One Good (Page) Turn Deserves Another

 

Greetings Bibliophiles, Literacy Advocates and (Home) Educators.  World Book Night is almost here!

Here is an opportunity for each one of us to take a step toward improving literacy in our communities.

World Book Night is an amazing idea that began last year in the UK.  This year it is coming to the US as well.  The organization is offering to give away FREE 1 million books from people (like you) who love books and love to read to (others) who perhaps do not yet share your joy in reading..  You choose the book and the venue for giving.  They send you the books.  You give them away.  It is that simple.

This is a call for action.   We can put our thoughts into action. We can share our love of reading with those who have not had the same opportunities.

 

Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.
 – Frederick Douglass

http://www.us.worldbooknight.org/

Follow this link, choose your books and register, but BEFORE  Midnight Monday, February 6, 2012.

This could be you!  On April 23, 2012 we distribute 20 copies of our favorite book to our favorite people or favorite charity.  How fabulous is that?

If you choose to participate, follow the above link, then come back and reply to this post with which book you chose, why and where you plan to make your distribution.

We chose I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.  This is a beautifully written autobiographical story written as a novel.   It has long been one of my favorite books.  We plan to donate 20 copies to a local charter school that has dedicated itself to improving literacy in an impoverished community.  They have a limited library.  The 20 copies could go to individual students to kick-off their summer reading program.

Now it is your turn.  We look forward to hearing about your choices and actions for improving literacy in your community.

Let Me Count the Days:  Homeschooling is sharing the joy of reading with others less fortunate.

State of The Art: A Homeschool Studio

I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.

Vincent Van Gogh

The best part of art is getting a chance to make it yourself.  With this in mind, Happymess kids have invited their friends over for an all-day art festival.  They plan to take their studies in to their own hands, literally, and create the paintings they have been studying.

Happymess kids have been studying Impressionism, modern 20th century art and various forms of sculpture.  They are particularly interested in Pointillism.   This school year, Happymess kids have had great fun visiting several museums in NYC and Washington, DC.

The artists they most want to learn from are Seurat, Van Gogh and Monet.  They have chosen three specific works to study.

Seurat: La Grande Jatte

Van Gogh: Starry Starry Night

Monet: Water Lillies

It is now time to try their hand at the artistic process.

They want to create a composite painting that will encompass several different Impressionist techniques and will reflect the work of Monet, Van Gogh and Seurat.

 We have almost a dozen children filling our small art studio.  They are involved in several projects simultaneously:  painting, gluing, folding, drawing and drilling.  The biggest obstacle is trying not to step on wet paint and buckets of glue.

The younger group is creating a sculpture from found objects.  This is a major project, with this being only the first step but they are hard at work building, gluing and constructing separate pieces to be added later.

Meanwhile, Van Gogh is beginning to make an appearance in this Impressionist collage…

Quantum is learning origami.  He is hoping, with his friends, to fold 1000 cranes so they can make a wish for good luck.

It is time to begin adding Monet to the masterpiece…

Finally, the composite Impressionist painting is completed.  The final painting is 8’ by 8’ and has been painted, in one day, by a total 5 student painters.

The best way to know God is to love many things.  Vincent Van Gogh

Let Me Count the Days:  Homeschooling is spending the entire day in the art room, studying and painting in the tradition of the grand salons.

(Home) School is Where the Skis Are

The Happymess kids have been on the road now for the past several weeks.  Throughout our travels we have tried to keep ourselves focused on schoolwork while enjoying our new environments.

We started our adventures by packing one laundry basket per child with all the “must have” school books.  This way we can drag the baskets into each new location and the kids can find their work, pencils, calculators, etc.  Homeschooling should always be this easy.

The basket system is working surprisingly well.  Everyone knows what they are suppose to be doing and where to find their work.  I allow them to pick their subjects, as anything in the basket is something worth doing.  They naturally choose different activities at different times as everyone thrives on variety.  Their choices are the basics:  math, reading, grammar, vocabulary, spelling, science, history.  I expect them to complete 3-4 subjects per day.  This is a slightly lighter work load than when we are at home…but then we have many other things to do…Also we have only one computer between all of us, and the internet only works occasionally so workbooks and pencils are a necessity.

No internet also means all non-electronic toys and games.  I am happy to include this engineering feat with blocks as a math exercise.

After several weeks in the mountains it was time to head to the grandparents house:  we took a very foggy ferry.  Scooter almost jumped out of his skin when he heard the fog horn for the first time.  It was very, very LOUD.  Note:  book baskets are stowed in back of car on ferry.

Grandma’s house was lots of fun, and one of the first activities was a fancy tea time.

Everyone enjoyed dressing up for tea time.  And they enjoyed the little tea cakes, sandwiches and unending individual pots of tea.

The highlight of the visit was an invitation to a very formal dinner celebrating the achievements of Happymess kids exceptionally famous scientist grandfather.  We are  so proud of our own resident scientist who is at the top of his field in almost a dozen different disciplines within the science-math-physics venue.  Quantum was chosen as the representative grandchild to attend the event because of his extreme interest in mathematics.  He was seated next to a famous statistician and enjoyed learning about the use of mathematics in the field of biology.

Bounce and Mommy (Allia)

Let Me Count the Days:  Homeschooling is loving every minute of life and learning to teach throughout the living.

Wordless Wednesdsay: Leaves of Fall, Inspired by Walt Whitman

“Happiness, not in another place but this place…not for another hour, but this hour.”
Walt Whitman

“Do anything, but let it produce joy.”― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere – on water and land.”
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

“In the faces of men and women, I see God.”

“Be curious, not judgmental.”
Walt Whitman
Let Me Count the Days: Homeschooling is finding joy in the everyday beauty of life.

Poetry and Leaf Painting: We Too Can Make Beautiful Colors

With the striking fall leaves surrounding us, and the warm Indian summer sunshine toasting the autumn season, today seems like the perfect day for leaf painting.

We started by gathering the last of the hardy green leaves that are still stubbornly clinging to bushes and vines.  The larger leaves, with a sturdy vein structure, work the best.

Next we coated each leaf, on the vein side, with different colors of tempura (washable) paints.

Bounce and Scooter used their painted leaves to create block prints on paper.  They really enjoyed making rainbow leaves.

Rainbow is Bounce’s favorite color.

Leaf abstract

Poetry seems like a natural extension of leaf painting.  We read many poems about fall.  This one is our favorite.

Autumn Fires by Robert Louis Stevenson, A Child’s Garden of Verses, 1885

In the other gardens
  And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!
Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The gray smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!

Author of Bounce's Book of Poetry (Allia)

Bounce wrote numerous “leaf” poems.  He also wrote, “Bounce’s Books of Poetry”

Here is Bounce’s favorite from his personal collection.

Fall Leaves

 Leaves, Leaves, Leaves

 Sprinkle colors as they fall

 Reds and yellows, blues and greens

 Building piles for us all

 

 Jump, Jump, Jump

 Leaves crackle in the breeze

 Nipping at your nose

 As your toes begin to freeze

Let Me Count the Days:  Homeschooling is welcoming the new season with Art and Poetry.

Boy Scouts Closing Thoughts: Start Each Day Anew

"Let Every Boy Scout Be Prepared" (Allia)

Last night, during closing ceremonies, the troop leader had some words of wisdom,

“Tonight may not have been perfect.  There may have been something that upset you.  Perhaps you had a disagreement with another boy,  or you didn’t perform as well you had hoped.  But don’t dwell on the negative.  Don’t let one bad experience color your whole perspective.  Most importantly, don’t bring those feelings to your next meeting.  Start each day fresh.  Begin again with a positive spirit and the expectation that things will go well.  Each day is a new beginning, a new chance to be your best.”

Let Me Count the Days:  Homeschooling is remembering that simple ideas can be big ideas.