Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Thankful Theology Thursday #1

In our home school curriculum (called World of Adventure) we have started out studying Ancient Egypt. It is in the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis where we begin our journey. It is fitting that God would bring me to these scriptures this week in my life. There is nothing particularly horrible happening now, but just lots of little things that are competing for my attention and most of which I can do nothing about except pray and have faith that God is in control. Overall, things are amazingly good and I have so much to be thankful for. In fact, since I started writing this last night, one of those little things has just resolved itself, or better said been handled by the Master.
God really is amazing and it is so easy for us to forget. Just remember the Hebrews who wondered in the desert for 40 years because it was so easy to forget all God had already done for them. It is easy for us to judge them now, but how often do we do the same thing? How often are we guilty of not trusting God, whether with finances or circumstances. That leads to another question, how often do we limit God to the really big stuff in our lives and attempt to manage the little stuff all on our own?
Oh, I sure am guilty of that. Then of course, like where I am now all the little stuff piles up together and I am overwhelmed by it all, crying out to God the simplest and most oft' heard plea, "HELP!".
Two weeks ago there was a 2 year old in my house for about 6 hours a day. I help his family out by watching him when his regular care isn't available. A very common statement that was uttered was, " I do it." From a child development perspective this is good, healthy, and normal. From a theological viewpoint it's trouble waiting to happen. Perhaps, if I changed that statement to a request that sounded something like this, "God please help me do it", more often I might do a little less wondering in this desert of life. Of course, just asking doesn't change anything either. The real power comes from waiting for the response. In today's world it's harder than ever to train ourselves to do that. We can pretty much get anything we want quite literally, immediately.
Joseph was sold into slavery at the age of seventeen. He was appointed vizier of Egypt when he was thirty. Thirteen years of "God, please help me do it", and thirteen years of waiting and faith for the answer to come. Sometimes the answers come quickly like my situation that was resolved and sometimes like in Joseph's case it doesn't.
Warren Wiersbe wants us to remember this though, "God's delays do not necessarily mean God's denial."

Website Wednesday #1

This is kind of like Pringles for me. There are so many is is hard to pick just these few to share with you. If you want to see more of my favorites please visit my other sites at Miss Julie's Art School or the Homeschool Herald.

For today I really recommend these three...

Art Smarts 4 Kids
Here you will find a site similar to mine, of course hers is better. She knows way more about art history than me and hers is a blog I reference a lot.

National Gallery of Art for Kids

This one is just plain fun for kids and grown ups. My almost seven year old loves this site, but even an adult artist could benefit from some time in this visual jungle gym.


Garden of Praise
This is a great overall home school resource, but there is an excellent art history section as well. Again this is an often referenced site for me.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tip Tuesday #1

You have probably heard this before.

"Make learning fun!"

"Yes, yes!" I hear you say. "But how?"

You may have a child who drools(in a good way, not the mind numbed open mouthed sort of way) at the idea of doing endless worksheets and drills(yes they do exist). Most children though, mine included do not like "doing school". Am I a bad teacher? Maybe, but more likely "school" the traditional way, was not designed in the same way a child's learning pattern is designed. A child is hard-wired to seek out fun.
A child who is having fun while learning is going to enjoy learning because learning is fun.

Make learning fun by making learning a game!

"Oh no." I hear you say. "There are so many educational games out there and they are so expensive!'

Yes there are alot of educational games out there and yes they are expensive which is why I don't have very many of them. A lot of them are also very complex and too subject specific. What I do instead is turn the games we already have or know how to play into educational games.

Tic Tac Toe Spelling

This game works best when you home school more than one child, but a single child could certainly play against the house(you)as well. A larger group can play with teams.
All you have to do is make the tic tac toe grid and decide who will be X and who will be O. In order to get your X or O, the spelling word must be spelled correctly.(Think Hollywood Squares.)
In this way you can drill them on their own personal spelling lists and have fun at the same time learning about strategy. For a serious challenge, spell the word for them and ask them what the word is. In this way they have to visualize the words. A super challenge would be to spell it backwards. If they can spell it backwards or identify when it's spelled backwards, you know they have it and probably always will. My kids constantly ask to play this game.
Of course this concept is not limited to spelling, use it for math facts, science terms, history dates, bible story comprehension questions, or whatever else you can think of!

Now use the same idea for any other game you own. In order to get their turn they must answer the questions correctly.

For more kinetic learners who need to be moving to learn, play spelling free throw.
If you don't have a basketball hoop outside, use a wastebasket and a crumpled up ball of paper. The variations are limitless.

In a future post I will share with you some cute flannel board games that you can make yourself and use for these kind of games.
So go ahead, make learning fun!

Monday, August 25, 2008

First Day Back at School Update

Today was our first day back in our home school and I think it went pretty well. I was tired though. I stayed up way too late doing things that essentially did not matter today. We need to streamline a bit because what we did today took way too long to do.

I finally know how many students I will have in my after school program. It is not as many as we originally hoped for, but considering enrollment at this school is way down and this is not an economy for extras like art lessons, I was very flattered by the numbers. It will make up what I made last year for tutoring and bit more so I am very thankful. Hopefully the numbers in my private classes will continue to rise as they did in the summer. I am just so grateful to be making money(whatever the amount) using my talents and doing something I love.

Previously I mentioned some book projects. I will give you a preview of two of them.
One will be a compilation of my art lessons and the other is a Christian Children's book. The text is written for that one, but I want to take it in a different direction with the illustrations. Stay tuned for more on those projects.

Monster Mommie Moday #1

She is known only as "Monster Mommy." Children and husband live in fear of the dark gloom she brings as the countenance of the sweet lady they know as wife and mother changes drastically as if some Jekyll and Hyde concoction has been poured down her throat. She demands service and obedience without question and with immediacy. If she is not satiated, within seconds her force grows as like a tropical storm feeding on energy to become a devastating hurricane. "Is your room clean? Why not? Do it now! Why did you make the bed like that? I've taught you a hundred times how to do it right! Why are you just sitting there watching tv? No you are not allowed to nap. What about the mountains of laundry in the garage? How much longer does the box spring that didn't fit in the bunk bed frame have to live in the living room? Do your 4 guitars have to live here in my bedroom? Can't they live somewhere else? Maybe somewhere I don't have to see them all the time? Why does the lego box look like it exploded? Don't you know how much I have to do in a week? What if we sat down to compare lists? I know mine would be way longer than yours. I can't believe you guys don't appreciate me more. Don't you know how much I do for all of you." all said in a blaze of fire breathing smoke.
As much as this tyrannical sergeant is reviled, she is however effective. After one of her appearances the home of the sweet mom is cleaner and more organized. For a few days afterward, the husband and children are more attentive. Yet they live in dread of the monster's next tirade. They dream of a hero to come slay the monster once and for all. Of course like Dorothy in Oz, who had the power to go home the whole time right at her feet, literally, these children and husband too, hold the power to tame the monster mommy. Will they ever realize it? Do they realize that the sweet mom they love dreads the monster's coming every bit as much as they do?

Many of you will recognize this as a previous post, but I wanted to repost it for those who are new to my blog and wonder where the whole "Monster Mommie" thing came from. So on Monday's just because they are Monday's, I reserve the right to rant. I also reserve the right to remember how blessed I am and that 99 percent of my altitude is determined by my attitude. I will also remember that a great attitude always begins with GR Attitude.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


First of all, birthday conversation continued...

"Oh, and lots and lots of bubble wrap too."

Go ahead and click here for more bubble wrap fun!

Since last night, there have been almost 100 new hits at this blog. My Chagall lesson was posted over at the Crafty Crow. How exciting!

Oh as per the format changes in the blog, you can look forward to these beginning next week...

Monster Mommie Mondays- Days to rant and find the humor in family life.

Tip Tuesdays- Here you will find anything and everything from home school lessons, to my attempt at recipes and home organization.

Website Wednesdays- Since I am constantly on the internet, I will share with you the treasures I find.

Thankful Theology Thursdays- A day to praise all the good things that God had blessed with and again my "attempts" at theology.

Fine Art Fridays- Here you will find my latest art lesson.

Whatever Weekends- Who knows what may happen here, but I'll probably put the Book Nook here and "whatever" else may pop into my oxygen impoverished cranium.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Book Nook #1

I am thinking of changing things up on this ol' blog o' mine. I am currently busy thinking up alliterated titles for each day of the week. For example, Great Tip Tuesday, Website Wednesdays, and Fine Art Fridays. I will also add some new features like Book Nook, where I will share my latest literary discoveries!

Tuesday evenings we head over to the library for our weekly fix for our book addiction.
Two new titles that must become part of my permanent collection are these...

The first will probably become my main text resource for my private art classes this year. It features 18 paintings from different art periods form medievals to Modern.
There is a discussion of the contents, composition, and or symbolism of each painting.
Though they do not go much into the artist biography, what I really love is the little flap that opens in each section to reveal the main color palette the artist used. This is a great thing to plan an art lesson around!

The second is for those of us who love old movies and want to share them with our kids. I grew up watching Family Film Festival every weekend with my mom and I was introduced to all the classics with great stars like Doris Day, Rock Hudson, James Garner, Bob Hope and so many more. Most kids my age had no clue who those people were at the time. Granted I watched way too much tv and probably should have been outside playing, there was a bond that was created with my mom over those movies. This book acts as a guide to help us sort out all the better choices we could be making from our Netflix membership!

Birthday Buzz

Taylor's birthday is coming up on September 7. Ryan's follows just around the corner on the 26th. So last night we were discussing "the Birthday Wish List".

You know a kid has been home schooled for a long time when you overhear this conversation from an almost ten year old.

"So what do you want for your birthday?"
"Well, maybe not the most, but way up there. I want a bunch of boxes. BIG boxes."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Homeschool Blog Buzz

I don't have much time, a two year old will be arriving in 30 minutes and I still have a sink full of dirty dishes, but I wanted to share this site with you all. It is called the Homeschool Blog Buzz, and there you will find links to hundred's of other homeschool bloggers blogging about anything and everything. Oh, and guess what? I am one of the bloggers! Check it out.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Movin' on up!

Today a great thing happened, or rather I received notice of a great thing that will happen in 2-3 weeks. Two of my art lessons will be posted over on the Crafty Crow. It is a great site and I encourage all to check it out. It is a blog collective for all things artistic and crafty. It is designed really well. You can find projects organized by age, materials, subject, and more.
I officially feel like I am part of the blogosphere!

The Shady Side of Picasso: An art lesson focusing on cubism and shading

In art class this week we studied artistic genius Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973). He co-founded Cubism and produced a monumental 20,000 artworks during his 70-year career. Picasso’s torrential outpouring of work was so extensive and complex that art historians have divided it into individual periods. A prodigy in his youth, Picasso enrolled in advanced classes at Barcelona’s Royal Academy of Art at age 15. The strong geometric forms of his groundbreaking Cubist works redefined art as a medium that could digress from literal images of reality. Passionately creative in every genre from primitive art to sketches to Surrealism, Picasso profoundly impacted 20th century art. This is from the short biography at

There are many otherwise good artists who can create a beautiful 2D line drawing, but when trying to give it depth through light, dark, and middle shading values, sometimes they fall short. An excellent exercise for any artist, whether beginner or expert is gray value study. Every color has a value. It can be thought of as intensity or vibrancy as well. If you use a crayon and color with a lot of pressure you will create a deeper value than you would have had you colored lightly with less pressure. The same goes for pencil and they gray values created. It applies to line work as well with hatching and cross-hatching, though the latter can create deeper value simply with more lines spaced closer together. Below you will see an excellent exercise to practice your pencil shading work with.

You simply start by making the first box as dark as you can and make each box subsequently lighter. There are only six boxes in each row. There are actually so many values in between these, but you can challenge yourself later by adding more boxes. For real beginners you may want to start with fewer boxes. Q-tips can also come in handy for blending and picking up some graphite from a heavy area and using it to shade as well. Hatching is simply a sequence of lines moving in the same direction. Like this //////. You can achieve lighter or deeper values based on the heaviness of your lines and the spacing between them. For a lighter value, use lighter lines space further apart. For deeper values, use heavier lines spaced closer together. Cross hatching is very similar to hatching except you use lines that cross each other like this XXXXX. The more layers of lines going in different directions the deeper the value will appear. The tip for hatching applies here as well with pressure and spacing. The final row is reserved for scribbling. Here is where you get to have fun and use any kind of lines you want, just make sure they get lighter as you go. The more pressure you use and the less white space you leave will result in deeper values and vice-versa. This acts as a good warm up for this next project though it is a great thing to practice over and over- just like scales on a musical instrument.

Project Picasso

Materials needed

drawing paper
sharpie markers


1. Have kids draw a large oval shape. It should take up most of the paper.

2. Have the kids draw curves down the middle of the oval to create a profile. There should be a forehead, nose, lips, and chin. We are creating a view of a profile and a full face. Two points of view to be seen simultaneously. This was often a goal of cubism, creating viewpoint from different planes to be viewed all at the same time.

3. Next have the kids draw in eyes. They can make the eyes shapes any shape they want because this is an abstract project, but to get a more realistic shape, I always tell the kids to start by making a "rainbow curve" on the top under it, to make a "happy face smile"

4. After the eyes are in, have them find the lips and draw a sideways "V"to define the edge of the mouth. Repeat on the other side.

5. Now they can add eyebrows, ears, hair, and a small "C", normally or backwards depending on which direction the profile nose points.

6. Now have them think of 2-3 shapes. I used figure 8's and stars for the slide show.
Have them draw these shapes right over the face. Have them make the shapes very large. The shapes should overlap each other. They can use the sharpies to go over the pencil lines they like, avoiding any they didn't like. When they are done they can erase any lines they don't like and it won't affect the darkened lines.

7. Have them color in each space that has been made from the overlapping lines. There are rules for coloring though. No two same values can touch each other. So no two white or black shapes can touch each other except at the corners. As well no two gray values that are too similar can touch. Encourage kids to put contrasting values next to each other to create more interest and drama. They can use any type of shading technique in this step. What matters is the value. They can use the Q-Tips for blending as I discussed above.

These projects look great mounted or matted with black card stock or mat board.

This is a great book for any aspiring artist. It says it's for kids but any artist could benefit from the lessons in this book.

Friday, August 15, 2008

An Eggs-traordinary Experiment Part II- The Results

So I am sure you are dying to know the results of our experiment. Your curiosity will be satiated momentarily. We had to make a few changes in the process due to impatience and available materials on hand. ( We were too impatient to wait for the second container of eggs to get used up.)

Revised Materials List.

8 Eggs
One 18 egg carton trimmed in half
Books- lots of them, with at least one large enough to cover the whole half egg carton.


1.) In one of the egg carton place an egg in each corner. The empty spaces should make a cross. In this carton place the egss on pointy side down.

2.) In the other carton, place the eggs the same way except this time place the eggs pointy side up. (this will be a secondary experiment to see if one side of the egg is stronger than the other)

3.) Place books one at a time on top of the eggs. I stopped at eight pounds worth of books(weighed on the bathroom scale) but the eggs showed absolutely no signs of stress and I'm sure they could have taken a lot more weight. The pointy side up eggs did seem to have a bit more stress though. ( I am basing that on a sound I heard as the last few books were added, that I did not hear from the other eggs).

Here is a closer shot so you can see the books are resting on the eggs, not one the carton or any other support.

Also, I thought of other subjects you could pull into this and you would have a pretty complete unit study. All three of the books I suggested before have counting opportunities in them, especially the Dilly Dally book. Dilly Dally and the Nine Secrets is actually a counting book and a very sweet story. It can be a great window to studying water birds as well. Art opportunities abound as well. Art history can be covered with an introduction to Robert Audubon(The Audubon Society) and you can even design feathers or dye and design egg shells. There is also the good old egg shell mosaic to try with slightly older kids.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

An Eggs-traordinary Experiment: A physical science experimet integrating literature, science, and theology.

Every week my kids bring home 20- 30 books and 2 or 3 videos from the library. This is not wasteful since they read them all. They really do. The library is my candy store though and I always take more than I can deal with, just because everything looks so good. Last week we brought home a video in a great science series put out by Popular Mechanics for Kids and it gave me a really great idea for a science experiment that could explore physics, a theology object lesson, and a literature connection all in one.
In this post I will explore my idea and later I will post results and pictures. If you read this and it sounds good enough to give it a try please let me know how it went for you.

Materials needed:

Four uncooked eggs.
two egg crates from 18 egg size package(keep only the part where the eggs sit in and cut off the lids)
masking tape.
Books large enough to extend to all four corners of taped together crates.(Up to 40 lbs worth)
Your book choice of either : Make Way for Ducklings, Horton Hatches the Egg, or
Dilly-Dally and the Nine Secrets
or some other book dealing with eggs in some way.

A bible nearby might come in handy too.

1. Start by taping the two egg crates bottoms together.

2. Place a egg in each corner of the crates with pointy dome shape pointing up.

3. Place books one at a time on top of the eggs, making sure the corners of the books reach all the way to each of the four eggs.

4. You should be able to place up to 40 lbs of books on top of these four eggs.

Why this works is because of the physics involved in the dome shape of the eggs. God made an egg very fragile, but He made it to be very strong at the same time. The theology topics abound in that last statement, but you can also use the eggs to present an object lesson on the concept of the trinity. Of course, before doing that you will probably want to hard boil the eggs.
The shell, white, and yoke are a great way to show how three different parts can still make up one whole thing.
If you chose Horton as your literature selection, this can also be a great opportunity to discuss faithfulness, and how God's faithfulness is even higher than Horton's 100 percent. It may also give just the slightest bit of credence to the idea of an elephant being able to sit on a bird egg!