Crafty Kids

My kids love to make crafts. Lots of crafts. They make crafts that go along with what we are studying at the moment. They make crafts from craft books. They make crafts from everything. And there are crafts everywhere sometimes. Here are some of the most recent creations that were just creations for the fun of it. The ones that they’ve made to go along with our unit studies will have to wait until we finish the unit and can show off everything. I purchased a package or two of wikkistix at the last homeschool convention that I attended. I don’t know how they have stayed unused for so long. A few days ago, I had a lot of work to get done on my computer and I wanted my kids to be doing something constructive (rather than destructive, you know) so I pulled out the packages and said show me what you can make. This is what they made.


Note: Oops, I’ve just been informed that what I thought was a tulip plant and some corn stocks is supposed to be a house and a barn and I put them upside down for this picture.

Wikkistix Tractor and equp

The farmer and his tractor, mostly by JD Boy.

Wikkistix Farmer

The boy and his Bedtime Story book by Zippy.

Wikkistix Four Wheeler (by G'tums age 4)

The four-wheeler by G’tums.

I like to make sure that there are fun things around here for my four-year-old to do. He asked me if I would be okay with finger paints. I was a little hesitant, because well the mess that they can make, but then I thought that I couldn’t deny him the fun of finger paints just because I don’t like cleaning up, so I got them. When he got them out to start painting with them, he wasn’t the only one who wanted to finger paint, so did the “big” kids. Here are some of his creations.

Finger Painting by G'tums (age 4)

Finger Painting by G'tums (age 4)

Finger Painting by G'tums (age 4)

Finger Paintings by G’tums (age 4)

Composer Unit Study

We recently finished a unit on classical composers. We decided to just do an overview of them. We gathered up resources from a few places and really enjoyed every single one of them.
We listened to every CD in the “Story of Composers” series. (Here is a link to the one on Bach. You can scroll down to find the rest of them.) We listened to two CD’s a week and the ones we enjoyed most, we listened to several times. Now if I name nearly any one of the composers that we studied, JD Boy will be able to start humming the melody of one of the pieces from that composer. Have I ever mentioned that he is my auditory learner? It’s amazing!

This is a really enjoyable set of CD’s. We plan to listen to them many more times. I would recommend them to anybody. A couple of pluses on this set, besides the fact that they are just excellent, is that they provide a great way to do homeschooling in the car or, as in my case, do some homeschooling while the mama is sick. The other plus is that they are really inexpensive, which is always nice.

While we listened to those CD’s, G’tums colored pictures of composers that were printed off from the History Through the Ages Timeline Figures and JD Boy and Zippy made a timeline of the composers from the History of Classical Music Timeline by Beautiful Feet. (Both of these timelines are scrollable so please mouse over them and then start scrolling to see the whole timeline.)

Zippy's Timeline

Zippy’s Timeline

JDBoy's Composer Timeline

JD Boy’s Timeline

We also enjoyed reading the book The Story of the Orchestra and listening to the accompanying CD. From this book we were able to learn better how to distinguish the different instruments in the orchestra. This is a really nice book for a wide age span of children. All of my kids enjoyed it from the preschooler to the fourth grader.

Zippy also worked diligently on making a lapbook about music as we learned about the composers and about the orchestra. Here are a few pictures from her lapbook. If you’d like to see the rest, you can visit my Composer Lapbook set on Flickr. Most of the components for this lapbook were taken from the Composers Activity Pak by Homeschool in the Woods.

Composer Lapbook Cover

The Cover (Unfortunately water was spilled on it before we got any pictures, but Zippy has decided that it makes it look more artistic this way.)

Inside Composer Lapbook

The inside showing the book on periods of music, which describes each of the major periods of music; music definitions, which gives the definitions of each of the words printed on the piano keys; and the “Pieces with a Purpose” pocket, which has several little booklets that tell that different music was written for different purposes, i.e. some as hymns, some as patriotic music, etc.

Composer Lapbook Fully Opened

This is what you see if you flip up the center panel from the previous picture. In this picture is a map showing the birth cities of all of the European born composers; a bunch of little booklets with biography information about the composers; a booklet defining godly music; and a booklet with the five main types of instruments. There are also some stickers used for decoration.

Godly Music Book Cover

Godly Music Book Inside

This is the booklet on godly music. I just thought this was such a great quote about heavenly music that I had her copy it and add it to her lapbook. During this study we also took the time to discuss what music is appropriate for Christians to listen to and what is not.

Beethoven Inside

This is the inside of the little booklet on Beethoven, showing what type of information she found about each composer that we studied.

We all really enjoyed this unit study. It helped all of us to learn to appreciate some of the lesser known composers as well as the famous composers. We also were able to identify a few composers, whose pieces we didn’t enjoy. Now we are going to go back and study our favorite ones deeper and see if the kids can learn a piece on the violin or piano as we study them a little deeper.

One of the benefits of this unit is that it worked well while I was feeling ill. I just made sure everybody had the right stuff that went with the CD that we were to listen to and then I pushed play and laid back and listened.

Dragonflies — Nature Study in Our Backyard

So I decided it was time to get back in the swing of doing regular nature study every week. (It was pretty sporadic when I was pregnant and sick.) We had a little powow and decided that we wanted to learn about Maple trees and start another year long study of cattails, since we didn’t keep up with the last one. We chose Maple trees first since we have some real beauties around our house right now and we set out with our nature journals, paints, colored pencils and our Handbook of Nature Study.

Wouldn’t you know it? As soon as the whole family had their shoes tied and were out the door, JD Boy remembered that he had a better idea. So off came his shoes and he ran upstairs to grab his butterfly net. Then back on went the shoes and he nearly flew out the door. He raced and jumped around the backyard and then hollered with delight. He had caught the subject of interest–a dragonfly.

Catching a dragonfly

He brought it up to me for my approval and then got another bright idea. He’s full of ideas! He ran off and got the butterfly cage (or whatever you call it) and quickly, I mean carefully coaxed his dragonfly into the cage. Then he was off again. Between he and Zippy, we managed to capture three dragonflies.

Caught Dragonflies

So you can guess that our Maple tree and cattail study were not a go. We studied dragonflies. I don’t really have any idea of how to identify dragonflies, but I found this blog post by the Dragonfly Woman that recommended a couple of books, which we have since been able to check out from the library. The titles are Dragonflies through Binoculars and Dragonflies and Damselflies of the West and are both quite easy to use. JD Boy thinks he has an identification of the dragonflies that we caught, as well as two or three other species that he’s seen around here several times.

The dragonfly

White-faced Meadowhawk

Here are our nature journal entries.

Dragonfly by G'tums --age 4

Dragonfly by G'tums --age 4

The first two are paintings of the dragonfly by G’tums, age 4.

Dragonfly by JD Boy--age 7

Dragonflies by JD Boy, age 7.

Dragonfly by Zippy -- age 10

Dragonfly drawing by Zippy, age 10.

Dragonfly by Me

Colored pencil Dragonfly by Me.

Stehekin Trip

I have a whole bunch (and I mean A BUNCH) more pictures that I want to share. These are from a trip that we took to Stehekin, which is at the north end of Lake Chelan, Washington. We spent three days with my family and some friends. It was such an enjoyable trip. We definitely want to go back again.

Windsurfing on Lake Chelan

Somebody windsurfing on the lake.

Rainbow Falls @ Stehekin

My sister enjoying a dip at Rainbow Falls.

Artist Hiker

My dad enjoying a moment to draw the scenery.

Stehekin Hiker

JD Boy taking a break on a hike.

Chelan Seaplane

One of two planes that water taxi people up there as there are no roads. We took the boat.

Chelan Seaplane

My younger siblings and a friend ready to go on their flight back.

Stehekin Hiker

Zippy hanging out on the bridge railing.


Me with a backpack and a frontpack. It’s the life!

Lake Chelan

The view at the south end of the lake. The top of the lake and the bottom of the lake are like two different worlds.

Actually there are several more pictures, but I didn’t want to make it so that this page would never load. So if you want to see more, here is the link to them Stehekin Photo Set.

Our New School Room

One of the fun things about moving to a new house is that we now have a new school room. I actually am in love with our school room. It is in the attic and only has sky lights for windows. It is a long room, with lots of wall space for books. It was the bonus room, but the previous owner was an artist and used it for her art studio, so she put a sink in it and some cabinets and drawers. Maybe the idea is that that area is a kitchenette, but for us it is just perfect for housing all kinds of stuff, like games, art supplies, manipulatives, you name it.

Our new homeschool room

I had to purchase new bookcases, because the walls aren’t full height, so my old cases were too tall. (I’ve put them to use though in the garage. They are now being filled with canned food.)

Our new homeschool room

We had been storing the kitchen table that we had used back in the early days of our marriage, until we had children and couldn’t sit around it anymore. That now serves as our school table.

Our new homeschool room

We need to work on decorating the room a little more, but that will come with time, hopefully.