Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Grimaces . . . and God's Good Gifts

Yesterday was a bad day. It was Monday, for one thing . . . and both my homeschooled kids were sniffling and generally feeling lousy from a cold. It was hard to tell if my teaching methods were a mis-match, or it it was just a "bad day."

Because I couldn't seem to get cooperation, I felt like what I was doing was a failure, and I felt like crying.

I did cry, last night, when I woke up in discouragement and despair. I prayed to God to help me rest . . . and He did (eventually). This morning, I prayed that things would go well for our school time today, and guess what . . .

Today has been a wonderful day. We started late, and didn't get all of our usual schoolwork done, but it's OK. Looking all over for something new to learn for piano (it's Molly's lesson day), we found a really fun piece-- that Molly likes, and is not too hard to play. And Later I had time to work on the artwork project I need to do. While I was going back and forth between "pencil" and "eraser" on the computer-- trying to get one spot to turn out just right, Molly said they were through with their other schoolwork, and we could do science now.

Well, science had to wait, and I kept thinking I was "almost" finished with the artwork, but while I worked, Molly picked up the guitar and started strumming, and James came and taught her some chords. I was so happy to listen to them playing the chords while I kept erasing and drawing . . . then he taught her how to play "How Great is Our God," and they were playing and singing . . . and then it looked like science was never going to happen-- I was really "almost" finished with the line art design, and Molly and James were starting on the ukelele, too. After James showed her a few chords, she played a song, and was pleased with how easy the ukelele was.

The art design finally reached its goal, so I stopped drawing and erasing . . . I hated to interrupt the kids from their ukelele playing, but I pulled out the science book to see if it was a long lesson or short one. After a quick glance, I knew this was a great lesson for tomorrow.

So anyway, we decided to just make lunch--since it was too late for science-- and I'm so thankful for God's blessing us this day with happiness . . . and success!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sticky-Note Flip Books

Yesterday it was Molly's idea. Though I know this particular technique has been done before . . . still, it was something very new to all of us.

We were going to make animation flip books. You know-- lots of little pieces of paper all the same size, stapled together, and a picture drawn on each page, to show animated action happening . . . like a balloon flying up and away, or a flower growing, or someone waving his hand . . .

Well, Molly said, "We could use Post-It notes . . ." And we had some, so we tried it out-- and discovered that sticky notes work really well for this, and you don't have to cut out lots of little pieces of paper. Compared to using 3 x 5 cards, the pages move more quickly, so the action looks smoother.

We just tore off a certain segment of the notes-- about a 1/8 inch thick stack-- to use. Because there is still a sticky surface on the bottom page of the stack, you can just add one note in reverse position there, so the two sticky parts connect, and then the bottom won't be sticky.

James's animation was "Monster Eating 1 2 3." The numbers gradually appeared, and then a monster with big teeth gradually ate the numbers. Molly made a smiley face that slowly appeared, and then grew arms, and then a balloon was attached to one arm.

This turned out to be a really easy project. It only took about 5 or 10 minutes, and we all liked flipping the booklets to see the action. (So give it a try, if you're looking for a fun and simple art project !)

Good idea, Molly!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Felt Fallout . . .

Here is a picture of a Christmas gift project; this was great fun to make. I made a collection of felt people in various races, and also a felt car and house and trees, and my husband made a flannel board-- built with two pieces of thin plywood, with a long metal hinge across the top, with the flannel covering glued on the inside. This allowed two kids to play at once-- on opposite sides-- and the board worked really well. The present was for our three granddaughters (ages 4, 2, 1) and the oldest girl found an interesting way to move aside certain felt pieces she was finished playing with at the moment-- she would toss them over the top (onto her unsuspecting sister . . .)!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Good Times

We were at the table at lunch Monday, and somehow a conversation started between James and Molly. "You tooth-brusher!" said one, and the other retorted, "You milkshake maker!" and it went on and on with "leaf-raker," "banana peeler" and other equally ridiculous "insults." Finally, James said, "OK, Molly, I wasn't going to use this one, but you've forced me to-- you . . . you . . . you . . . PUDDLE JUMPER!" Followed by much laughter. This spontaneous word game continued for a while, and included another phrase that James felt he had no choice but to use. I can't remember all the phrases they coined, but it was entirely silly, and also just one of those times that you feel privileged to be a witness to creative genius.

This is also a time that I am so glad the kids are homeschooled, and have such great comaraderie as well as me enjoying being there to see antics like this.