Wednesday, April 30, 2014

One Point Perspective Art Project for Kids

We created one-point perspective drawings.

This year I've made a conscious effort to incorporate more art projects into our curriculum. In the past we have done an excellent job with crafts, but more traditional art using materials such as paper, colored pencils, paints, and crayons was been left behind. Not anymore. Here's another fabulous resource.


The video Art with Alex, One-Point Perspective is an excellent way to introduce the technique of perspective drawing to children.

After watching the video we began by drawing pencil sketches using a straight edge, plain paper and pencil. First a dot was drawn near the center of the page. Next a horizontal line was drawn through the dot representing the horizon.

A road and sidewalk were created by drawing four lines from the dot to the bottom of the page. Then the remaining space was filled with scenes of choice. The children were amazed by how simple it was to create a more realistic looking road by using this technique.

My son was so proud of his drawing he hung it directly on the wall. He said it was the best drawing he ever produced and that it was too good to be in a book.




The project was recommended for third grade and up. It was simple, satisfying and took less than an hour to complete. Definitely worth the time!



For more art activity ideas please visit our Arts and Crafts Page. These blog hops have great ideas too.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Studying Trees with Kids

I like to study trees in the autumn when the leaves are falling, but my son was very interested in trees during the spring. Trees in California, Colorado, Michigan have become a little more familiar to us in past fall seasons, but we learned about German trees in the spring.

I have a favorite tree book. A GOLDEN GUIDE: TREES. was actually the tree book I used in seventh grade when I created my tree scrapbook. This book is a pocket guide which contains common species. Since I'm not a tree expert I don't need or care for a thorough guide. The best thing about A Golden Guide: Trees, is that it breaks trees down into seven categories, and explains how to recognize trees in each category.

Needle-Like or Scaly Leaves - Conifers
Simple Leaves - Edges of leaves neither toothed nor lobed
Simple Leaves - Edges of leaves toothed
Simple Leaves - Edges lobed and toothed - Fruit is an Acorn
Simple Leaves - Edges lobed and toothed - Fruit is not an Acorn
Leaflets - Feather-Like
Leaflets - Finger-Like




We have identified this tree as a birch and think it is the European White Birch. Our goal at this point is not to be able to identify each and every species, but rather to identify different types of trees and uniquenesses which link them together.

Birch trees tend to have white or light colored bark, the flowers look like caterpillars, the simple leaves are toothed and turn yellow in the fall and they are related to Aspen trees which can be found all over Colorado.



Magnolia trees are beautiful in the spring.

Horse Chestnut trees are common in our area. The Golden Guide is meant for American Trees, but the Horse Chestnut is in the guide. They were brought from the Balkins to America and commonly line streets. Just down the street from our house several Horse Chestnut trees line the street. The kids love to collect the nuts in the fall. My son dug up a newly sprouted nut and plans to replant it.





* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them. 
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Elevation - Surveying Activity for Kids

Earth Science Unit Study - Week 8: We measured the elevation of a hill and graphed the cross-section.



Surveying is the technique professionals use to measure and map the earth. Following Janice VanCleave's A+ Projects in Earth Science: Winning Experiments for Science Fairs and Extra Credit we performed a simple surveying operation to measure the elevation of a hill.

We measured our favorite sledding hill!
Using a level, two old broom handles, scissors, string, permanent marker, ruler and tape we made a simple tool used to measure elevation.

The first step was to mark the broom handle with measurements which could be read during our experiment.

The two broom handles were stood upright, side-by-side, and a 0 mark was made at the same height on both handles near the center of the pole. On one of the poles, distances of every 5 inches were marked above and below the 0 mark.

On the other pole, a string was tied tightly around the pole at the 0 mark and taped in place so it wouldn't move. The opposite end of the string, which was 60 inches long, was tied to the other pole loosely so it could slide up and down.

 Then we walked down the street to our favorite sledding hill.

Starting at the bottom of the hill, the string was made level by sliding it up or down the pole with the measurement marks. The height on the marked pole was recorded in a table as interval 1. Then the downhill pole was placed at the location of the uphill pole, and the uphill pole was brought farther up the hill. The string was stretched taught and leveled, the elevation was recorded as interval 2 and the process was repeated until the top of the hill was reached.

Upon returning home, the data points were transferred to a graph, and the graph was colored.

Here are some great blog hops to check out!


* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them. 
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Embroidery For Kids - Bayeux Tapestry

Week 7: We sewed and embroidered bags.

The Battle of Hastings in 1066 was one of the biggest turning points of British history. William the Conqueror of France won a victory over Harold Godwinson for the prize of the English crown.

William the Conqueror was a Norman, descended from the Vikings where as Harold was an Anglo-Saxon or Englishman. Edward the Confessor, king of England, was exiled as a child and raised in Normandy. Although he was the king of England, he was a product of French culture. When he died in 1066 there was not a clear successor, and thus a battle began.

The people of England clearly chose Harold for their king and he was crowned. But his reign was short. Perhaps his army would have defeated William of Normandy under different circumstances. His army waited for battle, was sent home, called to a different battle and then finally faced Duke William of Normandy.

While waiting for William of Normandy's challenge, the seasons were changing. It was fall, and Harold's army needed to tend to their crops or face starvation during the winter months. The army was sent home.

Then they were recalled to fight, but not with Duke William. Before the battle over the crown began, Harold and his brother Tostig had a dispute and Tostig was exiled. During his exile, he joined forces with another Harold; Harold Hardrada - King of Norway. Tostig and Harold of Norway marched into England and battled Harold's men at the Battle of Stamford Bridge.

William arrived while the men were away. Tired and weary from battle, they marched across England to face Duke William's army where they were defeated.

This documentary tells the complete story, but is not appropriate for young children. The book Our Island Story gives a narrative account of British History with several chapters (21-26) dedicated to this period. It is a great way to introduce children to the Battle of Hastings.

A few years after the battle, the story was documented in a piece of needlework known as the Bayeux Tapestry. The tapestry is a form of embroidery 70 meters long, which is nearly as long as a football field, and tells the story in comic strip form.

This short video gives a brief account of the battle as explained in the Bayeux Tapestry, and the book The Bayeux Tapestry: The Norman Conquest 1066 gives an explanation of the tapestry in more detail.

Hand Embroidery
Since the tapestry was hand embroidered, it was the perfect companion to an embroidery project. We decided to sew bags out of solid colored fabric, embroidered with designs we created.

First we watched videos to learn basic embroidery stitches.

5 Most Basic Hand Embroidery Stitches

How to do Basic Embroidery Stitches

Next designs were sketched on paper and transferred to fabric by re-sketching with a special fabric marker which erases with water.



Then we stitched away the time.









* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them. 
 ** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Last Entertaining and Educational

Thank you all who have supported this link-up by reading the posts from educational bloggers and linking-up your posts each week. After much reflection, I've decided to discontinue the link-up.

If you would like to be inspired by the Entertaining and Educational project ideas from past link-ups please click here - Entertaining and Educational.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Books About the Netherlands for Kids

Windmills and wooden shoes, cheese and canals; The Netherlands is a unique land all it's own.


There are several entertaining story books which make the Netherlands come alive for children.


The Hole in the Dike (A Blue Ribbon Book) - This picture book tells the classic story of a little boy who saved the town from being flooded by sticking his finger in a hole in the dike. Canals and dikes are extremely important in Holland to this day. Many people live in house boats on the canals and there are still some villages where the family boat is more important than the family car.

In The Wheel on the School the children work together to bring the storks back to their village. By reading this exciting story children learn about the Netherlands, but also how friendship and determination can help one accomplish goals. 

The Little Riders is a World War II story of Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. In this gentle introduction to one of the horrors of war, a child does everything possible to protect the twelve metal figures from the church tower which the Nazis want to melt down into weapons.

The Dutch Twins by Lucy Fitch Perkins is one book in a series that follows a set of twins through adventures unique to their cultural background. This book is free in audio form on Librivox.

Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge is woven around a town contest where the fastest skater will win a pair of silver ice skates. Hans, a poor child, his sister Gretel, and their mother struggle to support themselves and their invalid father. While the children long to enter the contest, they can't afford proper skates. Though the characters face difficult situations, the story has a happy ending and I recommend it for children ages 8 and up. (It's free on Librivox too.)





* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them. 
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Kids Art Project based on Van Gogh Sunflowers

We used oil pastels to create drawings like Van Gogh's Sunflowers.

Van Gogh was a troubled man for much of his life. He only sold a few paintings, cut off part of his ear and ended his own life. Although the documentary I watched on Van Gogh was interesting, I'm not sure I would recommend it for children.


The books Van Gogh (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists) and Van Gogh and the Sunflowers (Anholt's Artists Books for Children) were much better choices for the kids. His favorite color was yellow and he liked to put lots of paint on his canvas. In fact, he used so much it was common for him to ask his brother Theo for money to purchase more paint. Van Gogh was inspired by Japanese Art and other artists from his time, but because he didn't follow the conventional painting standards he wasn't able to sell his work. Unfortunately his innovation made him unpopular in his day, but it is precisely his innovation that made him a great artist.

After watching this tutorial by a talented nine year old artist named Sophia, we created our own Van Gogh inspired oil pastel pictures.

The first step was creating the vase. The top of the vase was a strait line drawn just below the mid-line of the paper.

After drawing a large vase, the next step was the flowers. Several flowers were drawn and then the space in between was filled with flowers behind the initial flowers. This step in layering was an entirely new concept for all three children and an excellent lesson.

After the flowers, some stems and leaves were drawn and the sketch was outlined.

Then the fun began as the outlines were filled with color.

I am continually amazed at how different projects turn out when everyone has the same materials and instruction.

Left: Work of my 10 year old son. Right: Work of my 6 year old daughter.

Left: Work of my 12 year old daughter. Right: My sunflowers.






More of our art projects can be found on our Arts and Crafts Page.


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* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them. 
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Estimating the Age of Trees

Children often request The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein to be read in connection with learning about trees. It is about a little boy who loves a tree. As the little boy ages, he demands more and more from the tree until the tree has nothing left to give. Finally the cycle completes when the old man and the tree are united and happy together again.


After reading this book we discussed how counting the rings of a tree tells us how old it was. Now my son is counting the rings on every tree stump he sees and estimating the age of living trees. My favorite was when we went out to dinner in a log cabin restaurant and he counted the rings of several logs. He said all the trees were twenty years old.

Each species of tree grows at its own rate which can result in various diameters for trees of the same age. This makes identifying they type of tree more important.

There are many math skills involved in this activity.
Counting the rings.
Estimating the age.
Soon I'm going to suggest he keep a notebook to write down the data he has collected. After collecting enough data on tree species, number of rings and diameter he could create several different graphs to help with future estimates of tree ages.







This post is linked to:
True Aim Education
Relentlessly Fun

* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them. 
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.
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