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Homeschool Curriculum, Schedule and Checklist 2013 – 2014

Homeschool Schedules, Curriculum and Daily Checklists 8th, 8th and 4th Grades

Disclosure

We are very hands-on (Montessori-ish) homeschoolers and have been homeschooling for four years, headed into our fifth! This article is all about our homeschool curriculum, schedule and checklist for 2013 -2014. Chase and Gage both are taking high school level classes so we are now using transcripts. Thankfully our umbrella school, HomeLife Academy makes it easy with their new AppleCore Reporting System!

So many people think Montessori homeschooling is akin to chaos or unschooling without structure… But that is just not accurate, as you will see with the boys’ curriculum and schedule! It is FAR from unschooling and nothing remotely close to chaos! I have included with each of my sons’ curriculum section, their schedules and their daily checklists (which includes their home chores). Montessori focuses on independence in education and the realization that we are life long learners. The tools we are using (schedules and daily checklists) are very effective at keeping them on track, holding them accountable and giving them freedom within their daily schedule. You will notice lots of study halls on their schedules. With the exception of those virtual or co-op classes that have specific times that the boys must attend at a specific time, we allow them to do their work at any time each day, as long as it is done that day. Thus the study halls sprinkled throughout the day allow for that flexibility.  

Another aspect of a Montesori education is a particular focus on life skills. You will see on the boys’ daily checklist a variety of daily chores they do from vacuuming to washing clothes. And we regularly swap out chore lists to allow for the boys to learn all aspects of running a home. We have also taken practical life skills to the next level with a focus on entrepreneurship. We realize our children will be part of the next generations’ leaders. We believe they will be the generation that gets America back on the right track, from a spiritual, economic, moral, government and academic perspective. So we are teaching them the skills they will need to achieve that goal! Each of our sons has their own business.  Their businesses focus on agriculture simply because we live on a farm (and it is a great, wholesome and healthy place to raise boys). So, it is natural for all of their businesses to be farm-based… thus we call it “farmschooling”. However, if we urban, they might not have these same businesses, but they would have some sort of business to teach them about capitalism!  

We have gotten a bit creative in how we encourage the boys to grow their writing skills… we allow them to blog about their businesses and our homeschool on our homeschool blog. All comments on our blog are moderated by me and all of their emails forward to me, so it is very controlled and protected (as much as they can be in this fallen world). The boys are really loving this new avenue of communication with the outside world called social media! It will be a part of their world when they are grown, so we might as well teach them how to use it responsibly now!  

All of our boys have a focus and desire to go to college, so you will notice they are pretty aggressive in their workload. This is primarily based on what they are capable of. Do not use our classes or our schedule as a model of a typical child in these grades. Children all learn at different levels and at different paces. Don’t ever prevent your children from running ahead if they want to. My yougest son wanted to do algebra in 3rd grade because he was chasing his older brothers.  So we let him. He has since just completed the Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra curriculum (in third grade) and has started the Teaching Textbooks Algebra before entering 4th grade. Let them run and only slow them down if they are setting themselves up for a huge failure that you know they would not recover from. Don’t forget what our founding fathers were by the time they were sixteen years old. Be sure your children research them and know their character!  We have got to realize, as a society, we have failed miserably in preparing the next generation. It’s up to us to turn this around!  

I can assure you, we don’t have homeschooling or child-rearing figured out, but we are in a pretty good place right now.  We are so very blessed and realize where this peace and prosperity originates!

If you have any questions, leave a comment below or email me!  I’ll do my best to answer any questions you have!  

Chase 8th Grade Curriculum

8th Grade

Algebra 2 (VideoText)

Exercises in English H (Loyola Press)

Vocabulary in Action H (Loyola Press)

All About Spelling

Classics Club via Virtual Homeschool Group

Teaching Writing Structure and Style (Institute for Excellence in Writing) 

Biology (Apologia) via Virtual Homeschool Group

Spanish II Descubre via Spanish Clicks

Finish Paths of Exploration / Start TRISMS History Makers / Masterminds

Logic (Fallacy Detective and Books from Critical Thinking Company)

Biblical Worldview  (Philosophy Adventure and Young Historians Introduction to Worldview and our Bible)

Art II via Local Co-op

Photography II via Virtual Homeschool Group

Economics (Capitalism for Kids, Commonsense Business for Kids and Starting a Micro Business Carol Topp IEW)

Photoshop via Virtual Homeschool Group

Creative Writing: Blogs at www.LiveAndLearnFarm.com and Teen Book Reviews (Psalm onenineTEEN Reviews)

8th Grade Schedule

Daily Checklist 4th, 7th and 8th Grades

Gage 7th Grade Curriculum

7th Grade

Algebra 2 (VideoText)

Exercises in English G (Loyola Press)

Vocabulary in Action G (Loyola Press)

All About Spelling

Classics Club via Virtual Homeschool Group

Teaching Writing Structure and Style (Institute for Excellence in Writing) 

Physial Science (Apologia) via Virtual Homeschool Group

Spanish II Descubre via Spanish Clicks

Finish Paths of Exploration / Start TRISMS History Makers / Masterminds

Logic (Fallacy Detective and Books from Critical Thinking Company)

Biblical Worldview  (Philosophy Adventure and Young Historians Introduction to Worldview and our Bible)

Art II via Local Co-op

Photography II via Virtual Homeschool Group

Economics (Capitalism for Kids, Commonsense Business for Kids and Starting a Micro Business Carol Topp IEW)

Illustrator via Virtual Homeschool Group

Creative Writing Blogs at www.LiveAndLearnFarm.com and chronicals his business and homeschool at Deluxe Clucks

7th Grade Schedule

Daily Checklist 4th, 7th and 8th Grade

 

Blake 4th Grade Curriculum

4th Grade 

Algebra 1 (Teaching Textbooks)

Exercises in English D/E (Loyola Press)

Vocabulary in Action D/E (Loyola Press)

Handwriting without Tears Cursive

All About Spelling

Study of Classics 

Teaching Writing Structure and Style (Institute for Excellence in Writing) 

Exploring Creation Physics and Chemistry (Apologia) 

Spanish (K-6) via Spanish Clicks

Finish Paths of Exploration / Start TRISMS History Makers / Masterminds

Logic (Fallacy Detective and Books from Critical Thinking Company)

Biblical Worldview  (Philosophy Adventure and Young Historians Introduction to Worldview and our Bible)

Economics (Capitalism for Kids, Commonsense Business for Kids and Starting a Micro Business Carol Topp IEW) NOT REQUIRED

Art II via Local Co-op

Photography II via Virtual Homeschool Group

Creative Writing Blogs at www.LiveAndLearnFarm.com 

4th Grade Schedule

Daily Checklist 4th, 7th and 8th Grade

Curriculum spreadsheet for all three boys that we use as a GUIDE to keep us on track.  

Homeschool Daily Checklists

Hula Hoop Woven Rugs

Hula Hoop Woven Rug by Chase

Disclosure

As we discussed in our Paths of Exploration Columbus Unit Lesson 1, Part 2 post, we are discussing Bazaars and the items that you can find for sale in these open-air markets.  We have already mentioned spices being one of the items the explorers liked to bring back.  Another item the POE curriculum discusses is woven goods. They suggest the students design rugs on graph paper, which is fun and the boys are doing … but you know how we like to homeschool…. hands-on as much as possible! Therefore, we decided to create some of our own woven products!  For this project, we got our inspiration from Disney Family Fun, where they created Hula Hoop Woven Rugs.  

My boys have always enjoyed weaving and knitting (I guess from their Montessori school days), so we decided to try this one!   I hope you enjoy reading about our project, but I hope you try it too!  Put a link to your post in our comments if you do one!! I went back and looked at the Disney link after finishing our rugs. I just realized they only showed pictures of the rug being woven and before it was cut off the hula hoop.  None of the finished product?  I think I know why!  I’ll explain later.  

I guess it is a good thing that I had not gotten around to selling or donating the pile of old T-shirts and pajama tops, because that is exactly what we used to create these fabulous woven pieces of art!  We actually even had the hula hoops too, so this project didn’t cost much to do!

The oversized (hula hoop) looms and loops of T-shirt material make these rugs very easy to do for beginning weavers. It is a great way for them to learn the basic hoop weaving technique by creating a colorful rug to either hang or use as a rug. There are a few terms you need to know for this project: the warp is the material you string on the hula hoops, the weft is the material you weave.

The Materials List:  

  • Sharp Scissors
  • A Ruler
  • About a dozen colorful T-shirts (we used mens xl large for the warp material and old t-shirts the boys had outgrown for the weft material)
  • 30-inch hula hoop

 

The Directions:

Hula Hoop Rug cutting

1.  For the warp, cut 1-inch-wide loops from the bodies of several tees (we found a men’s xl worked best on our 30-inch hoop), we did not use the hem and stopped right under the arms.  You’ll need 11 loops per hula hoop rug.  For the weft, cut at least 50 loops from the remaining shirts (we used more on some rugs and less on others).  

2.  Stretch one warp loop over the hula hoop.  You don’t want it loose, nor do you want it tight.  It should fit snugly but not be too taunt.  

3.  Add a second loop, perpendicular to the first (Think of a + sign)

4.  Repeat, filling in the spaces in between, until all 11 loops are in place. (And if you are like me, you want to know if it needs to be 11, Yes it needs to be 11 loops, or another odd number)

5.  Push together two warp loops at the top of the hula hoop (just the two at one end, not both ends). This creates an odd number of warp spokes in your wheel, which allows the over/under pattern of the weft to alternate with each new row.  

6.  Secure the first weft loop to the center of one of the warp spokes (we used the doubled spoke from step 5) by wrapping it around the warp and then looping it back through itself.

How to Make a Hula Hoop Rug

7.  Begin weaving the weft over and under the warp spokes, forming a tight spiral. Not too tight though.You are treating both parts of each warp spoke as a single unit, weaving over or under the two together. As you work, push the weft material toward the center of the hoop and keep it just snug. If you pull the weft too tight, the rug will develop lumps or bends. When you reach the end of the piece of weft, add a new loop by threading it through the end of the first and back through itself.

8.  When your rug is about 8 inches across, begin treating each warp spoke as two individual strips instead of a single unit, weaving over or under each strand instead of going over or under the doubled spoke. This increases the number of warp spokes, improving the structure of the project. When you get to the two warp spokes that you pushed together at the top of the loom, separate them. Treat one of the spokes as two individual strips, but continue to treat the other as a single spoke. This maintains the odd number of warp spokes.  We did this step, but I think we will try another rug without this step and just see how it turns out.  

9.  When the rug is the size you want, but no closer than 5 inches from the edge of the hula hoop, snip open your weft loop.
Tie the ends around a warp spoke, and tuck the ends into the rug.    

10.  Cut the warp spokes off the hoop one at a time.  

11.  Tie the ends in pairs, then trim them to make a fringe or tuck them back into the rug.

 

Hula Hoop Rug Blake

 

Blake lost interest in making his rug about half-way through, so his rug is the smallest. But he did a great job and he enjoyed it! We had a smaller hula hoop that we should have used for him. Next time! He is hanging his on his wall.  

 

Hula Hoop Rug by Chase

 

Chase ended up with the biggest rug. He was the one that was sure the whole way through weaving that he was doing something (or everything) wrong. He loves his and his turned out just great! He wants to make another one now that we half-way know what we are doing! I agree!  

 

Hula Hoop Hat Gage

That’s my Gage. He can have a good time no matter what is happening around him. His rug was very tight in the center (maybe too tight), but once we started dividing the warps and weaving the two pieces individually, it seemed to change the way the rug would lay.  So, this is why we will skip step 8 next time to just see what happens. Gage is so creative, while weaving his, he would make the hula hoop go back and forth and said the rug was a speaker vibrating. He decided his was a better rag hat than a rug… But Gage loved his too, had a great time weaving and always has such a great attitude!  He wants to weave another one too!

Like I said earlier in the post, when I looked at all the other posts online where people were doing these rugs, I could not find one that showed the rug after it was cut off the hula hoop. I think that is ridiculous. Even if it didn’t turn out like you hoped, still show the end result! Why do so many people want us to believe their lives are perfect and everything they touch turns out exactly as planned? I think way too many people focus on perfection and completely miss the sheer enjoyment of the process and just doing it!  Mistakes are windows to discovery!  Journeys are where we find life!  When we leave for vacation, it starts when we leave our driveway, NOT when we arrive at the beach (or wherever we are going for vacation)…  We purposefully choose to live our lives enjoying the journey… and it is a choice!    

So there you have it!  We had fun and will make another rug soon (maybe even this weekend)!  If you make one, please share a link to your post in the comment section.  

This post is linked at Think Pink Sunday at Flamingo. 

Until next time…. 

 

Paths of Exploration Columbus Lesson 1 Part 2

Columbus Lesson 1 Part 2

 

Disclosure

As you know we started Paths of Exploration by Trail Guide to Learning for our summer all-inclusive curriculum experiment.  As we have discussed many times, we homeschool with a very hands-on (Montessori-ish) approach to education, so we are using lots of  supplemental resources to augment this course.  Our plan is to do the entire Paths of Exploration as an intensive study over the summer and early fall!  This post is about Paths of Exploration Columbus Lesson 1 Part 2.  If you missed lesson 1, part 1, you can find it here

Section A:  Copywork/Dictation.  Focuses on “Language Skills and Thinking Skills”.  As in the Lesson 1, it is from the original poem, A Journey of Adventure, written by the late Debbie Strayer.  We are enjoying this work and we are finding more vocabulary words to add to our list.  We work on these vocabulary words between classes.  

Section B: Reader. Focuses on  “Language Skills” skills.  More reading from our required books. 

Section C: Read-Aloud and Narration. Focuses on “Language Skills and Thinking Skills”.  Today the boys had to retell specific passages of portions I read in their own words.  Again, There are two required reading books about Christopher Columbus. One is Meet Christopher Columbus and the other is Christopher Columbus.  

Section D: Word Study. Focuses on “Spelling and Phonics”.  The words in Part 2 are the same vocabulary words in Part 1 and are too easy for even my nine year old. The boys “tested” (I asked them to spell each of these words individually and they all could) out of these and moved into more challenging words.  We did the new part of the section which provided the definition and you had to pick the word that best fit.  But, really it is still too easy.  Here are the words I added, if you would like to put some challenge in.  Unfortunately, they do not come from the reading… but we have used each of these words in our homeschool this past year.    

  1. frighten
  2. airtight
  3. birthright
  4. blight
  5. brighten
  6. delight
  7. enlighten
  8. insight
  9. knight
  10. nightfall
  11. plights
  12. weeknight

Another new part of Section D Word Study was to study the past tense of words. We were given words that we had to find the past tense from the read-aloud books from Section C.  This is still terribly basic, for middle schoolers especially.  Here is a hands-on work that could be used for a more advanced study of the tenses of verbs for the older students and a more well-rounded, hands-on lower elementary work can be found here.  We also did a study of the word “strange” and how it was used in the reading. The boys provided synonyms for the word according to how it was used in the different texts.  They all got it and used the word “strange” and its synonyms appropriately.  This section may end up being skipped altogether.  

Also in this section we discussed various cities and if they are situated on the Mediterranean Sea.  Again, I have no idea why this is in Section D when Section E is Geography.  But the boys absolutely love the geography aspect, so I’m not complaining!  

Section E:  Geography.  Focusing on “Thinking Skills”.  We studied what a bazaar is.  There are some discussion questions, but again, they are not terribly thought provoking.  We decided to take this section deeper.  We discussed what we might encounter at a middle eastern bazaar, the things you might see, hear, and smell.  We talked about the fact that they are usually open-air markets and what weather elements they might encounter and wondered aloud how they would protect the items they were selling… such as spices.  Speaking of spices, we wanted to experience what it might be like to walk into the spice tent at a bazaar.  Research shows the more senses you engage when learning new material, the more likely it will be remembered.  We made it a game, “Name that Spice Game“.  Be sure to check out that post.  It was fun (but there is a warning in that)!  

Native shop in a Calcutta Bazaar, 1867, William Simpson

Native shop in a Calcutta Bazaar, 1867, William Simpson

Section F:  Art. In this section we discussed how many of the items at a bazaar are handmade.  The text showed some rugs and discussed their patterns and where you might find them.  Then the boys were to draw their own.  This was fun.  We looked at many google images of African rugs!  They are so beautiful and vibrant!  

 

 

Hula Hoop Rug by ChaseBut, again, we like to take it deeper so we creating some of our woven products. We made a Hula Hoop Woven Rug!  You can find that post here.  We will be making an art hanging.  Be sure to check those posts out as well, I will come back and link them to this post as well.  

If you are looking for something a little less bulky, here is another weaving using a paper plate and yarn.  The blogger’s three year old daughter was able to do this one!  It is so precious!  

 

 

 

 

 

Eat Your Way around the WorldOne final piece of the Geography study that will always go over extremely well in my house is the cooking piece.  Remember Eat Your Way Around the World by Jamie Aramini is one of the required books.  We are to experiment with making dishes from Egypt and Morocco this week.  I will do another post or two about them!  

Section G:  Independent Reading.  As we discussed in Part 1, we modified this a bit so the boys will focus their reading on anything about Christopher Columbus for 30 minutes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays. I wrote a post to share what our library resources are, you can find it here.  

Thoughts thus far… there seems to be a lot of inconsistency.  I expected the sections to stay the same throughout the Unit… they don’t. I’m not sure this is a big deal, but it is not what I would have expected.  Also, I don’t understand why there is a section called geography, but some geography work is listed in other sections. Again, it just makes it inconsistent and a bit confusing… but NOTHING that you can’t work around or overcome. Thus far I can say I’m pleased with this product.  We will continue to augment the lessons with a more hands-on approach, but I am pleased and am really liking the idea of an all-inclusive curriculum.  I’ll give you more detailed feedback as we get further into the curriculum… but I’ll sum it with “so far, so good”.  

I hope the additional hands-on lessons are a blessing to you and your children!  Please leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking of this series… and if you decide to purchase it and use it… let me know!  I’ll be creating a blog roll for all of us with posts about Paths of Exploration sometime this summer!  

Until next time…

 

Paths of Exploration Columbus Lesson 1 Part 1

Columbus Study

 

Disclosure

Launch Day!  We started Paths of Exploration by Trail Guide to Learning today!  As most of you know, we homeschool with a very hands-on (Montessori-ish) approach to education, so we are using lots of  supplemental resources to augment this course.  We are doing the entire Paths of Exploration as an intensive study over the summer, so there will be lots of territory covered in my posts!   As I post these articles, I will also be giving reviews of their product in a real-world, running review of this curriculum. This article is about Paths of Exploration Columbus Lesson 1 Part 1.

 

Steps for thinking

 

We decided to do the upper elementary section for all of Columbus first and then circle back and do the Middle School supplement curriculum after we finish Columbus Upper Elementary curriculum.  That way, all of the boys have the foundation that the Upper Elementary curriculum lays first before we jump into a more extensive Columbus Middle School study.  Besides, we are just figuring out the style of this curriculum and I’m already seeing areas that need to be refined and cleaned up! But we are going to do Columbus Unit pretty much as it is presented in both the Upper Elementary and the Middle School texts with a few minor modifications. After we have completed both texts, we may decide to modify our approach.   

Section A is Copywork/Dictation with “Language Skills” being the area mentioned as the target for this section.  I really thought I would skip this section before we started, but I decided to teach ColumbusHandwriting without Tears pretty much as it is presented and I am glad I did (at least for this section).  It is good for them to hear poetry and to try to transcribe it from my dictation. Any missed words become part of their vocabulary words for that week. It was fun and it is a great way for me to keep their handwriting skills up. All of the boys are excellent at writing (Thank you Handwriting without Tears!)… and yes, they learned how to write cursive!!  The dictation was from an original poem by Debbie Strayer (one of the authors).  

Section B is Reader with “Language Skills, Thinking Skills, and History” listed as the areas targeted by this work area. This is where everything was terribly mixed up!  There are two required reading books about Christopher Columbus. One is Meet Christopher Columbus Meet Christopher Columbusand the other is Christopher Columbus.  Since the names are so close, it would have been helpful if they explained which one to read from (maybe giving the author each time).  

Section C is Read-Aloud and Discussion and the targeted areas for this section are “Language Skills, Thinking Skills and Writing”.  I have no idea why there are two sections both with a focus on reading aloud.  This is why it was confusing.  In Section B it says “read one or two pages aloud” but in Section C it states “listen as your teacher reads pages 1-6 aloud”.  The boys JUST read pages 1-2 aloud and now I’m reading these same pages again? I thought maybe I had the boys read the wrong book aloud, but no, it’s the same book Christopher Columbus.  So, this was confusing.  We have two hard copies of both these books for us to use but I also purchased a Kindle version of Meet Christopher Columbus and the boys all downloaded it onto their Kindles for Christopher Columbustheir read aloud sections.  I had all three boys take turns reading paragraphs.  The Bennie Rhodes book was not available as a Kindle download.  Anyway, they really enjoyed being able to read it from their own Kindles (and even figured out how to have their kindles read to them… LOL)!  The discussion question was terribly basic for this age group (What do you think Christopher Columbus’ dream was when he was a young boy?”.  Both books we read aloud provided the answer.  If you were paying half a second of attention, you would have this question answered.  Maybe that was the point for the first Lesson, but the boys could have handled a much more thought-provoking question!  

Section D is Word Study. The areas focused on with this section are “Spelling, Phonics and Vocabulary”. For this one the authors discuss “long I” words from the original poem that were part of the copy/dictation work from Section A.  This was very basic also for upper elementary students.  We did it but we will augment the next lesson to add more challenging words!  There was also a discussion here about the prefix “un” and how it was used in the reading from Sections B and C.  They provide an area for the students to list 6 words that start with “un” and define them.  This was pretty fun for them, but still very basic. 

un equals not

globe

Also as part of Section D we located cities in Italy on the globe. We loved this part and the boys did great… just one thing, the next section (section E) is Geography.  Why did they put this under Section D, Word Study?  I have to assume it was a mistake.  They also had to identify port cities in the US after defining what a “port” is.  With the help of the globe, they listed out several from both coasts.  That was a fun activity as well.  

Like I just mentioned, Section E is Geography with the area targeted being listed as “Science”.  Here we are learning about a compass.  We did the worksheets for the CompassRose-MPScompass but we also printed out this great compass work from Montessori Print Shop. Since we love hands-on learning, we decided to create our own compass. Here is that post.    

Section F is Writing with “Thinking Skills” being listed as the area being targeted. The boys were to list the details of Columbus’ birthday as described in the text.  Then list the details from a typical birthday for them.  In the student notebook is a Venn diagram where they would list the individual traits for each and the common traits.  Great exercise!  

Finally, Section G is Independent Reading.  At the beginning of the provided student notebook is a reading list. The independent reading section is meant to be just thirty minutes of fun reading. However, this is exactly what they do every night already, so we have modified this a little bit so they can read anything about Christopher Columbus for thirty minutes on Wednesdays and Sundays. We have quite a few Columbus books in our library from coloring books and picture books to exhaustive studies … so they should not run out of material to read for a while. I wrote a post to share our library resources, you can find it here.  One other modification I have made is I added in an art component.  All of my boys took Drawing this past year as an elective, so on Tuesdays and Thursdays, they are going to spend thirty minutes each day drawing something that is applicable to the subject we are studying.  They do not have to complete their drawings the same day or even the same week. I can’t wait to see what they come up with!  

We are year-round homeschoolers, however most of the curriculum the boys were working on during the year they have completed.  So this curriculum is a great way to keep many of the skills the boys have acquired over the year fresh and to dive into a new subject.  In addition to this curriculum, the boys are keeping their math going all year.  So their workload is dramatically reduced during the summer.  I know some may be wondering why we do this.  Well, we quickly realized after that first summer off from homeschooling that it was quite hard to get back into the routine.  We decided (with the boys) that we would have a dramatically reduced schedule, but would keep going during the summer months.  For me, this curriculum is an experiment.  I have been toying with the idea of using an all-inclusive curriculum for a couple of years;  one where all the subjects (with the exception of Science and Math) are covered and are integrated.  This curriculum may or may not be the right one for an all-inclusive, but this was a great one to test the concept with.  I’ll give you more feedback on that as we work through this curriculum.  I hope these posts will be a blessing to you and your family!  If so, leave me a note!  

Until next time…. 

We are connecting this week with the Ultimate Homeschool Link-up.  Be sure to visit them and the other bloggers linked there, they all have GREAT posts!  I especially love the Firefly one!

 The Homeschool Village

Are you an Art Vacuum Too?

So, as I was saying, Pinterest has become my new muse!  Up until now, I have never had time to investigate my creative side and to determine what my talent might be.  And it has been a gap in my life, my whole life… I was an “art vacuum”, if you will.  Completely devoid of any identified artistic gift.  I am the fifth of five children.  All of my siblings have talent, and they have not only identified their talent(s) but they apply their talents to help them escape the “busyness” of their chaotic lifestyles. Or, these gifts have become their careers.  Over the years I have jokingly explained that all the talent was distributed in the family gene pool by the time I came along… masking the blatant artistic gap with humor.  So, needless to say, as a mom, I have been determined that my children will not suffer this same artistic void!  Ironically, in my quest to offer them creative outlets, I am starting to find my own gifts.  And… through this process, I’m starting to realize the goal is not to find the one artistic talent I have, but in exploring all the possibilities.   

With that being said, I must admit, I’m not terribly creative yet!  In our homeschool we study artists.  We study not just their art, but their life.  We search for what inspired them, what experiences in life shaped them, and other topics such as, did they have a muse (a person, place or thing that inspired them). To assist in our research of the various artists, I created a research guide that you can download here: Artist Research Worksheet.  (Note this is for upper elementary or higher level research).  For a research form for younger students, HomeschoolWithIndexCards.com has created a great free artist biography form.  

 

Art Vacuum

 

One of the ways we get to know an artist is by exploring the artist’s chosen medium(s) and attempt to recreate one of their art works.  For this post, I’ll show our Starry Night and Van Gogh project.  It all started with this coloring page from MakingArtFun.com.  I found it on Pinterest and pinned it, not knowing exactly how we would use it in our homeschool.   (Have I mentioned that Pinterest is my new muse? LOL)  Months later, we were discussing Van Gogh and pulled out this coloring sheet.  Even though it was a stretch, we decided to paint Starry Nights!  And for an artistically challenged person such as myself, that was a stretch indeed!  I loved being able to use this coloring page to help me see the transitional points in the painting.  It really helped me paint this artwork!  So, if you haven’t tried this yet with your children, I highly recommend it!!  

We then needed to see the painting, in color, preferably large enough to study it.  One of the many sites I found was the VanGoghGallery.  It gave a beautiful vivid picture of Starry Nights, but it also gave some details about the painting, what was happening in Van Gogh’s life when he painted it, etc.  Another great site is ArtCyclopedia.

Once we felt comfortable, we spread out our materials on the kitchen table and started painting.  Here are the results of our study: 

And, my painting…  

I hope we have inspired you to just start exploring the possibilities in order to avoid being Art Vacuums!  

This post is linked at Think Pink Sunday at Flamingo.

Until Next Time…

Scrap Paper Wall Art on Canvas

scrap paper wall art on canvas

 

 

I don’t know about you, but a lot of my inspiration for art projects seems to be coming from Pinterest these days.  Pinterest has become my new muse! When I saw this scrap paper wall art on canvas pin last year, I asked the boys about us creating something similar in our homeschool.  They loved the idea!  And I love the idea of using old catalogues and magazines for something so beautiful!  

One thing I want to get better at is just being with my children.  Sometimes, I think homeschooling moms forget to just hang out and have fun with our children.  We always seem to be focused on the academics, but we need to step back regularly and just be. Remember we are their mom and they need plain ole mommy too!  This was one of those projects where we were just together.  We got the giggles after we realized that everyone had accidentally painted  our pointer fingers black.  There was no time table, no schedule, no right or wrong pieces of art.  It was laid-back fun and totally fulfilling!  We need to do this more often!  

The materials list is short and the directions even shorter for this art project, but I’ll list them out anyway.  

Materials:  

  • Art Canvas.  We used 11 x 14, but any size will do.
  • Black Matte Spray Paint (or any color of choice for your background)
  • Scrap paper (we used old catalogs)
  • Scissors
  • Glue (we used Aleene’s All Purpose Tacky Glue)

Directions:

1  Spray paint the canvas and let dry completely.  We painted very light layers and let each layer dry before adding another coat.  This process took less than 45 minutes.  

2.  Cut out scrap paper from any source.  I imagine even scraps cut from book print would look great if you used a more colorful backdrop.  We used lots and lots of catalogs.  I knew being on all those mailing lists would eventually pay off!  For my Montessori friends, if you look really close at the art piece in the upper right hand corner, you are going to see beads!  Sort of like the “Finding Waldo” prints!  I’ll never tell which catalog I cut up!  (hint, hint… the supplier was way too expensive for us to afford on our budget).  Finally, cut a circle for the center in a contrasting but complimentary color.  

3.  Organize the pieces on the canvas and glue in place once you like the shape and location.  That’s it!  

It was one of the most rewarding art projects we have completed in a long time.  Not because of the product created, but the process we used to get there!  I hung our pieces together to create a collage in our entrance foyer.  They serve as a reminder to take time to just be.  What do you think?  

Scrap Paper Art

 

 

Until Next Time…

2012-2013 Homeschool Curriculum

 

We have homeschooled now for four years.  This is our 2012-2013 Homeschool Curriculum.  Prior to homeschooling, our boys attended a small local private Montessori school, where I was on the board for the school. Our boys have reached the point of thinking and working abstractly, so most of the Montessori materials are no longer used in our curriculum. So what do we now?  Come & see!!

I am very thankful that we stumbled blindly into a Montessori school! It has been a complete blessing to our family and continues to be … it is how we approach learning, education and life in general. So, although we have very traditional homeschool material now, our approach is still firmly grounded in the Montessori pedagogy.

 

#1 (oldest son) 7th Grade:

Exercises in English G
Grammar / English: Loyola Press Exercises in English G
Writing:IEW / Beautiful Feet Geography Study
IEW Beutiful Feet Geography Literature
Literature: GA Henty Books (Cat of Bubastes) and Jim Hodges Study GuideCat of Bubastes
Spelling: All About Spelling 3-5All About Spelling 3
Vocabulary: Loyola Press Vocabulary in Action GVocabulary in Action G
 
Algebra: Video Text Algebra II (CLEP when complete!)VideoText Algebra
World History / Geography: Mystery of History IIMOH 2
American History / Geography: Paths of Exploration /Trail Guide to LearningPOE TGTL
Civics: God and Government Volume 1God and Government 1
Science: Apologia Physical ScienceApologia Physical Science
Logic: Fallacy DetectiveFallacy Detective
Foreign Language: Croghan Language Academy SpanishCroghan Language Academy
Economics: Starting a Micro Business for Teensmicrobus-workbk
Physical Education: Soccer, Karate
Scripture Studies: Torah, Writings, Prophets, NT
Electives: Art, PhotographyVirtual homeschool group name

 

 

 

(Middle Son) 6th Grade:

Grammar / English: Loyola Press Exercises in English FExercises in English F
Writing:IEW / Beautiful Feet Geography Study
IEW Beutiful Feet Geography Literature
Literature: GA Henty Books (Cat of Bubastes) and Jim Hodges Study Guide Cat of Bubastes
Spelling: All About Spelling 3-5All About Spelling 3
Vocabulary: Loyola Press Vocabulary in Action EVocabulary in Action E
Creative Writing: IEW / Beautiful Feet Geography Study
Algebra: Video Text Algebra I (CLEP when completes II!)VideoText Algebra
World History / Geography: Mystery of History IIMOH 2
American History / Geography: Paths of Exploration /Trail Guide to LearningPOE TGTL
Civics: God and Government Volume 1God and Government 1
Science: Apologia General ScienceGeneral Science
Logic: Fallacy DetectiveFallacy Detective
Foreign Language: Croghan Language Academy SpanishCroghan Language Academy
Economics: Starting a Micro Business for Teensmicrobus-workbk
Physical Education: Soccer, Karate
Scripture Studies: Torah, Writings, Prophets, NT
Electives: Art, PhotographyVirtual homeschool group name

 

 

#3 (Youngest Son) 3rd Grade

Grammar / English: Loyola Press Exercises in English DExercises in English D
Writing:IEW / Beautiful Feet Geography Study
IEW Beutiful Feet Geography Literature
Literature: GA Henty Books (Cat of Bubastes) and Jim Hodges Study GuideCat of Bubastes
Spelling: All About Spelling 3-5All About Spelling 3
Vocabulary: Loyola Press Vocabulary in Action DVocabulary in Action D
Creative Writing: IEW / Beautiful Feet Geography Study
Teaching Textbooks Pre-AlgebraTeaching Textbooks Pre Algebra Montessori Measurement (EDUTC)Edutc Measurement    Montessori Area and Volume from Houston Montessori Center
World History / Geography: Mystery of History IIMOH 2
American History / Geography: Paths of Exploration /Trail Guide to LearningPOE TGTL
Science: Apologia Exploring Creation Zoology 3Exploring Creation Zoology 3
Logic: Fallacy DetectiveFallacy Detective
Foreign Language: Croghan Language Academy SpanishCroghan Language Academy
Economics: Starting a Micro Business for Teensmicrobus-workbk
Physical Education: Soccer, Karate
Scripture Studies: Torah, Writings, Prophets, NT
Electives: Art, PhotographyVirtual homeschool group name

 

Note:  Items above are linked to my Amazon affiliate account.  The very small amount of money that we make from our affiliation with Amazon is used to augment our curriculum needs.  Photos are shared from Amazon.

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