I Am an Artist {B4FI♥AR}

~Bo is 4 years, 9 1/2 months~ 


Have you ever taken a walk and noticed a rock, leaf, or small creature that was so interesting you had to stop and take a closer look? That's what artists do. They notice the beauty of objects in our world.

"I am an artist when I follow a line where it leads me...

I am an artist whenever I look closely at the world around me."

I Am an Artist (aff) is about finding beauty in the small things.

One of our art lessons from Stories of Artists and Their Art with The Hatmaker Sign tied in beautifully with this lesson. We studied Albrecht Durer. He learned at a young age how nature had a way of making his busy father become still. He saw the beauty and uniqueness in a variety of small objects. This ability made him a great artist.

We are learning to pay attention to small things and how to be an artist too.

Honey Locust 

I am an artist... when I find a Honey Locust pod and discover the seeds inside.

I am an artist... when I discover helicopter seeds twirling to the ground.

and enjoy the beauty and wonder of fall. 

I am an artist... when I notice the colors changing on the leaves of a tree. 

Tree Talk {A little interview with Malachi and Bo on their knowledge of trees - Bo is 4 years 9 months and Malachi is 5 1/2}

1. Name a tree you have seen that is familiar to you: M - Pine tree; B - Leaf Tree

2. Name a tree that sheds its leaves in the fall, appears to be dead through the winter, and then looks alive again in the spring: M - Regular tree {can you name one?} M - Apple; B - Leaf Tree (Elm)

3. Name a tree that looks alive all year long: M - Pine tree; Bo - Spiky Trees - Pine Cone Trees :)

4. Name a tree with needles: M - Pine tree, B - Spiky Tree - Pine Cone Tree

5. Name emotions that you feel when you look at a tree: M - happy, we get food from trees; B - good

6. Name colors associated with trees in your area: M- brown and green, yellow, orange, red; B - rainbow

What animals live in and near the trees in our neighborhood? M- birds, owl, squirrel, mouse, B - squirrels, birds, ants, ladybugs, worms, stink bugs

How do trees help us? M - give us food off of their leaves and they give us water inside, B - gives us air, bananas, apples,

What kinds of seeds or flowers do the trees have? M - apple seeds, pine cone seeds; B - tree seeds

(I found this interview in my drafts box with a lesson on forest layers, so I added Bo's answers to include in this post)


I am an artist... when I find shapes in the clouds.

I am an artist... when I find a star in an apple.

Line, Shape, & Texture

I did several art projects with Bo from How to Teach Art to Children (aff).  First, we did a lesson on lines: we drew diagonal, vertical, and horizontal lines, then we drew curved and straight lines.

Then we did a lesson on shape - Bo had to find shapes in objects around the home and draw them.

For texture, I had Bo create texture with paint using techniques like dry brush, splatter, tipple, and wavy using various tools like a brush, sponge brush, plastic knife, plastic fork, pencil eraser, and wire whisk.

We were doing so many other school cooking projects during this time that I didn't get around to making a treat for this row! For Malachi and Eliana's row, we made a fruit salad and I gave Eliana a sensory tub full of whipped cream to dip and transform clouds. Cloud cookies or fall leaf shaped cookies would be fun, too.

Oh, but I did very much enjoy sharing my THM Waldorf Cottage Cheese Salad that I made with the apple we cut up. :)

I fell in love with this salad this past summer and it might be my favorite E meal (with an S Helper if I put too many spicy walnuts in).  :)

I Am an Artist (aff) is a Before Five in a Row selection. There are a lot of Fun Things to do with B4FIAR, but the most important thing is to cultivate a love for learning. ♥

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visit to inspire and be inspired. 

In other news, Bo is plugging along very well in All About Reading Pre-reading. While we puttered through the rhyming lessons, Bo is flying through the phonemic awareness lessons and enjoying them! 

We are up to Lesson 44 - Lowercase r and Bo is completing 3-4 lessons a week. 

We also completed Lesson 1 from Math Lessons for a Living Education Book 1. I was planning to take it slow, but Bo asks to do more than one lesson in a sitting at times and we've already moved on to Lesson 2. (A lesson is one week of material). 

I also pulled out An Easy Start in Arithmetic by Ruth Beechick (from The Three R's) to use and I plan to start with the lessons on the Hundred's Chart. We still do lots of real-life arithmetic, but Bo seems eager to do more, so we will. :) 


Eat Your U.S. History Homework {Review}

Have you ever eaten your homework with Ann McCallum Books? They are so fun! I had never used them before until I had the pleasure of reviewing Eat Your U.S. History Homework: Recipes for Revolutionary Minds in our homeschool during our studies of the American Revolution.

Eat Your U.S. History Homework contains:
  • Introduction to get you excited about making edible connections to American history, including a timeline of major events 
  • Kitchen Tip - tricks of the trade, including a tip that the recipes have been modernized
  • 6 Revolutionary Minded recipes 
  • History Review

The Revolutionary Minded recipes are from six major events:
  • The Pilgrims at Plymouth, 1620
  • The Thirteen Original Colonies, 1607-1776
  • The French and Indian War, 1754-1763
  • Slaves and the Southern Plantation, 1619-1863
  • The American Revolution, 1775-1783
  • The Declaration of Independence, 1776

I reviewed this with Malachi, grade 5, and Eliana, grade 3. Since we were already up to the American Revolution, we started with the second recipe and completed 4 of the 5 remaining recipes. (We are saving the recipe for Slaves and the Southern Plantation for when we get closer to the Civil War.)

Colonial Cherry-Berry Grunt

This recipe begins with a story on the early days of the thirteen original colonies and how learning to thrive wasn't a piece of cake. In fact, there was a lot of grunting and groaning. Get the tie in to the recipe name? The grunt is now what we would call a cobbler, but it gets its name from the sound of the fruit as it bubbles on the stove.

After heating cherry pie filling on the stove, we added berries and then spooned topping dough over the warm filling and let it cook on the stovetop. 

The last instruction reads "And since it's not the 1600s, serve with ice cream if you like!" So, that is what we did using another recipe from the book. 

Independence Ice Cream 

The first ice cream shop opened up in New York City around the same time that American declared its independence. Who knew?! 

The kids had so much fun making the ice cream in a bag that they made this several times on their own. And we served it over our Colonial Cherry-Berry Grunt, of course!

Lost Bread

This was a tasty recipe that the French enjoyed called pain perdu, which means "lost bread." The English called it French toast! :) It was named for its main ingredient: stale bread. 

The kids caught on that it was French toast, so we ended up calling them French toast sticks and served them with maple syrup as suggested.

Eliana also made the Revolutionary Honey Jumble Cookies all by herself to share with homeschool friends.

What We Thought

Eat Your U.S. History Homework is a colorful book with fun recipes that are easy to follow and appealling to kids. I loved the history tidbits included throughout the book that make history interesting and fun.

Since the recipes are "modernized to fit our current lifestyles," we had to unmodernized some of the recipes to fit ours. For example, I could not find cherry pie filling without corn syrup or red dye, so I had to make cherry pie filling from scratch using frozen cherries. The modernization certainly makes the recipes easier and more fun for the kids, and in our case were easy to adapt. So while not completely authentic or made from scratch, they are certainly kid friendly and reminiscent of the Revolutionary time period.

The recipes were tasty and some, according to the kids, tasted more "old fashioned" than others. I think of all the recipes, the Independence Ice Cream will probably be made again and again. The others were great for bringing the Revolutionary time period alive and making school fun.

I was curious about the other books in this series so I checked out the Eat Your Science Homework and Eat Your Math Homework books - both look great and while I'm not a math person, I could become one to do the recipes in that one! If you want to learn more, go check out my Crew mates reviews of Ann McCallum books. Click below to see which ones and what they thought of them.

Ann McCallum Books Review

Crew Disclaimer


The Hatmakers Sign {FI♥AR}, Benjamin Franklin & The American Revolution

We recently covered the life of Benjamin Franklin, colonial life, and the events that led up to the American Revolution along with a row of The Hatmaker's Sign. 

The Hatmaker's Sign is a story told by Benjamin Franklin to make Thomas Jefferson feel better about the fact that his perfect declaration wasn't so perfect in the eyes of the other members of The Continental Congress. The story was about a hatmaker, who designed what he felt was a perfect sign for his new shop. But, on his way to the signmaker's shop, he bumps into several people who criticize his sign. By the time he makes it to the signmaker's shop, his sign is empty. He tells the signmaker about his new hat shop, his sign, and how no one had thought it was perfect enough. The signmaker makes a suggestion and the hatmaker thinks it is perfect! Of course, it is the very same sign he originally designed. The moral of the story is that no matter what you write, if the public is going to read it, you can be sure they will want to change it.

Since The Hatmaker's Sign is a story that was told by Benjamin Franklin, we covered the many hats that he wore with Benjamin Franklin: Live Wire and did several activities from the study guide. 

Some extra books:

I originally intended to row Paul Revere's Ride but I was more inspired to include it as a go-along book this quarter. While most of our books were from a patriot's point of view, Katie's Trunk is from a loyalist point of view and shows that there were still good people on both sides.  Malachi read The Journal of William Thomas Emerson as a reader and is now reading Johnny Tremain. 

It was fun to read about Colonial shops in A Visual Dictionary of a Colonial Community.  We read about the various Colonial trades and then found the sign that matched each trade. We planned to make our own Colonial shop sign later using some form of printmaking in honor of Benjamin Franklin. 

This next page was a fun tie-in too with the tricorne hat, a three cornered hat common during this time period. 

This next page made me fall in love with the idea of converting our off-grid home into a colonial kitchen/home. It just looked so quaint and cozy.

We attended an American Heritage presentation by Amy Puetz, author of Heroes and Heroines of American History. It was so neat to see her curriculum come alive that I was inspired to pull it out and do two lessons on Colonial life. We learned more details about colonial people, how they made a living, the kinds of homes they lived in, the furniture in their houses, and clothing. We even learned the Virginia Reel! We read about churches, schools, amusements and sports, roads, travel and taverns, and more.

We also did a skit from the Historical Skits book on Benjamin Franklin in France trying to get aid for the Revolutionary War from Louis XVI, which of course he succeeded and France became an ally of the U.S. and helped them win the war. Eliana and Malachi were in the skit at the presentation so they were eager to do another one (and another).

We listened to several original documents on Listen to Some U.S. History, like the famous Patrick Henry speech - "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death." From Sing Some U.S. History, we listened to "Liberty Song," one of the earliest patriotic songs in America, that first appeared in the Boston Chronicle Newspaper on October 16, 1768. "Come join hand in hand, Brave Americans all, And rouse your bold hearts at fair Liberty's call..."

And of course I read the Declaration of Independence, and re-read the important parts so they had the main idea.

Toliver's Secret was our read-aloud during this time (Sonlight Core D&E).

As I mentioned in my daybook entry, we jumped in where we were at in History and read chapter 9 (The British Take a Collision Course) and chapter 10 (Americans Declare Their Independence) in Landmark Book of American History. We continue to enjoy the new Landmark books and also read Chapter 11 (Why the British Lost the War). 
What's nice is that each book we read filled in a missing piece of History, but I'm longing for it all to be in one place. I may have to just stick with one curriculum after this, but that will be hard. 


We did lessons on printmaking from Stories of Artists and Their Art by Artistic Pursuits and made signs for our own colonial shop.

We each had our own shop:
  1. Eliana had a hat shop.
  2. Malachi had a bakery.
  3. Bo had a weapons shop. 
  4. I had an apothecary shop. :) 

Since we were learning about printmaking, it was neat to see this Etching & Printing display at a local museum.  

Our history project was to make a diorama of a home that was improved by Benjamin Franklin. We planned to use Eliana's Playmobil take-along house - we made a lightening rod, started a Franklin stove, and made a cobblestone street (out of plaster of paris and air dry clay) - all improvements invented by Benjamin Franklin. I planned to pick up copper wire for bifocals, but haven't yet and I'm ready to just move on. 

In Bigger Unit 10, we covered the many sayings of Benjamin Franklin, and Eliana wrote and illustrated two sayings:

Tricorne Hat Cookies

We used this tutorial on How to make the perfect Hamantashen (Haman's Hats) for our tricorne (three cornered hat) cookies.

During the American Heritage presentation, Ms. Puetz had students come up to the front to put on various hats to have the students guess who they were. This was great! Eliana was Laura Ingalls and Malachi was Daniel Boone. Of course, I couldn't resist asking to take Malachi's picture in the tricorne hat for George Washington! 

Colonial Cooking

During our time rowing this book, we also had the slow-roasted roast from the Trim Healthy Mama cookbook and had fun with the desserts from Eat Your U.S. History Homework: Colonial Cherry Berry Grunt with Independence Ice Cream and Honey Jumble Cookies with coffee for long meetings to talk about the cost of freedom. :) 

Soap Making
soap making

And finally, since Benjamin Franklin's family were soap makers, we headed out to my friend Jenny's house so I could learn how to make soap! She makes a cold process soap with olive oil, palm oil, and coconut oil and I'm excited to see how it comes out and also collect supplies to make our own. 

Thomas Jefferson

And not to leave poor Thomas Jefferson out since he penned the Declaration of Independence, we covered him more in Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans and A First Book in American History and continue to learn more about him in the Landmark book for our Sonlight D&E studies.  

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The Hatmaker's Sign is a Five in a Row selection from Volume 4.