Posts from the ‘Art’ Category

Play While You Play…..

I mainly have pictures this week. We decided to take the week off. We had a few days of 70 degree weather (that ironically came right after an ice storm that put our county in a state of emergency) that were just screaming for a field trip. So we headed to the Greensboro Science Center on Monday…..

03100001 03100002 03100005 03100006

The  Museum of Life and Science on Tuesday…..

03110002 03110006 03110010 03110013 03110014 03110015

And finally the Children’s Museum of Alamance County on Wednesday….

03120001 03120002

On Thursday, I decided to clean out the girls’ room and rid it of the junk they have been collecting. This was greatly facilitated by a little pre-purge chat with Sassafras about the difference between treasures in heaven and treasures on earth (not to mention the (not so) few things that I thought didn’t belong in either category!).

The only schoolwork we did all week was two math lessons, and for Sassafras, I think she also did half a page of Latin. However, we had to get art in, so on Friday we tried out a lesson from Atelier Art, which I borrowed from a friend. They were to draw a tree(s) starting from a seed, showing different branches and the roots. I’ll leave you with their finished products! I hope everyone had a good week!

03140001 03140002 03140003 03140004


Ice Storms, The Grinch, and the British Zebra

How awful is this? We’re in week 27 of our school year, and I’ve written zero reports. That pesky little thing called “life” just keeps getting in the way! Well, today I’m sitting here looking at this:

Image Image

There’s nothing really to do other than stepping around scattered Lego Duplos with my cold feet and drinking decaf. Today happens to be the umpteenth snow day (or ice day today!) for our public school friends, making the public school schedule this year actually relevant to our life for the first time. Saturday make-up days affect rec league sports, Scout activities, etc. Well, even this Saturday’s scheduled make-up day has been cancelled due to the slushy mess, fallen trees, and power outages. Sigh.

So what have we been up to this year? Fourth grade, second grade, Kindergarten, and preschool. Cub Scouts, American Heritage Girls, soccer, and basketball. Geomissions: Latin America (which reminds me…I need to start working on my Argentina presentation), teaching a bit of piano, and, of course, church involvement. That’s why I haven’t written anything all year. I’m slap worn out! The fact that I’m sitting here now and typing this probably means I’ve forgotten about something else I should be doing. Well, until I’ve discovered what it is, I’m going to try to write a few coherent words about our homeschool this year.

For history this year we’re working through Tapestry of Grace Year 4. Right now we’re about to finish up the Vietnam War. For science we finished Apologia’s Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures last week. We desperately need a field trip to an aquarium to sorta wrap things up. Unfortunately, the closest we’ve gotten is ordering calamari as an appetizer a few weeks ago. 🙂 Meanwhile, I’ve decided to change gears a little bit in science, and this week we started Science in the Beginning by Jay Wile. The next book in the series, Science in the Ancient World, is coming out next month, and I’m very interested in maybe using it next year while we’re going through ancient history. I really love Apologia and will probably read through some of the other books during upcoming summers….assuming that I like Wile’s series enough to stick with it. So far we’re having a lot of fun with the first chapter on light. Although, cramming four kids and myself into our 15 sq ft half-bath to do “dark room” experiments has been a little trying.

I’ve tried to stay on top of art and music this year with Harmony Fine Arts 4, although I did drop the ball in the middle of the year with George Seurat and Maurice Ravel. I managed to pull things back together for Picasso and Rimsky-Korsakov, and now we’re in full swing with Georgia O’Keefe and Stravinsky. We’ve done a good bit of art with chalk pastels this year, mainly copying paintings in a Drawing with Children-style. This week, instead of doing O’Keefe style art, we decided to draw Dr. Suess characters in honor of his birthday. I included the drawings in the individual sections below. The Grinch is rather popular in our home! Here are a few of our art projects from this year. The duck is Z-man’s and the Picasso belongs to Sassafras.

08210015 IMG_2 IMG-2

I’ve been trying to do better about read-alouds this year. Recently we’ve read It’s a Jungle Out There, A Wrinkle in Time, and The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks. At the moment we’re reading The Magician’s Nephew.


This year Sassafras has really been enjoying AHG. We’ve gone camping a few times, and she’s gotten really good at tying knots. In the picture below she has used a double half-hitch and a taut-line to tie herself to her chair. Now if she would just tie the Z-man to his chair!!


Sassafras has a full plate this year….probably a little too full. She’s doing a good bit of stuff from Memoria Press, including First Form Latin, D’aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths, Christian Studies II, Classical Composition: Fables, and Geography II. And then there’s math, grammar, spelling, CLE Reading, and of course, the history and science that I’ve already mentioned. What have I done to her?! Ack! No, really…it hasn’t been impossible…although I have let her cut a few corners here and there when I felt things were getting a bit much. The Greek myths are really something extra that she could have done without this year, but she’s been learning a lot, greatly facilitated by the audio book (Yes, we outsource the pronunciation of all those Greek names to other people…and we don’t feel guilty about it!).



The Z-man just completed his Wolf badge in Scouts. He’s a little disappointed that the Scout camping trip was cancelled this weekend due to ice. 😦


I finally threw in the towel with Rod & Staff Math once he finished Math 2. It’s just not worth the fight. He sees the page of problems and completely shuts down. I’ve switched him all the way to Singapore, which we were just using as a supplement before. He does much better with it, although I don’t like how it’s arranged, and I really want a traditional math program mixed in. I don’t think it has enough practice or enough review. Of course, the small number of problems gets two thumbs up from him! I’m thinking about having him do Teaching Textbooks next year along with Singapore. He’s enamored with anything on the computer, and he’s already enthusiastically completed all the sample lessons online. We’ll see. I need to find it at a good used price.

In art this week, he decided not to jump on the Grinch bandwagon. The Z-man presents the Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz!


Little Man:

Little Man is doing so well on his reading! He’s finally able to sit and read early readers all by himself, so we got him his own library card a few weeks ago. He finished Sonlight’s Grade 1 Readers today. Woohoo!


Right now Little Man has his first loose tooth. If it doesn’t fall out soon, one of two things (or both) is going to happen: He’s going to either starve to death or I’m going to pull my hair out from all the drama.

BREAKING NEWS! Little Man has just lost his first tooth while eating popcorn! The tooth in question is now missing, either mixed among the popcorn kernels or in his stomach. Z-man suggested we search his poop for it.

Image 03070006


Doodlebug will be four years old this month. She’s expecting great things, including pierced ears (not!), no rail on her bed (probably), playing with her sister’s Playmobil and Legos (“Not likely,” says her sister), and graduating to “big kid” status (She’ll be four going on twelve). The world is a brand new place when you’re fowuh!

For preschool she does a few Kumon workbooks and has just started the Explode the Code phonics primers. We tried a few months ago, but she was hearing cows and sheep at the beginning of “fence” rather than an “f” sound. 🙂 I think she’s finally getting the hang of it. She has also really enjoyed Teach Your Monster How to Read, although she does snicker at the British pronunciation of zebra. Do the British really say it with a short e? I had to consult the dictionary to confirm that they do.

11020049 IMG_0001_3

The Rest of Us (Me, Hubby, & Max, a.k.a. The Dog Who Forgets He Was Rescued):

This year I think we’ve been running on pure coffee. (We bought a Bunn. It produces caffeinated heaven in three minutes.) Well, no coffee for the dog. He probably needs a valium. I don’t think he and Doodlebug mesh too well. He has a secret plan to frame her for some massive disaster in hopes that she will be kicked out of the house. However, keeping Doodlebug around guarantees that he will– at least a couple times a week– receive breakfast or supper twice, not to mention receiving numerous dog treats from her hand while the rest of the family isn’t paying attention. He’s currently weighing the pros and cons.

In our spare time we watch a little Doc Martin and some other British shows. I try to get some reading in when I can. I’m currently reading Moby Dick….and I’m stubborn enough to get through it. However, they haven’t even made it on the ship yet, so maybe I shouldn’t be so optimistic. Actually I really have enjoyed the first 16% (Kindle-ese).

And some weeks I get in on the kids’ art. By Friday afternoon my brain is fried, and it helps to do something different.


And finally, since so much time has passed since my last update, I want to include a few of my favorite pictures from this year. Enjoy!

At the dock in front of the house... - Version 2 11160029 11160019 11160016 09180008 09170069 09170050 09170031 photo_1  09160042 09160026 09160011 07250004

Summer Art: Abstract – Acrylic on Canvas

Harmony Fine Arts Summer Art Plans

IMG_0002_1 IMG_0003 IMG_1 IMG_0001_1

Summer Art: Sunflowers – Oil Pastels

Harmony Fine Arts Summer Art Plans inspired by Van Gogh Sunflower Art Lesson

IMG IMG_0002 IMG_0001

Summer Art: Castles – Oil Pastels and Watercolor

Harmony Fine Arts

Image Image Image  IMG_0006

Beyond the Frame

Ten years ago on September 11th, 2001, in the midst of the chaos of the attack on the Twin Towers, it was reported that rescue workers attempted to assist a seemingly stunned businessman in Liberty Park, only to find that he wasn’t a real person. He was a sculpture. The sculpture, entitled “Double Check”, had been created by J. Seward Johnson, Jr. and placed in Liberty Park in 1982.

Several weeks ago as I was driving down Main St. in our little town, I wondered about what sort of party was going on on the lawn of the Alamance County Arts Council building. A few days later I drove by in the late evening  and saw the same party! It turned out that I had been fooled by one of the Johnson’s sculptures. I soon discovered that we had a great new art exhibit in town!  Beyond the Frame: Impressionism Revisited is an exhibit featuring  Johnson’s sculptures inspired by the paintings of Claude Monet, Pierre-August Renoir, and Edouard Manet.

The “party” that I had seen on the front lawn is entitled Were You Invited? and is based on Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party. Johnson, in a sense, “recreates” the painting, while at the same time filling in many details “beyond the frame” from his own imagination.


Some of the details added by Johnson are small (or maybe sneaky is a better word), and one really needs to be there to fully appreciate them. However, one large addition gives the piece its name. Johnson adds himself and some of his artist friends as party crashers at a back table. They are all dressed in modern clothes and are “drinking all of Renoir’s wine”. A man in a top hat is brandishing a cane and demanding to know “Were you invited?!”

  One thing that makes this exhibit particularly unique is that visitors are encouraged to photograph, touch, pose, and become a part of these life-like pieces of art. Here’s a pic of the Z-man as an “uninvited guest.” Stay away from the wine, Buddy. You’re a little too young.

 Also near the front lawn is a 20-foot recreation of Renoir’s Dance at Bougival entitled A Turn of the Century. Those are my children and my mom standing in front of it.


On the lawn is also a sculpture entitled A Thought to Consider,  inspired by Edouard Manet’s In the Conservatory. This one is just right for posing. As you can see, Little Man was VERY suspicious of this entire exhibit. He was ready to leave as soon as we arrived.


One other lovely exhibit outdoors is called On Poppied Hill, and it’s inspired by a combination of two of Monet’s paintings, Field of Poppies and Woman with a Parasol–Madame Monet and Her Son. Monet is also shown painting this picture “in the open air.”



When you enter the indoor exhibit, you’re greeted by Vincent van Gogh’s landlady. The sculpture is painted in the style of Van Gogh.


Also, as part of the indoor exhibit, is a remarkable recreation of Monet’s La Japonaise. Sassafras was a little shy about posing with her own fan.


Finally, I want to mention another recreation of a Renoir painting. Pondering the Benefits of Exercise is inspired by Lunch at the Restaurant Fournaise.

We thoroughly enjoyed this exhibit and a fun time was had by all. Well, almost by all. Little Man was finally happy to have his picture taken on a bench with his siblings….sans sculptures, of course!