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Friday, April 24, 2015

Weekly Wrap Up - Birthday Mom, Network Band Reunion to Finishing Another School Year

I figured out that since these wrapups post on Friday, they pretty much start on the Friday from the week before and end on the Thursday of this week. So, here's my week from Friday-Thursday (April 17-23, 2015).

This week got headed off with a really nice birthday gathering for my mom. My sisters and I, and my kiddos, headed down to her house on Friday to celebrate her birthday. My sisters and I got her a massage, followed by pizza at her house and a game of Peanuts (my kids' first times playing).

It was a fun afternoon, and on the way home we stopped in at an old church. I knew that after our Saturday late-night plans, we would not be able to wake up for our church on Sunday, so I figured it would be a good time to attend the Friday night service.

My second child was a baby when we left, so I was curious to see how their youth group was and how the services were nowadays. I was happy to find that the worship was real worship and not just a concert begging the congregation to get excited and applaud. No - This was praises directed to God and the pastor quoting solid scripture in between. It was refreshing. Though, it's a good thing I didn't have delusions of returning to make it our home church again, because when I picked up my older two from youth, my daughter had filmed a blip of the activities, and even though they had a Bible story for a half hour, the same chaos ensued as part of the youth downtime. Basketballs flying, air hockey pucks being hurled close to my daughter's head - You know, pretty much the usual stuff that turns us off in a group of teens. (Note: We are so not into sports or angry competitions).

Friday was followed by Saturday, which meant - NETwORK reunion. Network is a band my hubby was in before I met him. in fact, it's the last band he was in before laying down all music and coming back to the Lord. So, this was an interesting reunion.

It ended up being really enjoyable. Watching him on stage for three hours really made me aware of how much of a natural he is and how he really had a need to entertain. The band was fabulous, really! And, since he was the main front man of the group, he was able to construct the set lists to focus on more positive, upward, and even Christ-centered song choices. We had been praying that through it all, the light of Christ would shine.

Monday brought us to school as usual, and I decided I would tally up hours to see where we stood for the year. In our state, we are required to have 1000 hours of schooling, and 600 of those hours need to be core subjects. I was happy when I reached 1,023 and stopped counting knowing that there's really more, but we are essentially done with the school year. We still have curriculum left to finish, and the kids will be helping me finish some TOS Review Crew reviews. But, we have met the state's requirements. And, for my high school son - I have calculated 9 credit hours for his Freshman year. I believe that is not a bad start.

Tuesday brought me to feeling the extreme past weekend creep up on me. I'm tired! Though, I have been assigned some last-minute writing that has a deadline. So, while I should be working more on decluttering our house, especially our basement and listing everything on eBay - I instead, am writing.... Or rather, trying to write while becoming severely distracted.

Wednesday was supposed to be the start of a crazy few days of my son's robotics team in the championships. But, after a lot of thoughtful consideration and realizing by the time I got him downtown, I would be turning around each day to bring him back so we could make it on time for one of my daughter's events - He decided to give me a break and forego the championship this year.

So, that left Wednesday as another day focused on my daughter and another week of dance for my daughter. I hope she continues to enjoy it as much as she has so far, with this being only her third ballet class at the new studio. I signed up the girls for a summer camp at a local theater group that teaches vocals and dance as well, so we shall see how they like it before I decide on classes for the fall.

Thursday brought us to our weekly co-op's last week of the school year. I have been prayerfully and thoughtfully considering our return in the fall, and so far my every turn is being met with obstacles that are telling me the answer is most likely no. If so, I will have to find a way for my daughter to stay in touch with the friends she has made and come to thoroughly enjoy seeing every week.

When I arrived home in between dropping off one daughter and to pick up another to return to coop for her class, I noticed that the mail had arrived and the Snap Circuits XP kit had arrived, so my son was very excited to work with his baby sister on learning programming with this kit. So far, all they have done is the circuitry that has not involved actual programming. They hope to delve more into it tomorrow. I can't wait!

Friday means a dress rehearsal for my oldest daughter. The coop play she is in is Saturday evening, and so it will also mean a return to watch her performance. Another coop unexpected wrench in my plans is when I found out last week that we will need to purchase tickets to get in. While the price is low - It adds up quickly with four people in attendance needing to buy tickets. Sigh! Honestly, I wasn't too happy to learn of the ticket cost less than one week before the performance. If I knew that there was a cost to the event sooner, I had forgotten or conveniently stuffed it in the back of my mind.

Regardless, my daughter will be playing Mrs. Beaver and is thrilled about the role except for all the brown costume it entails and possible black stage makeup on her lips. At the end of the night, it will wrap up a week that has mostly been about my oldest daughter.


Weekly Wrap-Up

Friday, April 17, 2015

Weekly Wrap Up - Changes Ahead, SAT Results Are In, And An Otherwise Peaceful Week

And, we come to the end of another week (my third Weekly Wrap Up) the ends the week at Friday, April 17.

This week was the final week for the Intagram Challenge I have been taking part in with the TOS Review Crew. Here are some of my pictures I posted this week:

We headed into the week, coming off of a weekend that was really fun. On Friday night, my two older kids went to a Smash Brothers Brawl Game Night at a nearby church, and believe it or not - They actually tied it into a Bible Lesson (something refreshing to me lately that a church would actually take the time to teach the Bible and not just get together for the sake of fun). Regardless, the kids had a blast, while my younger daughter and I went "elephant hunting".

Elephant hunting to us is merely taking my elephant-loving girl and finding all the elephants we can and then taking pictures of them. See, her room is so full of plush elephants already that we have no more room to add to our herd. So, we are content to find the elephants and take pics. We found several:

On Saturday and Sunday evening, we topped off the night with our new private family game night.

Monday was a fairly calm day, with school as usual for my oldest daughter and my youngest focusing on Spelling You See and the Apples book from Life of Fred. My son, meanwhile, was busy coding collision elements to a Sonic game and working on a logo design with his friend, that will be added to his github project.

To my surprise, I discovered that their OLSAT scores were already posted, and while I won't share the details of what I received, I will leave it at - I'm quite pleased! According to the SAT portion of the test, each child is performing at a minimum of 3 grades above where their age and birth dates put them. Since my son's scores are all Post High School level, and he is finishing his Freshman year in high school, I plan on signing him up to take the ACT this summer.

Tuesday - The day was absolutely gorgeous outside, so my daughters spent some time reading on the porch swing (one of their favorite things to do).

My older children continued their typical work, while my youngest daughter worked on some reviews. She is helping me review La La Logic, A+ Math, and Spelling You See which will be posted to this blog in the upcoming weeks. This week, I posted a review on Memoria Press Cursive, Star Toaster's Orphs of the Woodlands, and Friday will post one about an amazing art curriculum book from ARTistic Pursuits or which I had a great deal of fun with today trying to gather pictures and pull together the review. Here's a splattering of what you can expect to see:

Wednesday was my older daughter's first dance class at the new studio.


Thursday, of course, brought us to another day at the co-op (Enrichment Thursdays). There is only one week left for this year. This is where most of my changes are happening. In the fall, the co-op will have new rules. I have to make a decision as to whether I want to plunge in with both feet and devote my Thursdays to co-op or to pull my daughter and not return in the fall. The latter is almost impossible given how much my daughter has come to love co-op days and how much she enjoys spending time with her wonderful friend who is the reason we attend in the first place. I won't be able to make my final decision until I see a class schedule for the fall. Even so, we will have to miss the first full 3 weeks because of my husband's musical tour which we accompany him on as part of a working vacation every August/September. Have I mentioned how I'm not really the co-op type?

Friday closes off the week with a birthday trip down to my mom, who is turning 80. We plan on lunch at a buffet place called The Hibachi Grill and then back to her house for cake and ice cream. My sisters have arranged for her to first have a massage.

Oh, and I learned how to crack a hard-boiled egg without leaving pieces of shell stuck to the egg. Just put it inside a glass of water and shake, then peel.

Weekly Wrap-Up

TOS Review: ARTistic Pursuits

ARTistic Pursuits Review
I was thrilled to get a chance to review Middle School, 6-8 Book Two: Color and Composition from ARTistic Pursuits.

What is ARTistic Pursuits and Middle School, 6-8 Book Two: Color and Composition?

As the title implies, this book is directed toward students in Grades 6-8, Middle School. This book is the second book in the series on Art and Composition and is written by Brenda Ellis. The intent of ARTistic Pursuits is to present a comprehensive art curriculum that is created to involve students in the entire creative process and to also help the student develop observation skills.

The book is 92-pages that covers aspects of the "mysterious language of color", such as:
  • Use of color pastels
  • Hue and Intensity
  • Textures
  • Monochrome, primary and secondary color combinations
  • Warm and Cool colors
  • Shapes
  • Values
  • Space and depth
  • Viewpoints
  • And other elements of color and design

It also includes a list of art supplies needed and a note to parents about book content and scheduling, an evaluation sheet, and a bibliography.

There are 16 units, and each unit contains 4 lessons. The lessons begin with a brief summary or vocabulary words that will be used in that lesson.
  • Unit 1 - Hue and Intensity
  • Unit 2 - Primary and Secondary
  • Unit 3 - Monochrome
  • Unit 4 - Complementary pairs
  • Unit 5 - Neutrals
  • Unit 6 - Warm Analogous Colors
  • Unit 7 - Cool Analogous Colors
  • Unit 8 - Color Application
  • Unit 9 - Balance in Color
  • Unit 10 - Parallel Rhythm
  • Unit 11 - Converging Rhythm
  • Unit 12 - Space with Little Depth
  • Unit 13 - Depth
  • Unit 14 - Viewpoint High
  • Unit 15 - Viewpoint Low
  • Unit 16 - Emphasis

For the most part, students get used to the rhythm and flow of each unit and the lessons within the units. With only a few exceptions where there may not be a heading of "The Artist" or "The Culture", the book uses a few main headings in the lessons:

Lesson 1 - Be Creative - This section suggests activities for the students. The objectives of each are clearly presented inside a boxed text section.

Lesson 2 - Presents a new work of art and discusses it, followed by:
The Artist - Gives background to various artists
The Culture - History into the topic discussed
The Challenge - Sets out the guidelines to an activity meant to challenge the student

Lesson 3 -  Try a New Technique - Introduces a new artistic technique.

Lesson 4 - The Project - This is where a new assignment is presented for the student to complete, along with pictures of other student's works of art in the Student Gallery section.

I received a physical paper-back, plastic spiral-bound book. Included was a supply list, the items of which I either had in the house or was asked to purchase separately.

The extra supplies needed included:
  • Prismacolor Nupastel assorted colors, set of 12 or larger
  • General's flesh tone pastel assortment
  • Cray-Pas Junior Artist Oil Pastels, set of 50
  • Drawing paper Pad 9"x12" 100 sheets
  • Pastel paper pad in assorted colors 9"x12" (24 sheets) including white
  • Paper blending stump
  • Vinyl eraser
  • Kneaded eraser
  • Chamois 4x4" or larger (or cotton balls)

How Did We Use It?

I sat down with my 7th Grade daughter, who has been begging me for a good quality art program and introduced the book to her. She pretty much took it from there and completed assignments without much, if any, further help from me.

Here are some examples of a few of the assignments you will find in the book:



Dashes, dots, lines, and squiggles.

What Did We Think?

This book is really easy to follow and is a wonderful guide to learning artistic techniques. We left with a feeling of freedom to express ourselves and to explore more of our inner artist. I really liked how some of the activities suggested going outside and taking in sights and sounds of nature. What a nice break from a normal inside routine. I also loved how there are lessons about actual artists spattered throughout the book, showing how each new technique was used in their work.

ARTistic Pursuits has a full line of other art instruction books, and the TOS Review Crew received a wide selection and representation of various levels and styles of art instruction. Read what other members of the TOS Review Crew thought of the book they received by clicking on the picture below:

ARTistic Pursuits Review

Crew Disclaimer


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