Thursday, May 29, 2014

Apologia What on Earth Can I Do? - TOS Review

Apologia Educational Ministries

We recently had the opportunity to review the fourth in a series of Apologia's World View program, What on Earth Can I Do? We are decade+ long users of Apologia texts and fell in love with the elementary science  MP3's last. I've heard great things about this curriculum, so I was very interested in having the chance to look at it myself. 
Apologia Review
Apologia ReviewApologia Review
Fore this review we received:
What on Earth Can I Do? (hardback book) -$39.00
What on Earth Can I Do? (notebooking journal) - $24.00
What on Earth Can I Do? (coloring book) - $8.00
What on Earth Can I Do?  (Junior notebooking journal) - $24.00
The suggested age range for this is 1st-6th grade, or ages 6 to 14. 

Chapters/ Lessons are titled:
    1. Your Story or God’s Story?
    2. Who Put You In Charge?
    3. Will You Be Found faithful?
    4. Where is Your Treasure?
    5. Where Does Your Time Go?
    6. Whose Life Is It Anyway?
    7. Why Isn’t It Easy Being Green?
    8. What will Happen When the Master Returns?
Each lesson also incorporates several key components: 
The Big Idea* What You Will Do * Short Story * Think About It * Words You Need to Know *  Hide It In Your Heart * Integrated Learning * What Should I Do* Prayer *Parables of Jesus * Going Deeper * House of Truth *

The Student Journal includes: 
Blank Note-Taking pages * "Think About It" Questions * Words to Know * Hide it in my Heart * Make a Note of It * Word Puzzles * Mini Books * My Prayers * Praise Reports * "I Spy!"* Living Out Loud * Do You Remember? * Find Out More *
The Jr. Note taking Journal is just as comprehensive as the older, just a simplified version. 

There is an enclosed lesson plan that suggests a 3 week format, with two days of reading/activities per week. For instance. 
Week One: 
Day 1 - Read, "The Big Idea" and "What You Will Do." Read the Short Story and discuss. Discuss the questions in "Think about it." 
Day 2- Study, "words you need to know." Memorize the "Hide it in your heart" verses. Read and discuss the first third of the main lesson. Write or draw in the notebook about what was studied. 

What's to love?
The text, journals, and coloring book are the exceptionally high quality material that you've come to expect from Apologia. The text is hardback, with full color throughout, lots of explanation and helps to use the material, and visually stimulating, while not be overwhelming. 
The student journals are comb-bound and full color as well, with tons of activities to do together or alone, thought provoking questions, and excellent game type activities to solidify the lessons being taught. 
The text is chock full of information, biographical sketches, historical vignettes, Biblical references and more. 

How We Used It:
Flower, 11, Cub, 14 and I started reading this out-loud together. Flower wanted to stop every 2 minutes to ask clarifying historical questions, both kids wanted to debate some of the historicity presented and Cub was frustrated by the seemingly randomness of the text. I decided that they were at such varying levels that I gave up doing this together. Cub read the entire text over a couple week time period. Cub is not and never has been my activity guide lover. He generally loathes activity (journal) and literature guides and considers them torture. I showed him the beautiful journal and he begged off.  Give him the text, get out of his way and leave him to it. He has excellent comprehensive and retention skills, and is more than happy to narrate the day long. So, that is what we did. At first he was reluctant to read the book. I had to remind him for the first couple of days. After that, he would grab it on his own. He finished it two days ago and declared it, "Pretty Good." (High praise from my man-child of few words.).

Flower and I continued to read it together. She loves activity guides and coloring books and anything journal-like and loved the beautiful journal that came with. 

My thoughts: 
The suggessted age range for this is 6 to 14. Personally, I think 6, in fact, younger than 10,  is far too young to start this program. For one, I believe that Apologetics are best left until Jr. or Sr. High. My belief is that the early years are best spent reading and assimilating Bible stories, memorizing a Biblical time-line, dates, books of the Bible, Scripture passages, etc. In other words, laying  firm Biblical Foundation, as younger kids are learning the grammar (foundations) of their faith. Apologetics, by definition, is "giving a defense" of one's faith. This is a higher level thinking skill. I'm all about slow, steady and depth of learning. In the same way that I wouldn't introduce Algebraic concepts to my second grader because we are focusing on math basics, I think it's confusing to younger kids to introduce Apologetics.

Secondly, some of the content might be disturbing for younger kids. From the get-go, there is a discussion about Adolf Hitler. While I agree that he is one of those historic figures not to be overlooked in one's studies, I hold off on introducing evil despots to my kids until they are older (i.e. Jr. and Sr. High). Introducing them to younger kids has the tendency to frighten the kids or diminish  the the tyranny of the villain.

Anecdotally, Cub has already read some serious apologetics books on his own, such as, "When Socrates Meet Jesus,." He had many, many questions and comments as a result, talked about it for weeks and went on to read the Space Trilogy by Lewis. I was curious how What on Earth Can I Do? would effect him. At first he was very confused about the book. He asked me on more than one occasion, "What is this book about? Is it a history book, or a Bible study, or what?" He found it interesting, and read it through to the end. His final comment was that it caused him to  consider some issues in a new light and caused him to be more thoughtful about others.

As far as helping him develop a defense of his faith? Well, the What on Earth Can I Do? volume focuses on Stewardship; in other words who owns what; time life, treasure and how does one manage that? This has been an important discussion in our house as Cub moves from Jr. to Sr. High. Reading this books further cemented many of the concepts that we've been discussing regarding time management, responsibilities to family and others. On his own, Cub determined to tithe a portion of his first pay check (he works for a landscaping company, so believe me, every penny is hard earned).

Flower and I continued to read it together. The chapters were overwhelmingly long for her, she found some of the stories bizarre and confusing. She felt that there were too many "side-tracks" she couldn't really understand the focus of the super long chapters, crammed full of detail. She did enjoy many of the journaling pages, and frankly, I think they are integral part of the program, tying everything together in a cohesive manner.

The vignettes included did spur my kids on to delve further into looking up people and places that they were interested in: Flower jumped right into an extensive study of Narnia, Cub did further research on Maria Von Trapp. The journals do focus the reading and define bite sized chunks of information for the student to focus on.

This is a beautiful product, and in keeping with the high quality materials one expects from Apologia. 

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mullins, Music and Deep Magic

Watched Ragamuffin, the Movie last night, a biographical look at the life of singer/songwriter Rich Mullins. He was a person with struggles, great talents, stubborn faith and insecurities that ran deep. We've listened, worshiped with and appreciated Mullins music for over 30 years, were grieved at his untimely death, and continue to appreciate his winsome talent as we share his music with our kids.

Our pastor prayed today: "God, take our something, add it to your everything and create something out of it." Mullins life is a testimony to the fruit of that prayer in his life, and even death. It's what I hope for as well. Lord, take my something, add it to your everything and may it bear good fruit. Without Him, we are weak vessels, joined with Him, so much more than we could ask or imagine.
That is synergy, baby. Divine synergy. Bring it.

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Schooling Around

This week
We are hitting Latin hard with the goal to finish First Form by the end of summer. We are on section II and the learning curve just changed angles a bit- iow's, it's hard to keep everything straight and Flower and I are working through the workbook with text in hand.
Perplexors, just 'cause they are that fun. We are almost done with "More" Level D. We'll miss them when we are done.
German, served up daily via Rosetta Stone.
Notgrass America the Beautiful.
Spelling U See.
MP Geography
Tons of reading. Just tons. Cub dove head first into Little Britches this week and l.o.v.e.s it. I think he just found a new favorite author.
Flower is immersed in Narnia. When she's not reading it, she's watching it and listening to it as well.
And throwing in some Anne of Green Gables in along the way.
And don't forget lines. As in red and yellow and purple and aqua and blue and....throw in some thees and thous from Puck and the snarl or two of a saucy sea hag and that's about rounded out our week.
Summr Stuff
A fun list of 100 Things to Do this Summer, Summer Fun Board

We know it's summer around here, even if the weather doesn't cooperate, because we are in the midst of Drama Camp season. The high schoolers are performing a musical this year, meaning weekly choral practices and then 2 weeks of practice prior to the performance instead of the usual one. The performance will take place at the same college theater that the yearly winter Festival of One Acts takes place. Good stuff, that, though the younger kids will still be performing at a local parish school, complete with 1960's stage. A week later, many of those same high schoolers will gather together to practice 6 hours a day for 6 days to bring us A Midsummer's Night Dream at a local outdoor theater in the park. 
The kids and I will be going to south for a couple of days for CC training and they will do kids camps there, we have a Speech and Debate Camp down south as well and then I'll be teaching IEW at a 3-day CC Practicum in the Hills. Fun times. Throw in a LIW field trip, the boys working, with Feeche traveling out of town many weeks, this summer (if it ever really gets here) is going to blow by. 
In case you missed this on the GG FaceBook page this week:
What that means on a practical level is that we have to stop fretting over every little detail. We need to stop comparing. We've got to drop the self-inflated view that we are the be-all-end-all of whether the education we are offering our children is going to be as successful as we hope it is. After all, our job is not to be successful- success itself is entirely beside the point.

It's faithfulness that He wants. God is good! He isn't going to let us pour out our hearts for our children only to be left choking on the dust of our mistakes. ~Sarah Mackenzie

It finally warmed up. From frost on the ground last week to 89 today. Loving the warmth. We spent tons of time on the porch this week- complete with table and chairs so there's a work space; and in the yard, reading history while playing with the kittens.
The kittens are totally adorable, though, sadly, our Momma Cat has gone missing. Living by a river affords us lots of predators. Thankfully, the kittens are surviving on chicken bones and kitten food, but we miss our awesome MommaCat.

Social Commentary
Conflict in Literature - INCIDENTAL COMICS

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Sorting Fall

This is from my blogger buddy Jennifer at Royal Little Lambs. This could seriously happen.

It was a busy year; very busy. We did tons of stuff we loved, some things we didn't,hung out with cool folks and got through some serious academic work. There are changes afoot for fall and we are busy sorting them out. We have some awesome options available in our neck of the woods and via Internet:

The small, in home co-op is a given. Science labs, the Grammar of Poetry, maybe Spanish, maybe Art.
The other stuff is a bit more difficult to sort because of time, money, distance to get there, what they offer. So far, there is not a good, simple fit for both kids that works with my schedule, and addresses the academic needs without a lot of filler or killer drive time. We continue to sort. And not being involved in stuff is not an option, as we are social creatures living deep in the heart of country. Plus, while I'm not looking for "structure" per se, I am looking for help, in that I am super busy and can't get it all done. I'm signed up to Tutor and to Teach, so I'll still be involved, but there will be a framework already in place, with lots of structure, cool things to do, fun, community and helps.

What are you looking at for next year? Any great options I haven't considered yet?

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Fun (andohsoslightlybusy) Times


Cub is deep into Drama-camp practice as they are doing Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat. He also received the script for A Midsummer's Night Dream, cast as Puck. He is trying to walk sprightly, but basically he just clumps less clumpily. He has also already started a part time summer job, which consists of demanding physical labor. He is also doing school and growing and eating and shooting and clumping. He has actually gone to bed on his own at 8:30 this week. 

"I miss hating the summer heat"
Frost on the ground yesterday. Sweaters today.
 Summer.. hello?!

I've had a hard time keeping up with everything of late (as in the past 8 months). In fact, I haven't. The house has stayed relatively clean and the laundry mostly caught up. I did discover a basket of folded laundry between floors and am happy to report that all of the clothing essentials that were MIA for a week are back in the possession of those desperately looking for them!

In related news, I'm out of months in my planner, because we are already planning in to August. Guess what? Planners aren't out for another month or two. Seriously? I am a paper planner girl. Google is...well, Google and all of that and while I have, like 29, 000 accounts, I need my paper, yes, I do.

We are still, mainly/ mostly gluten, dairy, sugar, corn, tomato and soy free. We are still spending for more than we ever have on groceries, but we are also feeding 2 men, 1 teenage male growing at the speed of sound (all three of whom work out hard) and groceries have definitely gone up. I keep meaning to write a whole long blog post (series?) about it all because it finally gotten to the point where it doesn't feel totally foreign and stingy. For some things we'll never look back.

It has been a week of hanging out with homeschool Momma's (love!). I've gone to two info nights this week regarding different academic programs (I'll be posting about that this week-end or early next week), talking with the regional manager about getting an NCFCA team started here, and having our monthly Mom's night at our home. So many people considering homeshooling due to Common Core, School board meetings where they are shouted down and indecency on Ipads in the classroom. Crazy.

So, in between work, info nights, shopping and cooking our simple, yet complex diet, we did get some school done. MP Geography- which I had forgotten about for a week! First Form Latin, which we are cruising along at about 2 lessons a week, American the Beautiful by Notgrass at a section a week, Perplexors, which really make us all work, Rosetta Stone, Wrap-Ups on Line, Progeny Press, Spelling You See and Math.

Dr. Dh won major Dad points this week by bringing arrows home for Cub, who is currently a shooting fool. They didn't last long, however, which caused great consternation, as this is something duct tape can't fix. In his spare time he is critically analyzing the incorrect stance of Katniss on the posters. My child.

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Hudson Taylor on What Really Matters

~ Happy Mother's Day~ all of those Mom's who have quietly sacrificed and made decisions to love their families in a world that encourages us to sacrifice them at birth, institutionalize them young and provide them with every worldly thing (screaming, "neglect" if we don't) but ignore their soul.

This is a quote from Hudson Taylor – missionary to China in the 1800′s. In a world enamored with position, promotion, celebrity and shameless self exaltation this is what REALLY matters.

“If God has called you to be really like Jesus in your spirit, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility, and put on you such demands of obedience that He will not allow you to follow other Christians; and in many ways He will seem to let other good people do things that He will not let you do. Other Christians and ministers who seem very religious and useful may push themselves, pull wires and work schemes to carry out their schemes, but you cannot do it; and if you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent. Others may brag on themselves, on their work, on their success, on their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing; and if you begin it, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, but it is likely that God will keep you poor, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, and that is helpless dependence upon Him, that He may have the privilege (the right) of supplying your needs day by day out of an unseen treasury. The Lord will let others be honoured and put forward, and keep you hidden away in obscurity, because He wants some choice fragrant fruit for His coming glory which can only be produced in the shade. He will let others do a work for Him and get the credit for it, but He will let you work and toil on without knowing how much you are doing; and then to make your work still more precious, He will let others get the credit for the work you have done, and this will make your reward ten times greater when Jesus comes.

The Holy Spirit will put a watch over you, with a jealous love, and will rebuke you for little words and feelings or for wasting your time, over which other Christians never seem distressed. So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign, and has the right to do as He pleases with His own, and He may not explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle your reason in His dealings with you. He will take you at your word and if you absolutely sell yourself to be His slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love and let other people say and do many things which He will not let you say or do.

Settle it for ever that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, and that He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue, or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes, in ways that He does not deal with others. Now when you are so possessed with the Living God, that you are in your secret heart pleased and delighted over the peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of heaven.”

Hudson Taylor

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

From Here to There

Our good friend, Peter, had an art show this week, featuring works from his friends in Cote d'Ivoire. Loved the setting, the dress, the artwork. And Peter, of course! 
Wish I had $1000 to buy up some amazing artwork!


We did a good bit of school this week. Perplexors continue to rock. And to perplex us. We have collectively decided that in the Perplexors "More" series, about every 3rd one leaves a clue out. We are hitting First Form Latin and Rosetta Stone German hard, continue to read Notgrass American History and have spent tons of time just playing with kittens. 

They are THAT cute.
Flower and I took them out this week and spent an hour watching them learn to climb up the front steps.While one would struggle to make it to the next step, the kitten below him would bat at his tail, throwing the stalwart mountain stair climbing kitten off balance.  They also still have their startle reflex. So, they'd just innocently follow the dog around the yard. When Ursa would turn to say "Hi" they would flip out- "HEY, It's a DOG!!", hiss, arch their back and jump straight up into the air (think Aristocats). 


Cub blew through the Hunger Games Trilogy, finishing the Progeny Press study guide. His overall comment, "I did NOT LIKE this series." Dystopian lit is just what it is. He has declared himself, NOT a dystopian reader. 
In related news Cub's interest Interest in bow shooting has been piqued. He spent many hours in the barn-yard shooting, to the point of wearing out the arrows. Metal arrows have nothing on built-to-last tongue and groove, 90 year old barns! And did you check out his t-shirt from last year's Shakespeare Camp?- King Lear. Total love, right there, baby.

He'll be playing Puck this year - a life long dream fulfilled at 14- wootwoot! Which is a mere 2 weeks after Drama Camp. He is busy memorizing and singing and singing some more! 


We have an embarrassment of amazing choices for co-ops and class days for fall, too the extent that I have made a chart. I'm getting pickier by the year about what we invest in time and money wise, but living 2 miles from the edge of nowhere, with sanguine types, demands some social interaction. We've been hosting area homeshcool meet-ups and discovered that there are literally tons of families homeschooling out in the back woods plains Territories with us. 


Classical Education nourishes the soul, as well as the intellect: "The hard, precipitous path of classical education ideally led not to knowledge alone, but to the cultivation of mind and spirit. Knowledge did not in and of itself, justify the sweat. The climb was meant to transform one’s intellectual and aesthetic nature as well. ~ From Climbing Parnassus.


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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Goofy Girl's Gorgeous Gloss

Above is a depiction of my Goofy Girl. 
She is holding her two paintings from the conference last week-end. 
"Reflections on a Lake"


Not bad, eh? She had a blast- each painting was a large class and took 3 hours, she learned a ton of techniques and was in paint-lovers heaven for the day. 
(Can you tell by the title I was working the IEW booth all week-end?!)

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Maestro Classics- TOS Review

Maestro Classics Review
Are you looking for resources to introduce your kids to gorgeous music AND great story-telling? Look no further than Maestro Classics.  Maestro Classics is a company founded by Bonnie and Stephen Simon. The Simon's have a long history of working in and around music, Bonnie as the former executive director of the Washing Chamber Symphony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and Stephen as the Music Director of the same organization. This amazingly musical couple and have made beautiful, world class music accessible to families everywhere with this series. I, for one, couldn't be more thrilled.
We reviewed both

Six tracks on the CD
1.The Sorcerer's Apprentice
2. About the Story
3. March of the Brooms
4. About the Music
5. The Sorcerer's Apprentice
6. Prepare to Perform
7. Play along kitchen percussion. 
Total playing time is 42:24
Also included is a lovely 22 -page booklet that includes history, original story, games, puzzles, the score, information about the orchestra and more. It would be so easy to create an entire unit study out of one of these, and a year's worth of great music education with several. 

Seven tracks on the CD 
1. The Story of Water Music
2. About Handel and the Story
3. "My Name is Handel" song
4. About the Music with Maestro
5. Prepare to perform
6. "My Name is Handel" Sing-Along. 
Total playing time of 48:45
Also included is a beautiful booklet chock full of educational ideas and activities. 

If you've read GG at all, you know that I am a huge advocate of making use of as many "helps" as you can get your hands on in order to educate your children well. I was thrilled when the opportunity came along to review Maestro ClassicsThese are the kind of "helps" that I advocate getting- beautifully rendered educational materials that are so engaging and fun it's hard to identify them as "school."  The CD cover and booklet includes beautiful art-work, making each CD worthy of gift-giving; they are truly that lovely.

In addition, the Simon's have many resources available to you, for free, via their web-site:  Educational Materials  that include unit studies, lap-books, projects, score sheet, beautiful music and more! And check out Bonnie's  blog for more great music resources as well the Kid Club 

11 CD Collection
Maestro Classics has published 11 intriguing musical stories to date, including Peter and the Wolf, the Story of Swan Lake, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, My Name is Handel, Casey at the Bat, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, The Tortoise and the Hare, Juanita the Spanish Lobster, Carnival of the Animals, Juanita la langosta espanola and the Soldier's Tale. 

Flower and Cub listened to these CD's. While Cub is a bit out of the suggested age-range, it was not a hardship for him to listen to both stories; so much so that the kids listened to both CD's in one afternoon. They found them engaging and informative. They loved the music and I caught them humming it on more than one occasion.

The CD's are available for $16.98 each, or as Mp3 downloads for $9.99. The CD's include a 22-page activity booklet and the Mp3 downloads come with a .pdf version of the booklet.

Suggested age ranges are for ages 6-12, but they are totally appropriate for inquisitive people of all ages. These are an excellent addition to your audio library, would be a fun unit or co-op study and would make beautiful and thoughtful gifts for children (or adults!) of all ages.

Find Maestro Classics   here:

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Andrew Pudewa and Our Busy Week!

My Weekly Report got consumed by Real Life. Friday was the last day of co-op in which the kids did a small scale geography fair again. So cute and wonderful-- tri-folds,  food, presentations, power-points. Love the creativity of the 4-6th grade age-range! 

Then it was off to our local conference. I worked the IEW booth again, with new friends Jan, Britton and family. Since Andrew Pudewa was the guest speaker, we were very busy. It was a great week-end of meeting old friends, making new ones, meeting FB peeps IRL and hanging out with Mr. Pudewa. Mr. Pudewa is every bit as gracious and kind as I would expect,  just taller than he looks on DVD. Cub was able to sit in on an all-day Essay Writing Class, and Flower made it to his "Gender Matters" presentation, we talked California and chiggers in Oklahoma over pizza and came away with more IEW ourselves-because there's more great stuff to be had!

Flower made it to not only one, but two, painting classes, hosted by the conference for a small fee for the kids- Brilliant and so fun for the kids! Stay tuned for final results later this week!

A busy, busy week-end, but full and fun, book-ended by work days, and homeschooling and lots of ideas floating around about fun times to be had just ahead!

Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Artistic Pursuits -TOS Review

the Curriculum for Creativity, is written by Brenda Ellis, homeschooling Mom and artist. We've appreciated other products this company has created, including, High School Book I.

We recently reviewed Sculpture Technique: Construct. The book includes 4 units:

Unit 1: Creating Form in Papermaking
Unit 2: Creating Planes in Cardboard
Unit 3: Creating Motion with Paper Mache
Unti 4: Creating Volume with Wire.

In addition to the units, the book include an entire section on The Intersection of Art and Craft, Evaluation and Answer Sheets, Course Descriptions, Templates, a Classroom Schedule and a List of Art Supplies. Included throughout are full color pictures, line drawings of how things should or could look, points to consider, how to get started, and detailed descriptions, complete with step-by-step visuals. 

 In other words, everything you need to create a credit worthy, high school art program. This is a self-guided program, based on the students work and the demands of the materials. Included are discussions about the Elements of Sculpture and how each unit relates to how one views and understands sculpture. The units are not sequential, meaning you can do them in any order you choose, that you have the materials for, or that speak to whatever else you are studying. 

My kids both spent time pouring over this book, reading, evaluating, asking questions. I one of those people who spends time mulling over things. I like to read or write or watch and then think and ponder. Spending time mulling, is a great educational pursuit, imho, becuase it allows your brain (mine anyway) to make connections, plan and evaluate. I love watching my kids go through the same process. This is one of those books, if you have kids even remotely inclined artisitically. They'll want to take it out, look it over, think about stuff, doodle or play with wire, and take it out again. Love that. 

Both Flower and Cub are very self directed artistically and spend tons of time creating and crafting on their own. They have also had some terrific art teachers  in the past, and have developed a clear sense of what what they are interested in artistically, so I really let them take the lead with this program. While I had a clear idea of what unit I thought we'd start on, they both surprised me and picked the Creating Planes in Cardboard unit, with the goal being to create an architectural landscape.

Flower spent hours, over a several day period crafting a forest, and included many natural elements, along with the paper. I'm not sure that this was clearly part of the lesson, but the cool thing was that the lesson got her creatively thinking about how to incorporate various elements into her landscape. She used paper, boxes, natural found objects (twigs, small branches), and crafted a garden area for some of the flower fairies that she's made in the past. Cub did Create with Planes but was far more interested in how the wire sculpture could assist him in weapon and battle gear construction. Not to worry, you'll be seeing more pictures of that in the future! In addition, we have several vitamin bottles that have been amended with toilet paper rolls and duct tape waiting to be paper mached on the back counter! ARTistic Pursuits are not over here at the Gracious Heart Homeschool! Don't you love it when learning goes beyond the lesson? 
This unit got both kids thinking and they continued the creative process by creating a cool architectural type "play-ground" for the kittens. The kittens enjoyed their "crib-scape" so much, there not much left to show you! I'm really o.k. with that, because as a long-time crafter and creator, I much prefer art that is practical and to be used! In other words, using art as a means to beautify our environment and enhance how we work, worship and play.

One of our oft-used family slogans, since Dr. Dh was in the military, has been to "improvise, adapt and overcome." Which is one of the best things about this particular unit on Sculpture Technique: Construct. It  teaches the kids to think creatively about what they have, how to re-purpose, re-consider and use creatively materials found around the house and how to think in new ways- either 1-dimensionally or 3-dimensionally with items that they are familiar with. In other words, it asks the student to  consider items in a dynamic, rather than static, manner. Which I love, because that, my friends, is the key to creativity. 

You are going to want to gather your supplies before you begin any of the units. Artistic Pursuits makes this easy, as they offer art supply kits directly on their web-site. 

The Construct book we used costs $47.95 and is recommended for students ages 11 - 18. 

In addition to books for high school, ARTistic Pursuits offers art curriculum for children ages pre-school through age 18. Check out the rest of their quality art education program! 

Sculpture Technique: Construct along with ARTistic Pursuits other fine books are an excellent addition to any home-school or co-op art setting, or for anyone interested in pursuing how to think more creatively and expansively in life. Perfect for those intimidated by incorporating art into their life and a terrific boost for those who have done a lot of art but are looking for more inspiration.  Highly recommended. 

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