Saturday, March 16, 2019

Sixteen Candles

Sixteen.  This beautiful girl turned sixteen a few weeks ago last month.  How is that even possible? 

At sixteen Raena loves all things music.  She continues to participate in choir at the local high school.  This year she was in the advanced women's choir.  She spent months practicing the song An Die Musik for Regional's.  She did well, but didn't quite make it to State.  She still enjoys playing piano as well.

She is still working on getting her license.  If she had a theme song for driving it would be Turn the Wheel, Isa from Dora the Explorer.  I think she may be the only one of her friends who is learning to drive a manual and it's slowing her down some.  That and gaining the confidence that she can drive, a task that has not been made easy by younger sisters who act like they are fearing for their lives and are quite the backseat driver.  We're hoping by summer she'll be ready to take her test. 

Aside from learning to drive she's been researching colleges, because that's happening next year.  It makes me a little sad to think this time next year we will be preparing to launch her into the world.  Her and RJ flew to Colorado the week after her birthday to tour UC @ Boulder. 

She loved the campus, but was a little disappointed that they do not allow religious buildings on campus and the closest place of worship for our church is 30 miles away.  It's still pretty high on her list, but I think that knocked it down some.  So far, all of her choices are out of state and in the snow.  She reluctantly put a state college down to have her test scores sent to.  She will be taking the ACT and SAT in the coming months. 

I feel both excited and sad for her to be entering the next phase in life, but I know that Raena is going to love college life. 

For her birthday we took her to a hibachi grill for the first time.  She got lobster and didn't care for it prepared on the grill, so her dad traded her for his chicken.

She chose to have cheesecake instead of regular cake.  We had some trick candles, that I forgot were trick, so they gave us all a good laugh as she tried over and over to blow them out. 

Her and another of her friends have birthday's close together so they combined parties and took a group to do an Escape Room.  Unfortunately, the room broke, so they didn't get to finish it.  They still had fun though.

She was recently called as the Laurel secretary and has also enjoyed participating in our libraries Young Adult Action Society.  She also loves attending Stake dances, even the ones that are not for our Stake. 

She continues to play peacemaker in our home and is usually willing to help out.  She continues to be a delight and we are excited to see what the future holds for her.

Happy Sweet Sixteen, Raena!


Thursday, March 14, 2019

ARTistic Pursuits: Art of the Ancients { A Review on Teaching Children Art}

We really enjoyed our first foray into art with ARTistic Pursuits Inc. last year and we were excited to continue on with the K-3rd Grade Level, Volumes 1-8 series.  This year we tried our hand at Art of the Ancients, K-3 Volume 2.

Art of the Ancients contains 18 art projects that mimic ancient forms of art.  From European Cave Drawings to Greek Pottery, to Roman Early Christian Painting, the book allows your student to explore history through its art. 

artistic pursuits

Inside the front cover is found both the Blu-ray and DVD version of the 6 video lessons.  In the beginning of the book you will also find the list of art supplies necessary for the projects.  It does assume that you already have the starter supplies from the first book, so if you are starting with this book, or doing the books out of order, then you would need to purchase them as well.  In addition, there is a list of household supplies that will be needed and you will want to look over them also. 

The art medium in this book focuses on clay and soft pastels.  They do suggest a specific brand of soft pastels.  Since we liked their recommendations in the first book, I went ahead and followed them in this book as well.  The pastels recommended are of good quality; however, they are very fragile.   My six year old, Olivia, broke nearly every one she touched which frustrated her older siblings working alongside her.  I think I would have preferred to get a less expensive set, even if they weren't as great, until she could use them properly. 

I will also add, in case you are an art novice like myself, clay is a rather messy medium and had I thought that through, I perhaps would have chosen differently, although my kids were very excited to get their hands messy.  Both soft pastels and clay will leave little hands coated, so be prepared with damp cloths to wipe hands on to minimize mess.

The projects themselves were fun and even a little bit of a challenge.  I did like the way they incorporated having the kids replicate the art work they were studying.  For example, after learning about cave painting, the students were told to crumple their brown paper before drawing on it to give them the illusion of drawing on a cave wall's uneven texture or taping a paper to the wall before they draw.  These instructions give the children a unique experience that allows them to imagine what it might have been like for those creating art during those time periods.

The very first project is designed to get the children acclimated to using pastels.

artistic pursuits

artistic pursuits

From there they learn about some of the first cave paintings discovered and make their own cave painting.  Olivia, my six year old, really struggled with the soft pastels and it took some coaching to get her to complete the first two projects.  She was upset at having to crumple her paper to mimic a cave wall because it made it more difficult to draw on.  This gave us an opportunity to talk about how impressive cave paintings were because the people drawing on them only had uneven surfaces.  After some persuasion she agreed to give it a try.

artistic pursuits

After dabbling in soft pastels, kids begin their venture into clay by learning about slab building.  The video for this lessons teaches the kids how to care for the clay as well as techniques that will be used in subsequent lessons. 

When we got to this lesson I realized too late that I hadn't picked up a canvas cloth and thought I could substitute wax paper.  Wax paper does not make a good substitute!  Make sure you have the cloth.

artistic pursuits

artistic pursuits

Kids found working with clay both fun and challenging.  The human figure presented to be more of a challenge than they expected, but I liked that it required them to problem solve to figure out what they needed to do in order to gain the desired effect.

artistic pursuits

Sadly, little sister was very excited about all the dolls her siblings had created and in a manner of moments had destroyed all the slabs and our human figures took some damage.  Kids decided not to paint them after that and we instead talked about architecture and how incredible it was that some of these pieces still existed today.  

artistic pursuits

artistic pursuits

artistic pursuits

By the third project using the soft pastels, Olivia had gained more confidence, and the rate at which the pastels broke declined some.  

The lessons continue to switch back and forth between mediums as they take the student through a chronological look at art history.  This book would be a great complement to an ancient history study or even just an art history.  My children are looking forward to creating pinch pots and making a mosaic that comes in later lessons.  

artistic pursuits

This book was slightly more difficult than the beginner book we used, but it was difficult in a way that allowed my children to grow.  Each of my kids had some small challenge to overcome to complete a project and when they did their confidence to continue to create increased.  That's what I consider a perfect challenge!  

To read about the other volumes the Crew reviewed click here.