TOS Review: Creating a Masterpiece

 

Creating a MasterpieceArt education is one of those areas I struggle with. I am one of those non-artistic people. I tried to do one of those “paint nights” with my girlfriends and my painting was terrible!! However, I believe arts education is important, and necessary when a child is in high school. So, I was happy to get to review the monthly plan from Creating a Masterpiece with my 10th grade son.

Creating a MasterpieceCreating a Masterpiece offers online art education for students of all ages. There are programs to suit younger and older kids, and you can choose different projects and mediums to explore. Projects range from Beginner level (which are usually one lesson) to Level 5, which may be three lessons or more for one project. Students can experiment with watercolor, acrylic, sculpting, charcoal and pencil drawings, pastels and more.

Creating a MasterpieceEach lesson features step by step video instruction, and the teacher is very clear, with a pleasant demeanor. This is especially important for my son, who easily loses interest when an online teacher speaks in a monotone voice and goes on and on. You can tell the instructor enjoys art and is enthusiastic about the projects.

My son wanted to get into the pencil and charcoal drawings, so that is where we started. We did need to pick up some supplies like a drawing pad, different types of pencils, and some other things, but I was able to find them at a local art supply store for a minimal cost. I really like the fact that you can search for projects by medium and that the necessary supplies are listed for each project. This makes it easy for me to see what you need, and, if you are on a budget, you can choose projects that do not need expensive supplies.

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The first project my son chose consisted of four lessons, which we did over four days. Each session was further broken down into sections of 10 minutes of less, which is great for kids with short attention spans. It also makes it easy to pick right back up where you left off if you are having a busy day and only have time for a short lesson. My son felt the lesson was easy to follow and enjoyed working on his art projects. I would like him to move more into the pastels and watercolor in the future, but for now, pencil drawing is his thing, and that’s okay.

If you have a child who loves art, you can allow them to choose the medium they are most interested in. If your child isn’t really into art, but you want to get them started, you can begin with the simpler projects (like the pencil and charcoal drawings) and then encourage them to try out other forms as they get more comfortable.

Creating a Masterpiece also includes a section on Art History, which we found pretty interesting and would be a great place to kick off a further study of art in general. For a high school student you could easily add books and trips to the museum and essays about art history along with the projects if you wanted to beef it up.

Overall, we enjoyed Creating a Masterpiece a lot. I think I might even get myself some pastels and see if I can’t pick up a few skills! To learn more about this program, connect with Creating a Masterpiece on social media here:

Creating a Masterpiece on Facebook

To see what other members of the crew thought of this program, click here:

Creating Beautiful Art at Home {Creating A Masterpiece Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

Menu Plan Monday 3/20/17

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Ahh, the first day of spring! It makes me so happy to know that summer is coming! I am looking forward to the warm weather and planting season for my garden! Meanwhile, here’s what’s on the menu at our house this week:

Monday: Easy Enchilada Casserole

Tuesday: Chili

Wednesday: Steak Salad

Thursday: Stuffed Pork Chops with Roasted Corn Salad

Friday: Dinner out

Thanks for stopping by for Menu Plan Monday! See you next week!

TOS Review: Home School Adventure Co.

Home School Adventure CompanyAs a kid, I loved to write. Seriously, I was a journaler, and creative writer, and an editor for my school paper. I always seemed to have a story in my head at all times. So, it is hard for me to understand why writing is so hard for my youngest. He loves to tell stories, but when it comes to writing them, well, it’s a challenge. For that reason, I was happy to give Creative Freewriting Adventure from Home School Adventure Co. a try. It also comes with the Creative Freewriting Adventure Coloring Book Edition.

Creative Freewriting AdentureThis program can be used on its own or along with Philosophy Adventure. I just used it as a supplemental writing curriculum for my son. The goal of Creative Freewriting is simple: get kids to write. Really, it’s that easy. The writing prompts are designed to peak your child’s interest and include background information on the subject as well as questions designed to encourage their creativity.

Creative Freewriting Adventure Coloring Book EditionCreative Freewriting features prompts based on the lives of famous astronomers and philosophers (like Thales) as well as stories such as The Wise Woman. However, the prompts include fun twists that make the writing really interesting and students are encouraged to put their own spin on familiar ideas. I think this is actually a really strong component of the program, especially for reluctant writers like my son. One of his biggest complaints is that he can never think of “what to write”. With Creative Freewriting Adventure, he was given just enough structure to get started, but was then able to go off and create a story on his own.

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I found the background information given in the prompts useful as well. If you wanted to, you could easily choose one prompt a week and use it as a starting point for a further study of a particular philosopher, or use one of the books in the program as a read aloud. For my son, just getting writing was enough. The 15-minute time period is also perfect for our situation because it gave my son an “out” to the writing. He knew he didn’t have to worry about completing the whole story, and that it wasn’t going to be graded for spelling or anything. He just needed to write whatever came to mind. When using this program, I really saw him begin to relax when he wrote for the first time. In fact, there were some stories that he went back and finished on his own after his time was up just because he wanted to!

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The questions that go with the prompts serve as gentle guides to give your kids ideas for what to write about, but they can also serve as starting points for literature lessons for your kids. For example, when they ask your child to think about “what do you see?” “what do you hear?”, “what do you smell?” you could use that to talk to your child about setting in a story. There are also questions that relate to topics like dialogue, character development and more.

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The coloring book that comes with Creative Freewriting complements the program. It gives students scenes to color that go along with each prompt, which may also help get their creative juices flowing. My son is not much of a colorer, but I think you could also use this if you have a younger student that likes to “tag along” on an older brother or sister’s work. They could listen to you read the background info and prompts and then color the picture and maybe tell you their own story orally!

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Overall, I really enjoyed Creative Freewriting Adventure, and I believe my son did too. The point of this program is to get kids comfortable with writing, and I can tell you it really did that at my house. If you would like to know more, connect with Home School Adventure Co. on social media here:

Home School Adventure Co. on Twitter

Home School Adventure Co. on Facebook

Home School Adventure Co. on Pinterest

Home School Adventure Co. on Google+

Home School Adventure Co. on YouTube

To see what other members of the crew thought of this product and the others we got to check out, click here:

Resources with a Biblical Worldview{Home School Adventure Co. Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

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Menu Plan Monday 3\13\17

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How is March treating you? So far the weather around here has been pretty good, but it seems we are due for some storms today and then a cool down. Hopefully it’s the last one of the year! Also, did you remember to set your clocks back this weekend? I did, but man, Sunday got away from me fast! I got busy doing stuff and before I knew it, it was 9PM. Good thing my kids had already helped themselves to the leftovers in the fridge! I definitely need to work on keeping an eye on the clock this week. Here’s our menu for the week:

Monday: Tuscan Steak with Tomatoes

Tuesday: Sofrito Chicken

Wednesday: Chicken Chile Enchiladas (recipe to come)

Thursday: Spaghetti

Friday: Spanish Rice

Thanks for stopping by for Menu Plan Monday! See you next week.

Menu Plan Monday 3/6/17

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I’m gonna be honest, our lives are pretty chaotic right now. We just found out we have to move and we are scrambling to find a new place. Oh the stress! But I am trying hard to stick to cooking at least a few days a week amidst all the packing, house showings, etc. This is our menu for this week:

Monday: Tomato Soup and sandwiches

Tuesday: Mexican Pizza

Wednesday: Spaghetti

Thursday : Tacos

Friday: Burgers on the grill and spicy coleslaw

Thanks for stopping by for Menu Plan Monday! I hope things calm down soon. Have a great week.

Spicy Coleslaw

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My mom turned 65 this week and to celebrate the family got together in the Ocala National Forest for some fishing, kayaking, and a cookout. We went to Moss Bluff which is a great spot, with lots of trees to keep things shady. It was a total surprise for her, and it was great to see her face when we showed up. I brought my signature BBQ side dish, my spicy coleslaw! It goes great on hot dogs, burgers, or just as a side on its own. Plus, it’s really easy to make! Here’s my recipe:

Ingredients:

3 cups shredded coleslaw mix (or make your own)

1 cup shredded red cabbage

1/2 bunch cilantro

3 cloves diced garlic

1 cup mayonnaise

3-4 tablespoons hot sauce (I like to use sriracha or 2 tbsp of red chili paste)

Directions:

  1. Wash all produce. Chop the cilantro.  Dice the garlic. Shred the cabbage.
  2. Combine the coleslaw mix, red cabbage, cilantro, and garlic in a large bowl.
  3. In a smaller bowl, mix the mayonnaise and hot sauce until well blended.
  4. Stir the mayonnaise mixture into the coleslaw mixture.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then cover and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Peace in the Chaos

Ugh. Have you ever had those moments when you feel like you’re finally turning a corner and things are getting better only to have yet another thing happen that pulls the rug right out from underneath you? That’s where I’m at today, again. It’s a familiar place, but not somewhere I want to be. It’s times like these where I find myself asking why God continues to throw obstacles in our path. I know that trials help shape us into who God wants us to be, but seriously, I would like just a little breather from all this shaping!

I have to keep reminding myself that God goes before us in all things and that He is already fighting on our behalf. I’m clinging hard to that fact. Romans 8:28 tells us that He works all things for our good and Proverbs 3:5-6 promises that if I trust in Him, He will make my path straight. Still, in the middle of the night when I’m trying (and can’t) fall asleep, all those little negative thoughts keep popping up in my head and fear sets in. Why do problems always seem so much bigger at night?

It’s in those moments, in the dark, that I remind myself of all the things God has already done in my life, and after going through the list, I start to feel peace settle in. Yes, God has this under control. It is not my job to work everything out, it’s my job to just move forward one day at a time and “cast all my cares on Him”. So, while being still and waiting is not really my thing, that’s what I’m doing. Being still, trusting, waiting, hoping. Tomorrow is another day.

If you’re at a point where you feel exhausted, frustrated, and on the verge of giving up, just remember, tomorrow will worry about itself, each day has enough trouble of its own. Just focus on today, do what you can do, and trust God for the rest.