Sunday, March 30, 2008

Snow, Snow, Snow and It's Spring

Here are some photos from today:

Snow, on March 29. We live at 600 feet, but REALLY? Snow on March 29?

And pictures of my sweet girls, also from today:

The three oldest

The littlest

Friday, March 28, 2008

Just A Day

Well, this week was just a week, and today was just a day. I'm finally on the tail end of this cold, and today we got out of the house, which I haven't done in quite a while. It felt good.

I took my oldest daughter to her violin lesson, stopped by to see my husband at work, went on some errands, and then hung out as a family at work in the evening. We have our own business and it is a blessing and a sacrifice.  Our kids are great sports. We have special toys at work that they don't play with anywhere else. They are actually excited to go hang out there with us, and often don't want to leave.

We didn't get much exciting done this week. Mainly we read and did math and as always my girls did art. Tomorrow is Friday school, our homeschooling co-op, which my girls always look forward to. My oldest girl is taking Signing, Cooking, and Tea & Etiquette. I think Tea & Etiquette is her favorite since it is a group of girls sitting around a fancy table, having tea, talking about what they like. Here is a picture:

My middle girl is part of the Veggie Pirate Pre-K class. Here is a pic of that:

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Coloring Pages

Color Pages

I was laughing at myself today. Yesterday I posted a blog where I gushed on about teaching children art by teaching them to follow specific steps or giving them an end product to copy. I cited coloring pages as an example of this. Then, what did I do today? I went to Mary Engelbreit and downloaded some coloring pages for my girls to do. In my own defense, I showed them how to make combinations of colors using watercolor pencils on the sheets. Anyhow, these worksheets are so cute - my girls love them.

Easter At Home

Almost our entire family was sick this weekend, including myself. So, we stayed home from church today, on Easter Sunday! But, we had our own Easter at home today. We hunted for Resurrection Eggs. Then we looked at what was in them (all symbols of Easter), including one that had nothing in it. The kids were very concerned about that one. (It is for the Empty Tomb.)  Then we read out of the Bible the Easter Story - talking about things that we noticed in the story. After this, Natalie says she wishes we could do the bread and cup part of the story. So, our whole family had communion. It was a special experience.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Thoughts On Art

Years ago when I taught early childhood education, I learned the concept of open-ended art. Basically the concept says that children most appreciate the process of art, not the product. But, as they approach grade school, if children are given examples of perfect art projects to copy, then they compare themselves to the perfect example, and feel inferior.

This loss of creativity happens with coloring books. Children lose their natural, God given creativity because they simply fill in professional artists' pictures. This loss of creativity can also happen when children are given well-meaning craft projects. You know the kind - the kind of projects where the teacher gives the kids either pre-cut or cut on the line pieces that the kids are to put glitter on, glue together, assemble, and/or color. The children are also shown a finalized version of the project or else a picture of it.

While I could argue that they are overused, these simplified art projects have their place. These kinds of art projects keep kids busy, and children, especially when they are young, always love taking home something tangible. And, let's face it, skills such as sewing use this principle all the time. Here is the project, these are the steps, choose your color, this is the final product. This is an appropriate thing to do. When it comes to creating, constant exposure to "this is how you are supposed to do it" - causes kids to think they "can't do art".

How do you teach art? Well, I'm not an artist. I think I'm one of these grown up kids, who thinks, "I can't do art". However, I'm very much into teaching my kids art, and I'm starting to venture out into the world of art with baby steps myself.

You teach them concepts - "use your eyes to follow lines", "you can draw extra lines to make shadows", "did you notice how the leg on the bed that is farther away looks smaller?" I've been using Artistic Pursuits to teach these concepts and I like it very much.

And you give them general ideas - color something blue. This is what Harmony Art Mom does with her Sketch Tuesday which we are really enjoying.

This is the car that my oldest daughter is submitting for her project this week:

This is the hat in a hat shop that my step-daughter drew:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

First Entry

Well, this is my very first blogging entry. I look forward to introducing my family to you. I homeschool my children, all girls, who are currently 6 1/2, 4 1/2, and 4 months. I also have a step-daughter, 9. I don't get to homeschool Mariah, however, as she is with her mom on school days.

My husband has been the greatest encourager when it has come to homeschooling. We live on our own little 20 acres. We have 10 plus cattle, including 3 pregnant soon to be mommy cows. We also have chickens and a big garden.

What we have arrived at so far for our homeschooling philosophy is the Charlotte Mason philosophy combined with some Classical method. I want my daughters to have a quality education, but also learn to enjoy learning.

My oldest daughter, is currently in the first grade. Her gifts are art and reading. She also loves taking care of our chickens and hanging around outside. She has an incredible thirst for Bible stories.

My middle daughter, will be doing Kindergarten next year. She isn't as interested in reading as her sister was and we aren't pushing it. She knows her letters and numbers though. She has a great sense of humor and a lot of spunk.

My littlest daughter, at four and a half months, I have no idea about. Except to say she is very sweet.

One of my favorite blogs lately is The Heart Of Harmony. She has really influenced me to make art and outdoor learning more of a priority in my teaching.

I go to the Battle Ground extension of the First Class Homeschool Co-op, which has really allowed us to get a lot of ideas about homeschooling, and well as to make connections.