Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Local Impressionist Art

Last year we spent a couple weeks talking about Impressionist artists and their art. Peanut was the only one of the girls that seemed the least bit interested, but that should not have surprised me because she loves anything that has to do with art.

My husband mentioned to me that he thought he had heard that the Flint Institute of Arts had a new traveling impressionist exhibit. Since I was a teenager I have enjoyed impressionist art and thought it would be a fabulous thing to see. In addition, on Saturdays there is no entrance fee to the museum because all Saturdays are sponsored by Target stores. Sounded like a great, inexpensive day out to me! Since Peanut was the only one of the girls that was impressed by our art discussions last year, I decided we would make the trip a "date day", just her and mom. We had such a nice time!

Peanut amazed me....She stopped at EVERY single painting and talked about what she saw in the picture, how the light looked, how the water or trees looked, she kept saying, "Mom, I love this!" After we had looked at each painting she even went back through and showed me which painting was her favorite in each hall. Here she is in front of one of her favorites. I remember it is called At the Fair, by Henri Cross. It was a really colorful, a much different piece than the stereotypical impressionist painting, but it was great to see it there because it certainly showed the range of art that fits into that category.

Here she is in front of a painting by Mary Cassat. When discussing this art last year we specifically spent some time talking about Cassat so it was awesome to see a piece by her!
When she approached this painting and I pointed out the artist, her jaw dropped. Yes, it is by Monet. There were approximately 3 of them there. Last year she took after her mother and declared that Monet was her favorite artist.
After we were done with this exhibit we moved on throughout the museum. We entered a room that happened to have a beautiful painting of the Taj Mahal hanging on the wall. Since we just finished studying India Peanut had no trouble recognizing the building. It was a really beautiful piece of art.
Finally, we entered "The Renaissance Room" which captivated Peanut. The tapestries were gigantic and she just loved looking at them and talking about what she thought was happening in the picture. She enjoyed this room so much we had to go back and look a 2nd time.
We had such a great time and plan on returning to peek at the impressionist paintings again, before the exhibit moves on.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Field Trip - Musical Petting Zoo

Musical Petting Zoo? You read it right. This week we were able to attend a great field trip with a couple families from our co-op. We went to the Flint Institute of Music and got to learn about various instruments and the kids even got to try them out. It was a small group of kids and Sissy was the oldest there, but she did not seem to mind. Each of the girls enjoyed handling the various instruments and even trying to play them.
Sweet Baby fell in love with the xylophone right away! Several times when I would look to see what she was up to, I found her standing at this exact spot with a huge grin on her face.

Peanut really enjoyed the brass instruments. She tried the flute, trumpet and saxophone. She enjoyed the trumpet so much that she asked, "Can I have a trumpet for my birthday?"

Not surprisingly to me, Sissy enjoyed the electric guitar. She must have sat in this chair for more than 20 minutes plucking at the strings. I believe she only got up because she wanted to let someone else try.

It was a morning that the girls really enjoyed and although my little band was formed and having a great time, the trip was over and it was time to head home for a full day of school.

On To China

We have finished up our study of India, though we have a couple lose ends to tie up. We need to finish our read aloud and the girls were given a project to do that needs to be completed. I'll share about those at a later time.

The bulk of our study has moved on. We are now studying China and then we will move on to Japan. One of the things that I had planned for the younger girls when we reached this these countries was to read the book, A Pair of Red Clogs. If you have never read this book, it is an adorable story about a young Japanese girl, her lovely new clogs, and the choice she has to make about whether to lie to her mother or not.

In addition to reading this book, I had decided to do a lapbook from my favorite lapbooking company, Hands of a Child. The lapbook is for grades K-2 so Sissy will not be doing it, but since she was headed to a play at one of the local colleges yesterday, I decided this would be the best time to start the lapbook.

In this story Mako purchases a new pair of red clogs. She is so proud of how pretty and new they are; however, during an outing with some friends she partakes in playing "the weather game". The Weather Game requires the children to kick their clogs high into the air and examine how the clogs land - resulting in a crack in her new clogs. They way the clogs land is a prediction of what the weather will be like the following day.

When I announced to the girls that they too were going to go outside wearing their "clogs" (flip flops) and play The Weather Game they couldn't wait. (See...they didn't even get dressed!)

When their "clogs" landed, we had two different predictions...Peanut's clog told us we would get rain today and Sweet Baby's said we were in for a lovely day.

We will be playing this game for then next 5 days and recording the predictions of the "clogs" and then what actually happens. After we were done with the Weather Game we headed inside to start our lapbook. We spent some time looking at where Japan is in relation to Michigan, we talked about the fact that Japan is actually a string of 4 islands and we determined the names of each island. After our discussion the girls got started on various pieces of their lapbook including their map, labeling the islands and more. I'm hoping to get some mural sized paper next week so we can paint our own chinese dragon. If that pans out, I'll let you know!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Math Woes, But Oh So Cute

We are using Abeka Math for both Sweet Baby (K) and Peanut (2nd) this year. It seems to be working just fine for both of the girls though the Kindergarten program seems to be picking up speed (moving to telling time on the half hour which seems a bit fast for Kindergarten, but if she can do it, we'll keep with it). Sweet Baby is having trouble with her math facts but that is fine, we try a new one everyday and just run with it. I remind her of some of the facts throughout the day and don't stress over it - after all, she is just in Kindergarten.

One math concept Sweet Baby is struggling with is the concept or "how many more". She can look at a tower or pile of cubes and tell you which one has more but when you say, "How many more are there here, than over here?", she has no idea what to do. Today, I had built a tower of 7 cubes and compared it to a tower of 2. I asked her, "How many more does this one have than that one?" Her response???? "A lot!"

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Woodworking at Co-Op

Yesterday we had co-op again and I was with Sweet Baby's group. It was pajama day so the kids got to wear their p.j.'s. Not only were the younger girls excited to wear their p.j.'s, but Sweet Baby was excited to go to woodworking. I enjoy watching her in this class so much, the reason is two fold.

1) She gets to be in her favorite class, not because she likes working with wood, but because her friend "Mr. Tom" is the teacher. Mr. Tom is a family friend, who is like an uncle to her. The last two vacations our family took included Mr. Tom's family, we see them every week at church and often in between, since they live about 4 miles from us. She loves Mr. Tom and he loves her.

2) It cracks me up how nervous she can be. For some reason she is my most nervous and neurotic child it is usually annoying, but lately I have been trying to take a step back and remind myself that she is only 5. Sometimes I forget that 5 is still a baby. She still has SO much to learn, all my kids do.

Here Sweet Baby is trying her hand at using the square to make a straight line on the wood. She looked so cute in her safety glasses. They would not stay up on her nose, so she had to hold them onto her face most of the time.

Here she is using the saw. Her paranoia in class today was that she would cut herself. But it was sweet because when she got home, she told daddy that she did just fine because "Mr. Tom kept my hand safe". After they cut a section of the wood, they practiced the hand sanding skills they learned a couple of weeks ago.

Here she is making "rhythm sticks". Great idea from the head teacher...something for them to bring home and bang all over to make noise.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Some Days...and a Funny Discussion

Some days you want to file away in your memory bank and remember for a long time. I had one of those days last week. We had another day where it snowed most of the day. My husband had a few things to do after work so I decided I'd get a head start on shoveling the driveway. Peanut decided to come out and play so while I was out. She is our most imaginative child and is lately has been found digging around outside looking for "treasures" in the snow and....

....searching for some "firewood" to continue building this huge "fire" that you see...

I stopped to look at her face. Do you forget to do that sometimes? Really stop and study your child's face, watch their eyes, look at their dimples, see how their smile looks? It seems lately I'd stopped doing that. I've gotten into the daily habit of just pushing through school, then chores, refereeing arguments, etc. that I have not slowed down to just admire and appreciate my girls. Maybe it is because they are always together and the whirlwind of talking, bickering and movement makes it virtually impossible to focus on any one person. While Peanut was outside with me I was noticing some of these things. I was noticing how tall she is getting.

I was enjoying the joy on her face when she would find a 'piece of wood for her fire'.

I was really enjoying the way her eyes crinkle underneath when she smiles. Her smile has always taken up her whole face, since she was tiny, I love that. And her dimple! It is hard to see it in this photo, but she has the cutest dimple on her right cheek. I was really appreciating the two gaps on the top row of teeth were she lost two awhile ago and nothing has filled them in. It makes her look older too. I love my kids.

Now, as for the funny discussion...while she was digging in the snow I said, "Peanut, you look like an archaeologist digging over there." She said, "What is an archaeologist?" So I explained that it was a scientist who digs in the dirt to find clues to the past. I reminded her about our trip to Jamestown and the dig site we went to. As she continued digging she said, "I am like a dirty-ologist!"