Friday, January 28, 2011

Some days we ditch school...

...and play outside. After two weeks of really cold weather, we just had to go out on this beautiful 70 degree day. We took a trip to the skate park (after our environmental science field trip to drop our recyclables at the recycling center because, when you home school, everything is a lesson).

Thing 2 was home from school trying to recover from the flu. He needed some fresh air and sunshine, so he came along and read.

In our recent study about the artist Renoir we learned that he didn't allow his children to attend school until age 10 because he felt they could learn so much more simply by being outdoors than they could ever learn in a classroom. I think he was right.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Benjamin Franklin

"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” - Benjamin Franklin
In OM 5 History, we are studying Benjamin Franklin. What an interesting man he was. Early in his adult life, he was a soap and candle maker. We attempted to make candles the way Ben did, by dipping wicks in melted wax, then in cold water, then back in the wax, repeat, repeat, repeat.

We were supposed to keep this up until our candles were the diameter we wanted. After about 20 minutes of dipping, our wick looked only marginally different, and we concluded that Benjamin Franklin had much more patience than we do. (No wonder he moved on to bigger things like becoming an inventor, scientist, writer, along with that Founding Father gig.)

We ditched the Oak Meadow suggestion and re-purposed our Subway cups from dinner, using them as candle molds. I showed the kids how my sisters and I used to make ice cube candles when I was a kid.

I'm no Ben Franklin, but my children were impressed.

Today we wrote with a quill and ink, just like Ben Franklin did. It really gave the kids an appreciation for our current day writing instruments...not to mention the eraser.

Thing 4 had a lot of fun pretending she was writing the Declaration of Independence.

Did you know that, except for two years of formal education from age 8 to age 10, Benjamin Franklin was home schooled and self-taught?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Marbling Paper

This week, OM 3 had us marbling paper. This is quite possibly the coolest art project we've done since we began this crazy OE experiment a year and a half ago.

We started with the marbling set that came in our OM 3 craft kit. (Buying that kit was one of the best decisions I've ever made. When it's time to do a project, I have everything right running to Hobby Lobby to piece together our materials.)

We filled a pan with 2-3" of water and placed the float paper.

Then, we added color, one drop at a time to the float paper.

The kids loved watching the color shoot out from the paper and move through the water. They were amazed that the color stayed on the surface.

Next, the kids blew on the water, causing the colors to move around (but not blend), which created cool designs. This can also be accomplished by dragging the colors around with paint brushes.

We carefully laid heavy weight paper on top of the water. (Our first attempt was with lighter weight sketching paper, but it rolled when it got wet.) Card stock would work well.

And when we lifted it up...Voila!

Marbled Paper!

When Thing 4 saw the result, she literally gasped and said, "Please don't ever put me back in school." (She really likes art.)

This project was so much fun that the kiddos showed Thing 2 and the OE Dad when they got home tonight. They both made some, too.

And I loved it so much that I marbled all the trash that I found on my kitchen counter.

Now we have to figure out how to make something gifty with this paper.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Warm, Fuzzy OE Moment

Math isn't so bad when you're sitting by the fire.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

In Monet, I Find Hope...

...for my most challenging wonderfully creative, free-spirited, child.

"I was undisciplined by birth, never would I bend, even in my tender youth, to a rule. It was at home I learned the little I know. Schools always appeared to me like a prison, and never could I make up my mind to stay there, not even for four hours a day, when the sunshine was inviting, the sea smooth, and when it was joy to run about the cliffs in the free air, or to paddle in the water." -Claude Monet

(Yes, that's underwear on her head and socks for ears.)

The girl is something else, and I wouldn't trade her for the world.


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