We've made some wonderful new friends here, both Christie at work, and with a local homeschool group in Lebanon, PA (about 35-40 minutes from Harrisburg). Mark & Stacy Foley head up the INCH group, and they've been so helpful in getting us acclimated to the area, introducing us to the best restaurants, and making us feel welcome. We contacted INCH before we made the move from Fayetteville and were able to get plugged in the very first week of our arrival with field trips and play days at the Lebanon YMCA. They've been life-savers, and we've really enjoyed their family - I'm sure we'll stay in touch long after we've moved from here.
The boys dyed Easter Eggs Saturday morning. For some reason, this tradition has been a bit hit and miss for us over the years (we celebrated Passover when Rich was younger, such a huge production that it kind of over-shadowed the Easter Bunny).
We headed for the Foley's that afternoon, eggs and Yu-Gi-Oh cards in tow. Mark treated us to an INCREDIBLE meal of Portugese pork, fresh spinach, potatoes, and some yummy gravy. I could learn a few things from him. They have the coolest house in the world. It's late 18th century complete with a barn in the backyard. They think it originally some type of way-station or boarding house because of the many rooms, and the way it's split up. When/if we buy something, I hope we can find a place like this.
I don't know if the kids had more fun hunting for Easter eggs...
Or making the grown-ups hunt easter eggs...
We had a blast! Awesome food, awesome people. Check out the Foley's varied and usually hilarious blog here: http://sushiandpizza.blogspot.com/
I feel like we're really zoning in on utilizing the boy's interests to teach other subjects lately. We've spent quite a bit of time lately focused on science and fine arts, which they are both very enthusiastic about. They'll speed through their maths and literacy work to have more time for the other stuff, so it also serves as a good motivator.
In art this week, we worked on some basic perspective (the monster is IN the water, not ON TOP of it). This was also a good chance to experiment with monotone painting. They could only use blue and white, and various mixtures of the two.
Here's an experiment using only secondary colors (blue, red, yellow). They thought it was hilarious to be able to paint the sky red, the grass blue, or the trees yellow. We have so much fun with art because there are no wrong answers, and everything is allowed to be "ishy." This is the term we use for abstract shapes that don't come out exactly like they look in real life. Ishi-ness is such a freeing idea for them when creating, because they don't have to conform to anyone's rules about what looks good or bad, right or wrong. Hopefully this idea seeps into their thinking about other subjects so that they're able to approach problems in non-traditional, creative ways. Here is their interpretation of the grassy hill across the street from the apartment.
If you're a regular reader, you know that I cannot over-emphasize the importance of quality art supplies (a trait I picked up from Lori over at the Camp Creek Blog). The boys have been working with pro-grade acrylics and cold-pressed watercolor paper. The paint lends itself to whatever texture they want, and as a result they're learning the nuances of thick and thin lines, and have lots of control over how their strokes translate to the paper. The paper is also absorbent enough to handle as much paint as they want to apply. This gives them total freedom to make really bright or dark colors. Thin paper and cheap paints force you to load the brush up with faint color and soak the paper. It tears, it runs, and it doesn't turn out the way you wanted, which make a kid resistant to repeated attempts. My advice: If you're going to go over your homeschooling budget anywhere, do it with art supplies. It pays off in the long run in every other area.
Despite an onslaught of allergy colds, we finally made it to the Crimson Frog Cafe in Camp Hill, PA yesterday for breakfast and maths. One of the fun things about living in a new place is trying to find the bookstores and coffeehouses that are friendly to homeschoolers. We tend to buy one thing, then sit there and work for four hours, which some places don't appreciate. So far, we love Midtown Scholar and Crimson Frog because they don't mind at all.