Monday, September 21, 2015

Still Life With Apples

As part of our study of apples last week, we looked at Vincent Van Gogh's Still Life With Apples

Miss M wanted to do her own, so we set her up a grouping to draw. 

Here is her final result! 

It was done with oil pastels on watercolor paper.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

This Moment: Science

This boy loves all things science and asks if we can do something every day.  After Miss M finished a recent experiment in chemistry, he had fun playing with the leftover materials (all kitchen items and safe).

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Teaching Art with Picture Books

Miss M loves art, and can often be found drawing and creating at her desk.  One of the resources we are using this year is Teaching Art with Books Kids Love by Darcie Clark Frohardt.  This book teaches kids about the element of art through the use of favorite children's books.

The first lessons are on the use of line.  We discussed Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully and focused on the use of line in the book.  Miss M did this tissue-paper collage to go along with that.  She wanted to convey the feeling of happiness, so she chose primary colors and horizontal lines. 

Then we read The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble.  There were several options for go-along projects, and Miss M made this piece. 

We are all really enjoying this book and learning the elements of art through favorite picture books and hands-on projects.

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Friday, September 11, 2015

Studying the States: Delaware

We are going to be studying the fifty states this year, going in the order they joined the union.  That made Delaware first up.  We used F is for First State and Don't Know Much About the 50 States as our spines but added many more books found at our local library.  Miss M did some notebooking, as well as memorizing the state capital, abbreviation, flower and bird.  She also watched this YouTube video.

We studied the horseshoe crab (Delaware's official marine animal) using several books from our library.  Our favorites were Crab Moon and High Tide for Horseshoe Crabs. We made a horseshoe crab using the template found here

Next up was the Lenape Indians.  She did a coloring page and watched several videos from this website.

Miss M wanted to make a dessert from Delaware, but none of us like peaches (peach pie is their official dessert).  So, she made jello with cool whip since Kraft has a large presence in Delaware.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Donuts & Ice Experiments: Farmer Boy Unit Study

We are continuing on with our Farmer Boy studies.  For chapter seven, we made donuts.  Since The Bug has Celiac, I modified a recipe to be gluten-free, and was pleased with how well it worked out.

Frying in the oil just like in the book.  I did this part while they watched from a safe distance.

Finished donuts, rolled in cinnamon sugar.
Miss M and The Bug enjoying the donuts we made.
Chapter six dealt with cutting ice and storing it.  Miss M was very surprised when we read that the ice blocks would stay frozen all year packed in sawdust.  This called for an experiment!  We put ice cubes wrapped in aluminum foil, wood shavings (our closest to sawdust) and bubble wrap outside and checked every 10 minutes to see how fast they melted. 

We used plain cubes not wrapped as our control.  The kids were surprised to see that the wood shavings did indeed keep the ice from melting for several hours.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Fuzzy Caterpillar

When I was looking at pictures my husband took this past weekend, I found this shot of The Bug.  I love how closely he is investigating the fuzzy caterpillar on the bench. 

This is one of the many reasons we do nature study in our homeschool, to cultivate that curiosity and appreciation for God's world around us that is inherent in our children.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Portland & Eagle Project: Weekend in Review

This past weekend was a busy one - I went to Portland for a girl's weekend to celebrate the milestone birthday of a close friend, and The Boyscout completed his Eagle Scout project.  While in Portland we did many things, but one of my favorites was a visit to The Grotto.  Formally knows as The National Sanctuary of our Sorrowful Mother, The Grotto is a national Catholic shrine and botanical gardens.

One of the many statues set throughout the property.

Stations of the Cross set into stone walls throughout the lower walk.

If you are ever in Portland, I would definitely recommend a visit to The Grotto. 

With the help of many volunteers and family members (thanks Mom, Dad and Uncle Dusty), The Boyscout successfully completed his Eagle Scout project this weekend.  He cleared a 1/2 mile nature trail and built an outdoor amphitheater near a stream for the local elementary school.  This will allow the kids at the school to have outdoor time in nature as part of their regular lessons.

The completed amphitheater, one part of The Boyscout's Eagle Project.

The Boyscout (and The Bug) at the end of the project.

The Eagle Project day ended with a major storm here in the Pacific Northwest which left us without power for two full days.  Not quite the end we had in mind, but just part of what made such a memorable weekend!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Recreating Picasso's Three Musicians

When we were at the library earlier this week, The Bug selected a picture book called Lumpito and the Painter from Spain by Monica Kulling.  I know he picked it just for the daschund on the cover, but it was a good find.  This is a cute story about Pablo Picasso's dog Lumpito, and how he ended up with the painter. 

The book ends by talking about how Lumpito appeared in some of Picasso's work, including The Maids of Honor.  So naturally, we had to go look at the original painting, which led to a refresher on Pablo Picasso.

We wanted to do an art project, but we had already done Picasso-style self portraits.  Instead, we decided to make our own version of Three Musicians.

Three Musicians, 1921 by Pablo Picasso

The kids cut geometric shapes (being sure to use straight lines and angles) from construction paper in colors similar to the original.  They glued them on to form their own musicians.  I found the original idea here in Parents magazine.

Miss M's version of Three Musicians

The Bug's version of Three Musicians

This was a bit too complicated for The Bug, although he did enjoy cutting.  It was a perfect project for Miss M.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Milking Cows & Tin Lanterns: A Farmer Boy Unit Study

One of the things Miss M is doing this year is an unit study on the book Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I have my Little House Series from when I was a child and have been waiting for her to get interested in them.  Finally, that day is here.  She is doing the vocabulary and discussion questions from Memoria Press, but we wanted to add a little bit of hands-on also. 

We enlisted the help of The Boy Scout to milk a cow like in chapter two.  Since we don't have real cows, I filled a rubber glove with water and poked a pin in the fingertips and he held it while they practiced milking.  I was surprised how much fun they had with this one.

Tin lanterns were another project we did.  We washed out two cans after I used the contents for dinner. (I used a safety can opener so the edges were not sharp).  We drew designs on them with a sharpie,

and then hammered a nail into the can along the design (while wearing safety goggles). 

When they were done we put a small tea-light candle inside and moved them to a room without any windows to see them glow.

 We ate popcorn and apples for a snack (it was too warm for a fire) like they did in chapter 3.  Miss M tried the experiment of putting a full cup of popcorn into a full cup of milk and was pleased to see that it didn't spill. 

We have only read the first four chapters, but they can't wait to see what happens next.

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Monday, August 17, 2015

First Day Back to Homeschool

Today was our first day back at school.  Usually we school year-round, but this year we took the summer off for our family's much-anticipated trip to Europe.  The Boy Scout will be attending our local high school (as a sophomore) this year, and he doesn't start for a few more weeks, but the rest of us were READY!!  Miss M is in Third Grade this year, and The Bug is in Kindergarten.

The Bug working on a phonics game from All About Reading Level 1.

Miss M reading from Our Life With Jesus (Faith & Life 3).  This will be her First Holy Communion year and we have lots of different resources on hand to prepare her.

Miss M making her shadow-clock.
One of the things we are trying this year is to give Miss M some projects that are completely her own.  One way we are doing this is through  She chose to work on the Astronomy patch and has already completed two projects.  For today, she logged on and chose to make a sundial for her third.  She set the timer and went out every hour to mark the sun's shadow on her paper plate.  Simple, but her pride in designing and doing it herself was wonderful to see!

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Asteroids, the Moon and the Sun

We are wrapping up our science year with the last few units in Real Science Odyssey's Earth & Space Science.  We did the work in the book (including charting the moon phases for a month) but added a few additional activities as well. Science is one of Miss M's favorite topics and she loves when we add hands-on work.

We read about the phases of the moon in several books, and Miss M made a book to help her remember them.

She is working on her Astronomy badge at DIY.ORG and needed to make a model of an asteroid.  After learning about meteors and asteroids she made this one out of paper and aluminum foil she spray painted black.

She also did this Parts of the Sun activity I found at The Wise Nest.  Miss M really loved this one, and there is quite a bit of information on each phase included.

Next up, we will be making a model of the solar system and investigating each planet in a bit more depth.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Our Weekend In Review

We are reaching that time of year (and age of kids) when most weekends are busier than our weekdays.  Thank goodness this was one of those sunny, warm weekends here in the Northwest.  On Saturday, The Bug had his very first T-Ball game.

 Miss M had her second week of Lacrosse, and her first Jamboree where she played three games in one day.  She was tired, but happy.  It is amazing to see how much she improves from week to week.

Sunday we decided to drive to Snoqualmie Falls and hike to the bottom for a picnic lunch.  The hike back up is fairly steep, and The Bug needed to be carried a bit of the way, but overall the kids did very well and it was well worth the hike for the view!


We did a little nature study along the way, and learned how the Hydroelectric dam worked as well.

Definitely one of my favorite trips we've taken so far.


Monday, March 9, 2015

Nature Walk to Big Four Ice Caves

When we moved back to Washington this Fall, Tony and I said that we wanted to expose the kids to the many nature activities within a few hours drive of home. This weekend we started with a trip to the Big Four Ice Caves in the Snoqualmie National Forest.


It is a four-mile hike.  At age 4, The Bug was able to hike most of the trip himself, although he did catch a ride a few times.

There were many fallen logs to explore along the path.

We had very little snow this year, and we are having an unusually warm spring, so there was only one cave left to view, the others had already collapsed.  However, it was still magnificent to see and well worth the trip.

This is a hike I can easily see us doing again.