Enjoying the Arts

(Please note in the above photograph there is a spelling error- Pointillism not ‘Pointilissim’, it has since been corrected)

Losing yourself in the arts…

What beauty the world of art can bring us, dating all the way back thousands of years art has been created and further more- appreciated. Our kids have had the opportunity for the last couple of years to be part of the young artist program taught at our local Station Arts every winter. Each class is an hour and a half long where they explore a different technique and style each week. They also briefly discuss the most well known artists for each art movement in his/her time.

All the students work was beautifully displayed over the last month at the Station Arts. Recently we were able to bring home their cherished art. We then went to work displaying it in our own home- in the room where we play and do school work.

Firstly we made a display of the Impressionism artwork they did… DSCF4360 DSCF4364 DSCF4365 DSCF4367

We then went a little deeper and researched impressionism along with the most famous artists during this time-

“A French 19th century art movement which marked a momentous break from tradition in European painting. The Impressionists incorporated new scientific research into the physics of colour to achieve a more exact representation of colour and tone.
The sudden change in the look of these paintings was brought about by a change in methodology: applying paint in small touches of pure colour rather than broader strokes, and painting out of doors to catch a particular fleeting impression of colour and light. The result was to emphasise the artist’s perception of the subject matter as much as the subject itself.
Impressionist art is a style in which the artist captures the image of an object as someone would see it if they just caught a glimpse of it. They paint the pictures with a lot of color and most of their pictures are outdoor scenes. Their pictures are very bright and vibrant. The artists like to capture their images without detail but with bold colors. Some of the greatest impressionist artists were Edouard Manet, Camille Pissaro, Edgar Degas, Alfred Sisley, Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot and Pierre Auguste Renoir.
Manet influenced the development of impressionism. He painted everyday objects. Pissaro and Sisley painted the French countryside and river scenes. Degas enjoyed painting ballet dancers and horse races. Morisot painted women doing everyday things. Renoir loved to show the effect of sunlight on flowers and figures. Monet was interested in subtle changes in the atmosphere.
While the term Impressionist covers much of the art of this time, there were smaller movements within it, such as Pointillism, Art Nouveau and Fauvism.”

The next art technique they studied and tried was Pointillism


“Key Dates: 1890-1900
This movement developed from Impressionism and involved the use of many small dots of colour to give a painting a greater sense of vibrancy when seen from a distance. The equal size dots never quite merge in the viewer’s perception resulting in a shimmering effect like one experiences on a hot and sunny day. One of the leading exponents was Seurat to whom the term was first applied in regard to his painting ‘La Grand Jette’ (1886).
Seurat was part of the Neo-Impressionist movement which included Camille Pissarro, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Paul Signac. The word Divisionism describes the theory they followed while the actual process was known as pointillism.The effects of this technique, if used well, were often far more striking than the conventional approach of mixing colours together.”

Followed by Cubism (which we displayed together with their Surrealism work, which is next to come)

As you can see their cubism art consists of the 5 ‘people’ playing instruments made out of individual shapes coming together to make an image.


Key Dates: 1908-1914
The Cubist art movement began in Paris around 1907. Led by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, the Cubists broke from centuries of tradition in their painting by rejecting the single viewpoint. Instead they used an analytical system in which three-dimensional subjects were fragmented and redefined from several different points of view simultaneously.
The movement was conceived as ‘a new way of representing the world’, and assimilated outside influences, such as African art, as well as new theories on the nature of reality, such as Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.
Cubism is often divided into two phases – the Analytic phase (1907-12), and the Synthetic phase (1913 through the 1920s). The initial phase attempted to show objects as the mind, not the eye, perceives them.
The Synthetic phase featured works that were composed of fewer and simpler forms, in brighter colours. Other major exponents of Cubism included Robert Delaunay, Francis Picabia, Jean Metzinger, Marcel Duchamp and Fernand Léger.

Onto Surrealism (which was pictured in the middle of the cubism display)

DSCF4372 DSCF4374

As you can see- Surrealism looks exactly how it sounds- surreal. Dreams and reality blurring together. Some more information we found on Surrealism-

“Key Dates: 1920-1930
A literary and art movement, dedicated to expressing the imagination as revealed in dreams, free of the conscious control of reason and convention. Surrealism inherited its anti-rationalist sensibility from Dada, but was lighter in spirit than that movement. Like Dada, it was shaped by emerging theories on our perception of reality, the most obvious influence being Freud’s model of the subconscious.
Founded in Paris in 1924 by André Breton with his Manifesto of Surrealism, the movement’s principal aim was ‘to resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality into an absolute reality, a super-reality’. Its roots can be traced back to French poets such as Arthur Rimbaud, Charles Baudelaire and Lautreamont, the latter providing the famous line that summed up the Surrealists’ love of the incongruous; “Beautiful as the chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on a dissecting table.”

They also explored Realism, which unfortunately we were unable to bring home due to how it was displayed (A mural of all the students work filled a 20 foot wall!). I hope you have had fun brushing up on your art history, as I myself have! We now have our very own art gallery in our home. It is a great enrichment in our homeschooling journey, until next time-


But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

Isaiah 64:8

All information was taken from the art movements website which can be found here-


School life and Curriculum for 2015/2016

(This post contains affiliate links)

As we have made our way through the first year of home educating, I think we have found our niche…

The year is almost done- for us anyway. We are on the last few pages of our math curriculum, our language arts/English long done, in fact I picked up a few work books on those subjects for them to keep their minds sharp and keep at it until we finish at the end of May. Our last official day of the school year is May 29th. The countdown begins! Our kids have read over 100 books and as their reward in reading we will be making a trip down to McNally Robinson Book Store to wade through their selection, where the kids can select any one book of their choosing (so long as it is appropriate for their age I might add!). I have a feeling Miss S will pick something on horses. A given that Mr. C will find books on hunting. As I reflect back over the year I find myself thinking how proud I am of them, from the beginning of the year until now- their reading has greatly improved. Along with their math and comprehension, and also their confidence levels. I can not get across enough what an attitude change (for the better) we noticed right away when choosing to home educate. It isn’t all roses, but the majority is I have to say. Of course there are days when the kids are sour they can’t play with their friends, but as I always say- whether public school or not- education is education, wherever you receive it, not about playing with your friends. That can happen during ‘after school’ hours, which believe me there are plenty. They are blessed to live in a town where they can hop on their bikes at 3’oclock and head down the street and meet up with friends or go to the park. Our kids are not hard pressed.

So the search is on for our next year’s curriculum as we head into year 2 of home educating. We have it narrowed down for the core subjects, thanks to the conference we were able to attend this past winter. Holding the books in my hands and being able to flip through them and ask questions in person helped a lot to find the perfect curriculum for our family. Instead of wasting countless hours humming and hawing over content pictured on the internet. Here is a list of what we decided to go with-

For science we will stick with our creation science series – God’s Design Science Series we currently have 7 of these curriculum books which will last us a few years- samples of what will be covered are properties of atoms and molecules, our universe, heat and energy, machines in motion etc.


For math we will be sticking with Math-U-See. It is a solid program, the kids start with watching a short DVD video of the lesson at the beginning of the week and work on assignments with their newly learned concept.

The series starts with Primer- a good level for Kindergarten or advanced preschoolers.
We will be doing the Gamma level this upcoming school year.

For L.A. (English, grammar, spelling, poetry, writing) we will be going with A Beka Book. The work is more advanced in each grade level, making it a good challenge.


For History I have decided to go with the audio CD and the reproducible printables CD of Mystery Of History. A Christian based History curriculum taking you from Creation to present with everything in between, all in chronological order.


And lets not forget about geography! I will be continuing with Little Passport World Edition for 6-10 year olds as well as the Little Passport Early Explorers Edition for 3-5 year olds (a review to come shortly on both of these programs!) Click HERE for more information and links to sign up for this fun educational program!

Every month a new country package comes in the mail, including stickers for your passport and educational activities and work sheets for the country being studied.
Follow Sam and Sofia as they travel the world and send pen pal letters each month along with the country kit to add all the exciting souvenirs to your travelling suitcase!

As for Mr. A who will be in Kindergarten this fall, I have chosen to go with the K5 package through A Beka Book which includes everything we will need for the school year including easy readers.

Abeka k5

We will also be including 1-2 book reports on children classics, I haven’t quite decided on which yet but I did write about it awhile back HERE on a few we are considering. ‘Shiloh’ and ‘Where the Red Fern Grows’ I think the kids would enjoy next year. Too many to chose from.

The kids will continue on with their weekly music class, we are so thankful for Mrs. Mac our music teacher who gives up one morning a week to come out and teach the class. This fall Miss S will continue on with piano lessons and we have one very excited boy who will be starting guitar lessons in the fall.

 Over the winter I would like to sign the kids up again for the young artist program that is offered at the Station Arts. They learn the different styles and techniques of famous artists, including Monet and Seurat.

I enjoyed doing a lap book on Christmas last year and its origin and am hoping to do one or two again this upcoming year, incorporating different levels with all the kids.

As you can clearly see we will have a fun and full upcoming school year, half the work is deciding on the curriculum and I am very thankful for other homeschool veterans who have shared with me what worked for them and why.

I hope you all enjoy your Sunday, until next time,


Philippians 4:8 (KJV)

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

A love for literature (Book report printables too!)

Ahhh, I just love opening a new book, a new adventure always awaits. Turn a page and you are miles away from home as the author spins a tale and wraps you up in another time. I am a bookworm. I love to read. Although the laundry and cleaning is known to pile up while this thing called reading is going on, haha! Now it is my turn to teach my children a love for reading… not so easy when our oldest struggles with it. As it is I am at a cross road…

I am on the hunt for classic literature for our 2nd and 3rd graders to read. So far I have these classics picked out-

Little House on the Prairie    Where the red fern grows     The Chronicles of Narnia

The Call of the Wild     Island of the Blue Dolphins         The Boxcar Children series

along with many more… Shiloh, The Swiss Family Robinson, Where the sidewalk ends, The Indian in the Cupboard,  The Secret Garden, A little Princess, Anne of Green Gables etc. Of course a few of these we will save for next year and the year after, they are more suitable for grades 4-6. What other classics would you recommend?

The lovely thing about the oldest 2 being only 14 months apart, I am able to pull from both grades and teach my students as you would a split class, 2/3 grade. What is putting me at this cross road is that our oldest is (99% sure) dyslexic. We do not know where on the spectrum she is and have only done the online testing, and speaking with the right people but we have not had an ‘official’ diagnosis- that can take up to 2-3 years. Ugh. In the mean time we are heading straight for the solutions and what works. I am debating whether or not I should verbally read aloud the novel to them both, and have them do a book report on the novel being read verbally, or have us slowly trudge through the chapter books, reading a couple chapters a week. Keeping in mind I want to instill a love for reading, not push them from it with bad experiences. They do reading every day, so this would be on top of that.

While I ponder at this for the week (and feel free to share your opinion!) I wanted to share with ya’ll an awesome Book-Report Package I came across. It is too good not to share, There are a few different book report styles to accommodate from Kindergarten through Grade 6. As well as a bonus reading log print out too. Feel free to click on the link above, or click HERE to download your free copies. I already have ours ready to go, if I can choose a book for us to read that is! Too many good ones out there. Enjoy.

Do you have a ‘Bad Kitty’ enthusiast? Click HERE for an awesome free ‘write a story’ template or use it as a tool for book reports- it also includes a bonus ‘how to draw Bad Kitty’ page!


Also I wanted to share a few cute pictures of our twins enjoying one of our free file folder games-  Animals… of all sorts game



Of course moments after I was able to capture these precious photos it became a game of who could ‘throw’ the animals the farthest… Ahh- they are now laying all over the kitchen floor, while I enjoy oblivion of it all as I write this blog. My wonderful hobby on a Saturday morning- I believe I am on my second or third Americano. (thank goodness for an amazing Hubby who surprised me with my awesome espresso machine- more on this later) The 2 year olds have gone off to who-knows-where (lets hope the olders remembered to put those markers up, again). Onto the short lived photos!

Miss H loving her animal habitat game.


Miss H close up- she loves making sure they end up in their ‘right’ homes
many animals to choose from…
Miss S getting in on the game
Miss S- our exuberant girly, and the culprit to the animal ‘throwing’ game… she is nowhere to be found to question at the moment…






I hope you all have enjoyed this post, and have a great weekend- Blessings to you all!

Till next time, Amber.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight”

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)