Tuesday, September 27, 2011

More Vermeer

When I pulled this Venezia biography off the shelf my kids got very excited. They piled in close to me on the couch while I read aloud. They love all the biographies in this series but since they are so entranced by Vermeer at the moment they really got involved with subject.  I don't think this book filled in much that we didn't already know about Vermeer. The Chasing Vermeer book gives background on the artist, at least as much as is known about him. The two books did differ in the amount of children each claimed Vermeer had. One said 11 the other 15. I think I have read 15 from another source so I am going with that number. Other than this the essentials have all been the same. Mostly the kids just like to look at the paintings. So of course they had to break out the big book of Vermeer paintings again to look at their favorites.
They started to compare all the different paintings to find the repeating clothing and props in them.  I was going to do this for an assignment but I was happy they just did it on their own. I may still have them do some sort of writing assignment about his use of objects over and over again in his paintings.

While they were still engrossed in all things Vermeer I brought out some sketch paper and asked the kids to pick a painting to try to sketch. They thought Young Woman with a Water Pitcher looked easy enough. That is until they started to draw it.
Sophie's drawing of Young Woman with a Water Pitcher
All of a sudden they saw all the details. There were pains of glass in the window and the rug draped over the table and the map on the wall. I sat down and sketched with them for awhile and each tried their best to sketch this painting.

Henry's sketch

Ian's sketch

My sketch.

Sophie decided she wasn't done yet and wanted to do another drawing. She picked Girl with a Pearl Earring to attempt next. I encouraged her to add some color this time. We really need a decent set of colored pencils. I think I will have to ask Santa to bring us a few new sets of good colored pencils.
She loved how it turned out.  While she drew and colored, I added a little color to my sketch. The boys sat fascinated by my picture. They couldn't believe how "good" it looked.

I think the window turned out really nice but the rest is a little off. But then, I am my hardest critic. 
I am just happy my kids are enjoying some Art studies and especially glad they have kindled a love of Vermeer. He has always been one of my favorites.

Chasing Vermeer

We started a new audio book in the car a few days ago. I choose Chasing Vermeer to get us started on our study of Johannes Vermeer.  I didn't specifically tell the kids we were going to study Vermeer as our next artist I just put the audio book on and also picked up a large Vermeer book with all his paintings inside and had it sitting on the shelf waiting for them to discover it.
We have had a bit of driving around the last few days so we have gotten further into the book. As we were getting out of the car yesterday Henry asked me if Vermeer was real and if there really was a painting called Lady writing a letter.

We went inside and I showed him the big Vermeer book and we looked through the pictures to find the ones that the audio book mentioned. We found the Lady writing a letter and the Geographer which also was referred to in the book.

This is Ian's favorite one. He really wanted to find it in the book of paintings.

We aren't even close to finishing the audio book yet but we are already learning a lot about Vermeer. Hopefully I can squeeze in a little more art study into our day so we can do some fun projects like the ones on this Squido lens. I am happy with our start so far. I love it when a book introduces a topic for me. It draws my kids in so much better than if I just jump into something new and try to drag them with me.  So hopefully I will be able to share some fun things we do to learn more about Vermeer and his artwork.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Our Schedule is Full

I feel like we have over loaded our schedule. We have stuff planned for every day of the week. When I say stuff it is classes, activities or events on every single day. There isn't even one day where don't have something we are committed to doing or being at.

After a full day of school work my kids have music lessons on Monday. These are going very well by the way. My kids are playing songs and the method seems to be working well especially for Henry. Sophie catches onto songs rather quickly and Ian, when he is able to get practice in, works hard to master the songs. But Henry doesn't like my help and seems to squirm through the lessons but ends up playing the songs just fine when asked to play. It is sort of strange?!

On Tuesday Sophie has choir in the afternoon. She loves to sing and this choir gives her a chance to be with older kids who sing and play music. I consider this good exposure to kids that I wouldn't mind my kids emulating.  While Sophie is singing I take the boys and Molly shopping nearby. Thank goodness for a Target just down the street where we can waste an hour. Then we rush home so I can change and get to my Cycling class at the YMCA. I love this class and the kids play at the Kids Corner.

Science Class started this week on Wednesday. Ian and Henry are doing some hands on Anatomy and Physiology while Sophie gets to study Genetics and raise fruit flies. This of course means I have two hours, one with Sophie and Molly while the boys have their class and then another hour with Molly and the boys while Sophie has hers. I need to bring some work for the kids to do on their hour out of class to help the time pass more quickly. I am going to have to work on this.
Wednesday is also park day, so we have to rush home after science classes and squeeze in a few hours of work before heading to the park to play with friends.

Thursday has been our Library day for years.  The kids get to spend their hour on the computer playing Mooshie Monsters, Webkins, or Lego games while I play Reader Rabbit on the computer, legos (the library just got rid of the puzzles and put in a duplo lego table) or read books with Molly.
Sophie also has Activity girls Thursday night to which all the kids go. (My husband goes to the gym while we are out) There are usually a bunch of other siblings also at the church and my boys feel deprived if they don't get to go and play with their friends at the church.

Friday is Co-op. My kids LOVE Co-op. I get to teach classes for the littlest kids once or twice a month and lead the book club once a month. The kids get to run, play and sing with a bunch of other homeschooled kids.  I can't say much of Co-op is academic. It is mostly a chance for these kids to do things together in a group. They sing once a month at a nursing home too so there is a little service done as well.

So that is all the extras we have put into our schedules. I don't know how we have time to put everything else in. But somehow we get a lot of school work and life work done along with these things.

In History we finished up our chapter on Mummies and Pyramids.

In Science we are working on the Muscular System.

In Math Sophie is doing Fractions, Ian is working on Money and Henry is still working on Place Value.

Henry is working through Explode the code and beyond the code.

Sophie and Ian do Writing with ease one week at a time.

We are listening to a an audio book about Cleopatra and I am reading aloud Theodosia and the serpent of Chaos.

And we are plugging away the the Book of Mormon each day and are almost through 3 Nephi.

We even added in the Family Proclamation into our devotional time and focused mainly on the plan of Salvation.
Oh yeah.. I can claim some P.E. as well. My kids have been outside jumping rope and shooting hoops quite often now that the weather seems to be a bit cooler.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Daring and Dangerous

Sophie had a birthday last week. It was a nice quiet birthday with family. No big party with friend just a nice dinner with Grandma and Grandpa, aunts, uncles, brothers, parents, a sister and cousins.  Sophie got just about everything on her wish list.  She got Hermione's illuminating wand (I really hope Grandma didn't pay that much for it!). She finally had enough money saved up to buy Kanani, the american girl doll of the year. And she got a lovely jewelry box that is now storing all the little hair accessories she has collected for her American girl dolls. She also got a few books and other small things.

In an effort to find a game the Sophie enjoys playing on the Wii (Her brothers tend to monopolize the Wii with Lego Harry Potter or Indiana Jones or Super Mario Brothers) I bought a game called The Daring Game for Girls just for her.

I am glad to report that she loves it. It is the perfect game for this girl who usually would rather play Civilization with her Dad than play Wii which is always says she just isn't good at. There are trivia questions to answer as well as things to gather to make things and secret gardens to tend. She thinks it is great! I am happy she finally has a game she enjoys playing. The boys tend to think the Wii is just for them.

One nice aspect of this game is that it has sparked interest in the book. This week Sophie has been taking the Daring book for Girls around with her and reading bits of it as we drive around to our different activities.
Ian too has been carrying around the Dangerous book for boys as well. They both are constantly telling about the great new things they are learning. Ian has been folding lots of paper Airplanes and making paper boats after reading sections on folding paper. Sophie has been telling me about the lists of good books for girls that she found in her book and is surprised by how many she has already read.

I am glad to see my kids so thrilled and excited about life.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Letting things Slip

This ended up being a somewhat haphazard week. My husband had Monday off so my kids decided we all needed to have a holiday. We still read our Scriptures and some chores but Henry was very excited to play his new wii games that he got for his birthday.

The kids did start their new piano lessons on Monday afternoon. It is a group class and since all of them are pretty much at the same level it should work for now. It is a play based program rather than reading based. So the kids are learning to play songs first and then they will be taught to read the music. They have spent the week playing their new song over and over again. There is a DVD that the teacher sent us home with that goes over many of the things the kids learned at their lesson.

The rest of the week we did some of the normal things each day but we added in Choir and Co-op on their days, which added more places to be at a certain time. I am starting to feel like a chauffeur and we still have Science class to add in next week. I am feeling a little over scheduled. At least my kids all participate in these things together so I only have to go once to each rather than multiple classes.

We also had our excursion down to Santa Cruz and the Beach on Thursday which ate up most of that day. So we have had a hard time getting everything else into the hours we have left at home. I am starting to see that home schoolers don't often spend a lot of time at home.

We did start our chapter of Story of the world. We listened to the bit about mummies and started Cleopatra's mummification. We never made it to Pyramids which is the 2nd half of the chapter.

Science was just finishing up our lesson on the Skeletal system. We did do some workbook pages  and read the section about joints.

We only did three out of four days of Writing with Ease. This is becoming a habit. We end up skipping one of the assignments so we can start each week with a new story or reading. Dictation is usually the one we leave out.

We always fit in Math. That is the easiest subject lately to get my kids to do. The boys get to work on theirs without me and Sophie has a quick lesson on the new topic and then gets to work. I am around to keep them on task but that is about it.

We didn't do any Story Quest this week. We just couldn't fit it in. I will have to make sure we squeeze it in next week.

I also haven't been having my boys read aloud to me each day like I have in the past. They do read scripture aloud but usually I have Henry and Ian read a book to me. I need to get this back into our day. Henry really needs the practice.

We didn't do anything with our artist or musician. This always seems to get left out.

So I feel like we are letting a lot of things slip. We do still get a bunch of books and reading in each day so I know we are fine. I just can't seem to keep up with all the housework, classes and activities we have on the schedule.  I will have to reevaluate everything and see what we can do differently or maybe I am feeling this way because things are just getting started and we haven't found our groove yet. Once this becomes routine  hopefully I won't feel so frazzled and can see where to fit in some of those things we have recently been letting slide. 

Next week is full of possibilities!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Quick Beach Trip

My kids were very disappointed we didn't make it to the beach this Summer. I don't know exactly why we didn't make it to the beach. Perhaps it was because in June we went to Hawaii and spent a bunch time at the beach there. Maybe it was because it was a rather cool summer and it just never got hot enough for us to feel like we needed to go to the beach to escape. For what ever reason we never got to the beach. Summer seemed to whoosh right by us.

Today we had some business to take car of in Santa Cruz and since we were that close I told the kids we could also go to the beach. It was cold in Santa Cruz that morning. We were silly and only wore shorts and didn't bring a sweatshirt. But this fact didn't stop my kids from wanting to play on the beach. They put on their swim stuff and headed down to the sand and waves.

They didn't even seem to mind that the water was freezing.
Even Molly had fun jumping around in the waves.
How ever, after a few minutes in the water she quickly changed her tune and decided the water was not that fun.
She kept telling me she wanted to "go home now". But the other kids were having so much fun I couldn't pull them away yet.
Ian distracted her for awhile by digging for sand crabs. Molly loved this. Anytime you can get muddy is fun!
Until that really cold water washes in and fills your sand pit and freezes your legs again.
Henry and Ian had a great time just grabbing handfuls of sand and throwing them into the waves.
Mostly the kids just frolicked in the water that washed up on the beach. They weren't interested in getting too wet.  So when a few big waves rolled in they quickly ran for higher ground.
Sophie was so excited to find a whole sand dollar laying on the beach. It is rare for us to even find a shell that is complete it is amazing to find a whole sand dollar.
It was a lovely beach. I want to go back there when it is a bit warmer.

After about a hour at this beach Molly was totally done. Even wrapping her in a towel didn't stop the incessant repetition of "Go home, NOW!".
So I gathered up our stuff and told the other kids it was time to leave. They weren't excited to go. They really could have stayed a lot longer.

But we know who the boss is in our house. She who complains the loudest and most frequent wins most arguments. So we took Molly home for the bath she kept asking for.

So we squeezed in one short beach trip. 

My kids are happy! 

I need to go vacuum out the car.