March 25, 2012

Out to Sea with Latin Vocabulary

This is another of our latin lessons loosely taken from Song School Latin which we did last year. We are having fun this year simply using and reviewing the words we did before. The assignment this week was to draw a picture with these latin words from chapter 28:

mare: sea
unda: wave
lacus: lake
(I didn't get a good picture of lacus)
flumen: River
navs: ship/boat

Here is a snippet from Max's drawing. Mare and Unda in one.

Flumen by T.J. Don't you just love all the little carts and men laoding things onto the dock? Too cute.

Navis by Zak.
Due to the success of this endeavour I am going to try having the boys make their own montessori cards of the vocabulary words next year. How cool it woud be to have a set of flash cards with these adorable little drawings on them.

This drawing wasn't for latin class but TJ did such a great job on it that I couldn't help but post it. The assignment was to create a border around the page and then draw a picture in the middle. Then using designs decorate the borders. TJ chose to copy the cover from one of his favorite books: Shaka, King of the Zulus by Diane Stanley.

March 20, 2012

Pyramids and Their Mummies

We spent the month of February looking at pyramids and mummies. I had these books on hand to use and all of them were fabulous. Each one gave the boys repeated info regarding the pyramids but from different angles thus making a more complete picture of the mystery of the pyramids.

  • Pyramid by David Macaulay (this book showed us how the pyarmids may have been built)
  • Fast Forward Pyramid (my boys favorite book because it has sort of a where's waldo aspect. On each page, which is richly illustrated, you get to look for a fat man, a monkey and a vulture. It takes you through the ages looking at the Giza pyramids as time passes.)
  • The Great Pyramid by Elizabeth Mann (the story of pyramids how they came about, what they mean, and the burial process of the ancient Egyptians)
  • Who Built the Pyramids? An Usborne book with internet links (an overview of the egyptians)
  • Secrets of the Sphinx by James Cross Giblin (beautiful illustrations and lots of great info on pyramids as well as the sphinx)
  • The Great Wonder by Annabelle Howard (a fun story about a modern boy who imagines he is present when the pyramids are built)
  • Mummies Made in Egypt by Aliki (wonderfully inllustrated, with clear descritpions of the process and the meaning of mummification.)
We began our study by drawing a pryamid using Ralph Masiello's Ancient Egyptian Drawing Book and then mounting it onto yet another pocket. It looks like a simple drawing but the boys found that drawing jaggedy lines was not easy. After a few false starts we  finally got some great results. Don't they look old and crumbly? You may wonder why all our pyramids are red with gold cap stones....well in the Fast Forward Pyramid book (which we read first) is says that that is what the Ancient Egytians did. Later in Pyramid we learned many were also left white. But the capstone usually was gold.

Here are a few things we have in our pockets.

This little fold up book is from Evan Moor's Ancient Egypt History Pockets.

There are five different pages describing the general steps of how the pryamids were built.

Cover for the Great Giza Pyramid booklet. Also from Evan Moor's History Pockets.

Inside is a page detailing the passages inside the pyramid structure.

This another view of the tomb from the top, detaling what goes inside of the burial chambers. Also from Evan Moor.

The Great Sphinx Booklet aslo from Evan Moor.

This book contains information about the pryamids and the sphinx. I found the info on the internet somewhere and now I ahve lost it. I simply printed off the pages and bound the pages together by stapling the brown cover with the pages in between.

The copywork booklet below is bound with my pro-click binder. The cover art can be found here.

The copywork is from this source. It covers all the steps to mummify a corpse. I chopped off the extra paper around the edges to make the book smaller to fit in the pocket.

With these FREE montesorri cards of the seven wonders of the ancient world we played concentration. It was fun to note that both the light house at Alexandria and the pyramids at Giza are one of the seven wonders. The pictures in the orginal are all in color. I am still using a B&W printer though.

We did both 2D and 3D projects, but these two pyramids  from an e-book called The Pyramids of Egypt by Cross Eyed Curriculum and they just may cross over the 3-D/2-D line.  What I loved most about them is that they are joined together by rubber bands. So we can take them apart and slip them into our pockets once we are done with them. This was truely a delightful way to report on just about any pyramid you happen to be studying. The creative possiblities of these 3-D structures is inspiring. We all wanted to make more and more and more of them and just fill up the room with pyramids.
Here is a second look at a different angle.

Sugar cube pyramids.

Lastly, we made these punch out and glue together (we used clear tape. It works much better and far less messy) sarcophoguses and then paper mache'd a cheap action figure for the mummy.

March 18, 2012

Fun with Aesop

For the past year in my "spare time" I have been having fun making coloring pages to go along with The Aesop For Children story book. The book was a gift from my sister-in-law who is also homeschooling. (thanks Suzie!) There are so many versions of Aesop's Fables out on the market but I have always loved Milo Winter's drawings and so I love this version the best. I have had loads of fun tracing each one of his wonderful drawings. There are over 100. That is why it has taken me all year. :) This version of the book is also in the public domain over at project gutenberg so it is free to make use of how your creativity may lead you.

I plan to use this book next year to compliment our history study of Greece and Rome. So with the single line drawings I was able to make by tracing the pictures, I have put together some copywork pages and some coloring pages. To boot, I made montessori cards and formatted this charming book into an e-book for easy usage. Now all my boys can have a copy to read from. All my creations from this project are for sale over at Currclick.

The idea for this project was first ignited when Nadene over at practical pages posted about tracing fine art paintings for her daughters. I was intrigued by her process and decided to try it with Aesop. Here is how it is done...

First I snagged a free copy of The Aesop For Children from project gutenberg. I chose the HTML version and selected all the text and pictures and pasted it into a word document. Then I grabbed a picture and printed it. 
Next I traced the picture onto velum. I tried using a lightweight tracing paper but in the next step when I scan the traced image, the light weight tracing paper warped a little and made smudgy lines in the final image. The velum worked great!

This traced picture was then scanned into the computer as a paint file.

With the JPEG images I can use them to create whatever I want. Above is a coloring page from the coloring book, and below is a copywork/coloring page with regular lines.

You will see more of these pages next year.

March 16, 2012

Discipline and the Two R's

A while back my dh was out with two of our boys in town. A young man who was also a young father observed them as they shopped. Intrigued by the relationship and the obedience he saw, he approached my dh and asked, “Excuse me, but I am impressed by your children. How do you get them to do what you ask like that?” My dh was ready with a reply, “It is simple, rules and relationship. They are like two arms holding up my child. Without one or the other the child will fall.”

In our home we have what some may consider narrow limits on what we would consider acceptable behavior, but we expect a lot because on the flip side of our high expectations we are pouring in huge amounts of intentional tying of strings towards a solid relationship. With the two things in place it works like a charm towards developing discipline and godly behavior. Let me give you an example from our everyday life to illustrate this:

Every morning the boys have a list of chores they MUST complete before breakfast. It is written on a chart and posted at their eye level just outside the kitchen.

With the chores we are aiming at developing a good work habit. The habit is this:

• Do your work before you sit down to play or enjoy yourself.

• Do your work first thing in the day.

• Do your work without being asked or nagged.

• Do your work cheerfully.

• Do your work thoroughly and the how you were asked to do it.

• Do a little more than what was asked. (look for ways to bless others in your work)

"There are few parents who would not labour diligently if for every month's labour they were able to endow one of their children with a large sum of money. But, in a month, a parent may begin to form a habit in his child of such value that money is a bagatelle by comparison." Charlotte Mason Vol. 2 Pg 73
So, breakfast is set to be served at 8:00 o’clock. They are well aware of this. I wake them up with music at 7:00 o’clock if they are not already up. That allows them plenty of time to get their work done with play time if they finish early. (The natural reward of work well done is free time.) My job is not to remind them of the chore chart, not to be glaring at them during that hour but to be cheerful, greeting them with hugs and appreciation at having them in my day. In this I am welcoming them into a relationship of joy and a positive atmosphere however they may have woken up, it sets the tone and draws them into it. I also look for ways to help in their work not by doing it for them but by showing appreciation for their efforts. I am also working along side them getting breakfast cooked and ready. We are than all practicing a good work habit. We all are under the same rules, and as I am doing this, I am tying strings towards a relationship.

Once they have completed the chore they ask to be inspected. We spent a good month or so when we began this chore chart to explain each chore, walk through it with them and show them what is expected. We did this until we were sure they understood. Then when they ask to be inspected we can really inspect, and they have been learning to check themselves because if it is not in order then… the consequence.

If they did not do the chore (usually because they got to playing before it was done), or did not do it thoroughly, or it was done with a whine or worse and rebellious tone in their attitude then they are given only a healthy piece of bread for breakfast and a glass of water. This will remind them that their work was not done up to standard, and it will give them enough sustenance that they can get through school without being under nourished. We give them the consequence without pitiful looks or any commentary on their response. It is a dry, judicial moment when we keep our smiles and encourage then back into the regular banter around the table.

It takes a few mishaps and a few cries before they really get it if I am consistent, but soon their tears dry up and they are more motivated the next day to place upon themselves the responsibility to get the work done. It goes up and down because habits are sometimes long in coming. We aim for 100% knowing Christ in us gives us the way to get there and expect Him to come through on our down days.

At this point in the discipline process it is important to remain steady and cheerful expecting the best. Giving in to the tears and whines only prolongs the habit building and the habit you were aiming at takes longer to develop. The tender hearted or inconsistent parent causes more pain in the long run if she does not stick to the plan and allow the child to learn the habit. I am by nature tender hearted and inconsistent so I am fully aware of need to call on Jesus for help, so I am learning along with them a different discipline. My consequence would be that the work of discipline goes on longer each time I give in.

The habit is our focus, the discipline the way we get there and if perchance they rebel at the discipline or training, there is punishment. Along the way at every opportunity we look for ways to delight our child, know our child and seek ways to tie strings of relationship. Having the rule and the relationship upholds them and puts them on rails towards success in life.

March 12, 2012

Mummies Made by Us

For the past month of so we have been investigating how the Egyptians made the pyramids and why they mummified ther dead. To get our minds around this concept we got our hands involved. The following is a short post documenting the fun we had making a paper mache' mummy. The first step was to find a cheap "doll" to wrap. the doll had to fit into the paper sarcophoguses we had already made.

I found a $1.25 orange action figure that was just the right size if we popped off his cheaply made arms. The boys loved this! Then we set up to cover them with strips of paper. I had just done a printing of their grammar books for next year so these strips of paper were throw aways. The flour costs little to nothing as well as the water. So it was an inexpensive adventure at $3.75 in total.

Next after a short demo, the boys were off and paper mache'ing

A close up of their fine workmanship.

The finished product.

The little silver gun came with the action figure. The sarcophoguses we purchased from Dover.

The Four Seasons

The four seasons drawing by Max
We are still having lots of success reviewing our latin vocabulary by representing it in art. In this lesson I gave the boys four sheets of blank white paper and had them turn to the chapter in our latin book on seasons. The pictures gave them ideas to get them started. They then drew a picture to represent each season and then glued them on the larger colored paper in order of the seasons come throughout the year. Here are representative drawings of their four seasons in latin:

"Spring" by T.J.

 "Summer" by T.J.

"Autumn" by Max

"winter" by Zak
 I really love little kids drawings. Aren't they adorable?

March 5, 2012

George F. Handel: A Composer Study

We began our composer study like we always do by reading Opral Wheeler's story about him when he was a young boy and then how he grew. The book was entitled Handel at the Court of Kings. The boys were not very inspired to color any of the coloring pages as I read this time. Instead they fiddled with Legos and Uber Stix. They did however enjoy his music alot. I played a complied CD of Handel's music for them as they drifted off to sleep at night.

After we had learned a bit from Handel at the Court of Kings about Handel, we listened to classical Kids production of Hallelujah Handel which contains snippets from many works created by Handel including parts of the Messiah.

The Messiah is my favorite classical piece of all time so I found a free version of it online and played that for the boys. We tried to count how many Hallelujahs were in the Hallelujah Chorus. Then I showed them a you tube video of the Philadelphia Opera Company singing in Macy's around Christmas time. Very cool!

Then we went to our Composer lapbooks to do a few hands on things.

The lapbook we began last year and we are slowly working on it. Each time we look at a composer we add him to our timeline.

Once we place Handel on the timeline we can add his picture to a mini book on the inside of the lapbook.

Then we filled out the biographical info on the inside.

 Handel was a good composer to introduce 'pieces with a purpose' one of the hands on activities in this package because he was a composer who wrote so many different kinds of musical works. So while the boys colored and cut I played Hallelujah's Handel again.

Each of these small mini books describes the varying reasons composers wrote music.

Composers wrote to entertain: the CD player and the Opera program. They also wrote to honor a king or Queen thus the crown. They also wrote song of nationalistic nature: the flag mini book represents this. Many composers wrote songs of worsip for the church: the hymnal. And lastly composer wrote to make money: the purse.

Last, but certainly not least we listened to a song called "The Rejoicing" which was included in the Hands-On-Activity pack and filled out an appreciation sheet. The picture of the bottom of the page is a picture Zak drew while listening to the pieces of music.

March 4, 2012

New More Lofty Atmosphere

Welcome to the boys new loft bed room! Last fall I wrote about our office switch in my post setting up shop and mentioned it was due to my dh's plan to make loft beds for the boys. Now it is done!

My dh spent most of his free time these past 8 months getting the brackets and the boards all made and cut to specifications so he could assemble the loft beds. He designed these beds himself using a free online design tool and has succeeded in making some very smart looking and durable beds for three active boys. We all love them!

The best part I think about the assembly was that the boys were able to help out alot. Max's bed went up first followed by Zak's and then Tj's. Aren't they adorable little carpenters?!

Here is a snapshot of Mak's loft bed on the left and Zak's on the right.

In this shot Zak's loft bed is on the left and TJ's loft bed is on the right.

Now there is ample space for their school desk and crate of folders and their toys and books. I am thrilled to give them a great way to keep organized! Their room smells of sweet pine and laquer and the atmosphere is open and frought with ideas for new creative play. The other day they drapped their sheets across between two beds and made a fort. The room looks a little bare now, but I am sure it will fill up soon. I can't wait to see what they will do next! And with 'space inspection' as a handy tool in my pocket I am not afraid of the messes they make.