Term Four – Day One

IMG_20141013_125924418_HDRThank heavens, school holidays are over! A friend said to me last night that she couldn’t wait for today so her kids would go back to school and I had to pitch in that we couldn’t either – so nice having all those other kids back at school! We can enjoy everything again! (We’d be happy if her kids were out of school with us though lol)

We started the day out with some pottering around home, then had our normal swimming trip. The families we normally swim couldn’t make it so we went a little earlier in order to come home for lunch before our first afternoon at the hall. The kids were so excited when I unlocked! Shiny, fun new space to make the most of! Two days a week where they are guaranteed to see their friends!

IMG_20141013_145258871_HDRIt was a slow stream in, and no-one was entirely sure what to do to begin with, but it wasn’t long before a range of games had cropped up and the kids reconnected with friends they hadn’t seen in a couple of weeks.

There is so much space at the hall, that many things can be IMG_20141013_143416822happening at once. We’ve got a small river off to one side, bordered on both sides by a public walkway. A clump of bamboo to explore, a large field to romp in, a bank pre-strung with ropes for climbing up, and a fire-pit waiting to be used. And the hall, too, but honestly, we spent most of our time outside. It was a lovely day for it 🙂

IMG_20141013_155114660As well as celebrating our first day at the hall, we also got to celebrate the birthday of not one, but two of our awesome mamas! So it was a pretty special day. We brought some craft supplies and made some flags. The kids developed their own ideas as well, with some making jewelry, others turning pipe cleaners into keys, and Ivy making a tote out of a pillow slip I’d brought along.

IMG_20141013_155125301_HDRI think the most precious part of the day for me was watching my youngest reconnect with a friend she hadn’t seen in a few months. Nati has always been sure that this girl would be her friend, and today that solidified once and for all. They were off together, sharing special moments, fishing in the river with some string and picking flowers. It was really beautiful 🙂

IMG_20141013_145350700_HDRI can see lots of fun times ahead here. The kids can’t wait to get back there again and I almost said, yes, we’ll see everyone next week, then realized we only have to wait until Thursday! It’s just lovely to have a dedicated space with plenty of room for everything.

Gratitude

IMG_20140721_135117481It’s been a few months since I blogged here but I’m back! (haha, this is even funnier seeing as I never got around to finishing this post when I started it 😉 lol)

We’ve started term three off with some new routines, and a new focus – Gratitude. I’ve been noticing over the months how easy it is for everyone (not just kids) to look at the bad stuff and let all the good things pass by without notice or mention, so we decided to kick off term three by making gratitude jars. We had a few families over at our house after our first swim of the term, so it was neat to share the activity with them.

Everyone picked  jar, and we got out all the art supplies so the kids could choose what they wanted on their jars. Ivy decided to glue seed beads on to spell out her name as well as adding some feathers and stickers, Lauren opted for a combination of feathers, glass paint, beads and stickers, and Natalie used some glass paint, stickers and feathers.

Afterwards, the girls put in their first gratitudes, and I could tell within days that they were expanding their thinking a little – it was never a struggle to find something to put in the jar, if anything, it was a struggle to keep it down to one or two things.

Some of the most common things that they are grateful for are their friends and family, that they got to go somewhere like the pool or park, or have a new experience like building a snowman. Some of the less common ones include being grateful that butterflies don’t eat people (Lauren), and being grateful for farts (Natalie – gotta love the 4yr old humor lol).

One of the most lovely things about this has been the way it’s deepened some of their friendships – not just with those who made the jars with us, but in general. The girls are more aware of the wonderful people in their lives, and when they add things to the jar they’ve also been able to pass those things along to their friends. I actually text a friend to tell her that Ivy had written that she was lucky to have a great friend in her daughter, but her daughter was playing on her phone and text me back to say that she was really lucky to have Ivy as a friend too! When I told Ivy her whole face lit up. Words are powerful, and it’s important to tell people you care about them.

Personally, I am thankful that I have the opportunity to home school my kids, and that our lives are filled with awesome people.

Cardboard box creations

During ourWP_000391 time on the biscuit stand, one of the women who purchased biscuits asked if she could have the large empty box we had as she was using them to build some temporary shelving. She went on to say that her youngest daughter loved making houses out of boxes as well – thankfully, we had three empty ones of the same size to bring home with us. Ivy set out to make an arts and craft class in her room with all sorts of supplies, and then invited her sisters to build houses with their boxes.

WP_000388This happened over 3-4 days this week, with the first phase being cutting off excess cardboard, and making doors and windows. Ivy didn’t need any help, but Lauren asked me to do hers so that she could get to the next step around the same time as Ivy. Natalie did her own, in her own style, which I thought was pretty cool.

 

WP_000394After the cutting, came the adding of colour, and then embellishments – rugs and tvs and computers and anything else they could make from paper, including battlements and porches. Natalie was still doing her own thing, which was making a bed for various soft toys.

I was really impressed by how this engaged them, and that they kept coming up with different ways to add to their houses. The fun was most certainly in the making, though since they finished making additions, they’ve used them as houses for a variety of toys. I love that they all worked together, finding different bits and pieces that the others needed, and sharing the art gear, and eventually giving assistance when one needed help. Each house is different to the other, reflecting their personalities.

Ivy's interior

Ivy’s interior

 

 

What I love most of all though was that they chose to do this all on their own!! I did a little bit of helping here and there, but for the most part it was all them. I love seeing their independence blooming, and the fact that I get to watch them as they make decisions, and are able to be fully in control of their learning experiences.

Time, symmetry, and maths

Setting up

Setting up

In the weekend Ivy and I ran a Girl Guide Biscuit stand at one of the supermarkets in town – a 2 hour stint is usually enough to put a good dent in our allocated boxes, but it’s a very hard task for her to stand in one small space for a couple of hours.

It was a very slow start, after getting our first sale before we’d even set up the table, and it wasn’t long before Ivy chimed in with the age old ‘how long to go now?’ She has only had a passing interest in time so far. She doesn’t want to know how to read a clock, and the concept of time can be parceled out into ‘now’, ‘soon’ and ‘AGGGGGGGEEEEEES away’, so I thought this afforded a perfect opportunity to talk a little more about time.

We started by talking about how many minutes there are in an hour (she knew there was 60). I told her we had an hour and three quarters to go, which meant we could divide 60 by 2 to find half an hour, and then 4, to figure out what a quarter was. Given a practical purpose for telling time, she picked up the concepts of quarter and half hours pretty quickly, and every now and then I’d say there was a certain amount of time to go, and she’d work out how many minutes that was, or I’d tell her how many minutes and she would work out what that was in hours/quarters/halves. Win!

One of the things I noted throughout the time was that Ivy has a love of symmetry. She changed the display several times, but always had even numbers of each type of biscuit on each side of the table. We related this back to the art course that she has been doing, as we’ve been learning a bit about balance and symmetry there. She is struggling a little with the idea of creating balance through asymmetry, but couldn’t bring herself to let me change her symmetry to try and create an asymmetrical balance in her display.

After spending the first hour watching me make the sales, Ivy finally decided that she was ready to try it for herself. I think she needed to see how it worked first before taking the task on. I was really impressed that she was able to mostly make the right change, and asked me to check when she wasn’t sure about it. People were thankfully willing to wait a little bit, and I think it gave her a nice confidence boost.

We didn’t sell as many biscuits as we’d have liked, but it was a really good experience, and she coped very well with having to be in one spot.

Colour Theory

Following on from Ivy’s interest in art, a friend introduced me to the ‘Open 2 Study‘ site, where I promptly made Ivy an account and signed her up for a couple of classes. We started the first one today called ‘The Art of Drawing and Painting‘, the description said that it involved colour theory and seeing as we were just talking about that a couple of days ago it sounded like a good place to start.

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Ivy watching the videos with Leeloo

Ivy watching the videos with Leeloo

Ivy really enjoys it. We’re already halfway through the lessons for the first week. She’s loving being exposed to some new types of art and learning about the history of art a little more. She made me stop and take a photo of this beach (again with the beaches! lol) because she really liked it. She could see it was a beach but the style wasn’t as realistic as a lot of the art she sees and it intrigued her to think of a painting made up of lots of ‘dots’ as opposed to strokes of the brush.

WP_000283WP_000280Once we’d got past the video about primary, secondary and tertiary colours I suggested we take a break and get the paints out so that Ivy could make her own colour wheel. She jumped at that idea, and I was really impressed by how focused she was and how she kept an even keel despite some struggles with getting the mixing right initially. She did an excellent job!

The other kids pitched in as well. Lauren got me to draw her some circles as well and did some mixing, though under her own steam rather than according to colour theory, and Natalie had fun making her ‘ugly green’ that she loves to much. She wants ALL the colours, then she mixes them all together, does her painting and then uses the rest of the paint on her body before having a bath – I only ever suggest we paint when I know there is plenty of time for the clean up 😉

WP_000282Despite the fact that we’ve talked about colour theory before, it felt like this time around it actually might stick. It seems like a combination of video and practical experience is a good blend for Ivy. She rarely takes information in when she’s just read it, or had it read to her, but seeing it and then putting it into action seems to work, so I will have to remember that for the future.

Lauren has been gathering a pretty good idea about mixing colours as well, and while she might not have the words to explain what she’s been doing, she is certainly confident enough to mix her own colours and experiment.

 

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Triptych – Ivy’s favourites

She really liked the reflections in the water, and the colours in this one

During one of our ‘evening classes’ last week Ivy and I spent some time looking through examples of triptychs on google images, talking about the different kinds of media used (photography, paint, drawing, stained glass window etc) and the kinds of things people put in their triptychs (religious scenes, landscapes, portraits and so on).

She liked the colours in this one, and also the way it looked like it was reflected in water

I don’t think she was quite aware of what she was drawn to, but it didn’t take long for me to pick up on her preferences. Rather than spell them out to her, I asked her what it was she liked about each of the triptychs she’d selected and hoped that she would be able to make the connections between them herself.

She liked the water, and she thought it was pretty

It took her a lot of prompting from me for her to figure out what it was she liked, but she got there in the end – she liked images with water, or landscapes, the word ‘pretty’ was

she liked the colours in this, and it reminded her of a fireworks painting that she’d done once where you colour the paper in with different coloured crayons, then paint it over with black and scratch the paint off to make the fireworks

used in just about every response to an image she picked (though after about 8 of them she decided she needed to find some more words for pretty because she used it too much, so it was good to explore some other words!) and she liked things that were bright and colourful, and she liked a combination of paintings and photography, with the paintings either being of landscapes, or abstract in nature.

When I asked her what she might like to do for some of her own triptychs she still wasn’t really sure, so I suggested that maybe she might want to do something with water, seeing as it seemed to be a bit of a theme for her, and that we look for some other images of things she might like to try.

Cute!!!!

 

She spotted this triptych of a kitten playing and thought it was really cute, and decided that for her first triptych she’d like to try and do something like this with our dog, Leeloo. She’s taken many photographs of Leeloo in the past, so it will be interesting to see how she goes about setting the scene for her first photoshoot that has a specific purpose (other than just the fun of taking photos, that is!).

I had a lot of fun exploring triptychs with Ivy, and it was nice to get that one on one time to do it with her without the other kids around. I’m looking forward to doing the same with Lauren and seeing whether there are any themes that run through her selection as well.

If you’d like to view all the ones that Ivy selected, you can see them here.