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.

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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.

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They learned how how each part moves and works.

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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.

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Ronan sewing his maze.

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

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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.

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Getting those straight lines down takes practice too.

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So does learning to sew backwards!

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

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

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

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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.

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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

What I Missed

Last week I felt like I was missing something. Like we were missing something in our school days.

Something that I know we all enjoyed, that we still do from time to time, but in different ways and not to the extent that we had been in Jamaica and Korea.

Now I understand that maybe it is just the natural progression of learning, but I still miss this activity. 

Art.

The creation, study and appreciation of art.

I spoke with my kids about how I was feeling and asked their opinion. They agreed.

So during our morning reading time that we always start our day with the three of us looked at a book my mother-in-law had lent me about Pablo Picasso’s Guernica.

Last year in Korea we had done artist studies on Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, and Gauguin. Both Gauguin and Picasso had featured exhibits, the first at the Seoul Museum of Art and the other at the Seoul Arts Center(SAC) so they were timely artist studies. 

Gauguin did not capture them as Van Gogh and Picasso did. (I admit, I am more of the Gauguin fan) Their favourite paintings are Starry Night, and Starry Night on the Rhone, but they were fascinated with the story behind Picasso’s Guernica. 

So last week we looked through the book Picasso’s Guernica – History, Transformations, Meanings by Herschel B. Chipp. The book is a bit intensive for younger readers but offers excellent detail on that particular painting, showing the research, planning, photographs and sketches that went into the large piece. 

We talked about the details and the small parts that really came together to make it (Guernica) whole. We talked about the sheer grand size of Guernica. 

Then Ronan announced, “okay, I’m done, I want to draw now.” Zahra declared she was going to paint, told me the materials she needed, and they both set themselves up to create.

Starting Out

Starting Out

Beginning Painting

Beginning Painting

Ronan was very adamant that he was creating only what he wanted to, his ideas that he currently had in his mind. I just helped them with materials set up and left them to work. 

Ronan worked for a hours. Drawing, taking a break, coming back to it, cutting, talking about his ideas and sharing them with me as he worked. He took the entire morning on his piece. 

Part Of The Process

Part Of The Process

Cutting Each Design

Cutting Each Design

Placing and Pasting

Placing and Pasting

Zahra sat and painted until she was done, no breaks in between and promptly wanted to display her work when she was finished. 

The Painting

The Painting

Zahra's Finished Piece

Zahra’s Finished Piece

Both pieces were beautiful and unique to each person. 

Ronan's Finished Piece

Ronan’s Finished Piece

As I watched the kids work I remembered what I was missing about our art days.

It wasn’t necessarily the actual pieces that we were creating that I missed, but it was what those art days created for us. A chance to express our thoughts, ideas and emotions in another form. A chance to express something we had learned in a colourful or abstract way. Most importantly, what I missed was the beauty and calm that the process creates for us.