Sketch Tuesday ~ Something Begins with A

Here are our Sketch Tuesday sketches for this week’s theme ~

Sketch “something that begins with A”

Sketch Tuesday A 001 Sketch Tuesday A 002

See you at the slide show!

Blessings,

Rights to free play

Revisiting an earlier post ~Lara colecting flowers

Charlotte Mason published Rights of Children as Persons (Vol.3 Chapter 4) and said, “Children should be free in their play“.

She advised parents not to crowd out their free time. She urged parents to give children the freedom to play and explore outdoors everyday.  Most importantly, she warned that parents should not meddle or organize children in their free play.

She said, “Boys and girls must have time to invent episodes, carry on adventures, live heroic lives, lay sieges and carry forts, even if the fortress be an old armchair; and in these affairs the elders must neither meddle nor make.

I have watched my younger girls play with creativity and enthusiasm.

They often act out scenes from our read alouds.

They love to re-enact DVDs and videos and stories, so we have been careful what they watch.  Classics like “Emma” by Jane Austen and “Little Women” are favorites.

Make believe

They love dress up clothes. A simple scarf transforms a child into endless characters.  Each season I try to make an outfit for them.  They have wonderful olden-days games with bonnets and pinafores, or an American Indian squaw dress, or a corset (here’s my free tutorial for a child’s “boned corset)) and long skirt.

Boys love capes, a bow and quiver with arrows, a cowboy hat and chaps, or belts with swords.  A hand-made knight’s armor is every young boy’s delight!

Nothing quite beats giving children a large piece of cloth to create a tepee or tent.

Very young children love to simply play (in safe surroundings with mom watching near) with water or sand (or both!)

We are fortunate to live in beautiful surroundings.  The girls love to pick flowers, collect egg shells that have fallen out of Cape Weaver nests and look for quartz stones.  We all love to find heart-shaped stones when we go on walks on the farm.  Their collection of feathers, stones, sticks and fascinating objects grows weekly.

Looking back at my innocent young children in these pictures, I can see how fast time flies. My youngest is now a young pre-teen, my middle child, a mature 15-year-old, already quite different and grown up!

Moms, may I urge you to relax and nurture their freedom and allow them creative white space.  Don’t over-plan their days.  Don’t add too many outings, excursions, activities, sports and cultural events to your schedule. Leave at least 1 day open in your week and stay at home.  Let them just play!

Jesus said, “Let the children come to me.”  He loves them for their innocence and simplicity.  We are granting them such a precious gift when we let the children play.

Blessings,

Alternatives

Not every homeschool day works well.  Some days are just blah, other days are bad.  There are stresses and struggles. And even when you have good days, they can become predictable and boring.

It helps to have some alternatives.20140318_115016

Switch subjects

We usually start with the basics; Bible, Maths, Spelling & Dictation, Language Arts, but sometimes we start with Core instead, or sit together for Read Aloud time, or start our Theme of the Day activity we normally do after lunch before the rest.  Beginning with a “fun” subject or activity can defuse any difficulty.  I often ask my youngest what subject she would like to start.  I give her a choice in leading her own homeschool day and so she doesn’t feel that I am dragging her through the motions.  She leads and feels motivated.

Sit somewhere new

Move outside, inside, under a tree, on the carpet, in the sunshine, in the shade, on the couch, in bed, outdoors, rearrange the study. By simply changing the learning environment, the whole atmosphere and one’s attitude changes.  And moms need this change as much as the kids!

When I was a senior primary school teacher I use to rearrange my classroom and seating for each new theme.  I created a coral island, a police academy, a courtroom, a puppet theater.  The buzz outside my classroom before the kids came in was electric!  I didn’t need to do much more to motive my kids!

Start a new read aloud

I have stated that reading aloud is the glue that holds homeschool together.  Sometimes, it may be the only homeschool we do when someone is sick, or when visitors stay, when the schedule is disrupted or when someone simply wants to give up.  If the current book doesn’t sparkle, gently lay it aside and go find a wonderful book that grips hearts and minds and takes you and your kids on a journey!

Get physical

Do something active!  A nature walk revives a weary spirit.  A good run, skipping with a rope, or jumping on a trampoline helps rev up the metabolism and energizes one.  Science experiments or hands on activities are stimulating and exciting. I often plan several alternative activities for each theme so that I can inspire fresh enthusiasm with a fun activity.  It’s amazing what a child can learn when creating a mobile or making a model.

Sing or do Fine Arts

Learning with catchy songs and music is fun and it sticks!  Our Geography Songs CD are a lifelong legacy!  Singing connects the group and music lifts the spirit.  Fine Arts (art, music, poetry etc.) inspire us, ease the soul and minister to our hearts.  Sometimes our Friday Fine Arts day is the only day that we love.

Don’t get stuck in a rut.  Switch things about a little and discover a new zeal and enthusiasm!

What alternatives worked for you?  Please share ideas in the comments.

Blessings,

Solar System Comics ~ Earth & Mars

The past weeks we studied earth and Mars.  In a wonderful “convergence” our Mars studies coincided with India’s Mangalyaan (also known as MOM Mars Orbiter Mission) and America’s Maven’s arrival in Mars orbit.  We have been following these space missions on BBC News.  Just today India and USA have signed an agreement on future co-operations at Mars. This kind of current affairs has made our Astronomy studies come alive!

As in our previous planet studies, Mercury & Venus, we each created a comic strip.  Here are our Earth and Mars comic strips~

Earth Solar System Comics 003 Earth Solar System Comics 004 Mars Solar System Comics 001 Mars Solar System Comics 002

Here is a free blank comic strip page download ~ Solar System Comic notebooking pages

Blessings,

 

Solar System Comics ~ Venus

In my last post ! shared our Mercury comics and this week, after we read about Venus in our Exploring Creation with Astronomy book, we made comic strips on some of the facts on Venus.

(Actually, this comic strip lesson was our first attempt and we went back to make our Mercury comics.  Somehow, there seems to be more detail and artistry in our Mercury comics?  I am planning and hoping that we will create a comic strip for each planet and chapter in our Astronomy studies.)

Creating comic strips is a wonderful visual method of narration.  A picture can tell a thousand words!  Comics capture loads of information!

Here are our comics on Venus ~

1-Solar System Comics 007

(Miss.L12 allowed me to write over her pencil dialogue and pictures in black pen so that they would scan better)

5-Solar System Comics 006

Here is a free blank comic strip page download ~ Solar System Comic notebooking pages

Read here for comic book tips.

Blessings,

Sketch Tuesday ~ Kitchen Drawer

Sketch Tuesday is back!

This week’s theme is ~ Sketch something from your kitchen drawer.

Because we recently had such fun with wet-on-wet water paints, I suggested we experiment with water-color & salt on our paper to create an interesting background.  We taped our page on our boards, used big sponges to wet the entire page and then painted colors which we merged and blended together.

2-2014-09-14 Sketch Tuesday Kitchen Drawer1

For fun, I suggested that we sprinkle some salt here and there and create interesting patterns and texture.  (Salt placed on wet water paints “draws” some of the color onto the grain, creating tiny areas of intense color and areas of white around it.)

3-2014-09-14 Sketch Tuesday Kitchen Drawer2

Then I showed the girls some examples of contour drawing on Pinterest.  Contour drawing is basically drawing a continuous line without lifting your pencil and following the shapes and lines of the object without looking at your paper.  Scary for some, but I wanted the art to look loose and free.

1-2014-09-14 Sketch Tuesday Kitchen Drawer

Next, we painted the object.  Loose and free, with a little blending, drying and adding details.

Finally we outlined with black pen, adding details and shading.  (I must add that I had my “artistic crisis” when I realized that my contour drawing was completely wonky and my corkscrew was very skew!  I chatted to the girls to discuss how I could “fix” it.  We came up with some ideas, but in the end the only thing that felt “right” for me was to chop up my painting so that it clearly didn’t align perfectly.  I’m okay with my final art piece!)

Sketch Tuesday is the perfect place to try different techniques, art mediums or even copy the style of other artists.

See you at the slide show!

Blessings,

Solar System Comics ~ Mercury

Our Exploring Creation with Astronomy book suggested that we make a comic strip following reading our chapter.  What a novel notebooking idea!

My youngest daughter is very visual, so she immediately conceptualized images for her comic strip and drew incredibly detailed illustrations.

I love comics because you can pack a lot of information in a small space, and comics compel children to read!  (Moms and Dads, let your children read comics!)

Then my 14-year-old read our comics and decided to join in the fun.  She had us in stitches with her humorous comic strip!

The girls and I shared our comics with Dad and older brother .  They thoroughly enjoyed them, and more exciting, they could tell us quite a lot of information based on what they had just read!

Here are our comics on Mercury~

2-Solar System Comics 003

(P.S. I simply wrote over her pencil writing … just so it was clearer)

3-Solar System Comics 004

(I absolutely love Miss.K14’s sense of humor and her artistic details!)

4-Solar System Comics 005

Here is a free blank comic strip page download ~ Solar System Comic notebooking pages

Encourage your children to draw comics for their narrations.

Here are some tips:

  1. Plan out 8 facts/ ideas on rough paper first. Just think … eight blocks = eight facts?
  2. Look at some real comics with your children before your start to show how a reader reads the dialogue from left to right, from top to bottom if there is more than one “call out” or speech bubble in a block.
  3. First write out the dialogue small & neatly, then draw the speech bubble around the words.  This prevents you running out of space in your bubble.
  4. Use different shaped “call out” bubbles – bubbled for thoughts, pointed to a mouth as speech, zig-zag to show radio comments or computer voice.
  5. Add a top or bottom information phrase block if needed, like: Later on … or Back inside …
  6. Use the space left after the speech to draw simple ideas.
  7. Use onomatopoeic (sound effect) words and draw them with style to show something popping, crashing, exploding, squeaking etc.
  8. Be creative!  Have FUN!

Blessings,