Easy Days

12 Mar

We had a most agreeable week off. And I’ve been thinking, ‘we must do this again…hang on a minute, haven’t we done this before?’ The simple answer is: no, we haven’t. Sure, we’ve had time ‘off,’ but it’s either been due to illness, religious reasons (fasting), going away, or because hubby’s taken time off work and we always end up going out. I don’t think we’ve had a single week of just Esa and me at home, chilling out, doing what we want. So, we must have more of that. It was so lovely, so relaxing, so refreshing, so enjoyable. I’ve reworked our last 15 weeks of first grade to include a second week off.

What did we do? A whole lot and a whole lot of nothing. Esa, for the most part, played. He spent hours and hours outside, he coloured, he looked at books, he built ‘houses’ out of blankets, chairs, and pillows. He dressed up as Darth Vader and played out elaborate scenes of fighting and drama. He set up a cookie shop where you could get 1 cookie for £4 or,…deal of deals, 2 cookies for £10. (We then had an impromptu lesson on doubling and discounts.) You paid, chose the shapes of your cookies, and the cookies were rolled, cut, and baked. Play-doh cookies are the best!

Sometimes he was bored. And once he even said he wanted to do lessons (!). But for the most part, he loved his time off.

So what did I do? I read a lot, planned a lot, looked at Amazon a lot, shopped a little, and got excited about nature journaling a lot. I wasted time, which I felt guilty about, then remembered that I was having time off, and since I thoroughly enjoyed the time-wasting it was truly time well-spent. Never once was I bored. As expected, it just wasn’t enough time.

In this photo, I’m attempting to draw Van Gogh’s Irises. I’m using a brush to soften and blend the pastels. I don’t know if this is a ‘real’ technique, it’s just something I thought might work. I like the effect.

The weather was glorious, although I didn’t spend too much time outside. There’s still a chill in the air, and unless I’m moving around, it’s just too cold for me. At this point, there isn’t much gardening for me to do yet.

I spent a lot of time working through Keeping a Nature Journal. I’ve totally fallen in love with this book. I’ve been taking copious notes, I made a small shopping list (tin pencil box √, A6 sketch pad (to carry

in bag) √, small pencil sharpener, small ruler, compass √, few more sketch pencils, Pilot fine-liners, fixative), and I’ve added about 7 books to my wishlist, and of those, I’ve purchased 3:

These are books that I’ve purchased for me. I’m mentioning this because so much of what I buy is for homeschooling,  but the lines between ‘real life’ and homeschooling have blurred so much and it was kind of a shock when I consciously thought  about the fact that I’d chosen these books for myself. Not only that, but I’m benefiting so much from our homeschooling and I now have this new obssession interest. Of course, once I get going with them, I’ll be able to pass on what I’ve learned to Esa. And when he’s a little older, he’ll be able to read them himself and get more from them.

I’m still trying to decide what format I want my nature journal to take. Here’s a list of pros and cons I’ve draws up:

Ring Binder Pros:

  • Clean, neat
  • Doesn’t matter if you ‘mess up’ a page
  • On-going
  • Can move pages about
  • Can insert dividers
  • Can use different types of paper (lined, blank, graph, sketch, copy, watercolour, coloured, etc)
  • Can insert folders and other storage

Ring Binder Cons:

  • Don’t like using plastic sleeves
  • If sleeves are not used, holes much be punched in paper
  • Pages may not fit properly in sleeves, so will need to be trimmed or mounted (if too small) onto A4 paper
  • Notebooks difficult to store, do not look nice on shelves, cannot stack easily or at all.

Sketch Book Pros:

  • More visually appealing
  • Nicer feel, more book-like
  • More portable
  • Other paper can be mounted (but time consuming and may make book bulky)

Sketch Book Cons:

  • Pages ripped out if a mistake is made
  • Cannot add pages
  • Cannot move pages around

For the time being, I’m drawing on loose sheets of copy paper, sketch paper, and watercolour paper until I decide. Decisions like these are enough to stop me in my tracks and prevent me journaling, but KNJ has helped me keep things in perspective: it doesn’t matter what format you use, as long as you use it. I’m leaning more towards a combination of the two: I’ll draw on loose paper, then mount it in the sketch book. If I change my mind, I can always tear the pages out of the sketch book and insert them into a ring binder. I may end up keeping two books: a sketch book for sketches and the ring binder for more elaborate work, such as watercolours. We’ll see.


4 responses to “Easy Days

  1. Michelle

    March 12, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    A week off sounds nice. I’m the same way. I usually only take time off when we’re traveling, or my husband has time off, or we have visitors. Next week the local public school kids have spring break, but my husband still has to work. I wasn’t going to take a break, but then I decided to have my kids participate in the school’s spring break theater club, so we won’t do lessons. We’ll be busy in the morning, but we will have our afternoons free. I am looking forward to it.

    • whimsyway

      March 12, 2010 at 7:36 pm

      Have a great week off, Michelle! 🙂

  2. Kez

    March 12, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    Good for you! When we were more structured, we did 4 weeks on / 1 week off. It really worked well.

  3. Wonder in the Woods

    March 13, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    This sounds wonderful!! And I want to try painting too. I have not decided on a notebook style either. Probably 3 ring since I am a perfectionist about some things. Schedule is a different story, LOL, I just found a neat idea for a project journal at Camp Creek Blog. =)

    Have a good time with more of that masterly inactivity! =)


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