Take Time for Art: Curriculum Review
Take Time for Art: Curriculum Review came about because 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.
Take Time for Art – 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!
You can find Penny on her blog, Take Time for Art, on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.
(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.)
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.
(Wondering if live, online homeschool courses are right for you? Check out the reasons we love live classes!)
Using Gaming as a Homeschool Elective
Using Gaming as a Homeschool Elective; even though homeschool high school requires a certain amount of core subjects to graduate. Of course, as homeschooling parents, we know this.
But here is something you probably DON’T know, or have never considered:
While many families use traditional methods of teaching such as textbooks and workbooks, there is a system that is vastly superior and far more engaging, especially for struggling learners and those on the Spectrum.
And while homeschool electives these days seem to be unending as far as choices, gaming as a homeschool elective can function as several electives in one.
It truly combines many subjects of homeschool high school into one, making life far more enjoyable for your students, less stressful, more engaging, and thus increasing, in the long run, their academic proficiency which will better prepare them for their futures.
What is this system? It’s adding gaming as a homeschool elective.
RPGs to Homeschool High School
Role Playing Games (RPGs) incorporated into learning and exercise.
Now chances are your child is already well-versed in RPGs. After all, it’s how most video games these days are played. My son, now 17, likes to Play Skyrum and Mountblade. He also loves Lord of the Rings and Narnia, just like I do.
The most well known and controversial RPG game is Dungeons & Dragons.
Dungeons and Dragons, despite the normal bad rep, is neither good nor evil; but is defined by the actions and the heart of the DM (Dungeon Master) who oversees the running of the story world. When in a D&D session, with a good morale DM you are likely to have a clean and fun game. If the DM is chaotic and ungrounded in their morals, the game will be dark and fall into inappropriate content.
My RPG Experience
Years ago as a teen, I was a Dungeon Master (DM) myself and spent countless hours writing fantasy novels, creating worlds, making timelines, and making up my own languages.
I also spent my childhood “playing Narnia” in the Mesa behind my backyard. These were idyllic hours of pretend play as we would battle foes as Narnians. You could not get me in before 9 o’clock on a summer evening!
An Intriguing Idea
So when my nephew, Nate, came to visit several years ago and suggested we use RPG for homeschooling I was intrigued. A DM himself and a participant in several RPG live action groups, he recognized the potential this had for learning.
I saw what it could do for my son and other kids like him who are on the Autism Spectrum. Kids who hid themselves in front of a computer and had very little motivation to do anything else.
Our Epic Quest
So began our epic quest in starting a LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) Club and Camp. We far exceeded expectations in enrollment and what’s even more important, we made an incredible impact.
We also incorporated a collaborative group storytelling hour that Nate calls “Advanced Narrative Roleplay (ANR). Many parents see D&D as problematic so we took that element out and through creating our own world with Christ-centered emphasis, we made the theme of our play defeating evil by a group of heroes. The ANR is by far the most favorite part of our club and camp!
Through our programs we saw:
- Children and parents making friends, in many cases for the first time ever
- The kids had freedom of creative expression, which helped their confidence
- Some of them came hating to write and left having a passion for it. One is even writing a novel!
- Children’s aggressive behavior was mitigated and those who were bullied learned to appropriately stand up for themselves
- Children learned how to collaborate in teams
- Students who felt helpless, near suicidal, depressed, hopeless, and far from God began seeking, asking for help, and committing their lives to Him!
As one of our students told me, our group was a lifeline to him!
So as the new school year approaches, we are adding another layer: ancient history. Each year we will add another historical time period.
The Possibilities are Endless!
But the possibility for using RPG in homeschool high school and in any grade level is limitless. Math, literature, writing, science…
And of course, with the LARPing, we had a PE component to it. The children make boffer swords and then duke it out in ditch battling sessions and play games like King of the Hill, Zombie Apocalypse, Capture the Flag. They run around OUTSIDE and interact with each other. It helps build teamwork, muscle coordination, eye-hand coordination…
But most of all, THEY LOVE IT!
My son? He is becoming a leader through all this. He spends less time playing video games and more time thinking about costumes or what different weapon he can make or shield he can construct. At this time, he’s attempting to make wooden swords and then sell them for a business.
What can LARPing and RPG learning do for your child? All this and more!
If you’re ready for an out of the box experience and an immersive learning tool, consider this creative approach to teaching homeschool high school today.
(Want more ideas on how to add gaming as a homeschool elective? Check out our game design course!)