Saturday, July 14, 2018

CPR/ First Aid for teens

I am so pleased that my kids were able to take certification courses for CPR and First Aid this year!

I really think it is so important that everyone, even teenagers, be prepared to help someone out in an emergency!  

So let me tell you the story of how this came about.  Last year I had looked into CPR/First Aid courses and how I could offer them to my kids and others.  The costs that we were quoted were very prohibitive (like nearly $1000 for 8 individuals to become certified!!) There is no way we could afford that, or afford to offer it to others in our community. I had contacted both the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross.  I still don't understand why these courses are so expensive!!

So I gave up for awhile.  In September I had the Sheriff come to our 4-H Club for a career exploration presentation, and while he was there I asked him if he knew of anyone who offered courses for less $ than I had been quoted.  He said that he was thinking of having himself and some of his staff certified as instructors--and to contact him later in the year to see if they had.  I emailed him every couple of months and finally in June they had been trained to be instructors!  He coordinated with me to figure out two afternoons that we could offer the course and he offered the trainings for these students at a very low price.

I opened up the course to just teenagers, because there's something about a group of teens that they are able to concentrate/learn better without as much embarassment sometimes if parents aren't included :) We had nine students sign up and all nine of them passed all the requirements to receive their American Heart Association certifications in CPR (adult, child, and infant) and First Aid.

I am so thankful that we were able to do this and that now nine more individuals are prepared to help their communities in this way if needed!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Everyday Holy -- my REVIEW

This pretty little devotional boook by Melanie Shankle is a great addition to a Bible reading plan and will help you to turn your mind toward godly things and help you to think Biblically throughout the day when you encounter different situations.

The book is set up as 100 different readings, one for each day.  The reading begins with a verse or a passage of Scripture and then an accompanying narrative.

The daily reading is written in an easy-to-read, chatty type style.  The reader will feel like they are talking with a friend.  The Bible verses are explained and/or applied to daily life.  One I liked in particular is entitled, "What if you said yes?" and talks about the rich young ruler--what if he had said yes to Jesus? And the parallel in our own lives -- what if we said yes to what God asks of us?

The topics covered in this devotional are things that are applicable to most people in this day and age. They touch on our attitudes, our actions, our place in our families and communities, and more.

On a superficial level, it's a very nice-looking book. The cover is attractive (make sure you check out the cute chickadee on the back cover!), there is a bookmark ribbon, and the pages of the devotional are pretty and easy to read.

I would recommend this book for you to read every day or to give as a gift!  I'll be using this with my daily devotions for quite a few more days!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Math Refresher for Adults -- my REVIEW

One of the questions people often ask me about homeschooling high schoolers is, "What about math?" (usually said with a distasteful tone or look on their face!) Thankfully I enjoy math and have retained quite a bit since I took classes years ago. I have also had many opportunities for review as my kids went through all the math from algebra 1, geometry, and algebra 2, and often needed more explanations/instructions/help -- so these math topics are on the top of my mind :) BUT for several other folks this might not be the case and you may be concerned about remembering certain math skills (that maybe your kids have already completed!) My husband has experienced this when the kids have asked him for help on math problems (when I was sick or in the shower or something and he happened to be present). Sometimes he knows that he has learned the particular procedure, but hasn't used it for quite some time. Though he is quite proficient in math, the skills that haven't been utilized in awhile look a little confusing.

As a matter of fact, my husband is also planning to attend graduate school in the near future and needs to take the GRE. Straight out of college, many of the topics (in math in particular) were things that he had used frequently and the solutions were obvious to him. HOWEVER -- he graduated from college in the 90's, which was a long time ago! And while he uses math in his everyday work, he doesn't use the full spectrum. He was happy to receive a copy of Math Refresher for Adults to remind him of some of these procedures and problem-solving skills. This helpful book, produced by Math Essentials  was easy to jump right into and get started with.

Math Refresher for Adults

Of course, everyone's math abilities and retention vary and this book is written to cover a large range of possible starting points--some of which may seem obvious or easy to many folks, but some might need a reminder or some tips for how to solve particular problems.  The book starts with the basic arithmetic functions of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of whole numbers and moves on to fractions, decimals, and more.  The topics are listed out in the index in the front, so if you know the topic that you need some education in, you can quickly jump to that page.

When you arrive at the page which you need to review, you will see that the top of the page a section of review exercises, which can help you to retain information you have already covered.  The next segment is called "Helpful Hints" -- this one gives you the topic and rules or hints for solving that particular type of problems.

 Following the hints section are two sample problems (S1 and S2) -- and several other problems of the same type.  The author suggests that you read the hints and try the two sample problems and check the answers (in the back) before continuing on to working the rest of the problems on that page.  At the end of the page is a "Problem Solving" section which gives you a word problem using the skills you have practiced to ensure that you can transfer the skills from the written-out math problem or equation to one written in word problem form.

If you need additional teaching on the topic, there are video tutorials which correspond to the topics covered in the book.  These are available on two websites listed in the front matter of the book.  The access passwords/codes to utilize these resources are posted in the front matter as well.

These tutorials move clearly, step-by-step, so that the learner can easily follow along.

 One thing that is noted by the author as well as the teacher on the video tutorials is the recommendation that whether you are doing the problems from the book or from the video that you write the problems down on a separate sheet of paper before working them.  I agree that writing the problem out often ensures that you pay more close attention to what you are doing, so I really appreciated them mentioning this in here.

Answers to each of the problems in the book are listed in the back of the book, so you are always able to know if you are performing the operations correctly or not.

Included in the back of the book is a nice glossary which can be used for a quick and easy answer (for instance, do you remember off the top of your head what the commutative properties are?) Also included are tables of important symbols, multiplication tables, tables of common prime numbers, table of squares and square roots, and fractional/decimal equivalents.

I'd also like to give you an idea of the breadth of topics which are covered in this book.  From the index in front, the major topics are whole numbers, fractions, decimals, percents, geometry, integers, charts and graphs, word problems, and pre-algebra and algebra.  Additional assistance in the form of video tutorials are available for each of the topics covered.
The tutorials are step-by-step and easy to follow.
So what did I think?  The book is easy to use, topics are easy to find.  The videos are very helpful, once you find them :) You have to search a little within the sites to find the proper one you need, but once you find the video you need it is very helpful.

As far as my husband's using it to review/help prepare for the GRE, it is definitely helpful for him!  It certainly does not cover everythng he needs to be proficient in for the GRE, but it's a great way for him to familiarize himself with the more elementary concepts before he studies the higher math topics he will need to use.

If you are a homeschool parent and are a little unsure about different math topics which your student is learning, this book would be a good resource for you to brush up on those skills!

Math Essentials

The purpose of Math Refresher for Adults is REVIEW, not straight teaching on how to do each concept.  If you flip through the book you might wonder why the "Helpful Hints" teaching-type section is so short--it's not intended to be a comprehensive textbook, but rather to remind you how to use skills you have learned in the past.  The video tutorials can take you further and help to teach you more.

I feel like the book can help you with basic arithmetic all the way up through elementary algebra courses.  The algebra and geometry is quite basic, so don't expect to find the level that you will probably need to assist your student throughout full high school algebra 1 and 2 and geometry.  It WILL, however, give you a great foundation in the basics of math subjects.

To read about how other folks used this book -- and how they liked it, please click on the link below:

Math Refresher for Adults {Math Essentials}

Math Refresher for Adults {Math Essentials}

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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Hard-boiled eggs -- cooking and peeling (even fresh ones!!)

We have chickens, laying hens -- about 10 of them.  This time of year (summertime) we have a lot of eggs!  I have posted before on this blog about egg recipes, and now I'm going to talk to you about hard-boiled eggs!

If you've had fresh-from-the-coop eggs before, you know that hard boiling them and peeling them can be kind of difficult to do in a "pretty" way -- the shells are hard to peel and don't leave a nice smooth white usually.

I won't show you a picture of my ugly boiled eggs or ugly deviled eggs or anything :)

BUT I will share my secrets with you!

First of all-- the cooking/hard-boiling of the eggs.  Instead of boiling them, I steam the eggs -- in a steamer basket in my saucepan for about 8 minutes or so.  After that, I run cold water over them until they're cool to the touch.

Then comes the peeling:  I read this method online years and years ago and it really works like magic!

Step 1:  place hard cooked egg into a pint sized canning jar

Step 2: put a little water into the jar (LITTLE -- like 1/2 tsp or so)

Step 3: Put a lid on the jar

Step 4:  Shake the jar for a few seconds (really, just a few!)

Step 5:  take the cover off -- you can see how the shell is cracked and separating!

Step 6:  Voila!  So easy and nice-looking!  Now to make the recipe... :) :) 

Hope these ideas are helpful to someone else!! 

Homeschool Review Crew Weekly Link Up

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Geotags and the privacy of your photos and family

Do you know what geotags are?  Many devices that we use to take pictures with also have a built in function to label the picture with the location in which it was taken, using latitude and longitude. We don't see those labels, but they are embedded into the picture -- and someone wanting to invade your privacy could uncover those geotags and know where you (or your child) or etc are located.  Maybe that doesn't seem like too big of a deal to you, but do you really want people you don't know and who might have an ulterior or criminal motive to have access to where you are? I sure don't.

So what are we to do about these geotags?  If you take pictures with your phone or other device and are unsure if you have privacy settings already in place to eliminate those tags, you can check it out using a website called  Basically just type in and you will see a site which you can upload a photo to and it'll tell you where it was taken, along with other information such as what device took the picture and etc (it it's available within the picture.)

Here's an example!
So here's the top portion of the landing page.  You can simply drag a photo into the gray block
and the data held within the photo is shown below the block.

Hopefully your results will not have a location listed,
 though they may tell something about you
(such as what device you used to take the picture)

As you probably guessed, this is what you do NOT want to see--the location where your picture was taken hidden within the picture.

So what do you do if you find that your pictures are tagged already?  First of all, I'd google how to turn the tags off on your device.  You can also look online for how to remove the locations from the photos on your phone as well as on different applications (such as websites and etc.)  Some websites already remove the location info when you upload them (I think facebook does) but others don't.  I know some people aren't concerned about the locations on their pictures, but I am, and I just want to let you know that it exists and that you might really want to think about your policy on this privacy issue.  

Homeschool Review Crew Weekly Link Up

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective -- my REVIEW

Do you do art in your homeschool? How about art appreciation? Or art history? There are so many different things that can fit into the "fine arts" slot in our homeschools and many folks approach it differently.  We count things like music lessons, art classes, performance participation or attendance, and more within the realm of "fine arts" in our homeschool program.  As a matter of fact, after age 13 fine arts is not a requirement in our state for homeschoolers.

The curriculum that we got to review for this session is (you guessed it!) an art curriculum.  More specifically, it is an art history curriculum.  We were given the opportunity to try out The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective  which is a large book (or digital textbook and teacher book) which is intended to be used to give a high school student up to one credit of art history.  This resource is available from The Master and His Apprentices.  

The Master and His Apprentices

The way the curriculum is designed to be used is that the student reads the text and then completes questions about the segment read.  Occasionally there are exams (4 of them) as well as papers assigned (4 as well).  Accompanying the student text is a teacher's copy, which is super-handy!  It gives a very nice sample syllabus as well as weekly example for use for a year.

The sample schedule contains readings, assignments, and exams
There are worksheets that are for the student to use after he or she has read the assigned pages (or chapter).  We actually used them along with the reading, as a kind of guided note-taking type exercise (or maybe better stated that it was a way to highlight certain information while reading).  The GREAT thing about these is that in the teacher's manual there is an answer key for these!  Makes it so much easier for the teacher! :) 

The worksheets allow the student and teacher
to make sure highlights/important points are retained.
There are also exams which are combinations of question types: matching, fill in the blank, list, define, short essays, etc. so they nicely cover a variety of assessment types.  Answers to these are also included in the teacher's manual (yay!).

SO what types of things are taught in The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective ?  Well, a lot of topics.  The study begins with an talk about God being the Creator, the originator of all that is good and as such the "Master" of all art, with humans just his "apprentices".  The second chapter walks the student through the days of creation. The author espouses the Young Earth Theory of Creationism.

Chapter 2 is devoted to explaining the days of Creation

Chapters following this cover different artistic trends from ancient times up through about the 1700's.  That is a broad statement, but it is actually from pages 22 through 306.  Different styles of art throughout different historical periods are highlighted and illustrated.  Ancient Egypt, Minoans, Etruscans, Ancient Greece, and more!

Architecture, sculpture, paintings, and more are discussed along with cultural significances.  
Timelines are also printed, which are very helpful for seeing events/artists/periods in context.

When the time frames get up to about the 1200's, the author begins to teach about particular artists and some of their works, mainly to illustrate art trends of the period.

Oddly enough, when the book arrives at the 1700's, it kind of stalls out.  To illustrate my point, when we get to page 306, the chapter covers from the rococo period of the 1700's through today. . .in just 7 pages!!! Uhhhh..  The author does state that this chapter is to be used as a "springboard" to inspire students to do independent learning on some of the later trends and artists, but I found it a bit odd.

After the length of discussion about earlier times, the
discussion of more modern times seems quite brief to me..
My 13 year old daughter was the student who got to try out this curriculum.  She said that the first two chapters kind of seemed like a Bible lesson (yes) and not really like art.  As she went on in further chapters her remarks were that it felt more like what we had covered in ancient history classes (yes).  To get a feel for some of the later chapters she skipped ahead and read a bit about some of the different artists, which she thought felt a lot different than the earlier topics (more detail given to separate artists as examples of trends of their times).

I think that my suggestion regarding this curriculum would be to use it concurrently with a course in ancient history or history of western civilization.  I think it would be more impactful that way, as a supplement to the history studies. Yes, some would be a little redundant, but repetition helps with retention, right?  

One thing that sets this curriculum apart is that it intentionally does not include nudity.  Now, as we all know, nudity in art is not isolated to one time frame or just a few artists, but this author has chosen to not include nude representations in this book.  One part of me thinks this is fine, remembering when my kids were younger and they were a little shocked by some artistic portrayals, but then--does it represent the artists truly?  For instance, there is a section on Rubens which--when we hear the name Rubens, what do we usually think about? Large, plump naked women in his art, right? I know that is not all he painted, but I think culturally now that is what we usually associate with him.  But this is not addressed, leading me to wonder what other things have been left out in acquiscence with this theme.  Well, the author is not trying to mis-lead, it is made clear that it is intentional that nudity is left out, but, I don't know, are we missing something by just leaving this out?  

Wow, a whole section about Rubens without chubby naked females?

The product that we used for this review was a digital copy of both the student text and the teacher's manual.  I am not a huge fan of digital books for textbooks.  I'd rather have the physical copy; that being said, I do realize that you can print the electronic copy--we opted not to because it was just way too many pages for me to print :) (or to pay for having printed).  SO -- my comment on the digital copy (using it on a computer) is that it is a little difficult to use in the two-column form using Acrobat Reader--because it's two columns, you need to read down the column and then scroll back up to the top of the page to begin the second column.  Sounds really picky and shallow when I read what I just wrote, but it was a bit annoying :) I guess that's why I prefer physical copies!

So...for a wrap-up.  The Master and His Apprentices is a very Christian-based history of art, mostly from ancient times through the 1600's or so.  It is intended for a high school audience, whether homeschool or small class.  (***The front material states that it is intended for use by ONE student, if you wish to print the worksheets for further students the cost--at this time, at least--is $2 per student).  Added to the Christian distinctives is another distinctive in the world of art books, and that is not including nudity.  So if that's what you're after, you may want to look into this product.  

To read what other homeschooling families have to say about The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective, please click on the banner below!

The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective {The Master and His Apprentices Reviews}

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

G is for Graduation . .. .PARTY!

There are so many different ways that homeschoolers mark their students graduation from high school.  Some have ceremonies, others just slide into the next phase (college or whatever)--for our family, we decided to have a big graduation party, rather than a ceremony or what have you.  Since it was to celebrate our daughter and her accomplishments we let her invite whomever she chose...about 180 people came!!!  Phew!

Thank the Lord we had a gorgeous weather day...and we did it all simple...hamburgers/hotdogs on the grill, pasta salad, fruit salad, potato chips, and yummy graduation cookies; to drink we had lemonade and water.  Pretty easy, simple to prep in advance, and lots to go around!

Lots of party games for the kids (thank you pinterest!) and just fun socializing for everyone! It was very simple, lots of fun, and great graduation memories for our daughter!