Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Starlight Workshop & A Guiding Star!

The tables were set and the tea treats displayed - all ready for fourteen STARLIGHT WORKSHOP TEA attendees at our host facility, Magnolia Hill Studios in Vineland!

What a full roster of teaching, tips, inspiration, resources, and hands-on workshop activity filled a sunny Saturday afternoon from 12:30pm - 4:30pm!  So much so, that we plumb forgot to record workshop highlights on camera - except for this one shot Adrienne got at the outset of the session!

That's Kathryn Ross (pictured above), director of Constellation Academy Home School Resources Network setting the stage for four hours of engaging homeschool topics for an audience of homeschool moms - both novice and veteran.  First on the agenda after CA staff introductions and getting to know new faces and families, was Miss Kathy with the latest resource announcements:


Our own Nikkole Hollenwenger started reading the C. S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia series to her three homeschooled primary/elementary aged children in chronological order.  The children were so engaged in the first of the series, The Magician's Nephew, that she determined to have a special "Narnia Night" celebration when they finished their family read aloud of all seven books sometime in late September or early October.

She began to share her plan in casual conversation and found that others started inviting themselves to her family event - almost literally "taking a leaf from her book" by starting their own family read aloud's of the Narnia books.  Suddenly, her little idea to do with her family turned into an event that completely outgrew her ability to host it at her home.

Enter Chuck and Erica Mevoli of Indian Trail Farm!  You see, they just happen to have built "Narnia" - complete with the lamppost - in their back woods, just behind their fainting goat pen where you can meet Mr. Tumnus and others named after Narnia characters.

Including Aslan!

You'll meet Puzzle the donkey from The Last Battle, and even Winn the horse from The Horse and His Boy on this sprawling horse farm that sports an authentic Tipi and Lenni-Lenape wigwam village that is a popular stop for school field trips and scouting badges.  The huge horse arena is busy with horse riding lessons each week and birthday parties on weekends.  Erica is a veteran homeschool mom with grown children who are now homeschooling their children - all of whom participate in the various aspects of working all the farm events.

Erica is a Narnia devotee and was thrilled at the prospect of hosting a larger Narnia Night event in her woodland Narnia - complete with the lamppost and a castle!  She added the idea of preparing a Riddle Scavenger Hunt based on the stories, in addition to hay rides, horse rides, and refreshments at the Tipi.

To that end - Constellation Academy is thrilled to co-host the event we're calling "Narnia  Night" at Indian Trail Farm.  It is tentatively scheduled for mid-October - date to be announced and a small fee per child is expected.

Constellation Academy is formally recommending the family summer reading of all seven books in the Narnia series, and to make this an extra special family time, we are taking advantage of a special sale price on a Barnes & Noble leather-bound, gold edged, ribbon book-marker edition of The Chronicles of Narnia - arranged chronologically - with all the original illustrations and a special chapter at the end detailing the writing of the series and background about C. S. Lewis.  It is a keepsake volume for your family library.

Click on Contact Us at Constellation Academy before the deadline date of JUNE 20th to order your copy of this stunning volume for only $16 each!  We'll be placing a bulk order after that date and you should have your book in hand to begin reading immediately before the end of June!  We'll keep you posted on the details of NARNIA NIGHT at INDIAN TRAIL FARMS!!

Click HERE for information on Horse Riding Classes and MORE at Indian Trail Farms.


Kathryn "Miss Kathy" Ross has announced the Fall Semester lineup of course instruction classes for Primary, Elementary, and Intermediate level students - in addition to the Pageant Wagon Parable Players Home School Theatre.

The details on Starlight Story Studies, in a nutshell, are as follows:

To explore the inter-connected world of Literature, History, and Language Arts, through the learning tools of the Academic, Visual, and Performing Arts!

Synopsis of Course Studies:
Primary, Elementary and Intermediate learning level Unit Studies are offered for the Home School Student for the Fall and Winter/Spring Semesters in school year 2012-2013.  Utilizing Principal Approach methods, these Literature-driven Unit Studies  will include critical thinking, analysis, and comprehension from a Biblical worldview, with associated history and geography studies, vocabulary, spelling, handwriting, and grammar, with an emphasis on DEVELOPING WRITING SKILLS WITH PURPOSE. The creative learning tools of TIMELINES & NOTEBOOKING (academic arts),

Historical resources from Homeschool in the Woods will be employed.
LAPBOOKING (visual arts), 

Sample of Lapbook designs from the resources at Homeschool in the Woods.
Sample of Lapbook designs from the resources at Homeschool in the Woods.
 And, a PORTFOLIO PROJECT/DRAMATIZATION (performing arts), will be employed.

At the end of each semester of study students will exhibit grade level growth in creative and formative writing skills including narrative, descriptive, explanatory, expository essay, persuasive, and chronological works, showing proficient and accurate use of grammar and punctuation, with increased vocabulary and reading skills.  Students will also exhibit an overall grasp of the historical period studied creating a thorough record of their progress in their Story Study Timelines, Notebook, and Lapbook works of art, in addition to their unique Portfolio Project/Dramatization.  All student work will receive grades and course credits, and culminate in a display and/or performance at the end of semester Starshine Gala Exhibit Night.

Fall 2012 Starlight Story Studies - PRIMARY - K-1 
Story Study:  My First Little House Series Adapted from the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Here’s just the thing to start your young scholar on the road to a Love of Literature and Learning!  Each week is a different Little House story with activities to introduce the home school parent and child to the teaching and learning tools that will be a major part of their lives for years to come.  Features activities exercising basic motor skills using color sheets and lettering/early language notebook pages, lapbook method mini books and lift the flap projects are created for a culminating primer lapbook, and hands on games and crafting with story discussion and dramatization make this a homeschool method tutorial for the homeschool parent and a memorable literacy experience for the homeschool primary student!
Class meets 1 hour weekly WITH PARENT and home review activity.

Fall 2012 Starlight Story Studies - ELEMENTARY - Grades 2-4
Story Study:  Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Laura Ingalls's story begins in 1871 in a little log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Four-year-old Laura lives in the little house with her Pa, her Ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and their trusty dog, Jack.  Pioneer life is sometimes hard, since the family must grow or catch all their own food as they get ready for the cold winter. But it is also exciting as Laura and her folks celebrate Christmas with homemade toys and treats, do the spring planting, bring in the harvest, and make their first trip into town. And every night they are safe and warm in their little house, with the happy sound of Pa's fiddle sending Laura and her sisters off to sleep.  A unique glimpse into America's frontier past features associated history, geography, social and life science studies in addition to all age appropriate aspects of grammar, writing, and language arts.
Class meets 2.5 hours weekly w/home assignments.

Fall 2012 Starlight Story Studies - INTERMEDIATE - Grades 5-9
Story Study:  The Door in the Wall, by Marguerite de Angeli
Ever since he can remember, Robin, son of Sir John de Bureford, has been told what is expected of him as the son of a nobleman. He must learn the ways of knighthood. But Robin's destiny is changed in one stroke: He falls ill and loses the use of his legs. Fearing a plague, his servants abandon him and Robin is left alone.  This Newbery Medal winning story, set in medieval times, is about a boy who learns his own strength when he saves the castle and discovers there is more than one way to serve his king.   Study features associated history, geography, social and life science studies in addition to all age appropriate aspects of grammar, writing, and language arts.
Class meets 3 hours weekly w/home assignments.

Click HERE for registration information.


Shooting Stars Summer Reader's Theatre Series
These two, short, three week sessions  - July and August - are to be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays - morning or afternoon (as is most convenient to applicants) and feature theatrical play and improvisation, scriptwriting and story study skills expressed through the familiar genre of classic Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, and even some Nursery Rhymes.  This is the perfect vehicle for teaching basic literary devices to enhance reading and comprehension skills and stretch creative writing and expression within the box of structured grammar rules - while having piles of fun doing so!!  In addition to honing these skills through drama, students will launch the Second Hand Prop and Costume Studio - recycling trash into theatrical treasures!

Click HERE for registration information. 

Pageant Wagon Parable Players Home School Theatre

Miss Kathy is very excited to re-tool a popular play she has previously written and produced, adapting the script to the unique talents of each student enrolled as a Parable Player!  Presenting:  The Empty Throne: A Medieval Morality Play.  

In the story, Lady Greensleeves lives in Castle Barren under the watchful eye of Mistress Miss-the-Mark, her nurse, Sir Boasts Alot, the Knight who guards her, and Friar Folly, responsible for maintaining her “religious exercises”.  Even with such stewards, Lady Green-sleeves feels her life “lies in ruins, knowing naught but despair.”  Her heart cries out for rescue as she blindly follows the directives of her overseers.

Enter the Jester Good Wit & Wisdom!  Jester Good Wit has been sent to her by his Lord to request the Lady’s hand in marriage.  The Lord sends the Jester and a Pageant Wagon full of Companions and Troubadours bearing gifts.  Faith, Hope, and Love, together with Jester Good Wit, engage the Lady and her entourage in colorful and sometimes hilarious debate as to the worth of the Lord and his offer of marriage.  Through music, metaphor, and drama, the Jester and his Companions bring Lady Greensleeves to the brink of choice.  Who will be thrown into the moat?  Will Lady Greensleeves vacate her throne and allow the Jester to escort her in a wedding procession to take the hand of the Lord?  A stirring conclusion brings a tear to the eye and a tug to the heart of anyone who has ever sat on a throne of their own, challenging us all to consider if ours is, indeed, an empty throne.

Parable Players is open to homeschool students grades 2 through 9.  Students must have some level of accomplished reading skills.  Script memorization will be required.

Click HERE for registration information.

"So You Want to Sew" SEWING CLUB with Cindy Mann
New under the Constellation Academy resource umbrella is Cindy Mann, homeschool veteran of nine years (with children grown now) and talented seamstress with a heart for teaching young people the skills of needle and thread - hand and machine sewing.  She has a workshop in her home boasting three sewing machines, and stacks of fabric resources and more - coupled with her many years of creative arts crafting and sewing experience.  Classes will run for four weeks on Tuesday mornings beginning September 18 - with students signing on for consecutive four week sessions as desired.  Each four week session of classes is only $35 and includes a basic sewing kit in a small bin box.

Click HERE for registration information.

This class is designed for high school level students looking for a more in-depth learning program in grammar, punctuation, and writing.  Students will go over the basics in grammar including nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections.  Review of general punctuation protocol to assure correct usage is included.  Once students have mastered these general prerequisites, they will begin a rigorous course in writing.

Additional courses are available for COLLEGE PREP WRITING to assure strong composition skills for the rigors of writing college level papers and research skills according to contemporary collegiate requirements.

Click HERE for registration information.  

Sandy Smith, Founder and Director of Magnolia Hill Studios in Vineland, is a pioneer homeschool mom of six - homeschooling for some THIRTY years, with an impressive resume of fine and performing arts education.  She maintains regular fine arts instruction in the visual arts and dance - with an emphasis on ballet and classical music, producing a gala end of year Story Ballet each June with a multi-generational cast of pre-school aged through adult artists.  

Currently, we hope you'll make plans to attend this year's show, Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, featuring the original ballet score by Mendelssohn, on Saturday, June 16 at 6:00pm at the Lakeside School Theatre in Millville, NJ.  

Sandy has designed special enrichment Homeschool "Created-For-You" Sessions featuring 8 weeks of instruction for a class limit of 8 children at only $88 per child.  PLUS - Get 10% off the Magnolia Hill Summer Workshops - a full summer of weekly themed art camps!   All her teachers are professionals working in their fields with equally impressive resumes of art education and performance in global venues.  

Click HERE for informational flyer and contact details.

SPOONFULS OF SUGAR with Nikkole Hollenwenger
 In every job that must be done there is an element of fun.
You find the fun – and snap – the job’s a game.
And every task you undertake becomes a piece of cake –
A lark!  A spree!  It’s very clear to see –
 That a spoonful of sugar moves your homeschool lessons along,
With a hop and a skip and a song,
You can never really go wrong.
Just a spoonful of sugar adds play to the homeschool day,
In the most delightful way!

Song lyric parody by Kathryn Ross

Nikkole Hollenwenger, Creativity Consultant under the Constellation Academy umbrella and homeschooling mom of three, presents an informative and creative segment at our monthly workshops titled, SPOONFULS OF SUGAR, where she shares some "outside-the-box" ways to teach through play - making learning games interactive, fun, and memorable.  This month, Nikkole shared on the topic of using classic gameboards such as Chutes and Ladders, Scrabble - and even Legos - to become math class manipulatives and engaging math fact and grammar drill tools.  

For Nikkole's article on the topic, visit her blog HERE at Mercy, Me, and Tea!

BE FLEXIBLE with Adrienne Richardson
Adrienne Richardson, our Solutions Consultant and homeschooling mom of two primary aged children, is the founder and former owner/publisher/editor of the popular South Jersey MOM Magazine.  She inspired mom's throughout South Jersey for five years with her new parenting adventures worked out in the informative pages of her magazine - written for moms, by moms.  Currently, she has embraced her role as mother and teacher, laying aside her publishing career to invest 100% in the school age phase of parenting as a homeschool parent.  Constellation Academy is a new platform for Adrienne to continue to inspire moms of school age children as she works out her homeschooling adventure and openly shares the daily solutions she finds through the wisdom of a Christ-centered educational mandate and prayer to undergird her efforts.

This month, she encouraged the new homeschooling mom about the need to be flexible - and taught the solutions she's discovered to that end via an acrostic on the word "FLEXIBLE" for ease in note-taking.  She spoke on the importance of keeping a PRAYER JOURNAL to see how the Lord grows YOU as the homeschool parent, in finding the solutions to the many bumpy roads of teaching and learning we find along the way in our homeschooling travels.  Handouts to the purpose were featured.

A full calendar of Field Trips are in the works for the school year 2012-2013.  An survey to determine field trip suggestions of higher interest was taken and a basic calendar of dates is expected to be available at the next workshop on July 14.

Click HERE for more details!

After three hours of discussion and teaching producing a plethora of informative handouts, Miss Kathy instructed workshop attendees in the compilation of THE GUIDING STAR NOTEBOOK, to demonstrate HOW-TO create a "teacher's manual" using the Notebook Method, a central teaching tool in PRINCIPLE APPROACH education.  

Notebook kits were disseminated and step by step instructions for proper indexing and organizing of all the handout materials from the workshop followed.  A FOUNDATIONS home study sections included a number of handouts with information and reflective writing assignments to help the homeschool parent discern and articulate a Christ-centered Philosophy of Education and craft their own Mission Statement for their homeschooling goals.   

The GUIDING STAR NOTEBOOK is meant to be a monthly tool that workshop attendees bring each month within which they can keep and organize subsequent handouts under a variety of index headings.  Each month different topics of interest to the homeschool family will be discussed, tooling the veteran and novice homeschooler, alike, with valuable resources to help them along the homeschool way.

The GUIDING STAR NOTEBOOK will be made regularly available for purchase at a fee of $10, with ALL INDEXES AND HANDOUTS in place so nothing will be lost.  If you miss a workshop - just email us for digital files of the handouts, and a key for placement in the notebook.  You will always have your finger on the pulse of the latest resource recommendations from Constellation Academy.  The handouts are not meant to be a replacement for the workshop - just a summary record.  It is highly recommended that you attend as many workshops as possible to get the full benefit of the support Constellation Academy can be to your homeschool family!

Click HERE for ordering instructions for your 

We'd like to thank Sandy Smith and Magnolia Hill Studios for the use of her excellent facility for our workshops this summer.  Be sure to SAVE THE DATES and MARK YOUR CALENDAR for our next two workshops:

Saturday, July 14, 2012 - 12:30pm-4:00pm
Wear your flip flops and shorts and come on out for some hands-on crafty fun as we study the 50th state of HAWAII creating a simple LAPBOOK and a decorative way to keep them all organized!

LAPBOOKS & NOTEBOOKS are a creatively produced record of your child's education adding immediate value to the teaching and learning experience using aspects of the Visual, Auditory, and Kinestetic learner while fostering greater retention of information, and the ability to make practical application of lessons learned in other aspects of life and living. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012 - 12:30pm-4:00pm
A CHECKLIST of what you'll need to jump-start your new school year with wisdom and efficiency featuring tips on record keeping, notebooking, and more discussion on how to choose and adapt curriculum to meet the needs of your child's unique learning style, be it Visual, Auditory, or Kinesthetic. 


So glad you've stopped by!
Please share this post on your network of contacts so we can reach more families interested in Christ-centered Home Education!

Linking up Sarah and her homemaking tips at HOPE IN EVERY SEASON!
Read what she's done with HER home library - Miss Kathy needs a piece of that action! 

Stop by and see what Amy is up to at HOME SCHOOL IN THE WOODS creating the absolute best in Lapbook & Timeline resources for all ages!!  The Lapbook and Timeline photos in this post were taken at her vendor booth at the recent CHAP Conference - AWESOME!!

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