alto saxophone to play in the beginner band while playing the clarinet in the advanced band.  Our youngest son will be playing the bass clarinet (once it arrives) for the beginner band while playing his alto saxophone for the advanced band.  Our middle son will be playing his baritone horn in both groups.  Then our oldest son will probably be playing his cello in both band groups if all goes according to plan.

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In addition to classes resuming, our oldest son will be going on Friday to take his certification exam to become a Certified Nursing Assistant.  I am excited for him.  The above picture is from when he received he completed his course for Nursing Assistant before taking the certification course.

Over the weekend, we will have different friends over to eat with us on Saturday and Sunday.  Saturday, we are planning on fixing homemade Japanese and Chinese food to include Sesame Chicken, Beef and Broccoli, egg rolls, Japanese french fries (zucchini strips and onions), and possibly sushi.  Then on Sunday, we are planning on grilling Shish-k-Bobs along with a salad, wild rice and probably some other items as well.

So what is going on with you today?  I would love to hear from you.

2018 Home School Review Crew Back to School Blog Hop – Work It In Wednesdays (5 Days of Homeschool Encouragement

 

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This week I am participating in the 2018 Home School Review Crew Back to School Blog Hop including 5 Days of Home School Encouragement.  You can come back each day to see what we are blogging about.  Today’s topic is Work It Out Wednesdays, where we are examining how to fit in electives, social activities and more into your daily schedule.

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As the mom of only high school students now, one of the things that cause both myself and my children concern is how to fit everything in each year.  Prior to entering high school, I took most of the decision-making and curriculum choices on myself.  At times, we would offer the children choices to select from after narrowing things down significantly.  However, our children are now in high school and have directions, talents, and gifts, so we need to figure things out based on their individual personalities and goals.

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A few weeks ago, we went to an activity fair for our area’s homeschool group.  We went partially to represent our area’s homeschool band and strings program, which our entire family is active in right now.  But we also went to find out what activities our children may want to participate in this year.  Our son already knew he wanted to play tennis, which occurs on Thursday mornings.  The Home School Band program is on Monday and Thursday afternoons.  So those two times were already out.

Our son also wants to take piano lessons and we found out there was a possibility our homeschool 4-H group would be offering piano lessons along with archery lessons and photography.  All of these are activities our son and/or daughter are interested in now. So we went to the meeting, but when we got there, we realized the times may not work for our family since these activities occur on Thursdays as well.  So it is a matter of deciding what priorities we have.  Band and strings are two activities that are non-negotiable since all four of our children (yes even our 22-year-old and our almost twenty-year-old) participate along with my husband and myself.  So that is a one-time slot that will not be taken away.

So this meant we had to decide how important archery was to our daughter.  The 4-H activities basically collide with both tennis (at least one week out of the month) and the band classes every week.  So we are still trying to figure that one out.

The photography classes have already been eliminated and so the only one who may participate in 4-H will be our daughter.  So stay tuned to see what our final decision is.

You know your children.  You know what is important to your family.  So you need to take every activity your children may want to participate in or elective they may want to take and examine it to see if the benefits make it worth fitting in at this time.

Another way of making things work is to find someone for your child to ride with or find a similar activity or class that meets at a time that is more convenient.  As far as electives go, especially at the high school level, you may decide your child could fit some of those in during the summer or do more intense classes, like college classes, for a shorter period of time.

You and your family need to decide what is important to you and go from there.  Here are some of the members of the Home School Review Crew who are participating in the Blog Hop this week, you may want to check some of them out for yourself.


Jennifer @ Dear Homeschooler
Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Karen @ Tots and Me…Growing Up Together
Kelly @ Hope in the Chaos
Kellyann @ Walking Home …
Kimberley @ Vintage Blue Suitcase
Kristen @ A Mom’s Quest to Teach
Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Laura @ Four Little Penguins
Linda @ Apron Strings & other things

 

So if you would like to read my other posts from this series, click here.

If you would like to read posts from the other members of the Home School Review Crew who are participating in the Back to School Blog Hop, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner’s Guide to Programming (Volume 1)

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In this age of technology it is becoming more and more important for students to learn some basic programming skills so I was thrilled to be able to review Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner’s Guide to Programming (Volume 1) from Code for Teens.  Ever since our family joined the Home School Review Crew a litte over a year and a half ago, I have wanted at least one of children to learn to code, if for no other reason than to be able to help with our blog.  Our seventeen-year-old son carries the torch in this area.  He is willing to take the time and energy to learn to code in order to help me.

With software engineering being among the fastest growing career paths around today, I feel like I would be doing our youngest son a disservice if I did not expose him to coding.  The Code for Teens website states, ” This book is written with the goal of teaching young teenagers to code without ANY parent or teacher involvement. Important concepts are introduced gradually with ample review and many drills and small challenges to ensure that the child understands the concept fully before moving on.”  I loved the idea of my son being able to work independently.

The book was written by Jeremy Moritz and illustrated by his wife Christine Moritz.  I have to say I absolutely love the illustrations.  You can read the introduction and first chapter here on the website just above the superhero looking graphic.  Because JavaScript is the most common language for computer programming, students learn about it in this book.  The book is basically designed for anyone who has at least a sixth-grade reading leve- so basically older children and teenagers.

The book contains an introduction, a section for parents, and then starts off slowly and builds through ten chapters that cover a variety of topics and include such chapter titles as “Hello World!”, “Time to Operate”, “Comments on String Section”, “Projects Galore and More”.  The book also includes a conclusion, answers and a glossary.

Each chapter includes reading, activities, a quiz, key concepts, and drills.  The very first chapter required our son to find the average age of our family using coding.  He really enjoyed this.  Starting with chapter 2, the review is cummulative.  In Chapter 2, the learner works on a project which builds on the concepts introduced in the chapter.

So far our son has completed Chapter 2 and is working on Chapter 3.  Because he already has coding experience, he felt like the book started off a little bit slow for him.  However, a child with no coding experience will probably find this book perfect.  I had him glance through the book and he stated chapter 5 begins to reach a level that will hold his interest more.  You can find Code for Teens on Facebook here.

So far our son is really enjoying the book and I am enjoying seeing what he is creating.  Even though we are off to a slow start, I  can not wait to see what else he learns.  Code for Teens is worth checking out for your own family if your family is interested in learning more about computer programming, coding, or JavaScript.  If you would like to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective

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Looking for homeschool art history curriculum?  Let me tell you about The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective created by The Master and His Apprentices.  With a daughter who loves everything about art, I am always on the lookout for new art programs that will inspire and motivate our daughter.  For this review we received the downloadable version of this curriculum.  We received Print/Photocopy rights for our family.  I really appreciate this feature.  It means if our older sons wanted to do this program, they also could.

The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective offers a product that is suitable for adults, high school students, parents and artists in a wonderfully inspiring program.  For this review, we received the Digital Edition of the Textbook and Teacher’s Guide.  With the textbook being 380 pages and the Teacher’s Guide being 116 pages, I decided it was in our family’s best interest to download the textbook to our iPad and then print out the Teacher’s Guide.   I made this decision because the textbook contains a tremendous amount of artwork which is in color.  I felt like reading the textbook on our tablet would work fine for our family.

The course is designed for a chapter a week.  My original intention was for our daughter and I to work through the course together.  Even though I claim a limited to non-existent talent in art, this course really excited me.  This course is meant to be a full high school credit when completed.  I love that there is no nudity or other objectionable material included.

The Teacher’s Guide includes what to read, discussion questions, student worksheets, exams and more.  It includes instructions for teachers in classroom settings, Home school parents, record keeping forms (including attendance and grade sheets),a syllabus, terms to describe art, Art History Paper Instructions, weekly discussion question worksheets and exams along with an answer key.

 

I decided the best way to approach The Master and His Apprentices was for my daughter and I to read the textbook on our own and then discuss the worksheets and other questions in the Teacher’s Guide.  This Christian Art History textbook covers an introduction to art, Creation, Ancient Cultures, Classical Antiquity, Middle Ages, the Renissance, and Baroque Era & Beyond.  There are also appendixes that includes essays, a period chart, a timeline, pieces by location, terms to describe art, and even an index.

Because of some things going on in our life for the past few weeks that involved me doing a lot of driving, I decided to have her ride with me and we discussed the material orally rather than having her complete the worksheets by hand.  I felt this gave us the opportunity to go more in depth than what would have happened on paper.  Now that life has settled down, we will probably use a combination of oral and written formats for the worksheets.  Then after we were home, she filled out the worksheets.All of the questions for the worksheets are open-ended rather than multiple choice which I like; since it makes her think more. For the exams there are matching, multiple choice, fill-in-the-blanks, and short essay questions.  The first exam comes at the end of Chapter 7, so we are not quite there yet.  Here is a completed worksheet.

 

As our daughter and I worked through the chapters, I feel like we both enjoyed a greater appreciation of how art and history work together.  We also loved the variety of artistic works included in the textbook.

 

 

You can find The Master and His Apprentices on social media at the following links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The-Master-and-His-Apprentices-245504999349223/
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/themasterandhisapprentices/boards/

My daughter and I are really enjoying The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective.   So if you are looking for a homeschool art history curriculum, check it out for yourself.  If you would like to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of CodeWizardsHQ

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Finding electives for our children that they enjoy and that can provide useful information causes me to stretch my mind and opinons sometimes.  Other times, I find things for our children to study that could ultimately help our family or each of them as they move through life.  I am so excited to share with you about a coding class for kids from CodeWizardsHQ that we just finished.  They also offer homeschool computer programs as well as coding classes for all students.

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CodeWizardsHQ is a company that provides coding classes in a live online environment where six to eight students come together with an instructor to complete assignments, work on coding projects and interact in a real-time environment.  On their website, the company states, “We teach programming, not just programming concepts. Your child learns how to code using real-world languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, etc. These are languages used today to build all the software around us.”  Here is a link to an article from the Wall Street Journal entitled, “Why Coding is your child’s key to unlocking the future”.

The courses are designed for children in 5th through 12th grade.  While the courses are set up on a 12 week schedule, it is set up on a monthly subscription plan.  The company offers incredible customer service and opportunities for learning.  They even offer the opportunity for scholarships.

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Our son had the opportunity to participate in a one-day special class.  During the hour he spent with the instructor and other members of the class, he created his own comic book.  Every time I walked into his room to check on his progress and to take some photographs, our son was actively engaged in the course.  He frequently laughed or made comments.  On several occasions I heard him ask questions.  Because he was using a headset, I could only hear our son’s comments.  When the hour long class was nearly over, apparently the instructor made some comment regarding the impending end of the class and our son was surprised at how fast time had gone by.

 

 

I think one thing that made our son happy was that he was also able to see what his classmates had created.  Although, he seemed disappointed that he missed seeing one because he was finishing his own creation.  Here is a video from the company.  Click here for the link.  And here is a photograph I took myself.

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Here is what our 17-year-old son wants to say about this program in his own words:

I enjoyed it a lot. It was informative but at the same time relaxed, so I was more inclined to listen (as opposed to it just throwing information at you where I would probably zone out). I’ve never taken a class in a webinar style before,but even though it pushed me out of my comfort zone a little, it was fun and I would do it again. 10/10 – would recommend

As my son and I were talking immediately following the webinar, I asked him if he felt his previous coding experience helped or not. He felt this class would be good for any student regardless of their level of experience.

Click here if you would like to see our son’s project that the company sent to us after Nathan completed the course..  Also here is video our son made discussing his project.

 

 

You can find CodeWizardsHQ on social media at:

CodeWizardHQ offers an incredible opportunity for students to learn coding.  So check out the company for yourself.  If you would like to read reviews by other families from the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of Everyday Homemaking’s Everyday Cooking

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As a homeschooling family, my husband and I recognize the need for our children to learn the traditional subjects such as Bible, Mathematics, Language Arts, History, and Science.  But we also realize they need to be able to function in the real world as well.  So I was thrilled for our family to have the opportunity to review the Everyday Cooking cookbooks.   I have to say I love the Everyday Cooking cookbook from Everyday Homemaking because she cooks like me!  For the purpose of this review, we received both cover choices as downloadable products.  I decided to download it to my Ipad to make it easy to access the recipes.  I also printed it out and then took it to be spiral bound. You have the Joyce of either blue or red for the cover. You can buy either a downloadable version or a printed version.

Considering our youngest child is almost 15 and our oldest is twenty-one and the other two are almost 17 and 19, we realize they will be living on their own sooner rather than later.  To this end, we have them help around the house.  For whatever reason, my older two received more cooking opportunities because they were in the Boy Scouts.  Our youngest son, the one almost 17 also had opportunities to cook as well.  However, our daughter, being the baby of the bunch, is lacking in the area of cooking.  So I knew these cookbooks would be perfect for her.

The recipes are easy to follow and contain foods that my children actually may eat.  When we started looking through the cookbook, I did run into one problem, however.  That problem was there were too many recipes my younger two liked, so it was hard for them to narrow down what they wanted to try cooking.  One thing that made me very happy was most of the recipes could be adapted to accommodate our oldest son who is extremely lactose-intolerant.

Several of her recipes are very similar to ways I already cook, so we decided to try the Pork Loin Roast since we had a roast already in our freezer.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of the roast.  But here is a picture of someone’s plate that includes the sides we served with the meal.

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Another recipe we decided to try was the Veggie Saute since we were fixing a homemade Chinese dinner.  For this, we did two separate sides.  The first contained zucchini squash with onions that were served with soy sauce to resemble the Japanese “french fries” served at our favorite Japanese steakhouse.  The second was cabbage that also was cooked with onions and served with soy sauce.  Here are pictures of the children preparing the vegetables and then my daughter cooking the zucchini and onions.

 

Another recipe that was easy for us to fix was the Simple Salmon.  Although the recipe called for the salmon to be cooked in an electric skillet, pan seared or baked, our family cooked ours on the grill.  Living in southeastern Texas, I love to have my husband cook on the grill as often as possible to avoid heating up our house with the stove or oven.  Here are some pictures of the salmon.  Because the recipe called for citrus grill seasoning or lemon pepper, which members of my family do not care for, we used dill seasoning and salt and pepper.

 

I have to say I really enjoyed these cookbooks.  I love that in addition to the recipes, Vicki Bentley provides low-carb and gluten free helps, basic measurements and helps, meal planning and shopping hints, sample menus and meal planning masters, Basic cooking skills checklists, basic kitchen accessories, kitchen equipment information and more.  I definitely plan on incorporating these cookbooks into our school plans for this year.

In addition to the cookbooks, a chore system is also available.  If you would like to read more reviews about the Everday Cooking cookbooks or the Everyday Family Chore System from Everyday Homemaking, click here or on the graphic below.

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The Typing Coach Online Typing Course from The Typing Coach Review

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We all need more typing practice at our house, especially considering I have three high school students, a college-aged student plus a husband whose job demands a lot of typing on his computer daily.  So I definitely wanted our family to try The Typing Coach Online Typing Course created by The Typing Coach.  This is an online course which includes a one-year subscription.

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Do you have family members who use the “hunt and peck” method or the two-finger method for typing.  If so, this course will be perfect for that individual.  This course is designed to help the user become not only efficient at typing, but also to master the skill of typing well. The student works at their own pace, using audio, visual and written instructions.  I loved that the program stressed typing without looking at the keyboard.  Instead, the students learn to master where the keys are which helps increase speed and accuracy.  The student completes lessons as well as assessments to practice and demonstrate how well they are mastering the lessons.

Another thing I love about this course is that the assessments are basically self-scoring.  All the parent/teacher only needs to monitor what the student has done and what score they received for the assignment.  The one assessment that requires the parent/teacher’s input is determining if the student has good posture or not.  This was a fairly easy thing to determine.

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Students learn everything from sitting properly, meaning using good posture, to learning the home row of keys, to the bottom rows of keys,  and the top row of keys.  The course is self-paced and helps the students to learn how to type accurately without teaching a dependence of looking at the screen.

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As in any family, we have certain children that I know will take on particular reviews more so than other family members.  So for this review, I decided to have our 16-year-old son complete the program.  The idea is to complete a lesson a week; however, we did not achieve that objective.  He basically did the course one day a week during the review period.  I would have to say he was fairly ambivalent about the program.

He understands the need for a typing course and felt fairly pleased with how the manner in which the course was taught.  He experienced some frustration when he made more than one mistake that he would be locked out for two days.  But once I explained that the course emphasizes accuracy and practice, he was fine with that issue.

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I love how The Typing Coach Online Course offers options for those with younger children.  Even though, we do not have younger children, I know from my children’s own past experiences, the younger children are when they learn to type, the better they will do.  I also love how the parent/teacher can receive emails showing the student’s progress in the course.  All in all, I can honestly say this course is worth the money and I plan on the rest of our family taking the course eventually.  After all,  no matter what a person does in life today typing will be part of their lives – both at work, at home and to interact socially.   So students will benefit from this course.

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If you would like to read more reviews of The Typing Coach Online Course, click here or on the graphic below.

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