Illustrated Narrations

A reader wrote and asked me, 

“I understand that my 10-year-old should be writing some of his narrations, but he still balks when faced with his blank notebook page.  How do I encourage his early written narrations.  He’s very visual and artistic.  Does an illustration count as narrations?”

Narrations (or “telling back”) are the cornerstone of a Charlotte Mason education and this complex learning activity takes years to master before your child can confidently write his written narrations.  Illustrations are an excellent starting point for early narrations.

Here are some creative narration ideas ~

  • Draw or illustrate the most important scene/ the ending/ the main character/ the surroundings/ machines or inventions mentioned.  Draw articles mentioned instead of making lists.  My kindergartener start drawing pictures of their narrations in a large jotter.   Sometimes this was part of their “busy hands with listening ears” activity while I read aloud.  Afterwards,  as they told me what they remembered of the story, I jotted their narrations next to or under their illustration, capturing a detailed, personal retelling.
  • Earth Solar System Comics 004Mom prints the child’s dictated narration next to or under their illustrations in pencil.  Encourage young writers to then trace over the penciled narration with a colored pen or felt-tipped pen.  This forms excellent handwriting practice and develops the child’s handwriting stamina.  It also looks like “their own” narration — which it is!
  • Draw a comic strip of the narration.  A comic strip can include a massive amount of information!    Comics with just 6 blocks can easily sum up entire chapters and are great for imaginative, visual children.  Comic strips help a child order or sequence their narrations. We did a whole series of comic strips for our Astronomy studies.  Here is my free blank comic notebooking page.
  • https://practicalpages.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/p1080498.jpg?w=300&h=225Make a model or 3D image.  Children love creating paper or cardstock models, like the 3D Little House in the Big Woods.  My children loved to illustrate, color in and cut out the windows, doors, and other folds which, when pasted correctly, formed three-dimensional illustrations.  Young children love to lift flaps and look inside doors and windows!
  • https://practicalpages.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/p1080139.jpgUse those Lego blocks for narrations!  Children draw the backdrops and characters for the scenes in the reading.  Punch suitably sized and spaced holes into the cardstock to fit the Lego blocks and clip in between Lego blocks to stand upright.   Children can “act out” their narrations.  They placed their cardstock scenes and characters into an envelope pasted on their notebook page to store them safely.
  • https://practicalpages.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/p1070351.jpg?w=300&h=225Use minibooks instead of a large notebook page.  This helps the child feel more confident that he just has a small space to fill  and he need not fill a whole blank notebook page.   I often combined minibooks with my notebook pages.  The image and heading on the front of the minibook provided an excellent narration prompt.  My young kids loved these minibooks and enjoyed planning their own page layout and often filled a large notebook page with several narration-filled booklets.  A real Win-Win!
  • Lapbooks follow the same principle mentioned above and we used lapbooks for almost all  middle school subjects.   I believe that lapbooks are an excellent transition to formal notebook narrations.

I hope that these ideas help and encourage you and your child develop creative narrations!

Blessings, Nadene

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One Word Display

Every year I wait on the Lord for His word for me.

This year I received the word ~

Grace

As part of my study-schoolroom-craft room upgrade (which I will reveal … soon),  I created this simple embroidery hoop display ~

Creative ideas

 So simple and easy to make.  Easy to change the background fabric and the word … maybe for seasons and special days …

Some ideas of at JaneVille‘s One Word for 2015What is your One Word for 2015 and  more word lists.  Here are some lovely embroidery hoop ideas on Pinterest.

Blessings,

 

Creative Crafts ~ Morse Code Bracelets

Nadene creates2I found this really cute idea on HonestlyWTF.  Erika uses embroidery floss and sliding beads to expand and fit her bracelets.  She explains in an excellent tutorial ~

“You’ll pick 4 colors for each bracelet. A base color, a color for the dots, a color for the dashes and a color separating the dots and dashes.”

Morse code braclets

image from HonestlyWTF

But after experimenting, I found the embroidery floss difficult to thread through my smallest seed beads.  I also struggled to find the right bead for both ends to slide through snug enough to “fit” the bracelet, and so I decided to simply use basic beading elastic.

Using this online Morse Code Translator and a Morse Code Translator app on my smart phone, I wrote out the codes for some messages I wanted to create in some gift bracelets.

Morse code words

Most my gift bracelets had 3 short words or one simple word.  I used the person’s favorite color for base color.   I attached the gift bracelets to some cardstock and wrote out the message with its Morse Code.  Most folk simply loved the bracelets, but they were really touched by the message when I explained how it worked.

It is a lovely way for your kids to learn and practice Morse Code.  Have fun creating!

Blessings

 

Creative Crafts ~ Bleach Painting

 Cheap, instant, magical … bleach painting adds a stunning creative touch to clothes!Kate's art2 Nadene Oct

Some bleach painting tips:

  • Always test on a scrap of similar fabric or on a part of the garment where the bleach effect can be tested but not seen (like inside a seam or on a hem).  Most dyes leave a trace color after the bleach has worked.  Some fabrics are extremely color-fast and do not bleach out.
  • Work on a plastic sheet and newsprint.  I bleached my skirt over a covered ironing board.  Place a plastic sheet or plastic packet inside a shirt so that the bleach doesn’t bleed through to the other side.
  • You can use basic domestic liquid bleach and a waterpaint paint brush.  You can also use water brushes and even simple ear buds/ Q-tips!
  • You can paint bleach on to stamps and press the stamp onto the fabric.
  • Plan your design on your garment with a chalk pencil or fading fabric markers.
  • I found great simple designs on Pinterest.
  • Stencil designs work well too!
  • Note – the bleach is invisible at first, but within a moment or two begins to fade the fabric.  If you paint over a bleached area after it has dried it may go even lighter!  I loved the magical appearance of the design a few seconds later!
  • Caution – some fabrics become fragile under bleach.  Hand wash carefully.
  • Caution 2 – wear protective clothing when working with bleach.
  • This is an excellent activity for middle-school children and teens.  Ask them to bring an old colored T-shirt to class and provide small cups of bleach and Q-tips for them to paint and design patterns and images on their shirts.
  • You can spray bleach with a fine misting bottle over a stencil or design pasted onto the material.  Some folks use freezer paper.  Lettering or a simple cut out design works well.

Bleach painting is addictive!  You may find good reasons or no reasons at all to bleach paint a huge number of your clothes!  Stop before your wardrobe looks like it fell into a bleach fountain!

Have some creative fun this festive season!

Blessings

Creative Crafts ~ French Patio Ideas

I recently created some wonderful crafty decor for our patio in French Provence style.

Bunting always creates a festive atmosphere!

Using unbleached calico I made some French Style Bunting with fabric painted details ~ use the free stencil download below for ideas).  Baste the triangle pieces edge-to-edge on wide ribbon and then fold the ribbon over and serpentine stitch the ribbon to cover the top of the bunting.  (Remember to add at least 1m of ribbon to either end of your bunting to use to knot over poles or around trees.)

French patio1

My daughter and I created a Printed Table Runner.  Pop over to my Project Page for the tutorial.

French patio

I painted some patio cushion covers for my bench and wicker chairs.

French patio2

Lastly I hung a few lanterns on blue ribbon over the table for some ambient light and intimacy.

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A week of creative fun transformed my patio into a festive French-styled outdoor area.

For some French Provence stencil ideas here is a free download ~ Provence patio stencil ideas

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,

Summer Sketch Tuesday Ideas

While you all bask in your glorious Northern Hemisphere summer warmth …

and we shiver in our cold Klein Karoo winter…

there will be no official Sketch Tuesdays until 3 July 2012.

Sketch Tuesday Summer Break

As Barb suggested, I scribbled some themes on my calendar for each week so that we can continue our weekly sketch sessions until the slide shows return.

Just simple ideas.

A different theme for each week.

You could find topics from old Sketch Tuesday slide shows.

Or you may want to give these topics a try?

Why?

Because we love sketching.

We love the restful, creative moments of sketching or painting.

We enjoy the simple challenge of thinking up our own ideas for the topic.

We love capturing details from a simple still life.

We enjoy the half hour or so of quiet creative art.

We like applying new techniques and copying an artist’s methods.

We enjoy experimenting with new or different art mediums.

Here are out sketches for this week’s topic:

Sketch Something That Jumps

I realize that we might not do art each week unless some topics are written on the calendar, so here’s what I penciled in on mine:

  • Sketch something that jumps
  • Sketch something metal
  • Sketch something with fur
  • Sketch something you wear
  • Sketch something you’d find in the garage
  • Sketch something delicate

Enjoy your summer break ~ with or without Sketch Tuesday!

Blessings,

Fun Ideas for Creative Homeschooling

Welcome to our 3rd SACH Carnival of 2012!

Join South African homeschool moms

as we share our

inspiring

creative

fun activities

in our homeschooling.

Taryn of Hayes Happenings shares a whole host of creative homeschooling activities, many of these shared with their homeschool group called the “Lunch Bunch”.  They have so much fun, don’t you wish you could join them too?

Here at Practical Pages I have written several posts of our fun and creative lessons!  Here are a few of my kid’s favorites:

Trixi from Trixi’s HomeEd Academy has found lapbooks have brought the joy of learning to her homeschooling days.  She shares some her creative posts:View album

Donette of The Journey wrote her post specially for the carnival and shared the fun and creative ideas for her children who are all under 6.

Thanks to all who shared in this carnival!

I’m sure you all have creative, fun activities that stand out as your homeschooling highlights.

Would you care to share them too?  Write a comment and leave a link to your post.

Blessings,

Pop-Up Books for Free play and Imagination!

A 3D book makes the story come alive!

My children love to read books.

They love to use their imaginations and make-believe.

One of their greatest joys is playing with 3D pop-out books.

Angelina Ballerina’s Pop-up Dancing School is a wonderful book that opens into a house with a ballet studio and theatre.  The characters press out and there is a pocket in front of the book to store them in.  The ribbon holds the book closed or ties the book open to form the 4 room house.  There are several little characters so 3 or so children can play together.  They make up their own stories or embellish the story in the book.

Here are some of our treasured

pop-up,

pop-out,

pull-tab,

flip-flap,

open doors,

find clues

3 dimensional books:

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3D Book

Image by M*rten via Flickr

Most these books were bought as birthday gifts.

Our 3D collection  reflects choices made for girls, but there are thousands of books available for all ages, interests and gender.

Very young children love to lift flaps and open doors.  They can’t wait to see the hidden image.  Even if they have read the book a thousand times, they still are thrilled to confirm their memory of the picture when they look under a flap and find it there.

3 Dimensions are a fantastic way to let the story literally leap from the page!  3D dramas, scenes of wars, castles and fighting dinosaurs come to life!

They are creative works of art.

They open up a fascinating and delightful world and stimulate a child’s imagination.

While these books are fun, they may not rate as “Living Books” as Charlotte Mason suggests.

My children still treasure classic literature books over these 3D books.  As they get older they request a great book for each birthday.

But while they are young, I enjoy watching them play with their pop-up books.

Related articles:

  • An amazing pop-up book  Popville illustrates “The growth of a town from a single farmhouse to a thriving city in a series of stylized scenes that build, one upon the next, through a window cut out of the center of the page, so that each development literally overlays the ones beneath“.  (Photos and description here.)
  • Researchers find pop-up books fail as a learning tool, “May have their place as entertainment,” their “bells and whistles” approach appears to be counterproductive to learning. “When attempting to convey information to young children,” they add, “less is more.” (Read the article here.)

Fun with Maps

Digital Terrain Model Generator + Textures(Map...

Image via Wikipedia

Here are some fun ideas for revising the world map.

We sang the Oceans and Continents song from our Geography Songs CD from Sonlight.

I gave the girls a large 9 page world map which they had to assemble.  Yourchildlearns.com gives many print out options – print out sizes so large that it will print on up to 64 pages!  I printed the world map out on 9 pages and it was pretty challenging for my 8-year-old!

Then we labeled the map.

Then we played “Twister” calling out places with right or left hands and feet!

Geography "Twister"

Physical activity is fun, and it has a multi-sensory approach.  This helps young learners.

Most young children are kinesthetic learners = they need to move to learn new and difficult information.

Most young children learn in the following order:

  • From BIG to small
  • From 3D to 2D
  • From concrete to abstract

Maps are abstract, 2 dimensional representations. We need to teach maps from a large clear globe, then find the same shapes on a large, clear, coloured map.  From this, show them the atlas and smaller maps.

Twister is an excellent game to reinforce “left” and “right”, “up” and “down” which is vital spatial skills in all map work.

Advance the skills needed and adapt “Twister”- call out compass directions; call out “West/ East, North/South instead of “Left/Right, up/down”.

Review map work regularly.

After completing all the exciting physical games (and they only need about 15 minutes) we return to the desk to label and write in our minibooks and notebook pages.

Visit my Geography pages to view all the free downloads. 🙂

You can find other free maps and downloads here: