Sunday, February 28, 2010

Birds of Spring Walk

Today Alex and I worked on cleaning up the garage... for 3 hours! (She did a lot more playing then cleaning, but I enjoyed her company.) It was a beautiful day with the temperature near 70 and plenty of blue skies. As we took the trash to the curb, I noticed a bunch of birds in a tree across the street and I thought they were probably Cedar Waxwings. I grabbed my camera and we ended up walking up and down our block photographing the birds amidst the new blooms of spring.

This little bird was in our tree. I noticed yellow as I saw it fly into the tree and think it might be a Yellow Rumped Warbler. (If anyone can verify this or correct me, please let me know!)

Then, I heard a familiar bird... a Red Bellied Woodpecker. Do you see all of the holes on this tree?

We noticed 5 Vultures flying around. They were circling about a block away.

When we made it across the street, we saw about 50-70 Cedar Waxwings. They are so colorful!

I had to share this shot, too, as you can see the red tip on the wing. You can also see how the tip of the tail looks like it has been dipped in yellow paint.

Then, I noticed a bird fly to my neighbor's door and land on their wreath! I couldn't see the bird, but I knew it was there. So, I took this photo, and there he is! Do you see him? He (or she) is sitting in the center of the wreath near a small white flower. I wonder if he/she is building a nest?

We see lots of White Winged Doves in our backyard, but I thought I'd "document" this dove as part of our "birds of spring" walk. I wish I knew trees and could identify what type of tree this dove is sitting in!

And, this little Downy Woodpecker is the bird we watched the longest. I was amazed at how LOUD her pecking was! And, you can actually see the little hole she was making... it is right below her beak. I'm going to be watching this tree to see if this cute little bird comes back as this is a bird we rarely see. By the way, it's a female - the males have a red patch on the back of their neck.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Alex's online history class is using a FREE online timeline program called XTimeline. I'm not sure how much you'll be able to see with this embedded timeline, but you can go to the site and play around with it. Using the green buttons (upper right), you can see 2 different views of the timeline - one with photos and one without.


Basically, you can add an event with a title, a date (you can also choose a starting and ending date), a  description and a photo. You can also print out your timeline as a list - I don't think you can print it out as a chart, but I might be wrong.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Who do you think you are?

"Who Do You Think You Are?" is a new series that will air on Friday, March 5th. This series follows 7 celebrities on a quest to discover their pasts. I am looking forward to it (but, of course, I haven't watched it yet so please judge this series for yourself!)

I started doing genealogy about 13 years ago with the help of my Great Aunt Beulah. She was born in 1923 and passed away a little over a year ago. For decades, she researched our family the "old fashioned way", i.e. without a computer. I am grateful for how she taught me to research and the wonderful research she passed along to me.

Next school year, I plan on teaching a genealogy class to 4th-6th graders. I hope to pass along my love of learning about the past of our own families. Hopefully, some of these children will uncover records that will be passed down for many generations.

Here's a brief preview of the series which starts a week from Friday. I'm excited to see what this series will bring...and see who it inspires to look into their own family heritage!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Loggerhead Shrike - Vicious Predator???

Thanks for the help I received in identifying my mystery bird. It is a Loggerhead Shrike.

This sweet looking songbird is actually a vicious predator! According to Cornell's "All About Birds" site, it uses it "uses its hooked beak to kill insects, lizards, mice, and birds, and then impales them on thorns to hold them while it rips them apart." BirdWeb adds the following: "because their feet are not large or strong enough to hold prey, shrikes find a crotch in a tree, a thorn, or barbed wire to hang their prey on while they eat. Prey may be left on such a site for later consumption." Hmmm... very interesting bird!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Health, Snow, and Bird Identity

lex and I are still both recovering from our health problems of the last few weeks. Alex started a second round of antibiotics tonight for her sinus infection. My back/neck/arm are still getting back to normal after a week and a half of pain. The doctor thinks it was a pulled muscle, though I'm still not sure how I pulled it. Especially as it has hurt so bad for so long.  

Our weather has been crazy. It was 70 degrees on Sunday and today (Tuesday), we are seeing another rare Houston SNOW!!! We've just had some snowflakes mixed with rain here, but other places are getting actual snow!

Alex and I went on a nature walk with the Family Nature Explore Club on Saturday. It was also a history field trip and I'll try to post about it in the next few days. I took over 100 photos! But, for now, I'm wondering if anyone can help me identify this cute bird!!! My bird books don't have a good match for him, and I'm hoping someone can help me. So, if you have an idea, please let me know! Thanks!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Symmetry...and Book Burning (or, subbing at our co-op)

Yesterday, I substituted for an art class at our co-op. There are only 4 children in the class; they're between the ages of 6 and 10. The teacher usually gives some kind of art demonstration and then lets the children do whatever they want with the supplies.
I decided to do a lesson on symmetry that I'd found at mathwire and used with Alex several years ago. I enjoyed creating several examples and sharing them with the students. Only one child used my lesson. He created a shield. (I also made a snowflake and one student had me show her how to do that.)

The art room has TONS of supplies, and the kids really have fun doing their own thing. (Below is just a small portion of the supplies.)

I'm substituting next week for a history teacher. They are talking about the library at Nineveh (from Story of the World 1). She wanted me to talk with the students (4th-6th graders) about book burning. She gave me copies of several articles, but I'm not sure where to go with this. And, as I did further research, it sounds like the Nineveh library was partly destroyed just because of war. It had nothing to do with book burning.

So, I'm trying to figure out what I'll teach next week. As a sub, I can follow the teacher's plan, or come up with my own ideas. My thoughts...

  • I could go with book burning - if so, any ideas?

  • I also thought about the Dewey Decimal system (this class incorporates Language Arts into SOTW) and/or the history of libraries... or other famous libraries???

  • The students are also talking about the next chapter which covers Nebuchadnezzar's Madness and The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, so I could teach something about one of those
Anyway, I was just seeing if anyone had any great ideas. :-) And, I'm sure some of you have used SOTW and might have some ideas from something you did with one of these chapters.

Thanks for any ideas!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Zero as an Exponent

Today we were discussing exponents in math. One of the problems had "0" as an exponent, and the book didn't explain why the answer was "1." After thinking about it, I realized I didn't know "why" it was "1", either. I just knew that was a rule! So, I started looking for an explanation on the internet.

I came across Maria Miller's video on her Homeschool Math Blog. She used patterns to explain why any number with 0 as an exponent is 1. (I like how she said that many books just "announce" that fact with no explanation. She calls it "announced mathematics.")

Basically, you can understand why a number with zero as an exponent is 1 by looking at the pattern. If you look at the pattern, you see you are dividing by 10 for each step. So, when you get to the last step, you get an answer of 1. So, 10 to the 0 power is 10 divided by 10, or 1. I think the photo explains it better than my explanation. Anyway, you can try it with any number as a base and you always would find that any number with an exponent of 0 is equal to 1.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Valentine's Day Ice Skating Party

On Thursday, our homeschool group had its annual Valentine's Iceskating Party. We had over 60 kids in attendance!!! (Alex is in orange pullover and ponytail.) We ate pizza and sweets and the kids... and I!... ice skated.

The kids also decorate their own boxes to exchange cards. I waited until the last minute, so I just bought Alex a premade box, but some of the kids got really creative. We always have a contest for the "best boxes", too.

And, someone noticed this hawk sitting right outside of our window!!! He sat there for quite awhile. The white spot is a reflection of one of the lights in our room. I jokingly suggested we turn out the lights for a minute so I could get a better photo. But, with 60+ kids, it probably wasn't a great idea.

Monday, February 15, 2010

10 Trivia Facts You Probably Used to Know

I came across an article by Caroline Taggart titled "Ten Trivia Facts You Probably Used to Know."  I thought I'd use her list, which covers a variety of subjects, to see how many of the 10 I have taught Alex. Here is her list and my reponses:

1. Language Arts What is the difference between a phrase and a clause? We covered this last year in Classical Conversations as part of our memory work.

2. Biology: What is photosynthesis? If we've covered this, it has only been in picture books and briefly. But, Alex is taking a Botany class at our co-op this semester using Exploring Creation with Botany. So, I'm pretty sure she'll cover this!

3. History: What was the War of 1812? We learned a history song about it in Classical Conversations last year. And, we also read the Mackinac Island trilogy by Gloria Whelan (great books) which were set during this time and talk about the war.

4. Literature: Where does the expression "It just growed?" come from? First of all, I don't recgonize that expression. But, it came from the character Topsy in Uncle Tom's Cabin!  So, we haven't studied it, but we are becoming familiar with Uncle Tom's Cabin.

5. Math: Who was Pythagoras? We've read What's Your Angle, Pythagoras?

6. Geography: What were the original 13 colonies? We've talked about them, but haven't memorized them.

7. Chemistry: What's the Periodic Table of the Elements? We've talked about this quite a few times and really enjoy our poster by Theodore Gray.

8. Physics: What are conduction, convection, and raditaion? No, we haven't covered these!

9. Art: Who was Jackson Pollock? We studied him this year and Alex has recognized his artwork at various musuems we've been to.

10. Music: Why should I care about Johann Sebastian Bach? We haven't studied Bach, but I play some of his pieces on the piano and Alex recognizes them. I would like to study him, though!

So, how are we doing? Overall, I'm pretty happy with what we've covered. I know this is only 10 questions, but it shows that we are covering quite a varietly of subjects. I think it shows me that I do need to concentrate more on science, which I've been telling friends for quite a while. And, although I don't think it is of utmost importance, I would like to cover more about music and composers.

How about you? How many of the 10 have you covered?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's...from my back...while watching birds

I'm lying here on the couch watching the birds for the Great Backyard Bird Count. Actually, the reason I'm lying here on the couch is because I've pinched a nerve... or something. Wednesday night I had some pain in my back & neck and thought it was a stiff neck. I took some Aleve Thursday morning and was fine. I even went ice skating. It was quite a bit worse Friday. And, yesterday it was pretty much unbearable. I had to sit and walk around with my arm straight up in the air.

Well, today I realized that if I lie down - either on my back or side - I'm pretty good. But, almost immediately upon standing...ouch!!! So, I'm lying down. And, I've been watching and counting birds for GBBC. 

I can't really upload my photos right now, but here is a photo of a mockingbird I took a couple of years ago. And, here is our list of birds we've seen over the past 3 days. It isn't too late for you to count birds, too! GBBC goes through tomorrow!
  • 2 cardinals (male & female)
  • 10 white wing doves
  • 1 black vulture
  • 2 red-bellied woodpeckers (male & female)
  • 2 blue jays
  • 1 goldfinch
  • 1 mockingbird
  • 1 crow
  • 1 house finch
  • 2 black-capped chickadees
  • sparrows - lots, but I'm not good at identifying which kind they are, so I'm not including them

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Compromise of 1850... IEW Style

I'm planning on switching to IEW for composition after Alex's writing course is over next week. We were talking about the Compromise of 1850 in her history class today and I decided to try using an IEW outline to recreate an essay about it. I found an article at PBS that I liked and used it to create my outline.
After creating the outline, I used it to rewrite the essay in my own words. I understand the Compromise much better after this exercise! What a wonderful way for children (and adults!) to understand a topic creating an outline and rewriting an essay yourself!
So, here's my essay:
The Compromise of 1850
Henry Clay was determined to find a solution to the slavery issue. In 1820, his participation in the debate over the issue led to the creation of the Missouri Compromise. Thirty years later, the issue surfaced again at the Capitol. This time, the stakes were higher. The unity of the nation was in jeopardy.

There were several points that needed to be considered.
First of all, the Union had recently acquired a vast amount of new territory from Mexico. Should they be allowed in as a slave state or a free state? Or should the inhabitants be allowed to decide for themselves?
Secondly, California had recently had a population explosion as a result of the gold rush. They were petitioning to be allowed to enter the Union as a free state. But, ever since the Missouri Compromise, the number of slave and free states had been held in balance. Should California be allowed to enter as a free state and upset this delicate balance?
A third issue to be considered was the dispute over Texas’ claim that their territory extended all of the way to Santa Fe.
And, the fourth issue was that Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital, had the largest slave market on the North American continent.
So, in 1850, Henry Clay offered a compromise. For eight months Clay debated with Daniel Webster and John J. Calhoun. With help from Stephen Douglass, the compromise was presented.
As part of the compromise Texas would relinquish some of its land, but they would also receive ten million dollars which they could use to pay off some of their debt to Mexico. New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah were organized with no mention of the slave issue. The slave trade was abolished in D.C., but slavery would continue. And, California was admitted as a free state. To pacify this imbalance between the number of slave states and the number of free states, the Fugitive Slave Act was passed.

The Fugitive Slave Act was the most controversial part of the Missouri Compromise of 1850. This Act required citizens to assist in the capture of escaped slaves. Escaped slaves were denied a jury trial and the commissioners in charge of the trials were given more money if they returned the slaves to the South. Also, the Act made it easier to file claims against escaped slaves. And, it guaranteed more federal help in enforcing these laws.
For slaves in the North, the Fugitive Slave Act was a disaster. Many of those slaves fled to Canada. During the next 10 years, about 20,000 blacks fled to Canada. Many slaves were captured and returned to the South. And, even free blacks were captured and taken South. Blacks had no legal rights.
The passage of the Fugitive Slave Act increased the resolve of abolitionists. The Underground Railroad reached its peak from 1850 to 1860. This also brought the topic of slavery to the forefront in the nation. Many who had been ambivalent about slavery were now against it.
The Compromise of 1850 had set out to keep the country united. And, it accomplished this goal, but only temporarily. A decade later, the country was further divided. The rift between the North and the South continued to grow until it finally divided.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Great Backyard Bird Count

I have had good intentions of participating in The Great Backyard Bird Count the past few years, but we've never done it. Today, I printed out a checklist from On Just A Couple Acres, and we are ready to count! I wish I'd picked up some suet, but I do have food in one or two feeders (I'll have to check). And, I hope to get out today or tomorrow and buy some for the rest of our feeders.

If you are not familiar with the count, it is really easy to do. Just run over to GBBC's website, or even view the video at On Just A Couple Acres. Robin and her son at martinzoo have participated for several years and I always enjoy reading about their peaceful morning oberving the birds!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

We Bought Our Tickets...

...last night to San Francisco!

Free Photo of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. Click Here to Get Free Images at Clipart
(free clipart)

Although there are many things we want to see in the area, our number one objective is to see the giant redwoods! We are also looking forward to exploring the tide pools as it was one of our highlights in both San Diego and Scotland.
Free Photo of Giant Sequoia Tree in SequoiaNational Forest Park. Click Here to Get Free Images at Clipart
(more free clipart)

We will be gone about a week and hope to spend time in San Francisco and the surrounding areas. I'm busy researching hotels and all of the places we might go. This is a little more complicated than most trips I plan because we won't be staying in one location the whole time. Usually, we pick a large city and go to a hotel and then visit the sites from there. For this trip, we will probably stay in at least 3 hotels. So, there is a lot more research to be done! But, tripadvisor is a wonderful place to get help! I love reading the reviews of people who have actually stayed at a certain hotel or went on a certain tour. It really helps me to decide if it is something we should consider doing.

I know several of you live in the San Francisco area, so I might be asking for some advice in the weeks to come. And, I'm so excited to be planning another trip! (You do know I love to travel, right?)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin"

So you're the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war!
(quote of Abraham Lincoln upon meeting Harriet Beecher Stowe-1863)

Alex started an online history class Friday that uses 3 of Joy Hakim's books. We are starting our study with the Civil War and Hakim's 7th book, War, Terrible War (1855-1865). We are truly enjoying this wonderfully written book.

Chapter 3 in the book is about Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin. We have been fascinated with this story and Alex really wants to read the book. I have never read it, but plan on getting a copy from the library and we'll see if we are really up to reading it or not. I would at least like to read it myself and perhaps share pieces of it with Alex.

We read A Picture Book of Harriet Beecher Stowe by David A. Adler. We always enjoy his books and this is a great picture book that gives you a quick overview of Harriet's life.

Tonight, I enjoyed watching this video by storytelling actress Paddy Lynn. She is dressed up as Harriet Beecher Stowe and you see clips of her first-person performance. I really enjoyed her show and would love to see it in person. I'll show this clip to Alex in the morning.

And, I found this video about Uncle Tom's Cabin while searching the internet. It is actually the one we watched with our class and I noticed that a lot of the photos are photos that are in Joy Hakim's book.

This class is going to be a lot of work for both of us, but we are already learning a lot!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Divisibility War

Last week, Alex was working on divisibility rules. Here are the rules we were working on:
  • 2's - if it ends in 0, 2, 4, 6, or 8, it is divisible by 2
  • 3's - add the digits and if they are divisible by 3, the whole number is divisible by 3
  • 4's - if the last 2 digits of a number are divisible by 4, the whole number is divisible by 4
  • 5's - if it ends in 0 or 5, it is divisible by 5
  • 6's - if it is divisible by both 2 & 3, it is divisible by 6
  • 9's - add the digits and if they are divisible by 9, the whole number is divisible by 9
  • 10's - if it ends in 0, it is divisible by 10

I went online and found this Divisibility War game. Basically, I wrote down some of the numbers from their list and dealt us each out 6 cards. We took turns going through the cards and deciding if they were divisible by each of the following: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, & 10. For every number that it WAS divisible by, we put a marker on the card. At the end of the game we saw who had the most markers.

After we'd played it a couple of times, I changed the rules a bit. Now, if Alex makes a mistake (or I do!), I will challenge her and "get" her point. This makes sure she is really paying attention (and that I am, too).

She has really liked this game and keeps asking to play it. It is a great way to reinforce divisibility rules!






WooHoo!!! I mentioned it at the end of my last post, but I just found out that blogger now has extra-large photos! I had to increase the width of my posting area (thanks to what I learned this weekend about customizing blogger), but I can now post XL photos... expecially wonderful for some of the nature photos. Yeah!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Co-op Work Day

Yesterday, we went to a "work day" at our co-op. Our classes meet in an old house on several acres. And, this year, we are working on improving our landscape with a Healthy Habitat grant we won. We spent about 3 hours helping to remove trash and debris from the back of the property.
Alex is in the orange pullover helping to pick up trash. The guys on the left are using a wheelbarrow to move old wooden beams. They will line the back of our property since it backs up agains some woods and we don't have a fence.
I spent part of my time helping to lay out the flags for several pathways we'll be putting in. I also helped with trash and building a brush pile.
We will also be composting and one of my jobs was to figure out how to put the compast bin together. It was actually incredibly easy and only took about a minute. I'm excited about learnign more about composting and we are trying to have someone come in and teach us more about this subject.
We had pizza for lunch and Alex and one of her best friends helped get the supplies together and serve us. Most of the volunteers were adults and teens, so it was great that one of Alex's friends was there. Everyone else ate on the back porch, but Alex and her friend took their food out to the play area.
Of course, as I worked I found lots of interesting things! This was VERY interesting. The brown growth is very rubbery. Another science teacher told me he thought the cell walls had broken down. Has anyone seen anything like this? Any idea what it is???
Here's another beautiful lichen! They almost looked like they had crystals growing on them!

A few months ago, some of those working on the habitat built this pond. We were excited to see plants growing in it! We also had moved some small fish there from another pond and we were thrilled to see them surviving.
I also found a really neat snail which was floating UPSIDE DOWN! It's underside was blue. I've never seen a snail do that before... but then we saw another, and another... we probably found 30 or so. They were quite small and many were floating upside down, though we did find some on the bottom among the leaf litter.
Here's Alex and her friend looking for critters in the pond. I think they were looking for more snails.

And, a crawdad! One of the other teachers showed us how to get them out of their holes. They have a hole near the bank and if you kind of step on the bank you will see dirt "squirting" out of their hole. Do that for a little bit (maybe 10-15 times) and the little crawdad will finally swim out. I'd never held one before, but I caught him so we could all have a better look. I loved how he had his little pinchers ready to defend himself. He sat still for a few minutes, and then scurried backwards trying to find a safe place to go. We put him back in the pond.

And, did you notice I figured out how to make LARGER PHOTOS!!! I see Blogger now has a choice to post "extra large" photos. Yippee!!!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Customizing Blogger

I have been busy customizing my blog this afternoon. I wanted my posting area to be wider, and I hope my photos will turn out bigger, too. They seem to look better, but I'm not sure if they actually are or not. I found a post titled "How to change width of blogger blogs" at Beginner Blogger Basics. I created a back up of my blog and went through the steps and got a wider blog!

I've also been meaning to post about how I created a custom header several months ago. I know many of you use blogger and already know how to do this, but I hadn't even realized I COULD customize a header with blogger until recently! So, maybe there are others of you out there who could use a short tutorial.

I asked Alex at Serendipity Homeschool and she advised me to go to At Picnik, I downloaded a photo of Alex making a snow angel in the snow. Then, I edited it by cropping it shorter. Next, I went in to "create" and added the text, "school for us." Finally, I "save"d it and typed the width of 800 (as my header width is 820).

I went into the "Layout" on blogger and clicked on "edit header." I deleted the current image and added my new photo. I clicked on the button to use the photo "instead of title and description." And, I had my new header!

Another thing I've been wanting to do is to add a signature to the bottom of each post. I followed the tips at Moms Who Blog and came up with "my" signature! You use My Live Signature to create this signature. When you get to the end, make sure you say you want to "use this signature" and get an html generated. (Oops! I didn't realize it was in a white box, but I've done enough for one day.)

I hope you enjoy my little changes and maybe it will help if some of you were wanting to try some of these changes!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Mr. Barrington's Mysterious Trunk

A dizzy feeling came over Hannah. She watched helplessly as the threatening funnel spun around and around them like a top. As the smoke completely enveloped them,one last bang of thunder shook the school. The box she was holding crashed to the floor as Nick and Jackie vanished! All at once, everything turned black.Hannah was no longer in Mr. Barrington's classroom.

And the adventure begins...

We are reading a new series of books about Texas history which has us begging for "one more chapter" each day. The series, entitled Mr. Barrigton's Mysterious Trunk, is by award winning author Melodie A. Cuate. The four books in the series are: Journey to the Alamo, Journey to San Jacinto, Journey to Gonzales, and Journey to Goliad.

The story reminds me of the Magic Tree House series, but for older children. In the first book, best friends Hannah and Jackie have just started seventh grade and they have a new teacher, Mr. Barrington. He brings out a mysterious trunk and challenges them to "choose an event in Texas history and become part of it." When he opens the dusty trunk, it is full of books and magazines about Texas. After school that day, the two friends return to the classroom to look in the trunk. Hannah's brother, Nick, joins them and helps them to open the lock. When they look in the chest, it is now filled with memorabilia and figurines regarding the Alamo. Suddenly, there is a crash of thunder and a swirl of dust and the 3 children are transported back in time to the Alamo just days before that fateful battle.

As the children get to know the people of the Alamo fame, the reader learns the history of that important time in Texas independence history. You join the 3 children and become "part of" this historic event.

The second book, the one we are reading now, is about the Battle of San Jacinto where Texas wins its independence. In this book their teacher, Mr. Barrington, is missing. In order to help him, Hannah knows she must go back into time again. Mr. Barrington's niece, Ms. Barrington, joins the 3 children on this adventure.

The third book is titled Journey to Gonzales. In this book, Nick will go back in time to try and alter history and save a friend he met in San Jacinto. Meanwhile, the girls try to stop him from this mission of history alteration. But, they end up in a Mexican camp and learn about life in the Mexican army.

The final book (though I don't know if more will be published) is titled Journey to Goliad. This book is about the massacre at Goliad and I think I'll have to preread this one.

As you can tell, these are exciting, well-written books that teach a lot about Texas history. Even if you don't live in Texas, I think you and your children would find this series captivating and educational.

As an interesting side note, I went to Google Reader to search the posts. I know I read about these books on someone's blog. Anyway, I couldn't find where anyone had posted about them (though if any of you did, please let me know!), but I found a post I'd made about "Barrington." It was a post I'd titled "Birthplace of Texas." Two years ago, we went on a field trip with one of our homeschool groups and visited 3 places related to Texas history. One of them was a working historical farm called Barrington Farm.  Barrington Farm was the home of Dr. Anson Jones, the last President of the Republic of Texas. "Barrington" is named after his birthplace, Great Barrington Massachusetts. I wonder if this is just a coincidence?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Oil Painting Lesson!!!

Yesterday we had our monthly homeschool get together with our church group. A lady who usually teaches oil painting to adults had agreed to teach our children! We had 14 kids, ages 5 to about 13, who had a painting lesson.

The children actually had 2 lessons. The first lesson was about the color wheel.

The children started by painting 3 spots of the primary colors: red, blue, and yellow. Then, they mixed those colors on their pallets to make the secondary colors: purple, orange, and green.

Then the painted the tertiary colors.

After explaining color intensity (she said their purple was close to a 10 and their yellow was about a 2), the teacher passed around a red piece of plastic. You can look through the plastic and it removes the color but lets you "see" the intensity!

Next, the teacher had everyone paint a line to the left of red and the right of green. She explained that the warm colors were on the right of the line and the cool colors were to the left of the line. She also had them paint two green circles and surround one with red and the other with blue (see upper right hand corner). It was a neat way to see how colors can affect the way other colors look!

For the second part of the lesson, several of the younger children quit and I and another mom decided to take over the empty easels. We weren't really sure what we were painting at first and I wasn't sure how my painting would turn out. This photo is "in progress."

Well, here's my finished painting! Hopefully you can tell there is water in the front and there are a few trees at sunset. I learned so much while creating this oil painting. I'll share a few tips with you on a separate post!

And, here is Alex's painting. By the way, this class lasted 2.5 hours!!! It was long, and I was exhausted! I can't believe that most of the children lasted through the entire lesson! (And, I like Alex's leaves better than mine. I wish I would have left more 'trunk'  and just put leaves at the tops of the trees. Something to remember for next time!)
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