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Entries in art (19)


Day 198 in 2019


Day 81/365

Couldn't find a good way to photograph this fantastic wire cat, but still wanted to capture this wonderful achievement.


Photo 306/365

As I have mentioned, probably many, many times, this is Calvin's first year taking public school courses aside from band. I have also probably mentioned, umpteen times, that I was feeling pretty nervous about this at the beginning of the year, but nearly every day so far has been a pleasant surprise. He comes home excited and happy, eager to share all the details of his day. He's made a few classroom acquaintances, and even a few new friends. It has been such a joy to watch him grow into and with this experience, and an even greater joy that he is so willing to share it with us. I have to admit, too, how very validating the whole thing has been on a personal level, to find out after so many years that one of our hardest parenting decisions, and certainly the most continually challenging one, has served him so well. And, even better, that given that choice for himself now, he wouldn't change a thing—he's exactly where he wants to be. 


Artistic Pursuits

When people tell me that they are afraid to homeschool, especially in the later years, because they don't think they have enough knowledge to do so, I always cringe a little inside. I figure as long as you graduated from high school you have the knowledge you need to at least go back and review the subjects enough to help your child along the way. even more importantly, our goal in homeschooling has always been to make learning a joint effort, one in which we gently guide Calvin's learning through reading and research, but not through lecturing. I'm helping, not teaching. 

Learning is a lifelong process, and if we reach a subject I can't help him with, I figure we'll just learn it together.

Take art, for example. I am not artistic or creative by nature. I can follow directions (Pinterest is grand) and think with ingenuity, and I can copy art fairly well, but ask me to sit down and sketch something on my own, or paint a scene, or tackle pretty much any artistic endeavor and you're out of luck. So while some parents fear teaching math or chemistry, my biggest fear has always been art.

Over the past few years I have tried several times to use Drawing with Children as a backbone for our work in the subject, and I loved the book—I really did—but the lack of clear lesson plans or directions left the non-artistic part of me floundering. So this semester we tried something new: ARTistic Pursuits, grades 4-5. With it's very clearly delineated and detailed lessons, this was a very big change, and not one that I'm entirely pleased with. While Drawing with Children always expected a lot of its readers, it did so with a level of trust that is lacking in ARTistic Pursuits, which suffers a bit from lessons that seem rather abbreviated and sometimes not very cohesive. So while I do appreciate the clear assignments and expectations, I think next fall we will return to Drawing with Children


Spyro Tinker

Calvin received the Tinker Crate monthly science kits as a Christmas gift this year. Every month a box arrives that promises to keep him busy for hours on end, and so far they've been fun, fascinating, educational, and fairly vast in scope. We haven't even managed yet to explore all the different paths of learning each one offers, but we go back to them as new discoveries offer themselves.

Last month the kit was what I have been calling a mechanical spyro graph, although, as Calvin has pointed out, that isn't really what it is. It's a platform, to which he attached a motor and three markers. When he set the motor running it vibrated, as motors do, ever so slightly. And not much happened. But when he unbalanced the motor with a glob of clay, the vibration increased and sent the contraption shaking across a paper in a semi-predictable manner. When he moved the motor or the glob of clay, it changed that pattern. We had fun with alterations and predictions, but his favorite part of the kit this time, actually, was the artistic component. He loved the art it created, but he loved even more the art it let him create by using the motor's rotation instead to rotate paper discs, and the markers to color them.