Tag Archives: scrapbooking

Is Your Artist a Perfectionist?

At our co-op this year, I’m teaching a senior high art class. This is the first time in a while that I’ve taught older students, and we’re having a lot of fun with the projects. The purpose of the class is to show the students different techniques for drawing and painting and to introduce them to new types of media. Hopefully in doing so, they’ll find something they enjoy doing as a creative outlet, whether or not they pursue art in the future.

Recently, a comment was made that got me thinking. After working with oil pastels, one of the students stated that he really didn’t like anything he drew. This reminded me of my own 12-year-old daughter who, after participating in numerous art classes in my home, has sworn off art forever. Both students are perfectionists, and if the image on the paper doesn’t appear like the one they envision, they are unhappy with it. My daughter will even say that she’s wasted her time in drawing the picture.

But it’s never a waste of time. Every time you try something new, you learn something — you work your brain, you dip into your creative abilities (latent though they may be), and you grow as a person. And drawing, just like any other skill, takes time — it takes know-how and practice to become proficient. Why do we assume we should be able to create a great drawing just by picking up a pencil? True, some people are so gifted they can do that, but the rest of us need to work at it, just as we need to work at learning an instrument or learning how to crochet. Would we expect someone to build a house without first learning how to use the tools?

If you have a child who’s a perfectionist and become discouraged about art, remind him that drawing and painting are skills that he can learn. Then set it aside for a while, but encourage him to try other creative avenues (my daughter is currently involved in scrapbooking and really enjoying it). He may come back to art, or he may not. But either way, he would know that he could.

Hanging Japanese Koi Craft

fishThis week, our Five in a Row class read the book A Pair of Red Clogs by Masako Matsuno. The story follows a little girl in Japan who receives a new pair of wooden clogs covered in beautiful red lacquer. After only a few days of wearing her new shoes, she decides to play a game with them with her friends, and one of her clogs cracks. Since her shoes are no longer pretty, she has to figure out a way to get her mother to buy her a new pair.

To go along with the story, we slightly improvised a craft found on EnchantedLearning.com. Though it took some preparation on my part, it was fun for the kids and easy to put together.

Hanging Japanese Koi Craft

On May 5, the people of Japan celebrate Children’s Day with the koinobori, or fish kites. These are actually windsocks shaped like a koi or carp. When the wind catches them, they appear to be swimming. For this craft, the children made their own fish kites.

What you’ll need:

  • Construction paper or colored cardstock
  • Glue sticks
  • Stapler
  • Circles cut from magazines or decorative scrapbook paper
  • Markers or crayons
  • Foil
  • Crepe paper or streamers
  • String or yarn
  • Hole Punch

For our class of five and six year olds, I did the following before class:

Draw the shape of a fish on one piece of construction paper and cut it out. Use this shape as a template and draw and cut out two fish per child.  Older children could do this step by themselves.

Cut smaller circles from another type of paper — at least 10 per child. Enchanted Learning recommended using old magazines, but we had a lot of extra scrapbooking paper on hand, so I used that instead. I also cut a few from aluminum foil for a shiny addition. If you’re working with older children, they could do this by themselves as well.

Provide the students with two fish each. Have them glue the two pieces together. Staple the edges to hold it together.  Draw an eye on each side and color in the fins and tail with crayons or makers.

Next, choose some circles to use as scales. Glue the circles to both sides of the fish.

Punch a hole at the fish’s mouth and string the yarn though it. Tie it off at the fish’s mouth.

Finally, add the streamers to the tail by stapling them in place.

Enjoy your Japanese Koi Kite!

Daddy’s Night

If you’re like me, you have some extra projects you’d like to get to. Perhaps you like to sew, crochet, scrapbook, or write. And if you’re like me, you have a hard time fitting it into your schedule as a homeschooler.

I like to think that I can spend a couple of hours every night after the children are in bed working on projects. This sounds like a lot of time and a good plan, but it rarely works out. Evening activities such scouts or church mean that the children go to bed later than planned; by the time they’re all tucked in, I’m usually too tired to work on anything. Fortunately, we still have our weekly Daddy’s Night.

 It all started a couple of years ago, and it’s one of my favorite traditions. On a Friday or Saturday evening, we rent a movie or borrow one from the library. Then, when Dad arrives home from work, I disappear — to the bedroom, the study, or the store – wherever I need to go to do what I need to do.

 While I’m gone, Daddy steps in and takes over. He makes supper, usually something simple, such as frozen pizzas he can top with extra cheese and pepperoni. The children enjoy creating the pizzas with him – they’ve come up with some creative topping designs.  One of the children spreads out a towel on the floor of the family room to use as a tablecloth, and the pizza is served as the movie begins. Dad usually provides a special dessert, too– ice cream or honey buns or popcorn.     

 Sometimes Daddy decides to take the children out instead — maybe for supper and an extra-thick milk shake. But whatever they do, I can relax and enjoy the bit of free time, knowing that all are well-fed, cared for, and making special memories with their dad.