In addition to the math, art, and nature study we’ve already been doing, we began our language arts curriculum this week. I chose to go with the Wee Folk Art Seasonal companions again because everyone enjoyed the format and it’s a curriculum that can be adapted to fit multiple ages. On this second time around, we’re diving deeper into the subjects and activities each week.
For week one, we learned about how fruits and vegetables grow, from seed to store. The two main books we read were The Vegetables We Eat by Gail Gibbons and Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens. The Vegetables We Eat is a comprehensive look at vegetables, how they’re grown, the different categories of vegetables, how to start a garden, how vegetables are sent to factories to be processed and then end up on store shelves, or from farms to farmer’s markets. Tops and Bottoms is a quick read about a bear who lives off his father’s money and is outsmarted by a hare. It shows how some vegetables are harvested for their tops, some for their bottoms, and maybe even some for their other parts.
We also began a weekly music study beginning with Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. We have the Maestro Classics CD set and I plan on working through one to two discs every month. For our introduction to Mike Mulligan, I read the story out loud, then in the car we listened to the story set over the London Philharmonic.
I set up the books and art supplies we’ll need for the week in a way that is more engaging. It worked pretty well this week and inspired the girls to grab a book to ask if we could read it. I got the idea from our local library. They prop open books in open spaces on the shelf and those are always the ones both girls choose to check out.
I hung up two clips on the wall to display a weekly piece of fine art suggested by our nature curriculum and coloring pages based on works by the artist we’re currently studying, or whatever other pages are important to display for the week.Mimi is making progress in her math book with a goal of doing four lessons every week. I love Math Lessons for a Living Education because it ties math in to real-world applications instead of just worksheet upon worksheet.Mimi stitched up a stuffed animal all on her own! I helped with knotting, but the stitching was all her own!Picasso was the focus of our art study this week. To begin with, we watched a video about him on YouTube, then created abstract/cubism ornaments. I found the inspiration for the ornaments on Kids ActivitiesAfter reading the book, It’s Okay to Feel Sad, we followed along with the instructions on Art Projects for Kids to make a watercolor painting in the style of Picasso’s Blue Period. It became a short lesson in quadrants for Mimi and color combining for Adi.
Our last book about Picasso was called Just Behave, Pablo Picasso! by Jonah Winter. It was a fictionalized account of Picasso being told to stop being innovative and to stick with paintings from his Rose Period because the people don’t like his Cubism artwork. We discussed how even famous artists face criticism so it’s important to create art the way you want to and how you can’t please everyone.
Adi has been very critical of her own work for the last few months and has ended every art time frustrated. She’s three-and-a-half years younger than Mimi, but expects to be able to create the same pictures as Mimi does. We’ve tried explaining that this isn’t fair to herself because Mimi has been practicing twice as long and that if she continues to practice, her art skills will grow as well. Nothing we’ve said to her has helped, but after reading Just Behave, Pablo Picasso! something clicked and her confidence exploded. As soon as we finished reading and discussing the book, she began painting, adding legs, eyes, skies, grass, etc., all of these things she had previously not even attempted. It was amazing to witness! A week later, she is still more confident in trying new things when drawing and making art.
Adi tried out gymnastics this week! She has been waiting all summer for it to start and enjoyed her first class, but decided that it’s just not for her yet. She may enjoy it more in another year when she can be in the same class as Mimi. For this week’s nature walk, the girls explored the pond more, dipping some water into a small tote to observe some of the minnows more closely. We discussed what made it look like the end of summer and how they guessed it would look in the fall. We’ve been taking a picture in front of this oak tree (correct me if it isn’t an oak tree) for the last couple of weeks and plan to take a weekly picture there so they can see how they grow as the seasons change. I’m going to try and include a picture of the books we read each week at the bottom of each post so I remember favorites to check out again later!