30 June 2018

Shabbat Shalom

Room on the Porch Swing by Amy Clipston Book Review


When tragedy strikes, can two young Amish people find the hope that lies on the other side?

Laura Riehl is no stranger to heartache. Less than a year after her mother’s death, Laura finds herself burying another loved one: her best friend, Savilla, who has died after a brief and sudden illness. Laura feels heartbroken and alone, but her pain is nothing compared to that of Allen, the husband Savilla has left behind. He now faces a life so different from the one he imagined—plus a baby to care for on his own.

When Laura offers to help Allen with baby Mollie, he jumps at the opportunity until a permanent solution can be found. She’d do anything to lend a hand to Allen and to honor her best friend’s memory. Rudy, Laura’s boyfriend, is initially supportive of her plan, but the more time Laura spends with Allen, the more jealous and frustrated Rudy seems to become.
As Laura and Allen face hardships together, their friendship takes a surprising yet comforting turn—and she discovers an attraction she’s never felt with Rudy. Would falling for Allen betray the people she cares about most, or would denying those feelings betray her heart? This latest installment in the Amish Homestead series returns us to Lancaster County, home of the beloved Riehls, where a family’s strength—and advice from a new friend—may help Laura find God’s direction.  

My Thoughts:

Grab a box of tissues for the second book in “An Amish Homestead Novel” series. Don’t worry you won’t need your box of tissue throughout the story just the first few chapters. Talk about a dramatic opening to this heartfelt story.

Laura is still healing from the lost of her mother and now she just lost her best friend Savilla. Her dear friend left behind a husband and Mollie who is still an infant. Laura steps up to help Allen out with Mollie. Laura’s beau Rudy is fine with it in the beginning but, after awhile Rudy becomes uncomfortable with the situation.

This was such a heartfelt story of grief, healing, and joy. I loved Laura’s character from “A Place at our Table” and I was delighted to have her as a main character in this story. Allen what a gem he is and then his sweet daughter Mollie. 

I know I say this often but, I like it when reading a new novel and you still have some familiar characters from a precious novel. 

This was a wonderful story from Amy Clipston. Every time I read one of her books I think it’s the best one yet! She draws you into the story and grabs a hold of your heart. 

I look forward to the next story which is about Laura’s twin, Mark in “A Seat at the Hearth”.

I received a free copy of this product from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this information accordance with the FTC Regulations.

27 June 2018

The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective Review

My kids have fond memories of an art history class they took when they were younger. We learned so much from the class and found it extremely interesting. Now that my daughter is in highschool I was intrigued at the ideal of being able to teach my daughter more with The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective from The Master and His Apprentices.

I received a Digital Edition of the Textbook and Teacher Guide, and the print rights for additional students. There is a physical hardcover book of the Textbook and a soft cover Teacher Guide available also.

The author is a former homeschooler, Gina Ferguson. She earned her degree in art and English. She ended up being approached about teaching the homeschool community art history class. They wanted to class approached with no nudity in the art, which proved to require a lot of creativity on her end. There wasn’t any resources from a Christian perspective available, and this ultimately led her to writing this Christian art history textbook. That is me paraphrasing a lot. You can read her story here.

The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective is intended for highschool and can be used as a full credit for high school.  There is enough information for over 120 hours with 3-4 hours a week to meet the requirements for a full Elective credit.

Over the 36 weeks (instructions for a shorter course of 17 weeks provided also) for The Master and His Apprentices study you will write up 4 papers on different artist and time periods and each paper they will focus on a different piece and art style. To make it easier for you as a parent there is an “Art History Paper Instructions” that explains each of the 4 papers and what the requirements are. I love it you have it all neatly printed out and don’t need to figure out what your student should write.  

There are 4 exams throughout the course as well as questions after each chapter.

It is recommended that you have a Bible to pursue some of the questions asked and have the “Terms to Describe Art” handout from the Teachers Guide to refer to often.

The Teachers Guide

This has 116 pages and has everything you need to teach this course. 

There is an attendance and grade sheet, syllabus (it’s also available as a downloadable editable worksheet on the website), handouts needed for the student, all of your weekly discussion questions and exams. The answer key to all the discussions and exams. Along with several helpful tips in teaching the course. There is also a week by week reminder for the teacher.

Printing Rights

The printing rights if for one student. For additional students in your home is $2.00 per student. Copying the student worksheets and exams is not permitted without purchasing the reproducible rights.

The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective Textbook

The course has 19 Chapters with 380 pages. If you’re wanting to look at the art pieces by location in the book there are several of the pieces listed in the “Pieces by Location.” an 8 page timeline is also included in the Appendix as well as a downloadable one on the website.

There are over 600 full colored art from sculptures, architecture, pottery, jewelry, mosaics, paintings, and so much more within the pages of this Christian art history textbook. Every page has some kind of stunning photo related to the history era you are learning about. I love that art history is taught from a Biblical Worldview!

The text starts out with Creation and goes into the following studies:

 Ancient Cultures from Near East, Egyptians, and Aegean

Classical Antiquity, Early Greek, Etruscan, and Roman

Middle Ages, Early Christian and Byzantine, Medieval and Islamic, Romanesque, and Gothic

Renaissance, Early Italian Renaissance, High Italian Renaissance, and the Northern Renaissance

Baroque Era and Beyond, Baroque, Rococo to Today, Global Highlights

The lessons are taught in a chronological order of history. Throughout the chapter there are timelines of the section you’re learning about and a full time line in the appendix. The timelines are broken up showing Major Biblical Events, Famous Art from the era you are reading about. The last part shows Important World Events of during the era.

The majority of the text does spend more time on Ancient Cultures and the Renaissance art history. The section on the Baroque and Global Highlights which is Non-Western Art only has a few pages dedicated to them. I would love to see more in this era and even more modern art history personally. Maybe a future textbook-hint hint! I found the Baroque era fascinating when I was looking over that chapter.

How did I use The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective?

I have to admit that I’m not much of a digit download person and prefer a physical book in my hands. I just love being able to flip back and forth in a book. I decided to print several chapters of the textbook and Teacher Guide and bound them in a comb binder.

 I have been using this with my 10 grade daughter over the last several weeks. I have been reading the majority of the lessons to her but, she likes to read a paragraph or two to me (which is huge as reading is difficult for her). I have a unique situation with my daughter with her special needs and her abilities in several areas. She loves art and history and can comprehend the topic at her level. Writing and being able to put her thoughts on paper is difficult. The physical aspect is that she has severe Rheumatoid Arthritis and writing has to be modified. We do a lot of oral work or I write down her words for her if it requires a lot of writing. We discussed the questions orally. As far as the exams and her writing 4 papers it’s not going to happen. That doesn’t mean I’ll let it slide by! We haven’t reached the first exam yet. My plan is dictate her exam. I don’t think I’ll get several pages out of her. It will give me a chance to evaluate her comprehension of what she is learning. The most important thing is that Bug enjoys it. She likes the curriculum. She really likes all the amazing photos. Bug informed me, “that everything is so interesting!”

I plan on using this as a full credit for high school. We have been going at a faster pace during this review period so we could finish several chapters. However starting next fall I’m going to slow down the pace and break it up for 2 years for her.

I’m really impressed with The Master and His Apprentices. I have put it on my wish list to purchase a physical copy by next fall. I’m really excited to use this with her and with my son in the future.

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Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew have been using The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective also. Stop by their blogs and see what they have to say.


25 June 2018

Hake/Saxon Grammar and Writing 3 Review

I have been using a brand new product recently released - Hake/Saxon Grammar and Writing 3 with my daughter the last few weeks. I have always wanted to explore Hake Publishing for my homeschool grammar program in the past but, I just never took the plunge.

I received a physical product: Student Textbook, Writing Workbook, and the Teacher Guide. All of the books are a softcover book with perforated pages and 3 holes punched for adding to a 3 ring folder.

Teacher Guide

A suggested schedule for 146 days is included that includes both the Student Textbook, test,  and the Writing Workbook. 

The Introduction section is very helpful getting started and breaks down the components clearly. All your answers for each lesson, test, additional practice pages are included in the Teacher Guide. Also the test and practice pages for the student is in the back of the book. They recommend you teach the lesson in order as they really do build upon one another. It also stresses to keep a consistent schedule for your student.

The lessons are scripted for you and are highlighted in bold. Each lesson states that they average around 40-45 minutes in length.  I like that each step has an estimated time frame it should take to help with planning. So far we have spent around 30 minutes on each lesson and the lessons may get longer the further we get into the lessons. Underneath the time frame it says optional or required activity. I found that the optional activity didn’t really need my attention as it was more of a classroom activity. I really liked that as it helped me move along in the lessons without any hiccups. 

Student Text

This is a consumable workbook. There are 111 lessons in all. It’s in black and white and a few illustrations in the workbook.

 The format is basically the same for each lesson. Grammar Meeting, Vocabulary, Read the Grammar Lesson, Practice Problems, and Review Set. The first test starts on Day 11 and after that it’s every 5th day which is included in the Student Text.

Writing Workbook

This is also a consumable workbook with a total of 21 writing lessons. The Writing Workbook is scheduled for the same day you do the test. This includes writing paragraphs, filling in a short answer,  number the sentences in order, and other writing activities that go along with the lessons in the Student Textbook. 

They recommend a 3 ring binders, notebook, and encourage your student to make a writing journal.

How did I use Hake/Saxon Grammar and Writing 3 in my homeschool?

I used this with my 15 year old 9th grader with special needs. She is typically around a 3rd to 4th grade level in language arts. She varies in topics as some areas she has mastered and would be closer to her grade. My daughter regresses for unknown reasons and I find I need to teach the grammar skills she had previously mastered often with her. We typically did 3-4 days a week for summer school. In the fall we will do Hake/Saxon Grammar and Writing 3 five days in a week.

A typical lesson looks like this: The first part is the “Grammar Meeting” which is highlighted in both the teacher and student book by a box at the top of the lesson.  The “Grammar Meeting”   basically is a question for your student to think about and answer the question orally. An example from lesson 21 is, “What kind of person would make a good firefighter?” The intent is to enhance listening skills and to model correct grammar verbally which should help them to practice those skills when they need to put it in print. Also included in the box are vocabulary words. The vocabulary words are Latin roots/prefixes and some Greek words in this portion. The “Grammar Meeting” box is indicated as optional. I personally felt that it was a good overview to start with. I really liked the vocabulary portions taught in the box area.

The Grammar Lesson portion I would read out loud to Bug. It has several examples on the topic you are learning about. Then we would go over the Practice Problems together. This is a variety of circle the correct word, fill in the blank, and so on.

The Review Set is reviewing other concepts you learned in previous lessons. This portion we spent the longest amount of time on. I really liked how each lesson went over previously learned concepts. I found this very beneficial to review the concepts.

I followed the schedule and did the test and Writing Workbook when it was assigned. 

Final Thoughts:

I really liked Hake/Saxon Grammar and Writing 3. I was impressed  with this homeschool language arts curriculum. I felt this was a perfect amount of work. The lessons are concise and to the point. I didn’t think it had an overboard of questions or review in each lesson. Trust me this is crucial to me with a special needs daughter who tends to get overwhelmed. It's an open and go curriculum. I could look over the lesson the night or even the morning before and it required no prep on my end. 

My daughter had a hard time writing in the provided space in both books. She has hard time writing due to arthritis and she is not able to physically write smaller. She got a bit frustrated in that aspect of the curriculum. The space felt smaller than some other programs I have used. This may not be an issue for many students. 

Overall, my daughter told me that she enjoyed using this homeschool grammar program. We will continue with this next year for her 9th grade year.

Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew have been using Hake/Saxon Grammar and Writing 3 in their homeschool. See what they think. Don't forget to stop by Hake Publishing and see their other programs.

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