This month our boys’ book club read the same one as the girls: The 100 Year-Old Secret” by Tracy Barrett. That doesn’t mean that this club meeting was a duplicate of the other, though.
In fact, this is about as close as we’ve ever come to doing the same thing, and yet the way that we did it was quite different.
We started out by discussing the book – by summarizing it and comparing the characters’ actions to how we thought we might handle the situation.
Then I sent the boys outside to find things in nature with texture – that were dead.
They totally loved that assignment.
The boys couldn’t focus on their texture assignment until they darted off some energy, and they did that speedily – all over my yard. They ran everywhere. I’m sure that nobody would ever have guessed that it had rained for several days prior!
Eventually they got back to it, and then they found all sorts of things – dried grasses, sweet gum balls, dead leaves, stems, sticks, etc., and happily carried them into my house.
There I added to their collections with dried pasta and string. We gave them plates of glue and wide picture frames and told them to create textured, sculpted, artistic frames like the one that the famous painting was hung in in Barrett’s story. They got really into it.
As they finished, I took their frames outside and spray-painted them metallic gold. The boys loved that paint – and the fact that it turned my grass gold, too.
Then we talked about facial proportion – about how the tops of your eyes line up with the tops of your ears, etc., and I sent them off to make portraits of each other. The boys did surprisingly well – they got really into it and did some great work. I was very impressed! They drew with pencils and shaded and sketched for quite a while.
When they were finished, they snacked on ‘biscuits,’ English-style, before dashing back outside.
The boys moved at the speed of light, but they had some great thoughts about this story, and I couldn’t believe how detailed and careful their artwork was. They really took their time and put some effort into it. Maybe one of their portraits will be in a fancy frame someday!
What are your kids reading now?
Xena and Xander Holmes have just discovered they’re related to Sherlock Holmes and have inherited his unsolved casebook! The siblings set out to solve the cases their famous ancestor couldn’t, starting with the mystery of a prized painting that vanished more than a hundred years ago. Can two smart twenty-first-century kids succeed where Sherlock Holmes could not?
Modern technology meets the classic detective story in this terrific new mystery series that will intrigue young sleuths everywhere!