Friday, February 4, 2011

Week in Review - The One with Ice & Art

Both of my girls love art.  They have taken classes at a nearby art school as well as a local artists' workshop, but with our schedule this fall, we could not fit it in.  The offerings at both places this winter are not appealing to my girls or are classes they have already taken.  So, I have made a promise to include more art.  Kathy Barbro's site Art Projects for Kids has some wonderful projects and ideas.

We explored oil pastels and learned about Kandinsky:

We enjoyed mixing watercolors with water and making this wonderful positive/negative watercolor:

And we painted our papier mache masks:

And of course we did these hearts back on Monday:

I had bought A the American Girls The Care and Keeping of YOU a few years ago and we had started reading it several times, but got distracted and pulled away.  We have made this our current "Science" curriculum and the girls are not only enjoying it and learning a lot, but asking a lot of questions and this is opening a dialogue that I hope will continue.  I have always been very, very open with my girls about everything from menstruation to homosexuality, riding that fine line between enough information and too much information.  My goal has always been to have them accept nature and view it as part of life, rather than something to be afraid of or embarrassed by.  Of course, privacy has been stressed as well.

We have been making various skin care products from their Spa Science Kit as we read, learning about the importance of exfoliation and that relaxation and taking care of yourself is very important.

We made this wonderful salt rub:

Tonight, Jason is going to a Men's Night at our church.  The girls and I are creating a Spa at home.  We can't wait!


Have I mentioned how much I adore the Master Skills Reading Comprehension workbook?  I picked it up for a few bucks on Amazon and we have been working through it.  Our unit on fables, folk tales, fairy tales and legends was inspired by this book.  It's actually fairly school-ey, but I like that it encourages various comprehension skills AND critical thinking, asking opinion questions about the selections and asking students to support their opinions or thoughts with facts from the selection.  The girls are enjoying this tremendously.   Last week, Allie asked to do the poetry unit on her own, and this week together my girls elected to do the pages on Animals and Nature together.  We are attending a homeschool workshop on weather next Tuesday, so we've decided to do the Weather selections over the weekend and on Monday...then we will actually be done with this book that we started at the beginning of January!

I am thrilled that both of my girls LOVE to read.  As I said, I have decided to stop fighting the staying up late battle and let them read as late as they want.  Like me, my girls tend toward books with realistic, layered characters with relatable flaws and issues.  When A was in second grade, she said, "I like reading better than TV because you know the characters are thinking and feeling."  Given our druthers, we would choose fiction, adventure, historical fiction or biography every time.  P would also throw any book that makes her laugh into the category of a "must read".

A read the first third or so of "The Lightning Thief" over the summer and was fascinated with mythology, but, like me, had a hard time suspending disbelief.  I think it's important to expose kids to a variety of genres, so, together we began reading The Lightning Thief  this past Thursday.  This is incorporating into our Story of the World unit on the Greeks.  We are also focusing on Greek Mythology, as the girls and I are fascinated with that.  I intend to draw this unit out and get everything we can from it.  We are focusing on the story and the writing and all that we can learn from it, rather than focusing on the fact that this could never happen.

We will be completing our first Literature Pocket on Greek Mythology thanks to my friend Karen over at Homeschool Girls, who has also graced us with many wonderful links for this unit.

We began using Writer's Notebooks a few weeks ago and the girls adore them.  We had been doing a mini-lesson, a half hour of writing and a share time and the girls got a lot out of it.  We will continue to do this periodically, but I have also given the girls free access to their notebooks to write the stories that they are working on when they choose.  P took hers to bed with her last night to write Chapter 4 of a novel she is working on.  A is copiously copying quotes from books she reads into her notebook, as well as writing original poetry.

Right now, as we read Lightning Thief and learn about different myths, we are paraphrasing the myths into a mythology notebook.  Yesterday, Thursday, we paraphrased the story of Kronos and the story of King Minos and the Minotaur into our notebooks.

Today, we played this fun game about Greek roots for words: It's All Greek To Me.  The girls had a blast and kept asking to play.  Then, on the same website, A found something called Be a Reporter. Scholastic provided her with several fact sheets about the first Olympics and then she wrote an article.  We were fascinated that women could not watch the first Olympic games and the girls got a kick out of the attire - or lack thereof - of the athletes!

We had been doing Math first to "get it over with".  On Monday, after a particularly grueling meltdown where A told me to take her to school because she wanted to do Everyday Math and I was depriving her of it, I decided that we will take a different approach to Math.  We do Math last.  This way, it is on her own time and she can not hold her sister up with her meltdowns.  It seemed to work the rest of the week, as she is wants to do her math, do it well (so I don't make her do it again) so that she can read her book or write some poetry or make youtube videos with her sister.

Today we took a break from Teaching Textbooks and played at, then wrote out all of the multiplication tables and looked for patterns.  This was a review for the girls, but it was a nice relaxing Friday exercise.

Independent Learning
After talking with a friend yesterday, I realized that because my girls are homeschooled, they have so much more time to pursue their own interests.  A spent a fair amount of time this fall exploring Fimo clay.  Now the girls are spending all of their free time creating homes for their American Girl dolls complete with refrigerators made from shoeboxes with shelves filled with food made from Fimo clay.  They are making and editing videos and posting them on youtube (after the videos meet my approval, of course).