Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Mini van Gogh's!

         We're quickly running out of books in our house.  I think we only have four of them left in our library bin.  We do, of course, have many bookcases filled with books but for some reason no one seems inclined to actually look through them for something to read or do (and honestly I'm just as bad!).  All three of the boys have many books on order but our library's computers have been down and so we've been stuck waiting for books to come in-- and finally they have!  We have at least a dozen or so books to go and pick up today and we can't wait. 
      We got a very late start to our school work today but I didn't have much planned anyway since I had hoped to go pick strawberries today.  I awoke to more rain and decided it was not a good day to pick strawberries.  Feeling pretty bummed I rummaged around to see what we could today.  We read a math book called Perimeter, Area, and Volume: A Monster Book of Dimensions.  It talked not only about area, perimeter, and volume but also about radius, circumference, 1 dimensional, 2 dimensional, and 3 dimensional objects.  We didn't do a math activity to follow up with this today since it's still a pretty new concept they're all just beginning to learn and I couldn't find any really gripping, engaging activities to go with it just yet.  But I'm working on it!
     We read Getting to Know the Worlds' Greatest Artists :Van Gogh, and watched a quick YouTube video about Van Gogh too.  We were a bit disappointed in the video, don't get me wrong, it was very cute but it cut off at the end before it was really done.  We then moved over to the table to make some Van Gogh inspired paintings.  I found this great watercolor resist project that mimics Van Gogh's Starry Night painting that Ian decided he wanted to try but Alec and Evan chose to do a painting project we found in the Usborne Art Treasury.  I love that book!  It gives a short biography of each artist, a photo of one of their most popular paintings and then a project idea.  Ian sketched a moon and some swirls into the sky using yellow, white, black and gray crayons and then used star stickers to make the sky.  He painted over everything with blue watercolors.  Alec and Evan first sketched a sun, some fields and hills and a few trees before using finger paints, fingers, and brushes to paint their paintings.  The Usborne books called for use of Acrylic paints mixed with craft glue to get a nice thick paint like Van Gogh would have used but I couldn't imagine letting them use acrylic paints after seeing how colorful my kitchen was when we were done.  Alec really got the swirly effect and was very careful to leave lots of brushstrokes showing with big, bold, swirling strokes.  Ian was a bit disappointed that his crayon resist didn't show up more but he too used circular brushstrokes to mimic Van Gogh. 
Alec's finished landscape

Evan's landscape

Ian's version of Starry Night

    We read another Greek Mythology story about Zeus but I'm finding they aren't holding the boys interests.  This is the second book we've tried but they all use rather large vocabulary and, maybe it's just me, but I'm not liking all the stories about killing their own kids, cheating on their wives, etc.  I don't remember mythology being so violent!  At least with the dozen or so books we're picking up today we'll have plenty to choose from for the next few weeks! 
   After lunch we headed to the library.  We filled up my whole huge bag with books and walked out with a box of books too.  I'm thinking we may have taken home more than we can read but that's OK.  They all look amazing!  While we were there, we also filled out some paws for the reading program.  I had to rely on memory for how many books they each read in the last week and I was pleasantly surprised to learn I remembered correctly (I double checked when we got home). 
    We listened to The Pain and the Great One Going, Going, Gone in the car and we finished that on the way home.  We put in the next Boxcar Children Book and we'll start that next time we go somewhere.  The boys begged for school to be over and I said sure since we didn't have anything else planned.  It was still a bit cloudy and rainy so they turned on screens.  I think if I had relented a bit more about screens in the winter when it was too cold to go out I would have eliminated most of our homeschooling problems since being stuck indoors this summer hasn't been that big of a deal for us.  Evan has been glued to the Monkey Word (and the other boys constantly beg for a turn too) and I'm thinking I really need to look into more on-line and app based learning for the coming school year.  Winter should be downright fun if I can find a way to allow screens.  I feel a bit like I'm caving on my whole "no screen" policy but I have noticed that they are making strides in trying to make sure it's educational too.  

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