Monday, 16 March 2015

Shakespeare and Starry Nights

Last week carried on getting busier and busier after my last post, up until Friday when we organised a cake and book sale with some of the local home educators to raise money for Red Nose Day.  It was such a lovely opportunity for our children to take part in raising money for charity and thinking of others before themselves - all while eating yummy home-made cakes, making crafts and playing with friends, as well as buying bargain books... and between us we raised just over £200!  It was a lot of fun, but I was pretty tired afterwards, and the house was a mess from all the baking, book-storing etc - so Saturday was spent cleaning while hubby took the boys out to the park etc - and then yesterday was spent with our lovely mums.  So today I was ready for a more relaxed pace.  Not so the boys, though, they were raring to go!

We started with the usual MathsWhizz: all ticking along nicely - followed by our continuing Bible study on "Brother Offended" (teaching them how to respond to perceived (usually petty) injustice without immediately telling tales, retaliating etc).  Then we had our planned art lesson, which I have to say, has turned out to be one of my favourite so far.  It's a Deep Space Sparkle one on Van Gogh's "Starry Night".  Before we started on the lesson we read a book on Van Gogh, and I showed the boys my Starry Night interactive animation app... I can tell you, it's mesmerising - we could all have played with it for ages!  Anyway, after at least ten minutes of changing the swirls by drawing with our fingers on the ipad, we started on the actual lesson, but immediately the boys decided that they wanted to do it as a collaborative piece, rather than one each.  Maybe they were daunted by all the little dashes, but although I had reservations on how well they would share (considering that they are all usually highly protective of their pictures), I agreed, and we found an A3 sheet of black paper to work on together...

Middle drew the outline of the Cypress tree, Eldest the horizon with mountains, and Youngest the moon - all with oil pastels. Then we selected some small paintbrushes and using the 'double-loaded' technique (dipping a brush into one colour then another before applying to the paper) we started filling in the moon and stars - and their radiating light lines.  Eldest wanted to do the long swirl of light across the sky, then we all filled in the darker bits of sky before Middle and Youngest painted the moutains and Eldest and Middle painted the fields in the foreground.  We left it to dry while we had lunch (and watched another episode of the Secrets of Castles), then we coloured in the Cypress tree with oil pastels, and cut some little shapes out of our stash of painted paper, to stick on to the painting for townhouses.  We are all absolutely thrilled with the finished result - I really don't think it could have gone better!...

Afterwards, although the morning was over (I usually keep the parent-led activities to 'mornings only'), I squeezed in one last (very short) activity, as it is officially Shakespeare Week!  We are planning to do a bit more on that tomorrow as Art took up most of our morning today, but I thought it would be fun to look at Shakespearian insults, so I found a PDF on TESconnect and printed off a list of adjectives and nouns that he used in his plays for insults.  I cut them up and put them into three pots (two for adjectives and one for nouns), and then had the boys blindly draw one word out of each pot, to write on a piece of paper and beome our "insult of the day"  I started with "thou", which the boys know was Shakespeare's way of saying "you", then Eldest drew "fell-lurking" (meaning 'savagely-waiting', used in Henry VI pt 2), Middle drew "decayed" (meaning 'ruined' or 'impoverished', used in The Comedy of Errors), and Youngest drew "boggler" (meaning 'vacillator' or 'mind-changer', used in Anthony & Cleopatra).  We found a great "Shakespeare's Words" website which helped us to quickly track down the meanings and source of each word - and then we wrote down our "Shakespearian insult of the day" to stick in a prominent place.

To be honest, I think the idea of an insult of the day clashes somewhat with the theme of forgiveness etc that we are studying the Bible for, but it's just meant as fun, and fortunately is too much of a mouthful for them to proclaim with any frequency!

This afternoon as going to be gaming-free but it didn't exactly work out that way as the boys have a new DS program: a Pokemon-themed learn-to-type game - so I was happy for them to go on that while they are still enthusiastic about learning to touch-type, as I think it's a really important skill for all nowadays.  Middle and Youngest have also returned to the Starry night app from earlier, and Eldest has been drawing  Minecraft village while I typed up today's blog entry.  All in all then, that was still a busy day, but a happy peaceful one!

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