22 August 2014

Egyptian Profiles

Our THAGS (Three Honored and Great Subjects- Word, Form, and Song) this week are all centered in Ancient Egypt. The Word requirement of our THAGS has been met by reading selections from Roger Lancelyn Green's Tales of Ancient Egypt aloud to the kids. Song has been filled with Google images of ancient Egyptian musical instruments (it gets better from here, I promise), and for our Form studies, we read about ancient Egyptian art and made Egyptian profile portraits.  

We had a lot of fun with these projects. To create each child's profile, I just took a photo of each kid in front of a white wall, then erased the background, upped the contrast and changed the resulting silhouette to a pale orangey color (which didn't photograph great with my phone). After gluing the silhouette to black paper, the kiddos made elaborate headdresses based on our study of Egyptian art. They used oil pastels which stands out fairly well on the black paper, though, again, it's hard to tell with these pics.  

As you can tell, the older the child, the more historically accurate the headdress. Our 3-year old ended up drawing broccoli and monster trucks on his. ;) Even though the older children probably got more out of this project, the little ones enjoyed it a lot. In fact, I was kind of jealous that I didn't think of making myself one.  I think it's pretty whole-family friendly. It could also be made more complex for older children. I've seen other versions of Egyptian faces projects that use gold tempera or acrylic paint and more sharpies, collage materials, etc. When we do this again, we'll take more time to design and execute our artwork. But, for our first THAGS art appreciation/ form project, I call it a success!   

17 August 2014

Welcome to the Schola: A tour of our Homeschool schoolroom!

We are formally starting school tomorrow morning, so I thought I'd share some pictures of our homeschool space before it get's completely wrecked with real life goings-on.

When we decided to homeschool again after being at our great little Classical school for two years, I realized that I was going to have to use our space differently.  Before, when we homeschooled, we had our books and materials integrated with our library downstairs in our house.  We schooled at the dining room table and had a map on one wall and a chalkboard painted onto the wall on another.

I hated it.

I am not, unfortunately, an organized person, so having the constant clutter of school in our main living area was energy-sapping, to say the least. What I've realized is that I NEED visual peace, and the means to achieve visual peace fairly quickly, in order to maintain some level of personal sanity. Having our homeschool stuff all over the place doesn't do it for me.

Enter our upstairs spare room.
This room, for many reasons (three doorways, two large windows, very small walls) doesn't work as a bedroom.  We decided to shop IKEA for Billy bookcases and the Norden gateleg table.  We also got white stackable stools from IKEA. The chairs are actually Henriksdal, also from IKEA, though I found them at Goodwill through a blessed set of circumstances (they were only $30 for both!).
As one walks into the room, this is the wall to the right.  The bulletin boards are for the two youngest kids to highlight their work, at their level.  Above the bulletin boards is our THAGS board.  This is our way of incorporating the Three Honored and Great Subjects (Word, Form, and Song) weekly. (The THAGS reference is from The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson and you really should check it out.) Above the THAGS board is our Zach Franzen portrait of Reepicheep.
This is the corner opposite the THAGS corner.  Here are our featured books (right now they are all Shakespeare).  Above that is a round mirror I got at a thrift store.  I watercolored a portrait of a little fox and tucked it inside it.  I think it reminds us not to take things too, too seriously.  We have a Zach Franzen Abe Lincoln pic above that.  The picture ledges are IKEA.
This is our gallery wall, minus our Schola McStewium sign, which is still in process.  The frames are all from IKEA.  I attached a little command hook and binder clips to four of them - one for each child to highlight the work of his/ her choice.  On the floor is our little mouse house.

Our little mouse family lives there.

Their bunny friend visits frequently. 
And on our final wall is our Art Wire and world map.  This door leads to our steep back staircase and the old servant's quarters (which is actually just a little room our kids call "the put-away room" because we store toys in there.) It's latched most of the time. The bug specimen print was inspired by an embroidered specimen wall hanging at Land of Nod.  That was waaaaay too expensive for us, so I watercolored one instead.  The Art Wire will, eventually, feature our weekly art projects, I hope.
And, I expect that this is how it will usually look, with more stuff on the floor, of course. Partial nudity optional, but almost certainly guaranteed. :)