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21 December 2012

Weekly Wrap-up: illuminated

We started out the week pretty sick, particularly Dragon and me. As a result, on Monday and Tuesday there was a lot of sitting around doing not much! But by Tuesday afternoon I was starting to feel somewhat better, and we started to be a little productive again. Hero practiced his math facts, did a little writing, and some reading that evening. Wednesday was much more normal. Thursday, winter finally arrived. About time, too!

After the snow play was done we started a big history/art project. Last week, we read about illuminated manuscripts in Story of the World 2. This week, we looked at some scans of real ones, at this cool site I found from the British Library. Primarily, we looked at the Luttrell Psalter, but we also had a look at a few pages from the Lindsifame Gospels before Hero's attention for the site was used up. We each picked out a few pages to do screen captures from, and those we talked about what we liked, then printed them out for reference in our art project.

Next, we had a look at the directions from our art project. I showed him the various fonts they suggest, and he picked out what he wanted. He's still learning to do regular letters, so I did the outline letters for him. He did all the rest, and I'm so pleased with what he did!

I love the way that the decorations on his letters are so similar to the detail work on the models we looked at. It's always fun to see that sort of comprehension. I'm hoping that by doing a big art project like this he'll remember the real illuminations better. He's already wanted to go back and look at the British Library site again, which is a good sign. The idea with our project had been to do crayon resist, but I didn't explain it very well and I told him about the painting part too soon, so he didn't put enough crayon on the picture for it to actually resist when we painted. Next time, I'll have him do the crayon part, and then I'll tell him about the paint.

This was Hero's first experience with water colors, I believe, and nearly my first as well. Dragon lost interest with the project and went to "help" the Daddy long before we got to the paints, so he doesn't have one to show. Hero tells me that he's not done, which is fine with me; the real illuminations were big projects and often art takes more than one sitting to do well. But this is a sample of what he has so far.

Once I got him going, I was able to do one too. I didn't get to the painting part, and the crayons were too dull to do what I had in mind when I started, but it's still a fun project. When Hero does his painting next I'm hoping to do a little as well.

I'm getting a bit of historical whiplash, switching from Ancient Rome to Medieval Europe like this, but when I looked at the dates, they aren't that far distant in time. I always thought that togas and knights were further distant from each other, but it turns out that's not so much the case. Studying history chronologically makes so much more sense than the piecemeal way that I got what little I did learn about history. It's pretty amazing how much I'm learning, even though we're really only using the most basic of resources since Hero is still so young. So this Friday afternoon Hero and Dragon got their first exposure to King Arthur and his knights with our new read-aloud. This version has some amazing illustrations, which they both love, and when we started it my voice gave out just as the Green Knight burst in on the New Years' Feast at Camelot-- cliffhanger!! The boys and I are all anxious to read some more of this one.

Now that Hero is reading better, I tried stepping back a little bit with our map work, and helping him less. Instead of pointing to the map and telling him what he's looking at, I stood back and told him what he was looking for, as well as some clues as to where he should find it. This is one place where I struggle not to be a bit of a helicopter, so it worked well that we did this while I was getting dinner and I kept having to cross the kitchen to check on the food. Physical distance. Makes it hard to hover. Then, he did the coloring (except that I helped a little with the water). It went really well, and we'll be doing more like this. I was, however, pleasantly surprised at how easily he found Rome. I hadn't been at all sure how much of the other style of map work he was remembering, and apparently it's at least some.

That's the highlights! We did some other stuff; he's made good progress on filling in the Book It! chart, and will probably be ready for his next coupon by the end of the month. Dragon loves to practice reading his CVC words, and comes flying across the room if I ask him if he wants to do it, all little kid excitement. It's so much fun to see him so excited. I hadn't really intended to start him this early, but he's been showing signs of starting to remember some sight words, and he's so excited about it, so we'll do it a bit and see where it goes. It's awful cute to hear his little toddler voice work on making the blends. I love teaching my kids!

To see what other folks are doing this week, head on over to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers and check 'em out!


Heather Nieman said...

This is a beautiful project! So cool that the little guys are diggin' it! My little guy wouldn't be able to do it all in one sitting either :). I wouldn't have thought about reading some of the Arthur stuff to him yet (thinking in terms of "english/lit"), but what a great idea as part of world history! Thanks for the inspiration! :)

Ritsumei said...

I can't take credit for the reading list; it comes straight out of the Activity Guide for Story of the World 2. Susan Wise Bauer must have spent a HEAP of time looking over books, because just about everything I've read on her recommendations has been on the good-to-amazing end of the scale. This book is one of the ones from her lists. And the maps are from the Activity Guide too. Makes teaching history soooo much simpler. And I can't really tell "lit" from "history," the way we're doing things, lol. There's so many beautiful stories. I've got a book about King Arthur himself that we'll have a go at a little later, but this picture book is a perfect introduction for a 6yo.

Phyllis said...

What a great week of history and art...one of my very favorite combinations. I would love it if you would link this up to my History and Geography Meme!

Joesette said...

Great project! I'm glad everyone's feeling better in your house!

Steph said...

So "cool" no pun intended that your winter has finally arrived. I feel the same way about the weather we've been having down in GA. Although snow is always a hope but never a guarantee, I needed the temp to drop a bit in order for it to feel like the Christmas season and thankfully it has...still no snow. Madison is still hoping. you home school looks sooo interesting. I am hoping to find really good history and art curriculum to add to our school very soon. Thanks for sharing!


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