Proud to Be of Age: Influencers Who are Past the Age of 50

Proud to Be of Age: Influencers Who Are Past Their 50s

Image via Preview.ph

“In a world dominated by 20ish-year-olds like Gigi and Bella Hadid, it is safe to say that youth is valuable currency. But this rule is not absolute. Wittily dubbed as the ‘greynnaisance,’ the more mature set is welcomed by the fashion industry with open arms.”

Read here for the rest of my article on fashion’s new It Girls.


[Homeschool Review Crew Review] The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective

I received a copy of the Master and His Apprentices; Art History from a Christian Perspective from The Master and His Apprentices to review. This review will be little different because my kids are too young  to use this so I was the one who actually used this. Here are my impressions if you would like to read.

On the Books

I got a package of the textbook and a teacher’s guide in digital format. There are also print versions, if that’s something that you would prefer. Personally, I’m happy with the digital version because the books are not light reading — literally. The textbook is 380 pages long so it will be too heavy to haul around.

It’s length is not due to the wordiness of the writer, but because of the information packed into it. The subject matter spans across cultures and time periods. With lots of areas to cover, it’s no wonder its big book.

The Table of Contents can give you a glimpse on how comprehensive this book is.

The books are more suited for older learners because of the details presented. From an old fogey like me to high school students. Students who go through the book can earn a full year of high school credit. But younger kids can also benefit from it. In our case, my kids liked looking at the pictures. The book includes hundred and hundreds of pictures of art works.

The material breaks down the topics into periods: The Beginning, Ancient Cultures, Classical Antiquity, Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Baroque and Beyond. At the end of the book, there are essays and timelines that can help put perspective on what the book has covered.

The teacher’s guide has open-ended questions for discussion, worksheets, and even exams to come up with a more structured form of learning. I noticed the focus on these learning tools is towards analyzing the content. It doesn’t require memorization, but rather being able to describe a period in relation to another.

On My Impression

I think that the book covers a lot of topics, which  makes it worthwhile to look. Of course, this shouldn’t be surprising considering that art has existed since the beginning of history. As jam-packed as this book is, it doesn’t even cover art history in entirety. Possible Book 2 maybe?

The book makes sure that even creation, such as animal diversity or properties of light, points to God as being a master artist.

The book really lives up to its title. One of the things I liked most about it is that in the introduction, the author took time to explain the purpose of the book. The idea of God as the original artist — he is the Creator, after all — and all the other artists in history are his apprentices, just jumped out to me. Honestly, I will be thinking about this my whole life. It’s such an beautiful perspective and I will be repeating this to others, of course, crediting it to this book, to anyone who would listen.

I like that the content of the book doesn’t just talk about art history, but actually tackles history as a whole. I think it’s important to provide context to the art to be able to understand it better. Even innovators like Leonardo da Vinci operate within their societies. Getting a glimpse of the culture and events at that time is helpful to making sense of the art produced.

But, one very important thing I think people should know about these books is that it is clear that the author believes in a young Earth, placing creation at around 4004 B.C. In fact, the book is very vocal about Christian beliefs.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise since it says so in the title. But I feel like since there are many differences even within Christians, this is not a book that you just assign to your kids. It is important for the parent to actually read through the book themselves and take time to figure out where you stand.

For example, I personally don’t believe in a young Earth, so it is something that I would skip or explain further when teaching my kids. I mention this because if you’re going to read The Master and His Apprentices, you will most certainly encounter doctrine and concrete teachings. Some might be in line with your beliefs, some might be contradictory. That’s why I think parents should read the book first, or read it alongside their kids, to be able to explain things further.

Having said that, the book and the teachers guide are well-organized and well-written. I will definitely be referring to this book when my kids are ready. Content-wise, it tackles the major points of art in history so this will make a good textbook for students. I also appreciate the Christian perspective and again, her main thesis of God being the master artist, is just (for lack of a better word) masterful.

To learn more about The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective, find them on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The-Master-and-His-Apprentices-245504999349223/
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/themasterandhisapprentices/boards/

Other homeschooling families have also read the book. Find out what they have to say by clicking the link below.



Hanging In There


Endless tomorrows, more of the same.

But the fury of today, I can, at least, tame.

Storm-blown forward, unsure of the way.

But I’m here, I’m here. Hold on to today.




[Homeschool Review Crew] MaxScholar: Multisensory Reading Intervention Program for Children

As the parent of a young learner, I am constantly in the lookout for new ways to introduce reading to my kids. One of the programs that I recently had the chance to use is the Reading Intervention Programs offered by MaxScholar.

On MaxScholar’s Multisensory Reading Program

The premise is based on the Orton-Gillingham method, which uses the different senses to reinforce reading skills. The advantage of this is that no matter what your child’s learning style is — such as visual or kinesthetic — they will positively respond to the program.

Each area is designed to teach and enhance a particular skill set

There are different learning areas that come with the subscription to MaxScholar. First is MaxPhonics, which is designed for younger children. It is the foundation of reading because it introduces letters and sounds. For the MaxWords section, students are taught to build their vocabulary as well as learn how to spell. Notably, it also teaches Greek and Latin root words. MaxReading is all about reading comprehension and helps practice students pay attention to what they are reading. This part is fun — MaxMusic helps practice auditory skills using music. MaxVocab build vocabulary using games. Rounding it out are MaxPlaces, which uses geography to help build reading comprehension skills and MaxBios, which focuses reading about famous people.

On Using the Program

The account has separate logins for parents and students. Like most reading programs, the student can take an assessment test to see where their skill levels are. Although the test is optional, it can provide parents a better idea on which part of the program their child should start with.

One thing I appreciated is the well-designed interface of the program. The design is clear, uncluttered, and intuitive. Even dinosaurs scared of the computer (like me!) won’t have a hard time operating it. There is also an effective tutorial option at the beginning for extra assistance.

Any program with a tutorial gets a thumbs up from me.

For our family, I intended to use MaxScholar to help H practice reading. Her reading has improved exponentially over the summer, so she was able to start practicing with the MaxBios section with assistance.

Incidentally, I get the feeling that the makers of MaxScholars are from the cool crowd because it had sections on hip-hop artists featuring Biggie Smalls and Jay Z. Tyra Banks is included alongside Helen Keller under the Amazing Women category.

On Our Impressions

I think the main advantage of MaxScholar is that it means what it says about the multisensory approach. There’s music, games, and other activities that keep the lessons from being stale and dry for kids.

MaxScholar lives up to its name in that there is a scholarly approach to learning, but there is also a lightheartedness about it that really appeals us. I can’t get over the fact that kids get to read about Jay Z and Tyra Banks! In other programs, this would be considered heresy. But why not? This to me also makes a very valid point about reading: you don’t have to be so high brow to be a good reader. Contemporary topics are just as good as Beatrix Potter-era books.

This for me is the biggest reason why parents should explore the MaxScholar program. More than the reading skills (which of course I think is also good), I think it teaches a love of reading that goes beyond the usual. Reading should be an inclusive activity and I really appreciate that this is not dismissive of more contemporary topics.

To find out more about MaxScholar and its products, follow them on social media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/maxscholarllc?lang=en
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MaxScholarLLC/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/maxscholar/

Find out what other homeschooling families have to say about this product by clicking on the link below.

Reading Intervention Programs {MaxScholar Reviews}

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[Homeschool Review Crew Review] Critical Thinking Co.

H just turned six a few months ago and we think she’s pretty advanced when it comes to her language skills. I know, I know every parent says that but hear me out. First, her first word was at six months, which really isn’t impressive until you learn that she used multi-syllable words like “ruckus” and “adventure” before she turned one.

Since then, her vocabulary has grown exponentially and she regularly — and correctly — uses words like “ornery” and “moratorium”. This is why when we had the chance to review Vocabulary Riddles I by The Critical Thinking Co., we immediately thought that it was a great opportunity for H to challenge herself.

On Vocabulary Riddles I

Vocabulary Riddles I is a book that aims to improve a student’s vocabulary through the use of context clues in a sentence. It is meant to be used by Grades 4-8, although in our case, our daughter who is a first grader was able to use it. I did, I should note, offer a lot of guidance.

According to the book, the words come from different sources like The New Yorker and the New York Times. These words are also helpful to build up their PSAT and ACT vocabulary.

The book starts out with a riddle, which is usually alliterative, and the child is supposed to answer questions about it later. These questions are prompts in order to analyze the words and find out the meaning of the whole sentence.

For example, the student is supposed to identify which one is the antonym for a particular word. Then a synonym. The next question is to indicate what part of speech a certain word is. Finally, the last question is to identify which sentence explains the original riddle. The synonym-antonym-part of speech combination is a recurring theme in the book.

Vocabulary Riddles I also devotes the last few pages to the correct answers so it is easier to check.

On How We Used It

Our screencap of the cover: I found it a little funny that the cover had these kids happily jumping around words like “uncouthness” and “incorrigible”

We used the electronic version of the book, but I understand that there is also a physical copy. It’s a pretty short book with only 30 pages, but each riddle is already packed with so many words to learn so there’s a lot of value in it.

The download was easy and the use of the website is pretty straightforward. This was a noteworthy point because I noticed that there are a lot of websites that make you meander through their pages to get you to buy more stuff. After choosing the product, you download your copy and key in the serial number you receive.

Since my daughter is outside the recommended age, we took things pretty slowly. We also used it a bit differently from how older kids would. I read the sentences to her and asked her read them back to me. (Using this as reading practice was an unexpected bonus.) Then I asked her the questions with a lot of follow-ups to help guide her towards the answers.

With words like “bunkum” and “contumacious”, she got a lot of questions wrong. Obviously. But, she also did get some right. There are also some easier words like “audacious” and “bewildered’, which are, I think, age-appropriate challenges for her. For those parts that went over her head, I used it as a good time to introduce the dictionary and how to use it.

On Our Impressions

I remember being stressed out over learning vocabulary words whenever I had to take those government-mandated tests and for the college entrance exams. I could saved myself a lot of grief if I were exposed to bigger words when I was younger. This is why I love the idea of having a series like this (There is a Vocabulary Riddles II) because it doesn’t belittle the abilities of kids.

I completely agree with the approach as well. When the words are presented in riddle or sentence form, they understand the meanings more organically and within context — as opposed to just memorizing them on flash cards. It makes more sense to learn words if you know how you will use them.

I can also see how the method of asking for the synonyms, antonyms, part of speech, and having them reword the sentence can be applicable to other situations. Once the student develops the habit, it’ll be easy to break down other sentences that can be encountered in the future.

If you are interested in the product, The Critical Thinking Co. has a special offer: free Shipping + 15% off any size order. Use coupon code TOSCREW18. This code expires 12/31/2018.

You can also sign up for free Critical Thinking Puzzles. You can choose PreK – Grade 8 puzzles delivered weekly to your inbox. Sign up here.

Find out more about Vocabulary Riddles I and Critical Thinking Co., you can visit their social media pages.

Other homeschooling families have also tried out the different products of The Critical Thinking Co. You can read their reviews by clicking the image below.


[Homeschool Review Crew Review] Home School Navigator

Want to know a secret? Once upon a time, I was a high school teacher. I rarely tell people about it because first, I was terrible at it and second, it was the worst year of my life. I only mention it now because I got the chance to use Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Program. Why did I make the connection? Was it a horrible product? Read on to find out.

On Home School Navigator

From the start, let me say that Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Program is the complete opposite of horrible. I’ve had the chance to review a lot of materials recently, both as part of the Homeschool Review Crew and from the suggested books given by our provider. Hands down, this product by Home School Navigator is turning out to be my favorite so far.

This product is a complete curriculum, which includes lesson plans, videos, printable materials, and book lists. There are six different color-coded levels, depending on where your child is when it comes to language arts. You can view the framework here.

Homeschol Navigator provides an overview of the lessons in increments of a month. It gives information like the genre and literature and the reading and writing goals to be achieved. Then, it breaks it down to something more specific and practical. There are lessons plans by week, where you can see what you are supposed to do each day. All of this happens by simply downloading a PDF file and printing it out.

Everything is contained in the file, from the teacher’s guide to the worksheets.

How We Used It

We started off with the lowest level, which is red. As we progressed, it was clear to me that we should have used the next level, orange, which is more at par with her skills. But, we stuck to it, since practice and mastery is always a good thing and I didn’t want to disturb her flow.

Each day, we are given a to-do list. You can choose to upload the work into the site, which can be later compiled and printed out into a portfolio once you are done with the curriculum. I ended up not doing that and instead, kept all the finished output in a folder.

The common thread among the levels is the presence of read-alouds. The curriculum suggests that the books are read several times to ensure comprehension. In our experience, the story is the anchor for the rest of the lesson. Whether it be watching a video or doing some desk work, the story acts as the introduction of the lesson and as a way to interest the student.

On Our Impressions

Home School Navigator

I mentioned early on that this is one of the best products I’ve reviewed so far. The reason for this is how complete, thorough, and organized it is. It reminded me of my teaching days when we spent several months just making lesson plans in preparation for the school year. It honestly felt like you had someone do that for you, with this product.

As teacher-parents, it is easy to rave about how these lessons are presented. It’s pretty much established that it is convenient and easy to use. However, that’s just a part of the formula. The real bulk is whether or not it actually works on the children.

In our case, my daughter loved the stories. What kid doesn’t like being read to? She also thought that the activities were unique enough to  pique her interest. It’s not all copywork or line tracing or even answering open-ended questions. The activities were presented differently each time, which she enjoyed.

My only quibble is that it was not easy finding the books on the recommended list. It’s apparent that Home School Navigator wanted to stick to the more popular ones, but as someone from the Philippines where libraries are practically non-existent and bookstore options are lacking, it was a bit of a struggle to follow the list completely. Having said that, I think it’s more of an indictment on the sorry state of my country’s access to books, rather than it being the fault of Home School Navigator.

Overall, I am quite thankful to have encountered Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Program. I highly recommend it. To find out more about it, follow them on the following social media pages.

Interested in what other homeschooling families have to say about this product? Click on the image below to read more reviews.

Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum {Home School Navigator Reviews}

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