January 8, 2013

Time and Civil War Guided Art

Well, the boys are all over the flu and the rest of us are hopefully not too far behind.  Yesterday afternoon they started feeling revived, and with no adult supervision, sounded to be bickering with one another most of the day.  So I knew that I would have to get out of bed today and get them doing something productive whether or not I felt like it, simply to preserve their brotherly love.  They really do behave more lovingly when they are on a schedule.  Hannah Jane slept hard until almost noon, but the boys and I sat at the bar doing some school work that Hannah Jane had no need of.  Learning to tell time.

Good Book Time Lesson

They dug their Main Lesson Books from the depths of their desks and we sat around the bar, me barely alive, and made some time pages.  That top and bottom border on the right hand page was perhaps the most difficult thing I've ever gotten the boys to do.  I have often thought that sort of form drawing to be a bit frivolous, but from the perspective of just being capable of following a set of steps or directions, I can see now that we should be doing more of it.  They were really challenged by it.

We also started learning a little poem about time.  We pat the table and then clap in rhythm as we chant, "60 seconds make a minute.  Put a lot of kindness in it.  60 minutes make an hour.  Work with all your might an power.  12 light hours in the day.  Time enough to work and play.  12 dark hours make the night so we can sleep and wake up bright!"  I think we're going a little heavy on the memorization right now, as the kids are also half way through the 23rd Psalm, but I guess we'll see just how much their little brains can take on at once because both seem relevant to our studies at the moment.

Civil War Art Class

By 1 in the afternoon, Hannah Jane was ready to be out of bed for a while and we had a little guided art class.  I always remind the kids that guided art is NOT the same as creative art time.  This means no working ahead  and no deviating from the directions.  These are the art classes in which I give very specific instructions as to how many fingers from the top or side a form should be, we talk about angles of intersection between forms, and proportions are discussed at length.  While most of their art time is more free and do-as-you-please, I think it is important to have some art time that is very structured during which I ask questions like, "Does that thigh look thick enough to hold up that body?" and "is it possible for a hat to be smaller than the head that wears it?"  It's good for them to begin to think critically about their own drawings and start putting body parts in proper proportion and honestly, they aren't at all inclined to do that on their own.  Haven's trademark in all of his art is that everyone, and I do mean everyone, gets a belly button.  This doesn't mean they're naked.  It just means that you can see their belly button through their clothes, fur, wool, etc.  And most days I tell Haven how much I love that I always know which picture is his because of the belly buttons.  But on guided art day, we discuss whether or not you would really be able to see a confederate soldier's belly butting through his coat.

War between brothers

Here's the final product!  I think they turned out rather nicely.  It's good to see that with painstaking instructions, they can turn out something other than stick people.  These will go in their Civil War Lapbooks above bullet points about the war.  I think the term the War Between Brothers  is one of the most descriptive names for the Civil War and that's how we chose the image for this art lesson.  The picture is supposed to look like brothers fighting, but Haven's look a little more like they're holding hands and twirling each other around.  It's sort of a 60's hippie version of the Civil War, but hey!  I love it!

Hopefully we'll all be well enough to go present at Biography Club tomorrow.  Hannah Jane is presenting on Harriet Tubman and the boys are sharing a presentation on John Clem.  I had never heard of John Clem until I started getting things set up for the kids' lapbooks, and now he's my all time favorite Civil War figure.  What a fascinating character!  If we make it, I'll post a little video of their presentations so you can love John Clem too!


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