Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Finishing up Italy

We finished our study on Italy. We wrapped it up with a trip to the museum to see an exhibit that had Italian landscapes. I would show you pictures of that, but we learned that pictures were not permitted (me). Neither were cell phones (David). Or leaning against the wall (Riley). Or breathing. But I did get some pictures in the rest of the Art Museum of Oklahoma City! The glass art was definitely my favorite!

Pop art was a close second.

Riley looking at a painting of the Grand Canal in Venice. Just like in Papa Piccolo! Even the reflections were similar.

Glass art in the ceiling.

Garrett pretending to be introspective.
I love love LOVE big canvases.

One of the things we learned about when studying Italy and the Renaissance was how masks were very important. It was a time of a rebirth of art and masks were used as art and in drama. We each made our own "life masks." These are masks covered with pictures and words that represent the person.
We started by putting paper mache over half of a gallon jug turned upside down.

They took forever to dry...

After the newspaper dried we put one more layer of white paper over the top. When that was dry, we painted the background, then mod podged all of the words and pictures we had found in magazines to represent our personalities.






Like my sushi nose? Thank you.

This was a really fun project! On to France!

Saturday, October 3, 2009


We are going to be studying different countries and cultures at our house this year. For the month of September we chose Italy. We aren't quite finished, so it's going to spill into October a bit, too.

We have used the book Another Trip Around the World to learn facts about the country, Italian expressions, and culture.

We are doing a lot of Geography as we explore the different areas of the country.

Riley and Cole have done the Five In a Row books Papa Piccolo, and The Clown of God, both which take place in Italy. These books are so great for learning about the Renaissance time period and seeing clothes and scenes in Italy.

We even checked out some Italy travel books so we could look through and see all of the amazing tourist spots and different culture.

Garrett and Tyler have read biographies on Michelangelo and DaVinci and written papers.

We have really enjoyed the "Get to know the worlds greatest artists" series as we have studied Italian artists.

We learned about DaVinci's childhood and how he spent most of it roaming the land, sketching everything he could. One of the reasons his angels are so realistic is because of his extensive study and sketching of birds' wings. We spent some time outside observing and sketching.

Garrett read a biography on Michelangelo and presented it to us after writing a paper. It was so interesting learning all of the details and getting a glimpse into his life through a biography as opposed to reading facts about him in a textbook.
One thing Garrett learned is that Michelangelo possibly stood during a lot of his time as he painted the Sistine Chapel. He even wrote some poems and drew some sketches about how painful it was. We had always heard he was on his back on the scaffolding, so we did some research and found out that there are conflicting theories on this. Who knew!
We got this HUGE amazing book with close-ups of his work on the Sistine Chapel, then we tried to experience what it may have been like for him to paint upside down.

Another book we got from the library was an authentic Italian cookbook. We planned out and cooked a REAL LIVE Italian feast. We had Spaghetti Carbonara, homemade mozzerella breadsticks, and Italian Cassata. It was sooooo good!

This was the first time I had used pancetta. It's Italian bacon. Amazing.

Spaghetti Carbonara!

The Italian Cassata was fun to make too.

We set the table with all things fancy and even listened to Italian Opera while we cooked and ate. So not us, but a cool experience!

Cole and Riley singing along with the opera. Nice Italian chocolate mustache, no? (That's moo-stahsh)

Riley and Cole were so inspired by the feast and music they asked David to read The Clown of God to them at the table.

We have more Italy planned for the coming week, so stay tuned!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

It happened again.

We love books.

We have gazillions of them. I just believe that if we need to learn about Thomas Edison, we can do that so much better with a biography of his life than anything else. I want my kids surrounded by great literature. But last week something happened that just about put me over the edge. It has happened before, and it happened again.

I once again bought a book I already owned.

This experience sent me on a crazed organizational venture.

Yesterday Riley and I pulled hundreds of books off of their shelves. We separated them into piles according to subject. We had piles for Historical events and people, Artists, Animals, Science, Five in a Row, and Geography.

Some time ago, some brilliant homeschool mom gave me the idea of color-coding books. And that's what we did. On all of the books about geography- countries, states, etc. we stuck a yellow label at the bottom of the spine. We did a different color for each subject.

As we put the labels on, I quickly typed the title onto a list.

Now I have a list of every reference type book that we own. Every biography, every space book, every whale book, all of it.

I put each subject list in a page protector and I hung them all next to the shelf. At a glance I can see what we have! And I put extra labels in the page protector so I can easily stick them on new books.

Now whenever we finish a book, it gets stuck back on the shelf with it's coordinating color. You can easily glance at the books and notice if a book is in the wrong place because the color will not match the rest. Even if they happen to get mixed up, it will be a breeze to put them back where they belong.

So no more trying to search through a sea of book spines to see if we have any books on Helen Keller. Or weather.
No more reserving Five in a Row books at the library because I forgot I had it on my shelf.

Isn't it pretty?

And it's easy enough that even a preschooler could get the books back where they belong.