Posted in 2019 Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Homeschool Video Curriculum, Math

Review of Thinkwell Press’ High School Math

Thinkwell Press Review

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When it comes to teaching High School Math, I prefer to use video-based instruction such as Algebra 1 from Thinkwell.  Our high school-aged daughter prefers to do any other subject more than math, so I am always on the hunt for math programs that will help her understand mathematics. I am so glad we had the opportunity to review this program.  Because we already had another math program she was using, we utilized this program as a supplement to what she was already doing.  So I wanted her to aim to use this program three times a week.  This online program can be accessed anywhere at any time.

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Thinkwell Press offers online homeschool programs for grades six through Calculus.  In addition to the mather courses, they also offer a selection of science and economics honors courses.  The courses are video-based and are taught by award-winning professors.  The Algebra I course is taught by Professor Edward Burger.  As a parent, I appreciate how clearly he speaks and how everything he does is explained and illustrated.  Placement tests are available so you can make sure your child begins at the right level for them.

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I love the convenience of our daughter being able to watch the videos and do the exercises.  Then if she should encounter any difficulties, she can come to her father or me.  The videos are clear, concise, and do an excellent job of explaining what the students will be doing.  As a former math teacher, and someone who loves math, I appreciate the fact the problems being demonstrated correspond to what our daughter has to do on her own.

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The course is broken down into sections that cover:

  • Foundations for Algebra
  • Equations, Proportions, and Percents
  • Inequalities
  • Functions
  • Linear Functions
  • Systems of Equations and Equalities
  • Exponents and Polynomials
  • Factoring Polynomials
  • Quadratic Functions and Equations
  • Data Analysis and Probability

I love how our family had the ability to jump around in the course to the sections our daughter needed to work on.  I also appreciated the fact that the online exercises for the sections we worked on could be printed and worked out on paper prior to completing the answers on the computer.  Another handy feature is the fact that real-time feedback is given.  So when our daughter put in her answer for a problem, she immediately knew if she got it right or wrong.  But in addition to just saying if the answer is right or wrong, the solution is also displayed which helps ensure your child can see what they needed to do if they got the problem wrong.  In addition to worksheets and exercises, there are also review exercises and their answer keys provided.

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Another feature I really appreciate is the fact that the transcripts of each lesson are provided.  So families can print them out for the student to refer back to if they have encountered any difficulties.

You can find Thinkwell Press on social media on Facebook and YouTube.

So if your family is looking for an online math program, check out the High School Math, programs including Algebra 1 from Thinkwell.  Other members of the Home School Review Crew are reviewing Algebra I along with other grade levels and courses from Thinkwell Press, so check out their reviews by clicking here or on the graphic below.

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Posted in 2019 Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Math, Uncategorized

Review of Elephant Learning Math Academy’s 12 Month Subscription

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Online Math programs such as Elephant Learning Math Academy help make math fun for students while helping them to improve their math skills. As a mother who excelled at math in school, I need to have every available tool in my arsenal for helping my non-mathematics loving high school daughter to make math fun, or at the very least tolerable.  So when I saw the opportunity to review this program I knew we had to try it.

This online program is supposed to help students learn a year of math in just three months using the program 3 times a week for a total of thirty minutes.  From everything from counting right through Algebra, this online program covers the material.  You may access the program either using a computer or through an app that can be downloaded.  Primarily our daughter used this on the computer. However, I appreciate the convenience of having the app available.

The program is designed for children ages two to sixteen.  Students are able to select from a variety of games such as soccer, helicopters, nine lives and more for their learning time.  On either platform, the student logs in and begins their game time.  A timer in the corner allows parents and students to see how much time they have spent in the program or app.  This feature makes it convenient for making sure students are spending enough time working/playing.

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I appreciate how it can be used to supplement any math program and does not require a lot of time on my part or my daughter’s part.  The program determines what your child knows and what he or she needs to work on as they progress.

Our daughter found it easy to spend thirty minutes at a time in the app rather than the recommended 10 minutes a day for three days a week.  She used the program three times a week for most of the review period.  I appreciated how this program prevented the normal struggles that arise when doing math with our daughter.

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While I will not say she found the program perfect, it was a good fit for her even though she does not like math.  I also found the real-time reports to be extremely useful.  Here is a screenshot of one. By clicking on any of the active curriculum circles, parents can receive more information regarding that subject. Let’s face it, regardless of what a person decides to do in life, certain math skills will always be used. I like how the program/app provides suggestions for how to improve skills outside of the program/app.

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Parents can also find out about topic milestones including statistics about playtime, how many questions were attempted and how many questions were passed.  The analysis lists what the tasks consist of – such as multiplying by 6, 7, 8, or 9 using rows, as well as what your child is working on and what he or she may need help with, along with suggestions for how to help your child.

As a parent, I like knowing what type of programs my child is using (even though she is in high school now), so I tried the program out for myself  I felt the graphics were of good quality, the questions were appropriate, and the amount of time required in a week was reasonable.

You can find Elephant Learning Math Academy on social media on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram.

So if you are looking for a math app/program to help your child develop their math skills check out Elephant Learning Math Academy and their 12 Month Subscription for yourself.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are sharing their experiences with this program as well this week.  Click here or on the graphic below to read more reviews.

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Posted in 2019 Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Online Homeschool Programs, Uncategorized

Review of Calvert Homeschool Online

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I have always been curious about Calvert Homeschool since I have heard their name in homeschool circles for years.  When they offered their Calvert Homeschool Online program with access to all the courses, I knew I wanted to check it out!  Calvert Homeschool Online provides a completely online experience that only requires a solid Internet connection.

For this review, we received a Family Subscription to Calvert Homeschool Online for up to three students.  Since we had already started our school year, I planned on us using this curriculum more as a supplement to what we were already using versus it being our primary curriculum.

As a firm believer in the idea that you are never too old to learn, I created a student account for myself as well as our son and daughter who are in high school.  One feature I really love about the set up of Calvert is that we had access to all of the online courses for all of the grades.  So for myself, I was able to choose the high school courses that most interested me.  So I elected to do Geometry,  English II, U.S. History – Reconstruction to Present, Pre-Calculus (so I can brush up on my skills before our son gets there, and Integrated Physics and Chemistry.

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I assigned our sixteen-year-old daughter to Integrated Physics and Chemistry, English I, World Geography, and Algebra I.  However, I wound up deciding last week to have her move from Algebra I back to Mathematics 8 just to provide some reinforcement. My one desire would be for a high school math course for students who do not need the typical college-bound, in-depth math pathway.  For our son who was 18 at the time we started, I assigned English IV, Government, and Physics. He is someone who plans to go to college in the future, so the math tract is perfect.

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I love having the flexibility to change due dates or curriculum choices if needed.  Another feature I loved was the ability to decide for each student what features I wanted them to have access to such as answer keys and unlimited chances.  I believe in teaching to mastery so these ideas work for our family’s philosophy.

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Each lesson contains videos, text, the ability to do flashcards or spelling bees if you select those choices, and more.  Our family felt the videos were well-done and easy to follow.  My family felt the work was challenging enough to be interesting without being so difficult that my children became frustrated.

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In addition to the student log-ins, there is a parent log-in that allows homeschool parents to set up the school year, assign courses, as well as create reports.  Some of the reports that can be created include daily work reports, report cards, and grade reports. With just a few clicks any of these reports can be created for any student you want to select. Parents also have the ability to reschedule a single course for a student or all the courses for a student.  Because let’s be real, as homeschooling families life happens and sometimes we do not get through everything we want to do.

You can find Calvert Homeschool Media at the following links:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/CalvertHomeschool
Instagram: www.instagram.com/calverthomeschool
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/CalvertHomeschool/

So if you are looking for the freedom and flexibility of an online homeschool curriculum, I suggest you check out Calvert Homeschool Online program with access to all the courses for yourself.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are sharing their thoughts about Calvert Homeschool Online this week, so click here or on the graphic below to read more reviews by the Crew.

 

Posted in Art, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Online Homeschool Programs, Uncategorized

Creating a Masterpiece – Drawing Program (a review)

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Homeschool art curriculum such as the Drawing Program from Creating a Masterpiece is a great way to add drawing instruction to your child’s day, or for your own educational enrichment.  Ever since I was young, I avoided art because that was an area where my older sister excelled.  However, having four children with various gifts and talents in art made me long to learn how to draw myself.  So when I saw the opportunity to review this online program, I was thrilled to have an opportunity to review it myself.

Creating a Masterpiece provides online art lessons for children and adults of all ages.  According to the website, “Proven by the success of thousands of students, Creating a Masterpiece is the perfect choice to empower students with the skills needed to succeed in creating fine art. Students of all ages will be challenged by the unique emphasis on producing beautiful, masterpiece quality artwork.”  Truly, there is something for everyone in this program.

Master artist and teacher Sharon Hofer offers instructions that are broken down into manageable pieces and that are easy to understand. From Drawing to the Core program to the Art History program, families have the ability to select what is the right program for their situation.  In the Core Program, projects include ink, watercolor, mixed media, and more.

For this review, we received access to the Drawing program.  Families can select from Beginning Drawing, Drawing Level 1, Drawing Level 2, or Drawing Level 3 based on experience and ability.  I am glad that all four levels were available to us.

The Art Skills taught in the Drawing levels include: Incorporating Value, Shading, Two Point Perspective and many more. The four levels include 30 Projects, 48 Lessons, 3 Drawing Media.  One important thing to remember is that quality supplies are required for this program.  Obviously, if you want to create a masterpiece like a master artist you need high-quality supplies.

Sharon Hofer begins each lesson by describing the project, showing a sample, along with listing the materials that will be used.  I found her manner of speech and the speed at which she talked to be manageable.  Each lesson is broken down into parts.  So if necessary, you could break each project into multiple sessions.

I believe for younger children, parents may need to help them with some of the techniques.  However, I believe that children of any age could and would enjoy this program.

I appreciated being able to decide what projects I wanted to work on in what order.  Another feature I like is how every lesson has a list of supplies needed to complete each project.  Because I am a beginner and not very confident in my abilities, I began with Beginning Drawing.  For the projects at this level, I had a choice of working with pencils, colored pencils, or charcoal.  I decided to begin with a cartoon giraffe.  It seemed like a fun project to complete.

The supplies needed for this project included:

  • Drawing Paper: White 9″x12″
  • Drawing Pencil: 6b
  • Pencil Eraser (refillable)
  • Regular 2b Pencil and Eraser

Here are some photos of me working on this project.

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As a supplement to this lesson, Ms. Hofer provided instructions to draw another cartoon of another animal so I decided to draw a bear.  Here is that sketch.  Now, I have to admit, I plan on going back and trying to do the bear again.

 

For my second project, I did a pencil project called “Simplicity” that included trees, hills, and water.  It required the following materials:

  • Drawing Pencil: 6b
  • Regular Pencil
  • Retractable Pencil Eraser
  • Eraser
  • Drawing Paper
  • Tortillon

Here is a collage of my work for this project.

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You can find Creating a Masterpiece on social media on Facebook.

So if you are looking for a Homeschool art curriculum such as the Drawing Program from Creating a Masterpiece. You should check out this program.  It is a great way to add drawing instruction to your child’s day, or for your own educational enrichment.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are writing about their experiences with this program this week.  Click here or on the graphic below to check out their reviews.

Posted in Family Games, Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Uncategorized

Review of Brain Blox’s Fun Family Chess

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It can be difficult to learn to play chess but Brain Blox makes it easy for even young children or adults with no experience to play with Fun Family Chess.  As a child, I never learned how to play chess.  But I am surrounded by an entire family of chess players.  My husband has played since he was a child, and my children learned how to play when they were younger.  So when I saw the opportunity to review this game come up, I was thrilled about the opportunity.

According to their website, “Brain Blox offers toys, games, and journals to empower families toward a more conscious vibrant lifestyle.”  Fun Family Chess is designed for single players or teams of family members to play together.  Whether you or your child(ren) learn best by watching videos or reading directions, this company has something to offer you.

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For this review, our game came packaged in a box.  When we opened the box, we found the chessboard folded in half with fasteners to keep it closed.  When we unfolded the board, we found the chess pieces in two separate velvet-like bags, cards to explain how the various pieces move, along with a die that can be used to direct what piece you may move.  The chessboard is painted white and is very striking. We also received a two-month membership to Chesskid.com, which provides a family-safe place for children to learn how to play chess.  I also appreciated how the pieces are displayed on each side of the board to show where the different pieces need to be placed.

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I am someone who learns best by doing, and I prefer learning against someone who is going to be patient with me.  So I elected to play against our daughter, with my husband providing coaching in the background.  As an adult learning to play the game for the first time, I found the die kept things moving along (especially with my husband helping me).  I found the game intense, and the cards really helped me know how the pieces could move.

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I think that understanding how the different pieces can move is one of the most challenging parts for me.  However, the video on the website illustrating how the pieces can move was very helpful.  There are a number of videos on the site including how to set up the chessboard for Fun Family Chess, how to play Fun Family Chess, how to move the pieces, and how to play standard chess once you learn how to play Fun Family Chess.

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My ultimate goal is to have my three sons and husband play a championship game using the die to add a bit of excitement.

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There are some differences between Fun Family Chess and Standard Chess:

  1. In Standard Chess, you do not use a cube to tell you how to move your pieces.
  2. In Fun Family Chess, you win by capturing your opponent’s king.  In Standard Chess, you win by putting your opponent’s king in checkmate or possibly ending the game in a stalemate (meaning no one wins).
  3. In standard chess, when you move a pawn to the opposite side of the board, you can promote your pawn to any piece you choose except to a king).
  4. If a pawn moves beside your pawn, you can do a move called “En Passant”, meaning in passing you can capture that pawn.
  5. Finally, in standard Chess, there is castling where your rook and king can switch places if all of a given set of circumstances exists.

So if you are looking for a fun way to teach someone or want to learn chess yourself, check out Brain Blox‘s Fun Family Chess for yourself.

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You can find Brain Blox on Social Media at the following links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mybrainblox
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brainblox
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpUttakNtthj_haX8LwRlwA

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are posting their thoughts about this product today.  Click here or on the graphic below to read other reviews from members of the Home School Review Crew.

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Posted in Home School Review Crew Posts, Language Arts, Literature

A Review of Progeny Press and their Shadow Spinner Study Guide Grades 5-8 &Hound of the Baskervilles Study Guide Grades 9-12

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Progeny Press makes earning High School Literature credits easy with high school level study guides such as  Hound of the Baskervilles Study Guide and to complete Middle School Language Arts studies with Shadow Spinner Study Guide this time to review. With two students currently in high school, finding quality language arts materials is important to me.  Progeny Press makes finding literature studies simple.  Now I need to state upfront, I ordered the Hound of the Baskervilles Study Guide for my children.  However, I ordered the Shadow Spinner Study Guide for myself.

For the purpose of this review, our family received the interactive study guide for both books along with the answer keys for each.  These products were digital downloads that were easily retrieved from Progeny Press.  We did have to buy the actual literature selections ourselves. The e-book pdf has fillable fields so your student can work on a computer from grades 4 and up.   These guides can be reproduced and used with multiple students whether in the home or in a co-op.

According to its website, Progeny Press’ mission is:
“To teach our children to think clearly, to understand literature, and to rely on the scripture for truth and values, and enjoy themselves while they do it!”  With our family’s Christian values, this mission statement meets exactly what I am looking for in Literature and the English curriculum for our children.

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Because our children are in high school, I want literature plans that include comprehension questions, critical thinking skills analysis, literary techniques as well as vocabulary.  The study guides from Progeny Press meet all those requirements.

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One of the factors that make this company and its Study Guides rank high on my list for literature is the study guides are interactive.  This means I avoid having to print out tons of paper and using a ton of ink.  My children have the ability to answer the questions right on the computer.  Witha quick click of my mouse, I was able to download the Study Guide as well as the separate Answer Key.  The directions state that the answer key should only be downloaded on the teacher’s computer.  Because my children are in high school, I would have no problem with them having the answer key on their own computers.

Our family has always been fans of a television series that had one of the lead characters to portray the role of Sherlock Holmes.  So our teenagers were excited about studying this work.  The guide includes biographical information about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, activities to complete before reading, vocabulary words, literary techniques, moral lessons and character values along with other activities and writing assignments as well as Biblical lessons.

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My children found the exercises to be what they expected to have to complete for a literature course.  I appreciated how a comprehensive list of materials for further reading as well as the movie suggests was provided.  All in all my teenagers were satisfied with this guide.

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The answer key includes all the correct responses for questions that do not require the student to form their own opinion.  So for the middle school guide, students are required to read a sentence and then form their own idea of what the definition of the selected word is before looking it up in a dictionary and writing that definition down.

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Now I personally have watched a television program that mentioned Sharazad, but while in school I never read anything related to Arabian Nights.  So I picked this one for myself.  Even as an adult, I believe no one is too old to continue learning and discovering new information for themselves. The activities in this interactive study guide were similar to the ones in Hound of the Baskervilles Study Guide, but at a level that was appropriate for middle school students.  Again, the guide included vocabulary assignments, critical thinking assignments, as well as questions to make the students think.

You can find Progeny Press on social media at the following links:

Facebook: facebook.com/progenypress
Twitter: twitter.com/progenypress
Pinterest: pinterest.com/progenypress

All of the unit lessons are written from a Christian perspective which matters to our family.  So if you are looking for quality literature studies from a Christian perspective, check out Progeny Press and their Hound of the Baskervilles Study Guide for High School students and to complete the Shadow Spinner Study Guide for middle school students.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are reviewing these guides as well as The Long Way to a New Land Study Guide Grades K-3 and Little House on the Prairie Study Guide Grades 4-6.  So click here or on the graphic below to read more reviews of Progeny Press.

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Posted in Art, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling

Review of HIGASFY Art History Video Series

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I have struggled with how to add art education to our homeschool but HiGASFY Art History Video Series made it possible to add this subject to our homeschool day.  I need to state from the beginning, however, I really wanted this subscription for myself.  For years I have wanted to develop some artistic talent.  Growing up, my older sister was the artist in our family and I did not want to try to compete with her.  So I elected to stay away from art.  I love having an online art curriculum that combines videos, and a curriculum bundle.

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The curriculum bundle includes lesson plans, Name that Artist activities, and flashcards for each era.  All of these can be printed out. However, I wanted to conserve ink, so I elected to download these items to my tablet where I could quickly and easily access them.  I elected to print the lesson plans in black and white so I could complete some of the activities such as the crossword puzzles and word searches.

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But my husband and I have three sons ages 23, almost 21, and almost 19 along with our daughter who is almost 17.  All four of these children at various points in their lives have demonstrated they are artistically talented. So I am determined to see what talent I can develop.  Because I attended a college that emphasized the Humanities, I recognize the importance of combining art history with the actual practice of art.

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HIGASFY combines the best of art history, artwork, and various activities that go across the curriculum spectrum.  Rather than being presented in a dry and boring manner, Mrs. Beth brings art to life along with her animated sidekick Gasfy who is a drop of paint.  Aimed at children in grades 1-8, I feel the videos capture the spirit and interests of children of all ages.

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The curriculum covers 4 different art eras: Renaissance, Baroque, Impressionist, and Post-Impressionist. I elected to begin with the Impressionism period.  Recently I have become fascinated with the art and artists from this period.  This selection did not disappoint.  Mrs. Beth and Gafsy take you on a tour through art eras covering a plethora of artists, cultural events of that era all while examining masterpieces for what makes that period unique.

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The lessons plan clearly lay out what needs to be completed each day.  I love how free drawing days are included throughout the study.  I also appreciated how vocabulary words were included in the lesson plans as well.  Students need to know the terms that apply to a given period or artistic style.  In addition to the drawing activities, additional activities provided range from writing assignments to geography assignments to science to critical thinking skills and more.  On some days no videos are required, but instead free drawing assignments are given.

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The “Name that Artist” cards for each period provide examples of each artist’s pieces along with the name of the artist and the name of the piece.  This feature allows students to review artists they have already studied.  If my daughter was in grades 1-8 and she was the one doing this program, I would have printed out the cards and had them laminated to make them last longer.  Otherwise, I feel viewing them on my computer or tablet for me is fine.

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The flashcards provide pieces of artwork on one side of the card while the other side shows the artist’s name and the name of the piece.  I love how these cards go hand-in-hand to reinforce what the students are learning.

Hre are some of the drawing activities I attempted.

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You can find HIGAFSY Art History Video Series on social media at the following links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/higasfy/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/higasfy/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjrNWpYDazk50FyV7AdKhkw
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/higasfy/

As an adult, I found the historical aspects, the artists selected, and the artwork selected to be inspiring.  I loved how the activities suggested go across curriculum lines and develop a well-rounded art program.

 

 

All in all, I have to say I feel HiGASFY Art History Video Series offers a wonderful opportunity to learn about art history and art education in a creative and inspiring way.  So check it out for yourself.  Other members of the Home School Review Crew are sharing their thoughts about this program this week as well.  Click here or on the graphic below to read more reviews.

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