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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Using Art To Teach Math, History, English, Science: The Core and More

If you have an artist bent, you're gonna love these two amazing books out from Freddie Levin. One gives step by step instructions as to how to draw princesses and princess-related items, such as a horse and a carriage, or a castle. The other book actually teaches math by using drawing.

How can you use these in homeschool?

Draw Plus Math Enhance Math Learning Trough Art Activities by Freddie Levin is a book that does exactly what the title says. Imagine teaching/learning math without the struggles. The author takes you through a series of drawing activities which contain a math lesson.

The book starts out by teaching basic shapes, colors, and patterns using fish in a tank. It progresses to teach odd and even numbers by drawing odd-numbered eyes on an adorable alien creature, or birthday candles on a cake; learn fractions by drawing pizza slices. There are twenty lessons throughout the book. You can even learn to draw a frog, who helps you add, and then make him a special addition to your princess drawings (next book).

(The above set of 3 drawings is from my 4 year old)

The next book is a 1-2-3 Draw Princesses by Freddie Levin. This book walks you through all the steps necessary for drawing a complete princess from head to toe. But, that's not all. You can learn to draw a tiara, a horse, a carriage and a castle to go with your princess. And, there are not just your commonly-known "Disney" princesses. These princesses also include great warriors such as Nzinga, and scholars such as Eleanor or Aquitane.

Practical Lessons from the Princess book:

Let's face it, Disney does not have the market on all princesses. The author explains that a princess can be thought of in a positive light, or as a spoiled brat. A princess simply means - a daughter of a king, or a queen. In addition, there are many options to use this book, and apply it to your core lessons.

History - There are obvious history-teaching elements in this book.  The Middle Ages was the time of knights and castles. The author has included historical princesses from various countries. With each princess, there is a brief description of who she was and how she served her country. Don't see the one you want to learn about? Choose one or more princesses in history and draw elements of that princess into the princesses you choose to draw from the book. Some of the princesses included in the book are:

Eleanor of Aquitane - Princess of France
Nes Amun - Princess of Ancient Egype
Jahanara - Princess of india
Nzinga - Princess of Africa

(The above drawing is from my 9 year old)

Literature/English Skills - Begin with these fun Knights and Castles worksheets.  Then, read a story about royalty. King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is a good choice for starters. As you read, allow your children to select princess-like pictures from the 1-2-3 Draw Princesses book and draw along. Often, if you can keep little hands busy, while you read, the child's mind is undistracted and open to focus on the story. If what they are doing to keep their hands busy happens to also fit with what you are reading, all the better for peaceful, connected learning.

There is also a princess reading list included with the "Reading Princess" toward the back of the book.

Spelling - Use the book to pull vocabulary words for spelling, such as:


Science -There are some fun science lessons to be learned from frogs to the physics involved in a moat.  Here's a great site to get you started with science and castles.

Math - Math involves more than the numbers 0 through 9. It also involves the use of shapes and patterns. Your child will learn shapes such as circle, triangle, square, and more complicated names and shapes, like a trapezoid. The very first thing the book explains is what these shapes are called, and what they look like. This is important, because this is the foundation of the ability to create the pictures in the book. It also lists out each drawing in a series of steps. These need to be followed in a seuential order, while the child is counting - 1, 2, 3...

Religious Studies - As a homeschooler who does so from a Christian perspective, I'm always trying to weave into my curriculum how it applies to our family's faith. This book is no different. When I read the description of why the author created this book, and what a princess is: a daughter of a king or queen", I immediately thought of how, in the Christian faith, we believe that we are all children of the king. As girls, we are princesses and our boys are princes. There is a prince, by the way, in the book for your son to draw. This description led me to remember a book that is so very helpful in teaching your little girls how to handle the world they are about to walk into as they leave childhood and grow into adolescence. It teaches her how to determine if a "prince" is really a "prince" or just someone who wants to come and "steal her goodness". The book is called "the Princess and the Kiss".

Taking the princess one step farther, you could conduct a unit study on Queen Esther. This is a Bible account that is taught during Purim. But, you could learn about her any time of the year.

I'm sure there are more learning/teaching tips within the covers of these two books. However you choose to use your 1-2-3 Draw Princesses book, or your Draw Plus Math Enhance Math Learning Through Art Activities is up to you, but the both hold tons of possibilities for learning.

Art - And, of course, you can always use the books for simply teaching art alone.  But, with so much more to learn from them, other learning is bound to happen naturally.

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