Knights – New Paper Dolls

We have updated our Middle Ages paper dolls and men.

I have created a new page with a Knight and his armor and weapons.

Knights

Knights1

The young squire dressed the knight, layering all the underclothes, chain-mail, armor and coat of arms tunic and weapons.  If kids follow the list of armor given on the page with the knight man, they will dress the knight correctly.

There are also 2 pages with a Medieval Man’s clothes, including clothes worn by the poor peasant, merchant or wealthy man.

Knights3

The Middle Ages lady pages now include clothes worn by peasants, merchants and the wealthy Medieval lady.  These detailed illustrations and labels will give a child a real understanding of the clothing and lifestyle of the era.

Knights2

This is a wonderful ‘keep-those-hands-busy’ activity for kids to make while you read aloud!

Pop over to my Free Pages and check out all the paper dolls & men!

Blessings,

Sketch Tuesday ~ Frozen

This week’s Sketch Tuesday theme is

Frozen

Here is my sketch ~

Sketch Tuesday Frozen 001

My youngest daughter, who normally always submits a sketch, started her own 25-day Drawing Challenge, and was so busy sketching and painting that she completely forgot about her Sketch Tuesday contribution!  But, she is determined to contribute to this coming week’s topic.

I encourage you and your kids to join Sketch Tuesday for Barb’s new weekly theme and slideshow.

It has motivated and inspired us to be more creative and to sketch often!

Blessings,

Sketching Daily Delights

We have sketched regularly with Barb’s Sketch Tuesday for years and years and I shared of the advantages of sketching regularly.

But this year I felt led to sketch more than once a week.  

Looking in Pinterest, I found a 30 Day Doodle Challenge,  made my own little sketchbook and started!

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I made no laws or rules … simply try sketch daily and use different media and methods now and then.

My pages are small, A5, and so the sketch should take 30 minutes or so.

I had a blast!

Some days I spent an hour or more totally absorbed.

Some days I just had to do another sketch …

and another …

My creativity levels just blossomed and bloomed.

I discovered the joy of new techniques, using water-soluble color pencils and my water-brush instead of my water paints.

 Sketching daily stimulated me!

I felt alive.

Somehow, I could calmly think, pray, plan and dream as I doodled.

It relaxed me.

This was “Mother Culture” … investing time in daily nurture and creativity.

It was delightful!

I’m off to start my next 30-day sketch challenge, and my youngest daughter has just made her own sketch book to join me.  We are going to have fun!

Will you also join us?

Blessings,

Handwriting line upon line

You may wonder why preschool teachers use different sized lined pages in early handwriting lessons. You may simply assume that your child will simply learn write on store-bought lined paper, but this may lead to enormous frustration and stress for your young child.

Let’s establish one simple rule ~

Always teach large – to – smaller

  • Start with very wide spaces on blank paper.  Pre-school teachers use blank paper and fold it into quarters = 4 lines.
  • Then fold the quarters in half and = 8 narrower lines.  Teach young preschoolers to draw their lines or circles between the folded lines.
  • You can draw or print different colored  or dotted lines ~

Write the letters ‘sitting’ on the blue line, body of letter touching the red dotted line and the tall letter shapes touching the black line

Teach child to write between the dotted and the black lines

But you can appreciate that all these lines are very confusing!  Where does your child know where to start?

Here’s my proven CAT or MAN tip:Man in handwriting lines

  1. First, chose the line width to match your child’s skills – wide for beginners, narrower as they master their fine motor skills and spatial recognition.
  2. Draw a margin down the left side of the page.
  3. Now draw a cat in the margin.  The cat body is a circle that fills the middle body lines, the cat head fills to the top line and the tail hangs to touch the bottom line.  Many teachers draw the body line in blue: blue = bodyPrint Lower case with cat & arrows
  4. Now you can refer to every letter stroke ~
    • All letters sit in the body line.  Most letters start on the top body line. (There are body lines!  See why this is difficult for some children to ‘see’?)
    • Tall letters (like b, d, f, l & t) all touch the top head line.  Some start here.
    • Some letters have a ‘tail’ (like g, j, p, q & y) which hang to touch the bottom line.
    • All UPPER CASE letters and all numbers start in the ‘head’ line.
    • All UPPER CASE letters and all numbers ‘sit’ on the body line.
    • No upper case letter or number hangs below the body!
  5. Next, teach the child to draw a stick man in the margins of their lined page.  
    This is very important!  Once the child starts any handwriting lesson on lined paper, FIRST draw in the men!  This helps the child know where to start and finish each letter stroke. (This is not art, it is a quick reference!  Don’t let them waste time here!)Print Lower Case & numbers with stick man
  6.  Eventually, before any handwriting lesson, we used a quick abbreviation of the man = my children drew a DOT in the ‘head’ line and a VERTICAL DASH in the ‘body’ line, and skipped open a line.  A quick dot-dash-skip … dot-dash-skip … all the way down the margin prepared them for their handwriting or copywork lesson.  They started all body letters in the lines with the vertical slash and all uppercase or tall letters in the line with the dot.
  7. When buying lined exercise notebooks for your children, look for widest lined pages.  Don’t be afraid to use lots of paper and spread each letter over 3 lines (head, body & tail) and skip a line.
  8. Then your children can work with normal lined pages, again using 3 lines and skipping a line.
  9. Children work by then working on Irish lined paper. These are much narrower than the normal lined paper, but, working over the 3 lines and skipping a line, the size of the handwriting is much smaller and more like the normal handwriting size.
  10. Finally, when working on 1 line and writing ‘normally’  some children need to be reminded to work halfway up in the body line.  You may try ~
    • Draw in a faint pencil line halfway through the body line.
    • Place a special lined guide chart under the page – I simply drew black lines on cardstock to slide under the lined page and the faint outline could still be seen.  The halfway line was dotted.  This worked very well in my classroom where some children either wrote too small or too large, or varied their sizes too much.

Now, with these handwriting tips, you are ready to visit my handwriting pages for charts to laminate, handwriting tips and lined pages.

You can also find free handwriting lined paper downloads at Donna Young and  Activity Village.

Blessings,

Use Comics to Teach Reported Speech

Previously, I described our effective lesson we enjoyed using our own Solar System comic strips to learn to write direct speech.

In this lesson, I wanted to teach reported speech.  My daughter chose her most dramatic comic strip story and she pretended that she was a news reporter, changing her speech dialogue into reported speech.

Solar System Mercury

Once again, we looked for examples of reported speech in our read aloud literature books.  Charlotte Mason’s principle to teach grammar and language arts through living books and good literature is amazingly effective!

We then used the Usborne Book of English Grammar for a clear lesson demonstrating the basic rules of writing reported speech.  These are the rules we summarized ~

  • Report what someone said using your own words.
  • No need for inverted commas.
  • Change the verb to the past tense.

Next, we worked through one or two comic blocks, converting the speech bubbles into reported speech.  Check those verb tenses!

My daughter then worked on her own and wrote her comic strip as a wonderful news report.  Here’s an extract ~

Mercury Expedition Reported Speech

She typed her report on MS Word as a simple report.  I used her enthusiasm in the lesson to teach her how to change her report and create a newspaper article, complete with huge headline, large byline, her name and the report.  She learnt how to create columns and add a clip art illustration.  Saved, and printed, she had a fabulous report which she proudly read and showed to dad!

I love finding simple and effective lessons, and this was a winner!

Note – this is a good LA lesson for advanced middle schoolers or junior high children.

Blessings,

 

Sketch Tuesday ~ Hat

This week’s Sketch Tuesday theme is

Sketch something with a hat

Here are our sketches ~

Sketch Tuesday Hat 001 Sketch Tuesday Hat 002 Sketch Tuesday Hat 003

I encourage you and your kids to join Sketch Tuesday for Barb’s new weekly theme and slideshow.

It has motivated and inspired us to be more creative and to sketch often!

Blessings,

Use Comics To Teach Direct Speech

We had such fun creating dynamic comic strip stories for our Solar System studies.

Solar System Jupiter 002Because comics convey loads of information and visual detail, they are a wonderful resource for language arts and creative writing activities.

Most the comics include dialogue written in speech bubbles.

This led to a fabulous LA lesson on writing direct speech ~

We used our literature read aloud books to find examples of direct speech and together formulated our simple direct speech rules.

  • Write down the spoken words or dialogue that appear in speech bubbles exactly  as they appear, but inside inverted commas.
  • Use inverted commas or quotation marks “…”  immediately before and after the spoken words.
  • Insert punctuation marks that suit the dialogue after the dialogue inside the inverted commas.
  • Use capital letters to start any dialogue, or any new dialogue that follows a full stop.
  • Question marks  & exclamation marks act as a full stop.
  • Use an appropriate attribution for each speaker and try be creative and vary using the word “said”.
  • Separate dialogue from the attribution with a comma.
  • ALWAYS skip a line and start a new line for a new speaker.

Then we took a block from the comic with speech bubbles and discussed and wrote out the direct speech on our white board.  My daughter loves to be dramatic, and so she instantly used a variety of words other than “said”, but you may want to discuss other more creative words.  We looked through this list ~

RIP said is dead

Comic blocks with a lot of visual information needs to be described in words. Adding this to the direct speech, and conveying a flow of action, thought and interest to the written dialogue is a more advanced skill. The more advanced student will automatically interpret and describe the comic strip blocks to make a wonderful, interesting story.

Here is an extract of Lara’s direct speech based on the comic strip above ~

Direct Speech example

My daughter was so enthusiastic and was really proud of her first effort!

When typing the direct speech on the computer, she reinforced her typing skills as well as the technical aspects of the written direct speech.  When she had completed her first draft, I noticed that she hadn’t left a line open between different speakers.  When typing, she needed to press ‘enter’ + ‘enter’ again to leave a line open and begin on a new line.

Normally we use our literature books and copywork or dictations for all our language arts, but this approach was fresh, personal and exciting!  Using a previous lesson that was very successful and fun,  really motivated the content of this lesson and it worked brilliantly!

Blessings,

Alisa Burke Art Inspiration

Each month I try to introduce my children to a new contemporary artist for new ideas, new techniques or approaches to art.  (Pop over to my Art Page for all my art posts.)

Although I have recently shared about Jane Davenport and her “Beautiful Faces”, this post is about an artist I discovered last year and who profoundly influenced me …

Alisa Burke is an awesome contemporary artist!  Alisa Burke

She is a prolific artist, creating art and posting her sketchbook pages, her art processes and designs, studio updates, tips, fabulous tutorials and art ideas on her blog almost daily.

Anyone who knows me personally will have noticed the impact of her art, style and fashion in my life. In fact, I literally remodeled my wardrobe according to an “Alisa Burke Look”!  Here’s a page I put together from her Fashion Friday posts ~

Alisa Burke Fashion style

Clothes4I even figured out her style “formula” = Crisp white or black + geometric patterns / polka dots / stripes +  a pop of bold, clear color = I am a serious fan!

Of course, we have done quite a lot of Alisa Burke-inspired art here at home ~

collaboration

She and her hubby and little 3-year-old often do collaborative art, which is really amazing.

 

Kate recently created these painting based on Alisa’s and her hubby’s latest collaboration ~

Kate's art4

Face

And here’s Kate’s art inspired by Alisa’s beautiful portrait above ~

Kate's art3

 

 

Another stunning Alisa-inspired portrait done by Kate ~

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And here’s my doodle page of art inspired by Alisa Burke ~

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Expand your artistic wings and use some contemporary artist inspiration and fly!  It is wonderful to learn and experience art through someone else’s discoveries and creativity!

Blessings,

Sketch Tuesday ~ Door

This week’s Sketch Tuesday theme is ~

Sketch something with a door

Here are our sketches~

Sketch Tuesday Door 001

Cosy little Hobbit doors

Sketch Tuesday Door 002

Lara painted our schoolroom door which is actually our art gallery! She faithfully reproduced 10 paintings!

I encourage you and your kids to join Sketch Tuesday for Barb’s new weekly theme and slideshow.

It has motivated and inspired us to be more creative and to sketch often!

Blessings,

Reader’s Question ~ Art Appreciation with Boys?

This week I would like to share another interesting reader’s question.
She asks ~
What would you suggest I use as a start to art appreciation for my 6-year-old and 4-year-old sons?   I am not a natural artist and I was never really exposed to art, but I would love to share art with my boys. Are boys even interested in fine arts?
She also asked about purchasing art products, curriculums and art lesson books.
Here are some of my suggestions ~p1130060.jpg (1280×960)
  • It is really not necessary to buy any art formal curriculum at this stage. While packages, books and programs are often a great blessing to moms with little confidence or art experience, it is really not necessary to spend much/any money on your art appreciation lessons.
  • Pop over to my Art Appreciation pages for inspiration for art lessons, activities, links and outlines of famous artworks.
  • For free lessons, I highly recommend Patti’s “All Things Bright and Beautiful” because she prepares a weekly picture, classical music selection and poems with all the Internet links.  Subscribe to her blog and you will receive her emails each week.
  • Read Simply Charlotte Mason post Teaching Art Subject By Subject on how to do your picture study and teaching art expression.
  • Barb at Harmony Fine Art has Fine Art Plans to purchase, but she shares loads of free artist study ideas and lessons!
  • Jimmie of Jimmie’s Collage shares her free Charlotte Mason Artist Study lessons, ideas and links.
  • Use what you have or borrow books from the library and select an interesting artist and look at his work for a brief lesson once a week.
  • Don’t worry about being able to paint or do art either.  Simply enjoy the art activity with your kids. We LOVE doing Sketch Tuesday each week!
  • Find stuff that is fun and non-threatening for your kids and do it along with them!
  • There are tons of YouTube videos and blog with ideas and tutorials, but, again, keep things loose and informal and encourage participation without stressing about “doing it right”.
  • ALL children can enjoy art appreciation.  Some artists, topics or techniques lend themselves more to boys, while others, girls may find more interesting.  Select interesting art – especially the subject matter.  Vary the type of media or art studied.  It may be typical to assume that boys may enjoy the physical, messy art lessons, while girls may prefer “pretty” art.  I have found that everyone forms a personal reaction and response to art.  It is a subjective experience.  That is what makes it so special.
  • Art appreciation doesn’t mean that you or your kids have to “like” every art piece!  My youngest daughter hated  most of Picasso’s art!  But, she can recognize his works!  Ironically, her Guitar Collage art appreciation activity was chosen from an international search for a child’s art work for a poster!
Lastly, please may I encourage you not to KILL art and music appreciation!   I ruined my eldest daughters simple joy for art & music appreciation and nature study by trying to make every encounter a formal lesson with a notebook page, narration or activity to show how much she had learnt.  I came on too strong and too ‘teachy’.   have learnt my lesson!  Keep it really informal and relaxed.  If your child shows any real interest, then by all means, take your time to research, read references and look for other examples.  Even a very informal quick lesson has rich and lasting impacts on our children.
What other suggestions would you give this reader?  Please share in the comments below.
Blessings,