Friday, January 27, 2012

Children's Museum

Yesterday after wrapping up Holly's morning studies we headed out to enjoy some free play time! A local city recently opened a beautiful children's museum and we could not wait to get in and explore. The museum offered some great physical play on their various new play structures, exploratory play with the water tables and unique building centers, many little science experiences and plenty of art!

Both kiddos really had a great time, enjoyed themselves and had great learning opportunities! We are looking forward to visiting this museum a lot more.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WET Science Center

Holly enjoyed a field trip the WET Science Center in Olympia this week with our homeschool group. The program was on where our water comes from, the Puget Sound and our impacts on the Puget Sound. The staff did a great job explaining the Puget Sound region, where our drinking water comes from and giving a great demonstration on underground water. As well, the kids enjoyed a wonderful slide show on life in the Puget Sound and our impacts.

Once they wrapped up the presentation and answered questions, the kids all did a scavenger hunt on water conservation. Through this scavenger hunt they learned about how much water they use, how the water is treated when they are finished with it, where it goes and how to conserve out use.

To wrap up the whole day Holly did the art project they provided, a decorator crab hat. This little project was rather cute and she really enjoyed making it.

The WET Science Center was wonderful - an excellent resource for educating. We will enjoy another visit shortly on a slightly different topic and tour, something we are really looking forward to!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dinosaur Time Line

Holly has really been looking forward to this new unit study we will spend a few weeks on, dinosaurs!! Each time we wrap up something she asks if the dinosaur study will be next... the time has finally come. She really enjoys dinosaurs and owns a lot of books, movies, toys and games on dinosaurs - items we will use in conjunction with our unit.

To narrow down the concept of 'dinosaurs' we are taking a look specifically at the Mesozoic Era, otherwise this could be to overwhelming and not give much direction in our journey. Within the Mesozoic Era we will visit the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous time frames and learn a bit about the time frame, flora and choose some specific dinosaurs to learn a bit more on. To track our study Holly will keep a notebook on her work and create a timeline in which she will add items to along the way. At the end of each time frame she will create a diorama representing what we have learned. I also have a few art projects and a little sculpture up my sleeve she will enjoy.

Today she started creating her timeline. We spent time looking at several ways to make a time line, this was the option she picked. She designed it with color choices, reasoned her length of time line, used a model from a book we own to get an estimation on the length of each time frame and put it together. It was a great project!

Once completed she started with the Triassic Period and read up on it and learned about the plant life. She added a card on the plant life listing plants found then. A great start to her timeline, a lot more to come!! I'll add some updates on her project as we move through it... should be fun!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pinch Pot

A recent art assignment Holly did was to work with clay and create a pinch pot. First we talked about what a pinch pot was, saw some examples through an art book we use and watched a small clip online on pinch pots. Then she set to work familiarizing herself with clay and quickly learned it is a bit more difficult to use then play dough. She had to work with the clay with moist hands, really get her hand muscles working and have a lot of patience! She created a little pot with an attached butterfly on the front, making for some sensitive pieces. Over all she loved working with the clay.

We used the Crayola air dry clay, which meant her project had to dry for a few days. Holly had a bit of impatience in the drying process and had to keep touching it to check it... resulting in a small chunk breaking off. A lesson in itself, I made her work with it versus fixing it. Once dried she then painted the pot in watercolors. It turned out very cute and will be a fun touch on a shelf in her room.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wintery Fun

We've been missing in action here on the blog because we have been so busy doing this....
Snow Day!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Art Club - Foil 'Stained Glass'

*First off, sorry for the lack of posting - we have had a busy week, very hands on learning and fun... keeping me away from the computer!

Today Holly & Hudson both enjoyed our monthly Art Club activity. This month the kids all made foil stained glass projects, which turned out beautifully! The project is very easy to do with great results!!

Take a thick card stock and draw a design. When completed you then trace your design in hot glue. After the hot glue has dried completely you will then press aluminum foil over the drawing (folding edges behind). Using your finger lightly rub the art work, working the foil around the textured lines. Once the foil is really worked in you will then color the project with permanent marker, being careful to not color the raised lines. Once you are completed the raised lines will appear to be sodder/lead in stained glass windows and it will be sectioned as such.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Nature Club - Enviro House

Today Holly took a field trip to the Enviro House in Tacoma at their Refuse Center. As the name might lead to the Enviro House is an environmentally friendly home made from earth friendly products - a beautiful little house. You can learn a TON there about modern ways of constructing and remodeling a home, energy efficiency and more!

On this particular trip though the kids really focused on learning about and reviewing recycling - a focus for our Nature Club during these winter months. We have a great series of field trips set up for the next couple months to enforce conserving, reducing and recycling - being earth friendly.

Today they toured the center and saw a hands on approach to recycling, learned how and what can be done within our homes and lives, what happens to recycled items, how the process works and what to do with challenging materials such as chemicals, batteries, paints, oils and hazardous stuff. Our host also talked some about the garbage dump, how it works and where the stuff goes. As well the kids all got a small tour of a garbage truck, they even got to climb up in it and pull the horn... as in a very LOUD trucker horn. Very fun stuff!

It was quiet eye opening and certainly set up a great conversation on what we can do as a family. Holly enjoyed this trip a lot, we are looking forward to the full series on conserving and recycling!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

State Study

Holly has been chugging along on her state study. This is a pretty big project and I can see this just being part of our school life until it is complete - not sure if she will fully complete it during this school year or wrap it up sometime this summer/early fall. The reason I say this is that rushed feeling of jumping from state to state is not at all enjoyable. Holly does not enjoy it either. Taking her time, really enjoying the materials and slowing down has been beneficial in retaining her knowledge and encouraging more learning.

Before beginning this project I took the time to contact the tourism department for each state and request materials from the state. At first I felt a bit guilty, but soon realized almost every state had a reason on their site 'for a school project'... which soon made me realize, kids all over the country are doing this. The packages started to arrive which built up excitement for Holly. I now store them all in a three bin organizer and we pull the materials we need for that state- read them, enjoy them, cut them up, use them to their fullest and then recycle once that state is finished. Having full color brochures, maps, articles, books and more has really brought each state to life for Holly.

For each state she has a few pages to work through that bring a bit of attention to the historical facts, population, flag, state bird, state animal, state plants, etc. There are some basic maps that she fills out and colors - where she highlights larger important lands, rivers, towns and more. As well, she does a small coloring project and labeling of states that border the state we are studying. Then she learns some on their agriculture, business, life and people. Included she also chooses a destination within that state that she would like to visit, why she would like to visit it, what she might see, where is it located and a drawing of the destination. To finish Holly creates a collage of photos from the state using the tourism materials - she highlights what was of interest to her or items I feel she should include. We store all of this in a big binder.

This project has really opened Holly's eye to where we live, what country we live in and locations of states within. She spends a lot more time reading maps. She is becoming more aware of how regions look differently and how people are all the same. So far, I am very happy with her State Study and she loves doing it... a win, win!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Salt Art - Here Comes Jack Frost

Today Holly read the book Here Comes Jack Frost by Kazuno Kohara. This book is beautifully illustrated, the artwork is vivid and really brings a winter feeling to the story. The artwork is a relief in rich blues and white.

After doing some salted paintings late last year I thought we could easily mimic this style of winter artwork from Here Comes Jack Frost. Holly and I had a small discussion on relief work, noting the relief portion is the picture created. On thick paper Holly created her design with blue painters tape. Once she was happy with her design she then painted the entire paper in a rich blue liquid water color and then sprinkled the painting in salt. After the painting dried she scraped the salt off and removed the blue tape to reveal her winter design. It turned out beautiful and she enjoyed comparing her art design to those in the book.