Tuesday, July 22, 2014

HomeSchoolPiano {Schoolhouse Crew Review}

Homeschool Piano Review

Addison has quite a lot of musical experience -- some private voice lessons when she was younger, a music theory class when she was a freshman, and several years of singing with the girls chorus (including two lengthy tours). She has even taught herself to play a few piano pieces. Until recently, however, she hasn't had any formal piano training. HomeSchoolPiano gave her the opportunity to learn from an accomplished pianist.
She has been using the HomeSchoolPiano Complete Set of Books this summer. Our lifetime subscription gives us online access to over 20 hours of video instruction (either streaming or downloaded), tracking and quizzes for up to 5 students, unlimited music downloads, and more.
HomeSchoolPiano believes in teaching more than just scales and exercises. Each unit covers technique, rhythm, ear training, sight reading, and improvisation exercises. Addison was excited to be able to see the rhythm, ear training, and sight reading activities because she can see how they will help her improve her singing skills.
The HomeSchoolPiano program consists of four levels -- Core, Book 1, Book 2, and Book 3. Addison decided that Book 2 most closely matched her ability and experience level. It is at an appropriate level in terms of piano playing and learning new pieces rather easily. The theory and reading sections are fairly easy for her because of her chorus experience, but she'd rather not mix-and-match between the lessons even though she could easily access more difficult theory videos now. As a pianist with limited experience, she finds the improvisation activities difficult. It definitely stretches her musically to work on improvisation when she's used to following everything exactly as it was written.
Each lesson has a video that's approximately 10 minutes long, and then the student practices on her own. These videos can either be watched (streaming) on a regular computer or a tablet. If you'd like to use them offline, they can also be downloaded to a portable device. The rhythm, ear training, and sight reading videos were all followed by a short quiz. The quizzes required her to listen to a few bars of music and then match it to the written score. 

I recorded Addison playing Little Willie's Strut. She plays it as written the first time through and then add a bit of improvisation on the second time.


I am quite impressed with how much she has learned in just a few weeks of using the program, and I cannot wait to hear how she improves over the next year.

Addison says that HomeSchool Piano is great! She especially likes the way that it gives her good piano pieces that she can play with a reasonable amount of effort, instead of attempting to play a piece that is so difficult it frustrates her. (In the past, she found pieces that she liked and then worked on them measure by measure for weeks until she could play through it.) Although much of the rhythm instruction is easy, she does admit that it's helping her with syncopation, which will be useful for both piano and chorus. She's looking forward to moving through towards the more difficult concepts in the next book.

HomeSchoolPiano is a complete, well-rounded program that allows Addison to work at her own pace to improve her piano and general musicianship skills. The program is suitable for students of all ages -- I might even try a few lessons myself.
The HomeSchoolPiano Complete program costs $299 and includes lifetime, unlimited access to all four levels of the program. The price can be divided into three monthly payments of $99.97, if you prefer.

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©2009-2014 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Beauty Captured -- 353/365

A finished project:


The Pebble Pond

©2009-2014 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

Friday, July 18, 2014

Random Five on Friday, July 18th

1. One of the funniest moments at last weekend's homeschool convention was when Steve Demme greeted Addison saying, "Hi, Addison. That's a great math name." They continued to joke about "Subract-ison, Divide-ison, and Derive-ison."


2. I went to the dentist the other afternoon to get a tooth fixed, and I had to wait about 15 minutes past my appointment time. In my world waiting fifteen minutes for a doctor is a short wait so I didn't think anything about it. As I was leaving, the receptionist gave me two movie tickets to thank me for being understanding about waiting.

3. Addison was waiting for me to get finished at the dentist and received the weirdest phone call. Some guy called her cell phone and started screaming at her because she had a daughter who had come up to his dog and kicked it. He kept saying he was going to call the police and that she'd go to jail. I don't think he ever believed that he had gotten a wrong number.

4. Addison and Lauren are both at Girls Chorus camp for a few days. I went this morning to help fix breakfast and ended up frying 90 eggs. I'm glad I don't have to cook that much every morning.

5. I am horribly impatient when it comes to waiting. We were supposed to have results from Lauren's latest endoscopy last Friday. I spent far too much time this week trying to track them down. I was finally able to find someone to tell me what the official report said, but I'll have to wait until Monday to find out what the doctor says about them.


If you'd like to join the Random 5 on Friday fun, you can either click on the cute birdhouse button below or visit The Pebble Pond.

The Pebble Pond

©2009-2014 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

Thursday, July 17, 2014

L is for Ladybug

For years we've called Lauren our ladybug, but I don't know that I've ever shared the story of how she came to have that nickname.


Years ago, I was part of several email message groups that discussed food allergies, homeschool programs, and other various mom topics. At the end of each message, I added my name and the name of the kids.

When we found out that I was pregnant, I changed my signature so that it read:
Cristi, mom to Addison (7), Brennan (4), and a stowaway due March 2006
She was first called a stowaway because I had gone on a lengthy road-trip without knowing that I was pregnant.

Fast forward a few months, and we found out that I was carrying a little girl. On the way home from the ultrasound appointment, either Tim or I said something about "another little princess."

Addison piped up from the backseat of the van and declared, "You already have a princess." She was so adamant about already being our princess that we decided there really was only room for one princess in our family.

Since we couldn't refer to her as a princess and since we didn't have a name picked out, we needed a different nickname. I wanted something that would show we were having a baby girl. My solution:
Cristi, mom to Addison (7.5), Brennan (nearly 5), and a Ladybug due March 2006
From then on, we all called the baby Ladybug. In fact, we called her Ladybug all the way up until she made her grand appearance.

Since then the ladybug theme has popped up time and time again.

Halloween costumes:
(be sure to notice the coordinating cast in the second picture)


 Birthday cakes:


And even one of her favorite hospital gowns:


Most recently she is carrying on the ladybug theme by singing with the Ladybugs in the Girls' Chorus:


It looks like my little ladybug isn't so little anymore!


Ben and MeI'm sharing a "years ago" story corresponding to each letter of the alphabet for the Blogging through the Alphabet challenge hosted by Marcy at Ben and Me. I often tell my children stories of things that have happened in our past, and now I'm taking the time to write down those stories.

©2009-2014 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Beauty Captured -- 349/365


The Pebble Pond

©2009-2014 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

Monday, July 14, 2014

Beauty Captured -- 348/365

First Day of Third Grade:
(Our school apparently has a staggered start schedule this year, so we'll have separate first day photo opportunities over the course of a week.)


The Pebble Pond

©2009-2014 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Our Summer at Keesler AFB {Years Ago}

Years ago, Tim was assigned to a training school at Keesler AFB for four months while we were en route to his next assignment in Germany. I don't remember any big stories from that summer, but I do remember lots of little random tidbits from our time in Biloxi, Mississippi.


Ten Random Facts about our Summer at Keesler AFB:


1. When we moved to Biloxi, I left behind my job as assistant preschool director and teacher. I told everyone that I was going to spend my summer lying on the beach relaxing. I didn't even last a week before I started hunting for a temporary job.

2. It's HUMID in Biloxi, Mississippi. Too sticky to be outside humid. I figured I had two choices -- sit in our air-conditioned apartment all day by myself or find a job.

3. My temporary secretary job had me working at a company trying to secure investors for a potential real estate project and casino on an island just off the shore. Since we had lots of connections with the tourism department and other casinos in the area, there were always lots of dinner coupons around the office.

4. One of the best dinner deals in Biloxi was one of the casinos on the back bay, a bit off the beaten path. They had discounted their buffet to only $5. With some of the coupons from work, Tim and I both could eat for $5.

5. I got pregnant with Addison that summer and was often queasy around strong food smells. I was fine smelling food while I was eating, so the buffet was awesome as long as there wasn't a line to get in.

6. It takes an awful long time to eat enough peel-and-eat shrimp and crab legs to get full. Tim and I often decided that we were tired of eating before we got full. Maybe that's a new diet idea I could market -- the shrimp and crab legs plan?

7. The cheap movie theater in town was only $1.50, but they offered a military discount. Tuesday nights were half-price so we could go to the movies for less than a $1.

8. ConAir was one of the big hits that summer. We lost count of how many times we went to the cheap theater to see it.

"Define irony. Bunch of idiots dancing on a plane to a song made famous by a band that died in a plane crash." ("Sweet Home Alabama" playing in the background)

Note: I'm not recommending that everybody rush out to see ConAir -- just reminiscing about what we were doing years ago.

9. For some reason, the radio station we listened to liked playing Prince's "Raspberry Beret." It wasn't a new song then. In fact, I'm not sure Prince was going by the name Prince that summer; it might've been the summer that he changed his name to the symbol nobody could figure out and therefore he was referred to as "the artist formerly known as Prince."

10. In the days before digital cameras, I didn't take many pictures at all. I remember a really cute picture of my newly pregnant self on the beach, but it must've been taken with someone else's camera. I can't find it (or even the negatives for it) anywhere.



Ben and MeI'm sharing a "years ago" story corresponding to each letter of the alphabet for the Blogging through the Alphabet challenge hosted by Marcy at Ben and Me. I often tell my children stories of things that have happened in our past, and now I'm taking the time to write down those stories.

©2009-2014 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

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