More Klimt Art

Following Charlotte Mason’s approach, we have continued to look at and enjoy a famous artist and his works for several weeks.  This week we enjoyed more of Klimt’s amazing art.

Once again, as we did with our Klimt’s Tree of Life, I printed out outline pictures of some of his works and we sat quietly painting while we listened to music.


Kate and I both did the same picture, but each of us followed a different approach.

Kate painted hers in dazzling acrylic colors and gold, 
Kilmt Art1

Kilmt Art 003

while I studied the original painting and applied similar colors with gold paint.Kilmt Art2

Kilmt Art 001

Lara chose to do a Klimt picture of mother and child, and she stunned me with her beautiful technique.coloriage-klimtKilmt Art

Kilmt Art 002

Simple and beautiful, isn’t it?

Art appreciation is really do-able!  Give these ideas a try!




Klimt’s Tree of Life

Continuing from our previous Summer Art Klimt painting,

we painted our own versions of Klimt’s

Tree of Life

Klimt Tree of Life 003

I printed out an outline picture found on Google and we both had fun painting!

Klimt Tree of Life 002

Lara painted her tree “ombre” colors.

Klimt Tree of Life 001

I painted my background in gold, typical, I felt, of Klimt’s style.

Here’s another Klimt Art project  found on Deep Space Sparkle.


Summer Art ~ Miro

Barb has created Summer Art plans for Sketch Tuesday covering several famous artists.

She explains on Harmony Fine Arts,

“Each week I will be posting a sketch idea based on a great piece of artwork from a famous artist. I will give you a link to look at the painting online, a link to a biography or video, and a simple idea for your family to complete and then send in for the art show.”

We joined this week’s artist ~


Barb suggested,

Create your own Miro inspired artwork by either copying the painting in this week’s lesson 


Figures and dog in front of the sun – Wikiart

or using the Roll a Miro activity in this pin on Pinterest: Roll a Miro

Summer Art Miro 002

We both enjoyed the Roll-a-Miro dice fun!  Our outlines were completely unplanned and spontaneous.  But, when Lara completed coloring her picture, she came to my table quite unimpressed,

“It looks a 3-year-old did this, mom.”Summer Art Miro 001

When I completed my coloring in, I must admit that also felt a disappointment in how it looked.  Well, at least the art process was fun!  And sometimes the end-product is nothing like we expect.

Well, I think sometimes surrealistic, abstract, or modern art is like that.  I remember similar thoughts when I stood looking at original Picasso drawings hanging in a famous art museum!  How childish!  How can this be real art?

“Be silent, you inner critic!”

Join us in these Summer Art Plans!


New Music and Art Timeline

I created a new Music and Art Timeline.  Music & Art Timeline Cover This is a helpful Fine Arts tool, identifying both famous musicians and their music styles, as well as famous artists and their masterpieces displayed in parallel.

How to use the timeline:

  • Print out and bind as is, or add to a Book of Centuries.
  • Cut and paste the pages side-by-side/ under each other as a visual Fine Arts timeline.
  • Add art work thumbnails to a timeline on a wall.
  • Cut the art works and paste them on cards and let children match the artists to the eras.

You will find your free download on my Free Page ~ Art Era Timeline, fresh and newly updated!

Recently Homeschool Freebies of the Day featured my Art Era Timelines to email subscribers.  Subscribers often get links to special freebies that you will not find openly on Internet, so it is worth joining their subscription list!




All New Handwriting Page With Updated Print and Cursive Pages

Some serious “interior decorating” has taken place here on Practical Pages!

I have combined my Print and Cursive Handwriting pages all together on my new Handwriting Page in order to streamline searches and downloads.

Not only that, but I have completely refreshed and updated my handwriting charts, rewrote my Handwriting Step-by-Step guides and put excellent finishing touches to my Handwriting Tips Booklet.

Please update your old downloads with these new pages!


Write on.


Loved Danny’s humor on the loss of cursive handwriting!

Originally posted on Danny Gregory:

The old cliché of the teenager spending hours talking on the phone has been replaced with a new cliché: The teenager spending hours talking with her thumbs.

The positive aspect of this development: we all write a lot more than we used to, typing endless texts and emails to communicate on virtually every subject. We write a lot but not necessarily well. We have to rely on ALL CAPS and exclamation marks and acronyms (LOL! OMG!) and emoticons :) to overcome the deficiencies in our vocabularies.

All this writing is really typing. The keyboard has replaced the pen and apparently for good. Virtually every one of the United States has recently changed the core curriculum for their schools eliminating a cursive learning requirement. They’ve replaced it with a mandate for keyboard proficiency.

Now, malcontents have been bemoaning the decline of handwriting since the invention of the typewriter 150…

View original 356 more words

Summer Art ~ Klimt Inspiration

Barb has created Summer Art plans for Sketch Tuesday covering several famous artists.

She explains on Harmony Fine Arts,

“Each week I will be posting a sketch idea based on a great piece of artwork from a famous artist. I will give you a link to look at the painting online, a link to a biography or video, and a simple idea for your family to complete and then send in for the art show.”

We joined this week’s artist ~


We used Barb’s website image, but I just purchased a 2nd book The Great Artists Their Lives, works and inspiration on Klimt which we used to look at several of his works.  (Parents, please note that his works include several nudes which you may encounter if you browse his art online.)  Klimt 003

For Klimt’s “Kiss” Barb suggested,

“Fill your page with doodles, patterns, and shapes like you see in this painting. You can make a sketch of a person or landscape and then use the doodles to fill in the background, the clothing, or anything else you can think of for this assignment.”

We noted several features of his art ~

  • his use of patterns,especially circles, squares and repetition.
  • long, vertical lines which curve down his paintings
  • the use of gold
  • faces and heads very realistic, while the body is two-dimensional and flat
  • his use of pointillism, very small dots of colors
Klimt 001

Lara’s Klimt inspired art called “Fish”

Klimt 002

My Klimt inspired “Cuddle”

Join us all in these Summer Art Plans!


Maths Mini Office New Pages

My youngest daughter’s middle school Maths Mini Office needs an upgrade and so I created some new pages to laminate and use in our Maths Mini Office.  These pages include ~

  1. Decimal and number value placement chart.  Handy to calculate multiplying and dividing by 10’s, 100’s or 100’s.
  2. Compass with bearings.  Handy for Geography and Geometry.
  3. X-Y Axis Grid for drawing graphs
  4. Positive & Negative Number Line to teach integers.

Here is the download link to the new Free Pages for your Maths Mini Office ~ Decimal Value Chart Compass XY Axis Pos & Neg Number line


CM Remedial Course for older child

A reader recently asked ~

I will begin remedial tutoring with a 14-year-old Grade 7 learner whose reading and writing skills are really only at a Grade 4 level, in the hope that he will make steady progress, ideally gradually catching up to his peers in a few years.

I am not a qualified remedial teacher, but have taught and tutored for many years, so I am mature and experienced. We have agreed that in the beginning (at least) we need to focus primarily on his language literacy, with a secondary, optional focus on homework.

I wonder what materials you have that I could use to develop his reading and writing skills? Please indicate the cost of the materials you suggest.

Apparently he is a confident, articulate and socially able young man.

Here is my advice ~

Dear reader,

I am also not an experienced remedial teacher, but I have found that the Charlotte Mason approach works with pupils of all ages, abilities and needs, in a way that is interesting, inspiring and educational.  Remedial ed does not have to be “dumbed down” to Grade 4 content, but rather to establish reading, comprehension, narration and writing skills.

  • Select a really interesting book and read aloud a chapter (perhaps a shorter passage if he struggles at first) and have your student narrate back orally what you read.
  • Narrations are the student’s recall of the details, order of events and words used in the story. It should be as detailed, accurate and flowing as possible.  The teacher does not prompt, correct or interrupt, but should smile, nod and reflect interest in the narration.  This is a complex skill and takes practice!
  • Try partnered reading = where you sit side by side and read aloud together.  First you read aloud with him whispering next to you for a paragraph or page. Then his turn to read aloud while you whisper next to him.  This reinforces the child’s reading skills and affirms their ability to decode and read more fluently.
  • Add expression (inflection, voice dropping down or rising) at punctuation marks; small pauses, voice lowering at commas, longer pauses with voice lowering at full stops, to reinforce grammar rules.
  • From oral narrations of small passages, extend the skills to dictated narration notes from longer sections of reading.
    • The teacher captures the dictated flow of thought, making no alterations, additions or corrections.
    • The teacher reads the narration back to the student.
    • The student then may suggest any changes.
    • This narration demonstrates the student’s ability and provides excellent feedback for further remedial work that is needed.
    • No grammar or spelling corrections at this point.  Make note of spelling rules or grammar laws needed and include these in LA passages as described below.
  • Pre-reading skills are important. Establish phonic rules and explain any vocabulary that he may come across in the passage before reading aloud.
  • From dictated notes, try textmapping, building word banks, writing key phrases on a white board or note paper before asking him to write his own narrations.
  • Practice writing with copywork.
  • For LA (Language Arts) select a meaningful sentence/ paragraph from the passage and examine its grammar.  Simple exercises such as ~
    • highlight all the capital letters
    • underline all the proper nouns
    • tick all the commas … why are they used here?
    • circle the phrase in the first sentence.  Read the sentence again without the phrase.  What happens?
    • write adj above all the adjectives that describe nouns
    • draw arrows pointing down to all the verbs.  Can you think of 2 other verbs that could replace each one?
    • Find synonyms in the passage for …
    • Write your own antonyms for these words in the passage …
    • Add any spelling rules if applicable
    • Find all the words ending with -ing or -ed.  What does this ending tell us about the verb tense?
  • Include a creative writing exercise that flows from the theme or topic of that passage such as ~
    • Write your own dialogue between the 2 characters …
    • Write a postcard to your best friend telling him what happened …
    • Write a newspaper report/ police report of the situation.
    • Draw a comic strip of the passage.
    • Write a play/ TV drama with the characters and scene described …
    • Write your own beginning/ending to this situation.
  • Use the computer for writing activities.
    • The spell check is very helpful, as are the grammar hints.
    • Also, rough drafts can be easily edited and printed without completely re-writing the passage.
    • Teach him to use the thesaurus, insert clip art, work in tables and create columns.

Before long, he will confidently narrate and complete LA assignments, and his writing skills should improve dramatically.

You can find very useful information in Ruth Beechick’s books, especially “You can Teach Your Child Successfully“. She lays out really simple, practical advice, lessons and skills that a teacher, mentor or parent can follow. You will find Ruth Beechick’s ISBN book numbers and all my Charlotte Mason posts on my blog.

Apart from the Ruth Beeschick books, you could loan the story books from your local library and there should be no real costs to facilitate a really solid remedial course.  Better still, you can use his own magazines and borrow or use books on topics he is passionate about.

Wishing you all the very best,

Getting Real ~ Cheating!

Thanks to all my readers for your wonderful comments on my “Getting Real” posts.  (If you missed my previous posts, you can read about Giving Up, Chaos, Flops and Attitudes in the series.)

Today I would like to talk about a sinister reality that crept in our high school phase ~ Cheating

Imagine my shock to find my high schooler cheating!  Not just copying the maths answers from the back of the book, but serious exam-type cheating!

I suppose it was to be expected for several reasons:

  1. My high schooler worked much more independently, and I didn’t watch her carefully.
  2. The work was difficult and my child was anxious and stressed.
  3. The exam results were sent to an external curriculum provider who would compile an official report. There was no chance of any mother-leniency.
  4. Most cheaters cheat because they are ~
    • afraid
    • unprepared
    • lazy
    • fear of failure
    • hate test situations
    • or because they have had bad results before

At the very start of the exam session I caught sight of some papers and realized she had made plans … and my blood ran cold.  I knew that this was serious.  Not because cheating is bad, which it is, but because I was faced with dealing with a child’s character, choices, ethics and morals, and I wanted to handle this situation with firmness and yet with dignity.

By God’s grace I didn’t blowup and make a mountain out of a molehill.  We went for a walk.  We talked.  I listened and tried not to formulate a huge lecture in my mind.  I deliberately told my ego that this situation was not a reflection of me, but of my child.  Importantly, I did not label my child a “cheater”.  I gave her the grace to confess and really apologize, to face her fears, and sit the exam afresh and try her best.

My kids are accountable and they need to ask for help. If they are unsure and afraid of tests and exams, they are simply not ready. Homeschooling allows for extra time, and there is often time to do more reviews.  Using past papers is an excellent tool for exam preparation.

High schoolers must work authentically and take more responsibility for their learning and studying.  School is their ‘work’ and they must do their best.  They should understand that cheating denies them the real learning experiences.

My high school graduate and myself believe that her matric exams were not about the information she learnt, but the exam preparation, learning skills and actual exam writing skills.  It does not take 12 years to prepare your child for their graduate/ matric exams!  Your child can master exams in 1 year, even if they have never sat for formal, external exams.  Please, please, please don’t chose an exam-type education for your child’s high school years just so that they can write their final exams!

May I suggest that young children do not need to write tests at all.  Working one-on-one, your daily work is proof enough of your child’s understanding and recall.  When there are real difficulties, then, by all means, have your child evaluated, but on the whole, allow your child to learn and progress at their own pace.  When they are ready, they will master the work!

I really encourage moms to carefully consider the stresses and tensions and fears children face when they write tests and exams.  We, as moms and teachers, are also measured by their failures and successes, and we also suffer through this process.  If your child does not cope well under test situations, please consider other options, and where possible, choose curriculums which do not require exams throughout the year.  I understand that your country or state may have regulations that insist on test results, but I would encourage you to find a 3rd party tester who can assist your frightened child in a personal way.

It is so important to build relationships of trust, honor and dignity with your children.  If they feel that we understand their fears and anxiety, they will not feel the need to cheat.  Give them more time to master the work.  I seem to repeat this often ~ TAKE YOUR TIME and enjoy the journey!