Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Drive Thru History® -- "The Gospels" *REVIEW*

The weather here this spring has been so wet, I'm not sure we will ever totally dry out. It has meant many more afternoons spent inside than we are use to. The kids get antsy, bored and bickering. I have pretty much exhausted my tricks for keeping them entertained. I always say no to TV in the afternoons, but recently I have said yes! Drive Thru History® has been a awesome, educational resource that has kept us captivated on some very dreary days.

Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” takes the viewer on a trip through Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. Our guild for this tour, Dave, visits over 50 ancient sites that connect with locations in the Gospels. Through it all, he presents the story of Jesus in an interesting and interactive way. He provides historical, archaeological and Biblical truths in a way that make the Gospels really come alive.

There are 18 episodes with a total of 9 hours of viewing material. Each episode runs about 30 minutes. This length was perfect for watching in the afternoon after school. It was short enough to keep the kids attention but long enough to feel like you really got something out of the lesson.

The DVD case looks like a book and contains an 118-page study guild inside. The guild goes through each of the episodes and provides a summary, questions and additional tidbits. The images in the study book full color and a real treat to look through. I thought the whole design of the guild and the general quality of the DVD's was just excellent. In my experience, sometimes resources like this can be a bit cheesy or low-budget-- that is not Drive Thru History®. The filming, music and art are incredibly well done. 

It has been exciting to see how the Lord has used this series to connect the story of Jesus together for my kids. What started as a cure for rainy day boredom, has turned into so much more. We were already learning about ancient times, right around when Jesus entered the scene. We were also reading through Luke as a family in preparation for Easter. I really think watching Dave explore the Holy Land helped in sink in that these are real places, real locations and real people. 

Growing up, I never really connected Bible history with reality. When I understood history from a Biblical perspective a lot of things in the Bible really started to click for me. I hope that with resources like this my kids can get a full picture of history.

I watched this series with my four and six year-old. They are definitely on the young end of the spectrum for this material. I am sure that there are certain things that they didn't quite catch, but there will be many opportunities to re-watch this later. The four year-old's attention generally starts to fade toward the end of each episode, but that's okay. I have discovered the key to getting the kids excited about any educational show-- it's all about the popcorn.

This series is totally family friendly and appropriate for any age. In fact, what makes Drive Thu History® so great, is that it's entertaining and educational for young and old. I think older elementary and teens would get the most out of the study-guild. I picked a few of the questions to discuss with the kids, but in more of a conversational way. This would be a great series to do in a small group or a youth group.

I am really glad we own this series and I can see us pulling it out and re-watching it in a few years. If you are curious if Drive Thru History® is a fit for your family, you can check out a free full episode here. To see how other families are using this resource, click the banner below.

The Gospels {Drive Thru History® Reviews}
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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Around our House Week 17

We had a great Easter around our house! The weather was just amazing and it was a great day with family.

I also thought I would share what our morning time is looking like right now--

A few picture books- An Egg is Quiet, Where the River Begins and Rechenka's Egg.
We have been really enjoying The Story of the Orchestra. Quick, informative and really fun for the kids. We just started Old Story New this week and so far it's been working great as a devotional.
We are getting close to the end of the Story of the World: Vol 1. We are nearly done with Farmer Boy too. This month we have been leaning about John Constable and his paintings. We always pray together and work on some memorization- right now Titus is memorizing some of All Things Bright and Beautiful. They generally color as I read and squabble over the markers. Violet loves the picture booksand music but mostly loses interest after that.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Around Our House Week 16

We began our new read-aloud not long ago. My son is a huge fan of the Little House books. We read the first three last summer/fall and then I decided it was time for a break. After finishing a few other reads we are coming back to read Farmer Boy. So far it has been such a fun read and now we are nearing the end. 

I usually read a chapter or two during our morning time. This has proven to be nearly torturous as we read about Almanzo eating donuts and all sorts of his mother's cooking. I gave in and made donuts the other day because I couldn't stop thinking about them! 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Around Our House Week 15

The sun has decided to come out for a visit, and I am making the most of outdoor days!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Around Our House Week 14

We had another fun weekend at the beach.  

Whenever I stress about not getting in enough nature walks or journaling I have to remember how much fun we have exploring as a family. It might not be a designated school time, but we get out a lot together. This time we watched some geese eating little sea creatures at low tide, we caught crabs and peeked under rocks and found baby lingcod. Best of all, we did it all together.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Around Our House Week 13

Yesterday was the first day of spring! It is certainly starting to feel like spring in Oregon. We have been getting some beautiful sunny days and then pouring rain! Sunday was even hot and I got out for a bike ride. 

I have a feeling there will be more outside school in our future. It's so hard to call him inside to work when the days are nice. Especially when the days ahead call for rain!

Creating a Masterpiece Monthly Plan *REVIEW*

Online Art Course

Nothing puts a smile on my face like finding little pictures my kids have made. It's like I get a little peek inside their minds. It's a window into their imaginations. Making and studying art is one of my favorite parts of homeschool. I knew that Creating a Masterpiece would be a perfect fit for our family.

As much as I enjoy art, I am definitely not an expert. I try, but sometimes come up stumped with the best way to explain a process or technique. This online art program brings a master artist to you. Sharon Hofer shares her vast knowledge through a variety of different projects. With the Monthly Plan you get unlimited access to all the projects!

There are currently 58 projects to explore with over 144 lessons. Projects use a variety of media, including, acrylic, batik, block printing, conte crayon, copper tooling, glass mosaic, ink, oil painting, oil pastel, pencil/charcoal, sculpture, silk painting, soft pastel, watercolor and wood burning. All of these projects range in difficulty starting with a beginners section and moving through 5 different levels. Beginner projects are short and simple, the lower levels are designed to teach an artistic foundation. The levels increases in difficulty and teach new techniques and processes. You can see the different projects and difficulty levels here.
I loved that while some of these projects might seem difficult, they are really quite accessible to younger children. My 4 and 6 year-old completed a level 2 project without much difficulty. The projects are broken down into smaller lessons that explain each step thoroughly. We spaced the lessons out and worked gradually through the painting. I set Sharon up on my computer (you can see the video behind my daughters head in this photo). We watched her demonstrate each step and then we would pause the video and recreate what she did. I actually love the flexibility of a video because we could replay anything we missed or didn't understand. There was no pressure to keep up or move quickly like there might be in an actual class. I acted as the physical teacher and was hands on in helping both kids when they needed it. This really helped my little people get the most out of these lessons.  

Sharon is a great teacher and you can tell she has taught hundreds of students. She does an excellent job of taking just enough time to teach each technique but does not lose the students interest with long-winded explanations. She encourages each persons unique creative voice and offers lots of suggestions on how to make the projects your own. The lessons are not aimed at any specific age and she teaches to all students. An adult looking to learn more about art would not feel talked down to and a younger student would not feel out of their depths.

For my family, physical art lessons aren't really an option at this time. We don't have the extra funds or extra time. The nearest studio that offers anything of that nature is an hour away. It would be a big commitment to cart all the kids to the city to participate in something like that, especially with a baby. I love that this program is not outrageously expensive and we can enjoy it from our dining room. I can put the baby down for nap and dig in with the kids. That accessibility means I have a much higher likelihood to follow through in making these lessons a part of out schooling.

If you are looking for a fine art curriculum that your whole family can enjoy, I would suggest taking a look at Creating a Masterpiece. You can even give it a try with a free sample project. You never know, you might get inspired to create a few masterpieces of your own!

If you are interested in checking out what other families and created, click the banner below-- 
Creating Beautiful Art at Home {Creating A Masterpiece Reviews}
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