Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Earth Handprint Craft Tutorial

Exploring Countries and Cultures Week 1, Day 2 the art project says to make a John 3:16 poster. Since we already have a cute print of John 3:16 in our schoolroom, I wanted to do something else. I was searching on Pinterest and found a craft similar to this for an Earth Day activity. It appears that site has been taken down and I've had several requests for details on this project, so I wanted to share them here.

I used the top of a container to draw a large circle on a piece of heavy card stock (construction paper would work well too).

We painted the circles blue and let them dry completely. We did this in the morning to allow for drying time.

Then we used green paint for the land masses. Don't worry about making it look exactly like the continents. The older kids might be able to get a general shape of a continent, but perfection isn't the goal here. I did encourage them to make at least one go "off the edge" so that it looks like it was wrapping around the side of the Earth. Again, let it dry completely. We did this just before lunch to allow for dry time.

(Sorry, I didn't get a picture of this step!)

Then we painted our hands black and made a handprint on the Earth. We talked about how God sent Jesus for each of them and he cares about every person on the Earth. Let it dry completely before cutting it out.

Once it's dry, cut out the Earth and glue onto construction paper. We chose black. I also typed up John 3:16 and had them glue it at the bottom. You could opt to have the kids write it on paper and glue it on.

I have these hanging in our window right now and plan to leave them up a while, but when I take them down: I will have them put them in their Exploring Countries and Cultures Notebook.

Happy Homeschool Crafting!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Back to {Home} School 2013-2014

I can't believe it's here! Time to hit the books again. It seems like I blinked and I suddenly have a 4th grader, a second grader, and a preschooler. Somebody push the pause button, quickly!

With my crate packed for all 36 weeks, new folders purchased and labeled, pencils sharpened, and the school room moved: Monday, August 5 was our big day.

We're setting off on a new adventure this year. We are using My Father's World: Exploring Countries and Cultures. We will be galloping the globe visiting all 7 continents, studying about the people groups and ecosystems that make up our beautiful world! My Father's World does an incredible job of balancing Classical Education, Charlotte Mason, and Unit Studies all within a Biblical worldview. It's the best of all the things I love about these three methods and I know it's what we all need.

Everybody was excited to jump in on our first day for the year. I probably would have waited one more week, but to be completely honest: I knew we needed to start on Monday. We spent 5 weeks of our summer hosting an incredible 12 year old orphan boy from Eastern Europe and we are in the process of adopting him. We painfully put him on the plane on Thursday to head back to his orphanage and I've been devastated since he left. I knew if I did not keep myself busy that all I would do this week is curl up in the bed and cry: which is exactly what I did for the 4 days after he left. It has been a nice distraction and has kept my mind from constantly worrying about him. I did mess up today and set out 4 sets of paints and art supplies today and realized that we only have 3 kids (at home) right now. Those papers and paint along with that empty chair nearly took all the air from my chest as I gasped and teared up right at the table. Clearly, emotions are still a little raw after his departure.

We're having fun so far. We've been studying maps and globes, learning about ecosystems. We labeled what we knew on blank maps and at the end of the year, we'll label those same maps and we'll get to see how much we learned! We loaded our Book Basket up with fun books about children from all over the world, children's atlases, animal books from around the world, and some other fun stuff. We learned a new song that taught us how to say "hello" in 9 languages. The kids have been going around the house singing it constantly and I think it's adorable!

I have to say I think this is going to be our best year yet! As the kids get older, the math gets harder, the reading lists get a little more difficult, and the material gets a little more in depth. I am so thankful to be learning right alongside my children each day. It's hard work, I'm not going to deny that, but it's oh, so worth it! I am thankful for the privilege to get to teach these crazy kids everyday. I am glad that I am the one who gets to be there when that lightbulb go off and they finally get it! It's a sacrifice for our family, but one I'd make a million times over if I had to do it all again.

Here's a peek at what we've done the past couple of days.

Our book basket loaded up with a lot of books about maps, some children's atlases, books about children from all over the globe, and books about animals of the world. 
Monday folders are out and ready to begin the first day of school.
Time to get the crayons out! 
The boys hard at work doing their math on the first day.

We needed a little multiplication review on day one. 

Our Eastern European son (V) has a dino just like this that he took back with him, so I had to get one too. This dino is pretty much part of our daily lives and is a constant reminder of our son. We're having fun on these dino adventures.  Here he is hanging out in the school room on the first day.

I even let Dino help me read stories to the kids. 
He's showing up everywhere throughout the day. The kids can be seen reading on the couch snuggled with him or he can be found sitting on top of Eastern Europe on the globe! This dino is bringing lots of fun and laughter to our school and I'm thankful for it! We all need to focus on the laugher and joy V brings to our home. 

I cannot say enough GREAT things about All About Spelling and All About Reading programs. This is our 4th year of using All about Spelling, and our 2nd year of using All About Reading. I dare say these are THE BEST reading and spelling programs out there. 

Big brother got a hold of the camera and snapped a pic of this sweet girlie! 

Another pic snapped by my 4th grade budding photographer. I loved this one of Andrew he captured. When I saw it pop up on the computer when I was uploading, I had to literally laugh out loud because this pretty much sums up his personality. I've decided we're raising a future Sheldon Cooper (from Big Bang Theory). 

Learning about Maps and Globes

With our study of maps and globes, and our emphasis on countries and cultures: we started off the year talking about how God created the world and everything (and everyone) in it. Our Bible Verse for the week is John 3:16. The kids have known this one for years, so it was just a quick review of that and a discussion about how God loves all people all over the globe. Our My Father's World lesson plans indicated we were to make a John 3:16 poster today, but I decided to do this instead. We have them hanging in the school room now, but they can go in their notebooks when I take them down. I got the idea from an "Earth Day" activity I saw pinned on Pinterest. It seems that link is no longer working, so I will blog it and re-pin it from my blog. I absolutely LOVE how these turned out and they were fun to make!

It's really been a fun couple of days. We're right where we need to be. We're doing life together: the good, the bad, the hard, the fun, the frustrating, the easy, and the new. And we LOVE it! Can't wait for V to get here and join this crazy zoo crew! When he was here, he asked me specifically if he could do school at home - OF COURSE! We've missed 12 years of his life already, we're not sharing him for 8 hours a day. He's gonna be right here doing school in the nest with this mama bird!

I pray that as you begin your school year that you seek the Lord in your homeschool. I pray that He fill your home with His truth and He would reveal himself not only to your children, but to you mamas out there who are dedicated to doing this thing even on the hard days. I know that's what I've prayed for this year. That the Lord would be in this place daily and that even when I don't feel like it, that He would give me the strength and the grace to keep going.