Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A child's creativity

Buttercup has been an imaginative, creative child for as long as I can remember. She loves to create worlds and goes as far as creating characters, storylines, music and everything in between. She tells me these fantastical stories that she imagines, creates and then lives in for a short time.

Once, she wanted to build a rocket ship, because she truly believed if she built it, she could fly to outer space. She bugged my husband until one day, he found a big cardboard box and off to the basement they went to build their rocket ship. Buttercup had already made the designs and had written instructions for her dad! He basically followed what she wanted, added some special touches and now we have a cardboard rocket ship in our basement.

Recently, she got a tiny little stuffed animal with big bug eyes (they're popular but I can't remember their name). Anyway, she named it Magic and decided that Magic needed a place to live. So she asked my husband to build Magic a home. Of course, he jumped on the idea (he loves this trait about her and wants to encourage her creativity). Again, with cardboard box in hand, off they go!

He made the cuts in the cardboard to Buttercup's specifications, and she decorated the little house. She took her time, thinking of every detail.

Making the windows
Door with a look out
Adding color and style
Hard at work

So proud!!

 How do you encourage your child's creativity?

Happy Homeschooling Adventures!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2nd Grade Art Lesson - Henri Rousseau

Buttercup and I like to do a lot of art projects in our homeschool and with my guidance, I let Buttercup choose the artists she wants to study. So off to the library we go in search of a book in The World's Greatest Artists series. Buttercup knew she wanted to learn more about Henri Rousseau (she was already familiar with his work). Much to our surprise, Rousseau is not one of the artists in the series. We did find another book about him that seemed geared toward children, so we checked that one out from the library. It turns out the book was more of a novel and while it did mention Rousseau it wasn't really what we wanted.

I turned to the internet for some information about Henri Rousseau and was able to come up with a pretty fun lesson plan for Buttercup.

Our Lesson Plan:
  • Research the Rousseau and his work
  • Find out where Rousseau is from, when he lived, what his artistic style is
  • Discuss with your child the life and works of the artist
  • Look at some of his/her art work on line
  • Choose a piece that your child would like to do on her/his own
  • With the appropriate materials in hand, let your child do her own artist inspired art work
  • If possible, visit a museum to see some of the artist's work in person.
Buttercup chose Tiger in a Tropical Storm.

We started out with three sheets of white paper. On the first one, Buttercup drew the backgroud scene, the trees, branches, and leaves.

She then colored that using oil pastels (presently her favorite medium). One the 2nd sheet of paper, Buttercup drew the tiger. And on the 3rd sheet, she drew the big leaves that are in front of the tiger.

We then put the whole thing together to make the tiger kind of pop out of the page while still being hidden by the big green bushes.

Here's a short biography about Henri Rousseau.

Henri Rousseau was a French painter born in 1844.
Rousseau was born to a poor family. His father’s debts even caused the family to lose their home at one point. Rousseau served in the army for four years before going on to become a customs officer at the edge of Paris. He worked until he was 49, painting on the weekends, until he could retire and focus fully on his art. He gave painting lessons, performed as a street musician, and did other odd tasks to earn enough money to live as he painted.

He was completely self-taught and this showed in his work. He wanted to paint flawless, realistic works but a naivety, a simplicity, persisted that he couldn’t shake. The traditionalist painters mocked him but he remained confident in his talent.

Many of Rousseau's paintings are depictions of tropical forests, fauna and flora. The problem is that Rousseau was never at any of the places he painted. All of his ideas came from books. This made his paintings unrealistic because, in his paintings, he uses animals in the same scene that would never be found in the same habitat. He also paints plants and fruit from different parts of the world together in one scene. For example, in Tiger attacking buffalo, Rousseau paints bananas growing upside down from trees.

All in all we had a lot of fun with this art lesson.

Happy Homeschooling Adventures!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Making time for Mom

As a homeschool mom, I find myself caught up in our school day with little or no time for me. I'm either I'm teaching, doing lesson planning, or some other activity with my daughter. Add to that cooking, cleaning and laundry. There just aren't enough hours in the day.

The result is a very tired, very frustrated mom with no outside contact or interests of her own.

Since I started homeschooling, I've given everything I've got to teaching my child. I've completely put my own life of hold because of it. As much as I love to homeschool, I realize that this attitude is not healthy for me or my daughter.

I've been thinking about ways to remedy this situation. I want to start small - baby steps - so I stand a chance of making it work.

Here are some ideas I came up with and I plan on trying them throughout the school year. Some of these can be done in 5 or 10  minutes with little planning. Others might require more planning and more time, even the help of the children and spouse.

  • Take an extra long hot shower or bath. I've actually done this and it's usually the only time I have in the day to be completely alone with my thoughts.

  • Take a walk around the neighborhood or a local park. If you have dogs, don't take them. This is not a walk the dogs outing. It's just for you to get out, get some exercise, get some fresh air and basically step away from your routine.

  • Go shopping. And I don't mean food shopping. I'm talking about going to the mall for an hour to just window shop, look at what's new and maybe even buy yourself a little something.
  • Grab a cup of coffee and just sit and people watch. It's amazing how much fun you can have watching people go about their lives.
  • Make a lunch date with yourself or with a friend.
  • Take a class. Do something that interests you whether it's learning to knit or learning a new language. It will make you feel good to do something that is just yours and you'll meet new people. And hey, you might discover a new passion or talent.

  • Get a massage. What better way to get away from it all and unwind than pampering yourself.
  • Get a manicure/pedicure
  • Meditate. Take 10 minutes or longer if you can, lock yourself in a quiet part of the house, put on some soothing music and do some meditation or relaxation exercises. Meditation doesn't have to be anything scary or complicated. Just doing some deep breathing and letting go of the day's stresses will go a long way.

 Moms need to take care of themselves so they can take care of their families. How do you make time for yourself and what do you like to do?