Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Doctor Aviation {Homeschool Crew Review}

Doctor Aviation

I know that many homeschoolers continue to work all summer long. Lauren is quite adamant that she should not have to do schoolwork when her church friends are on summer vacation. Therefore, instead of continuing on with our regular school assignments, I've found some alternate education activities to help fill the long summer days. One of the biggest inspirations for these activities is Lauren's American Heritage Girls Handbook and the lists of badges she could earn this summer. While I know that she's learning when she completes badge requirements, it doesn't count as school in her mind.

One of the badges she was interested in is the Aviation badge. As an Air Force family, it would almost be a disgrace if she didn't earn it. The problem is that she does better when someone else is teaching. Although Doctor Aviation is geared towards teens and adults, his aviation education video training lectures have allowed Lauren to learn many of the aviation basics she needs to know in order to earn her badge.

Doctor Aviation is a full course designed for high school students and even adults. The course consists of fifteen video segments, each lasting about 45 minutes to an hour, and corresponding materials that take each further with reading assignments, additional activity suggestions, etc. 

The videos feature Doctor Aviation, a former USAF Command Pilot with over 2000 flying hours, sharing information in an informal, yet engaging way. The majority of the video is focused on him standing in front of an aircraft and talking directly to his audience. I could tell that he's passionate about teaching aviation basics. (I could also tell that he has been well trained in giving military presentations. He tells the audience what he's going to tell them, tells them the information, and then tells them what he told them. It's an often used and quite effective method of conveying information.)

When appropriate in his lectures, the screen changes to illustrate his points.

Lauren was particularly excited when she heard him talking about the landing gear on a C-5 (the plane my dad flew for most of his career).

Each of the videos are divided into three sections. Despite its name the Technical Trivia section isn't really trivia. In my opinion, it's the real meat of the instruction in terms of basic aviation knowledge. This section included lessons about the main plane components, the forces acting on a plane in flight, air traffic control basics, airfield operations, pilot instruments, and so much more. The other parts of each video include information about Notable Innovators and either a Legendary Event or Legendary Aircraft.

Since Lauren is several years younger than the recommended age, I watched the videos first and then selected portions that would help her meet the requirements for her Aviation badge. I thought all the video information was fascinating. I haven't yet gotten into the deeply technical aspects of aviation (the equation for calculating the amount of lift generated by a wing), but I found his explanations so far in the course to be very clear. Perhaps what I enjoy most is the Notable Innovators and Legendary Event/Aircraft segments of the videos. The first video discussed Orville and Wilbur Wright, and I appreciated the way Doctor Aviation emphasized the parts of their childhood and young adult years that gave them the character qualities they needed to persevere in reaching their dream of a successful flight. I also enjoyed the way Doctor Aviation brought the story of Chuck Yeager's initial years as a military pilot to life by sharing specific details of his escape to Spain when shot down during World War II. 

Each video has downloadable notes guides, and I've been using them to make sure Lauren grasps the information she needs to learn for her badge. Here are some of her notes from the video talking about six major components of an aircraft.

As you can see, the lecture itself is well-organized and all the important details are left for the student to fill in as Doctor Aviation talks about them. Lauren often had to pause the video to allow time for writing, but she is just now learning to take notes in a lecture-style situation.

In addition to the notes sheets, each lesson has several pages of additional resources that can be downloaded and used. These pages include book suggestions, websites to further illustrate a particular concept, and additional assignments. If a high school student wanted to complete a basic aviation class for credit, these additional resources would provide enough materials to do so.

Lauren hasn't been interested in learning anything more than what is required for her badge, but I still have hopes that these videos will spark an interest that leads her to delve deeper into the topic. Perhaps I'll talk her into watching some of Doctor Aviation's videos about Amelia Earhart -- I read a ton of Amelia Earhart biographies when I was Lauren's age.

I am thrilled to be able to use Doctor Aviation to teach Lauren the aviation basics she needs to earn her American Heritage Girls Aviation badge, and I'm also thrilled that I get to enjoy all the extra knowledge he shares in the Notable Innovators and Legendary Events segments. Doctor Aviation has produced an amazing online resource that brings the exciting world of aircraft and aviation to high schoolers, adults, and even a sixth grader wanting to earn a merit badge.

Aviation Course {Doctor Aviation Reviews}
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©2009-2017 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced.

Honors Summer Academy (Oklahoma Christian University)

Ask Brennan how many dollar bills had cocaine residue on them.

Or how far his rocket flew.

©2009-2017 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Trust Fund Movie {Homeschool Crew Review}

Mapelle Films

I'm not normally a big fan of movies. I will willingly go to the movie theater with the rest of my family if there's something we're all interested in, but I rarely watch a video just for myself. When I saw the description and trailer for Trust Fund by Mapelle Films, I was intrigued enough to ask to review it.

Trust Fund Movie

Trust Fund is a modern day take on the story of the prodigal son told in the gospel of Luke (chapter 15). Instead of two brothers, this film follows the story of two sisters. Like the original parable, the younger sister takes a large sum of money (her inheritance) and runs off to another country. When she finds herself in over her head and out of money, she returns home to her father. Also like the original parable, the older sister struggles when her prodigal sister returns home.

I'm so familiar with the original prodigal story that I was caught off guard when the movie kept going after the anticipated "welcome home" party. The Biblical accounts ends shortly after the father orders that the fatted call be killed. At the corresponding point in Trust Fund, I was only two-thirds of the way through the movie. In hindsight, I should've realized that a good movie would wrap up the loose ends from the first part of the film and delve into way relationships were reconciled (or not), but I was left missing the faster pace and familiar story line of the movie's beginning. My mistake was perhaps in assuming that Trust Fund has the same climax as the original parable. Eventually, the high-paced tempo of the first half of the movie returned and I was hooked again. In the end, I was not disappointed in the movie, even if I thought it drug a bit in the middle.

To further the Trust Fund movie experience, Mapelle Films created a free study guide to use in a small group discussion setting. I like the way that it builds on the film as a whole and also includes short clips to remind the group of specific scenes or situations. The study guide delves into such deep topics as howwe can become dissatisfied with God's plans for our lives, why we sometimes choose condemnation over compassion, the difficulty of offering forgiveness and restoration, and so much more. Avid readers might also be interested the companion book Love Was Near -- a book featured in the book and one that delves more deeply into the main character's feelings and thoughts when she left home and set off on her own.

Sandra L. Martin, writer and director of Trust Fund, already has another movie in the works. How to Pick Your Second Husband First, a romantic comedy, is supposed to be released in 2018. I'll be watching the Mapelle Films website to make sure I don't miss any updates.

Trust Fund Movie {Mapelle Films Reviews}

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©2009-2017 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Ramsau, Germany {Think Back Thursday}

Time flew when I wasn't watching:

Summer 1998:

Summer 2017:

I sure hope she's bring back stories and more pictures to share!

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Monday, July 10, 2017

Home School in the Woods Timeline Trio {Homeschool Crew Review}

Home School in the Woods

One of our favorite companies for finding hands-on history activities is Home School in the Woods. In the past, we've used their Lap Paks to study "The 20th Century in America" and "U.S. Elections." For our latest review, though, we didn't study a particular historical event or time period. Instead, we have been using the HISTORY Through the Ages Timeline Trio so that Lauren can get a better grasp of how different historical events overlap and interact with each other.

Lauren has worked with timelines a bit in the past, but we've never done a big timeline that captured events for more than a single unit study. This timeline set is able to handle all of her history studies for the rest of her school days.

I unwrapped the HISTORY Through the Ages book and was immediately impressed with the quality of this timeline. It is a 12.5" x 9" hardcover binder that allows the included cardstock pages to lay flat when working (or browsing) through the dates. The pages are preprinted starting at 5000 BC and go through 2025 AD. The scale of the pages varies with some of the earliest pages covering 500-1000 years and the most recent pages only covering 5 years.

Before jumping into the historical figures I wanted to help Lauren personalize the timeline book and make it her own. She's a bit obsessed with American Girl dolls, and she's actually learned quite a bit about history by reading them. I have a set of American Girl stickers that includes all of the historical dolls, and I suggested placing them on the appropriate dates so that she could see where their stories overlap with other events. Unfortunately, she refused to use the pretty stickers for a school project; she wants to save them for something fun. (In the end, I decided not to push the issue because she's actually quite proficient at remembering which character belongs to which time periodin American history.)

I then suggested writing family member's birthdays in the timeline. The other night we were talking about her great-grandmothers and all the historical events they have lived through. I thought it would be fun to put their birthdates in the timeline and then see which events happened during their lifetimes. Again, Lauren refused. Apparently she didn't think adding family members birthdays was schoolwork and obviously a new history product was schoolwork. In her mind, I should never expect schoolwork and not-schoolwork to meet in the same project. (Again, I let this argument go. We won't put birthdates in the timeline, but I can still talk about them.)

We settled down to simply use the Collection of Historical Timeline Figures for Lauren's timeline binder. There are over 1,260 gorgeous black & white timeline figures included in the CD set (or also available as downloads). I've primarily been using the first CD because it includes the digital files for timeline figures that are appropriately sized for the timeline notebook. The second CD includes individual files for each timeline figure so that they can be resized and added to documents or projects as needed.

Earlier this summer, Lauren read a few books that contained quite a bit of American History facts. I told her that we needed to put them in her timeline so that she wouldn't forget them when we started a formal American History program this fall. The timeline figures are organized chronologically so I just needed to print a few pages. The figures are available either with or without the accompanying text. I chose to use the ones with the text so that Lauren (and I) could have a quick review if we looked back at a historical figure or event we had forgotten.

Lauren balked at the idea of coloring the timeline figures. The detailed black-and-white drawings can be colored, but I don't think it's absolutely necessary. Since coloring isn't one of Lauren's favorite things to do, we agreed that they looked fine without being colored.

When it came time to glue the figures into the timeline binder, I was so, so thankful for the Suggested Placement Guide. I've used timelines in the past, and I've been paralyzed when it came to gluing things down, especially if I didn't know what I'd want to add later. "What if I glue down Christopher Columbus right here and then I run out of room to add the other explorers?" The placement guide shows how all the HISTORY Through the Ages timeline figures will fit into the timeline binder. I simply looked up the correct timeline page and saw how the figures would fit.

Once we glued down all of the timeline figures that Lauren read about earlier this summer, I decided to get a jump start on preparation for next school year.

The Timeline Figures CD contains lists of all the figures on it, organized chronologically within large categories of time. I printed the list of figures for American History and also for the two Biblical periods (Creation to Christ and Resurrection to Revelation).

I then printed out all the early US History figures we will need for this coming year, approximately 20 pages worth. Those sheets are stored in sheet protectors in a binder so we can find them easily. I'm also reading through her textbook materials so that I can mark when we'll come across a figure to put in the timeline. My goal is to keep the timeline current as we go instead of having to play catch up and glue in a bunch of figures all at once.

This year, Lauren schoolwork isn't going to be as hands-on as it has in the past. The HISTORY Through the Ages Timeline Trio is a perfect addition for us right now. It will allow me to show Lauren how the events she reads about in her history textbook fit together to show a bigger picture. My plan is to quickly cover the basics of American History using a textbook approach, and then circle back to do some in-depth studies of the time periods she finds most interesting. When we do that, I'll definitely be looking at some of the Home School in the Woods hands-on history options. I'm particularly looking at the Time Travelers American History Studies which would allow us to spend more time studying the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression or other time periods. (Some of the options have corresponding American Girl dolls and books, which would be a huge bonus in Lauren's world.)

I am also looking at the new A La Carte options from Home School in the Woods. They have approximately 50 smaller projects that would be perfect for adding in on a week (or even a day) when we have a little extra time to devote to a hands-on project.  I found at least a half a dozen file folder games that correspond to the early American History time period that Lauren will be studying this year, all of them costing less that $5 a piece.

Other Homeschool Review Crew bloggers have been using Home School in the Woods products lately. I'm particularly interested in hearing what they thought about the Time Travelers American History Studies and the Hands-On History Activity Paks. There just might be room to squeeze in Hands-On History Activity-Pak: The New Testament or Hands-On History Activity-Pak:Make-a-State for Lauren this year. Click on the button below to see all the reviews:

Hands-on History {Home School in the Woods Reviews}

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©2009-2017 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Monday, July 3, 2017

First (and Second) Day Photos ~ July

About a week ago, I realized we were coming to the end of June. I made a mental note that it was almost time for First Day Photos. Next month, I'll make an actual written on my digital calendar reminder to take pictures.

Since I'm making up the rules as I go, I decided it would be okay to share photos from the first two days of the month.

Saturday night dinner with Arizona friends:
(note to self, next time take pictures before serving blueberry crisp)

Picture to answer Lauren's "what were Berry and I doing when you went to bed last night" question:

Checking to see what her hairstyle looked like from the back:

Almost ready to leave for church:

My morning to snuggle with little ones in the church nursery:

Lazy Sunday afternoon:

Study time:

Blueberry pancakes for dinner:

My cloudy view from the backyard:

I love Colorado nights and relaxing in the hammock:

I also managed to steal a recent Facebook picture of Addison to share. I'm pretty sure it was taken in Venice, and it was either the first or second day of the month. 

I just put a reminder (okay, a couple of reminders) on my phone so that I have a better chance to get a collection of photos all taken on the first day of next month. I hope it works!

©2009-2017 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced.


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