Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Join the Review Crew!

This post contains affiliate links - using affiliate links from Homeschool Coffee Break helps fuel this blog and our homeschool - thank you!
Join the Review Crew! The Homeschool Review Crew is now accepting applications to join us for 2018! Find out more by visiting Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

It's hard to believe that another Homeschool Review Crew year will soon be wrapping up, and it's a little sad for me to think that those of us on the Crew will soon be taking a bit of a break before embarking on the 2018 Crew year. But there is good news - the Crew is now accepting applications, and we'd love to have you join us!

What do Homeschool Review Crew members do?
Obviously, the main thing we do is use and review homeschool products, but what makes the Crew special is we are real homeschooling families and we actually use the curriculum and resources we review in our homeschools for several weeks before we share our reviews on our blogs. Our honest and thoughtful reviews are sought out by many publishers of homeschool resources, and it's because we are committed to trying out the products for more than just a quick glance at a sample. We are able to use and really get to know the products, which are ours to keep even after our reviews are posted.

Wait - did you say free curriculum?
I did! Free curriculum! And it's tried and true veterans from the homeschool publishing world and brand new hot off the presses things. Over the years we've been reviewing, we've been introduced to products that were completely new to me; we've used some things that I hadn't even heard of; and we've been able to try things that I would have otherwise considered out of my budget.

So do you love everything you review?
We don't love everything. Before reviews are assigned, we have the chance to give feedback on which products we most want to try and which ones we can't use or don't think are a good fit. Crew leaders do their best to select the Crew members that can best use and review each product. So yes, most of the time, we find lots of good things about the resources we review, even those that we ultimately don't continue to use. Not everything is a good fit, but since our reviews are to be honest, I try to explain what didn't suit us or why it didn't work out great in our homeschool, and often it turns out that the aspect that we didn't love is the same thing that makes it a perfect fit for someone else. And the curriculum we DO love - we definitely keep using it, keep talking about how much we like it, and become loyal return customers too.

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Some examples of things we loved:

No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials - this became my daughter's main algebra curriculum when we reviewed it. (Read our review: No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials)

High School Essay Intensive - A Homeschool Coffee Break Review for the Homeschool Review Crew @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

High School Essay Intensive is just the most recent review product from Institute for Excellence in Writing that we've loved. We've also reviewed and loved the Student Writing Intensives, Fix-It Grammar, and Poetry Memorization from IEW. (Read our reviews: High School Essay Intensive; Student Writing Intensive Level C and Fix-It! Grammar and Student Writing Intensive Level Band Poetry Memorization with Institute for Excellence in Writing)

Draw the World with ArtAchieve (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review) @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - our full review of ArtAchieve art lessons for kids for the Homeschool Review Crew  Creating A Masterpiece - A Homeschool Coffee Break Review @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - Our review of the #onlineartprogram from Creating A Masterpiece  #hsreviews  #artinstruction  #art  #homeschool

Kennady loves art and this past year we reviewed two wonderful art programs - ArtAchieve and Creating a Masterpiece. Both were big hits here! (Read our reviews: Draw the World with ArtAchieve and Creating A Masterpiece)

The Power in Your Hands (Writing Non-Fiction in High School) from Writing with Sharon Watson - A Homeschool Coffee Break review for the Schoolhouse Review Crew on kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

The Power In Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School from Writing with Sharon Watson was something we reviewed awhile ago, were very impressed with, and then held onto to use this school year. In fact, this is the text we're using in the high school writing class I'm teaching in our co-op. (Read our review: The Power In Your Hands)

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How do you manage to use all kinds of different curriculum and still have some continuity in your homeschool?
Crew members have different ways of handling this, depending on the ages and personalities of our students. Personally, I was much more flexible with what things we'd try when I had younger students. Now that I have only one high schooler, I admit that we need to be more careful about how many extras we try to fit in. Some products we review are able to be used as supplements, so we can add them to our regular line-up with just a few adjustments. When we review something that requires more time, we might put something else on hold for a bit, or even cobble the review product into our current study. For more information about how Crew members fit review products into their real lives, visit my Crewmate Annette - she collected ideas from crew members and wrote an article all about it: How Reviewing Curriculum Works In Real Life.


What else does the Crew offer?
There's so much! There's lots more to the Crew than just reviewing curriculum! We have a private forum where all the news and information about the reviews is shared, but that forum also provides a home base for this wonderful group of homeschool bloggers to enjoy a special camaraderie. We do talk about the reviews we're working on and 'business' things, of course. But we also share funny stories and our prayer requests; and we ask questions and share advice about everything homeschool-related. And things that are not homeschool-related! It's been a delight to develop friendships as we support each other and pray for each other. We have a mentoring program for new Crew members, to help them learn the ropes; and we do our best to make it fun and rewarding to be a member!

It's become a game to anticipate what will be on the upcoming vendors list next, and we eagerly look forward to our favorites. The Crew blog hosts blog hops and round-ups, and there are guest post opportunities as well. Being on the Crew means there's plenty of encouragement to improve and grow as bloggers. We support each other in the link-ups that we host too. Many of the link-ups I participate in, including the one I co-host, Virtual Refrigerator, are things I found out about from fellow Crew members. My crew mates are gracious enough to participate in the link-up I host as well - Homeschool Highlights.


What are the qualifications for being on the Crew?

You need to have a blog, and you need to post to it regularly. You need to be homeschooling at least one student currently. You need to be active on a social media platform (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram). And you need to love books and curriculum! If you're a homeschooler, you probably already do, so that's easy. As a Crew member, you'll be expected to maintain your blog by posting at least one non-sponsored article per week. You'll be committing to using the review products as expected and posting your reviews on time, and to sharing your reviews on social media. You don't have to be a big name blogger. We have "little" blogs and we have some with huge readership. We have blogging newbies and blogging experts. We have brand new homeschoolers and we have veteran homeschoolers. All have their own unique perspective to bring to the Crew and to the reviews.

Join the Review Crew! The Homeschool Review Crew is now accepting applications to join us for 2018! Find out more by visiting Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Want to find out more?

You can check out the products I've reviewed for the Crew by using the TOS Homeschool Crew Review tag. There a lot of them! You can also use the list in the sidebar which has links to the products that I've reviewed in 2017, and on the page My Reviews I've listed all the reviews from previous years and linked them. TOS is shorthand for The Old Schoolhouse, by the way, and that's because the Crew is the review arm of the magazine publisher and online store. SchoolhouseTeachers.com is also part of the The Old Schoolhouse family, and Crew members get some generous benefits from this amazing online curriculum source as well.

Join the Review Crew! The Homeschool Review Crew is now accepting applications to join us for 2018! Find out more by visiting Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com



 If you'd be interested in being part of the Homeschool Review Crew in 2018, now is the time to check out the Homeschool Review Crew blog to find out more. See the post 2018 Homeschool Review Crew Applications Now Open to see the requirements and the link to the application.

Join the Review Crew! The Homeschool Review Crew is now accepting applications to join us for 2018! Find out more by visiting Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

 Don't miss a coffee break! Subscribe to Homeschool Coffee Break by Email!

 ©2006-2017 Homeschool Coffee Break. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://kympossibleblog.blogspot.com/



Friday, October 13, 2017

Homeschool Highlights - Week Six: Rainy Days

This post contains affiliate links - using affiliate links from Homeschool Coffee Break helps fuel this blog and our homeschool - thank you!

Homschool Highlights - Week Six: Rainy Days on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Welcome to Homeschool Highlights! 
This weekly link-up is your opportunity to share some highlights of what is happening in your homeschool and in your world each week. If you write a wrap-up post at the end of each week, like I've been doing, we'd love to see what you're busy with from week to week. If you'd like to pick a favorite post from your week that spotlights a resource or activity in your homeschool that you'd like to tell others about, we're interested in those too. I'm keeping the guidelines as simple as I can, and they will appear at the bottom of each post, along with the link tool. I look forward to getting to know you, and I hope this will be a source of encouragement and good ideas for all of us.

Grab a cup of coffee and let's get started!

Homschool Highlights - Week Six: Rainy Days on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Make that a Starbucks coffee courtesy of Flat Stanley!


Homeschool news  . . . Somehow this week turned out to be a very busy one again. I guess every week is busy, but some more than others! However, I'd planned a light week as far as Algebra so Kennady could make sure she was on track, especially after a couple of days under the weather last week. She's holding her own in keeping up her World History course, and doing very well with the co-op classes. So far we haven't had to fit in Literature, but I think that will be coming soon! Also, we've started work on an elective course we're trying out for a review - an introduction to Architecture. We're planning on putting more time into that the next couple weeks, now that we've had a chance to get familiar with it.

Other news . . . As the title indicates, this week has been mostly rainy, or at least drizzly. We were fortunate to have very nice weather to start with on Saturday though, because that was the day we chose to celebrate (Canadian) Thanksgiving. We had friends over and deep fried a turkey, and it was delicious. Happy Thanksgiving!

Homschool Highlights - Week Six: Rainy Days on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Sunday the drizzle started, but Kennady and I completed our mission of taking a friend's Flat Stanley on a tour of our local area. We visited a few historic and scenic sites nearby and stopped for a Starbucks and just had a good time driving about, talking, and taking some photos.

Homschool Highlights - Week Six: Rainy Days on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Homschool Highlights - Week Six: Rainy Days on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

During the week, we had all our usual activities to fit in, just dealing with the wet weather when it was necessary. I guess fall is truly here!

Homschool Highlights - Week Six: Rainy Days on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Homschool Highlights - Week Six: Rainy Days on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com


What I'm Learning . . . It's sometimes said that when you teach, you learn more than your students. I am finding that to be true as I teach the Writing class at co-op. I remember doing a lot of writing in school and in college, and doing very well, but I don't actually remember examining different essay styles and the specific writing guidelines for each. So whether it's a refresher course for me or it's going into more detail than what I've previously learned, I am learning (relearning!) a lot as I prepare for and teach this class. I'm also reminded how much I enjoy teaching, and I admit I've wondered what might have been if I'd continued pursuing the Music Education degree I originally wanted when I headed to college. Then again, maybe I would have passed on the opportunity to teach my own children if I'd been busy in a teaching career. Bottom line? I'm so glad I got the chance to teach in the co-op!

I recommend . . .  Taking part in a new round of Blogging Through the Alphabet! This time it's hosted by Amanda at Hopkins Homeschool, DaLynn at Biblical Womanhood, and Kirsten at DoodleMom's Homeschooling Life. Many of the Crew bloggers are joining in, and we figure the more the merrier! This is the first week, and the link will open from Thursday to Wednesday each week, so join in if you'd like! (Find the guidelines in Amanda's introductory post here: Our Second Adventure with Blogging Through the Alphabet)

Art Resource Collection (Blogging Through the Alphabet) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Blogging Through the Alphabet link-up @ hopkinshomeschool.com


On my blogs last week . . .

And on my book blog, Just A Second:
Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund - Special Price
Wordless Wednesday - Catoctin Furnace
Teaser Tuesday - This Side of Murder
What I'm Reading - October 9, 2017
Scripture and a Snapshot - Blessed Are . . .


Just A Second is where I share book reviews and other book-related things, and update on what's on my bookshelf. This week I finished and reviewed This Side of Murder (A Verity Kent Mystery) by Anna Lee Huber, and I've been reading:

Alex and Eliza: A Love Story by Melissa De La Cruz
The Captivating Lady Charlotte by Carolyn Miller
31 Proverbs to Light Your Path by Liz Curtis Higgs

A parting shot . . . So last week at co-op, one of the directors had found this full size cardboard cutout of Alan Jackson in the church. None of us knew for sure why he was there, but she thought it would be fun to have him welcoming the students and staff as we came in. It got a lot of laughs, especially when we gave him a Hall Monitor lanyard later in the morning and made him a staff member!

Homschool Highlights - Week Six: Rainy Days on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com


Grab the button and link up with Homeschool Highlights!
Homeschool Coffee Break

Homeschool Highlights guidelines:
  • Your blog should be family-friendly content, and your post should include something about homeschooling.
  • Please link directly to your post, not your blog's homepage.
  • Please include a link in your post to Homeschool Coffee Break - you may use the graphic above if you wish. 
  • Visit a couple of the other bloggers and comment or share.


I will be linking up my own posts at the following weekly link parties that you may also be interested in: Weekly Wrap-Up hosted by Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers; and The Homeschool Nook Link-up Party hosted by This Chaotic Bliss and Rock Your Homeschool.

  Chaotic Bliss Homeschooling

 Don't miss a coffee break! Subscribe to Homeschool Coffee Break by Email!

 ©2006-2017 Homeschool Coffee Break. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://kympossibleblog.blogspot.com/





Thursday, October 12, 2017

Art Resource Collection (Blogging Through the Alphabet)

This post contains affiliate links - using affiliate links from Homeschool Coffee Break helps fuel this blog and our homeschool - thank you! 

Art Resource Collection (Blogging Through the Alphabet) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

 After so many years of homeschooling, I've had plenty of opportunities to try curriculum and explore all kinds of resources, so during this Blogging Through the Alphabet tour, I'm highlighting some of the many homeschooling resources that have been stand-outs. Sometimes it will be a walk down memory lane as I share something we enjoyed many years ago, and sometimes it will be something we're using currently. Sometimes I'll focus on a specific curriculum, and sometimes on a subject area. And I imagine I'll have to be a bit creative with a couple letters of the alphabet! This week I'm starting off with a round-up of some of the great art resources we've used over the years. Not only have I been homeschooling for many years, I've also been co-hosting the Virtual Refrigerator link-up for a few years. (If that's new to you, it's a weekly link-up featuring art projects.) Two of my students have enjoyed creating artwork and two . . . not so much. So needless to say, we've used a number of art instruction helps. Here are some favorites:

We've been privileged to review a couple of the ARTistic Pursuits books, and I've purchased some of them as well. ARTistic Pursuits has earned a reputation for excellence in art instruction for homeschoolers, with books to encourage children of all ages to create and to develop their observation skills. Authors Brenda Ellis and Daniel Ellis both have many years of experience in teaching fine arts. We've reviewed Middle School 6-8 Book Two: Color and CompositionSculpture Technique: Construct, and Sculpture Technique: Model; and have purchased and used Middle School 6-8 Book One: The Elements of Art and Composition, and High School 9-12 Book One: The Elements of Art and Composition. All of these books have provided top notch art instruction written directly to the student, and the projects that my two artists have completed using these books have been varied and beautiful.

Art Resource Collection (Blogging Through the Alphabet) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Art Resource Collection (Blogging Through the Alphabet) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com   Art Resource Collection (Blogging Through the Alphabet) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Art Resource Collection (Blogging Through the Alphabet) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com   Art Resource Collection (Blogging Through the Alphabet) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

ARTistic Pursuits review

ARTistic Pursuits review

Needle Felting with ARTistic Pursuits (A Schoolhouse Crew Review) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com


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Art Resource Collection (Blogging Through the Alphabet) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com


The above projects are examples of what Kennady created during our review of an online art instruction program called Creating a Masterpiece. Taught by master artist Sharon Hofer, the program is rather like attending a fine art school, where students learn technique and are guided in creating excellent artwork that they could be proud to show off. The video instruction course has easy to follow step-by-step instructions showing students how to create high-quality art pieces using many different media, and can be used by students of all ages. Art techniques in many media are covered, and students build mastery so they can create their own projects using the techniques learned. There is a Beginners Level, with projects that can be completed in a single session of an hour or less; and Levels 1 through 5 which are progressively more challenging, building skills and introducing new media. There is also an Art in History section, which describes the artwork of a particular artist in history, and teaches the student how to create a similar project.

You can read our full review here: Creating a Masterpiece - A Homeschool Coffee Break Review

Creating A Masterpiece - A Homeschool Coffee Break Review @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - Our review of the #onlineartprogram from Creating A Masterpiece  #hsreviews  #artinstruction  #art  #homeschool


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Art Resource Collection (Blogging Through the Alphabet) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Another online program we were able to review is ArtAchieve, and the above shows some of the pieces Kennady created from those lessons. This website provides a series of online art lessons inspired by art from around the world. Each lesson includes links and information for making Cross Curricular Connections between art, music, science, social studies, and language arts. The focus is on creating the art, however, and on learning and developing the skill of drawing. This wonderful resource can be a great addition to any homeschool program, but especially for families that want to include art and don't feel comfortable teaching it themselves. Since the lessons draw on inspiring and unique art objects from all over the world there are many options for incorporating an art lesson into other things you're studying, especially if you're using a Unit Study approach. And all at a price point that's very budget-friendly.

You can read our review here: Draw the World with ArtAchieve.

Draw the World with ArtAchieve (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review) @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - our full review of ArtAchieve art lessons for kids for the Homeschool Review Crew

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There are courses in every subject area at SchoolhouseTeachers.com, but we have probably made the most use of the Art section. For quick art ideas, Everyday Easels lessons can't be beat! They are little art based mini-units, but we've often used them just for ideas for art projects. There's a wide selection of other courses too - Art History, Art Techniques, and Drawing With Realism are just a few. 

 


Everyday Easels art lessons at SchoolhouseTeachers.com




SchoolhouseTeachers.com memberships are available at the Harvest Special pricing until October 31st, along with a bonus of two free print back issues of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and some digital goodies. Use the code CORNCOB to get PreK-8 for $9.95/month (reg. $14.95) or the code SCARECROW to get PreK-12 for $10.95/month (reg. $19.95).



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 And before I close, I must also mention the book Geography Through Art by Sharon Jeffus and Jamie Aramini. It's long been an art resource favorite of ours, and we've created many projects from it. I suspect I'll feature this book a little more at some point further down the road in Blogging Through the Alphabet, so for now, how about a quick look at some of the many projects inspired by this versatile book.

Art Resource Collection (Blogging Through the Alphabet) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.comArt Resource Collection (Blogging Through the Alphabet) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Art Resource Collection (Blogging Through the Alphabet) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.comArt Resource Collection (Blogging Through the Alphabet) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Art Resource Collection (Blogging Through the Alphabet) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com



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Blogging Through the Alphabet again? Yes, somehow I've convinced myself to sign up for another run at this themed link-up, and I'm not going to pretend it won't be a huge challenge. Three of my blogging buddies have teamed up to host this round - Amanda at Hopkins Homeschool, DaLynn at Biblical Womanhood, and Kirsten at DoodleMom's Homeschooling Life. With so many Crew bloggers joining in, I decided I could play along too. This is the first week, and the link will open from Thursday to Wednesday each week, so join in if you'd like! (Find the guidelines in Amanda's introductory post here: Our Second Adventure with Blogging Through the Alphabet)

This post is linked at Blogging Through the Alphabet for Week 1, Letter A.



This post is part of a #breakthrulinkup at Breakthrough Homeschooling - Join us! This post is also linked at the Encouraging Hearts & Home Blog Hop hosted by Apron Strings & Other Thingsat Homeschool Blog & Tell at The Homeschool Post; and at the Homeschool Linky Party on the Homeschool Review Crew blog.



 The Homeschool Post

Homeschool linky party

 Don't miss a coffee break! Subscribe to Homeschool Coffee Break by Email!

 ©2006-2017 Homeschool Coffee Break. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://kympossibleblog.blogspot.com/