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Saturday, March 31, 2012

lightbulb saturday:: inspiration for the weekend

It is that time again! 

Lightbulb Saturday is a link up with the Kids Co-OP and is chock full of creative ideas for kids. It is the perfect place to find an activity or two to liven up your weekend!

Browse through, link to your own projects and enjoy!

This week I am particularly in love with A Childhood List's  jump rope made from plastic bags and duct tape. What a great idea! I'll bet my kids could use the same method to make a whip. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

it's that time of year again:: ocean evenings

We arrive when everyone else is leaving, sunburned and tired. 

A watermelon and cold beer can make a dinner. 

The thirty minutes before the sun finally sets, the air is thick and golden. I promise you. Many people can not see it - but all you have to do is look. 

 Dreams are written in the sand and souls of our children as they commune with the sea.

conduct a simple survey

A great, real world math activity for young kids is to conduct a survey. For dinner on this particular night, we could not decide which pasta shape to eat - so my 5 year old used this simple table to tally everyone's vote. 

If I pulled a chart like this from a workbook, or printed a cute printable from the internet, he would have not been nearly as enthusiastic as he was with this project. We had a real need (which pasta to eat) and he could solve it for our family while I made the sauce.

Real world = real learning around here.  This is one way that unschooling works.

I drew the simple chart, including a picture representation of the two pastas we had on hand and explained to him to make a mark under each for each person's vote. It was very close, with the kids all voting one way and the adults the other. I guess we really are outnumbered!

When he was done, he counted the votes and wrote the number of each (self correcting that annoying three) and cheers went up from the kids whose choice won. The whole thing took literally 5 minutes - but the engagement was high and the skills acquisition effortless, which is how the majority of learning should be.

Monday, March 26, 2012

monday missions :: take your daily constitutional

Monday Missions: a simple idea to add a little magic to your week.

daily constitutional: a walk taken for one's health

We weave in and out of seasons of taking walks as a family. When my children were much younger, neighborhood walks in strollers were common several times a day. 

Now, much of our walking happens when we hike in the woods or have a particular destination (the library or a class that is nearby). But, recently, we have been trying to take our daily constitutional, through the neighborhood, after dinner. It is such a great way to help your food digest and unwind. The days that we walk are usually the days that everyone falls asleep more gently and at peace. 

We never cease to have a mini adventure when we walk around our neighborhood. We have come across magically lit trees in the middle of fields, neighbors making kettle corn and offering a bag, whole galleries of amateur artwork being thrown out that we eagerly rifle through and many ducks and turtles having life adventures that we watch and sometimes participate in.

And, the words and ideas and plans and dreams really start flowing when our legs are moving. Sometimes from all three kids at once. Something happens to the mind when we walk. We loosen up our brain and start connecting all the disparate bits and bobs that are knocking around into cohesive ideas and feelings. It is a gift to give your children and yourself at the end of the day.

So, this week, my challenge to myself (and you if you want to play along) is to walk each night after dinner and see what happens.

How do you walk with your kids? 

Friday, March 23, 2012

lightbulb saturday:: inspiration for the weekend

Kids Co-op

So, after a little hiatus, we are back with 
lightbulb saturdaya link up of creative ideas for all ages. So, browse through, see if something grabs your eye - and feel free to link up your project!

The post I am most digging this week:

Pen Pals and Picture Books made this great pallet bookshelf. I have a pallet in my back yard right now that is begging for this treatment. I especially like how she retained the character of the pallet's patina and included her children in the decoration. Awesome!

Click through to peruse the many submissions this week.

this moment :: a boy at the sea

a special moment from the week. via soulemama.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

instagram journal

 rainbow garland via design mom
 rainbow garland via mamacout
 tiny paper dolls found in the crooks of my house
 our beloved organic apples, ...we can barely afford them as fast as they eat them
silverware waiting for a celebration

are you on instagram? i love it. follow me and i will follow you :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

exploration lab:: grind your own paint

Inspired by this book, we learned a bit about Giotto and made our own egg tempera paint. I have labeled this an exploration lab, because once you have the basic - it really lends itself to inventiveness. 
 The basic idea is that you grind up pigment and mix it with egg yolks whipped up with a bit of water. We used colored chalk, but in the past, artists would use mineral, plants, and even insects. 
The grinding was much harder work that we thought. This led into discussions about how useful the workshop/apprentice model was in the past when artists were responsible for manufacturing their own paints, brushes and other tools.
We used shells and rocks to grind and immediately saw how hard it was to get a perfect, uniform powder. 

 My son entertained us with stories of Leonardo Da Vinci and his many failed painting projects. My daughter decided to try to use just the egg wash to make a glaze. When the paintings were done (on paper and wood) and dry - it was amazing to see a completely different sheen than any other paint we have used.

 Later in the day, we talked about how learning about egg tempra might inform other experiments and listed the possible applications of our new skill, including using it for painting flying machines. 
While we painted, we listened to Palestrina, the Renaissance composer who came a few hundred years later and made music more three dimensional, just like Giotto did with human figures. The choral music was so relaxing and uplifting we listened to it all day.

On a side note, I just finished reading The Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier and really enjoyed it. It is based on the Dutch painter Vermeer and his maid and their relationship. One of her duties is to grind pigment and mix paint and the rich imagery from the novel were running through my head as I did this project with my children today. If this is your sort of thing - check it out. The movie based on the novel is good too. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

monday missions:: plan a game night this week

Monday Missions: a simple idea to add a little magic to your week.

If you have not played a game with your family in while, how about giving it a try this week? 

Our family has finally moved into playing more challenging games (ones that keep my interest) and it has been great. Game night (or day) is becoming a frequently requested activity and I think we will continue to explore new games together.

We especially like Monopoly, Chess, Scrabble, Battleship, and Sorry. Very classic - but I do have some others I would  like to try, like, Ticket to Ride, Stone Age, and Risk.

Does your family have a game night? What is your favorite board game?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

make a rainbow connection

My kids really like making these classic garlands for nearly every holiday. I always associate them with Christmas, but they have shown me that they work well for Halloween and St Patricks Day too. 

The repetitive pattern helped my 6 year old to quickly learn the rainbow color sequence as we made this garland for a St Patrick's Day birthday we will be celebrating this week.

 I think it is so pretty, we might just leave it up until summer. 

this one is annoying but my kids love it

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

slingshot learning

After spending over an hour on this project, my son came to me so excited with his trio of slingshots. This unstructured, child-intitated play is a pillar of our homeschooling. It is so much more than just fiddling around with sticks and the learning that happens is tangible and lasting. 

He explained to me how he found and prepared the sticks. He also explained how the tension could not be too tight or it was difficult to use - it had to have slack. We talked about his knot tying and double knot tying. The merits of thicker rubber bands was compared to thinner ones. 

His pride and excitement with this creation was infectious and he soon roped me into a sling shot contest. We shot wiffle balls into the metal magazine rack enjoying the cacophony. 

After explaining to me all the applications of slingshots in daily life, he designed gear that would help him carry his weapons, complete with a bullet pouch.

As he left the room to create his next project, he looked back at me and said, 

"See, I told you I could make a slingshot!" 

Yes, you did and yes, you can.


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