Sewing Day

Last week was a usual flurry of activity. Some days it rained. Thanks to Grandma M the Magic School Bus DVD collection became a top item in the house.

There was also spring skiing and a lot of creative play.

The kids spent a great afternoon with their Aunty B last Wednesday. She is teaching them how to sew using a sewing machine!

I can’t say how excited they were to learn.

Aunt B started them out with a great step by step process.

IMG_2801

First, the Sewing Maze on paper.

They started out learning the parts of the sewing machine. They wrote each new word down.

They started out learning the parts of the sewing machine. They wrote each new word down.

IMG_2804

They learned how how each part moves and works.

IMG_2813

Aunty gave them each a sewing maze sheet. They used this sheet to write down the parts of the machine. Then they learned how to sew using the maze. Here Thiery is in deep concentration.

IMG_2818

Ronan sewing his maze.

IMG_2823

Zahra came back to it a few times before she finished it all. Learning to control the speed takes practice.

IMG_2824

The first item they sewed was a personal pocket or puppet. They could choose what they wanted to use it for. I say he looks proud.

IMG_2827

Getting those straight lines down takes practice too.

IMG_2829

So does learning to sew backwards!

IMG_2830

Their final product Aunty B taught them to make – Lavender Pillows! They chose their own material.

IMG_2833

They sewed half of the bag before they filled it with lavender. Zahra is cutting away any extra pieces of thread.

IMG_2832

Ronan’s finished product. All three sleep with their pillows at night now.

IMG_2838

Thiery enjoying the smell of her new lavender pillow.

The kids are learning a great skill.

Sewing teaches planning.

It’s a step by step process.

They problem solved.

They used creative thinking.

They applied patterns and sequence.

But most of all, they had FUN.

I love that the kids look forward to bedtime so they could use their pillows.

Thank you Aunty.

Advertisements

The Flow

Homeschooling is a different flow.

Some things work as planned, some things do not. Sometimes there are no plans, and the world flows naturally.

Some days are busier than others.

Both of my kids are active in various sports and activities. On the farm we are 30 minutes from town so on busier days we are usually home later in the evening. Because of this I try to keep busy-ness down to a bare minimum those mornings.

I am finding as I meet and talk to more and more homeschoolers a lot of the longer term homeschoolers are like this. Each year they better get to know themselves, better get to know their children and contrary to belief, instead of pushing them to learn more, learn faster, cram everything in and finish early, they instead slow down.

They enjoy their time with their children. They allow them to play, to explore more. They travel, they read, they surf, they ski, they build. They take it as a great time to build on their relationships. They go with the flow. 

How much am I going with the flow?

Yesterday morning my daughter asked if she could watch a specific video and then play a game on Brainpopjr. One thing that I am fairly strict on is the amount of screen/TV time my children have. This is not something I would usually allow first thing in the morning. But that morning I said okay.

Why not?

There was something specific that she wanted to see. Isn’t that why we do this? When our kids have an interest or curiosity, we let them follow it.

I let her watch and play on the computer. My son and I played chess. Then my son took a turn on the computer. 

It was actually a math game on number concepts, fractions, decimal percentages. Treefrog Treasure. I sat with both of them and we talked through some of the problems that were presented.

Which is bigger? 3/4 or  1/2? 

If you think of the decimal .5 as 50% where on the percentage line would that go?

When I was making lunch my daughter and I drew some fractions out. I would draw the “pie” and she would colour and then write out the fraction. My son soon joined us. We took out a measuring cup and compared the fractions on paper to where the fractions are on the measuring cup. 

It was a fun, quick, hands on lesson.

Remembering to just go with the flow.

We started playing chess using the Chess For Dummies board. It is a great way for young learners to understand and remember their pieces and how they move.

We started playing chess using the Chess For Dummies board. It is a great way for young learners to understand and remember their pieces and how they move. Ronan has now become an avid player. It is getting hard for me to beat him!

Learning fractions. Zahra's doodle sheet. Plus some play on words we were having fun with.

Learning fractions. Zahra’s doodle sheet. Plus some play on words we were having fun with.

Ronan and Zahra's fraction doodle sheet.

Ronan and Zahra’s fraction doodle sheet.

 

Patterns and Living History

One of my wonderful nieces is the same age as my daughter and she currently attends kindergarten twice a week. The other 3 days we are lucky to have her join us for homeschool. Today was one of those days.

Both girls wanted to paint their nails and toe nails. They chose their colours and met me in the kitchen. The had chosen 4 colours. 2 for their hands and 2 colors for their toenails. They had decided on a set pattern for both theirs hands and feet.

Before I painted their nails I asked them what their pattern was. They instructed me how the pattern should be painted. For example, their fingernails were to be orange, blue, orange, blue, orange, starting with their pinkie finger.

Pattern Fingernails

Pattern Fingernails

2 Element Pattern Toenails

2 Element Pattern Toenails

It was a great time to talk about patterns and what makes up the elements in a pattern. They both understood that each of their chosen patterns had 2 elements.

I also had nail decals for them. Unfortunately I only had 12 in total. I asked them if it was possible to divide the 12 decals in half, or into 2 equal parts so they both had the same amount.

They counted out 6 each. Their plans for decals on their fingers were twarted though when we realized their fingernails are too small for the decals I had. We decided to put a nail decal on each thumb and big toe instead.

After a Lego session and lunch they decided to go outside for the afternoon.

They were pretending they were very poor and have a plot of land that they have to live off of. They have to hunt for their food, build a home from what they have. Homesteaders. Historically this is how many people in this region started their lives just a few generations ago.

Two of the Homesteaders. Their Homestead house in the background. Ronan was off hunting for them with his bow and arrow.

Two of the Homesteaders. Their “second” Homestead house in the background. Ronan was off hunting for them with his bow and arrow.

They later told me that Ronan was hunting and they were cleaning to get ready for the mayor’s visit. The mayor was going to have supper with them and would determine if their home was clean enough. If it was clean enough they would be allowed to keep it. They were baking blueberry pie, cherry pie, and baked salad for the visit. (Yes, baked salad) Ronan was catching fish and prairie chicken for the dinner.

When they decided to come inside they continued their adventure. They fished from their "boat" using their Japanese wind socks they made at the Fine Arts Centre. Zahra played the fish.

When they decided to come inside they continued their adventure. They fished from their “boat” using their Japanese wind socks they made at the Fine Arts Centre. Zahra played the fish.

This is not the first time they have been Homesteaders. It is a continuous game that they play.

Living History.

I love that they have the time to play freely, create and imagine.

This is a link to our local provincial homestead history including original maps and records.

http://culture.alberta.ca/paa/eventsandexhibits/education/homesteading/default.aspx

 

 

 

Art Love and Links

I had purchased the book Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors a few months back.

Zahra took the greatest interest in the book and we read it a few times. She said Vincent Van Gogh still remains her favourite all time artist but she has a definite interest in Matisse. She created her own Matisse inspired cut-out.

Matisse Inspired Cut Out

Matisse Inspired Cut Out

Since then there have been days of sketching that stretch for hours at a time.

Both kids love searching online for a picture they have in mind to draw, or a video that they want to follow and use to learn how to sketch. They grab their materials and draw.

They Set Themselves Up To Draw

They Set Themselves Up To Draw

One excellent website they use and love is artforkidshub.com

They use different mediums, pictures that are fun and relevant to young people, and to top it off the artist’s children are the ones drawing on the video. I find my kids prefer videos and learning where there are other actual children that are in the creation process.

Artforkidshub.com Drawing Lesson

Artforkidshub.com Drawing Lesson

Zahra's Owl

Zahra’s Owl

Zahra's Drawing of Anna from the Frozen movie

Zahra’s Drawing of Anna from the Frozen movie

Ronan's Drawing of Captain Underpants. A favourite series of both children.

Ronan’s Drawing of Captain Underpants. A favourite series of both children.

I cannot say enough about why art must be a part of the learning process. This goes not only for homeschoolers, but traditional school as well.

Art naturally builds your creative thinking, critical thinking, verbal skills, creative problem solving and cognitive ability as well. The arts of course, include not only sketching and drawing, but music, movement and performance as well.

The beauty of art allows it to play a part in every element of learning. Drawing a map, acting out a history lesson or story, creative writing, adding your own illustrations to a story, writing lyrics or music for a song, studying art history, examining design, music or dance from a specific culture or country. It can stand alone or be incorporated into each project.

Ronan drew this as an illustration for an ongoing story saga that his grandmother has been telling the kids over many years. The story is about Polly the Polar Bear a miniature polar bear that travels the world. In this story Polly saved a blue whale.

Ronan drew this as an illustration for an ongoing story saga that his grandmother has been telling the kids over many years. The story is about Polly the Polar Bear a miniature polar bear that travels the world. In this story Polly saved a blue whale. Polly is walking on top of the whale in this illustration he made.

 

Ronan has an interest in learning the guitar. Before his lessons begin he has been using an online guitar lesson, listening to songs that have a strong guitar element (Led Zepplin and White Stripes are current favourites), and learning the parts of his guitar.

Ronan has an interest in learning the guitar. Before his lessons begin he has been using an online guitar lesson, listening to songs that have a strong guitar element (Led Zepplin and White Stripes are current favourites), and learning the parts of his guitar.

 

He decided to sketch out his guitar to diagram each part.

He decided to sketch out his guitar to diagram each part.

 

The Finished Diagram

The Finished Diagram

 

We are also adding activities and visits to the local fine arts centre in our area.

We love hearing of ways that others incorporate art and creativity into their lives and family. Do you also feel that arts education is crucial?

 

Here are some interesting links and studies on the value of art education in a child’s life.

http://www.edutopia.org/arts-music-curriculum-child-development 

http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG290.html

Ted Talks-

http://ed.ted.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&qs=art

Life Lessons

The month of February has brought many winds of change and life lessons to us.

Life is not a constant stream of perfect rainbows.

We faced two deaths in a matter of two weeks.

One of a long living great, great aunt from my side and the other of an unexpected suicide of a dear cousin to my husband. These deaths have brought room for many emotions, conversations and reflection for everyone.

Questions and thoughts on age and aging, physical health, mental health, depression, life, love and family.

It doesn’t seem right to post about our various homeschool activities without mentioning the impact that this has had on everyone.

Times like these can bring sadness and questions, but it also gives space for reconnection. It was wonderful to see the children reconnect with family that they had not seen in a long time and have the time to get to know others better.

They strengthened bonds and built new ones.

That’s what “socialization” is really about, is it not?

Rest in Peace Archie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diIzJ6hMJUk

Rest in Peace Aunt Velma.

Great Great Aunt Velma

Great Great Aunt Velma

 

 

What Do We Eat?

Homeschool allows for the time and freedom to do and explore so many things. Sometimes the list can become quite long. Sometimes we start one and get so excited about another that we leave the first, second, and third hanging.

I think we should take time to make sure we finish a few things that we have started.

It’s good to see a cycle through from beginning to end, is it not?

One small project that we had started, left and now picked up again is food and nutrition.

In our family we are conscious of our health and engage our children in many a discussion about it. We are active, try not to eat a lot of junk and processed food (SUGAR), cook fresh homemade meals, and love our greens.

No, of course we are not perfect with this.

We have a friend that is a nutritionist and she claims that the best way to stay healthy long term is to not follow a fad diet or eating style. Just exercise regularly and eat your balanced food groups.

Do you know what it really means to eat a balanced daily diet from the 4 food groups?

I did not. So, I thought it would be a good lesson for us all to take on.

We looked up our Canadian food guide online and printed out each food group with the detailed information on serving sizes. We talked about what the food groups are and what kind of foods fall under each category.

On the back of each food group we wrote down the suggested daily servings for everyone in our family.

The kids drew out a chart for each day, which Ronan later decided to do on the computer and print off instead.  (Good thinking Ronan!)

Drawing Out The Food Chart

Drawing Out The Food Chart

Zahra's Food Chart

Zahra’s Food Chart

They put the food groups on the top of their chart and each meal on the side. Ronan records how many servings of each food group he has with each meal and snack. Zahra just checks off what food group she is meeting with each meal. (Not only does this help with organization but it is another practical math exercise in charts and graphs which is a part of stats and probability)

Serving Sizes

Serving Sizes

Chart Layout

Chart Layout

Ronan Created The New Chart on The Computer. This is Zahra's. She Checks Off The Boxes To Track The Food Groups She Eats For Her Meals In a Day.

Ronan Created The New Chart on The Computer. This is Zahra’s. She Checks Off The Boxes To Track The Food Groups She Eats For Her Meals In a Day.

After reviewing their data the kids saw that we can be a little heavy on daily protein. (Ronan can easily go over his serving size in his morning egg consumption.)

Our grain consumption is on target, and fruits and vegetable servings varies based on the individual. (We have green shakes made in a Vitamix but almost everyday, but my daughter will consume fruit as a snack compared to a bowl of cereal that her brother would rather have.)

Milk and milk products strangely enough does not have any recommended serving sizes on the Canada Food Guide. It just asks you to refer to the nutrition information on the label of the milk products you are consuming. What do you think of that?

This has been a great practice for all of us in better understanding labels, what we are eating and leading a more balanced life.