Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Bessie's Pillow - TOS Review Crew

How can one person remind us that no matter when or from where we came to America, we are not so different? The exciting story is found in the book Bessie’s Pillow by Linda Bress Silbert published by StrongLearning Inc.

In 1906, Boshka Markman, a Jewish 18 year old girl, leaves her family in Vilna, Lithuania to sail to America and begin a new life. This historical novel, based on a true story, is written in first person. The story grabs your attention from the very first page and puts you into Bessie’s (her American name) shoes. You will walk with her through the humiliation of immigrant inspections in Hamburg, travel with her on the S.S. Moltke and live with her in early 20th century New York City before she settles in the small city of New Rochelle.

This is not just a story about a pillow. Bessie’s story is one of courage, of tragedy, of perseverance, and of loyalty. It’s a story of gratefulness for hands extended and paying the kindness forward. You will have to read the book to find out how she lives the American dream.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes reading about history through literature. Bessie’s Pillow is a story you will never forget!

Discover Bessie's America with an interactive multi-media guide to the movies, musicals, people, and events of the early 20th century. Resources include links to vintage videos to expand student's knowledge about European Immigration, the Progressive Era, famous people, food, health, disease, movies, music, radio, presidents,  events, places, and social movements during Bessie’s lifetime. Download the Bessie's Pillow Teacher Guide for discussion questions and projects from book reports to term papers. You can easily adapt the suggested questions and assignments to the grade, skills, and abilities, and interests of your students.

Bessie’s Pillow is Linda’s first novel. Daughter of Ann Dreizen and granddaughter of Bessie Markman Dreizen, Linda Bress Silbert was born and raised in New Rochelle, New York, where she, like Bessie’s children, attended Trinity School. When Linda was 11, her family moved a few miles north to Eastchester. Linda and her husband Al, both of whom have doctorates in education, are the owners of Strong Learning Inc.
Visit the Crew Blog to read more reviews.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Creating a Masterpiece

This resource review is all about Creating a Masterpiece! Sharon Hofer offers a Monthly Plan that allows unlimited family access to all art projects with step-by-step video instruction.

The Beginners Level introduces students to watercolor, charcoal, gouache, oil pastel, ink, mixed media, and alcohol ink through short, simple projects. Level 1 teaches the foundations of acrylic painting, earthenware sculpture, soft pastel, drawing with pencil, silk dying, and colored pencil. Level 2 teaches the foundations of block printing, sculpt sculpture, oil pastel, and stippling in ink. You will also continue growing your level one skills as you progress through more advanced projects in acrylic painting and soft pastel. Level 3 teaches the foundations of glass mosaic. You will also continue growing your acquired skills as you progress through more advanced projects in silk dying, watercolor, and sculpt sculpture. Level 4 teaches students how to see and include various values in their projects. You will learn more advanced forms of watercolor pencil. Sharon Hofer will introduce students to the art of tooling copper. You will also advance to new levels of technique and skill in oil pastel and silk dying. Level 5 teaches how artists mix advanced techniques with watercolor, while incorporating advanced understanding of values in order to create a mixed media masterpiece. Art In History teaches students how to create projects that are similar to those created in the life of the artist in that time period.

Each project is a complete masterpiece and is made up of three to seven lessons which are divided into smaller sections. Each project will take about forty-five minutes to an hour and a half to complete.

Sharon Hofer guided my girls step-by-step through the process of painting a Peaceful Lake in soft pastel. You do not need to have an easel for pastel. In fact, it is easier using pastel flat on a table. When breaking the pastels into smaller pieces, be sure to remove the paper covering the pastel before breaking into pieces. This will help the pastel from crumbling and being unusable. Never get any water near the pastels as this will ruin them. Pastels are pure paint pigments. Sharon demonstrated methods of blending and layering color in order to maximize the vibrant coloring of the project. My girls did not have all the pastel colors needed for this project; but they used what they had to create their own masterpiece.

Here is Kaylee’s masterpiece!

Here is Brieanna’s masterpiece!

Here is Isabelle’s masterpiece!

No matter your age, Sharon Hofer inspires you to create a masterpiece that you will be proud of for years to come!

Visit the CrewBlog to read more reviews.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Fire Museum of Texas

The Fire Museum of Texas is recognized as one of Texas' best FREE places to visit! The museum is dedicated to preserving fire service history and educating people about fire safety.

Explore the extensive collection of fire apparatus, including an 1856 Howe hand-drawn tub pumper with leather buckets, 1909 American LaFrance aerial ladder, 1926 American LaFrance pumper, 1931 REO Search Light Truck and more!

See the Gamewell Fire Alarm System, pull stations and communications equipment from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Learn about early firefighting equipment, including a wide assortment of antique fire extinguishers, nozzles, ladders, helmets, and more!

Students really can see what it's like to be a firefighter by putting on firefighting gear with a fire helmet, sitting behind the wheel in the cab of a real fire engine, and turning on all the lights to stimulate driving to a fire!

Bring the kids upstairs to the Fire Safety Activity Center to learn fire and home safety information while they play. And before you go, visit the Firehouse Gift Shop for a unique reminder of your visit; and take a picture with the world's largest working fire hydrant!

The Fire Museum of Texas is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. till 4:30 p.m. You may view the museum at your own pace or schedule a guided tour. I highly recommend the guided tour! A docent will lead your group through the museum and offer an overview and insight on the major collections and attractions. An educational and fun field trip for all ages!

Fire Museum of Texas
400 Walnut Street
Beaumont, TX 77701

Monday, March 13, 2017

Creative Freewriting Adventure

Home SchoolAdventure Co. offers a unique, philosophy based writing curriculum. In this resource review, I will share details about the Creative Freewriting Adventure. You may use Creative Freewriting Adventure as a stand-alone resource or to complement their Philosophy Adventure curriculum.

Freewriting is when you let a student write about a prompt without having to think about sentence structure, spelling, or punctuation. Creative FreewritingAdventure is a collection of thought provoking freewriting exercises designed to inspire creativity and critical thinking, even in reluctant writers. The topics in this course include:

Exercise 1 – Thales
Exercise 2 – Pythagoras
Exercise 3 – Xenophanes
Exercise 4 – Democritus
Exercise 5 – The Wise Woman
Exercise 6 – Beasts
Exercise 7 – The Gallery
Exercise 8 – Winged Pony
Exercise 9 – Eternity
Exercise 10 – The Ultimate Christmas Party

Each of the ten writing exercises begin with a few short paragraphs for the student to read, followed by a writing prompt. These writing prompts are pretty short and open-ended. The actual assignment includes bullet points that should be included in the writing. These bullet points are guided questions about the background, the dialogue, and incorporating your senses into your writing. You are supposed to set a timer for 15 minutes and write! Space is provided on the page, but there are no lines. I had my girls write on a piece of notebook paper. You may also use the Creative Freewriting Adventure - Coloring Book Edition.

My girls have not completed all of the exercises because we do not agree with some of the philosophy; but they did have fun with a couple exercises. Even my daughter, who is a reluctant writer, laughed and had fun writing a response to Thales. You will have to purchase the curriculum for the writing prompt; but here is her response…

I run up to the well, when I got there he was under the water. You could barely see him. I lean over, stretched out my hand, he grabbed it, I was trying to pull him up, but all of a sudden a man ran up. He helped me get the other man out of the well. I asked the soaking wet man “Are you okay?” He said “Yes, I’m fine, thank you.” I thanked the other man and he left. I asked the man “Who are you?” He said his name was Thales. I asked Thales “What in the world were you doing?” He simply said he was looking at the stars. He asks me “What were you doing?” I say, “I was going to get water, but I don’t know I want water out of that well now.” Thales looked ashamed and said he was sorry. I just turn around to leave when he said, “If you would like you could get water at my house.” I turned around and said “No thank you.” And I walked back home thinking this is too strange of a night.

Enjoy your writing adventures with Creative Freewriting Adventure!

Visit the CrewBlog to read more reviews.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

High School Electives

High School electives are typically courses that fall outside of the main core academic subject areas like English, math, history, science, or foreign language. These courses may reflect a teen's interest or be related to a future career. Electives do not require as much time or work as a core course, but should include educational content. If a letter grade will be given for the elective, a method of evaluation should be decided prior to beginning the course.

There are many electives to choose from and many available to homeschool students. Today I want to share some electives - based on my experience with the teens in my life (and not just the ones who live in my house).

Church History
Old Testament/New Testament Survey
Topical Bible Study

Creative Writing
Study Skills

Digital Savvy
Graphic Design
Web Design

Fine Arts
Art - drawing, pastels, painting
Musical Theater
Music - piano, flute, saxophone

Life Skills
Driver's Ed
Home Economics

Physical Education

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Game Night

When I was growing up we always played board games and I still enjoy playing them with my kids. My favorite game is Scrabble, I love word games; but a family favorite is Monopoly.

Several games have been around for years now, and after thinking about their names, I thought we could learn a little about the choices we make in our lives.

What monopolizes your time? What is monopolizing your thoughts?

Philippians 4:8 reads "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

Are you twisted up in sin? Sin has a way of entangling you. You cannot serve two masters.

Matthew 6:24 reads "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

Do you forgive others?

Colossians 3:13 reads "Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do you."

Chutes and Ladders
Are you climbing higher in your Christian life or are you sliding down? Are you growing and moving forward?

Philippians 3:13-14 reads "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press towards the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

So, how are you playing the game of life?