Friday, December 16, 2011

TOS Review - "Vintage Remedies for Kids"

I live with one very reluctant person when it comes to trying new foods (Especially when they resemble anything remotely close to a fruit or vegetable or is not chicken nugget shaped.) and it's not my husband.  I blame all the baby books that I followed after having Julianna.  I wish I could go back and do things differently in regards to her eating, but alas I cannot.  Therefore, I have created a selective eater.  One night after finishing a Daniel fast,  my husband and I were discussing adding a vegetarian meal into our weekly menu and Julianna asked what that meant.  After being told the definition she thought for a minute and then said, "Well, I'm a sweetenarian.  I only eat sweets."  That is where we are.   

Vintage Remedies for Kids is a curriculum designed for kids 2-6 years that teaches about healthy living.
Here is a little snippet of what the book is about from their website:
This curriculum helps you teach little ones how to choose healthy foods, how to prepare some fun and delicious snacks, how to establish prevention based habits, and how they can participate in your family's natural lifestyle. The workbook is flexible and can be used for playgroups or as a fun family project. Children at this age learn best with active lessons, so this isn't a sit and read style picture book! It's a guide for parents that is packed with hands on activities that are perfect for little hands, but fun for all ages. 
Each chapter in the book is laid out the same:  overview of the chapter, read aloud section, additional information about the material presented, and a hands on activity/recipe. 

My musings:  
I am not well versed on all things natural - unless it's near the time for our annual Daniel Fast (don't say the phrase out loud and maybe it will not come back around in January).  I would just like to open Julianna's mind to the fact that fruits and vegetables are not of the Devil.  When going through some of the chapters (especially on healthy eating and staying healthy), I would get the "Is that true?" asked from time to time.  I'm not a exemplary role model when it comes to eating healthy (I am typing this as I am popping a pretzel turtle in my mouth.  Have you tried them?  Pretzels, rolos and pecans.  Mercy sakes, that recipe is fab!  Let me know if you want it.), but this book has opened the doors for discussion and hopefully exploration into this new area for our whole family.  

Julianna's musings:
"You should eat fruits and vegetables to stay healthy.  Fruits and vegetables are icky." We still have some work to do.  

Vintage Remedies also offer books for older kids:  Vintage Remedies for Tweens (due out in February 2012), Vintage Remedies for Guys and Vintage Remedies for Girls.  Check em out.  

* Disclaimer:  As a member of TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a copy of Vintage Remedies for Kids in exchange for my honest review.  No other compensation was given.*

Thursday, December 1, 2011

TOS Review - Artistic Pursuits

I first discovered the Artistic Pursuits art curriculum at a homeschool convention last Spring.  I almost bought it to use this school year, but I had already gotten a few other things (read: spent my allotted budget), so I hesitated and then didn't end up ordering it. When I found out that they would be one of the vendors on the list to review, I was bananas excited! I could have possibly done some shameless begging to be on the list, but we won't talk about that.  Bygones.  Regardless, I am glad I was chosen because I was not disappointed.

Artistic Pursuits offer 10 different curriculum levels spanning from PreK to High School and they also offer a corresponding art pack available for each one except the PreK level.  We were chosen to review the K-3 Book 2.  Here is a description of it from the Artistic Pursuits website:
This book is sure to delight young children as they make connections with artists from the past. It focuses on the lives of artists who left the world with a vision that has awed and inspired others for generations. Using colorful illustrations and works by the artists, this book tells the stories of artists from the 13th century late Gothic period to the academy artists of the 18th century. Children explore painting in watercolor, tempera, oil pastels, printmaking, sculpture with paper mache, and mixed media.

My musings:
Watercolor painting of our house
I have given birth to quite a little artist.  I try to do a lot of art projects within our week because 1. it is a definite strength for her,  2. there is much less resistance to completing the task and 3. she loves to do it.   Artistic Pursuits is proving to be a great match for us.  Each lesson has the same layout:  information about the artist of the particular period you are learning about (our book goes from the Gothic period into the 18th century) told in story format and then an activity that demonstrates a technique or materials that are similar to what the artist used.  According to their site, " A complete study of art should include the subject matter shown on each shelf in this illustration. The K-3 program covers the elements of art and compositional ideas suited to the age within the context of art history. Techniques are shown as new materials are introduced. In this way even the youngest students experience a complete study of art. Grades 4-12 get a complete, in-depth study of the elements of art and composition based on a variety of applications. Each application offers a different way of thinking about the topic, helping to expand awareness of the visual world." Here is a link to their philosophy and approach for teaching art.

While there is very little teacher preparation required for the program, unless you buy the art pack that corresponds to your book, you have to get your art supplies ready for the activity.  We are pretty well stocked in art supplies, so we had everything needed to complete the projects (or close enough) that we did.  If I invest in other books, however, I would make it easier on myself (I am a selfish being.) definitely purchase the art pack.  I have a feeling that their supplies might be a higher quality than some of what we have and higher quality art supplies produce nicer products.  Just a fact.  Plus, you get a tote bag.  I love tote bags.

Julianna's musings:
**This is a new feature of my reviews.  I thought it might be interesting to get a 6 year old's perspective on the products since she is the one also using it.  I will, however, maintain my editing rights.**

"I think that the program was fun!  I think it was awesome! Today my Mom twisted out my top tooth."
Short and sweet...and completely off topic at the end.  See?  Editing will be needed.  

If you are considering an art program for your homeschool, give Artistic Pursuits a look.  Each book is $42.95 and the art packs range from $45 - $92.  You can order from their site, by phone or by mail and they offer a 30 day money back (minus shipping) guarantee.     

*Disclaimer:  As a member of TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a copy of Artistic Pursuits K-3 Book 2 in exchange for my honest review.  No other compensation was given."