Wednesday, August 29, 2012

evolution paintings, day #2

We're painting pictures of evolution all week, using the book Our Family Tree: An Evolution Story, by Lisa Westberg Peters, illustrated by Lauren Stringer. My painting is above, J's is below, and Zoo Boy's on the bottom.

Quoted from the book:

But then the earth changed. Land rose from the oceans. The air filled with oxygen. Life changed, too. step at a time, some cells joined together, and became plants. Our cells joined together, and we became animals.

On the outside, we were squishy and soft, like worms. One the inside, our cells had many shapes -- square like boxes, pointy like stars, round like ripe seeds -- the same way they do now.

For this painting, we began with Prussian blue along the outside edges, then used gold (again, we're out of yellow, otherwise I would have used that) to fill in the center, then taking our brushes along the edges of the paper to create green plants. Then using orange and crimson, we created our prehistoric worms.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

evolution paintings, day #1

We're taking our inspiration for our start of unit paintings from the book Our Family Tree, written by Lisa Westberg Peters, illustrated by Lauren Stringer. First is my painting, next is J's, and at the bottom is Zoo Boy's. Between their two paintings is a quote from the book.

When we began, we didn't look like people. We didnt' have two eyes to blink or ten toes to wiggle. We were just tiny round cels in the deep, dark sea.

On the outside, we were so small, we were almost invisible. But on the inside, we had the same kind of spiraling genetic code for life we have today.

And that's the way our family stayed -- generation after generation, year after year -- for millions of years: tiny and round, floating in the sea.

To make our cell paintings, we washed the entire page in Prussian Blue, then use the brush to remove round spots for the cells. Then we painted in the spots with Cobalt blue and used gold over that to define the outline and structure of the cells by blending a bit to bring in greens and brown. We finished with higher pigmented gold spots. I love the way these came out! And I love that Zoo Boy arranged his cells in a smiley face -- it does my heart good to seem him so excited and happy about the start of our school year.

Monday, August 27, 2012

back to homeschool!

Our official yearly "Back to Homeschool" photo. Much more fun than standing at a bus stop with lunch boxes!

I know I have been just awful at blogging this summer, but that's all changing, so be sure to come back frequently and read all about what we're up to! This is the first year we're flying without a curriculum's assistance, and I'm really excited about the unit on Charles Darwin and Evolution (with a math focus on timelines) that I've pulled together for this fall. Best part is, the boys are really excited too, and we're off to a rip-roaring start! We're also working with Animal Studies during our Science Fridays co-op, have ramped-up our morning exercise routines to include some strength training as well as cardio/proprioceptive work, and will be focusing our evening attention on nutrition and cooking skills. Of course, there's also plenty of Dance for J, Karate for Zoo Boy (and me!), and plenty of growing up for not-so-little Rosebud.

On a side note, a very Happy Anniversary today to The Map Man -- 24 years baby, that's nothing to sneeze at! Love you!

Monday, August 6, 2012

cultural faux pas

Oh, hello! Yes, I know, I went and did exactly what I said I WASN'T going to do and dropped off the face of the blogosphere for a bit. Truly, summer has been a whirlwind of activity and I've just not had time to be here at all, especially since Little Miss Grabby Hands won't let me actually type on those rare occasions I actually manage to turn the computer on. You're missing a lot, actually, if you haven't been following me on Facebook, but I'll post some summaries eventually so you don't have to miss out on all the fun times and cute pictures.

But seriously, what brings me back now is that I have apparently inadvertently ruffled some feathers in the Native American community. Seems there are some inaccuracies in the story I used for my Haudenosaunee unit (honest mistakes, this was a field-testing version of the story, the errors are being corrected as we speak in the final version), resulting in my posting some less-than-historically correct facts on this blog. Now, honestly, how anyone would take anything *I* have to say as historical fact is beyond me, and actually the story that I used is BY FAR the closest thing to authentic that is in existence, but despite that, I have been asked to make note of the places where things are less than perfect. Which I will happily do, it's just going to take a bit of time to go back through and add a little note at the top of applicable posts so that anyone reading this blog in the future and working with the new, updated materials will see the difference.

But first I wanted to take the opportunity to very sincerely apologize to anyone of any culture that feels that I have misrepresented their history and heritage. Those who know me know that this is entirely unintentional, I am the last person who wants to promote bigotry, bias and stereotypes (which is why I choose the stories and educational approach that I do!). Those that don't know me will I guess just have to take my word for it, and hopefully this apology is adequate to mending any fences I unwittingly tested. I would like to welcome anyone to comment at any time on any post on my blog about historical inaccuracies or wording that does not sit right with you -- I will let the comments stay as a permanent part of the blog, and will issue public apologies as appropriate.

I promise I will always do my best to accurately portray any culture/region that I cover with my kids, and assure you that anything less than acceptable is not for lack of trying to seek out the best portrayals I can. This sort of thing is much more likely to happen in the years ahead, as I strike out on my own without support of a curriculum that maintains the same values that I do. I hope you will all be patient with me and support me if I falter -- I will do everything within my power to make it right.

But as for the content my posts themselves, they are an accurate record of what I have done with the kids in term of materials and context. I won't go back and change them, even if they are later perceived as incorrect, as I cannot alter my own personal history. This blog is merely a journal of my own experience, anything within should be read with that light in mind.

So again, to summarize -- I only write what I do -- I apologize if any of it somehow insults someone -- I will try to do better, and will point out where I've fallen in the past -- and I appreciate your patience as you watch me take my journey.

I hope everyone is having a fabulous summer!