Learning with Leonardo da Vinci - Week 22-23 in Review

Friday, February 12, 2016

We are rounding the final bend on our year, and I thought we would take a quick change of pace. We used Veritas Press Midde Ages and Renaissance cards as a spine for our learning this year (thanks to a sweet friend who so generously let us borrow them.) Silas wanted to learn about knights and kings. As we started hitting church history I realized that might be better saved for another year, so I decided to finish out our year with artist studies. 

Since we were about to hit the Renaissance era I thought Leonardo da Vinci would be the perfect person to learn about. We had so much fun learning about this quirky and brilliant man. Silas actually thought he was kind of creepy because he liked to dissect people. Someone had to learn about the inner workings of people or we wouldn't know a lick about medicine, but that probably made for strange table talk.

Confession - I have been pretty lame about art this year. The one thing though that I love about that whole Teaching from Rest idea is that we don't have to teach something all year long to enjoy it, so here we will be enjoying it fully for the rest of the year.

A few years ago I downloaded Confessions of a Homeschool mom's Artist study. This is what we are using as a jumping point for our studies. I checked out a bunch of books from the library to add to our learning.

The World's Greatest Artist study has a lapbook, questions for art study, and suggestions for what kinds of art projects to make. Of course one of Leo's most famous paintings is the Mona Lisa! I thought Silas did an excellent job of replicating her mysterious smile!

 One of the activities was to make a Mona Lisa puzzle.


Of course Leonardo wasn't only an artist. In fact, he might have considered himself more of an inventor. I got this awesome little kit at Hobby Lobby with a 40% coupon. We have made skewer and rubber band catapults, but I thought it would be fun to make Leo's actual design!

Silas worked really hard, and did a great job following the instructions. He loves to build!

Here's a fun little slow motion video of how it worked.

Ok, so I have to recant my feelings about IEW. Last year Aedan used Medieval Writing lessons, and it just wasn't working. It was scheduled in HOD without the use of the TWSS teacher DVDs. I was watching my sweet friend Micah work through the program, and knew in my heart I hadn't really given it a good ol' college try. I found the DVDs and SWI student DVDs for dirt cheap on Craigslist. Eureka! It all of a sudden made total sense! I am working through the SWI B lessons with both boys. I'm thankful to have found the DVDs that cheap. I don't think I would have made the investment otherwise, and now that I have them I would pay full price in a second! This is a paragraph Silas wrote after making a key word outline like IEW teaches.

We also had a fantastic field trip to the Da Vinci exhibition! I took far more pictures than this. Almost every invention you can imagine that Da Vinci made was brought to life here.

We got to see many of his sketches.

Tons of his attempts at creating a flying machine were on display.

The kids thought this underwater diving apparatus wouldn't have worked very well.

This hall of mirrors helped him with anatomy drawings.

There were also huge displays of his paintings and drawings.

The Last Supper was Silas's favorite of all the Da Vinci paintings we studied, so it was cool to see such a BIG one!

The kids are doing their best to mimic Mona Lisa's famous smile :)

Another new addition to our line up is Simply Charlotte Mason's Visits to Europe. We LOVE this. I will have to make a whole separate post about why. I had the opportunity to hear Sonya from SCM speak. Such a sweet, wise and humble lady. I love how affordable SCM programs are as well. 

Each week a few new countries are added. The one on the right is blank, and he has to add in the ones he knows before he can fold back to book to see what ones he's missed.

I'd say he's doing really well without looking!

We continue to use our Geo Maps. These are an excellent and painless way to get a feel for where countries are in the world.

This week we had more fun in science! 

We learned how some atoms or molecules play well with others, and some don't.

Silas added a drop of food coloring to two strips of paper. On one he added a stripe of oil to see if it would affect how the water traveled.

The water moved equally on both strips until...

The red side hit the oil.

These are his lab sheets for the above activity.

Next we used legos to show how atoms form different kind of matter.

2 of the same kinds of Legos represented the same kind of atoms.

Then 2 different ones represented different atoms.

Then he joined a few different atoms.

This is water or H2O.

Next we showed what a chemical reaction would look like by combining even more Legos.

Here is the lab sheet.

At the beginning of the year I gave the boys this little coupon booklet. My second born does NOT forget good promises made. He kept insisting that we needed to use the coffee shop coupon.

He also insisted that the coffee shop also have donuts and hot chocolate. I sure did have a latte. We enjoyed this outing so much. Homeschoolers have allll the fun!

Here we are working on our IEW rough drafts.

Hot chocolate sure does make work more fun! See you next time!


  1. I love the coupon idea! I will have to steal that, lol. I have looked extensively at Simply Charlotte Masons bookstore....

    1. This is where I got them <3 http://www.theplantedtrees.com/2015/08/homeschool-coupons-for-back-to-school.html?m=1

  2. What a timely post! I was just considering leaving HOD... My oldest is in CTC this year and it has been quite the battle with the writing. I have two in Bigger and they very much enjoy it. I am also encouraged by your comments about IEW. I've been wanting to invest in it for the last two years. Thank you for such detailed posts about your days!

    1. Well, we did leave HOD this year and now I totally missed it after a while. It's kind of a miracle that I love IEW now. I am so glad I went ahead and gave the DVDs a shot. I think it will help so much when we get to CtC and written narrations :) I hope you find they are useful to you as well!

  3. We are going to go back to HOD as well. We stopped at week 24 in CTC and Beyond last year and decided to do Sonlight Core D this year. We haven't hated Sonlight, but both kids miss elements of HOD. My daughter HATES that her CTC notebook is unfinished as well. LOL Of course I went and sold CTC:( Live and Learn. We are going to start HOD RTR and Bigger half paced in the summer.... I like to do a few days of school in the summer, and then pick up full speed in the fall.

    I LOVE IEW!! The TWSS dvd's make a huge difference! It makes the whole program make much more sense. I had my daughter do the American History based writing lessons with Sonlight Core D, and my son is working through Bible Heroes. We are on Unit 3 and she enjoys that unit much more than unit 1 or 2:)

  4. Sigh...Well at least you know someone in the world knows exactly how you feel. I am SO excited to be back to HOD. I didn't think we would return. I really prayed that God would give me direction, and the sigh of peace came after I took those HOD books back off of the shelf. We really enjoyed RtR. Bigger was the guide that made us fall in love with HOD. I have so many precious memories of that guide :)

    Glad to know my feelings about IEW aren't crazy. I can't believe I tried to use it without the DVDs. They are SO good. My hubbie even sat with me and watched them. He's a writer and really appreciated the instruction. I can't decide how I'll use it with Aedan next year, but I think I will use the Fables Themed writing one next year with Silas.

  5. How did I miss this? Awesome unit study!


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