Kandinsky {school stuff}

Although I grew up without an art museum anywhere close to where I lived, I have loved art for as long as I can remember. I know that many people who are artistically talented come to love art as they learn more about technique and artistic development. I am seriously lacking in the artistically talented department, but I still love to learn about all things related to art. My children also love learning about great artists. One of my goals for my children is that they will be able to see a piece of art and recognize the artist by the style and details.

In our homeschool, we are learning about Wassily Kandinsky. My favorite fact about him is that he had synesthesia. He could literally hear colors and see music. Kandinsky is considered to be one of the earliest abstract artists.

I thoroughly enjoy teaching about the great artists throughout history. I may not be the most knowledgeable or educated art teacher, but I am passionate.

Here are a few of the things we’ve done in the artist style.

IMG_1523IMG_1524IMG_1525IMG_1536The circles are just plastic cups that the children colored on with Sharpies. We then melted them in the oven. It actually took much longer than I expected and some force to get them to melt.

The other circle picture was done with catalogs. She cut out circles and layered them in top of each other to get that abstract look.

They also drew and painted pictures while listening to music several times.

We are moving on to a different artist next week. I have so enjoyed studying (once again) Kandinsky and his work.

Special Needs

IMG_0334.PNGOkay, this post is going to be a bit of a rant, so I apologize already. I have had this thought on my mind for a few weeks or longer. As I have explained before, one of my daughters has an extremely rare brain abnormality. She struggles to learn and do what many of us take for granted. She has very little depth perception and peripheral vision. She has trouble with her short-term memory. She has lots of trouble with crossing midline activities like swimming, biking, reading, and writing (think about the fact that we read and write from left to right). She has what I would consider “special needs”. She needs help and accommodations to do regular, everyday things.

I have heard that “special needs” is now considered a politically incorrect word for people who happen to have any type of lifelong difficulty. I had one parent tell me that her daughter, who is deaf, is not “special needs” but just unable to hear. While I agree, the world has gotten a lot easier for those who are hearing impaired; I was left with the feeling that she saw the phrase “special needs” as a dirty word to be avoided at all costs.

I found this online:

More Appropriate:  Sam has epilepsy, Tony has cerebral palsy (CP), Helen has a learning disability, – attention deficit disorder

*Less Appropriate:  “special”, person has “special needs”

Comment:  *Term is patronizing and distancing by those with disabilities. Often used by programs providing services and support for disabled people and meant as a ‘positive’ alternative. Describes that which is different about ANY person as all simply have “needs.”

from: http://rds.colostate.edu/language

I suppose what I am having a hard time with is that getting upset about words that are not intended to offend is that I feel like it alienates more than helps. My daughter is one of approximately 46 people in the United States to have colpocephaly. I have to explain what it is to most doctors. It’s much easier to say she has special needs, or she is developmentally delayed. At least then there is a moment of understanding and maybe empathy. Listen, being a parent of a child with any disability is hard and lonely. The more that the disability affects daily life and that child’s future, the harder it is. Every child is different. Every parent is different. I work hard on doing my best for MY child. I don’t have time to look up and stay updated on the most current politically correct language for disabilities, struggles, handicaps (or whatever you call them). I spend my days doing occupational and physical exercises with my child. I look up and research the newest research on what she struggles with. I sit for hours and work with her on basic life skills, as well as trying to teach her all the subjects that will enrich her life. I don’t have time to sit around and be offended.

I don’t intend to be offensive or mean, but I think sometimes we spend too much time on stuff that doesn’t matter. My child and her “special” needs keep me too busy for that!

Operation: Get It Done

It’s almost spring and I have the spring cleaning fever! I love organization but having 5 children (especially teenagers and a three-year-old boy) makes it super hard to get organized and stay organized. We moved into our new house less than 24 hours before I had our little boy. Many of the things that were unpacked and put places, I haven’t changed or touched since. As I look around my house, I see so many things that need to change to work better for our family.  I made a list of most of the things I want to work on this spring and summer. I don’t have a deadline date because I feel like that would overwhelm me and make me give up all together. Instead, I’ve decided to work on one thing at a time as quickly and completely as I can. Here’s my list:

::::::::::::::get it done::::::::::::::::::::::
Straighten and organize garage
Build and paint school table ✅
Clean out master closet
Clean off top of kitchen cabinets
Clean out master bath cabinets
Clean out master bath drawers
Clean out and organize:
Pantry✅
Refrigerator✅
Laundry room
All drawers in China cabinet
Games
Kitchen buffet
Buffet in foyer
Drawers in kitchen
Office
Bedroom drawers
Playroom
David’s toys
Shoe bins
Outside patio and porch
Study room drawers and cart
Freezer

We built a new school table over two weekends and I LOVE how it turned out! We had been using a folding table and there was absolutely no room to work. This allows everyone to have her/his own workspace.

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Do you have any organization goals? Tips? Tricks? I’d love to hear them!

Christmas Countdown

December 1 is right around the corner. We usually start our Advent readings on that day. We also will start the Grow Your Heart challenge again this year. December always feels so full of activity. Since December is so busy, I thought I would re-post a few things from last year to give anyone out there a head start in getting ready.

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What we do for Advent

Grow Your Heart

Teacher Gifts

Snowmen Oreo Balls

I have a few new things planned for this December that I hope to get to share with you.

 

My First Cricut Project

I bought my Cricut three weeks ago and just finally completed my first project this past weekend. We were having a cowboy theme Sunday at church so I wanted to make David a shirt for the occasion. I got all the fabric at Wal-Mart in fabric section. I used Heat n Bond to put the little cowboy on the shirt. The Cricut program is really easy to use. I found the perfect little cowboy and added David’s name.  Then I just followed the directions on the program.

I did find that the backing of the Heat n Bond had to be pulled off the fabric before sending it through the machine or it would mess up the whole thing.

I love the way it turned out and can’t wait to create even more projects with my new machine!

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Pollyanna {Review}

We just finished Pollyanna for school. I never read this book as a child, so it was as new to me as to the girls. I can say that I truly loved this book!

The author did a great job making the reader understand the personality of each of the characters.  Pollyanna’s character reminded me of a more optimistic and unfortunate Junie B. Jones. I love reading aloud and always do different voices for the different characters. The way this book is written lends itself very well to being read aloud.

While this story is about a little girl, I feel like any child could enjoy this book. There were so many lessons in this book. I felt like we had lots of teachable moments throughout the book. There is a bit of a mystery in Pollyanna, which is fun. There are tragic moments as well. There were parts of the book that had such beautifully written passages that I had to stop and weep a little before I could go on. I know that may sound over-the-top, but I think that if you go and read Pollyanna as an adult it would touch your heart way more than if were read it only as a child. I know my children were touched, but they could not fully fathom some of the more adult-feelings in this book.

I want everyone I know to read this book. I actually am giving it to our pastor and one of my nieces. I’m including a prism with each book. I also have hung a couple of prisms in our school room to remind of us some of the lessons we learned from Pollyanna.  I won’t tell you why I included the prisms, but I hope you’ll read the book and find out on your own!

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Wise Words

One of the things I love about Ambleside online is the amazing books that we get to read. (Now, I will tell you that each year I have found at least one book on our list that I have decided to not read. We either tried it and disliked it so much that there was no point in continuing or we found a book that better fit our children’s and our tastes.)

Back to great books… I have had the pleasure of discovering some great books through homeschooling and I never like to keep good information to myself (that seems so selfish). One of the books we are currently reading is Wit and Wisdom from Poor Richard’s Almanack by Benjamin Franklin. It is basically proverbs. Some you’ll recognize right away like “No Pain, No gain” or “Haste makes Waste”. There are so many other gems of wisdom in this little book. I have definitely had to explain most of these to my girls. The language is sometimes hard to understand; but there is so much wisdom in those words that once I explain it, they are eager to tell of examples where this makes sense.

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This is a very inexpensive book at only $2.50. It would make a great little gift for a graduate, someone getting a new job, or even a stocking stuffer.

Science Fun {experiment}

Our elementary science this year covers a broad range of ideas. I decided to do at least one science experiment a week from a couple of Steve Spangler’s science experiment books. Last week, we did an experiment that demonstrated Bernoulli’s Principle. For this experiment you’ll need a hairdryer, toilet paper roll, and a ping pong ball. He performed this experiment on the Ellen Show. My children loved doing it over and over. I think it really did help them understand the idea of lift that makes an airplane able to fly.

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Apples Up On Top

I’m sure that most people are familiar with Dr. Seuss’s, Ten Apples Up On Top.  We decided to do a little engineering experiment to see if we could build a structure that would hold stacked apples. The girls were allowed to use whatever blocks we had. The building had to be at least three feet tall. It was fun to see just how much balance and planning had to go into holding the weight of the apples and being able to place the apples in a way where they would not all fall down.012

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They definitely figured out pretty quickly that it was best to have a wider  and sturdier block to hold the apples. The wooden blocks would only hold one apple and I was even shocked that it held that one. It was a fun little experiment.

Bubble Birthday Party

Last year, bubbles were the baby’s favorite thing.

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I ordered a birthday shirt from Etsy shop, boutiquesewunique.

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We had bubbles as the theme for his second birthday party. We had lots of bubble gum, actual soap bubbles, bubbles made from gelatin, and bubbles made from slime, bubbles made from food. We had bubbles made of everything.

I tried to make the foods as circular as I could to resemble bubbles. I made a fruit tray and balled all the fruit. I made cake balls. I got cream puffs. I made cheddar balls covered in bacon. I made rice krispy treat-like balls out of Trix cereal.

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We made a slimy bubble solution out of glue and liquid starch. We then raced to see who could make bubbles out of it with a straw. This was hilarious because it was very challenging. Most of the children quit and then adults just kept going and going.

I can’t remember where I got the recipe originally, but this site has one.

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Nana was the first to get a bubble.1923

Lillian got one too!

We then made bubble art. I placed bubble solution and washable paint in several different cups. The children had to blow into the solution to make bubbles and then place their paper on top of the bubbles. Several of them looked amazing. It was very messy and definitely requires an adult nearby.

We also had a bubble blowing contest. We went two at a time. Then we got to a small group of winners and had a contest between them.

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Blowing a bubble under pressure is hard!

We had a huge bubble pool in the back. I got a kiddy pool. Placed lots of dish soap, glycerin, and a little water  into the pool. I used about a cup of Dawn, 4 tablespoons of glycerin and turned on the hose until it looked like enough water. A child would carefully step inside (it’s VERY slippery) and then two children would stand on opposite sides of a hula hoop and gently life up the hula hoop up the top of the child. If it worked out, the child was enveloped in the bubble. It was my favorite activity. When everyone had done it that wanted to, we then just made huge bubbles. I bought a huge pack of different shaped wands. There were bubbles everywhere!

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I didn’t get a single picture with the kids inside the bubble, because I helped every single one.

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We had a bubble trivia game (of course)

 

                       All kinds of BUBBLES Trivia

  1. How many sticks of gum does the average American chew each year?

(A) 200  (B) 300 (C) 400

  1. If all 5 piece packs of Bubble Yum ever chewed in the U.S. since its introduction in 1975 were laid out end to end, how many times would it circle Earth at the Equator? (A) 2 (B) 5 (C) 7
  2. What is the official bubble gum of Major League Baseball?

(A) Bubble Yum  (B) Bazooka   (C) Topps

  1. When was the first successful bubble gum invented? (A) 1891 (B) 1906 (C) 1928
  2. True or False: Soap Bubbles are always elliptical.
  3. Soap bubbles are “minimal surface structures”. This means that they always hold the gas or liquid inside them with the least possible surface area. The geometric form with the least surface area is ____________.
  4. True or False: If three soap bubbles get stuck together, they will have one common wall at 120 degrees.
  5. True or False: A soap bubble gets its color from the light waves reflecting between the soap film’s inner and outer surfaces.
  6. Susan Mont”gum”ery Williams is the Guiness Record Holder of the World’s Largest Gum Bubble. How big was it? (A) 19 in. (B) 23 in. (C) 27 in.
  7. True or False: Bubble Wrap was originally designed to be a wallpaper.
  8. About (A) 200 (B) 300 (C)400 Million dollars worth of bubble wrap is sold each year.
  9. A painting by Hanneman showing children playing with bubbles is from the year (A) 1730 (B) 1630 (C) 1530

13 True or False: Youngsters who blow bubbles are most likely to find learning language easy.

We had bubble cake. We made bubbles to place all over the vanilla cake. This was done by mixing gelatin, water, and food coloring together. The ratio is 2 parts cold water to 1 part gelatin. Mix until dissolved. We then took balloons that we’d blown up. We dipped them into the solution holding onto the part you blow. We then placed them into muffin tins mouth part down. We let them dry for about two hours, then dipped them again. Any part that was too thin, we used a paintbrush to put on more gelatin solution. We let them dry for 48 hours. Then we popped the balloon and handled them very gently and placed them on the cake. I thought they turned out so cute!

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We had a great time at LBD’s second birthday party!