Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

Posts tagged ‘art’

An Unschool Adventure

Last week was billing week, and exam week. Neither of those is a particularly simple or carefree time, and facing both at once proved – ahem, challenging.  Admittedly, I did have some say in the matter, and better planning would have resulted in a better week for all of us.

Even so, the trials we faced last week were eye-opening, and allowed us to realise and begin to address some issues.

Most glaringly, and the focus of this month’s “fix-it”, is Goldilocks’ approach to school. She’s doing much better than she was, and enjoys most of it. But when we have a challenging week, we tend to butt heads and each bit of learning has to be injected by force, it seems.

So, after some serious thought and prayer, we’ve decided to do a one month unschool experiment. I’ve blogged about unschooling before here, and now I’m ready to wade in and do some field research. I’ve agreed to a one-month trial. We’ll keep some of the basic school day structure, like Bible, Maths and Copywork. We’re also probably going to help a friend of the girls’ with his reading and art, so we’ll include those in every day. But most of the school day (and as much of the rest of the day as she likes) will be dedicated to learning about the things that interest her. Apparently we’re starting with woodwork and plastic injection moulding.

I, for one, am waiting in anticipation of the results.


Our God, the Artist

Yesterday was a Konos-n-Art day. Because I have SO much to do, and because I have been blessed with standard 24-hour days rather than the requisite 48 that would make it possible to achieve all I have to do, I have split the school day over two days. This means that on one day we do Maths & English, and on the next day we do Art & Konos, which includes Science, History, Geography and Biology. We do Bible every day, of course.

It may seem as though this is not enough school, and I certainly believed that would be the case. But the results of Goldilocks’ recent exams speak for themselves. 91.5% for English. 63% for Grade 4 Maths, and we’re only doing Grade 2 Maths in school! And 69% for the the rest in a combined exam. In this case, the exam covered work we haven’t done yet, and didn’t cover some things that we have done. So I think we’re okay.

But back to my story: yesterday was an Art day and a Konos day. Because we have just started studying birds in Konos, and because we are discovering the shapes in objects in Art, I thought it would be a good idea to draw a bird for Art. And because we had just studied camouflage as well, I chose an Ostrich (Tony Hart, of course). It’s South African, and it has fairly good camouflage. We drew the birds, then used watercolours to paint them (according to their ACTUAL colours), and camouflage them to the background. (Painting is SO teherapeutic!)

The Parable (and the point of this post)

While we were painting, Goldilocks said, “Mom, don’t you think life is like painting?”

Not sure where this was headed, I sagely nodded and said, “tell me more.”

And here’s the parable she relayed:

“God is the Artist. The Holy Spirit is the Water, and we are the paints. Without the Water, the paint is dry and doesn’t really make any colour at all. With a little bit of Water, a picture starts coming, but it only really looks like anything with a lot of Water, and a gentle stroke from the Artist. The more Water you use the better the picture, and if you use a lot of Water, you just get a hint of the colour, and a very realistic picture because of the gentle shading the Water creates.”

Isn’t that a beautiful picture of our relationship with God, the Painter of our Masterpiece?

So we didn’t bake …

Yesterday I commented that I would much rather be baking than working. (Story of my life). I didn’t bake and I DID get some work done. But I also stumbled across this amazing art lesson site, which just reinforced my recent life lessons, namely: when you need something, it comes the moment you need it, not before (even if you identify the need before the time).

When I created my timetable yesterday I had specifically set aside time for art every day. We’re an arty family (my mom’s a professional!)  and the girls love to express themselves visually. I have some books on the subject but they’re not great and I don’t know the first thing about teaching kids art.  I’d pretty much decided to start with the simplest of the books when I found the site on Home School Year (thanks for posting it!).

So I set the girls to creating Peaceable Kingdom pictures, along the lines of the work of Edward Hicks and Henri Rousseau, the results of which can be seen below. How I love the internet!




The student will learn about artist Edward Hicks. The student will look at paintings of “The Peaceable Kingdom” and create their own Peaceable Kingdoms. The student will compare the work of two artists. The student will learn how to layer with color pencils (or whatever drawing material you select. Crayon resist might also be nice)


Incredible “Illusions”

Goldfish by Riusuke Fukahori. The bowl is real, the rest is painted. Seriously.

Goldfish by Riusuke Fukahori. The bowl is real, the rest is painted. Seriously.

As we’ve been studying optical illusions through the Trust unit of Konos, we’ve been blessed by family sharing their finds with us on the subject. Today my sister directed me to this site, featuring the work of extremely talented Japanese artists Riusuke Fukahori. Using a complex process of painting layers of resin then allowing them to dry, he creates the most phenomenal 3D goldfish I’ve ever seen. (Okay, the only 3D goldfish I’ve ever seen that haven’t actually been goldfish). If I hadn’t watched the video, I would never have believed they weren’t real goldfish! (I still have a way to go on the whole trust thing).

Click here to read the story and especially watch the video. Seriously, don’t miss this one.

More sweet sayings

My darling daughters keep me so entertained and amused. This week included another wealth of gems from their sweet little lips, and as usual I have forgotten most of them (there are so many!).

On Friday, when we butchered the eyeball, I was doing revision of the week’s work with the girls. As you know, right now we’re working through the sense of sight as part of our attentiveness study unit. So I asked, “What do you call animals who see best at night”. Both girls immediately chirped, “Nocturnal!” Delighted at my obvious success as an educator, I continued, “and what do you call animals who see best during the day?”. There followed a few minutes of uncomfortable silence. Finally DD#1 replied, “uuhhh … di …. diversional?”. (It’s diurnal, as you know, of course). It was made so much more amusing by the fact that DD#1 is our so-called “ADD” child, so diversional indeed.

Today, to extend the theme of Looking Closely at Things Around Us, the girls are sketching things, and colouring them in. This involves feats of genius for DD#1, a talented artist, who has successfully transformed two tiny little necklace charms into large scale Manga animations (very accurately proportioned according to the aforementioned charms’ dimensions), with detailed and intricate storylives wandering clear across both sides of three sheets of A4 paper. All in grey-scale, of course, for this is She Who Eschews Colour.

In the meantime, DD#2 has somehow persuaded Mother Dear (that’s me) that it is every bit as educational for  her if I draw the picture and she colours it in. Needless to say, it needed to be a Princess. As is so often the case, it was a fait accompli some time before I realised that I could have – nay, should have – said “no”, and insisted that she draw the picture herself.

However, that isn’t the funny part. DD#2’s super powers at controlling and manipulating those around her to do her spun-sugar bidding are legendary, yes, but hardly new. (You’d think we’d be better prepared by now).

The funny part came while she was colouring in the Princess. She neatly stuck a pink, purple and light blue pencil crayon between the clenched fingers of her little fist and said, “Look, Mommy! Wolverette!” (As in, “a girl Wolverine“). I literally laughed out loud.

(Yes, my six-year-old daughter probably shouldn’t know who Wolverine is, but her closest acquaintances and friends include ten-year-old boys. And I thought making the name feminine all by herself was very clever indeed, Not to mention hilarious).

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