Thursday, December 20, 2012

Artist in focus: Paul Klee

 It has been a long time wish of mine to study some of the works of great artists with my kiddos.  We kept postponing this for some reason or the other.  So finally this month I decided to start.  We started with Paul Klee.  He shares a December Birthday with D and so we decided to start with him.  We used the following three books, to study about the artist, his style and some of his works.

So, this afternoon we worked on the projects in the Mary Ann Kohl book, that focused on lines.  The technique was simple.  We use a black sharpie to create a work with just one single continuous line.  Then we used water colors to color it in.  We did one real and one abstract painting.  We also did a sculpture.  We used pipe cleaners instead of floral wires as suggested in the book and that is what I had on hand.  After doing our pictures we wanted to provide interesting names for the paintings and sculpture just like Paul Klee!  Here are the finished products.

M called hers Fireworks Blue!

Beach Day by  D

Tchaikovsky's Ballet by D

Xmas Day sculpture using pipe cleaners by D and M.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

D's Latest Art/Geometry Obsessions

I mentioned D's latest obsession with Geometric Patterns in my last post.  I wanted to post a few of her art works from recent days.  She has free handed some of these, used the shapes from the Geometric Cabinet or just used a ruler and paper.  She meticulously works for hours on each of these and would rather be doing only this than anything else all day!

She awarded me with this the other day appreciating me for helping her with something!

You should be able to see some curvilinear triangles in the above design.  She hand drew some of this.

We also have this Mandala Designer and this provides with hours of drawing time.
She is obsessed with creating patterns and tessellating with Pattern Blocks.

She creates such elaborate designs that I am thinking it would be good to get more geometric shapes and may be another set of the same shapes so she will have enough for her designs!

Monday, December 17, 2012

D's School Days

We've  been on an unannounced blog break! The truth is that life has been so busy this past month that I have had no time to update this blog.  Schooling and interesting learning has been happening in spite of our busy schedules.

We've been running around for rehearsals and end of the year performances and concerts.  D has been practicing all year for the play "The Nutcracker".  This cast, tech, set and direction has been a creation of our local home schooled kids!  We also had an amazing lady who knows so much about direction help us.  She is a homeschooling mom too! This was such a learning experience for us.  D loves to be on stage and aspires to be an actress, so this was perfect for her.  We had two performance shows just before D's birthday!

D had also been participating in an elementary chorus class conducted especially for home schoolers in our local city.  This class has focussed on music awareness and singing and we just finished with the Christmas Concert! Such an amazing group of kids and an amazing teacher too!

In between all this, D turned 6! My baby is now a little girl, I can't believe it!

Here are some snapshots of some of the work that has been happening around here.  As a follow up on our Volcano research, we got into layers of the earth and some plate tectonics too.

D examining the play-doh model of the layers of the earth.

Testing out our cast iron pan to see how heavy it is!

We used the three part cards from Cultivating Dharma.

D used the Circles drawer from the Geometric cabinet to make her Layers of the Earth Chart.

Trying out how mountains can be formed when plates push against each other.

The Spheres chart that I made to learn how plates move in the Lithosphere.
We watched a ton of youtube videos on Earthquakes and Tsunamis.  We also love the "Bill Nye" videos on the same topics.

We also worked with magnets a lot.  We have a couple of kits that I bought off Amazon and the kids have been playing and discovering the various laws and rules of Magnetism.

Trying a boat race with pins taped onto cork.

Freely suspending a magnet to see whether it points to earth's North.
We've also been working on our Grammar.  We've had  presentations on every part of speech except Interjections.

Trying some prepositions using an apple and a plate.

She used the grammar farm labels (Montessori Print Shop) ones to create her own sentences and labeling those.

We've also been writing and diagramming sentences.
D had been working on the Construction Triangles a lot.  She is right now in a Geometric Obsession!  Here is her work on the Sensorial Decanomial.  Anything to do with geometry and patterns is a huge hit with her right now!

In Math, the Subtraction Strip Board is not of much interest to her at all.  May be because we worked on Addition so much that she knows most of the answers for the Subtraction equation slips and hates using the work to find her answers out.  Instead she has been focussing on Equivalences in Fractions.

I feel that we have spent enough time researching based on the First Great Lesson.  D's interest has waned and she has been asking for the next book in the Jennifer Morgan series.  So last week we started on the second book and read through it.  She loved the drama of the origin of life.  So this week, I would be presenting the clock of eras and we would go through each period with as much drama as we can!

Hope all of you are having a great holiday season!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Addition Story Problems

As I was going through Karen Tyler's Math Albums to see what I have missed, I came across the Story problem presentations.  So I quickly printed out the three Story Problem Sheets that she had provided with the course.  D worked with the first one and loved it.  I showed her how to record it in her Math journal.  After finishing the Addition Strip Board, it was good practice for D to work on addition facts as well as to see how it might fit into the real world.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

We are onto the Subtraction Strip Board

We started to work on the Subtraction Memorization sequence after finishing up the last of the Addition Charts.  D preferred to write and fill up the last Addition Chart.  I did cross question a few sums to make sure D was just not following the pattern to fill up the chart and she did perfectly fine!  

So I presented the Subtraction Strip board to her.

She caught on and started to fill in the booklet on Subtraction tables.  She figured out that since she knows the sums, she did not have to use the board!

There were a few that she was not sure, so she only used the blue strips to cover the squares that she did not need to figure out the answers!  So much for buying this set hoping it would get a lot of use!  So now I am off to printing the Subtraction Equation slips for her to use.  I don't think we are going to stay on this for long, so I might have to get her  to work on skip counting, so we can start working on the Multiplication Board simultaneously.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

How we researched on Volcanoes...

I wanted to post about how we are proceeding with research after our Great Lesson Last week.  I did not have a definite plan on how to go about this, but we eventually found our groove.  At first D wanted to research about a ton of things.  I don't think she understood exactly what research meant, but she was just excited after the great lesson.  So I asked her to write down all that she wanted to know more about and she made a list.

Obviously (!) "Volcanoes" made it to the top of the list!  When we did our Great Lesson, I made our Volcano using newspaper, but I had ordered this one for the kids to use.

D used this a lot for eruptions.  We own two Volcano books, one is below and the other I can't find a link for.  I had purchased these at various library book sales long long ago.  The prizes on amazon are ridiculous though!

We read through these, but I still wasn't sure how to go about the research.  Then I read through the notes on and figured out I could give simple questions to D that she could find answers for in the books, then I could help her summarize and record it.

I gave her the question and wrote down what D summarized in her own words (with prompting) on our white board for her to copy down.  At this point, she can copy as much as she wants and can work through copying over a few days.  I am happy to say that (may be a little brag!) D loves writing and she often wants to copy the whole thing in one sitting!

As you can see I've written the summary in cursive and D writes it down in cursive too! Thanks to Handwriting without Tears!

After a few days we wanted to find out the parts of a volcano and this time D choose to draw and color.  She gave up drawing after a few tries and wanted me to draw an outline for her which she choose to color and label.

On another day, D cut and drew a volcano and used glitter glue to decorate her picture.  Yea! Art for the week was covered too!

D wants to research on rocks next as most of the texts on volcanoes talk about Igneous Rocks.  I have a few books Rocks and Minerals that D is reading through.  I want to order a few of the rock and minerals kit so she actually see the rocks and properly understand what minerals are.  So I am planning to work on the Earth's layers till my purchase arrives.

Hope this post helps some of you see how work after the Great Lessons proceed based on your child's interests.  Each child is different and it is wonderful to see how learning happens at this level at different home schools!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Great Lesson Charts - Free Download

Here are the charts we used for our great lesson story.  I made these using Google Images for the first two and hand drew the rest using outlines present in the Kathy Zielger albums and browsing online for various pictures.  Not perfect, but gets the job done.  You can click on the links below the images to download the files for your personal use.  These are also available in the downloads page.

As always these are for your use only and not for sale.  If you want to share these, please link back to this post, thank you!

Friday, October 26, 2012

First Great Lesson: The Beginning

If you had read my original plans for this year, I wasn't keen on doing the Great Lessons this year.  I was going to follow my favorite blogs (here, here and here), see how they do this in their home schools this year, prepare myself and then voila, I would have everything laid out perfectly for the next year! But seems like fate and D (who is going to be six in December) had other plans.  We began the year with out usual primary presentations, but D wasn't satisfied with just what I presented, she was questioning everything.  She was asking me really deep questions of how everything was created starting from herself to planet earth.  We have a collection of "All About" books on a wide range of topics and D was researching on her own based on her interest.  If you've been following my blog, you know that we have completed almost all the primary language presentations.  D can read well and is very keen on writing fluently in cursive.  She is almost done with the HWT 3rd grade cursive book and writes in cursive now whenever she can.  We are progressing steadily in Math, but in Geometry D is ready for more.  So I've had a really hard time keeping up with D this year, hence my really infrequent blog posts.  Meanwhile I won a giveaway and received this book.

This is an amazing introduction to the Big Bang Theory and is the book one of a trilogy.  D got a hold of this book before me and read the entire book cover to cover and asked for more!  Granted I had to explain a few concepts, but she just loved this book.  She has been asking for the rest of the books in this series and I have placed an order for that too!  So finally I gave in and decided to do the first great lesson now when her interest is this high.  She is not six yet and I did not want to present things too soon, but then doing this now also gives us plenty of time to repeat things and we can have a longer elementary cycle!  So here we are a almost the end of October starting our Great Lesson Number one!

D and M patiently waiting for me to begin

Since we had read the above book a couple of times before the lesson, the presentation was very interesting to D and there were a lot of a-ha moments for her!

The next few shots are a close up of the layout.  I have a couple of different free albums and I also used for our story along with a few additions of our own.

The black balloon, lantern, Attraction/Gravity Experiment and a bowl of Salt

Sorry this picture is Right to Left, but here you see our Sun vs Earth chart, globe, Dance of the Elements Chart, Matter Trays.

From L to R, after the Matter Trays is a small bowl with hot milk (crust on top),  Liquids of different weight experiment, home-made volcano and the two Volcano Charts.

As you can see above, I created the Sun Chart and Solar System Chart using google images.  I hand drew the Dance of the Elements, Volcano and the other Chart.  I found another hand drawn version at Discovery Days and Montessori Moments after I had finished these!  I am definitely planning to use her Timeline of Life for the next presentation!  In the mean time if anybody would like a copy of my hand drawn charts let me know, I can upload my charts.

We had an awesome time with the presentation and as with everyone else, the Volcano was the big hit! It has been repeated several times since the presentation which happened on Monday!  D pulled out a few of our books on Earth, Volcanoes and Rocks and started reading through them this week.  I am helping her research specifics and create reports based on what she read.  We've been working on volcanoes this week, but that is for another post!