Thursday, October 01, 2015

Delightful learning

We got our box of books today by Sarah Janisse Brown and all three girls claimed their favorites so quickly that I hardly got a chance to spread a few books out nicely for this picture!.
 My 9 year old was already over at the little table drawing away in her new "Teach Yourself to draw Cats" (Link to it here.)  Can I just say - most brilliant way of teaching drawing ever!  As a kid I'd try to use those sorts of drawing books that had the general shape, then add a bit more to those shapes and continue adding like this and then the 8th image (or so) would have the final picture that was IMPOSSIBLE to recreate that perfectly if you actually perfectly followed the first 7 instruction drawings!  So, I thought there was something wrong with me that I couldn't use those "how to draw" sorts of books.  I came up with my own way of learning to draw and would trace or just look at detailed drawings.  Eventually I moved to drawing real pictures of things and then to real life.  I would have been really happy to have books like this that *actually* taught me to draw in the way that made sense to me!
It starts out by instructing the child to look closely at the drawing and notice the different sorts of strokes of the pencil (angled for shading etc.)  and really, the most important thing about how to draw isn't skill as much as how and what you see.  So, learning to observe closely is the best first step!
Next page you are supposed to darken the lines and trace the image to make it look like the smaller image on the bottom right of the page.  EVERY one of these is exactly the same that you are working from!  Which to some might not seem like a big deal, but it is far less confusing than if the images were slightly different like those drawing books I said that I used and hated as a kid. ;)  Then the page on the right is the next step which is the same drawing only with little circles missing.  The idea here is to finish the picture as close as you can to the original (bottom right) and make your own added drawing to match what's already there.  Seriously brilliant!

Next step is where even larger pieces are taken away and you are supposed to finish the drawing to look like the original.  And the right page is totally blank to practice "free hand" still looking at the original picture on the bottom right.

Very last page of this drawing section (on the left) just says to keep practicing!  .. which I'm thinking could be drawing anything or the thing they were just learning to draw.  Then the page on the right starts a new picture to learn to draw.

Here's one that she was working on!  She did two full "lessons" and I could see quite an improvement in just that short amount of time.  But the main thing was that she was enjoying it!  I had gotten her (a year or so ago) one of those drawing books that was the style I'd had and she didn't like or use it either!  I'm sure she's going to go through these pretty quickly!

 We have a bunch of the CAT drawing ones of course because she is so interested in cats.  As you might recall, a few years ago when I was needing to revamp her school into the right brain learning style, she said she wanted to learn about all things cats!  However they have so many books on different animals too!  I know a lot of kids are into horses or lizards or other specific animal groups.  Anyway, you can buy them on Amazon or go to!

 I ALSO just got this book for my 9 year old to "read write and spell 100 easy Bible verses" and am loving the style! 
 You read them the verse and point at the words so they can learn to read it as well, and then they circle their three favorite words and then write the three favorite words.  There's a place to illustrate the meaning of the verse and then on the other page you write the full thing.  The first one was "Oh Lord my God, in you I put my trust." Pslam 7:1
 You also get to color the pages as well and I added a new step for this process too.  From what I can figure it's the NKJV translation and I had two Bibles that are NKJV but my oldest's Bible that she'd gotten from church was NLT I think.. it was very different and I didn't want to confuse her so I bought her a large print NKJV (with her choice of color for the cover) and our plan is that she will get to highlight the verse in her Bible after she learns to read, write, and spell it (and pretty much memorize it!)  I thought it would be nice to add this step so she could put it in context a bit and have a Bible that she uses that's more her own.
 THIS is what I did while she was working!  I copied the verse as well and doodled some in my little visual journal.  We talked about the meaning of the verse and the context some.  My oldest and I enjoyed this so much that I ordered another one on amazon on the spot for my 7 year old!  (Who also is getting a large print NKJV Bible as well to use with this.)
 For my 4 year old, who of course isn't writing yet, I wrote the verse in her little visual journal and then she colored all around it. 
 I photo copied the first two pages just to see if my 7 year old liked this way of doing things as well and she also loved it!  Her own book is coming in the mail, so she decided to send these finished pages to her cousin.  ;)
 Excited 4 year old!

One page is finished with all the coloring!  Also, I'm going to need to get some more gel highlighters.  The girls are loving these, smooth and don't run through to the other side of the page.  I think they will each need their own set.

 Another book that I just bought was a read aloud type book.  "A Day Like Tomorrow - for the moms and kids who dream about living in the country" SINCE we live deep in the city in an apartment on a busy street near a noisy freeway I'm pretty constantly wishing I were in the country.  I'm not a city person at all so the past 5 years haven't been easy.
 The only thing we didn't like about it was that none of the pictures were in color.  But the girls and I loved the illustrations and idea.

I'm hoping the author doesn't mind my adding some color to some of the pictures.  I pulled out my colored pencils and added a bit of color to this picture.  I'm planning on adding some color to some of the other pages as well.  This is as far as I got while the kids and I were at the park today before it got unbearably hot again.  It was peaceful to color and meditate about my family and our school and daily things.

 I've thought before about doing a visual journal type book or something for my recipes!  Instead of having lots of books (with only a few recipes I actually use!) or lots of loose papers stuffed everywhere.  Enter, the "make your own" series of books!  There are several of Sarah Janisse Brown books that are a DIY or "make your own book" style.  It's like a journal, only she has lovely doodles (that you can color) around the places to write or draw pictures.  I'm planning to do some writing in it and some gluing recipes straight into it!  I'm hoping that works well, but it will be fun I think.  I might even take pictures of the recipes I make also and add those in like a scrapbook or something.

If anyone is looking for some good right brain style creative learning sorts of books for any age I'm SURE you can find one that will fit what you are interested in by this author!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Cat school!

I talked just a bit in the last post about the Homeschooling Handbook for Moms, and it's been so fun that I'd LOVE to get the Kitty Doodles one for my 9 year old!
As you might remember, she wants her school to be all about cats.  ;)
You can now LOOK INSIDE of it on Amazon!

 Anything Cats she loves and while I was feeling tentative about these books at first (just because I wasn't sure what to expect) after having my own and seeing what it's about I think my girls will enjoy these.  You could use these for any sort of homeschooling or even as a summer enrichment sort of idea.

They have specific ones for unschoolers as well, and some specifically to help with planning and other things.  As an artist who doesn't like lists I feel like I can really work with this.  It gives me the bit of structure that I need but the freedom to explore.

I've been reading this authors Autobiography as well, which is FREE right now on Kindle!!! 
And I've enjoyed it so far.  I feel like she and I could be friends.  :)