Archive for the ‘Fun Learning Stuff’ Category

Creativebug sale now through July 17

July 14, 2018 @ 8:22 am | Filed under: Fun Learning Stuff

Heads up: A year’s subscription to Creativebug at half price!

(Affiliate link but I’m a genuine Creativebug addict and this is a great deal.)

Things I’m doing for fun these days

June 28, 2018 @ 5:54 pm | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry, Fun Learning Stuff

1.

You know about the long, flower-drunk photo walks that carried me through the long, flower- Portland spring. I enjoy going through my photos later and marking a few to share on Instagram. I don’t like to do heavy edits but I do usually bump up the contrast a little bit and adjust exposure if necessary. And I nearly always nudge greens just a tad bit bluer. Sometimes I try out filters in VSCO but most filters seem to tone down the rich, saturated color I seek out when I’m taking pictures. I enjoy looking at other people’s soft, pastels and filtered light, but I’m a color junkie and my own photos are a reflection of that.


(Greens bumped toward blue here but the orange and pink are straight from Mother Nature.)

2.

The Index Card a Day Challenge. Every day, splashes of color on a simple index card. Low pressure, high fun.

3.

Reading The Penderwicks to my kids. We’re just about to finish the first book, which got as many giggles and belly laughs as it did the first time around, when I read it to my older set. (Nope, I haven’t read the new one yet! It’s on the list, of course.)

 

A high tide week in May

May 25, 2018 @ 5:36 pm | Filed under: Books, Fun Learning Stuff, Nature Study

Sick kids this week, and lots of IEP stuff going on. But golden hour doesn’t begin until 8pm these days, so I’ve managed plenty of long, rhapsodic evening walks. The light is glorious. I’m completely enchanted.

Huck, Rilla, and I are still reading The Penderwicks and lots of poetry. They finished learning the Willow Cabin speech from Twelfth Night and have begun If music be the food of love. play on. We spent a few weeks immersing in the history of Ancient India, and next week we’re starting an exploration of ancient numbering systems. Rilla helped me prep for it and we’re both pretty excited to dive in. And we’re doing watercolors almost every day, because I’m addicted. Strawberry number two was ripe today. We’re anxiously awaiting the arrival of this lovely book: Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses. (Amazon influencer link.) I’m in no hurry at all for the tide to go out.

 

Watercolor Florals with Peggy Dean

May 15, 2018 @ 7:05 am | Filed under: Art, Fun Learning Stuff

So here’s a fun thing: I got to take a watercolor class last Saturday. If Peggy Dean offers a workshop in your town, jump at the chance to take it! Three hours passed in a flash as we learned watercolor techniques for leaves and loose florals. Such a blast. And the paints she sent us home with—more swoon. Plus one of her cruelty-free, eco-conscious brushes. We laughed and painted and learned cool stuff (with a brief, blissful interruption to take turns petting the ADORABLE King Charles spaniel puppy who appeared in the tea shop with his very accommodating owner). Peggy’s teaching style is A+++ and I had a wonderful time sharing everything I learned with Rilla at our Saturday Night Art Date afterward.

If you can’t get to a workshop, Peggy’s Skillshare classes are also excellent (Rilla and I have taken several) and you’ve heard me praise her Botanical Line Drawing book many times before. I’m glad I’m a homeschooler because I can decree next week to be take-all-the-rest-of-Peggy’s-classes week if I feel like it. If you’re new to Skillshare, you can get two free months of unlimited classes. (Also highly recommended: Stephanie Kilgast’s Sculpey classes.)

Thank you Peggy for a fabulous workshop! I’m still swooning over that hematite violet. 😍

Vicarious globetrotting

April 24, 2018 @ 8:26 am | Filed under: Fun Learning Stuff

Nearly five years ago we planted a Trackable in a geocache near our home in San Diego. Since then, we’ve watched it travel back and forth across the United States, with jaunts to Honduras, Belize, and the Cayman Islands. Today we got a notice that it is currently in Ulster, Ireland. New life goal: to travel like my trackable.

Saturday night art date: polymer clay bugs

February 18, 2018 @ 9:48 am | Filed under: Art, Fun Learning Stuff

Image via Skillshare

 

Rilla’s pick for our Saturday night art date: “How to Sculpt Beetles, Bugs and Scarabs Realistically” class at Skillshare. Delightful course. Really enjoyed the instructor, Stephanie Kilgast—her lessons are clear, simple, and inspiring. Rilla’s take was: “OH GOOD, this is exactly what I’ve been needing to learn.” (Her two chief interests in life are bugs and art. She wants to become an entomologist-slash-artist.)

My house is about to be overrun with Sculpey beetles, I can tell.

(Referral code for two months’ free trial: http://skl.sh/2GogjAi )

“Look for a lovely thing and you will find it”

November 22, 2017 @ 8:51 am | Filed under: Books, Family, Fun Learning Stuff, Homeschooling, Poetry

As often as not, this is what our Poetry Teatime looks like: circus animal cookies on a Dominoes napkin. Yesterday we didn’t even remember to bother with something to drink. Although it doesn’t take much to elevate the event (plates would be a good start) 😉 — there are days when you know you’ll miss your moment if you don’t jump right in. This was one of those days. We had just enough time left in our morning for a no-frills poetry teatime and a short nature walk, or a frillier tea and no walk at all. The vote was to squeeze in both.

Huck certainly doesn’t care, as long as poetry teatime contains the two essentials: cookies + Shel Silverstein. He had us all howling with “The Nap Taker” (“I did not take a nap— / The nap took me”). Beanie picked the Lewis Carroll collection (more howls) and Rilla chose a family favorite: Jack Prelutsky’s Imagine That! Poems of Never-Was. (When she read “The Multikertwigo” I had such déja vu. I will always hear that poem in wee Jane’s four-year-old voice.)

I, of course, read selections from Favorite Poems Old and New. There would be a mutiny if I reached for anything else.

(I sneak more contemporary poems into other parts of our day. These children mustn’t grow up without some Billy Collins in their lives.)

Heads up: good deal on Creativebug subscription

November 21, 2017 @ 3:59 pm | Filed under: Fun Learning Stuff

This is a stellar deal: If you’re a new Creativebug customer, you can try a membership for just $1 for three months. I’ve raved about Creativebug many times in the past—we make good use of our subscription ($4.95/month), which gives us unlimited access to hundreds of classes. I pretty much always have a Creativebug challenge going in my sketchbook. Particular favorites are classes by Lisa Congdon, Pam Garrison, Jennifer Orkin Lewis, and Yao Cheng. Those all fall under the drawing and painting category, but Creativebug offers dozens of classes in knitting, crocheting, sewing, baking, soapmaking, and loads of other crafty things. I really consider it one of our best and most economical homeschooling resources.

Affiliate links, but I’m a genuinely happy customer. I couldn’t be more impressed with this platform.

Learning German with Felix and Franzi

October 19, 2017 @ 6:18 pm | Filed under: Foreign Languages, Fun Learning Stuff

A few weeks ago the kids and I discovered a new-to-us resource for our German studies. The Goethe Institute has a set of comprehensive and quite entertaining lessons for children—fun, thorough, and (amazingly) free.

The elementary-aged program is called German With Felix and Franzi, a cartoon frog and duck who move from Berlin to London. Each lesson begins with a short animated video. Supplementary materials include a Powerpoint with vocabulary-practice activities (we download them, move the words and pictures around as directed, and then close without saving changes), as well as music and lyrics for a couple of songs. The site is loaded with additional resources, and I’ve only just begun to mine the possibilities.

While the animation tends toward the preschool end of the spectrum, the lesson content is just right for my two beginners, ages 8 and 11. We work through several lessons a week, beginning each day’s session with a re-watch of earlier videos in the series, with the speed bumped up to 1.5 to help with comprehension. (Since conversational speakers usually talk a lot faster than the characters in educational videos.)

A real plus: the already rich lesson content is further enhanced by corresponding Memrise lessons for vocabulary review! (I’ve raved about Memrise before…)

So our lessons look something like:

—watch one or two of the videos whose content they’ve already learned;
—watch the next new lesson in the series;
—sing a few of the songs;
—(maybe) play with the Powerpoint activities;
—(maybe) watch a few other German children’s song videos on Youtube—not part of Felix & Franzi, just things we find in search;
—(later in the day) Rilla does a Memrise lesson. (Huck’s not a fan.)

It’s a good format for us and I’m pleased with their progress.

Beanie, with several years of German under her belt already, has been investigating the Goethe Institut resources for more advanced students. She especially enjoys the music playlists.

This was an accidental find last month, right when I needed a nudge, and so far the program gets high marks from me. Which is saying something, because I do believe I’ve tried just about every foreign language program on the homeschooling market, at some point or other!