Be Still, My Heart
I’ve been keeping a secret from you.
I am a…homeschooling mom! I know, I know, I KNOW. What kind of oddball hippie rebel in a hand-sewn dress am I??? Well, I can tell you that only one of those adjectives applies to me (and I’ll let you guess which one – it probably varies, depending on who YOU are!).
I began this vast undertaking recently and, as you might imagine, I am fairly overwhelmed with the fantastic possibilities and the myriad opportunities, as well as the enormous pressure to do well by my children. I want to live up to their potential. They deserve a great teacher!
How’s it going? So Far, So Okay. I jumped into these waters entirely unprepared. We officially made the call on a Sunday night, and on Monday morning, we were homeschooling. Talk about having NO idea how I wanted to do things, much less having any formal curriculum prepared.
What I do have going for me is that I’ve done a project or two with these budding creative artists over the years. (Here’s one. Here’s another. And, another! Whew.) I’ve been able to incorporate that experience into each week’s school theme. This week is “Love.”
This is an art project we got up to this week. What I love (hey, love!) about this one is that you can make these little buggers very simple or very complex, depending on the artist and the recipient. We went for somewhere in the middle.
The hardest part was writing the valentine messages on the backs after having adorned the fronts with all kinds of bulky stuff. Note: write your messages on the backs before adorning the fronts with all kinds of bulky stuff!
The second hardest part was cutting up the stack of tissue paper into manageable chunks for my 4 and 5-year-olds.
So I knocked that off right away and just started tearing it. The magic of tissue paper is that it tears in relatively straight lines. A little rough edge is way more interesting for this project, anyway.
Here are your supplies:
1) Tissue paper (in traditional valentine colors, if you are feeling traditional. As traditional as you can feel as an oddball, hippie rebel)
2) Pre-cut cardboard hearts (unless you are teaching AP Valentine-Making, in which case you can make your students cut them out themselves, those slackers).
3) White glue
4) Little cup of water (yes, that’s a re-used fast food salsa container. I said I was a homeschooler not a saint)
5) Narrow paint brush
6) Paper plate (not shown – I thought of that later, as the children began to paint glue all over the tablecloth)
7) Plastic tablecloth
Here’s where the kids can get into the action.
Squeeze some glue into your water. You want about half water, half glue. Stir it up with the paintbrush.
Tear a narrow strip of tissue paper and lay it on your plate.
Dip your paintbrush in the glue and “paint” the paper.
Place the paper onto the heart. Ponder your child’s dirty fingernails. Wonder: didn’t I just trim those? Repeat.
When you’re done with your design, lay it aside to dry. You can cut the ends off later….
…OR, you can make sure the ends are good and wet, wrap them over the edge and break them off. This is the easiest way. It will look a little more rustic than trimming with scissors, but in a good way. Unless you’re going for fancy schmancy, then, by all means, cut away. (Although, if you’re going for fancy schmancy, you are probably reading the wrong blog, in which case, welcome! We do things the easy way, around here. You may have heard – we are semi-fabulous.)
Soon, your carefully laid out supplies will look like this. There will be red fingertips and spilled glue. You, being a zen hippie, will just see art in the chaos.
Look harder. See? I told you.
This was a fun little technique we discovered. Pull off a tiny strip of paper and wet it thoroughly with the glue mixture. Twist it up and lay it on. When this dried, there was something artisanal about it – like the bodice of a wedding dress. Which, when it comes to valentines, is a score.
This is one of my favorites. It reminds me of a fabulous flourish on a designer gown at the Oscars.
The Straight and Narrow.
The Heart of Hearts.
Sweet and Simple.
Now, it’s off to the post office to learn about the Postal System!
If you’ve read this far, you might be a homeschooler too. Here are some more ideas for the theme of Love.
-The basic history of St. Valentine
-Empathy toward aging, and learning to be loving from the act of a child (The Old Man and His Grandson story)
-The letter “V as in Valentine” is the basis of a heart shape (look at a heart – see it?)
-Pink Valentine Popsicles (berries, yogurt and honey blended and frozen in molds)
-Expressions of love: Hugs (how many are enough?)
-Kindness to fellow human beings (filling bags of food for the homeless)
-And, of course, tangible tokens of affection, i.e., Valentines!