Art: Relaxed Homeschool Style

art

Art as a separate subject always has seemed strange to me. This week we finished painting a backdrop for our church’s Christmas performance. We were not asked to do it, but volunteered for the job cuz it sounded like fun!

The idea is that the performers will be standing in a mall. This is a painting by my 17yo daughter. The snowman is a joke as he is eating in a Pizza shop.

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This is one by my 15yo son. He had so much fun figuring out how to make this look 3D.

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Did I force them to learn a special style of painting? Did I even tell them anything once they decided on what they were going to paint? NOPE, they just had fun. I said to them to find  picture or an idea and draw it out and then paint it. They were free to paint what they wanted within the ideas we had come up with.

The backdrop is supposed to be the inside of a shopping mall. We sat and brain stormed about what should be there. We decided to add cute jokes here and there to make kids laugh and our friends in the audience laugh.

Here is another funny one that we did together. After doing this one we thought “Oh No, are people going to be bothered by the Grinch in church.” But the Pastor showed up the next day and said that “No, The Grinch is a Christmas Classic.” Whew, we knew we had freedom in what we painted but had worried if we had crossed the line. My 17yo daughter and I did this one.

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This backdrop storefront has a few more things added since this picture, like a sad Christmas tree in the left window and a present in the window on the right. We just loved the TJ Naxx sign as the only store in our small town is a TJ Maxx store.

What did we learn from this experience?

  • Working together to figure out a huge project is really fun.
  • We like to listen to music while we work. Though we definitely prefer upbeat music after 2 or more hours of painting in a day.
  • Artists crack lame jokes.
  • Painting the tops of walls really tires out your arms.
  • Adding the lines on the ATM really made it POP like it was from a graphic novel.
  • The colors that we had was limited but you can combine latex and oil based paint to get some pretty strange colors.
  • Spray paint can be sprayed onto a plate and painted on a wall.
  • My kids are awesome!

Now some of these things, like the last one on the list, I have known for years. But if I had asked my kids to use an Art Curriculum book and work through it for 30 hours in 3 and a half weeks they would about pass out. Relaxed Art is the way to go for sure. Finding ways to allow their creative and artistic juices to flow and have it appreciated by others is just the way to do it for us.

Here is another picture from the set. This is by my 15yo son, my 17yo daughter, my 13 yo son, and myself. Haha the ATNT store, this will actually get a cellphone painted on it tomorrow morning early.

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I was trying to figure out how many hours we worked on this backdrop and I believe it is about 30 hours. This is the time from thinking up the ideas of the different storefronts to finding out we had limited paint to use to us actually painting.

Here is another store front. This was done by my 17yo daughter and myself. This is a funny store front to us because there is a member of our congregation that actually is a clock repairman and his nickname is Tick-Tock.

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This performance of the musical “God Speaking” will be performed Sunday morning. The choir (which includes my kids singing and myself as narrator) have been practicing this musical since the end of September.

This is another store front as a joke. There is a friend in the congregation that has a security business that is named 4security and so we did this one for him.

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I hope you have enjoyed seeing how we over the years have found that Art can easily be part of a relaxed home school without ever calling it ART. Without having to use an Art Curriculum. We do use an Art Curriculum if the child is interested in it. We also have used classes for a child interested in a special topic like pottery on a wheel. But for the most part, like 90%, our ART time is what we make for others and ourselves just for fun.

Have a great week.

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The HOME in Homeschooling

Lot’s of changes here. Being without a vehicle has made homeschooling so much easier. It used be that we were fighting with outside activities for time but now we have so much time. The house is neater and the schoolwork is all caught up.  More on that in a minute. So our list of what we accomplished this week is different but more fulfilling.

What we did do this week:

  • Weatherized the house: well we didn’t, but a crew was here working on that all week
  • Church
  • Workbook work
  • Easy Peasy Online School
  • Costco shopping with a friend and our little ones
  • Orthodontist appointment: Artist got her braces off 🙂
  • Math drills
  • Read lots to the younger kids
  • Played around with water and our freezing temperatures outside
  • Church
  • Created a new cleaning system for ourselves

The HOME in Homeschooling

So many things pull us out of our homes. There are the lessons like music or foreign language, there are classes like a science co-op or drama group, there are sports activities like soccer or open gym, there are just so many awesome activities for us as homeschoolers, how do you choose?

Well, our choice was made for us with the demise of our latest vehicle. We were doing so many activities every week. Here is a list of things we did with the homeschool group before our vehicle bit the dust:

  • Science co-ops: ran these and participated
  • Drama club
  • Homeschool Choir
  • Singing at nursing homes
  • Ice skating
  • Homeschool meetings: set-up and lead most of them
  • Open gym
  • Yearbook: started and ran
  • and, and, and

That is just a partial list of our weekly things to do with/for our homeschool group. There are also field trips, the soccer team, talent shows, spelling bees, you name it, our group was doing it. Most of it was organized and run by us.

Now, these are all wonderful things to do. Really there are. But the HOME in homeschooling was becoming the, “get what you can get done in the time left” schooling. We were gone so much we wondered if our home was more of a motel than a house. My husband and I would laugh when saying this and then look at each other like, ” Really? Is this what we have become?”

We would spend our mornings preparing to be gone again:

  • Packing lunches
  • Collecting workbooks for down times
  • Final prep for co-op lessons to teach
  • Collecting supplies for co-op classes
  • Rushing to do our animal chores
  • Eat a quick breakfast
  • And slamming that door behind us to a now empty house

That was a typical Monday. Don’t get me wrong, we would get all of our schoolwork accomplished but had barely any time to relax when we were home. When we got home we were exhausted. This was a typical week:

  • Monday: Co-op classes, Drama club, Yearbook all in the afternoon
  • Tuesday: Ice skating in the morning or Soccer in the afternoon, and Homeschool meetings in the evenings once a month
  • Wednesday: Field trips in the morning once a month and Homeschool Q&A in the afternoon once a month
  • Thursday: Open gym in the afternoon
  • Friday: Home

Now as you can see these are all taking up only parts of the day. Some were just mornings or just afternoons but I would have to plan out my week and figure out when we would get our actual schoolwork done. Each day we would get these activities and our schoolwork done but at what cost? There has to be a limit.

Someone once said to me, “If your not home is it really homeschooling?” Now there are many ways to homeschool, don’t get me wrong, but the way we were doing it was just was to hectic for us. We needed time to crash and not worry about the activities for the next day.

Helping to keep out homeschool group going for the last 3-4 years has been a blessing and a burden. We are a veteran homeschooling family and love to share what we have found works. This is our 22nd year homeschooling and we know a few things that could be helpful to a family starting out and love sharing that knowledge. We also know how to fit it all in since we have homeschooled for so long that it is just a way of life for us.  Homeschooling is the natural thing for us to do each day.

So what have we learned by being home more and not doing all those activities?

  • The homeschool group can survive without us
  • Our children are happier to just chill
  • We accomplish our schoolwork so much faster
  • We like to sleep in a little later
  • Our afternoons are ours again to do what makes us happy
  • The house is cleaner since we are here to keep it neat (kinda weird that is was so much messier when we were here less…)
  • I am a more relaxed mama
  • I have my weekends back: not planning 3 co-op classes for Monday has totally freed up my weekends

My advice…

Pick and choose what you children will participate in. We have 6 kids still at home and could easily make a legitimate excuse for every activity we were doing but how did those choices change us as a family?

Make it a point to be home with your kids. There will always be something else to participate in but for this time just choose home.

Socializing is a hot topic… make time to spend with others but cherish this time you have with your children. Too soon they will be graduating and you will wonder where all the time went.

What do you think? Let us know 🙂

Lastly a picture from this week… Artist got her braces off. A beautiful smile on a beautiful young lady.

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Happy Homeschooling!

Week in Review

This was pretty good academic homeschooling week. We got all our October schooling done and filed away for the end of the year portfolios. Here is our week:

  • Church
  • Harvest Cook-Out at a friend’s house
  • Muscular System Co-op
  • Apiary Field Trip
  • Homeschool Choir
  • Lots of reading
  • Wood burning projects
  • Ice Skating Started
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  • Older kids Wrote their Resumes
  • Online Computer Classes at the library
  • Muscular System Review Worksheets
  • Workbooks
  • Easy Peasy Online School (my review of this curriculum here)
  • Blogging, of course

Quite a list!!

Happy Homeschooling!

Week in Review & Our Homeschool Co-op

Gamer coaching soccer
Gamer coaching soccer

This week was not as productive in the academics as I was hoping it would be. I am not concerned because we school pretty much year round and this school year started in July. According to our state I have a 2 month jump on this current years work.

This week we had our regular co-op classes on Monday. This session of classes are:

  • Human Body Systems
  • Choir
  • Career Readiness

The system of study this week was the Digestive System. Here is a picture from the class.

Squeezing Oatmeal through the small intestines (nylons)
Squeezing Oatmeal through the small intestines (nylons)

I am going to focus this post on how our co-op works. But, I will finish my week in review first. Here is a quick list of what we accomplished:

  • Co-op classes
  • Attended a friends soccer game
  • Workbook work
  • Some Easy Peasy
  • Math drills each day
  • Reports written for the month (we try to do one a month)
  • Soccer (my son Gamer coached, photo above)
  • Playground playing
  • Dinner at a friends house (also helped her with her homeschool paperwork)
  • Dentist Appointments
  • Fire Department Field Trip
  • Pumpkin Carving for the Nursing Home
  • Loading, unloading, and stacking fire wood
  • Blogging
  • Artwork
  • Corn Maze
  • Dinner at another friends house
  • Jewelry party tomorrow
  • Barn Dance tomorrow also

coops

Our homeschool co-op is really a homeschool class because at this point I teach them all. I have tried to have others take over the work of running a class but this has not worked out. I love teaching these mainly hands-on classes, so I don’t mind at all. My daughter Director has been a great help in the Choir class.

This year I tried something different. I had families sign-up and pay a very small supply fee to take the K-6 classes. In the past it was hit or miss whether students came to the classes. This year with that small supply fee and a registration portion we have had a wonderfully full class each week. In past years it has also been very expensive for me supply all the items for classes. This year is so much better.

Another thing I tried this year was just having an 8 week session for each season. We have the Fall, Winter, and Spring sessions. Here is the breakdown of the classes per session:

FALL

  • The Human Body (K-6th)
  • Choir (all ages)
  • Career Readiness (7th-12th)

WINTER

  • Exploring Weather (K-6)
  • Drama Club (all ages)
  • Dissection 101 (4th-12th)

SPRING

  • Beginning Botany (K-6)
  • Garage Band (all ages)
  • Yearbook (7th-12th)

The classes that say K-6 are really geared to all the way up to 11th grade but not 100% of the time so I listed those grades instead.

The classes I teach are things I would be doing with my children anyway. These classes are an extension of our learning at home. The children really enjoy doing the science projects with a group. The science classes are all hands-on with a small bit of talking in between projects. There is always a snack also.

The classes run for 3 hours on Mondays at the local library. The library has a wonderful meeting room that they let us use. The room has a full kitchen, complete sound system, full video projector and computer access, and it’s own bathroom. The library also provides chairs, tables, cups, plates, and serving tray and bowls. It really is an amazing space. This meeting space is also free to use.

I have a regular blog where I post what our homeschool co-op is doing each week: Crazy8 Homeschool Co-ops  On that blog I will post the rest of the pictures from this weeks classes and helpful info about running a co-op type class.

Our family is in our 23rd year homeschooling and with Princess only turning 5 next month we are in this for the long haul. I think families feel comfortable with me teaching and I hope they see how much I love doing it 🙂 Families come up to me each week thanking me for teaching the classes and I am glad they appreciate it.

Here is a post from my other blog that explains more about what we do: Respiratory System Co-op & how we run a class.

Happy Homeschooling!