We’re still making our slow way through volume three of Story of the World. We’ve settled into something of a routine this spring: the girls read the sections and Lulu and I work on a narration together, going back and forth, until she has one or two paragraphs that we’re (er, I’m)happy with. Louise, our resident second grader, and I often just discuss the sections using the suggested review questions, or at least we do when I have my act together (which is maybe half of the time?). I often have some supplemental reading to offer them–usually from the literature section of the activity guide, and often something I’ve had to purchase since many of those books aren’t to be found in any of our four local public libraries. Such is the case with The Old Man Mad About Drawing by François Place and translated from the French by William Rodarmor. I decided to read this one aloud mostly because I was interested in it myself. My girls and I had looked at Hokusai’s The Great Wave for a picture narration in FLL 2, so we were already a little bit familiar with Hokusai. This is a short, somewhat pedantic book that written from the perspective of a young boy who becomes something of an apprentice to the elderly Hokusai. We learn about the printmaking process, Japanese society and customs, and the phases of Hokusai’s career. Despite the fact the book works a little too hard to teach us something sometimes, it’s still quite an enjoyable read. The chapters are short and the illustrations are plentiful, colorful, and noteworthy. (Place was shortlisted for the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen illustrator award.) All in all, this story was the perfect short read-aloud to inspire us to take out our own art supplies, which is something that has been sorely lacking in our homeschool the past few months.
I saw several art lesson plans based on Hokusai’s most famous piece of art, but this homeschool-mama plan from Harrington Harmonies was simple and just what I had in mind. We did this with very little preparation on my part, so it didn’t turn out quite as well as it would’ve if I didn’t fly by the seat of my pants quite as much. We drew our waves ourselves (instead of tracing them or having a pre-made copy, as according to the lesson plan), so ours are a little more “creative.” 😉 One change I’d definitely make to the plan is I would’ve used an oil pastel to outline the waves instead of a marker. It was fun, though, and that’s the most important thing!
Lulu’s related assigned reading was Margi Preus‘ fabulous, Newbery honor-winning novel, Heart of a Samurai, a fictionalized account of the life of the young man instrumental in re-opening Japan to the West. (You can read my review of this novel here.)
I also had her read a nonfiction account of Manjiro’s life, Shipwrecked!: The True Adventures of a Japanese Boy by Rhoda Blumberg. She enjoyed both books a lot and was quite taken with Manjiro’s story. I love how all of this–the history, the stories, and the art–all worked together. We don’t achieve synchronicity too often lately here at the House of Hope, but I love it when we do.