Let’s Discuss: The Artful Parent chapter 12

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One of our optional books for Mom’s reading this year is The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art & Creativity by Jean Van’t Hul. Read my review here. Over the next few months, let’s read and discuss this resource to see what we can learn from it and how we can apply it to our families.

(Yes, I know we’re going out of order!)

Look at Artful Activities: Chapter 12 “Quiet Activities for Downtime and Transition” pages 223–242

Read Introduction (pages 223–224) and “Playful Exploration of Art Ideas and Materials” (pages 240–242) )

Choose an activity to do with your child and report on how it went. Can you use any of these activities to transition into you scheduled lesson time each day?

Artful Activity 36: Hole Challenge Drawing

Artful Activity 37: Self-Portrait on the Mirror

Artful Activity 38: Design-Your-Own-Magnets

Artful Activity 39: Observational Drawing for Young Children

Artful Activity 40: Glue Drawings and Crayon Rubbings

Artful Activity 41: Continuous Line Drawing

Artful Activity 42: Collage Your Favorite Animal

Let’s Discuss: The Artful Parent chapter 14

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One of our optional books for Mom’s reading this year is The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art & Creativity by Jean Van’t Hul. Read my review here. Over the next few months, let’s read and discuss this resource to see what we can learn from it and how we can apply it to our families.

(Yes, I know we’re going out of order!)

Look at Artful Activities: Chapter 14 “Homemade Art Materials to Make and Enjoy” pages 269–294

Read Introduction (pages 269–271) and “The Natural Artist” (pages 294–295)

Choose an activity to do with your child and report on how it went:

Artful Activity 51: Making and Playing with Homemade Playdough

Artful Activity 52: No-Cook Playdough (Alternate)

Artful Activity 53: Puffy Paint: A Paint-Squeezing Experience

Artful Activity 54: Salt Dough Ornaments (in December)

Artful Activity 55: Teddy Bear Bread and Caterpillar Rolls (May-insects)

Artful Activity 56: Paintable Cookies with Edible Paint

Artful Activity 57: Air-Dry Clay

Artful Activity 58: Cloud Dough

Artful Activity 59: Homemade Finger Paints

Artful Activity 60: Dyed Pasta and Rice

Artful Activity 61: Recycled Crayon Shapes

Let’s Discuss: The Artful Parent chapter 7

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One of our optional books for Mom’s reading this year is The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art & Creativity by Jean Van’t Hul. Read my review here. Over the next few months, let’s read and discuss this resource to see what we can learn from it and how we can apply it to our families.

Read Preparing for Art: Chapter 7 “Storing, Displaying, and Sharing the Art” pages 115–127

Consider the following thoughts and questions:

In which way will you keep your child’s artwork. As a mom of ten, I do not keep many pieces but I do like to put a few examples in with each child’s completed schoolwork. Stock up on envelopes to share with friends and family. In what ways will you repurpose your child’s art?

Let’s Discuss: The Artful Parent chapter 6

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One of our optional books for Mom’s reading this year is The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art & Creativity by Jean Van’t Hul. Read my review here. Over the next few months, let’s read and discuss this resource to see what we can learn from it and how we can apply it to our families.

Read Preparing for Art: Chapter 6 “Sustaining Inspiration” pages 91–114

Consider the following thoughts and questions:

In what areas do you already make your everyday artful? In what ways would you like to improve? There are many practical ideas in this chapter, too many to apply all at once! Evaluate and begin incorporating ideas into each of the larger areas: cooking together, getting outside with your children every day, encouraging play and imagination, doing science experiments, incorporating storytelling, poetry, literature, and music, and going on artful adventures. (Sounds a bit like OH, doesn’t it?) Choose two or three practical ideas to implement into your day.

Link to Busy Box Ideas

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This blog post is from a mom of twelve. I like her easy to implement ideas. Our family will be taking the next two weeks off for travel and visitors, but when we return, I plan to use Charlotte’s list to fill our two- and four-year-olds tubs. Enjoy!

Charlotte’s Busy Box Ideas

Let’s Discuss: The Artful Parent chapter 5

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One of our optional books for Mom’s reading this year is The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art & Creativity by Jean Van’t Hul. Read my review here. Over the next few months, let’s read and discuss this resource to see what we can learn from it and how we can apply it to our families.

Read Preparing for Art: Chapter 5 “Encouraging Your Budding Artist” pages 79–90

Consider the following thoughts and questions:

Practice talking about your child’s artwork—what you see your child doing—and ask him about his artwork. How does he respond to this kind of conversation? Does this type of conversation feel natural to you? How can you apply this advice to other areas of life?

Let’s Discuss: The Artful Parent chapter 4

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One of our optional books for Mom’s reading this year is The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art & Creativity by Jean Van’t Hul. Read my review here. Over the next few months, let’s read and discuss this resource to see what we can learn from it and how we can apply it to our families.

Read Preparing for Art: Chapter 4 “Gathering Art Materials” pages 49–77

Consider the following thoughts and questions:

It is easy to let the ideas in this chapter overwhelm you. Use the top ten lists to begin building your stash. Which of the “Art Materials You Already Have” (pages 73–75) commonly live in your home? If you are interested, make a marker holder (pages 71–72). Make sure you choose a brand of markers that is easily accessible so you can replace them. Notice the essentials list on page 73:

  • Some sort of paint [we like watercolor cakes] ideally in red, yellow, blue, white, and black
  • Something to draw with (such as crayons or markers) [crayons preferred]
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Playdough
  • A glue bottle

I would add:

  • Pencils, no. 2 and colored
  • White paper
  • Colored paper (construction)
  • Card stock or index cards

Three Little Habits that Simplied My Life

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Perhaps these simple tips will not be as revolutionary for you as they have been for me, but since it took me fifteen years of homeschooling to develop these strategies I might be able to save you some time and frustration.

Clearly Mark Assignments

Since I do not use a planning book, I would often give assignments for independent work for children. Either I would forget to check the assignment or the child would forget to complete it. Tweaking the way I indicate assignments has helped with this.

During my one-on-one time with a child, I write the next day’s date at the top of the pages I want the child to complete independently. I also mark the page (or the first page in a series) with a post-it note. This works as well for preprinted workbooks as it does for blank pages a child is to use for copying or written narrations.

Hoard My Own Stash

How many times did I want to begin a lesson with a child only to spend the available teaching time looking for scissors, a bottle of glue, or markers? Of course we owned all these supplies and had them—somewhere—in the house, but I never seemed to be able to find them when I needed them!

This year I by-passed all that frustration. I purchased all the supplies  I would need and placed them in a “Mom’s Only” container (far from the place where we keep the readily available supplies, I might add). I still have my permanent markers and sharp scissors, but I also have my set of twistable crayons and colored pencils, several sets of Crayola markers, two decks of playing cards, a couple of (sharpened) pencils, index cards, alphabet stamps, all the variety of supplies I use when teaching the children.

Sunday Evening Family Meeting

Now that we have adult children, the family schedule and calendar has become much more complicated. Who works when? Who’s turn is it to drive? What are the upcoming outside-the-home activities?

Also since all the children are not home all the time, it is easy to miss important family announcements such as “don’t leave clean clothes on the dryer” and “we will celebrate Rich’s birthday two days late to accommodate his work schedule.”

Throughout the week Steve and I keep running lists of things to address. (OK, I have a list; Steve has an item or two.) On Sunday evening, we put the little ones (under five-years-old) to bed a little early and we all sit down with the family calendar and our lists and plan our week.

Even though we have missed a few weeks, this regularly scheduled pow wow makes a big difference on the functioning of the household. We often cover everything from which day is a child’s laundry day to how to handle a disobedient little sibling to who can babysit little ones on date night.

These moments together has also become a special time of fellowship and fun that the children look forward to (unless they’re the one that left the clean laundry on the dryer, that is).

What organizational habits have you implemented that impact your daily family life? Share your ideas with us!

Let’s Discuss: The Artful Parent chapter 3

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One of our optional books for Mom’s reading this year is The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art & Creativity by Jean Van’t Hul. Read my review here. Over the next few months, let’s read and discuss this resource to see what we can learn from it and how we can apply it to our families.

Read Preparing for Art: Chapter 3 “Making Space for Art” pages 29–47

Consider the following thoughts and questions:

This is a fun chapter to read, full of ideas for organizing and carving out space for art. If you do not have the room in your home for a dedicated art space, let me encourage you. Most of our homes have been small. Our art supplies are currently kept in bins and tubs in a hall closet. Most of our artwork happens at our dining room table (our only table) or the high counter in the kitchen. Children learn to clean up supplies when there isn’t a dedicated art space, but this will not inhibit their art making.

Try making an easel (page 34). In what ways can you plan for an easy cleanup? We find placemats and smocks invaluable in this. How do you currently organize your art supplies? In what ways could you improve? (If our closet had doors, we would use the over the door shoe organizer!) Don’t forget to organize your supplies with your child as sorting is a valuable thinking activity. Re-read the paragraph under “Keeping it Real” (pages 43–44). Have you found this to be in all of your parenting and homeschooling? Before reading the next chapter, make a list of which art materials do you consider your staples. If you don’t have them already, make sure each child has a smock. Use the instructions on pages 46–47 to make them or purchase them already made. For many years we recycled my husband’s undershirts and used a clothespin at the base of the neck to shorten the neck opening while they worked.

2013 Advent Ideas

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It’s the first week of Advent and the beginning of December. This year we did not create a special Advent download (sorry!) because we ran into unexpected events in November—two funerals and two unplanned trips.

I did did want to share a couple of simple resources I am using with the children this month in addition to our December OH reading.

I found Very Merry Christmas: Activity Book is full of reproducible cut-and-paste pages that are fun and focus on the biblical account of Christ’s birth rather than secular stories. This purchased saved me a lot of time searching the Internet for reproducibles and filtering out the silly ones.

As she did last year, my mom purchased a Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar for our family and the children have a lot of fun interacting with the creative computer-based activities. Since we rarely allow the children to be on the computer this is a treat that frees me to be busy at other things.

Several years ago we received a copy of Advent Calendar on DVD. For each day in December there is a short video segment. Most focus on one Christmas tradition and explain the background behind it. If I remember correctly, one segment toward the end of the month inches toward Universalism which we will either skip or explain at the time, but I still find many of the “history behind the traditions” segments helpful.

In addition to our reading in our Wondrous Works of God story Bible, we will also pull out our copy of Mighty Acts of God from last year to get a more full-orbed view of the Christmas story.

Also for the preschoolers and early elementary aged children I like White Wonderful Winter! by Elaine Good, part of the Good Books season series. It’s currently out-of-print, but there are inexpensive used copies available.

As I am sure you do, we have a busy season ahead of us. I hope these ideas will enhance and encourage you to enjoy this time with your children!