Thursday, June 22, 2017

Art Project #97-- Glass Bead Sun Catchers

Looking around for another fun art project we decided to make some sun catchers using those glass beads that most people tend to put in floral vases.

This was, by far, one of the easiest projects we've ever done and the boys are so thrilled to be closing in on our 100 Days of Art Challenge.



We took some plastic lids from sour cream containers (or containers like those) and filled them with school glue.



We then added glass beads in a pattern we liked and placed a piece of string near the top for hanging our finished piece near.



Thankfully we did not try this project on the table as a few of them spilled over.

Then we set the containers in the sun for a few days until they dried completely.


Here's what they look like hanging in our windows.  Aren't they pretty?




Ours are a bit milky white in between the beads but clear school glue would make it look like the beads were floating and I bet this would be amazing looking with colored or glitter glue!

Our other art projects:
Project 3: Star Wars Crafts
Project 5: Floral pens
Project 6: Watercolor outlines
Project 13: Water gun art
Project 14: Watercolor Kits
Project 15: Dragonfly Silhouettes 
Project 16: Painting pet rocks 
Project 17: Spray Paint Resist
Project 18: Water bottle windsock
Project 20: Tin can windsock 
Project 21: Firework glue art
Project 22: Qixel art kit
Project 26: Spray Painted Canvas
Project 28: Tin Foil Art
Project 29: Oil Pastel Bubbles 
Project 32: Drip Painted Pots
Project 33: Sun Art 
Project 36: Art Museum field trip. 
Project 39: Painting Pikachu 
Project 40: How to Draw Books
Project 42: Splatter Paint Canvas
Project 46: Tissue Paper Leaf Art
Project 50: Drawing Cat Faces 
Project 51: Making Homemade cards
Project 53: 3-D printing 
Project 54: Gingerbread Train
Project 57: Candy trees 
Project 67: Learning Origami
Project 68: Artist Study
Project 69: Playing an Art Game
Project 74: Qixels 3-D Maker
Project 75: Decorating Cupcakes 

Linking Up With:

This Is How We Roll Thursday Party

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Homeschooling Through the Alphabet: W is for Waiting

One thing I have been quite adamant about in homeschooling my children is waiting to teach them skills when they are ready.

Here is a post I wrote previously about waiting to teach skills and why I feel that it is so important.

I have often felt that one of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is allowing students to learn at their own pace.  This includes waiting to teach children skills until they are ready to learn and absorb them; something I think is more important than ever with our schools insisting on teaching skills at younger and younger ages.



I pulled my kids out of public school mainly because my middle son was bored and not being challenged enough.  I knew allowing him to work at home meant he could work at a more advanced pace and he wouldn't be unintentionally held back waiting for the other students to catch up with him.

I knew that homeschooling allowed kids who were struggling with an area of school to stop, slow down and focus on skills they wanted to develop until they were at a level where they were comfortable moving forward.

I knew all that but somehow I didn't really GET that! 


It wasn't until this past year that I am finally seeing just how beneficial it has been to allow my children to learn a their own pace.


Evan is 8, and it is just within the last few months that I can say with confidence (and relief!) that he is reading. 

He had no desire to learn anything about letters, words, or reading when he was 5 or 6 and while I kept trying and cajoling and playing fun games with him, nothing I was teaching was sticking. 

He finally started showing some effort and a lot of frustration when he turned 7 but another year went by where I felt like I was seeing minimal results. Everyone kept telling me not to worry; he would get it.

But I worried.

And I worried.

And I worried.

I kept reminding myself that while he was behind by school standards, his inability to read was not hampering his learning.  He had amazing comprehension and LOVED listening to stories. 

He would listen to anything I was willing to read aloud and he listened to chapter books so far above his grade level.  He learned so much vocabulary and made wonderful predictions about everything and anything we were reading or listening to.  His love of reading and of books was still intact and he showed no signs of any learning disabilities but I kept wondering when it was all going to click like everyone assured me it would.

And then it did!

I swear we went from one day of stumbling through an easy reader to him reading simple chapter books with little to no errors and a great flowing story voice.  He reads with expression and delight.



By allowing him to learn at his own pace he was able to pick up skills all along the way (without my noticing!) and piece them altogether into one huge comprehensive jump.


He's not reading quite on grade level yet but he's so darn close.  It felt like overnight he took one huge leap and just about caught up to where he "should" be. 

He loves books and is delighted to pick up new books, giggle over them, and read them aloud to me.

And I can't say this is the only lesson I received this year about allowing children to set their own pace in learning either!

Ian had been struggling with fractions a year or so ago (maybe even two years).  Struggling so much he was crying during math and we were both miserable.  Math was turning into a daily struggle.  No matter how many ways I tried to teach about reducing fractions or making equivalent fractions he just could not get it.

I always assumed that when my kids were stuck on a concept we'd devote MORE time to it until they understood it so I was apprehensive when he wanted to take a break entirely from them. 

We continued to do math everyday for a year but skipped over anything having to do with fractions.

 He still cooked and baked (while using fractions in real life), he did a whole unit on measurement (writing fractions found on rulers and tape measures), he did a lot of designing and drawing up plans for making a birdhouse and a toy garage (converting fractions to decimals in real life).  We knew all of this was working on building fraction fluency but he didn't realize it and fractions in these contexts did not stress him out. 

So I'll say that we didn't consciously work on fractions and we certainly didn't do anything on a day to day basis.  In the contexts of measurement and cooking fractions were no big deal; he could read them, he could measure them, and he wasn't being asked to add them, multiply them, simplify them or make them equivalent.  Mostly we focused on other areas of math and just worked on building up what he did know and understand.

A year later he picked up his discarded fractions book and worked through the first few pages like they were nothing. 

 It all suddenly clicked and he knew what he was doing.  He understood and fractions were no longer a source of stress, worry, and frustration for him.

He remarked to me that he could not believe how easy the book seemed now.  He finished it up in just a few weeks and we moved on. 

I've learned that when waiting to teach kids skills until they are ready they pick up on skills so much faster!

Learning is not nearly as frustrating!

Their natural inclination to want to learn remains intact.

They gain confidence and encounter less stress.

I am so glad I waited for my boys to show me they were ready to learn instead of pressing on ahead, pushing them to learn just because someone, somewhere along the way decided there was a magic age in which all kids need to learn certain skills. We had a much happier homeschool year and I now have two kids brimming with confidence.

Linking Up With:


Hopkins Homeschool

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Encouraging Hearts & Home blog hop every Thursday at ApronStringsOtherThings.com

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Love to Learn Linky Party- 3rd Tuesday of June

Hope you all had a wonderful Father's Day weekend and found some great ways to honor the father's in your life.  We spent our weekend working on getting a new heating and air conditioning unit up and running.  But at least we prepared my husband a really nice meal of all his favorite foods.


Thanks for joining us today and I hope you find some great blogs to read and follow.

Love to Learn blog hop | link up | linky | blogging | homeschooling | education | kids activities | kids craft ideas

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Art Project #96-- Garden Mosaic Stepping Stones

We bought some mosaic stepping stone kits at Michael's craft store one day last week.  They were on sale for 40% off and I thought that might be another great craft for our 100 Days of Art.



We had made mosaic stepping stones years and years ago (so many years ago that they have fallen apart and we no longer have them).

Evan decided he really didn't want to make on so Ian, Alec and I settled down to work on them.  Everything we needed was included in the kit other than some cooking spray to keep the cement from sticking to the mold and some water to make the cement workable.

Once we mixed up the cement following the instructions we set to work decorating them.  I chose an abstract design using up as many mosaic pieces as I could while Ian chose to make a "welcome" stone.  Alec cut out and traced the snail shape onto his stone; filling in with stones.





Our completed stones:





We set them to dry overnight and then placed them throughout our gardens.  They look so pretty!


Our other art projects:
Project 3: Star Wars Crafts
Project 5: Floral pens
Project 6: Watercolor outlines
Project 13: Water gun art
Project 14: Watercolor Kits
Project 15: Dragonfly Silhouettes 
Project 16: Painting pet rocks 
Project 17: Spray Paint Resist
Project 18: Water bottle windsock
Project 20: Tin can windsock 
Project 21: Firework glue art
Project 22: Qixel art kit
Project 26: Spray Painted Canvas
Project 28: Tin Foil Art
Project 29: Oil Pastel Bubbles 
Project 32: Drip Painted Pots
Project 33: Sun Art 
Project 36: Art Museum field trip. 
Project 39: Painting Pikachu 
Project 40: How to Draw Books
Project 42: Splatter Paint Canvas
Project 46: Tissue Paper Leaf Art
Project 50: Drawing Cat Faces 
Project 51: Making Homemade cards
Project 53: 3-D printing 
Project 54: Gingerbread Train
Project 57: Candy trees 
Project 67: Learning Origami
Project 68: Artist Study
Project 69: Playing an Art Game
Project 74: Qixels 3-D Maker
Project 75: Decorating Cupcakes