Draw Write Now Series

I have children who love to draw and a few who don´t.  Draw Write Now was the first drawing series we purchased, and it has really helped my children´s drawing skills (as well as their writing skills).  (If you head down to the bottom of this article, you will see a few sample from my kids.)

drawwritenowseries

What do I love about the Draw Write Now series?

  • My children can follow the instructions on their own.
  • We are practicing copywork as well as drawing.  (The copywork is manuscript.)
  • There is an amazing variety of drawings in this series:  animals, geography, vehicles, people, and so on.
  • These books have actually encouraged my kids to write their own sentences about different animals than the ones found in the series.
  • My kids are better at drawing because of these books.
  • The drawing and copywork get increasingly difficult as the books progress.
  • The series is also great to have as a tutor at Classical Conversations since we focus on drawing for the first 6 weeks of Fine Arts.
  • We even pull out the stack of drawing books when we have a number of children visiting for a few hours (for small group or just friends over to play).

Now, let me tell you more about the specific books.


Book 1:  It´s definitely the easiest with mostly animals and storybook characters.  The sentences are very simple to copy.

Book 2:  This book includes Christopher Columbus (Cycle 3 history), types of trees and parts of trees (Cycle 1 and 2 science), more animals, and even a simple globe.
Book 3:  This book´s focus includes Native Americans (which could fit in Cycle 1, 2, and 3´s history), Pilgrims (Cycle 3 history), and different biomes in North America (Cycle 2 science, Cycle 3 geography).

Book 4:  Book 4 is full of animals from the Polar regions.  Some of my kids’ favorite animals to draw are in this book.
Book 5:  This one´s packed with U.S. history (the flag, Washington, Statue of Liberty, Alamo, Neil Armstrong, and many more Cycle 3 connections) as well as a lesson on drawing the United States (and showing when regions were added to our country).
Book 6:  Book 6 covers animals and habitats.  This ties in nicely with the biomes at the beginning of Cycle 2´s science.  I like the variety of animals drawn since it gives my kids many more drawing techniques.
Book 7:  This book (and book 8) specifically work through animals of the world.  This one includes creatures from tropical, Northern, and down under forests.

Book 8:  As the last in the Draw Write Now series, this book includes animals from the savannas, grasslands, mountains, and deserts.  (Cycle 2 Science week 1 keeps running through my head as I type this.)  I really like the tips this book includes for drawing the continents as well.

 

Here are a few samples of my children´s work.  Obviously we all aren´t at the same level of drawing.

samples

samples2

(Note:  My children sometimes write Bible verses with the illustrations instead of the book´s copywork.  These books themselves do not have Bible verses in them.)

We bought this series as a Christmas present a few years ago (if bought as a series, it does cost a little less per book).  It has honestly been one of the most used Christmas gifts in our home.  We love the Draw Write Now series.

This post contains affiliate links. 




Doing Hard Things

Doing hard things can be fun.  Yes, fun.

(This post is written by Elijah with the help of his mom.)

doinghardthings

Recently, I achieved Memory Master.

Since I am ten this year, I had to say my times tables instead of skip counting. At first, I was scared of saying my times tables because they were very hard and took much more thought than skip counting. Finally, my mom printed me the Tables, Square, and Cubes [from CC Connected] to help me learn my times tables. I tried saying them and realized that some of them were easier than others to master. I started with the 3’s. Even with these [charts], I still felt that I could not master most of them.

One day, Mommy said I really needed to work on them. I sat with the tables and said them over and over and over again. This went on for many days. The first hard ones I mastered were the 6’s. I kept going up and up. Finally, the only ones that were hard were the 11’s, 12’s, 13’s, 14’s, 15’s. During this time, Mom got the video Multiplication Rap from the library which I thought was for “little kids”, but I watched it anyway. After I watched that video, I was able to do my 11’s and 12’s easily. While I was still working on my 13’s, 14’s, and 15’s, we went for a walk around our neighborhood.  There my mom and I, as we were walking around, started reciting our 13’s. Mom was better than I was. We said them over and over, and eventually, I knew about the first half.

During all of this time, the times tables felt like hard work.  They were exhausting and no fun.

But guess what?  Now, my 13’s and 11’s are my favorites. The hard work was not at all fun, but the result (achieving memory master) was.

I learned quite a few lessons about doing hard things along this journey.

  • Things are hard until you decide to make them not hard through practicing (putting in hard work).
  • Practicing every day gradually develops your skill.
  • When you can do the hard thing, it feels like the work has paid off.
  • The results of hard work are fun and exhilarating.
  • When a task gets easy enough, then it is very fun.  (When you are still struggling, it’s not as fun.)
  • It feels good to say, “Look what I’ve learned” and be able to rattle off the information.

Doing hard things can be fun in other areas of life too.

In complicated board games, it is hard to figure out strategies, but when the hard work pays off, it may lead you to victory.

In cleaning (like when Mom tells me to clean my room), I’m not thrilled, but I know what it feels like when it’s clean. It’s just pure fun when it is clean.

Hard work pays off in sports too like when I learn new skills in basketball and disc golf.

 

Doing hard things brings about a satisfactory feeling of accomplishment.

If you’ve got a hard thing you haven’t done yet, go do it and remember that hard work pays off.

(Note from Becki:  This picture was originally shared on our facebook page with the quote:  “The elevens are fun.” Elijah dictated this blog post to me – even down to telling me to add the affiliate link for the Multiplication Rap.)




Homeschooling with Toddlers and Preschoolers

We don’t have any toddlers or preschoolers in our home anymore, but there was a time not that long ago that I tried to teach my kindergartner and first grader while having two and three year old boys running around.

Homeschooling with Toddlers and Preschoolers

With little ones in the house, teaching older children can be a challenge.  I wanted to share a few different strategies we used back then.

1.  We kept it simple.  We used the CC memory work CDs, a math program, and a phonics reading book.  We just played, read books, and learned through life.  I grabbed learning opportunities where I could (educational shows, while running errands, doing chores, answering the questions kids always ask).

2.  I assigned one of the school-age kids to do an activity with the little ones while I worked with the other school-aged child.  The main goal of this was to keep kids occupied so I could focus on one child, but the side benefit was that the little ones learned too.  (I used this almost every day for a few years.)

Some ideas we used with success:

  • flashcards to teach colors, shapes, numbers, letters, months of the year
  • having all the kids collect items around the house that began with a certain letter or were all the same “type” – shape, color, etc
  • doing a floor puzzle (This was one of our favorites.)
  • playing with play dough (now we use modeling clay since our home is gluten-free)
  • using paint with water books (q-tips are great for these instead of paint brushes)
  • reading easy books to the little ones
  • assigning a particular type of toy to play with (not saying “go play with your brother” but saying, “Why don’t you boys set up the car mat and play cars?”

Ruthie teaching her brothers

3.  We did school work in little chunks.  My little guys would sometimes play fine by themselves for 15 minutes.  If that was the case, we’d quick get some schooling in while they were having fun.

4.  I used the high chair when needed.  I would put a little one in the high chair and give them one simple puzzle (like this) at a time.  It got to the point that I could get 20 minutes of learning in with the big two while Isaiah did puzzles (and Gideon was napping).  I had a large collection of puzzles to keep passing to him.

5.  We read a lot.  I read books to the kids as much as I could.  Everyone wanted to get in on the reading and curl up on my lap.  I do have to say though that I couldn’t do this activity in the afternoon.  Inevitably, I would fall asleep in the middle of reading out loud.

6. We didn’t leave the house very often.  I definitely found that the more errands we ran and the more play dates we had, the less learning time we had.  Being home just helped us get more done.

Do you have toddlers or preschoolers now? What tips or advice would you share with others in this stage of life?




Homeschooling Around the House

We’ve been living in our new home for more than a month.  No longer having a traditional “school room,” I love seeing all the places my children do their work.  The crates I mentioned in Homeschooling While Moving have made the transition to the new house much easier in terms of learning.

Homeschooling around the house

 

The picture above shows kids in the living room, game room, and a closet.

My children might be found near the pellet stove

Near the Pellet Stove

or in the dining room.

In the Dining Room

Elijah is most often found working in the living room (mainly in the corner).

Elijah in the living room

Ruthie switches up more than Elijah.  Here she is in the game room, her bedroom, and the office.  She loves to bring our “old school” radio with her wherever she works.

Ruthie around the house

Reading (of course) is done all over the house.  It brings me happy tears to see my sweet Isaiah choosing to read books.  His journey to reading has been longer than the older two, but it also brings me more joy to see!  (The last picture is of Isaiah reading a book in our van while we waited in a parking lot.  It’s not “around the house,” but it was a reading favorite moment for me.)

Reading around the house

You might have noticed there aren’t many pictures of Gideon.  He is going to help me share about what we do with his schooling another day soon!

Where are your children’s favorite places to do their school work?  




Homeschooling While Moving

homeschooling while moving

Moving is a huge task.  So is homeschooling.  How do we accomplish both?

Be real about my expectations.  I can’t be everywhere at once.  Am I planning a reasonable amount of school work for the kids?  Are the tasks doable without me if I am packing boxes?  Am I planning a reasonable packing or unpacking goal?  Am I willing to stop what I am working on to teach my children?

Be portable with the school work.  This year, my kids each have a crate with all their school work in it.  This means that we can take it with us to the library, a different room of the house, or even to the new house.  We’re not spending time looking for school books, and we’re able to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time.  I make sure the kids have their weekly checklists ready to go, but I also make sure I stop what I am working on if they have questions.

Include the kids when possible in the moving process.  I hope this is our last move while our children live at home.  It’s just as important for them to learn how to sort, clean out, pack boxes, set up a new room, organize, and anything else that has to do with the house buying process as it is for them to practice math or reading.  Our children are amazing helpers, and I am excited to do this move with them.

Use as many audio books and educations movies as possible.  My children have been learning so much through our Cycle 1 Audio choices and a few educational selections from Amazon Prime.  These have been great options when I have needed to make important phone calls, pack fragile items, or take care of the seemingly-endless paperwork involved with being a house.

Start early.  We started our homeschooling very early in the summer (especially math).  We started packing early for the move.  We also start our work early in the day each day.

This time of moving is just a season in our homeschooling but a valuable one for all of us.  It’s been amazing to me to see how much our family has been able to accomplish – in our school work, in our packing, and just in life in general.  I hope the lessons learned during this time continue with us in the future.