Nov 14, 2018

Homeschool Review Crew: Guitar 360 Method

My teen son, Nate, took up the guitar a while back. We have yet to find him a teacher so he has just been picking up information and skills wherever he can. We have tried a bunch of different free options so we were pretty excited to get a chance to review an online guitar instruction program Guitar 360 Method. We reviewed the Semester 1 Bundle (5 weeks of Absolute Beginner bonus content and 13 weeks of Semester 1)

Guitar 360 Method


Setting up the account was easy and he was able to log in and use the program on both my laptop and his android phone.  Because he had played around with the guitar for so many years, he did not spend much time with the 5 Beginner lessons. He moved on to the regular lessons.

At first he was taken aback that there were only 13 lessons, but quickly realized that 13 lessons was quite a lot of information and it was going to take him longer than 13 weeks to actually learn all the material. He said that the program went from beginner basic to advanced quite quickly. This meant he needed to slow down in order to master the material. Right now he is moving at about half pace, taking a couple weeks for each lesson.

This program is video based. Everything is a video. Nate would watch the video, then he either played along, or if he needed extra work, he paused the video to practice the skill.


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The lessons vary but generally contain one or more of these videos:

Goal: where you learn what you are going to learn in this lesson
Instructional videos where all the actual teaching is for this lesson. The amount of instructional videos varies by lesson.
Ear: practice listening to the difference between chords to help you learn to play by ear.
Practice: a video practice session. You just follow the instructions. I liked that the chords are shown with fingering and the name of the chord. (see the picture below)
Quiz: a multiple choice test with instant feedback (this is not for grading purposes but more for a study guide to help you learn and remember)
Downloadable files you can print that will help you retain



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I, personally, don't know that much about music, so there are a lot of terms in these lessons that I don't understand but I will give you a brief list of what you will find in these lessons:

Scales
Chords
Introduction to Fingerstyle
Palm muting
Intervals
Triads
Barre chords
Solfege
Articulations
Improvation

There are 10+ plus hours of content, so there is much more, of course, but that is what looked important or impressive to me.

Nate has enjoyed using Guitar 360 Method over the past few weeks. He has learned a lot already and we expect that he will have greatly improved his skill by the time he finishes the course in a few weeks.

Nate enjoyed that after the first couple of weeks there were a lot of songs to learn to play. His one complaint about the program was that he did not like having to pause the video in order to take the time to work on skills. I am pretty sure this is just a him-thing, though. He gets impatient easily and struggling with pause buttons doesn't help matters.

I appreciated that not just skills were taught, but also theory and ear training. I believe that all three are important and love that he is being exposed to more than just "learn a few chords and play a song".

I also liked that he could move at his own pace. This is not a subscription but a course, so he has access to it for as long as he needs.

Finally, I  liked that he could start playing songs quickly. He says his favorite song that he has learned so far is "Don't Stop Believing". (Probably because that was a song he had heard before.)

We highly recommend Guitar 360 Method and think you should check out the other reviews by clicking on the banner below!

If you have a kid that is eager to learn to play the guitar, now is a great time to try out the program because he is offering a 20% discount to YOU, my readers, by using the coupon code HOMESCHOOL20.




Guitar Lessons with Krisz Simonfalvi {Guitar 360 Method Reviews}


Crew Disclaimer
Hello, readers!

This is Kaytie, from The Writer Artist Nerd, and I'm guest-posting on my mom's blog. If you like short stories, poetry, art, and aesthetics, go check out my blog here:

The Writer Artist Nerd

Anyway, I thought today I'd share a quick poem-- a ramble, if you will. I'm writing this off the top of my head while my family makes cookies in the kitchen and my head is filled with fragments of stories and songs, so I honestly don't know how well this will work-- normally everything is calmer while I write. However it turns out, I hope you enjoy!

A Bond Unbroken

When I was born, red and ugly
Though they cut the cord
-On that day in January, cold and clean
They cannot cut the bond that was formed

Though I may deceive, disappoint, destroy
I cannot break that link
Beware to anyone who strive to separate
The bond is stronger than you think

The connection between us is stronger than cement
And it never wears away
Though years and trials never relent
Neither will our bond, unbroken
Neither will our bond, unbroken.

Nov 10, 2018

Beautiful Things

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched--- they must be felt with the heart.

Helen Keller



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Oct 27, 2018

Teenagers Plus Music

One of the fun things about teenagers is that they try fun things. Kaytie and Nate had a friend come over today so they could play their guitars (and ukelele) together and record their music. There was some lovely music and some fun. Maybe someday they will have their own band!



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Oct 16, 2018

Homeschool Review Crew: St. Bartholomew's Eve

One of my favorite vendors is Heirloom Audio! I was so happy to be asked to review their newest adventure, St. Bartholomew's Eve.



St. Bartholomew's Eve


Heirloom Audio has produced an amazing series of historical fiction performances. These stories are based on the G. A. Henty series of books. So if you and your kids enjoy the books, you will really enjoy the Heirloom Audio version!

First, I must explain that this is not an audiobook. Heirloom Audio Productions offers theatrical productions with actors, sound effects, fast-paced plots and background music. It isn't just a book being read aloud, it is a performance! This adds so much richness to the experience. The story quickly grabs my kids and keeps them engaged. I feel it also stretches my kids' minds because nothing is explained or described. They have to use their imaginations to picture what is happening and also to pay attention to catch all the nuances of the action.

Heirloom Audio Productions puts out a quality product. They use seasoned actors for their voices, actors whose names you will probably recognize and musical scores that add emotional depth to the stories.

St. Bartholomew's Eve is the story of the French Huguenots, Protestants, who, in 1580, were being persecuted for the faith by the Catholics in power. As per usual for a Henty story, the main character is a young English lad who finds himself in unusual circumstances that call for him to portray courage, loyalty and faith in God.

In this story, the lad is Philip Fletcher and the circumstances are that while living in France with his relatives joins in the fight for freedom with his cousin, Francois. Together they fight in several battles, help foil a plot by the mother of the French king, (Charles IX) to assassinate Admiral de Coligny,  and experience many miracles and acts of bravery. 

The story climaxes in the massacre of thousands of Protestants, (women and children as well as men). Philip joins in the battle in response to the massacre, and is able to rescue some (not all) of his friends from the dangerous Paris.

In this gripping tale, we are reminded that our freedom to worship as we please was the result of a hard-won fight wherein many sacrificed their very lives in order to win.

Also as per usual for a Henty story, there is a love interest, a precocious child (his tale is particularly heartrending) and, best of all, a strong emphasis on nobleness of character, especially bravery, loyalty and faith.

Heirloom Audio always provides an inspiring quote that distills the theme to a few succinct words. For St. Bartholomew's Eve, that quote is "Whom shall we obey? The king of France or the King of Kings?"

In my household, we are not huge fans of audio learning, however, we definitely make an exception when it comes to Heirloom Audio. We love these stories! The kids love the battles, the excitement, the comic relief, and maybe even the love interest (a little bit). I love the inspiration, the call to sacrifice and commitment and courage. We all highly recommend St. Bartholomew's Eve as well as every other production offered by Heirloom Audio!




St. Bartholomew's Eve {Heirloom Audio Reviews}




Crew Disclaimer

Oct 15, 2018

Texas History

I am teaching a couple of classes of local kids Texas History this year. This was a fun project that we did.


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The cookies were a hassle. We finally (thanks to my brilliant husband) resorted to using the cookie cutter on the cookies after they were baked, fresh out of the oven, before they hardened.
The kids enjoyed decorating them and they really enjoyed eating them!

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