Friday, December 16, 2011

Art Classes

Since September, we have had friends join us on Fridays for an afternoon art class. We usually talk an little about a particular artist, then do an art project using similar techniques. First week was Mondrian, when we studied line and primary colors.
We did a Picasso lesson about portraits, "Fractured Friends."
We discussed Michaelangelo and learned how to paint a fresco. We made our own egg tempera paint with ground chalk and egg yolk, and painted like Giotto. We made fruit and veggie portraits a la Arcimboldo.
We made Christmas ornaments with recycled newspaper pulp and cookie cutters.
This week we made gingerbread houses at our annual "Graham Cracker Spectacular."


My hubby is back on his regular work schedule, after a year-long fellowship on Capitol Hill, so he has every other Friday off of work. Being the awesome dad that he is, he helped the boys build seige weapons this morning while I went to yoga class. We've been studying Roman history, and Thing One is especially interested in military history. He found instructions online here. It only requires popsicle sticks, rubber bands, masking tape, cardstock, and glue or glue. The things used mini-marshmallows for ammunition. Another good reference for building this sort of thing is the book The Art of the Catapult: Build Greek ballistae, Roman onagers, English trebuchets, and more ancient artillery by William Gurstelle.
Here are some building photos.
The battlefield had been cleaned up by the time I got home. I heard the ammo kept disappearing down Thing Two's throat.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Five Things You Never Thought You Would Need in Homeschooling (But you really do)

If you approach teaching your kids with very hands-on projects like I do, these five tools will prove to be useful. 1. Mortar and Pestle I have used my mortar and pestle so many times in the 2.5 years I've been homeschooling. My boys crushed berries to make paint in our prehistory unit; they crushed spices in our cooking unit; they made egg tempera paint by crushing chalk and mixing it with egg in our art class. It is indispensable! 2. Empty Thread Spools You can make great toy cars, vertabrae, pulleys, the list is endless. 3. Digital camera (and video camera) I document almost all of our projects and field trips. The video camera is a go-to tool when I get resistance about studying something "boring." I have my son prepare a report and we videotape his presentation. He is so excited to be on camera, he forgets to be bored. 4. Calling Cards Have you ever met a cool mom at a homeschool class or field trip? Has your child ever made an instant new best friend on the playground? You need family calling cards. We make our own at home on the computer and print them using pre-perforated paper. 5. Lentils Do you love the idea of sensory tubs but hate the mess of sand or water? Lentils are small enough for that sort of task, but large enough for easy clean-up. What is something you use alot that you never imagined you would need?