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Artist Study of the Month
Since Michelangelo’s birthday is coming up on March 6th, we’re gearing up to focus on him again during this month’s artist study. We studied his work once before (several years ago) as part of a mini-unit about Renaissance artists. Our favorite activity then was a reenactment of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. That’s an easy activity:
- Tape some paper to the bottom of a table that you don’t mind getting paint on.
- Make a cozy spot under the table to lay.
- Grab some paints.
- Paint a picture on the paper while laying down.
Michelangelo Biography and Research Essay
This time around, we’ll be focusing more on Michelangelo’s biography by researching several of the sites mentioned on Social Studies for Kids. We’ll read through some of the articles together and I’ll assign a few to be read independently. By the end of the month, I’ll expect a one-page essay about Michelangelo. (Now that my big kids are older, writing follows almost everything – or so my sweet children tell me.)
Of course, we’ll read this classic from our artist bookshelf, too.
Rather than choose the weekly picture studies for my children, this time I will allow them to decide what we study. Olga’s Gallery is always a great place to go to find a large variety of artwork by almost any artist.
Need to know how to do picture study? You might like to check out Artist Study: Charlotte Mason Style.
- Week One: We’ll again try a simulation of the painting of the Sistine Chapel. I’m so excited to compare this year’s finished products to the artwork created five or six years ago.
- Week Two: We’ll do a version of this Project Articulate lesson, focusing on shading.
- Week Three: We’ll take soap carvings to a new level as we try to recreate one of Michelangelo’s sculptures.
- Week Four: We’ll tackle a clay sculpting project.
And that’s it. A little reading, a little writing, a little picture study and a weekly art lesson. Fun and educational!
This post has been linked to iHomeschoolNetwork’s Birthday Lessons series!
Do you want lessons to be powerful?
Do you want your children to be excited about learning?
Would you like your children to learn in a hands-on way?
Would it be helpful to have other people who are very knowledgeable about a topic to do some of the teaching for you?
Go on field trips!
I am constantly amazed at the in-depth learning that takes place during most of our field trips. I’m also surprised at the wonderful rabbit trails that are spurred from field trips. And, the fact that my kids think field trips are a “break” makes our time away SO pleasant!
We don’t live in a big town, but I find many, many opportunities that arise within an hour or so of our home.
- Science Museums
- History Museums
- Historical Walks/Tours
- State and National Parks
- Art Galleries
- Nature Preserves
- Traveling Exhibits
- Government Buildings
- Community Businesses
- Musical Performances
- I always try to take advantage of special class opportunities that come up through 4-H, the library, universities, and more, too!
Many times, I’ll plan field trips to go along with a current unit study. Other times, we just go with the flow of opportunities that arise. I work hard to integrate field trips into our schooling regularly. Like one or two per month, sometimes more. They really have proven to be that powerful in real learning! Not to mention, they keep us from getting burned out on bookwork – especially in the “blue” months of homeschooling.
Do you utilize field trips as an important part of your homeschool?
I almost couldn’t believe it myself. My kindergartener learned how to use the internet and Word for research…and it only took minutes for him to be proficient.
Way cool, but freaky at the same time. I guess a child born into this digital age doesn’t see computers as anything to be afraid of and just “gets it” without the need for much instruction.
Technology Project How-To
As we were studying Owl Moon, the topic of nocturnal animals naturally came up. I didn’t have any books on hand about nocturnal animals, so I told Eli we would have to learn from the internet which animals are nocturnal.
I wrote NOCTURNAL ANIMALS on a piece of paper for him and he typed it into the search box. He saw the Google images link pop up and I told him it was safe to click on it. (Unfortunately, we have to start “safe talks” early these days.)
We looked at all the animals and talked about them, then I said, “Hey Eli, would you like to do a big kid project like your brother and sister?” Well, need I ask a better question? We decided to make a poster showing several nocturnal animals.
I opened up a Word document and showed Eli how to copy a picture from the internet and paste it into the document. This is quite an ordeal when you think about it. Right-click the photo, copy it, enter the Word doc, paste the photo, get back to the internet and do it all over again.
After two times of me walking him through the process, um, he didn’t need my help anymore. At all. What?
Once he had copied and pasted all the photos he wanted, I showed him how to print his document. Then, he and I worked together to cut the images out and paste them onto a piece of colored paper. (As you can see, we were running out of color ink.)
Voila. A very rich project-based lesson that covers science, research, language, artistic presentation and technology – for a six year old. Try it. I bet your six-year-old will think it’s a breeze, too!
We found evidence of a sweet little squirrel’s busyness this winter! He or she is careful to keep a tidy home by setting all the garbage outside. We’ve seen plenty of piles like this around the farm in the past, but I don’t think I’ve taken the time to notice how squirrels go about eating their stored nuts. Check out the cute little holes in each acorn.
With a garbage pile this big, I’m thinking the squirrel must be just as ready for spring as me.
Need ideas for studying animal signs or animals in the winter? Check out either of these!
These books were written by me. Read my entire disclosure policy here.
Teaching with Candy Hearts
Early Elementary Lessons
With a pile of hearts, Eli had to figure out how many each of us would get if he divided the group into fair shares. He had to decide what to do with the leftovers, too.
We practiced the ABC’s by finding each letter printed somewhere on the hearts.
We love making concrete graphs! Eli has practiced many times with bar graphs, so this time I made sure to introduce making a circle graph.
To begin transferring concrete bar graphs to written graphs, I asked Eli to make a bar graph with his candy hearts. Then, I asked him to draw his own graph on a chalkboard. Why a chalkboard? Both because we had colored chalk to match the colors of the candy and because chalk encourages a more tactile experience than pencil and paper.
Middle and High School Lessons
This was a fun twist on measuring area. Instead of placing candy on a prepared heart to determine the area, I gave my children a small pile of candy and said, “Take a look at the pile and cut out a heart that you estimate has the correct area.” We did this a few times with different sized piles of candy to improve estimation skills.
The next several pictures show a variety of graphing and probability activities. Bar graphs, stem and plot graphs, histograms and more were created.
We also had fun placing several different numbers of each color in a bag to predict and test the probability of drawing each color.
Our day wasn’t all math related. We had fun with some science experiments, too. In the first two pictures, we experimented with the rate candy hearts dissolve in various acid and base mixtures.
The final picture shows the results of an erosion experiment (disclosure: link to my book.) We placed one heart in water and let it stand still. The second heart was placed in the same amount of water, but we shook the container for three minutes. In the end, we talked about how this models why jagged rocks eventually become small, smooth pebbles.
We literally could have gone on for a week learning with candy hearts. Look at the list of ideas we came up with at co-op!
Whether you use candy hearts or another variety of colored candy, make it a fun day once in a while!