Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Having fun in history

This entry was originally posted at my other site, Twice Bloomed Wisteria.

I think I have mentioned earlier that our home school is using The World in Ancient Times series published by Oxford for our history reading. We are loving the stories about archaeologists, anthropologists, and paleontologists in the first book, The Early Human World, who are making discoveries and attempting to place the pieces of our past. Yesterday, we read about Jean-Marie Chauvet, Christian Hillaire, and Eliette Deschamps finding cave art in December of 1994. The thrill of making a discovery and the significance of the art in the research of our past is documented in just enough detail for the children. Though the book has some great pictures, we took it a step further and looked at more pictures in Sister Wendy Beckett's The Story of Painting and the really cool website of the Cave of Chauvet-Pont-D'Arc. Take the tour!!

We, next, tried a cave art project from Art Smart by Susan Rodriguez. The children went outside and gathered sticks, dried grasses, bits of charcoal, and some roots to use as brushes. We then took butcher paper and placed it onto the concrete patio and texturized it with brown and tan crayons. After the paper was transformed into a cave wall, we hung it in the dog trot and Princess and Pink Panther started drawing animals and hands. They both commented that using the found tools was much more difficult and if they had it to do over again, they would know which things would make better tools and could do a better job.

I was excited because all the elements - books, art project, Internet site - came together to create something tangible, something fun, something they will remember. My husband came home and said that if it were darker he would have thought he was in a cave. That was just enough encouragement for the children to add more paper and art to the hallway. As long as I don't trip on the skull of a cave bear (or any other creature for that matter), let the transformations begin.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Extinguishing Fires

My sister gave my children a bunch of puzzles. Among them was a 3-d house puzzle, a glow in the dark puzzle, a 3 little pigs puzzle, and various animal puzzles, especially horse puzzles. I love puzzles - jigsaw, pencil and paper, visual, logic - and I am fairly good at them. Herein lies a problem.

I realized the problem this weekend as the children and I were assembling. As I was plipping pieces in place as quickly as I could my son got up and left the table. He said, "I'm not good at puzzles." At that moment, I realized that I had allowed my personal space to swell so large that I pushed my children out - completely out of the room. I was able to get him to come back, but not with the same enthusiasm. Needless to say, I felt terrible. They were, after all, his and Princess's puzzles. I tried to explain that I had had much practice so it seemed easier when I was assembling. I knew that while I was practicing, I never had anyone reaching over my shoulder plipping pieces making me feel insecure about my lack of expertise. So, I stepped away from the table.