Tapestry of Grace-Year 2 Unit 1 Artwork Projects

Back in my post about how our family included some extra projects for art and music, I promised to share a few results. Although the plans from Tapestry of Grace include some art projects, many time we have already done something similar and we are interested trying something new. I do a quick look through the topics for each week and come up with a few ideas to build on.

We always start with the Story of Painting pages that are assigned most every week and then we will use the internet to find additional examples to use for picture study. After that, I try to offer some sort of activity that will be refreshing at the end of a busy academic day, two times a week.

Here are some photos of the unit one art projects that we have completed.

In week one we viewed lots of illuminated manuscripts and then the boys tried their hand at a fancy letter. This is one of the finished products.

In weeks two and three we worked on mosaics after studying Byzantine artwork. It was the first time that we had tried using actual mosaic tiles and grout to make a piece of artwork. We learned a lot of things in the process. We used too much grout and we didn’t wipe it off soon enough so our finished project is not as colorful as we had wished for.

I decided to frame them and hang them in the bathroom and then when we get some free time we will complete another project and see if we can get the grout right. The one on the left is an octopus and the one on the right is a fish with bubbles. 🙂

In week five I gave the boys a pretty open-ended project idea. They were to use Sculpey and make something Viking related. This is one project that my son made…a sword. He also wrote a report on the use of the sword to go along with the artwork for our unit celebration. The other son made a model of a Viking masthead that looked like a dragon.

In week eight we used a kit to work with Chinese brush painting. (ISBN 1560108452) The first day we experimented with the brushes, paints, and the ink. The brushes were so different and were fun to try different techniques with and we filled a few sheets with color and line.

The second day we followed the instructions in the book to make an actual painting.

Here is a frog done with Chinese brush painting….very nicely done.

Week 9 found us designing and then drawing a stained glass image on a window. Once the boys got started, they really enjoyed the process of coloring in the window. They had a hard time getting the curves right and both came up with creative ways to do it.

Unit one moved pretty fast but I know that the art projects helped pull all the ideas together. They also had a lot of fun working each week and we are looking forward to the next unit where we will be starting the Renaissance time period.

I will post our plans for unit two when I get them all pulled together…..soon I hope. 🙂

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

A System of Narration

Our narration system in our family has been in place for a number of years now….I used narration more with my last two children than I did with the older two. What a world of difference in the quality of our homeschooling. As the boys have learned to express themselves both orally and with writing, I have seen the value of steering clear of fill in the blank type work. When they are excited to tell what they know because they have listened or read carefully, it is more meaningful to all of us. I *know* they understand the material and will more than likely remember what they narrate.

Our general progression of oral and written narration in our homeschool:
1st and 2nd grades: We worked on oral narration of literature, history, and science readings. This was done everyday as we went through the day’s reading together and if they needed it, I would give them some prompts to get them started. We did very little written narration and at most a sentence or two that was more like copywork than narration.

3rd and 4th grades: We worked on short written narration, usually a paragraph, two times a week and still completed lots of oral narration every day. If they had trouble with the written narrations, I would have them give an oral narration and then I would write their words on the whiteboard for them to copy down on paper. This seemed to be a great way to transition to longer written pieces. Somewhere I read that writing is just “talk on paper” and that made an impression with me as we started moving from an oral to written narration.

5th and 6th grades: We began expecting more written narration in the form of longer writing responses to a topic from history, science, or literature done once a week. The boys completed short written narrations everyday on a variety of subjects, usually something they were interested in and could give thorough coverage of the material. We continued with more informal oral narration just about every day around the lunch table or the dinner table about what they read during their school day.

7th and 8th grades: At this level, I start to give the boys more leeway about what form their narration will take. It seems like just about every subject lends itself to a certain kind of narration and we go with that. History seemed to be an appropriate place for written short summaries each day. The boys did oral narration for everyday science readings. They completed longer written narrations each week for science about a topic of interest. They also started keeping narrations on artists and composers. Nature journal narrations were made each week.

In addition to writing words as a form of narration, the boys included hand-drawn maps, illustrations, clipart, and other creative touches to their pages. I have one son who has trouble with the physical aspects of writing. He will use a pencil and paper if he is asked but if given a choice, he will choose to type up his narrations. I allow him to now type all his written narrations and the quality of content has gone up ten-fold. We are both happy.

Here are some examples of their narrations from last year when they were 11 and 13 years old. Some of the scans are goofy but you will get the idea….I need to get the boys to write with a darker lead. 🙂

History with written summary and hand-drawn maps. (I think the books were The Story of Liberty and The Age of Revolution.)

Here is a notebooking page that was used for history narration, a collage report format narration, and a written narration for composer study. I consider notebooking pages a great way to record a narration….some may disagree but it works in our family.

Now for a couple of science samples. Once a week, I ask the boys to pick a topic from their reading and write down what they found interesting to learn about. They usually have a topic in mind and since they have done careful reading all week, they have no trouble coming up with more than enough to write about. As I write this blog entry, my son is in the process of writing his weekly history narration on his topic of choice, Genghis Kahn. Yesterday there was a narration written about Joan of Arc and one on marine invertebrates. It has just become our way of finalizing our weekly studies.

I hope this entry helps another family in their endeavors to do narration. It is a simple concept that builds naturally into homeschooling and everyday life. My older two wish I would have stumbled onto these concepts when they were in the early days of homeschooling when we had fill in the blanks worksheets and multiple choice questions and quizzes and tests. I always tell them that I changed when I saw it wasn’t working for them and I made changes as I learned more about narration. Homeschooling is a life process and I usually learn more than they do. 🙂

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

A Season of Reaping: Habit Training in Our Family

“Scientific evidence showing that new brain tissue is grown according to what has been needed proves what people already knew from experience. It’s good to know that one is never too old to learn a new habit, although it may take longer for older people.”
Charlotte Mason in Modern English, volume 1, page 135

I feel as if I am in the season of reaping good habits. Two of my children are adults and two are in their teens and I can see clearly that all the years of creating good habits are giving our family a better life.

Do we still have things to work on? Absolutely. Thinking about the upcoming edition of the Habit Training Carnival has reminded me that maybe I could choose a habit to work on in our family. It always helps to have something to focus on.

Acquiring a habit takes some effort, but once the habit is in place, it is rewarding because a habit is pleasant in and of itself. It’s easy to do something on auto-pilot, something that doesn’t take a lot of thought or will power.
Charlotte Mason, volume 1, page 121

We have lots of good habits under our belt but I know we can find something we can work on as a family. I hopped over to Simply Charlotte Mason where I knew that could find a list of habits. Running down the list, I am satisfied that many of these habits are in place in our family.

So what could I choose to work on? I think a very good habit for us would be the habit of thoughtfulness.

“Thoughtfulness’s job is simply to make everyday life more pleasant and comfortable for others, even when those others are only the pets that we feed and care for, or our dog who likes to be played with and taken for walks, or our horse that needs not only food and care but encouragement from a friendly touch and word. Our family and friends, both rich and poor, provide lots of opportunities to be thoughtful. A thoughtful person might be described as courteous, kind, accommodating or considerate. His thoughtfulness is shown in a kind word, or by knowing when not to speak, or by his manner, his attention, what he says, or what he does.”
Charlotte Mason in Modern English, volume one, page 99-100

I can think of a few ways right now that we could all work on thoughtfulness in our family but I am going to make the following suggestions to my children:

  • All four children share a bathroom and I know they could each show more thoughtfulness in how they leave the bathroom when they are finished in the morning and also in the amount of time they each spend in the bathroom getting their day going
  • Encouraging the children to spend one on one time with each other, especially the older ones with a younger one
  • Thoughtful words are always nice to hear between the children, tone of voice is everything

The more I think about this habit the more excited I am to have a little family meeting and brainstorm ideas in this area of habit.

I am sure we could come up with ways to extend this habit outside our home as well. Writing up this post brings to mind a few scriptural reasons for cultivating the habit of thoughtfulness and why we would want to keep trying to improve in this area….it will bring everlasting benefits.

1 Timothy 6:18 “…to be rich in fine works, to be liberal, ready to share, safely treasuring up for themselves a fine foundation for the future, in order that they may get a firm hold on the real life.”

Acts 20:35 “…bear in mind the words of the Lord Jesus, when he himself said, ‘There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.’ “

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

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