Monday, April 20, 2015

Gothic Cathedral Art

Our take on gothic cathedrals with rosettes! 

Allan ~ Cora ~ Addie ~ Eli

Nicholas Hilliard My Very Fashionable, Undoubtably, Hipster Ancestor

My mom likes to do genealogies.
We have been studying Elizabeth I or "Good Queen Bess" and I realized that the cover art was originally done by none other than Nicholas Hilliard my 12th great grandfather on my maternal (Whitley) line.  His portraits were quite the rage back in the mid 1500's it seems. Everyone from the Queen to Sir Walter Raleigh commissioned his work.

Here's Nicolas Hilliard himself...
Just look at how he rocks that lace collar!
He was a looker and I bet he wore some nice skinny "jeans" and went by Nico on occasion. 
I really think he may have been a hipster at heart. His work makes me think that he likely created the first "selfie".

This was his wife Alice and I can only imagine why he painted her neck line so low! 
I assume they were madly in love, her heart shaped hair is a subtle hint at how much she loved him... they married quite late at the age 29 and had two sons. 

That's as notable as we get... Nicholas Hilliard and his talents with a paint brush!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Renaissance Study

This week has been engaging!
Renaissance ~ Rebirth
Old ideas becoming new.
Realism. Invention. New Ideas.

We've read...

(This was a left-over from last week, but still a favorite!)

We've listened to...
The Story of Mankind ~ By Hendrick Van Loon (Now that's a name!)
Scroll down to chapter #39 - Renaissance

(I know this is earlier, but it put us in the mood 
to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel!

We've watched...

We've done...

Some amazingly fun art projects!

Putting ourselves on to our backs just like Michelangelo to paint or draw "The Creation of Adam".

Cora is in the midst of dramatic disgust! 
Throwing pencil and giving up all hope!

Addie found when you erase the bits fall in your eyes!

Eli puts a "boppy" to good use.

Cora is all discouragement. Just too hard!

Allan is having a grand time!

The end results... The Creation of Adam. 
Top left: Addie
Top right: Cora
Middle left: Allan
Bottom left: Thea
Right: Elias

And a little Mona Lisa smile...

I encouraged the children to make Mona Lisa their own!

Addie's ~ The Fingernail Painted Mona Lisa
Allan ~ The Yellow and Green Mona Lisa
Thea ~ The Faceless Dark Skinned Mona Lisa
Elias ~ The Green Skinned Mona Lisa
Cora ~ The Lipsticked and Blue-eyed Mona Lisa

Whew! Thank goodness it's Friday!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Simple Writing For Homeschool

I've been debating about writing and grammar ALL year long!

We had been doing Writing with Ease and First Language Lessons.
I liked the idea of it, but could never make it fit our lives.
I began to think that if we don't get it done it isn't really an effective curriculum.

I kept thinking of what I want writing and grammar to look like in our school and ended up finding dead ends when I looked at various curriculum. I gave up for sometime to process what I want this time of our day to look like.

Then two weeks ago it hit me... I want:
- Something simple.
- Something that works with what we are already doing ... that comes out of the literature we are reading each week.
- Something that is easy to level for each student.
- Something that doesn't take tons of time and that I can just do with out prior planning.

I realized no curriculum will give me that... and quite honestly, I was making writing and grammar too hard! 
I need to keep it SIMPLE!

This is what I came up with...

~ Weekly Writing Plan ~

Each Day
~ Read an excerpt or entire peace of literature from our SOTW #2 Literature List.
~ With each piece tell the title, author, illustrator and a brief summery of the book.
~ Ask comprehension questions based upon what is read and focus on summarizing and identifying the central ideas of the excerpt.
~ Use a composition journal for writing assignments and free journaling.

1. Have each child retell the story orally in their own words. 
2. Copy one section of the story into journal and draw a corresponding picture.
Or ... 
Write down one thing remembered from the literature excerpt/piece. 
3. Review grammar definitions found in First Language Lessons and identify a given part of speech in the excerpt. (Example: read a sentence and have the children identify a noun, pro-noun, verb, adjective, etc...)

- Journal ... Write about something!
(Journal prompts below)

1. Dictation of one phrase, sentence or excerpt of the literature piece. (Teacher reads it several times slowly, children write what they hear).
2. Make needed corrections.
3. Review the definitions of one of the following: nouns, proper nouns, pronouns, verb, sentence, use of punctuation, capitalization, contractions, quotations... or other things covered in First Language Lessons.

- Journal ... Write about something!

1. Complete the 5 Finger Retell: Characters, Setting, Problem, Events, Ending/Resolution and Main Idea
2. Summarize the excerpt in own words and write it... focus on the central ideas presented.
Or ... 
Complete a task from the list below...
3. Focus on one part of grammar: write an example in journal or circle an example in writing of that day.

Additional Skills/Topics to Cover...
  • Write a letter
  • Address envelope
  • Writing dates, months, years, seasons, days of the week
  • - How to form a paragraph
  • Titles of respect: Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms., Dr. 
  • Abbreviations
  • Cause and effect
  • Make a personal evaluation on a book: what did you like/dislike, found interesting, learned, what would you change.
  • Picture narration: Ask questions about what might be taking place in the picture. Write a description.
  • Antagonist/Protagonist
  • Fiction/Non-fiction
  • Metaphors
  • Antonyms/Synonyms
  • Defining unknown words
  • Other ideas

Journal Prompts...
- Favorite Animal
- Someone/thing you love!
- Make up a new animal
- Something you are afraid of
- What was your best day?
- What did you do yesterday?
- Who is your hero?
- If you could do anything/make anything what would it be?
- Make up a new land
- A fairytale
- What is your favorite book/story?
- What is something hard you've overcome?
- Favorite food
- Favorite adventure


In my plan I continue to refer back to First Language Lessons for ideas, definitions of parts of speech, and examples of parts of speech. It's a GREAT resource! I've just simplified what we are doing into a consistent weekly writing/grammar plan that includes and uses the literature we are already reading!

It is working for us! That's probably all that matters. 
Perhaps it an be a framework that helps other homeschoolers do writing and grammar without pricy or unneeded extra curriculum? 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Baby's Perspective on Raising a Happy Mother

I’ve decided that I’ve been spoiling my mommy. 

Experts in “Attachment Babying” recommend that from birth on, a baby should try to adapt itself to the life of it's mommy. A baby should sleep well, eat well and generally have an agreeable disposition. They recommend “cue feeding” ... looking to mommy to read her need for nursing (when she starts pulling at her bra straps, soiling her shirt with milk, getting red in the face, perspiring ... that sort of thing.) They also recommend letting a mommy sleep as much as she likes and seeking to let her form her own routine, however ridiculous that may be and a baby should naturally adapt to mommy's crazy, nonsensical "routine".

But … I learned that when this method is applied, a mommy tends to develop some very bad habits ... it is almost embarrassing! I know that when I take her out in public I'll have other babies looking down their short round noses at me if I don't begin to help my mommy be a more adaptable person.

After a lot of research here are two other methodologies to raising a mommy that have better outcomes ... "The Happiest Mommy on the Block" and “Baby~Wise”. 

I'd like to share my findings with you! 

With "Happiest Mommy on the Block" you implement the 4 C's...

Cry/Colic - The sound of crying is very soothing to mommies. That's why they begin to rock you (a sign of self-soothing) and zone out. If she is shooshing you, you need to cry louder until she stops.
Cuddle - Sleeping with your mommy is the best way to give her the best rest possible and also help her learn the important life skill of sleeping anywhere, at any time.
Carry - Let her carry you and walk you around, bouncing is encouraged! Mommywearing is also very helpful at encouraging continual carrying, and it is pretty stylish and can get addictive. This helps her regulate and it has the added benefit of helping her lose her baby fat.
Chow down - Mothers need a baby to eat all night long and in regularly timed intervals through out the day (every 15 to 25 minutes) ... this helps them build up a great supply of milk that stabilizes her hormones that are out of whack in the postpartum time period!

This is promised to give you the Happiest Mommy on the Block!!! 

Baby~Wise is a method that has gotten some bad press in recent years, but I think it's all because it is greatly misunderstood (and at times wrongly applied)!

Basically, Baby~Wise is where the baby uses its own wisdom to train it’s parents to do what is beneficial for the whole family. 

I know… please don’t throw rotten tomatoes yet, hear me out! 

This requires putting mommy on a gentle, yet stringent, schedule for both feeding and sleeping … which basically looks like doing whatever fits the baby's life, routine and desire's best! It's important to start teaching the mommy early that there are rules which they must live by. It also requires waking her up in the night or better yet having her bring you back into bed with her until about age 24 months or more. This is to help her learn to differenciate night and day. Night is when you lay by her and suck continually and day is when you pop on and off all the time.

It does require a baby to allow her mommy to “self-sooth” and from time to time “cry-it-out” (CIO) but I will promise you that after the first few weeks of practicing Baby~Wise your mommy will stop crying so much and learn the skills she needs to sooth herself. Your home will be a happy place again.

And yes, I have heard that CIO can be damaging to mommy’s emotional state, but for real, a little crying never hurt anyone. We all know "everyone needs a good cry every now and then!” (Please no nasty comments… we can all live and let live, if you don’t agree with CIO practices just skip that part).

Baby~Wise is done to help her grow up and become a more well-rounded individual, selfless and more mature. This will make her a happy mommy in the long run. I know that many think this could be harmful for mommies, but it's about keeping the end in mind. 

I recently heard about a study on mothers in Africa. Their babies hold to a very rigid form of Baby~Wise... they don't leave their mommies alone for a moment and nurse them nearly 24/7 and it was found that their mommies are some of the happiest mommies on the planet. It must be that "village wisdom" they've passed down from baby to baby!

Plus, you can take it from a baby with 5 older siblings… experienced in the art of being a baby. "Babies of many", like me,  have been around the block a time or two we aren't "first timers" unsure of what we should do with our mommies. 

I have been spoiling mommy… it is evident in her behavior. She was beginning to get “fussy” and demanding. She thinks she runs this family, well, she needs to learn her place and Baby~Wise is the best method to accomplish this! If you want to know more, fellow babies, I have plenty of personal experience to prove just how effective this method is! 

Friday, February 6, 2015

A Week of Words Around Our Home

"Is there quicksand in water?" ... "If someone steps in quicksand we can pray and ask God to help them... That would be the best thing to do, I think." 

"Elias, when someone says 'No.' you don't just stand there saying 'Pleeeeeze.' Everyone knows that that doesn't work... and it annoying!"

"If a man ever tried to kiss me I'd tell him 'I don't do that until I am married, Mr.!' And I wouldn't!"


"Hey, look at my back mom. I got a carpet stain on it..." (He meant a rug burn).

I (mama) was talking to Tim as we were watching Fantasia and asked "Did you get to watch this too when you had a sub at school?" Addie said "They let you eat subs at school! That's so cool!" 

"Whitley you are so nice and fat on your legs!"
(True to his African heritage... he loves fatness!)

"Mom! Cora broke my feelings..."

"Mom? Does that picture make me look like Miss Hannigan?" 
Mama~ "No, honey. Do you think you look like Miss Hannigan in it?"
Thea~ "Yeah... I look funny!"

Picture Perfect

~ 20 Weeks ~

A breathy gasp announces her delight
Seriously examining
Moving constantly
Taking a bottle when mom is out
13 lbs
Sucks bottom lip, index finger, fist ... never her thumb
Dark gray blue eyes

(I am working on my photography skills... Not using a flash, adjusting my camera, ISO, perspective, arrangement, colors, editing. It is hard to not have moving parts blurry!!!)