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Weekly Wrap-Up: Fabulous February

Weekly Warp Up Fabulous February Button @HarmonyFineArts

What a great month of learning Mr. B is having! February is always a month that seems to go smoothly…routines are set, materials are familiar, and the light at the end of the tunnel starts to get brighter. Especially for us, this is going to be a fast track to May as Mr. B finishes each subject and readies himself for the SAT and graduation.

So what has he been up to?

Art Lab for Kids Collage Text and Charcoal

Lots and lots of artwork! He is still making his way through Art Lab for Kids and finding some projects are more enjoyable than he first anticipated. I love the way this book encourages exploration with both creative ideas and materials.

History has been filled with lots of reading, working on his timeline, and notebooking pages. We also have mixed in some Middle Eastern geography using many of the pages from Mr. B is trying to go deeper and with more current news stories with his exploring this region of the world.

Literature using Excellence in Literature from IEW has helped Mr. B go a bit deeper with Sir Gawain. He is learning how to do some comparing and analysis that will help with his SAT writing coming up next month. I am not worried about his writing and wish I could share his last essay on The Scarlet Letter. I told him I couldn’t find a single thing to be critical about in the whole paper, nothing but positive feedback. Thanks IEW.

Math and anatomy study are just chugging along….working on finishing both courses soon.

Snowy Day Tissue Star on the Door Collage

We had our first snow of the season this week too….interrupting school for an afternoon while we sat and watched the magic happen. I never tire of watching it snow, probably because we only have snow a few days out of the year and it is still fun and not a burden.

This next week Mr. B has a week off from his regular studies to pursue some special projects and volunteer work. I look forward to catching up on my paperwork.

Amanda Bolivian Adventure Button

Many of you have emailed wanting to know how Amanda is doing on her Bolivian adventure. Well, she made it to Santa Cruz with no incidents. She is now getting accustomed to very different living conditions. She is able to connect with us when she is able to find wi-fi. We were able to have a very long chat on Wednesday….which helps.

So there is my very brief wrap-up for the month of February….we are off this coming week so I won’t be posting my next weekly wrap-up until sometime in March!


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Art Lab for Kids – Scribble Drawings

Teaching my homeschool group art class has been such a joy to me this year. Having a small group lets me get to know them a little better as we work through our art projects, observing their style of learning, their preferred media, and the way they tackle an assignment.

This week we took a break from our formal artist study and used the ideas from the book Art Lab for Kids to do some Scribble Drawings. It sounds like an easy project but to many of us this kind of assignment is a little scary. First you have to scribble….funny as it sounds, this is not as easy as you think it may be (especially if you are a perfectionist). Getting your hand and your arm to relax to do the scribbling can be hard.

I tried to overcome this a bit by starting our art lesson off with some gesture drawing. We used oversized pieces of newsprint, stood up at the table, and we tried to sketch a model in less than 30 seconds (one of the dads obliged us with some awesome poses). There were giggles and smiles as we worked through the gesture drawings. (Links for gesture drawing: KinderArt and Cool School -little more advanced.)

Then we went back to the scribble drawings and it seemed like everyone was ready to get started.

We scribbled.

Now came the part that was more difficult…the part where they needed to find an image among the scribbles to outline. Was there a bird hiding in the scribbles? A person? An animal? Turns out we had all of the above. Once they turned their papers this way and that, the images emerged and the got started outlining and filling in with colored pencils.

You could at this point cut the finished image out and mount it on black paper but we decided to create a watercolor background for our scribble drawings.

We did a watercolor wash and some did an alcohol spatter. Once the paint was dry we adhered the scribble drawings with double-backed tape.

I am really loving this book, Art Lab for Kids. It gives such clear instructions but yet leaves room for creativity. All the students in my art class had a fun day and we stretched our scribbling muscles and imaginations.

I will be writing a complete review of this book later in November so stay tuned.

Weekly Wrap-Up: Final Planning and Getting Ready to Fly

The past few weeks I have had my desk covered with potential curriculum, books, and notes. My planning binder was a most beloved tool as I honed down to the final courses for Mr. B. I outlined the final courses in this entry: Charlotte Mason High School Grade 12. Now this week I have been busy inputting the weekly plans into Homeschool Tracker, printing out notebook pages, and realizing there are still some holes to fill.

One of the holes is a new year of 20th Century Art for Mr. B. This really is our bonus year for art since we finished all of Harmony Fine Arts plans for high school.

 We will be completing picture study with some advanced questions to answer on notebook pages, there will be follow up activities using a variety of media, and we will be using a new book to inspire more creative thinking. I highly recommend Art Lab for Kids: 52 Creative Adventures for all ages of artists. 

I am hoping to polish these new plans and offer them as a free download at the end of the school year so stay tuned. Of course, we will be sharing our artwork as the year progresses.

The other hole is our composer study. Mr. B loves music appreciation and has requested specific composers for the year’s study. These are in no particular order or from any one time period. They are just going to be for the pure enjoyment of listening and recording his thoughts in his notebook. His list? Schumann, Grieg, Chopin, Dvorak, and Prokofiev. I have lots of music on my shelf for him to listen to, we have a paid subscription to, and we will be choosing a few YouTube videos of live performances to listen to as well. I hope to find some local performances to put the icing on the cake.

If you would like to hear one of our selections from Chopin, here is a link to Nocturne in E Flat.

Mr. B is completing his summer reading assignments, diligently working on his Teaching Textbooks Pre-Calculus lessons, and squeezing in a lot of sand volleyball and running. He has taken up running this summer and I won’t be surprised if he enters into some of the local community races. I really love to see my children find activities that they can be passionate about because it makes life so much more enjoyable.

I also am trying out a new curriculum from Heritage History this year. We are using their British Middle Ages curriculum as a supplement to Mr. B’s literature reading. We are viewing the stories and biographies in this package as context material for his high school literature plans. I have loaded the ebooks onto my Kindle Fire and Mr. B will read these as he finds time in his schedule.I am enjoying the curriculum so much that I became an affiliate and if you click over to my affiliations page you will see this month’s free offers from Heritage History (use my discount code: Barbhope).

Flying 2
Update on Mr. A’s flying: Mr. A has been taking flying lessons all summer long and yesterday was the first time that I had the nerve to go up to the airport to watch. He thought he was going to solo fly but it turned out he had one more lesson to go before he could try flying on his own. I watched him as he did his pre-flight check out of the airplane, methodically examining each moving part and visually making sure the plane is ready to fly. It was comforting to see the confidence on his face…when he climbed into the pilot’s seat I caught a glimpse of the man he is becoming. There is no holding that back.

flying 3
I do not like to fly and my stomach is a nervous mess even watching him fly with his instructor next to him. I decided parenting is all about the very slow gradual releasing of our control over our children. There is also a large amount of facing our own fears as we watch our children tackle things that come their way. This whole experience has taught me to trust that Mr. A is ready to fly both literally and figuratively. These are the moments that we have been working towards….all the good habits, the confidence building, the zest for new things. Here is the proof that those are deep in his heart.

That about wraps up where we are in our school planning and summer activities. It is still very relaxed and our official “first day” will be in September.

Link up with your Weekly Wrap-Up post at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

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