Homeschool Discoveries

Sharing a few things I've discovered along the way…

10 Things to Do With Kids’ Artwork March 13, 2012

Filed under: Getting Organized — kirstenjoyhill @ 5:00 am
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I’m often amazed by how many items made of paper my kids produce every week.   Whether it is schoolwork, drawings, paintings, sticker collages or more elaborate art work, it can be a big chore to deal with all of it.  Here are few ways that we try and tame our “paper tiger” without just throwing all our kids’ hard work in the trash can.

1. Have a designated spot to put it (and sort through that spot regularly).  Here’s our current “done bin” as the kids call it…hmmm…I think it’s time for a clean out! 🙂 Unless something is obviously trash or someone wants to display it right away, most paper items in our house go here first.   Maybe it’s procrastination, but I like not making each and every clean up time a battle over what to save or toss.

2. Display it.  This could be a Top Ten list of its own, and more.  A search for “display kids art” on Pinterest  results in many, many creative ideas. We currently have a bulletin board in the school room.  The kids can pin any of their work to the board, but they either need to take something down of their own or get permission from a sibling to take something down before a new item can be added.   For quite a while I had a special display area in the dining room that I stocked with pictures. I took an old poster frame, added black posterboard to the back, then put 4 of my favorite pieces of artwork in the frame.  I hope to get this back up soon, as it was a great decoration for the dining room.

3. Make an artwork binder.  Maybe this is where  I am being a little bit lazy, but I have been letting Mr E in particular save almost any flat 8.5 x 11 piece of paper that he wants to save in a binder.  Here’s how this got started.  He and Mr. K love stickers.  They love to just sit and put stickers on paper.  That’s art to them, I guess.  It just killed me to be spending money on stickers and then throwing them away so fast once they were put on paper.  Enter the artwork binder! I punch holes in the paper, and many, many sheets of paper fit in each binder.  And, you know what? The boys actually sit and look at these two (so far) binders and enjoy looking at sticker pages and various drawings.  They tell each other stories based on what they see.  The items in these binders may not be “keep forever” sort of things, but it seems to be something they enjoy greatly for now!

4. Scan it.  What about the “good stuff”?  Well, if it is flat and standard size, I often scan it.  This gives us a lot of versatility of what to do with it in the future!

5. Photograph it.  Items that are too big to scan, like this “Happy Halloween” banner, or 3-Dimensional items can be saved for posterity in this way.

6. Save a few items for the “permanent collection”.  I ask Mr. E and Miss M to choose 5-10 pieces of 2-D art to save each year (or I may pick a few favorites myself).  I may or may not have scanned the items first, but after a few favorite items are no longer being displayed, I pack up these items in a large plastic bag.  I’m not sure if we’ll ever do anything with these, but they don’t take up a lot of space, and I think my kids may at some point fondly look back on these items. Or maybe I’ll just be fondly looking back at them when they are grown.  🙂

7. Make a photo book from scanned or photographed art.  I got this idea from Pinterest and I have followed through on actually doing it yet…but wouldn’t this be a fun thing to have on our bookshelf?

8. Use photos or scanned files to make calendars or other gifts. This has become an annual tradition for us.  Grandparents love to get a new calendar every year decorated with kids’ artwork!  Photo sites like VistaPrint, Shutterfly and Snapfish have dozens of “photo gift” options and often run really great sales.  Why not make a mug, keychain or notecards decorated with your kids’ best artwork to give as gifts?

9. Re-purpose it.  Once you’ve scanned the artwork you want to scan, and you’ve saved the cream of the crop to store for the future, turn some of the originals into something else?  Large pieces of art could become wrapping paper.  Smaller items could become part of a greeting card.  Or if you want to really get crafty, check out this idea for re-purposing your toddler’s scribbles!

10. Give it away.  Grandmas seem to love having their grandkids’ art to decorate the fridge.  You could go one step beyond just giving it to Grandma by thinking of other distant relatives who might like getting a drawing in the mail, or even giving pictures to older friends and neighbors who might find that a child’s art would really brighten their day.

Do you have any other great ideas for dealing with kids’ art? I would love to hear them!

I’m linking up with Top Ten Tuesday @ Many Little Blessings!

Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings


Collage Friday: When Life Gives You Broken Eggs… March 9, 2012

Filed under: Weekly Highlights — kirstenjoyhill @ 10:36 pm
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Have you read the story or seen the episode of Thomas and Friends where Thomas drives too fast and breaks the farmer’s eggs? At the end of the story Sir Topham Hatt tells Thomas that all is well because he will eat scrambled eggs for breakfast (or was it omelets?).  I wonder if Sir Hatt got lots of dirt and straw in his breakfast.  I know that the floor in front of my fridge is not nearly clean enough to make breakfast from. 

Yes, Mr. K was feeling quite mischievous this past week.  The eggs on the floor were a bit of a “fail” on my part.  It happened in the evening and I thought both boys were upstairs with Tony.  I was relaxing on the couch, just me Facebook and baby J.  Eventually I became aware of a strange noise coming from the back of the kitchen (where our fridge and freezer “live”).  With dread, I made my way there and found Mr  K and the dozen or so broken eggs (a carton not in the picture was already completely empty).  He smiles and says to me. “I say YES to eggs!”

You may notice in the picture that several of the eggs are perfectly broken, as if they were ready for the frying pan — so he was clearly very purposeful about what he was doing.  And, believe it or not, this was only one of several mischievous acts on the part of Mr K this week.  I’m still trying to decide if he is bored, testing the boundaries or going through some other new developmental phase.  But keeping up with Mr K definitely took more time than usual this week.

We did manage to have some fun and learning this week amidst the extra chaos:

1. Miss M had a really great collage idea that she executed almost entirely on her own.  She found a picture of a doll in an old Christmas toy catalog we had in our stack of magazines.  She then sought out similarly sized pictures furniture, food and even a dog.  Then she asked me if I could “use google to find her a blank room”.  Smart idea on her part! I found an appropriate looking picture of an empty room and she made her work of art!


2.  The boys did water colors while Miss M did her collage.  Mr. E says that his work is entitled “Millennium Falcon and Storm Troopers.”  🙂 This boy always has Star Wars on the brain these days.


3. Mr E and Mr K with a new-to-us dinosaur game passed along to us by our neighbors.  It’s kind of like “Operation” for dinosaur bones…and it even relates to what we’ve been talking about in science, since we have been discussing human and animal skeletons!


4.  Miss M decided that Mr K needed some “tot school” this week.  So, to be honest, I haven’t been doing a lot in terms of working on numbers, letters and so on with Mr K.  He isn’t chomping at the bit to learn this stuff most of the time, he only just turned three, and I have other priorities for him like getting to the potty on his own more frequently and not causing chaos everywhere he goes!  But he seemed to enjoy doing a letter coloring page and “letter hunt” with Miss M while she read him an appropriately themed story that she picked out.  Hmmm…maybe we are on to something here!


5,  Oh, column addition…both teacher and student wished we never knew you.  We only made it through about two and a half RightStart math lessons this week.  We’ve made the big shift in gears away from geometry.   Miss M struggled with not making small mistakes in the column addition problems, which led to answers I could see were so close, but not totally correct.  It was discouraging for her to have to retrace her steps to find her mistakes and she couldn’t always find them.  Attitudes may have been deteriorating on both of our parts by the end of the week.  I am glad to see that after the lesson that is currently half-finished we switch gears again to subtraction for a bit.  Maybe that will go better for us!


6.  Miss M working on her math while baby J keeps her company (I had been sitting in between them, and when I got up I thought they looked so cute together!).


7. Family science night around the iPad, while daddy shows the kids pictures of animal skeletons to discuss similarities and differences between various vertebrates.


8. Snack and a history lesson.  We don’t read over a meal or snack very often…because, to be honest, I am usually too hungry to read.  But I wanted to read a long lesson from MOH III on Leonardo DaVinci today, and some cinnamon/sugar biscuits seemed like a nice diversion.


9. A complicated afternoon play-date situation didn’t quite work out as we had planned it, but the end result was great — we ended up with five kids around the table building with toothpicks and marshmallows (and only a reasonable number of marshmallows were eaten, I think!) provided by a friend who hadn’t originally planned on staying to play at our house.


I’m hoping for a relaxing, not too chaotic weekend and looking ahead to a busy week next week that includes a water-main shutoff on Monday, Pi day on Wednesday, a woodwinds class for Miss M on Thursday and maybe some St. Patrick’s Day activities thrown in for good measure. Oh, and we were invited to go roller skating too.  We’ll see if we’re ready for all of that!

I’m linking up with Collage Friday @ Homegrown Learners and the Weekly Wrap-Up @ Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers!

PhotobucketWeird Unsocialized Homeschoolers