Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pieter Bruegel

During the fall session of our mini co-op, we did picture studies of Pieter Bruegel the elder. This was something new we added to the co-op this year as we are trying to gear our co-op toward Charlotte Mason.

I feel that the picture study was good to have. We started each co-op meeting with opening exercises (prayer, Pledge of Allegiance, a song and announcements). The nursery was dismissed and we began our picture study.

Each child ages 4 and up was given a copy of the picture face down. When I gave the signal, everyone turned their picture over to study it in silence. No talking is allowed at this time. They get about 90 seconds to 2 minutes to carefully examine their picture. Then I asked them what they see in the picture. Hands shoot up as everyone is eager to share what they see. I will tell them what I know about the picture. For example, Pieter Bruegel painted a work entitled "Census at Bethlehem". Kids will see so many things going on in the picture, but when I tell them the picture depicts a Bible story, I can hear the ooo's and aahh's in the room.

When our discussion is over, I dismiss the 4 to 6 year olds to their class (only because this is a non-writing group) and I pass out a notebook page along with a smaller copy of the picture we are studying and ask the kids to write whatever they want about the picture. It can be a list of words or a paragraph or anything in between, but they must write something. When they ask, I (or another parent) helps with spelling.

Here are the 4 pictures we studied this fall.

Peasant Wedding

Census at Bethlehem


Children's Games

Monday, October 4, 2010

Canning Tomatoes

As I sat down to enjoy lunch at church on Sunday, a dear friend sat next to me and asked if I had a need for tomatoes. Silly question. Due to our two moves in the last 6 months, we were not able to put a garden in and at the current time, our grocery envelope was empty with payday being 5 days away. So we were happy to take her surplus tomatoes.

I managed to get everything set up to can the tomatoes and noticed Dd(11) on the computer and Ds(6) watching mindless television. I announced that all screens needed to be shut off and much to my surprise, there was little resistance. Of course, the kids came into the kitchen where I was and became curious when they spotted the pots on the stove and the empty jars on the counter. After they asked, I invited them to join me.

DD(11) loves anything to do with homemaking. She mimics anything I do. If I get out a sewing project, she dives right in with a project of her own. So it didn't surprise me when she slipped right over to the stove to help.

However, DS(6) did surprise me. I often have this tendency to think "He's too young for this" and every time, I am wrong. He jumped right in and loved peeling the tomatoes.

We only canned 4 jars, but the experience is worth it. If nothing else, the kids need to see how to do this stuff.

I'm sure Charlotte Mason says something about kids in the kitchen, but I am unable to come up with anything at the moment. Even though I can't quote her, I still think she would approve.