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Archive for August 10th, 2010

This weekend also marked our very first foray into our new art enrichment program, Meet the Masters! Satori and David had been coloring on the living room floor, so I snuck a laptop in front of them and started playing the lesson. This program is online, so we watched both the Preview and van Gogh Unit lessons. This viewing was Step 1, and we loved the lesson and enjoyed listening to “Starry, Starry Night” by Don McLean. (music and video shown at end of this post)

Step 2 of our van Gogh lesson explored texture and had a few worksheets in the Downloadable Art Packet for Satori to practice drawing texture.

Step 3 is the Create a Masterpiece Art Activity! We used van Gogh’s technique of using little line dabs to make texture, and made our own starry night.  We used black construction paper (actually sulphite) and used oil pastels. The oil pastels really stood out upon the black paper.

The whole family made their own artwork, and we had a print of Starry Night propped up in front of us. (This is our new Art Appreciation binder I made a few days ago).

Here’s Satori’s Starry Night masterpiece!

We used the directions for Track A, Year 1 ages 5-7. There are two other levels you can use if you have older children, so you can get a bit more sophisticated. For Track A, there are age levels of 5-7, 8-9, and 10-adult.

Satori turned around and made another picture, she wanted to draw birds flying on a landscape.

It actually reminded me of Vincent van Gogh’s painting “Wheatfield with Crows”, although I don’t think Satori ever saw it. Now I have it up as a desktop wallpaper on the kitchen computer. We have various van Gogh painting as wallpaper on all our computers now.

Vincent’s story was very sad and tragic, but we loved learning about his life and his passions and sorrows.

Lyrics and explanation found here. An alternative YouTube video without the depressing text at the end is found here.

We are now seeing van Gogh’s paintings everywhere! Now that we studied him in just this initial lesson, we can’t miss his unmistakable art techniques, colors, and subjects. This is exactly what I wanted in starting an Art Appreciation program!

I have a bunch of read-alouds and other activities that we’ll do the next few weeks to continue with our van Gogh study. Meet the Masters only has 7 units, so we could easily whip through the entire first “year” in just a few months. We loved our first lesson, but I’ll have to find ways to slow it down by doing this more slowly, and adding our own fun supplements.

Over the weekend the entire family did our science lessons from R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey – Life. Continuing on with our Human Body lessons, the first activity was learning about our muscles. Using the included cutouts, we made our own arm with muscles that demonstrated how muscles work. We learned that muscles shorten (contract) in order to move. Muscles don’t push your bones, they only shorten and pull.

Also included are the RSO lab sheets, where Satori wrote down the measurements. Here’s she’s using her newest pencil grip that she seems to enjoy using (so far).

We plan to combine a bunch of science labs together, so we can do them with Daddy (he needs to learn science too)! So our next lesson was about our heart. Satori and David did 5 different physical activities and then we took their heart rate. Activities ran from just sitting, walking, situps and pushups, jumping jacks, and running around the house.

We used a real stethoscope that I think I got from Lakeshore Learning for a few dollars (although I can’t find it on their website). Be careful with these things, they really work! I only let Satori use them with careful supervision and had to warn Daddy not to yell when someone had them on.

Here’s Satori’s graph she colored in of our various activities. As expected, sitting had the lowest heart rate per minute, and running had the highest. Activities that the body was mostly laying down (or that Satori didn’t do properly and only gave a half-effort), were not as high as jumping jacks that used the arms.