Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Imitating Artists

A few weeks ago, Renee over at Beyond the Land of Never Ending Laundry shared THIS POST about creating art by imitating artists with your children. So, I thought I would give it a go with mine! The end result is really very amazing...but I think my kids are amazing, so I'm biased. :)

I started by choosing my favorite artist, Vincent Van Gogh, and giving the children a brief overview of his life and work. We have an amazing art book* (click HERE to check it out on, so we thumbed through the post impressionist chapter and took a look at some of Van Gogh's works along with some of his contemporaries. This all took about 5 minutes, tops. I wasn't going for an in depth biography or explanation of his techniques or anything. I just wanted to familiarize them a bit with his paintings. Then, we chose which painting to imitate. Starry Night, of course.

After talking a bit about the painting, pointing out different features and letting the children tell me about it, they got to work!

All three of them took this project very seriously. Even Elijah! Usually he only lasts 2 minutes with the painting. But he sat there for a long while, swirling his brush all over the paper. It was fantastic! Such fun to watch! Here are the end results!

Emma's version of Starry Night

Sophia's version of Starry Night

Elijah's version of Starry Night
It was truly amazing to me that in all three of the children's finished pictures I could see elements of the original painting. Just beautiful!

This is a fun and quick project to do with children from preschool age and up. Like I said, Elijah (3 years) was very focused and serious about his work...he loved looking at the book and trying to do the same things he saw there. We will do this again for sure! I think we'll go a little more impressionist and try our hand at Monet. :)

I hope you all are enjoying the nice weather that seems to be permeating the country! :)

*The book Art: Over 2,500 Works from Cave to Contemporary is a fantastic resource for our homeschool. There are, however, some pieces of art in the book that are unsuitable for young children; nudes and such. We use this resource with great care, and only allow them to look at it with us.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Wigs for Kids

About three years ago, I donated my hair to Locks of Love. It was a really fun experience. Emma came with me for the big chop, and couldn't believe how much hair the gal cut off! She said at that time, "I don't think I will EVER cut that much of my hair off! EVER!"

Last year, Emma came to me and asked if she could donate her hair. I was completely taken aback! I thought back to when I cut my hair off and how she reacted. I couldn't believe she was coming to me with this. She said she thought it would be fun to cut her hair off for the purpose of giving it to someone who needed it. She said she remembered me cutting my hair off to donate and thought that was a good idea, so she wanted to do it too. We talked to daddy to see what he thought. He thought it was a great idea! So we started the growing out process. And now, over a year later, we did it!

Waiting for our hair appointments.

This was Emma's first time getting her hair cut in a salon! It was a pretty exciting experience. The gals at the Marinello School of Beauty were amazing! They cut our ponytails perfectly and did an excellent job on the style!

After our cuts, the stylists presented us with certificates. It was very special! :)

WIGS FOR KIDS is a great organization providing hairpieces for children that have been through serious illness or have a disease that has caused them to lose their hair. We are very honored to be giving our hair to such a great cause!

This experience has helped to teach Emma, Sophia and Elijah that God has blessed us with many things...even our hair! And we can use that to bless others, for His glory. I'm so thankful to have shared this special time with my sweet daughter!

If you would like to donate your hair to Wigs for Kids, you can go to their website and click on the Donate Hair link. There are easy to follow instructions listed there!

At Home Eye Exam

Some good friends of ours have an adorable 6 month old baby girl. My friend noticed she was going cross eyed, and after talking with the pediatrician, she and her husband decided to take their daughter in for an eye exam. I was intrigued. I've always wondered how in the world you give a baby an eye exam. I see babies and small children in glasses and wonder how a doctor could get a prescription correct for such a small child.

Well, they took their daughter in, and after the appointment my friend called to tell me what the doctor did. He shined a light in her eyes, and by looking in her eye with the light shining, he could tell when she was focusing. Amazing! He did say that this is not the most precise way of examining eyes as having a regular eye exam where the patient can say when things are focused, etc., but it does give them an idea of the baby's eyesight. Again, amazing! It got me thinking, "Hey, I should take my kids in to get their eyes checked." My very creative and resourceful friend said, "Why don't you do a little test at home?  Measure out the distance you have to stand away from the chart. Take lots of pictures. Post it on your blog!" So, we did! :)

Of course I'm no eye doctor, and this exercise doesn't omit the need to take your children to see an eye doctor down the road, but it can help you as a parent to know if your child is having trouble seeing in any way.

There are many different websites you can visit to obtain some eye exam charts. I visited EYE CARE AMERICA. There were two charts to print off; one for children ages 3-5 and one for older children and adults.

We printed off our charts. The chart for Sophia and Elijah (above left) had a bunch of letter E's in different directions on it. They had to tell me which direction the E's were facing; up, down, left, or right. The chart for Emma (above right) was the standard letter chart. She had to tell me which letter I was pointing to. The Eye Care America website also explains how to evaluate the exam. It is a very quick read...I encourage you to take a look.

We measured out our distance from the eye chart.

Ten feet away from the wall on which the chart hung.

Then, we grabbed a spoon to cover one eye with.

Last, but certainly not least, we took our exams. The children did an excellent job! Elijah was a little squirrely, but that comes with the three year old boy territory. :) Everyone was able to read the chart right down to the 20/20 line. Yeah!

I thought this was a great visual exercise in measuring, following instructions, letter recognition, and telling the difference between objects. It also gave them a little taste of what to expect when they go to the real eye doctor. And, it was fun! :)