Art, Swimming, and Dué – Collage Friday

We have had a great week .. so many memories were built this week. Our usual lessons proceeded and the days surrounding each were filled with a variety of extra-curricular endeavors.

Sweetie @ AGO swim meetWe took part in a swim meet – our last for 2013.

Both kids did very well – improving on most all of their swims.

Buddy @ AGO swim meet

We took part in our third homeschool art show (which I happen to coordinate). Buddy’s Lego Minecraft entry was voted the 2nd place favorite amongst the youngers.

Homeschool Art Show

We created poppy themed art in honor of Veteran’s Day. We shared this craft with the kids at the art show and everyone made a small thank you card for the Veteran’s home which we delivered later that day.

At Barnesklubb, we learned how to create the traditional Finnish handcraft called Himmeli.

Veteran's Day Poppy Art Activity

We brought home a new friend … a Bearded Dragon (my second).  I just loved his colors – amber, light green, and variegated browns.  We named him Dué (meaning too or also in Italian).

Bearded Dragon - our new pet

At the lodge meeting, we gave a multimedia presentation on our recent holiday in China.  It was our turn to bring the refreshments so we brought snacks common in China (e.g. sesame cookies, rice cakes, lychee fruit, and moon cakes).

The kids attended a Minecraft MakerBot 3D Printing class.  I will share more about this fabulous class soon.


Homegrown Learners



How to Plan a Homeschool Art Show

As I had done a few years ago in Central Oregon, I recently coordinated an art show for the local homeschool community.  I highly recommend this to anyone interested in art and connected to community of children – whether through the home, charter, public, or private school circles.  There is truly little work required on the part of the coordinator and the students and families get so much out of the experience.

The first thing I do is reserve a space to display the art.  Ideally, this is a public space that is free to non-profit use.  I used the public library which has a large conference room with tables, chairs, and presentation equipment (pull-down screen, podium, etc.) available.  I elected to allot a four hour window for the show as the conference room at our library is not a secure area.  In the future, it was suggested that I make arrangements with the librarian to have the students’ work on display for a full week in another part of the library (perhaps in a display case) so that more people would have an opportunity to enjoy it.

Once the date was nailed down, I created a flier and registration form that I posted on our local homeschool board.   To encourage the kids to try something new, they were allowed to submit up to three pieces of art, but each must be from a different medium.  In addition, I required that the work be relatively recent (within two years).   Each family was asked for a $5 registration fee to cover the cost of prizes.  In the future however, I think I will seek out donations from local art supply stores, online retailers, and even other local artists to make the event more accessible to all.

I also notified the local newspaper and community magazines, inviting the public to come out and enjoy the students’ work.  The kids, in turn, invited extended family, friends, and teachers.  Everyone was given an opportunity to vote for their favorite pieces – one vote for the 8 & under age group and one vote for 9 & older age group.  This year, there were only 14 participants so I used only two age divisions.  If there are more participants in the future, I would consider using more divisions.  At the conclusion of the day, the votes were tallied and winners (those receiving the most votes) were announced.

The greatest thing about the show was the fascination the kids, parents, and community shared with the students’ work.  Everyone was blown away by their skill and creativity.  Many were taking notes and asking questions about technique.  The kids were so proud of their work and delighted in sharing it with others – with friends and even strangers.  It was indeed of inspiration and recognition.

[Admin Note ~ This year, the show was open to only homeschool students.  Next year, I may consider including a division for parents.]

How to Plan Your Own Science & Art Show

I realized early in the year that our homeschool community was lacking a Science Fair so … I took it upon myself to organize one.  Knowing that not everyone would feel comfortable doing a traditional science fair project, particularly since a fair hadn’t been available for years, I thought a companion Art Show would entice additional participants.  I was so right!

It was relatively easy … and the impact was huge.  There was a tremendous number of participants and everyone was so enthusiastic.  I know there may be a need in other communities so I thought I would share here how I pulled it all together.

Planning a Homeschool Science Fair & Art Show

Step One

Essentially, I first reserved a space …  for me, the choice was easy, our Sons of Norway lodge.  During the work week, the lodge is used very little.  I thereby selected a date in April to allow much of the school year for work our our projects.  Though an evening would have been ideal for all parents and even extended family to attend, I wanted to keep the cost to a minimum.  It is my guess that finding a suitable location would be the most difficult step involved.  Here are some locations to consider in your area:

  • A local fraternal lodge like Sons of Norway, IOOF, Lions, VFW Hall, etc.
  • The city library
  • A church
  • A public school (non-profits are generally allowed use of the facilities after school hours)
  • Hotel conference rooms (I haven’t checked into this option, but it seems logical and they may even offer a discount – doesn’t hurt to ask)
  • A common house within a subdivision – though I believe one would have to be a member

Step Two

The next thing I did was inform the homeschool community of the date (determined by the reservation of the space).  This was easy … I simply posted it on our Yahoo board.  In doing so, I also asked for volunteers to help with the following areas:

  • Snacks (just a couple of moms to bring refreshments and snacks)
  • Greeter (someone to check in participants at the door upon arrival, and direct them to the appropriate table to display their work)
  • Prep & Clean-up (one – two parents to help set-up the tables just prior to the start and to help break down the tables and clean-up afterwards)

Step Three

I created a registration form and posted it on the Yahoo board.  The form included a statement of my vision (what I hoped we could achieve – essentially an opportunity to share our projects and thereby glean inspiration from one another), a statement of liability release (I didn’t want anyone liable for a damaged project or piece of art), and rules / regulations (limitations to project size, limitations on subject matter and/or objectionable content or materials).

For a $5 entry fee, each participant was allowed to enter up to three pieces of artwork (different media) and one science project.  The money was used to pay for the lodge rental, cover the cost of printing participation certificates, the prizes and the snacks.

Those who wished to participate were required to fill out the registration form and get it to me within 2 weeks of the event.  This allowed me time to print the certificates and purchase the awards.

Step Four

I set up an automatic reminder in the Yahoo system to encourage procrastinators to get their forms submitted.  In this way, the Science Fair & Art Show was at the forefront of everyone’s mind.  As the date of the show drew near, I called the parents who had volunteered to help and discussed any particulars (time to meet for set-up, reimbursement for snacks, etc.).

The Fine Points

To determine winners (1st – 3rd place), the students were given slips of paper and were asked to write down the name (or entry #) of their favorite projects.  Each child was allowed to vote once for a science project and once for an art project.  The votes were tallied and the project with the most votes received the prize for first place, a $20 gift card.  Second place received $10 and third place received $5.

I had originally planned for judges to interact with participants (particularly for the science projects) – to inquire about their scientific process, etc. but somehow or another, there was some miscommunication and the two judges I had previously spoken with failed to show.  Ah well.


The show was a spectacular success! There were so many participants and guests (many homeschool families and friends came to the event simply to observe) – that I determined two separate times (or days) would be necessary to alleviate crowding when we do it again next year.

In retrospect, I would also require participants to arrive an hour (or more) prior to the start of the show to set up their projects and for  judging to take place.  Though I didn’t intend for official judging for awards to take place – I wanted it to be low-key and relaxed – I thought some feedback from real scientists would have been beneficial.