October 28, 2011

Fall Art and Calendars

Ahhh...fall.  I love the color, the smells, the chill, the crunch of leaves.  I never rake leaves because they are so, so lovely on the lawn.  There is simply nothing more sad than a green lawn under a yellow tree.  It should be a crime, really.  Okay, I'm off track.  What did I sign on to tell you this afternoon?  Oh!  That today we used our pumpkin seeds to make some fall art and we wrapped up our calendars that we started earlier in the week! 

If you recall, we're working heavy on calendar reading right now because it is the area really hurting Hannah Jane in her math studies.  At bedtime I usually ask the kids about their high of the day and their low of the day (thank you, Story of Us, for that great idea!) and when I asked HJ what her high of the day was, she actually said that it was making the calendar.  Who'd have thunk it?


Making our calendar bottoms was much harder than I realized it would be for the kids.  I really didn't see that coming.  The simple act of connecting the dots that I made as guide so that their squares would be roughly the same size just blew their little minds.  So Hannah Jane held the straight edge for the boys to draw along as I measured out the dots for the next person's calendar.  This took FOREVER!!!

Then it was on to filling in the calnedar squares with the numbers in the correct days of the week.  I thought this part would have been difficult for them, but they just did it like it was nothing.  Hannah Jane wrote her months and days in Latin to help her integrate her Latin studies into her everyday life, and I wrote the months and days in English on the boys' for them to trace.  They all copied the numbers in the correct days of the week themselves and were done in a flash!

What excited me most was to see them all notice, without my prompting, that the calendar we were using as a guide had markings for the moon phases.  Whoa!  Mom!  We can just look at the calendar and know what phase the moon is in?  Why didn't you tell us?  Why do you make us look at the moon and tell you when it's right here?  I'm putting these on my calendar too!  What's funny is how they said it as if I actually really needed to know the phase of the moon and had been relying on them to calculate it for me for some higher purpose.  I must be a great actress!  I was just quizzing them, but they thought the weight of the world was riding on whether or not they could identify the moon's phase!  LOL!

So now their pretty little hand made calendars are hanging by their beds and they are eagerly awaiting November's arrival so they can start marking time in a more official sense!


I saved the pumpkin seeds from our decorating day so that we could make a little art project from them.  Another part of Hannah Jane's calendar crisis is grasping which months are officially within which seasons.  It's mind boggling for her.  Although it probably doesn't help that her curriculum asks wild questions like, "What season does national popcorn day fall within?"  She reads that, flips out that she didn't even know that there WAS a national popcorn day, and then in her hysteria, fails to notice that in parentheses it tells her that the holiday is in January.   By the time she notices the month given, she's in her own little land of horror.  A land where she doesn't know everything.  A land where her parents have deprived her of even the most basic knowledge of American holidays!  What is this popcorn day and why have I not heard of it before?  Who cares about the month?  Boys!  Did yo know this?  Did you know there's a holiday for popcorn?  Mom!  What's with this?  I know you think that was a dramatization, because let's face it...I'm prone to dramatization.  But in fact that is an almost exact script of her self talk as she gazed in bewilderment at the computer screen during her math lesson today.  Haha!  Talk about prone to dramatization!  Where does she get that from?


So to help her out and make the month-season connection a little more second nature for her, we're going to water color a scene from every season and then artistically write the names of every month therein somewhere in the scene.  Today was fall art and so we had another water color lesson with just the 3 primary colors, in which I guided the kids through the steps of making a naked tree on a grassy spot.  Then we used pumpkin seeds that had been previously colored with food coloring to make leaves falling from the branches and piling up on the ground.

The boys didn't like their trees at all and Hannah Jane said her's looked like first grader's work.  But by the time the seeds were glued all over, their attitudes changed and they were bragging to one another about how cool their trees were.

Over the next few days we are going to make our scenes for the other seasons and try to get all of this calendar stuff solidified in her brain.  If they boys catch on too, all the better.  If not, we can wait until they face it in the real math class and then redo it all for them.


What have you done with  your kids to learn about the seasons?  I'd love some great ideas!

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