Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dutch Baroque Artist Study

Our first full term with the Ambleside Online curriculum is drawing to a close. I am so pleased with the way this term has gone, especially in terms of adding in hymn, composer, and picture studies. Seeing my girls get to know the works of Debussy and Renoir over the past 12 weeks has been such a pleasure. We have not done very much with our composer study other than listen to the music, but we have enthusiastically dived into picture study. It amazes me how much we have all learned. Hearing my children speak intelligently about lighting, color, mood, and brushstroke technique is a little mind-blowing! They even created their own version of Renoir's Girl with a Watering Can in sidewalk chalk.

  Aren't those toes the sweetest thing you've ever seen?

This term, we will be studying Pieter de Hooch and Jacob van Ruisdale. These Dutch Baroque painters both lived and painted in Delft, Holland in the mid- to late-1600s. As last term, I created full sheet prints and art cards for each of the works we will be studying. The kids are wild about their Master Works Album, where they store their own pictures of the paintings we study. I had the full sheets printed out at Office Max on glossy card stock, and they came out beautifully. The art cards can be downloaded as individual .jpg files just by right-clicking on the picture and copying it. You can also download a single sheet that contains all three art cards on one sheet, print them at home, and cut them to 4x6 size for your album.

Jacob van Ruisdale - have you ever seen clouds like that?! Living in Colorado, we know how to appreciate beautiful sky scenes. Click here to download the full-sized prints.

You can click here to download all three art cards on one page

Pieter de Hooch (whose name is apparently pronounced more like Huff or Hough. Who knew?) Click here to download the full-sized prints.


Click here to download all the de Hooch art cards on one page.

I know it sounds selfish, but one of the things I love about home schooling is how much I learn while I am researching and teaching my kids. I recently watched the 2003 movie Girl With a Pearl Earring, about Johannes Vermeer's masterpiece work.

Painted around 1665, Girl With a Pearl Earring has been called the Mona Lisa of the north.
Isn't she gorgeous?

While preparing a biography for de Hooch, I discovered that he is believed to have influenced Vermeer's style. Throughout the movie, I was on the alert for any mention of de Hooch! I think we are going to have to make room for this beautiful painting in our art rotation this term.

Since this post has gotten rather long-winded, I'll go ahead and wrap it up here. I hope you enjoy the downloads and make some use of them.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

It's My Turn, Mama

I don't know if y'all went through the Terrible Twos. In my house, the Twos are pretty terrific; it's the Threes that are just about the death of me. My youngest is now a full-blown three-year-old - curious, affectionate, silly, adorable, BUSY, testing every boundary, and liable to destroy a room if I take my eyes off of her for a moment.

"What do you mean I can't drink the rest of the syrup 
and then eat half the jar of peanut butter?I just did, didn't I?"

Needless to say, it can be quite a challenge to do schoolwork when she is awake. Our saving grace has been her Table Time boxes. I fill plastic storage containers with one activity each, and she can choose what she wants to do QUIETLY while we work. It's not a perfect solution, but it is a big help. Unfortunately, we have had the same four boxes for the last 10 weeks, and she has definitely gotten bored with them. This week I stumbled across some great ideas on Pinterest! I know, I know… who hasn’t stumbled across some seemingly amazing idea on Pinterest that they could surely do, only they don’t? These ideas, however, are easy, fun, and inexpensive. In fact, my two big girls have decided to put activities together as their Christmas present for their little sister. (It is sweetness like this that makes the bickering and griping fade to gentle whispers in my memories…)

Toddler “Busy Bag” Swap - 20 busy bag ideas

Toddler Busy Bag Swap, Take Two - 20 MORE ideas

30 Materials and Activities to Promote Fine Motor Skills

Learning for Kids

True confession time - I haven’t even checked out the last two links. From the first two (and all the blogs they sent me to) I have compiled a list of 89 activities, which I sorted out for 3, 4, or 5 year olds! Seriously, these women have provided me with nearly 90 ideas for entertaining and teaching my little one instead of just trying to keep her quiet so I can get on with my “real” educating. Some days I am quite humbled and grateful to all the moms who put their creativity out for everyone else to benefit from.

I can hardly wait to see my baby’s face when she gets to check out all her fun new games and toys! If you have some time, browse through the links. There are some clever, clever mamas out there. Which are your favorite toddler games and activities?