Our family has been very blessed to be apart of a Homeschooling co-op ever since my oldest son started kindergarten. It’s been an idyllic situation for our children. Several days a week the kiddos are in a classroom of 8-10 students being taught math, reading, language arts, choir, and PE by their teachers, and part of the week they are taught at home by me. I also do reading, as well as science, and Social Studies.
This school year things have been a little different. My second born son G and I, started homeschooling full time. His co-op class got so small that we weren’t able to keep it going. I decided to homeschool G while the other two children continued to be apart of the co-op. I’ll be honest, I went into this year with a good amount of nervousness, but G and I have had such a fun year together! Not that there haven’t been moments, or even days, that didn’t go smoothly, but mostly it’s been a joy to be his teacher.
My best friend Stephanie also has a daughter in the same grade as G. When we both realized that we would be homeschooling them for their Second Grade year, we decided to do some tag-team teaching. We chose our curriculum together, planned out our school year together, and every Friday we take turns teaching both children. It’s been a great arrangement. I love that both the children get to spend time together, and it’s nice to have every other Friday off. I think it’s been good for G to be taught by someone else on a regular basis, I feel like Stephanie gives me good feedback on G’s progress. On the days that G goes to Steph’s house, I send all his schoolwork for the day, and Stephanie plans a special science project with the kiddos in the afternoon. On the days that I have the kids, I do an Art History project with them. I have LOVED this time with G and C. So far we’ve studied Kandinsky, Van Gogh, and Jackson Pollock. We’ve also studied perspective, blending colors, hues, saturation, background, middle-ground, and foreground.
This past week we did a study on Claude Monte. Our project was to replicate one of his water lily paintings. This has been my favorite art lesson so far. We worked on it throughout the school day, doing one step at a time. This project needed to be done in layers; giving time for each step to dry before we could move onto the next.
First thing Friday morning, I took a stack of coffee filters and dyed them pink and green. I did this by sticking the coffee filters in a bowl of water and food coloring. Then I set the stack of filters on a cookie sheet, and stuck them in the oven set to the very lowest heat setting. The coffee filters were soaked and I needed them to be dry for the project.
Once they had dried out in the oven, I stacked them up and set them aside.
At the start of the school day, I gave each of the kiddos a square canvas. I wanted the water background to have an interesting texture, so I had the children dip strips of tissue paper in glue and press the paper onto the canvas.
The glue was mixed with water, otherwise it would have been too thick for the delicate tissue paper. As they were adding the tissue paper I told them to think about what water looked like. The way it flowed in one direction, or the way little waves looked on the surface of the water. After they added the tissue paper there was a lot of excess glue on the canvas, so I took a dry paper towel and blotted the extra glue away from the canvas.
Once the tissue paper had completely dried (which took several hours) I filled a paint pallet with 4 or 5 different shades of blue paint and a little bit of white paint. This is not children’s washable paint. I used inexpensive artist-grade acrylic paint for this project. The color selection and texture of the paint is better than the washable, craft-grade tempura paint. I had them wear old t-shirts to protect their clothing.
I tried not to interfere too much with this part of the process. The only instructions I gave them was to cover the entire canvas in blue paint. They painted directly over the canvas and the dried tissue paper. I let them look at photos of Monte’s water lily paintings and encouraged them to think about water and what it looks like.
I love the way the water turned out! The texture the tissue paper created, and all the different shades of blue with white high-lights, looked amazing. I liked the blue canvas so much that I was tempted to leave just them blue.
This is the brand of paints I used for the project. It’s the cheapest line at Michael’s. They were $3.99 per tube but I got them 30% off. There was plenty of paint left over to use on other projects.
I cut the coffee filters into several sizes of lily pad shapes. We made the flowers by pinching the bottom of the pink and white filters together.
We used plain ole Elmer’s glue to add the lilies to the canvas.
This is G’s Water Lily painting
And this is C’s painting
I start each lesson by introducing the artist to the children. We learn about the artist’s work, art genre and medium, and we do a brief biography of the artist’s life. For our Monet study I found three great videos on Youtube. If I manage to coordinate a library trip before hand (which rarely happens) I’ll have biography books on hand for them to flip through as well.
The first clip is biography video about the life of Claude Monet, narrated by a young girl.
The second video is a tour of Monet’s garden at Giverny, France. This was my personal favorite. It made me realize how blessed we are to live in this day and age, with the kind of information we have at our fingertips. We sat in our living room and took a virtual tour of Claude Monte’s gardens! An amazingly beautiful and popular tourist attraction. It also made me realize how much I would love to see Monte’s gardens with my own eyes.
And the last is just a clip showing a variety of the paintings he painted over the course of his life.
This this just a small glimpse into my homeschooling lesson. Not everyday is this creative, but it’s projects like this that make learning enjoyable for both G and I.
Thanks so much for visiting! ~April