See the Light Art Class DVD #1.
Some things are hard for a homeschool mom like me to teach- like fine arts. I love them in every form (drawing, music, drama) but the gift passed me by.
Fortunately there are some usuable-for-non-artist-homeschool-mom curricula out there. Here are some I recommend. (BTW- this is not a sponsored post.)
I love this one! Using simple drawing activities, it teaches kids to think from the creative side of their brain. It is not a theory book- it is a let's-get-creative book.
My daughter, who got her BA in Photography and Art liked this book so well that she has incorporated it into the work she does now as an art instructor.
Learning how to think creatively is a very important life skill- it is useful in writing, inventing, and problem-solving.
This is another curriculum I love. We used it in co-op as part of our world history lessons. Barry Stebbing takes homeschoolers through art history and gives them hands-on lessons so that they can experience the types of art and ideas from each time period. I loved the projects he assigned.
The program came with cards that had good pictures of the type of art being studied.
I really appreciated being able to key in art with history.
I felt my artistic kids needed some art theory when they hit high school. Not knowing any theory, I wanted someone to teach that for me.
Lifepacs does that.
Not that my kids enjoyed this. They didn't like the lessons, they felt they were uncreative, technical, and boring.
However, they got theory in. (And it didn't kill their love of art, just got them irritated with me.)
I am glad there is good homeschool curricula out there for our kids to get some experience in the world of art.
What do you use to teach your kids art?
While we're on the subject of fine arts, don't forget to download the FREE Christmas Play script from Sabrina (and watch for the launching of our drama department in January)!
Whether we homeschool moms feel creative or not,
We can teach our kids to be creative-
And to have fun. With drama, Sabrina Justison's Introduction to Directingis a great start and it is free!
is a new band with a new release, and we are pretty excited about it at 7 Sisters because two of the band members are 7SistersHomsechool.com kids. Jake Taylor White is my homeschool-grad son, and Seth Tillman is Vicki's homeschool junior. Along with James Mears and Mark Viggiano (also homeschool high-schoolers), they make up this new indie band producing original alternative music with soul-searching lyrics.
Scratch Notes is In Retrospect's first full-length studio album. At Christmastime they released 3 holiday offerings as a free EP through their Facebook page (you can still enjoy that "Christmas with In Retrospect" free EP now if you'd like a little taste of what they sound like).
There is a diversity of musical styles evident on the 12-track album. You can hear the influence of musicians who have inspired the guys, but there are also reggae rhythms, flickers of techno-synth music, a flavor of Israeli folk dances, and soaring bits of old hymns ringing over the lead singer's lyrics, all driven by their solid rock sound.
In Retrospect writes their songs cooperatively. Lyrics touch on the need for real relationship with God instead of hollow religious behaviors, the futility of life in our own strength, the everything-changing grace of God, and more. Songs like Ravenhill, with its Queen-sized anthem finish, and What Feels Safe, with its driving chorus of "Hallelu, hallelu amen" challenge us to examine what we believe and stand up against the lies that will cripple our life in Christ. Vaguely reminiscent of the early Beatles, Turnaround is an upbeat call to turn around and find that we're standing on the solid rock, while the equally uplifting Hope for Rain uses synthesizer to brightly encourage us to wait expectantly for the changes we need in our lives.
The guys love complex music. The chord progression in Vital Signs makes it no easy song to sing, but they stay true to every interval, and when they shift into the blues-heavy "I've got no strength" riff near the end of the song, Jake gets to use his powerful voice at its best. Seth's haunting lead vocal in Conversations , James' driving bass in All is Blindness, and Mark's passionate and precise drumming in Brought to Nothing demonstrate the diversity of musical gifts God has given these young men.
Am I bit predisposed to like In Restrospect? Unashamedly, yes! But regardless of the personal connection I have with the band, Scratch Notes is a solid first effort album from a young band with a lot of talent and a tremendous work ethic. From their early morning practices on Saturdays to their determination to write cooperatively rather than competing with each other's ideas, from their passion to seek truth in their own lives as followers of Christ, to their hunger to share that truth-seeking passion with others through their music, they have shown that they deserve a moment of your time. Take a listen.
Now I am teaching it to my church's Ladies Bible Study on Wednesday nights, and we are ALL thoroughly enjoying it.
In Lioness Arising, Lisa Bevere shares information about the magnificent abilities of the lioness, and shows how these qualities point us to great cooperation with God in His plans to reach a lost and broken world.
The 11-chapter hardcover book explains the vision God gave to Lisa for "awakening" women who are disciples of Jesus Christ, spurring them on to greater understanding of and obedience to His plans for their lives. Her writing is personal, relatable, and easy to understand and apply.
For our Bible Study group we are also using Lisa's DVD series of teachings that accompany the chapters in the book, as well as personal application questions from the paperback "Safari Guide." All of these resources are available on the Messenger International website. Lisa is an engaging speaker, and the production quality of the DVD's makes them pleasant to watch and really sets up our group for great discussion of the material each week. There are too many questions in each lesson of the Safari Guide to fit into our meeting time, but I select a few that lend themselves to group discussion and we focus on those.
Lioness Arising will make you uncomfortable. It will point out the many areas of weakness that we simply allow and excuse in our own lives and in the churches where we gather. But it will not condemn. Lisa's message is one of empowering for obedience to the battle-cry of God; her message makes me eager to reach out in service to those who are need my help, to offer my voice on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves, to minister to the widow, the orphan, the outcast and the desperate.
(This is not a sponsored post. We just like to share resources that have been a blessing to us, and this is one of them.)
Have you seen the Spiritual Walk resources available in the 7Sisters EBookstore?
These ebooks are comfortably priced at less than $4.00 (some are even FREE!) and download immediately to your computer desktop.
Click here to see titles like God Meets Me Here, Carry Each Other's Burdens, and Prayer Journals.
You have to keep your spirit full and fit in order to truly guide your homeschoolers, right?
Running on empty leads to burn out- a risk in the long, cold winter. Reading some soul-restoring books, along with a good devotional and prayer time helps!
I have a few authors whose work refreshes my soul: C.S. Lewis, Andrew Murray, A.W. Tozer and especially John Eldredge.
I first ran into Eldredge's books years ago, when I had felt a long spiritual dry-spell. Someone gave me a copy of Waking the Dead. It was one of those books that I finished, then said, "I need another run through". Then another. By the end of the fourth read, revival had hit. Praise God!
Then I read Captivating, written by John and his wife, Staci. I read it 5 times in a row while God did some powerful healing work in my soul.
Then I saw John speak at the American Association of Christian Counselor's international convention (I know, oxymoron- but it is awesome to seek God together with 7000 therapists...). John said 2 words that those from my office still quote today: Ask God. Really. God knows, usually we don't. Ask God.
I also implore my homeschooling high schoolers to read Epic to help them understand the story God is writing in their lives.
The Utter Relief of Holiness is not a "Christians, you better behave" book.
It is a book about how to find wholeness and holiness. It is a healing book. Holiness is a relief- utter relief!
I mean, it is a confronting book, too. Confronting if you regard holiness as an outward keeping of the law to cover up an inward broken and dirty vessel. Confronting if you regard holiness as a judgmental vice and doubting a show-you're-cool virtue. Instead, holiness is a blessed relief!
Ask the anorexic young girl how she would feel if she simply no longer struggled with food, diet, and exercise-- if she simply never even gave it another thought. Ask the man consumed with jealousy how he would feel if he woke one day to discover that all he once felt jealous over was simply gone. ... Take the things you struggle with and ask yourself, "What would it be like if I never struggled with this again?".... It would be an utter relief. Absolute, utter relief.
Eldredge looks a Jesus' holiness by observing his character- he blessed little children, ate with publicans and sinners, fussed at the Pharisees. He quoted Jesus on his firm opinions on the necessity of holiness and what Scripture says about our inability to work it up ourselves.
Then he describes a lovely and sometimes painful process of cooperating with the Holy Spirit in his work of wholeness and holiness.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed-- not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence-- continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12-13)
The process involves acknowledging where our hearts are troubled, that we are allowing something to be in an idolatrous position in our lives (sometimes even our families??) and that we have a choice about what to do with that: repent, run to God, spiritual warfare sometimes... wait- I can't fit the entire book on one post. Get it and read it.
I am already on round 2 of reading The Utter Relief of Holiness. Maybe someone will do a book discussion group with me...
Hope Duffie has a copy of The Utter Relief of Holiness by John Eldredge to give to someone who comments on the post today. So here are some questions to get you started. Have you ever read any of John Eldredge's books? Which ones? Has Eldredge's work ever impacted your life? Which books have you been wanting to read?
"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Here's a trailer for the book:
As a graduated homeschooling mom with a BA in Art History, I recently read and reviewed an interesting art history curriculum written by Kristin Draeger, a homeschool mom and veteran art teacher.
American Art History Volumes I & II: Art History Disguised as Fun, accompanied by Drawing American Art Volumes I & II is a fun approach to the early art of this country designed for 3rd through 8th graders. The two volumes, available online at artk12.com, provide a full semester,16 week, overview of American art from the prehistoric period through the 1820s. (Additional volumes will be available in early 2013.) Each book is available in full-color or a less expensive black and white version.
Kristin's philosophy is that learning should be fun. To that end she combines story-telling and hands-on activities to introduce students to some great pieces of art as well as train them in how to interpret art and its window into history and culture. The curriculum contains 4 main components: a text which explains the art period, work, and artist; a “forgery game” imbedded in the text; an art history Bingo game; and the drawing text.
The main text is formatted in a friendly, investigative style. Each chapter appears as a newspaper article in a fictitious newspaper named for the time - “Prehistoric Prattle”, “Boston Brain”, etc. Each article is accompanied by humorous cartoon additions and “sponsoring” advertisements. A nod is given to geography with a map and pin designating the area or city related to each piece of art explored. Using one of the art techniques studied in the book, the author has added a trompe l'oeil tag to each chapter with the crucial facts for quick review by students.
The three other components of the program are all hands-on. The forgery game at the end of each chapter consists of two prints of the work – one accurate and one with missing or changed elements. The student is to compare the two and find the differences. The Bingo game includes glossy, full-color, 8X10 plates of the works in the text and individual student bingo cards with 12 art images each. The Drawing American Art books lead the student step-by-step in drawing a section of the pieces discussed in the main text.
I found the curriculum to be an innovative approach to introducing students to art history. The format and humor of the main text certainly steer clear of the dry “text-booky”approach to teaching. Completely aside from the art images themselves, the look of the text is sure to capture the attention of students. However, I did find some of the humor to be confusing as it refers to elements of the chapter before they are mentioned in the text or makes reference to elements of history or culture which would be lost on students of various ages. Also, the cutesy, tongue-in-cheek, language, alliteration, and silly names become a bit tiresome.
Despite this, the content is surprisingly full and accurate for something aimed at this age level. The works of art are thoroughly explained from both artistic technique and historical and cultural points of view. Included with the art critiques are numerous casual references to interesting historical facts and context. For instance, the writer mentions that the end of the Battle of Princeton was fought inside of Nassau Hall. The teacher could easily use these references as a jumping off point for more thorough history lessons.
Being an art book, illustrations are a key element in this text. Complete samples of each art work studied are included. In addition, most chapters include one or more images of details from the work to draw students attention to elements they might otherwise miss. Although, the less expensive black and white versions of the texts are a nice option, I would not recommend them. Color is such an integral part of art that it is difficult to study it with that piece missing. Also, the forgeries game, I believe, would pose a difficult challenge to students if they could not see the images in full color. Granted, the Bingo game does provide beautiful color plates of the works for reference if one purchased only the black and white versions of the texts.
Overall, Kristin Draeger offers a great American Art experience to add to a child's history education. The style of writing, though not appealing to me personally, might be a good approach for students who tend to get bored with “just the facts”. The humorous elements can be confusing and overdone, but the content is good. Teaching students to appreciate and evaluate the art of different eras will certainly enrich their understanding of our world and culture.
This is not a sponsored post; we just like to pass along ideas for resources that capture our attention!
Here's a classic post on some books that my twins love:
Ever found a book/series that absolutely grabs your reluctant readers and won’t let them go? Even found that very same series to be just as compelling to you?
Sigmund Brouwer’s Lightning on Ice, does just that for my two youngest and me. It has even helped my youngest grow to be an eager reader! PTL!
So far we have read:
All Star Pride
Winter Hawk Star
We eagerly await reading:
Oil King Courage
and many more of his sports-related mysteries
The Lightning on Ice Series is written to appeal to students ages 9 – 15 and with an upper elementary reading level, it is an ideal blend of accessibility and high interest for tweens and teens. While the books work well together, they are independent of one another and can be read in any order. Both Carlie and I say they are truly “page turners” that are hard to put down, yet the short chapters make them easy to read in small doses if you prefer.
Each book is set on a real team in the WHL (Western Hockey League, which endorses the books as well). The stories and characters are fictitious, but the hockey backdrop is the real deal. If you’re a hockey fan, you’ll love the way the game is woven into the background of each story. If you’re new to the game, there’s a handy hockey glossary in each volume. If you don’t know a puck from a penalty box, the stories stand alone and have high interest long after the ice has melted.
These books are full of mystery, relationships, real-life problems, adventure and humor. The choices the characters make, the struggles they endure and they way they follow their spiritual and moral compasses make them good role models for our family - plus I laugh out loud when I read them. And yes, I read them for my own enjoyment – and I have always been an avid reader! I kid you not, when I say I almost missed one of my girls’ hockey games, because I got so engrossed in reading Blazer Drive!
We have found several of the titles in our local library. The best online resource I have found for the Lightning on Ice and other similar books is the publisher, Orca Sports (some volumes formerly published under Word! Kids). The Orca Sports Books website,even offers free downloadable Teachers Guides as well as a Resource Guide available for purchase.
Here are the top 10 cool things we learned about Sigmund Brouwer while researching this blog:
- He is a former college and semi-pro ice hockey player
- He struggled with English, including writing, in college
- His website (www.coolreading.com) has writing tips for young writers
- He is committed to writing one book for reluctant readers each year
- He loves to encourage young readers and writers through visits to school/homeschool groups
- He has posted the first chapter to most of the series on his site
- His “hope is that the characters in my novels will live real lives beyond the walls of traditional church and allow my fiction to give voice to truth"
- He has close to 3,000,000 books in print
- He writes all sorts of books including other sports, mysteries
- He wrote over 2,000 pages and received 7 years worth of rejection letters before his first story was published!
As you can tell, we are huge Sigmund Brouwer and Lightning on Ice fans! What book(s) have totally turned your family on to reading?
God has created each of us with special characteristics. This remains true for children and adults who are on the Autism spectrum.
While there are some things that people with autism do very well (such as focusing on a particular topic), there are other things that can be a struggle, such as figuring out the “rules” of social interaction.
Dr. Temple Grandin and Sean Barron write from their perspective as adults with Autism. They come from differing perspectives regarding the importance of social relationships (Mr. Barron places high importance on socialization and Dr. Grandin understands intellectually the importance, but is less motivated by the social experience itself.) Together they give you an insight into the complexities of learning to interact appropriately in social situations.
The Ten Unwritten Rules are:
- Rules are Not Absolute. They are Situation-based and People-based.
- Not Everything is Equally Important in the Grand Scheme of Things.
- Everyone in the World Makes Mistakes. It Doesn’t Have to Ruin Your Day.
- Honesty is Different than Diplomacy.
- Being Polite is Appropriate in Any Situation.
- Not Everyone Who is Nice to Me is My Friend.
- People Act Differently in Public than They Do in Private.
- Know When You’re Turning People Off.
- “Fitting In” is Often Tied to Looking and Sounding Like You Fit In.
- People are Responsible for Their Own Behaviors.
Anyone who knows someone on the Autism spectrum (and this is likely all of us) would benefit from reading this book. If you have a child on the Autism spectrum, it is a must.
In case yesterday's post touched your heart, here's Vicki's review of a great resource for parenting teens. This is a classic post that first ran in Feb. 2011.
I first ran into Ross Campbell's writings in Sunday School 30 years ago. We were a church of young ex-hippies who had no clue how to be civilized adults and parents. When one of the elders ran across How to Really Love Your Child, we studied it together like our lives depended on it. My oldest was a newborn then, and I have re-read that book many, many times. So of course, when he came out with How to Really Love Your Teen, I snapped it up.
What Campbell (a Christian psychiatrist in Chattanooga, TN) says is this:
-Teens act like stereotypical teens- lazy, disrespectful, self-centered- as a mask for anger.
-Teens feel angry when they feel unloved, belittled, or see no hope for their future in the world they are discovering around them.
What to do?
1) Help them feel your love through unconditional love, daily eye contact and focused attention, and some positive physical touch (pat on the back, a "mom hug", etc).
3) Model for them a lifestyle of addressing the things in the world where you CAN have an impact for good.
4) Give them clear boundaries so that they learn self-control.
5) Model for them personal boundaries and self-control.
Easy, huh? Not really, parenting is never easy. But I found this book full of ideas like those above that I valued and could implement in my life and my kids' lives.
What are some helpful parenting-your-teen books that you have found?
Vicki's one-credit "sparkle" Health curriculum Human Development from a Christian Worldview helps you make sense of adolescence and all the other developmental stages, and prepares your student for good relationships with others!
Homeschooling your children can be fun and rewarding, much of the time. It is also hardwork and there are days when putting your children on the big, yellow bus seems like a blessed escape. While there may be seasons or circumstances for which a traditional school may be the best option, there are principles for staying sane when you feel that God has called you to educate your children at home.
The 41-page booklet Staying Sane as You Homeschool by Kathy Kuhl is full of encouraging tips for surviving, and even thriving, as you educate your children. The
booklet is divided into two parts. Part 1 is titled “Are you sabotaging your homeschool?”. It is full of practical advice, such as “Whatever you think is the way your child learns best, whatever they prefer, a multisensory approach is a good idea.” (page 7). There is also advice for the teaching parent, such as “High standards are good. But the urge for perfection can sour into perfectionism.” (page 10) Having educated one child with learning differences, she also emphasizes the importance of not comparing your homeschool, or your child, with that of others.
On page 16 she states:
“We can be disappointed when our children don?t do as well as others, without letting jealousy and resentment slip in. Grief is natural, but we need to watch ourselves that we don't let it fester. Guilt can overwhelm parents, if we let it. Even if we have reasonable regrets, we must not let them paralyze us. Fix what you can, and move on.”
Part 2 is titled “Balancing our priorities”. In this section, Kathy gives advice about caring for yourself and your marriage. It includes advice about taking care of your body, having other interests beyond homeschooling, and having “community” in which you can share your struggles and successes. The advice is practical and attainable.
This booklet is a quick and easy read. While much of it is intuitive, it is the kind of advice that needs to be brought to mind frequently. She includes a list of resources for further reading. I recommend this booklet, whether you are brand new to the adventure of educating your children, or have been on the homeschool journey for many years.
Another way to stay sane is to empower your kids to have confidence-building social skills. In Social Skills for Children, I share the 10 most important skills kids need for successful social interactions. Only $3.99.
Do you have a favorite homeschool encouragement book?
Note: This is not a sponsored post. We just like to periodically blog about resources we have enjoyed in our own homeschools. This is a classic post.
Originally published in 1971, this little book by journalist and apologist Malcolm Muggeridge was written after Muggeridge produced a documentary movie of the same name about the work done by Mother Teresa of Calcutta and the Missionaries of Charity. These Roman Catholic nuns minister to the poorest of the poor and the dying all over the world, but their order began in Calcutta, India, and the story of Mother Teresa's burden to begin this ministry is inspiring and challenging on a deep level for Catholics and Protestants alike. As followers of Jesus Christ, all Christians are told that any service done "to the least of these" is received by Christ Himself.
The book is divided into four sections.
- Part I is Malcolm Muggeridge's own account of his acquaintance with Mother Teresa and the work in Calcutta. It contains much of his own personal reflections about her as a person, the work the Missionaries of Charity accomplish against all odds, and the tremendous impact this acquaintance had on him as a man of faith.
- Part II is a series of 18 brief devotions written by Mother Teresa on various aspects of a life of faith in Christ.
- Part III is the transcript of an interview Muggeridge conducted with Mother Teresa and others in the order.
- Part IV is Muggeridge offering closing thoughts on doing "something beautiful for God."
I read this book with our day-school class of 28 high school-aged homeschoolers earlier this year, and it was fodder for some really good class discussion. I prepared a study guide with vocabulary and questions that the kids prepared ahead of time (click here to download it from the EBookstore), and they were then ready to intelligently discuss ideas like:
- Why does Mother Teresa think that government welfare is important, but it can never replace the ministry to the poor that Christians can do?
- How, by their own account, do the Missionaries of Charity minister WITH JOY under such overwhelmingly ugly circumstances?
- What does Mother Teresa mean when she says, "I do not agree with the big way of doing things"?
In a world where our culture idolizes selfish living, reading and discussing this book with homeschoolers proved to be a great tool for stirring a hunger for service and sacrifice.
What books can you recommend to stir our hearts toward service?
Muggeridge's documentary movie and famous television interview with Mother Teresa were part of the inspiration for my play, A Weekend in Calcutta. To download a sample copy of the play for just $0.99, click here.
Now, here is Sabrina's Vlog about why you need literature study guides: