Wednesday, 31 July 2013

African Beads and other Fun...

Hooray for the completion of all lapbooks!  I will try to post photos of them soon - all the boys are very happy - with their work, and with the chance to do no more "work" for at least a month.  Of course, they will still be learning all the time, I just get to have a break from the usual preparation etc, as they get to be entirely child-led for the Unschool Holidays!

I do have a couple of things on standby - but they are things that I know the boys will want to do at some point, so that's not so much me planning work as being prepared for the inevitable requests!  Take for example their "My Little Atelier" box, due in August.  I just know that as soon as it arrives they will be all over it, wanting to have a go.  We had July's box just over a week ago and they were so excited.  Middle remembered it from last time and said excitedly "ooh is that our art challenge?"  All three boys had stopped what they were doing to come and look, so it had to be opened immediately - and the contents had to be explored instantly - and the project commenced with instantly... lovely to see such enthusiasm.  As before the contents were excellent quality, and they had even thoughtfully included a variation for younger children, which I thought was great as technically it's a box for one child, so the fact that more than one child gets to play just shows what good value it is!

Anyway, this month's theme was African Bead Art.  Coloured pipe cleaners and pony beads were included for the little ones - and Youngest immediately set to work producing a bracelet/ wrist band for each of us (supplemented with a few beads from our own craft box)...

Middle had fun making a wiggly worm, and then used the kit's PVA glue (with brush), ceramic tray and seed beads to make a fish.  He went a bit overboard with the glue & it took 24hours to dry, but he was very happy with it.

Eldest - as usual - immediately knew what he wanted to do, and twisted the jewellery wire provided into a snake shape (complete with forked tongue), making the zigzag pattern with the seed beads.  It took him a while to get the hang of twisting the wire at the end of each section, but he stuck with it and did a really good job.

Of course I stayed with them and had a go too, as is my wont - I think it's important to experience new things together.  I try to go slow so as not to intimidate them by comparisons, but it's not a huge issue - they just love doing things with Mummy.  There was just one bit of jewellery wire left over so I used it with a pipe cleaner... I think this is what inspired Middle to do his PVA fish.

All in all, a simply lovely atelier... can't wait until the next one!

We're also looking forward to a group meet up next week where we have arranged to do a Science Bag Swap.  One of our local friends has organised it - allocated each of us an experiment with list of instructions and cheap inexpensive resources to make into 20 identical bags.  Then we will go to the meet-up and swap 19 of our identical bags for 19 different ones, so we end up with 20 bags containing different science experiments.  More "challenges" for Middle... we're all looking forward to that too!  Watch this space to see how we get on...

And just because we're on our 'Unschool Holidays', it doesn't mean I won't suggest things from time to time.  For example, yesterday afternoon I had to call 'time' to the boys playing Minecraft as they had been on it a while and their behaviour was deteriorating.  I didn't fancy the usual pouting and arguing session that often attends switching the computer off, so I distracted them with paints (it was raining, otherwise my usual port of call would have been the trampoline first).  We got out the oil pastels and watercolours and had a go, with the following results...

"Sun and Tree" by Youngest

 "Monster-thrower" by Middle

"Commander Cody's Helmet" by Eldest
"Waterside" by Mummy

For somebody who was told by their teachers I wasn't good enough to take an exam in art (and who is determined not to pass on that kind of crushing judgement to my children), I find art surprisingly therapeutic.  We never used to have time to fit it in when we were at school...I'm so glad we get to do it together now.  Here's to more arty days this holiday... and next 'term-time' too!


  1. Lovely crafts, as always. I can't believe your art teacher said you weren't good enough! That's a great painting!

    1. Aw, thanks Rachel :) To be honest, I can't remember much about my art lessons, except the emphasis seemed to be on accuracy & old masters-style work. They probably wouldn't have let Picasso take O'level either! (NOT that I'm comparing myself to him in any way) I'd never be a professional artist, but I no longer believe it's about how good I am, it's about how much I enjoy it - and that has turned out to be quite a lot!