Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Reading Lists 100 Years Ago Verses Today

Here is a great article comparing middle school reading lists from 1908 verses today. I am a HUGE proponent of students reading classical literature. All of my children, before they graduate high school, read most all of the classics. I am definitely going to look into some of these books and check them out. So many of these older books can be read free through online sites. I know that my children prefer to read actual physical books, but sometimes that is not possible. Half Price Books carries a great selection of older books. I am sure that they may have many of these. I am in total agreement with what is stated in the article. My children do enjoy many of the current authors but I do think it is important to have a balance between the old and the new.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Storm and Tornadoes in North Texas on October 20th

Last Sunday, October 20th, storms and tornadoes blew through Dallas. My daughter was inpatient and still is. You see, one of the tornadoes hit extremely close to the hospital and blew a transformer. The hospital's electricity went out. Back up generators kicked in to power vital medical equiqment and hallway lights. There were no lights or air conditioning in the rooms for about 20 hours. Well, that turned out to be a BLESSING in disguise for my daughter. I will get to that in a second. You see, she was supposed to have a minor surgical procedure Monday morning. We would have been discharged later that day had she had the procedure. Well, that had to be postponed. She was stable and doing well. Early Tuesday morning, around 3am my daughter awoke and wasn't feeling well. She said she had never felt like this before. She was able to push the nurses call light and was able to say in a whispered tone, "I am going to get sick." The nurse came quick. She started vomiting. We were all caught off guard because she had been doing so well. Things went downhill fast. She began vomiting and going into respiratory distress. A rapid response was called and she was transferred to the ICU. She was found to be in moderate to severe heart failure. She was immediately put on breathing support. If we would have been home the outcome could have potentially been catastrophic. My daughter said she doubts she would have been able to get out of her bed to come and get us. She would not have been able to scream for help. I really don't want to think about the what ifs. I know that there was so much devastation from the storm that night, but I am thanking the Lord for that storm because it just may have saved her life. Knowing that she was in moderate to severe heart failure that night I cannot imagine God having us any place else but in the hospital. I am so very grateful for God's perfect plan. Sometimes out of a storm comes blessings beyond our human understanding. Life is like a tapestry. We often are too focused on the backside of the tapestry which is filled with crossed treads, ugly knots, and twists. We need to focus on the front of the tapestry and the beauty of the progress being made. Sometimes God many have to pull out some of the stitches, kind of like our trials, but then He eventually restores. Isaiah 55:8 says, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord."

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Smartick ~ A Review

Smartick is an online, artificial intelligent based math tutor for your child. Smartick is for children ages 4-14. The program adapts to your child's learning pace. What is great is that sessions take just 15 minutes a day. Not only does does the program help students boost their math skills but it also helps with reading comprehension as well as logic and reasoning.

Smartick helps your child reach their mathematical potential, therefore increasing their:
  1. mental agility
  2. calculation skills
  3. concentration
  4. study skills
Smartick is beneficial for students that are falling behind in math and are in need of an extra boost to fill in the gaps. The program can also be used for those students that are looking to expand their knowledge beyond what they are currently learning. Smartick, since it is self-paced, can be used to advance mathematical skills.

Parents receive daily e-mails after their child has completed their daily session. 
Here is what the e-mail looks like. There is also a parent log-in where parents
can view their child's progress. 

When your child first logs on they get to pick their avatar. 
For the older child the options are somewhat babyish. My kiddos thought
that they could have done a better job at coming up with better looking avatars. 

On the parent dashboard there are tutorials that can be viewed on all of the various 
mathematical concepts.

Once you click on a concept you can view each concept and read a
description of each tutorial and the age range. These tutorials are quite helpful.

Here are some screenshots of some of the problems that my kiddos were given. 

If your child gets a problem wrong the correct answer will display 
on the bottom right hand of the screen. 

Students are rewarded for their hard work. 

One of my kiddos was not at all impressed with Smartick and said that she thought that it because she did not want to continue to use it. In the assessment process she did poorly and therefore it was giving her very elementary type problems that were not at all challenging. When I went to her profile I was shocked at the level of problems it was giving her. I don't know what happened but this was really crazy. Another daughter had problems that were right on target for her. 

Overall, I think that Smartick is a really good online math tutor. It gives students of all abilities a great way to enhance their current math curriculum. Definitely check the website out and read what the other crew members have had to saw by clicking the link below. 

To read more reviews click here.

Social Media
Twitter: https://twitter.com/smartickmethod?lang=en
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smartick/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD_f6FMb0X1QDp5j7puQh1Q

Monday, October 21, 2019

Creating A Masterpiece ~ A Review

We have really enjoying the Drawing Program from Creating a Masterpiece. There are 4 levels included in the drawing program: Beginning Drawing, Drawing Level 1, Drawing Level 2, and Drawing Level 3. Within the 4 levels there are 30 projects and a total of 48 lessons. Three drawing mediums are utilized; colored pencils, pencil, and charcoal. Children as young as 5 and as old as seniors can enjoy the Drawing Program. You truly do not have to have an art background in order to learn how to draw. You only have to have a willing attitude and patience. Sharon takes student's step-by-step through the drawing process with each project via her online videos. 

I was able to get the art supplies that we needed at a local art supply store and online.
This is a few of the art supplies that I purchased. 
You can also purchase the art supplies on the Creating a Masterpiece website.
Each project tells you exactly what art supplies you will need. 

Each project has the following components.

Lesson Videos

Project Supplies and Downloads

Supplies Used in this Lesson

Helpful Tips
Project Images

Lesson Highlights


Beginning Drawing
Lesson in Pencil ~ Hoot Owl

My 13 and 16-year-old daughter's had so much fun drawing this 
HOOT Owl. There was a lot of giggling and laughing going on. 

I was very impressed with their owls and so were they. 

Beginning Drawing
Lesson in Pencil ~ Simplicity

For this project three of my daughter's and my mother got in on the action. 
There was a lot of pausing going on while different individuals at different times
needed time to catch up, or redo a section. 

My mom was "tickled pink" that she was actually drawing! This was the first
time in her life that she actually successfully drew anything. 

My 11-year-old's

My 13-year-old's

My 16-year-old's 


Beginning Drawing 
Lesson in Pencil ~ Giraffe in Cartoon

Drawing Level 1
Lesson in Pencil ~ Tuckered Out Turtle 

I drew this cute turtle. I was shocked that I actually did this! 
I cannot even draw a stick figure. Seriously! It was quite relaxing 
working through the lessons and coming out with this at the end. 

Drawing Level 1
Lesson in Pencil ~ Penguin Family

Beginning Drawing
Lesson in Charcoal ~ Field of Daisies 

Working with charcoal was definitely a bit tricky but fun. 

I would HIGHLY recommended this curriculum to parents and homeschoolers searching for an art curriculum that actually works. If you cannot even draw a stick figure DO NOT WORRY, you can succeed at Creating a Masterpiece. Definitely check out all of the amazing media forms that Sharon teaches on her site such as: Wood Burning, Balsa Carving, Glass Mosaic, Glass Etching, Gouache, Faux Stained Glass, Acrylic Painting, Oil Pastel, Sculpting, Alcohol Inks, and Watercolor.

To read more reviews click here.

Social Media
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/createamasterpiece 

Confetti Eggs