Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Treasure

Quite some time ago, my mom found this and gave it to me. At first glance I thought it was a very old photo album and expected to see some old pictures upon opening it. That would have been a treasure, but what I did find was even more special.

On the inside front cover is written my Dad's name, with "First Grade" under it. This must have been written by an adult. My first thought was that my Dad's mom put some of his school work in here, but a lot of the works are written directly onto the scrap book pages so maybe it was done at school. I've kept this book on top of my dresser and consider it a very special memory of my Dad, who died when I was six. I wish you could see the writing more clearly. The little stories are darling and I'm surprised to see cursive in first grade.

I recently took this little scrapbook off my dresser and looked through it again. I am so thankful for this simple little link to my Dad. It made me think about my kid's own school work. Will they have something as beautiful as this to hand down to their kids? ... Not really.

I actually save quite a bit of their work, but it is in boxes, all labeled by grade, so that if I need to prove their education I will have more than enough to do so. But I've been thinking more about having them put their work into special notebooks that they decorate and put their own personality into.

On several homeschool blogs that I read, Commonplace Books are a hot topic. I find, that in many ways, they are actually similiar to this book of my Dad's. Here are a couple of sites that have examples:

These are examples of notebooks for Religion in a homeschool:
(This mom's blog is absolutely beautiful!) Scroll down to see how she teaches her children to created borders around each page.

Here are some examples of notebooks for Language Arts: (Scroll down to see how color, adding borders, and shading the pages help to make the study of Language Arts a little more artistic!)

This is actually not a blog but the work of several moms who got together and came up with this site, full of very creative and beautiful ideas for educating children.

The books that these children are making are going to be true treasures for their own children someday.

There are other reasons that I'm going to add a bit of this to our school day next year. Mostly for the product, but also for the process. I think my three school aged children at home will really love this. Night Owl might not have ... although I'm not sure, I never tried it with him. The other three draw, color and paint all the time though. This will allow them to use this love for "artistic pursuits" as part of their school day, incorporating it into subjects other than art.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lean On Me

Beany and Winnie are good friends!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Weekend

This past weekend included a whirl-wind trip to Dayton for my God-son's graduation Open House. It was a wonderful visit with family. Every time we are in Dayton my only regret is that the kids don't know their cousins very well. They still have a great time though!

Before we left I spent most of the day Saturday wrapping up the school year. The kids took End Of The Year Assessments which are required by Mother of Divine Grace - our "umbrella school" as I call it. They did not do standardized tests this year as I have them do that every other year. I had to average grades and get report cards written up - all sent to Mother of Divine Grace. I was very busy, but determined to get it done before heading to Dayton. The effort ahead of time made our trip much more relaxing. Since we've been home we are finishing up some end-of-the-year busy work, but nothing that important. It's been a very good school year and I'm proud of all the kids, including Joel, who made the transition into highschool without much trama! We'll celebrate the last day with a trip to see "Night At The Museum II". I've heard it is an excellent movie.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

So Much to Say, So Little Time!

I didn't forget about the blog. We've just been so incredibly busy I haven't had time for anything. The good news is that the "End of the Year Assessment Tests" are all taken and sent in the mail to be graded, and the school year will come to an end on May 29th. Whew! Night Owl has a few more 1/2 days the following week, but he'll be done soon too. We're headed to Ohio this weekend for my nephew's graduation party so this is a busy weekend.
Summer is almost here though - then I'll have time to blog. (Sure!)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Night Owl

Dad and I just returned from the Awards Ceremony at Sacred Heart Academy. I couldn't be more proud of Night Owl. He is on the Honor Roll and was recognized for Academic Achievement in most of his classes.
I had originally written a very lengthy post about how well he has done this year. I decided to delete it for several reasons, the most important one being that Night Owl would have been embarassed. It's bad enough to have your mom gush about you, let alone on a blog that other people can read.
I'll just leave it at how proud we are and how we are so blessed to have such a wonderful son. I only wish he would have looked at me when I was trying to take a picture!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Workbox Art

In a recent post I talked about the workboxes we have started using. They are still working out great. With the workbox system, I am able to include more art in the kids day and they are really enjoying that. My problem is thinking of enough projects for them! I am not artistic myself so a lot of what I see on line is too overwhelming. I've decided to keep it simple so I don't skip it all together. In order to simplify, I've decided that some of the basics will be covered on a weekly basis. So, Monday will be drawing day, Tuesday will be clay or playdough, Wednesday will be painting, Thursday will be coloring, and Friday will be a project of some sort.
For drawing, I have lots of drawing books that the kids enjoy using. One of the favorites is called Draw Write Now (http:// ) It uses very simplified drawing techniques so that even a young child, like Builder, can have some success. Social Butterfly prefers her drawing books by Mark Kistler.

The kids always enjoy working with clay or playdough. There are several books out that teach techniques, but I'm thinking I might just let them use the clay tools and have fun with it. I know the art classes they will take from Art Reach will get into more technique, so I'll leave that up to the teacher there.

I'll handle painting the same way. I do have different types of paint the kids can experiment with - water colors, tempera, acrylic - but the technique will come from the art classes. I'm hoping they will all get to go to Art Camp again this summer. They will learn techniques for various mediums that they can apply through out the year.

Finally, there is coloring and we have quite a few of the wonderful coloring books from Dover. They are great! Lots of detail, so the older kids enjoy them as much as the younger ones do. Jetter is particularly good at coloring all the details. Whatever the kids are interested in - cowboys, knights, the Revolutionary War, Civil War fashion, flowers, birds, bugs, etc., there is a Dover coloring book for it.

That leaves art projects. It has been difficult to come up with a different project each week since I am dealing with 3 different ages and since I am art handicapped. To make this easier for next year I took some time and went through all the art supplies I had stored from 7 years of homeschooling. Then I brainstormed a list of things I could easily teach them and that I already had the materials for, or could purchase somewhat inexpensively. Here's the list: (Please excuse the links. They make this somewhat difficult to read, but they are for my own information.)

~pastels on dark paper
~wet pastels on light paper
~Chalk drawings with stencils, smeared to give a cloudy affect
~Sculpy clay
~marble painting (paper in a box, dip marbles in paint, let them roll around)
~string painting (dip string in paint, coil between two pieces of paper, pull it out)
~Valentines in February
~Easter Egg painting end of Lent
~Christmas cards
~Stations of the cross
~Grotto kits in May (Emmanuel)
~sponge stamping patterns
~Make place mats with large construction paper and clear contact paper. Use glitter, stickers ...
~Make tea lite candle holders with glitter clue on baby food jars (or something similiar)
~Rubbing plates
~Thumbprint painting
~Do- a- Dot markers and books
~Hand Prints (Plaster of Paris)

My list isn't complete, but it's a good start. My second dilemma is what to do with all the art the kids are generating! My fridge is full and the walls in the classrom are filling up fast! We might have to work our way down the hall with it!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Lesson Learned

Do Not Let Two Young Boys Go Outside for Recess Wearing Indian Headbands. Why?

Because they will decide it is necessary to use the yucky black mud as war paint. Then, the "paintee" will get mad at the "painter" and serious mud-slinging will ensue. Then they will come inside asking for lunch.

No, I did not take pictures.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Beautiful Day

Last Friday, I mean the Friday before last (I'm so behind!), we had a great day at the Garden Center about 30 miles away. The kids had been working very hard on their school work and the weather was just gorgeous so I decided it was time for an impromptu field trip. Here are some pictures of the kids. You can see that the Center's newly revised maps were a big hit. Beany also enjoyed the flowers. Surprisingly, while he had to touch them all, he didn't try to pick any! A day like this one is one of the many "perks" of homeschooling. It's not that children in school can't go on fieldtrips (there was a bus load of children there the same day we were) but I was able to actually relax and enjoy myself instead of worrying about 20 + kids. My own children have been here several times, but it's never boring. They notice the changes of each season, when the gardeners are changing the beds, and they know NOT to climb the trees or wade in the streams. I can just walk along, take in the beauty of both the gardens and my children who are taking in the same, and take lots of pictures!