Friday, 19 September 2014

A Marriage Pageant for the Duke of Milan

Leonardo da Vinci was asked to design a marriage pageant for the Duke of Milan's nephew's marriage to Isabella of Aragon.  He designed a huge hemisphere containing mechanically operated planets and stars rotating in their orbits.  

The children dressed themselves as the Roman gods which the planets were named after.  Monkey Girl was the messenger Mercury with wings at her feet (please appreciate the koala ears representing wings).

Here is a poem she wrote for the occasion. 

Panda Girl was Neptune, god of the sea.

Ballet Girl wrote a poem for her sister :)

The Boy was Jupiter, ruler of the gods with his bolts of lightening.

Ballet Girl also wrote her brother's poem.

The Boy helped make lunch.

This afternoon we read about Mary Queen of Scots, worked on some English and picked blackberries.

Afternoon snack: from the garden :)

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Florentine Banners, Writing Backwards and Leonardo's Vetruvian Man

Today we made family banners for a Florentine Carnival.  We made the out of veneer, because we had some in the craft cupboard and because it seemed like a cool idea.  It worked too! 

We talked about da Vinci's Vetruvian Man and measured various limbs and facial features - da Vinci style:

"The first paragraph of the upper part reports Vitruvius: "Vetruvio, architect, puts in his work on architecture that the measurements of man are in nature distributed in this manner, that is:

  • a palm is four fingers
  • a foot is four palms
  • a cubit is six palms
  • four cubits make a man
  • a pace is four cubits
  • a man is 24 palms
and these measurements are in his buildings". The second paragraph reads: "if you open your legs enough that your head is lowered by one-fourteenth of your height and raise your hands enough that your extended fingers touch the line of the top of your head, know that the centre of the extended limbs will be the navel, and the space between the legs will be an equilateral triangle".
The lower section of text gives these proportions:

  • the length of the outspread arms is equal to the height of a man
  • from the hairline to the bottom of the chin is one-tenth of the height of a man
  • from below the chin to the top of the head is one-eighth of the height of a man"

We read Leonardo da Vinci's incredible self recommendation to the Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza and the children attempted their own such letter - but left-handed and backwards - da Vinci style!  
There were lots of giggle and exasperated sighs - tee hee!

Monkey Girl's pastel picture of a cabbage was published in a magazine this month.  She is thrilled and I love her!

Science for the two little ones

While Panda Girl went to her tap dancing lesson, Ballet Girl made this amazing cake!

This evening Ballet Girl went rock climbing - all in a day's work!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Sculpting and Perspective

Today we read about Leonardo da Vinci's apprenticeship which included sculpting.  The children worked with air drying clay.

We listened to the sound of a bustling (albeit medieval) city while we were sculpting to get an idea what it must have been like for Leonardo da Vinci working in Verrochio's busy studio in the heart of Florence, which opened its doors to the world outside.

In a similar coincidence to our monthly Discovery Box magazine arriving with a full feature on Leonardo da Vinci, our monthly Dowry magazine arrived today with an article on sculpting in Italy!

Monkey Girl made a beautiful statue of St. Francis.

I love them all!  Ballet Girl's, Panda Girl's and The Boy's sculptures!

We also read about perspective drawing which was at the forefront of Renaissance art.  The children learnt about horizons and vanishing points and had fun with their ideas!

While they were working on their drawings we listened to a radio programme on the great man himself.

This afternoon was for maths, Spanish & script handwriting and we finished the day with tap, modern and gym for the two eldest and gym for my two littlies :)

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Catholic Mummies and Footballing Sons

This morning we went to a Catholic meet-up for Mums, meaning I sat down for over an hour learning and discussing with fellow Catholic Mummies.  Ballet Girl was in charge of over ten children mostly under five, and did a super job with a craft and activity session all about Daniel in the Lions' Den.  I am very proud of her.  She had print-outs and lion faces to make with yellow card and coffee filter paper; stories and a play to act out.  We will be making it a regular monthly meet-up so she is already planning the next session.

This afternoon the children worked on their script handwriting....

...The Boy learnt the colours rojo and amarillo in his Spanish work...


...and football for this smashing Boy!

This evening my two eldest had Intermediate Foundation Ballet and have been told they are ready for pointes. Gosh.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Leonardo da Vinci

Our new thematic unit is Leonardo da Vinci.  I spent the summer pondering on how to make this unit memorable and fun/fact-filled.  I certainly spent a small fortune on paints, canvasses, paper, books and paintbrushes, as well as sorting through the art cupboard and visiting the scrap store for card, paper and recycled bits, all in preparation for today and the coming weeks!

Da Vinci's The Last Supper

I organised the morning into three sections.  Each section consisted of a story: of Leonardo's life as a young boy; as an apprentice in Florence under the guidance of Verrochio; and then his experiments with oil painting.  After each story the children tried their hand at sketching, fine art copying and then an oil painting on canvass.

 I LOVE my Boy's interpretation of Da Vinci's horse sketch.

Halfway through our morning the postman delivered our monthly Discovery Box magazine with, UNBELIEVABLY, Leonardo Da Vinci as its main feature.  We all squealed and laughed a bit.

Creating 3D paintings with oil.  Previously all drawings were in 2D and it was only the Renaissance that brought with it the understanding of perspective drawing, of which Leonardo was a master.

Monkey Girl's Powerboat Wake oil painting

The Boy's House, Sea and Fence oil painting

Ballet Girl's Bat in the Stars oil painting

Panda Girl's Panda in the Bamboo Forest oil painting.

After lunch...

...we did poetry:  The Boy and Panda Girl had fun with The Pobble Who Has No Toes by Edward Lear.


Nature Study

And Geography/Map Work

We ended the day with trampolining, a birthday party and  Sea Cadets for Ballet Girl.