(Stay tuned all the way to the end and enter to win the Take Time for Art Ancient Greece Unit. It’s $107 value!)
(Disclaimer: I received a copy of this product 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 in accordance with the FTC Regulations.)
I am always on the look-out for quality art programs for high school students. As a closet artist drawing instruction and the fundamentals of art have been non-negotiables in our homeschool. Couple these basics with several years of high-quality art instruction at co-op by some talented homeschool Mommas, along with some professional art instruction and well, we have high standards. And we have had a hard time finding homeschool art instruction or materials that meet the mark.
Enter Take time for Art: Hands-on Art History by Penny Hayes
First, we received a box of beautifully packaged, high-quality art materials. Each student pack comes with all but the most basic and common art materials and supplies needed to complete each of the projects featured. This actually makes the program so much more enjoyable because all you have to do is keep the project pack neatly and carefully packed together in a large, durable zip-lock bag for storage; meaning that your materials will be ready to use when needed.
We chose Ancient Greece instead of Ancient Egypt, or Ancient Rome because my 18-year-old son is an old hand at re-creating historically accurate weaponry and costumes and he was quite curious about the Spartan helmet included in the pack.
The program is a winning combination of online history, art instruction, and hands-on creation.
Ancient Greece’s program includes 16 units that vary in length between 5 and 22 minutes. Each unit covers a specific period and is a visual feast of artwork, compellingly narrated by Penny.
About every fourth lesson is an art project. For this set, the projects were:
an octopus painting, reminiscent of frescos found in Ancient Greece
a tile painting
a foil relief picture
a 3-D Spartan Helmet
These are not cheesy, elementary projects, but very nice, artistically delightful projects that are suitable for gift giving. Our art group included a 15-year-old artist, an 18-year-old artist and a 24-year-old nurse who does not consider herself an artist, all of whom are or were homeschooled. My two kids have had extensive art training and are quite good in their areas of interest, but the great thing about these projects is that provide a very solid base that allows your kids to follow the projects exactly or get creative.
Penny does an exceptional job of explaining and showing in detail each art project. Penny’s explanations are thorough and complete, and the lessons are neither too rushed or too drawn out.
Penny also includes the name and artist of each piece of artwork displayed in the Credits. Under “Resources” there is a brief welcome letter, materials, a pacing guide and resources needed to create each project. The Pacing Guide is actually a curriculum guide and includes art and history questions. This is a great introduction to basic art terms. Also included is a video on the color wheel and instructions on how to make one.
This program could quickly be turned into an art history class if the parent wants to have the kids memorize the artwork included, of which there is an impressive amount.
Also included was a unit titled, “On the Road with the Apostle Paul.” This is a lovely rendition of the Road to Damascus story, told in gorgeous artwork, again with Penny narrating. It is clever in all the best sense of the word, and a unique look at an important event in church history.
My kids were a bit worried that this program was going to be childish and silly but they spent several happy hours talking about the history, looking up and cross-referencing things Penny had mentioned (we are die-hard history people, too!). The art projects the kids chose to focus on gave them several happy hours of creative relaxation. Furthermore, the end results were lovely! Also, included were art mats and suggestions for how to complete the projects for every day use.
Lastly, Penny teaches the kids how to make a Roman Road in a cup. A simple but profound aspect of the Roman world and a lesson in construction that isn’t crazy messy but gets the point across.
I loved the thoroughness of the program, the attention to detail and Penny’s gentle and sweet spirit as she guides young artists through history and art!
This is a unique and well-done program and is definitely worth the cost, especially considering that you can have more than one student accessing the course at a time. Do yourself a favor and purchase the art supplies when you order the class so that you’ll have artist quality supplies at the ready.
The actual lessons add up to about 3 hours and each project will take between 1-3 hours. Each program is easily worth ¼ credit of art; combine two for ½ high school credit of Art, History or Elective credit. This program is easily accessible to kids in elementary school throughout High School and beyond and would make a lovely present for the historian or budding artist in your life!
The Classical Method of Education is on the rise and gaining in popularity among home and private schools.
What’s the draw? I believe it has to do with the fact that people realize that it’s a time-tested method of education with proven results! Perhaps you’ve have heard of the three stages of the Trivium: Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric.
During the Grammar stage, the student memorizes easily and well. Some curriculum developers have capitalized on this by marketing programs that feature, almost exclusively, memory work. The beauty of this stage is to encourage memory work, while building abundance in a variety of areas, exposing children to a mixture of experiences and environments in which their minds can develop and grow. Memory work is only one aspect of an excellent education.
However, we believe that Repetitio Mater Studiorum. In other words, repetition is the mother of learning. In order to learn, one must memorize. Once we’ve remembered something, we own the information.We have done serious memory work in our home for over a decade, ranging from poetry, Shakespeare, the Bible, speeches, plays, humor, and quotes. This memorization, coupled with extensive reading, a wide array of experiences, and other excellent curriculum has provided us with a rich and fascinating education and created a love of learning in our students!
Here are our top 7 Reasons for Completing Memory Work
Your brain is a muscle. If you exercise it, it will get stronger, be more flexible and be able to do things you never imagined you could! The more you memorize, the more you learn.
Teaching your child how to memorize teaches proper study skills! Memorization is discipline for the mind. Kids who can remember efficiently and well know how to think in a way that is focused and diligent. Memory work leaves sloppy laziness behind!
Memory work creates a context for everything you know- no one can think or live in a vacuum, and memory work helps each person create a rich and varied setting in which new information and knowledge can live and grow! We think with the ideas that we hold in our memory. Without a rich store of memory to draw on our brains are mush!
Memorizing vast amounts of information will allow you to make amazing connections across subject areas in a way that simply cross-referencing won’t do for you.
If you couple memory work with logic skills (Dialectic Stage) and writing and speaking skills (Rhetorical Stage) you will be well prepared professionally, regardless of what career field you choose to enter.
Memory is learning. If you haven’t memorized it, you’ve merely over-viewed it; not mastered it. To be an expert in any field requires knowledge that you own. A.K.A. knowledge you’ve memorized!
Maturity and wisdom demand that we learn grow and develop. Referencing Google or Wikipedia won’t lead us to maturity or wisdom. We must know (learn and memorize), understand and discern to grow in maturity and wisdom.
At True North Homeschool Academy, we’ll be offering a memory-based program for your K-7th graders; Classical Memory and More, with Claritas. This program will cover Timeline, History sentences, English and Latin grammar, Geography, Math, Bible, and Hymns.
Have you ever considered teaching your child a foreign language? It’s a dilemma many homeschool parents face. When you start, what curriculum to use, and why do our students need to learn a foreign language anyway? At True North Homeschool Academy, we believe that learning a foreign language has many benefits. See just a few of them below.
Why learn Spanish? Here are 5 Compelling Reasons.
1) There are currently 20 million people studying Spanish right now!
Of all the foreign languages to study, Spanish might be the most popular, and for a good reason. There are approximately 437- 527 million Spanish Speakers worldwide, depending on which list you look at, but it’s definitely in the top 5 languages spoken worldwide.
2) Spanish is also spoken and understood by over 52 million people in the United States.
But buckle up, because that number is going to grow! By 2060, the Latino population of the U.S. will reach close to 130 million, making it the second largest Spanish speaking country in the world, overtaking Mexico, and increasing the Spanish languages global standing.
3). Spanish, as a language, has a bright future.
With Spanish speakers on the rise, not only in the U.S. It is currently ranked as the second most important language for British citizens to learn.
4). Spanish will increase your employability.
The Spanish market is a huge demographic for companies to target. Currently, the Latin American market has a 1.5 trillion dollar purchasing power (according to Forbes), making Spanish speaking employees more valuable than ever to employees as they tap into this profitable market
5) Understanding Spanish will allow you more opportunities.
These opportunities may come as the chase to travel, work, or study abroad with a richer experience. Speaking Spanish will also open up an entire world of entertainment, with Spanish You-Tubes, television, and movies produced in Spanish.
Why learn a foreign language? For the health and brain benefits of course!
Learning a foreign language can stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s! Mono-lingual adults showed signs of cognitive decline up to 3 years earlier than bilingual adults.
Bilingual children score higher on problem-solving than monolingual kids. Learning a new language can improve overall cognitive functioning, including how second-semester you are. In other words, those who are bi-lingual are better able to observe and understand their surroundings, as well as edit out distractions. Bi-lingual people are better able to spot misleading information. Isn’t it interesting that Sherlock Holms and Lord Peter Wimsey (great fictional detectives), along with their creators, Sir Conan Doyle and Dorothy Sayers were bi or multi-lingual?
Learning a foreign language enhances your understanding of your mother tongue. Learning a second language causes a student to look carefully at sentence structure, grammatical functions and the nuances of vocabulary. A fun aspect of Spanish is that it’s a derivative of Latin. English is significantly influenced by Latin words. You probably know some Spanish and Latin vocabulary already!
Learning a second language enhances memory and vocabulary. These benefits allow students to score better on standardized tests!
Learning a second language is good, clean fun! Kids naturally love to talk and write in codes, and a foreign language is just that. A terrific code to decipher for young minds, eager to learn and develop! The early your child learns a second language, the more confident and adept they will be at learning multiple languages!
So are you convinced that your child needs to learn Spanish, but not quite sure where to start?
If you are looking for a great second-semester memory enhancing, code-deciphering, FUN class, check our Spanish for Children or Beginning Latin! Classes meet live online each week, with a passionate, invested multi-lingual speaker.
At True North Homeschool Academy, we are all about launching our kid successfully as young adults. Ideally, we like this launch to be with little to no debt, and in a way that equips them to succeed vocationally, as well as in life. One of the ways we are doing this is by providing CLEP prep classes.
What is CLEP?
CLEP is College level Exam Program. There are over 33 exams available that are accepted by 2900 colleges and universities in the following areas:
Literature & Composition
History & Social Science
Science & Mathematics
By taking a CLEP test, you can save “Hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars.” CLEP exams have been in existence for over 50 years and had over 1800 test centers. This program allows students to demonstrate mastery in college-level material and earn college credit through testing. There is no minimum age at which your kids can start taking CLEP exams and your test scores will “bank” for up to ten years!
Not every college accepts every CLEP exam, and if you know where your high school student plans to attend college, you can check with their admissions counselor or website. If it’s not stated on the website, and you are assured by someone on staff or faculty that the CLEP exam will be accepted for credit, get that in writing. In my state, the state college system will take up to 10 CLEP exams toward a degree, but it varies by major and school.
If you are interested in taking some CLEPs as upper-level high school courses, I would suggest starting with some basic general education requirements: College Algebra, English Comp I and II, Environmental or Natural Science, Psychology or World Religions or Government. Taking just 5 Clep exams totals 15 College Credits (and can go on a High School Transcript for one credit as well and can be counted for a higher weight, which affects the G.P.A.) which is an entire semester’s worth of college. Considering that even inexpensive school cost around $20,000 a year, half of that is significant savings!
If you are looking to earn you Associates degree or even entire undergraduate degree through Clepping, Dual Enrollment, and other less conventional methods, be sure to check out the “Big Three”; Thomas Edison State College, Excelsior State College, and Charter Oak State College. All of these consider life experiences, extensive CLEP exams, and dual enrollment creidts towards an Associate of Arts or a Bachelor’s Degree.
We have a friend who got their entire undergraduate degree in two years through Clepping and then went on to Medical School. Of course, he had terrific MCAT scores and references along with his degree, but it is doable to take an unconventionally earned Bachelor’s degree and go on to a competitive graduate program.
True North Homeschools Academy is committed to utilizing the freedom and unique opportunities we have as homeschoolers to bring classes to you that prepare your students to take CLEP exam.
This fall, for instance, we have an amazing group of young adults (10th-12th graders) meeting weekly for 90 minutes to study Psychology. This class has been challenging and thought-provoking, required a boatload of homework, reading, studying and learning vocabulary, provided great discussions and some good laughs and readied participants to take the CLEP exam at the end of the semester.
This class is offered for one semester (just like a college class would be) and uses Zoom and Moodle (also, like many college classes) and counts for 1 High School Credit. If the CLEP exam is taken and passed 3 College Credits under the General Education requirement of Social Science will be earned. Not only are our students receiving college credit for pennies on the dollar but they are avoiding the social indoctrination that is so prevalent on College campuses, especially in the area of Social Sciences.
Why pay for these classes when our kids can study and take a CLEP test on their own?
For the simple reason, that upper-level classes are challenging, and difficult things are often more exciting and enjoyable when done with others (Ecc 4:9), the teacher brings their experience and expertise to bear, and the kids have incentive to keep going even when the going gets tough!
If CLEP tests are not something you’ve considered before, I hope you take a look at them. We’d love to partner with you to guide your student through some fun and challenging High School classes that also prepare your students well for CLEP exams!
(This spring we will be offering Civics as well as Environmental Science– both count towards one credit of High School and are also CLEP prep classes. Check those out today!)
We all know that homeschooling is fantastic right? I mean, we can tailor our children’s education to their specific needs. There’s also plenty of time to be spent together, meaning that we can build deep and lasting bonds with our children. However, if we are honest, there can be some downsides. Group projects are hard to come by, and sometimes it’s hard to instill a sense of deadlines and responsibilities that come with a group school setting. So what’s the remedy? Live homeschool classes of course! See five reasons why we love live homeschool classes.
(So what if you are ALL for live homeschool classes but there are none offered near you? True North Homeschool Academy has a solution for that too! Keep reading.)
The first reason to love live homeschool classes is the fellowship.
This is often an overlooked aspect of live online classes and one of the big differences between live and self-paced or pre-recorded classes. At True North Homeschool Academy our students can see and hear the teacher and each other. They know each other’s names and even work in small groups in our zoom break-out rooms.
They have a sense of community and fellowship with classmates in a controlled, adult-directed setting. A setting that is geared toward academic growth, and based on Judeo-Christian values. For instance, in our Writing Club, the kids regularly send each other their writing outside of class for critique and evaluation. Kids are meeting and growing in relationships with teachers and students around the country — and outside of it!
Another great reason to love live homeschool classes is that they provide accountability.
Live online classes require that your student shows up ready and prepared at regularly appointed times. Given assignments have deadlines and our teachers provide a rubrics and standards of expectations. Students learn to understand the importance of a Syllabus, how to use it, and how to negotiate if they can’t meet deadlines.
The Goldilocks Principle makes another case for live homeschool classes.
The Goldilocks Principle is an often overlooked and powerful principal! This principle simply means that people yearn for novelty and new challenges. Kids want to be pushed to explore and expand beyond what they know in a way that allows them to excel- not too easy, not too difficult, just right. Live, online learning can help you achieve that sweet spot.
At True North Homeschool Academy, our teachers have taught in a variety of classroom settings for a long time. They understand how to personalize the material. This personalization means that students who are struggling can continue to grow and excel, while students that are ready for more significant challenges can take off and fly fast. Our classes are personalized and prepared to accommodate students so that they can excel, regardless of their starting point.
Live homeschool classes can also help your students acclimate to someone else’s standards.
Let’s face it, as homeschooling mommas, sometimes we give our kids a lot of leeways. Maybe too much. If our kids don’t make our deadlines or perform up to our standards, they know we are still going to love them, and they probably will still “pass.” In fact, one of my daughter’s friends in college told her that she was “spoiled” because she got to learn to mastery- never having suffered through a failed test or deadline.
Having an external person to be accountable to can take a lot of pressure off of both parents and students. Our expectations are clearly stated at the beginning of each class and students know where to find the syllabus. Students receive regular feedback and assessments, and our teachers are available to talk with parents through each course. Instructors also give semester and year-end grades, along with a Certificate of Achievement, upon course completion. Because class standards and expectations are clearly stated ahead of time students get no surprises and can work towards stated expectations, knowing that they’ve accomplished along the way. Sometimes this falls by the wayside with busy homeschool parents.
Finally, live online classes can help your homeschool student become more tech savvy.
At True North Homeschool Academy, we utilize tech that your students will encounter in college, like Zoom Rooms and Moodle. Our teachers spend time allowing the kids to explore and use the tech we have at our disposal, such as electronic chats, hand raising, break-out rooms, and whiteboard capabilities. Students learn about email, how to submit homework electronically and how to interact with teachers who live in different time zones and perhaps in different countries. Students learn first hand about the valuable and beautiful connections tech provides. These tech skills will serve them well for life.
So now, what if you are convinced that live homeschool classes are something that you HAVE to have in your homeschool, but you are MILES from even the closest co-op? Well, True North Homeschool Academy has a solution for you! We offer live ONLINE homeschool courses. And we hate to brag, but they are kind of amazing. We have top-notch technology, amazing teachers, and a fantastic course line-up. Don’t just take our word for it, check it all out today in our course catalog!
For a Limited Time all courses are 10% off!!! Hurry and shop now, these prices won’t last forever!
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