Learn to Draw Disney/Pixar Toy Story Collector’s Edition: A Net Galley Review

This was one of the most fun reviews I’ve done in a while! I was excited to have all the new characters from Toy Story 4 as well as all the old favorites. 

I have recently renewed my joy of sketching and had fun browsing through this title. My one disappointment was that the images appeared to be computer generated rather than hand-drawn. While I fully acknowledge the amazing technology which brought us the movie, it might be discouraging to a child to not be able to recreate replicas. Still, I found it to be quite enjoyable. 

I first this little alien with pencil. I then used water colored pencils and a water brush pen to fill in the colors. Then I used a dark colored pencil for details. 

When I showed my daughters my work, they were surprised and impressed! I assured them the book was incredibly helpful and they too could draw beautiful illustrations. They had fun picking out favorite characters to draw again. Forky is definitely a favorite!

This is a beautiful book compiling all the favorites of all the Toy Story movies. If you or your child is a fan of this Disney favorite, you will be delighted with the compilation of how-to drawings. 

Disclaimer: I was given this title through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Draw to Learn from Notgrass: Review

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Bible is one of the subjects I never have to struggle teaching is Bible. My husband and I are both passionate about the Word of God and even more passionate about instilling a love for His Word in our girls. While I was resting after their birth I have vivid memories of my husband singing Jesus Loves Me and telling them the plan of salvation, just how much God loved them. We felt as if their baby dedications were more for us, a parent dedication if you will, as we committed before our congregation to train up our children in the ways of the Lord. It is with this mindset we entered into homeschooling, knowing our curriculum would always start with solid teachings in the foundations of Scripture.
 photo untitled2_zps9392029d.jpgThe opening paragraph on the the Notgrass Company website talks about creating materials with a Christian worldview to teach the hearts, souls, and minds of our children. That one sentence sold me on wanting to review material from this family-run company. We were blessed to review their Draw to Learn Bible study material. This product is designed for use with children of all ages and encourages them to illustrate what they have learned from the Scripture they have studied. Available in both print ($14.95) and digital ($9.95) there are multiple options for your needs.
We used the spiral bound book on Proverbs. It seems quite simple at first glance with Scripture references at the top, empty space for drawing, and directions at the bottom. Although as simple as it may seem, it has profoundly deepened my oldest daughter’s thought process when it comes to Scripture. We have been using this in addition to our regular Bible material, and she doesn’t mind the extra study one bit! She is the one of my girls who loves all things artistic so this has been an excellent for her. 
One aspect I really liked about this Bible study is it is very personal to her. She reads the passage and then illustrates what she has gleaned after reading the short instructions at the bottom of the page. It has been amazingly insightful for me to see what impacts her. I suppose up until this curriculum I felt the need to lead her to understanding. This may have been true to a certain extent up to this point, but at eight years old she is ready for me to let go of her hand and allow her to discover God’s Word on her own. This has been a beautiful way to start her on that journey.
There are no right and wrong answers for this. There are suggestions at the bottom of each page, but they are suggestions only. My daughter has taken on this curriculum with great joy. She’s used to me giving her new things to try out and she enjoys the change in routine from time-to-time, but she rarely asks to continue with a curriculum in particular. She generally loves school and like her sisters is incredibly easy to teach. This time, she asked specifically, “I get to keep doing this, don’t I? I really like it!” So be assured, this will continue to be a part of our weekly learning. 
Click below to read more reviews of Notgrass products from my Crewmates!
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Draw and Write Through History: Review and Giveaway

Rose has done a great job transitioning to cursive as a 7-year-old second grader. This is a little earlier than most schools teach it. She began learning some cursive last year and has continued to do very well this year. Her only big issue is being able to think about both how to spell the words correctly and form each letter correctly as well. When I mentioned this problem to a more experienced homeschool mom she said this is typical and explained how copywork helps this issue. Draw and Write Through History has given her the opportunity to combine her love of drawing alongside cursive practice. 

There are many things I like about how this enhances history studies. The first is its biblical worldview. It is a privilege to teach my daughter the Bible is 100% true and I strive to make sure all of our curriculum reflects that.

It is also independent. There may be times when she needed a little guidance with perspective at first, but this is meant to be done independently which is helpful when teaching multiple children.

I also really liked that it used traditional handwriting paper for the cursive copywork. This made it much easier for Rose, still in the learning stages of cursive, to copy correctly. I did have to remind her to proofread because she sometimes forgets to cross and dot letters, but overall this was a much better way for her to practice handwriting than merely requiring her to write in cursive for her schoolwork.

Rose didn’t complain once about doing this work! I can’t say that is always true about our usual handwriting program. Coupling this with whatever history you are studying gives double purpose to the assignments. All of the copywork is related to history so students are learning at the same time that they are practicing handwriting.

Here is one of her assignments. She has been learning cursive for a little over a year and is now 7 1/2 years old to give you perspective. I was pleased that both the issues of letter form and spelling seemed to clear up almost completely! This is a part of the recommended Heart of Dakota curriculum so I’m excited to see it incorporated more fully next year into our days!

Are you ready for the giveaway now?

There are new options for entries! Grace-Filled Homeschooling has finally made it to Twitter and Tumbler! There will also be TWO winners! Each will receive a copy of the newest book: Invention, Exploration, and War: The 20th Century

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Draw Write Now: Review and Giveaway!!!!

One of my favorite past times from childhood was drawing pictures using coloring books. I would work for hours getting the dimensions just right. In our school we had a choice: Music or Art. You could not participate in both and I chose band over art. Still, drawing was a fun pastime of mine until I went away to college and other things seemed to take up my time. Rose especially has seemed to acquire my love of drawing. She has several notebooks of different categories where she draws everything from Angry Birds to real birds! When I told her we were going to get to review some drawing books she was over the moon!

The Draw Write Now series from Draw Your World is a clear instructional series which combines handwriting and drawing. These non-consumable books encourage looking at handwriting as art and combines the two skills seamlessly. Each lesson includes several sentences about what the child will draw and clear directions for how to draw the picture. The sentences are written in manuscript, but can easily be transcribed into cursive you like. They generously sent me a fun package to review including the eight-book series and a variety of pencil grips.

I used paper which had room for a picture at the top as well as handwriting lines at the bottom. I first had the girls practice their handwriting, then move on to the picture. My reason was that I knew they would become so engrossed in their pictures the handwriting would possibly be forgotten. I was very pleased with how quickly they completed their copywork and how neat it looked!

I knew Rose would enjoy this series, but I wasn’t sure about Beth. She likes to do things her own way and I’m having a hard time teaching her it’s not always okay to decorate her words with smiley faces and flowers! She has clear artistic tendencies, but getting her to conform to set standards is not easy. I actually love her decorated letters and words, but I also want her to know they aren’t always appropriate. I was shocked at how quickly her handwriting improved! She was incredibly focused on neatness and proportion of her letters for the first time.

Rose enjoyed drawing the pictures and also adding the background scenery. She made it her own and enjoyed coloring the scenes as well. She was so pleased with her work and I appreciated the simple instructions for her to follow. The books do not need to be completed in any particular order, but book 1 has the simplest pictures and instructions. Other topics in the series include a variety of science, historical, and geographical themes. These will be a lot of fun to include as we continue our studies throughout the years!

Although Grace is not really to the drawing or handwriting stage, the various pencil grips worked well for her. We tried several different ones and her favorite was the basic Pencil Grip. I love how it helps her know exactly how to hold the pencil so as she grows the grip will become second nature. From one who still doesn’t hold a pencil correctly this is a great product!

The girls tried out the other grips as well. Beth particularly liked the Twist ‘n Write. She uses this one frequently for a lot of her work! She likes to do things out-of-the-box by nature so I think that is why she is partial to this one!

Rose liked the idea of The Writing Claw, but said she felt like her fingers were too big to fit it. I think it was more a matter of too many years of not using a pencil grip. She did use one when she first started writing, but it has been about 3 years. I like how flexible this particular type was because it give the writer more individual control.

 I also really loved the pencils! They were so easy to use and had such smooth flow for writing. I have relegated these for handwriting/drawing only because they are so nice and we tend to break a lot of pencils around here with learning how much pressure to apply and all that.

Here is an example of Rose’s artwork: 
Rose – 7 years old
Here is an example of Beth’s artwork:
Beth – 5 years old

I am so proud of my girls, especially Beth. She always used to say, “I can’t draw pretty pictures!” Now she says, “Can I PLEASE draw using my drawing book?” What a beautiful change.

Are you ready for an incredibly giveaway now? Draw Your World has generously donated a $50 gift card to be used on their site! Enter several ways below.

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I received the 8 book set of Draw Write Now and a pencil grip starter set in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. No other compensation was received