Category: Community

Math in Art

*I am a lazy blogger. Mind you I have been blogging off and on since 1999. Why yes, I had a blog on the original “Blogger”. I remember vividly making one, being so excited (I had a new baby and was one of the early “mom bloggers”), and then Blogger reset everything after a crash and I lost my blog. We all had to start over. Sigh. Anyway, point is nowadays I seldom have time to blog, what with working full time, having 3 teenagers, running the Christian Unschooling facebook group (nearly 2000 members now), and well, life. So you mostly get posts that are reposts of things I have written elsewhere, because, posts.


The following is in response to a new to unschooling mom asking how to make sure her passionate about art daughter was learning math. Obviously my post here is proof read, formatted properly, etc unlike the original post which I wrote on the fly. ūüėÄ

Family Portrait- Heather Young 2010
Family Portrait- Heather Young 2010

With art, math is more of a natural thing that happens and less of a “this is math” thing. If I try thinking of math while I draw/paint my brain actually stops doing the type of art I want to do and I get too analytical to do the more organic work I prefer. (I play a lot of logic/puzzle video games which use the math part of the brain when doing programming and very architectural drawings and tend to spend more time watching vibrant/visually stunning animes and movies and listening to music when painting- helps my brain get into the right mode to work). That said you do use math naturally as an artist and it develops as you develop. So this is more for the mom and whoever else is worried about the child learning math than for her.

Book Dragon- Heather Young 2013
Book Dragon- Heather Young 2013

You use a lot of math think to do perspective, scaling things for drawings- whether up or down, composition, layout, proportions, as well as anytime you work on a realistic drawing it is all in your head visual math. The only art I can think of that does not use math as a default would be doing complete abstract (and many abstract pieces are full of math). Anytime you are taking something real world and putting it on paper (including fantasy and manga style, but I am saying, anything you could build and see rather than abstract concepts) you are using an organic math in your head to decide where things go and how they fit and where the lines should go. Mostly it is because when God created the world He filled it with patterns and lines and you can’t draw without replicating those at least in part, and the more you do it and the better you get the more math you are actually using, whether you recognize it or not.

Dragon Daydreams- Heather Young 2013
Dragon Daydreams- Heather Young 2013

Nowadays I can actually see myself doing it, and my art is much better because of it, though when I was young, math made me panic and I had to “ignore” the fact that I was using it and rather intuit it to get it figured right. I still intuit it, but I also intuit most math in other things- if I think about numbers my brain switches them around (there is a name for it- it is called “dyscalculia”- makes doing bills extra interesting), but if I let myself not think about them and intuit the answer it is almost always right.

Beach House Portrait- Heather Young 2009
Beach House Portrait- Heather Young 2009

There is a big difference between conceptual math and arithmetic- arithmetic is 1+1 and people naturally get that stuff because we use clocks and money, bake and play games, and everything else in the real world that uses arithmetic every day. Art, on the other hand, uses a lot of conceptual math- the scientist/mathematician stuff that most people don’t think of as “math”, it is just another form of that. Seeing patterns and using them to know where to put lines and color and shape is much more conceptual than it is arithmetic . That said artists do also use basic arithmetic for figuring proportions and things in more complicated drawings and layout- think M.C. Escher type stuff.

St. Mary's Convent, Freeport, PA- Heather Young 2010
St. Mary’s Convent, Freeport, PA- Heather Young 2010

More on the difference between conceptual math and arithmetic here: http://www.christianunschooling.com/math-think/

Art Media series #2 ACEO- Heather Young 2012
Art Media series #2 ACEO- Heather Young 2012

Also, is you want to see where I am actually posting my art nowadays on a semi-regular basis you can visit my tumblr here: Pocket Lint of the Soul

A Thought about Stress

Think about a time you have been under a lot of stress.

A person you know and respect gets angry and starts yelling at you for reasons you don’t understand.

Your boss berates you for something out of your control.

A close friend is struggling with stress at home and lashes out at you about something trivial.

A bereaved loved one takes their frustrations out on you.

A dear friend misunderstands something you said and refuses to discuss it or listen to what you meant.

A client is angry about a situation you have no control over and takes it out on you.

A bossy family member insists you do things their way when you know it would not be best.

Your spouse had a bad day and lays into you about something unrelated.

You mess up in a big way and feel bad but don’t know how to fix it because you know the person involved won’t take it well.

You screw up and try to fix it but don’t manage to do it right and the other person is furious.

You are trying to learn something new, working really hard at it, and someone teases you for not getting it already.

Someone treats you as a second class citizen because of something you can do nothing about.

Someone blames you for something you didn’t do.

Someone with more experience, expects you to understand why they do what they do but doesn’t attempt to do the same for you.

Someone demands you show them respect when they show you none in return.

Someone belittles you in front of others.

How do you feel?
Does fight or flight kick in?
Do you panic?
Do you fight back?
Do you empathize and realize that person is having a bad day, week, year and stay calm?
Do you belittle the other person?
Do you try to make peace?
Do you take it all on yourself, blame yourself, and accept full responsibility even if it wasn’t your fault?

How does your heart feel?
Do you have anxiety? Stress? Do you just move on as if nothing had happened? Do you internalize it and hold on to it? Does just the thought of the situation make you sick inside?

What if this was a regular occurrence? What if you were dealing with this person on a regular basis? What if their treatment of you was constantly belittling, blaming, or just plain stressful? What would you do? How would you respond?

Would you lash out at them?
Would you respect them?
Would you be timid around them?
Would you avoid them completely?
Would you feel sick all the time at the thought of dealing with them?
Would you willingly tell them everything or avoid speaking to them as much as possible?

This. This is what we do to our children.

This is what we do when we are having a bad day and lash out at them for knocking over their water.

This is what we do to them when we get angry at the mess they left and didn’t notice.

This is what we do when we accuse them of motives they had not even considered.

This is what we do when they don’t know what they did wrong or we misunderstand but don’t listen.

This is what we do to them when they are having a bad day and we belittle their feelings or even get angry at them.

This is what we do when we tease about past mistakes, point out failings, make fun of what they like.

This is what we do when we treat children like second class citizens, demand respect without showing them respect.

If we as adults get sick, stressed, frustrated, try to escape, or place blame when others treat us like this. If we get angry when we feel we have been unjustly accused or when others attribute motives to us that we had never considered. If this is true of us, mature adults who have had plenty of time and experience to learn how to deal with these situations, how much more so for children, who have not yet learned empathy, who are still learning how to navigate the world, and have people they love and should be able to trust treating them this way on a regular basis? No wonder teenagers refuse to share what is upsetting them, refuse to talk about how they feel, prefer to hide what is going on lest they get blamed or berated. By the time these children reach young adulthood they have spent the large majority of their life living with constant stress and dealing with loved ones who treat them with less than respect.

What if, instead, you are treated with gentleness and respect? What if in a misunderstanding the other person regularly gives you the benefit of the doubt, values both your feelings and your opinions? What if the other person, treats you with respect and grace and gentleness rather than blaming and demanding respect?

What about our children? What if they are respected, treated with gentleness and understanding? What if we recognize that they are struggling way more than we see as they learn to navigate this world? What if, instead of assuming they are just doing things to get on our nerves, we recognize that they are having a rough time, they are in pain, struggling to learn something new? What if – instead of rushing them to new things because we are sick of picking the same toy off the floor in their new game – we stick with it, recognizing that they are learning something- that this game is part of their development and that it takes lots of repetition for them to figure it out? What if when they make mistakes as youngsters we try to understand what is going on both what really happened and if there are any struggles we have been missing? What if when they lash out because they are having a rough time we recognize it as just that and look deeper, helping them work through all those emotions? What if, by the time they are teens they have had lots of grace and understanding (real understanding)? What if they really know they are loved and respected because they have had the opportunity to live with love and respect- where their opinions and feelings really matter?

Which young person is going to be healthier and happier? The one who lived with constant stress or the one who lived in a world where he felt valued? Which one is going to make better decisions? The one who is afraid to talk to her parents and so just lies or the one who knows they will really listen and help? Which is going to be more mature and ready to face the real world? The one who has spent most of his life bullied or the one who knows himself well enough to know who he is and what he really wants? Which is going to have the healthiest relationships? The one who has lived in unhealthy relationships or the one who knows her value?

Defined by Hormones

A week ago Rach and I went to the library after her piano practice. She wanted to pick up some old favorite audio books to enjoy while she was drawing. When we got there we found that while working on the teen section of the library they had put all the audio books, all the manga and comic books, and about half the other YA books in storage. All that was available was a smattering of popular and “improving” print books. A whole library of space– room for a huge magazine room for adults, several computer rooms, several open rooms in the basement, a huge new music area, and plenty of other available spots and they had stored away the vast majority of things the young adults actually used instead of finding a place to leave them out while they worked- the project started in April and won’t be done until at least November. Rach was understandably frustrated. I was frustrated and angry at the lack of respect for young people (they had recently done similar work on other sections and never stored any of that away. This is an ongoing issue at this library- if it is for teens then it is easy to push aside.)

What made my blood boil was the response of the librarian we had questioned told Rach, “Just listen to some of the grown-up audio books,” then she looked at me and said, “She is just being a teenager.”

As if Rachel’s righteous frustration at not being able to get to the audio books she wanted because of the thoughtlessness of others was due to her age or hormones. Her genuine irritation at the situation and their treatment of teens was discounted as just being her age.

I want to take a moment and say that our children’s librarian is excellent and genuinely enjoys working with young adults as well as children. He brings in a lot of excellent books, audio books, comics/manga. He has introduced game days and movie nights for the young adults and made the library a natural hangout and friendly place for young people- but he can’t change attitudes. The other librarians as well as the majority of volunteers will quickly sweep aside the concerns of the younger generation, have been known to cancel activities for them for the sake of activities for older adults, and so on. This treatment is reprehensible but it is the comments that irritate the most.

This is something we run into everywhere. Not just at the library, at the store, at the Y, it is everywhere we go. Perfectly ordinary people who have never met either of my daughters automatically discount their very legitimate negative feelings when things go wrong or people treat them poorly as “being a teenager”. Yes, hormones do affect the way we feel- they act like a megaphone for our feelings, especially when we are in the worst of it, but that is just as true during menopause, during the menstrual cycle, during pregnancy. I know the majority of the women I know would be very unhappy if their feelings were regularly discounted because of hormones. “Oh, ignore her, she is just pregnant.” “Oh, she is just cranky because of her period.” “Oh, she just is crying because of perimenopause.”

No. In general teenagers are the only part of our population who regularly have their feelings discounted because of the hormonal stuff going on in their bodies. Everyone else gets the benefit of the doubt.

I wonder how this older librarian or any of the other older ladies who have made “teenager” comments recently would feel if I referred to her regularly as middle aged or a “middle ager”. What if I discounted her feelings regularly because she is dealing with perimenopause. “Oh, you aren’t really upset because you are having a bad day and people are treating you like crap. It is just because you are perimenopausal.” I don’t think that would go over well. And if everyone was doing that to her, after a while she would become pretty sensitive to it.

Our society as a whole tends to treat both young adults and children as second class citizens. We push them to do this and that, to grow up as fast as possible, and then refuse to acknowledge their maturity until a single age when suddenly we expect them to be all grown up. It doesn’t work that way. Everyone is different. We all grow and learn and mature at different stages. We need to respect one another, recognizing that everyone, children and young adults included, are dealing with different things. We all have struggles. We all have frustrations. We all have good days and bad. And as our children grow, we can gradually help them work through the rough spots, encourage them in their strengths, and treat them from early on with respect, recognizing them as fellow human beings instead of second class citizens. I think if we did that we would find that the vast majority of what we call “teenager” behavior would be eliminated.

Oh, and we solved the problem with the library- I suggested Rach go ahead and order the audio books from all the other libraries in the system. Sure it will be inconvenient for the librarians. Sure it may take an extra day but maybe next time they will leave them out instead of storing them away.

#Birdsoftheair New Job Edition

Since last post God has provided  money for the car alignment, money for groceries,  more small gifts and more big gifts for the family.  Shamus was gifted a much needed headset for computer work and an awesome  insulated travel mug (for traveling back and forth to his desk and keeping his tea warm while he is busy) and I got one as well (French press which is extra nice for keeping the coffee grounds and tea bags out of the way.) Issac received a Minecraft axe which he is thoroughly enjoying.  Es got a pile of ebooks that she has been longing for.

And then, a few days ago, a job fell into my lap. ¬†A perfect job that fits exactly into our family schedule. I suddenly find myself working ¬†as a part time caretaker for a local senior citizen. It was very clearly God’s provision and God’s perfect timing. The income should fill in the gaps and allow us to get caught up with bills and needs. The situation means I should have ¬†time to work on paintings/editing/maybe even writing and plenty of time with my family while still providing for us.

God has also provided ways to ¬†take care of a few other needs that worked out perfectly (includes gifts so can’t share.)

Shamus’ computer issues have worked out, leaving him with one less hard drive but a much more stable and faster computer now that he is using Mint.

The weird sleep issues I was having seem to have disappeared (apparently I tried to shift my sleep schedule to fast so that even though I was super tired my body refused to actually sleep. I guess shifting my bedtime from 2am to 9:00pm was a bad idea even if I was tired.)

Also, it looks like the house sale is continuing to go through as at least his most recent attempt by the bank to shake off the buyers failed.  We will see if they continue to hold on.

All in all it has been an amazing and¬†wonderful¬†week where God has been showing His provision for us from every direction– a book sale here, a donation there, a gift here, and job there. ūüôā It will be exciting to see where He leads next.

 

Tire edition #birdsoftheair

It has been a blessed week, though exhausting.

The car now has new tires, and a fixed right front lower control arm thing, and as soon as we have the cash, aligned. It was all confusing and convoluted because ¬†my dad got wind of us needing tires thanks to totally bald ones that skidded in less than a half inch of snow. ¬†He and my mother-in-law decided to pay for it for our Christmas present, but then there was¬†something¬†broken which needed fixed before it can be aligned, and so on. ¬†So my dad ended up paying more than planned for our gift but is now happier because he isn’t worrying about us ¬†getting in an accident. ¬†The tires still need aligned but that will happen as soon as we get paid for a couple jobs. So God worked it all out and we now have good tires and a fied thing that we didn’t know was broken, and soon it will all be aligned so there will be no more¬†concern¬†in that department.

Several packages full of things from our grocery wishlist as well as from the kids wishlists. ¬†This is awesome because we have no money for gifts this year and Hanukkah starts tomorrow night. ¬†The kids thought they were getting nothing. ¬†Instead we now have ¬†the makings for several treats, so we can have a special treat a day, plus they have each gotten a gift – each¬†something¬†they really, really wanted. I also know that at least one other person has ordered gifts for the kids which I haven’t mentioned to them, so that will¬†be¬†exciting to see as well. ¬†(I should take a video next time we get a package. ¬†Everyone gets so excited because it is always a surprise, and often we don’t even know it is coming.)

We got a coupon in the mail for $10 off $40 in groceries, one for each of the next few weeks so I suspect that will be helping put food on the table.

We have the house decorated for Hanukkah, we are all warm and fed, and God, Lord Provider, is so very good to us.

Have a blessed Sabbath.

#Birdsoftheair: little blessings


This week I have had work to do. ¬†I¬†occasionally, when needed, work for an estate appraiser– basically as girl Friday. I fix her computers, ¬†research (I know search-fu), help her clean out and organize, talk business ideas out, type up documents, etc). This week she has extra work so, so do I. ¬†In the past this work has bought us groceries gas many times this week that trend continued.This week has been a week of many blessings. ¬†Not big miraculous “we suddenly have all the money for everything” blessings but rather small “this and that God’s provision through many things” blessings. ¬†I feel strongly I need to be remembering to document these¬†things¬†each week, not just for my sake but also for others who are in similar boats (as well as for those who are nervous of our situation and fearing for us).

Also, earlier this week I found something a family member was looking for at the thrift shop, picked it up and delivered it, and  was given slightly more than what I paid.  This just happened to be exactly enough to cover the cost of the dress Rach needed for a piano recital at a nursing home (in a few weeks and for whch she had no appropriate outfit.)

In fact she found the perfect outfit. ¬†It looked beautiful on her, fit her perfectly (and when you are 5′ 9″ and still growing finding something that fits perfectly at the thrift shop can be a challenge), and was too perfect to not buy right then, even though money was tight. I hated to say no, had peace about buying it despite lack of funds, so said yes and God provided.

The cheese we all love was on sale for cheaper than Aldi at the store near work so I was able to bless our family with  their favorite cheese when I stopped after work yesterday.

I also had enough cash on hand to pick up a few other things to supplement all the food we already have in the house thanks to last weeks blessings and to actually get some gas (been keeping it running on fumes for a few months now– $5 here, $5 there, so $20 in the tank was a huge deal).

A friend blessed Esther with a gift of cash for her new Paypal account (her “big” 13th birthday gift.) So Es is very excited to now have a way to buy things online, and to have money to do so.

Earlier this week the kids made donuts. Now the making of donuts doesn’t seem that much of a blessing except ¬†as a “wow, we have donuts” thing. ¬†Yet, God used it to allow us to bless others. ¬†Rach messed up doubling the recipe and ended up quadrupling some (which lead to a lovely math lesson and a LOT of donuts). ¬†So we shared. ¬†We called up ¬†family and invited them over for donuts. ¬†I took some to work for my friend’s family to share. ¬†All these people who have blessed us recently, we were finally able to bless them back, albeit in a small way. ¬†(Though¬†I must say that this is my favorite donut recipe ever and this thing makes great donuts– since they are all donut lovers, ¬†they were pretty happy with the results.) We still have donuts in the freezer, waiting to be fried, which means donuts will continue in our¬†future, which is also a blessing. ūüôā

We have moved the kids downstairs and are¬†cleaning¬†out upstairs (warmer downstairs, good practice for living in tighter quarters as we likely will in the future, and lets us simplify the upcoming the move). ¬†The kids are handling it beautifully. ¬†In fact, despite a few setbacks thanks to all being introverted to certain levels, they have been spending more time watching movies together, and enjoying each other’s company. ¬†So that is a blessing.

We are moving the kids clothes downstairs next (into a closet in the bathroom) and God has provided  that we have everything we need on hand to do that as wellРincluding flooring for the closet (was just subfloor which was fine but not so nice.) So now the kids are excited about that as well (and I kind of get my family closet.  Shamus and my closet is in our room but the kids will all share which will make putting clothes away so much nicer.)

Shamus has been blessed with so many games that  there is no way he can play them all.  In fact, we were just talking about how much he used to pay for video gamesРat least $60 a month, in order to review them and make comics from them.  He quit buying them and suddenly he has so many more games.  It is exciting to see God providing this thing that is so important to him.

Finally, our little bits of random income are coming through (end of the month after the quarter plus end of the month) so now we have money to finish paying up this months bills and possibly (with the money my dad has offered to help) put tires on the car.  As discovered last week during a very little bit of snowРour tires are completely bald and a little bit of wet=skidding into a parking lot with brakes going into anti-lock mode.  God is good and we were fine but that taught me not to drive in wet and to be super careful until we can get new tires. So praying that falls into place and we can get them soon, before the snow starts to fall regularly.

God continues to take care of us in many wonderful ways.  We continue to not go without. It is exciting to see what will happen next. God is good.

#BirdsoftheAir: Awesome provision plus a Birthday

I meant to write this the other day, but life got in the way.

God has provided in such a way that we are nearly caught up on bills (we were hitting that scary several months behind place). ¬†This means that when Shamus’ dying computer or graphic card both do die we should have money on hand (which we are currently waiting for) to get him what he needs. The money came immediately following me spending the last $1 I had in my purse, leaving exactly $33 in the bank in case something slipped through in the account that I had forgotten. ¬†We were hitting it close and had multiple bills at the near shut off point. ¬†Yet once again God was faithful and provided in a way that had us all in tears.

We also have a plenty of food again, which is nice since we have a birthday plus Thanksgiving and were able to pick up special foods for both.

Also, it looks like the buyer for our house is hanging in there despite multiple hoops the bank has put them through. ¬†Because we are applying for short sale we are pretty much out of the loop but on Tuesday I got an urgent call from the real estate agent as there was a bit of paperwork I had that she didn’t and needed for a deadline…so that is comforting. ¬†We really want the house to sell rather than go with foreclosure. ¬†The bank not get all their money but since we¬†have¬†already paid quite a bit in they will at least get what the house is actually worth and we will be free of that debt. Once that happens we will likely be a whirlwind of activity here as we rush to get packed and find a place to stay (yes, we have a couple possibilities but none are ideal and we know that God will provide the best situation in His time so aren’t worried). ¬†So that should be interesting.

In the meantime, happy 13th¬†birthday to my girly. She is super excited about her cake (homemade ice cream cake with chocolate peppermint candy decorations– which we had money for the ingredients to thanks to a donation–THANK YOU!!!).

¬†She also is excited about the painting I did on her purse (that is Mine Turtle from one of her favorite Youtube video series), being able to get real honest to goodness online accounts in her own name instead of through me, getting my old Genius Mousepen drawing tablet for drawing on her computer, and the game she got on Big Fish. ¬†It doesn’t seem a lot but she is thrilled with it all.

Another beautiful provision the Lord has given has been a matter of attitude.  When we sat down to talk to the kids about Hanukkah gifts (for our family) and Christmas gifts (for extended family) and how it was very unlikely that we would have funds to buy anything unless God provided specifically they got really excited.  They have already come up with gift solutions for their new step-cousins that I think they will love, and said if I made a chocolate for each day for Hanukkah then that would be plenty. They also filled their Amazon wishlists (for extended family who have no clue what the kids are into or need) with things they actually need plus things they would like rather than with just fluff as in previous years.  So praise the Lord for healthy attitudes about stuff.  Proud of these kidsРthey are pretty awesome.

You can read more Birds of the Air posts over at Bohemian Bowmans.

 

Child’s Play and Desert Bus

When I was 8 I got a severe infection and almost died. Spent 3 weeks in the hospital. Three weeks of boredom in between being prodded with needles. The boredom led to fear and worry and my biggest memory of that time is the fear of needles that came from focusing on those needle prods.

When Rach was in the hospital at that same age she had free access to tv, movies, video games. Her memories of that time are much less traumatic. She spent her time playing games with her daddy or I and watching lots and lots of movies.  For Rach it made such an impression that each year she gives out of the little she earns from babysitting.

We also have many friends with kids with severe health issues (from brain injury to spinabifida to leukemia to all sorts of other cancers and tumors) who spend tons of time in the hospital. Having free acccess to tv and video games has made things easier because there is plenty to entertain and distract them. It makes it easier on parents so they can focus on what actually needs done and on the children because with the distractions they are less prone to fear and worry that come with the boredom.

This week Desert Bus¬†is doing their yearly fund drive for Child’s Play. ¬†It is awesome geekiness– full of ¬†famous and semi-famous people from around the geek community. ¬†It is our yearly tradition to watch as a family. ¬†Very fun and wonderful to see the geek community step up to the plate and help children in this way.

Manna Living

My dear friend calls it Manna Plan and oh, what a wonderful description it is. Living on faith, trusting God to provide everythingРwork, money, food, shelter; everything.  He provides when we stay in His will (sometimes it is like being herded or for D&D players: railroaded.) We trust Him and want His best for us, and sometimes His best plan leads through some pretty uncomfortable territory.

Some days manna living is hard.

Some days  you have to decide between  buying butter or toilet paper (in general toilet paper wins but what if you are only almost out of both?)

Some days you have to decide whether it is worth the gas (which you have to buy because you are running on empty) to  make a run to the bank to put $10 in the account lest that small bill that you are pretty sure will go through the next day does and might possibly cause a bounce if anything else goes through that you have forgotten.

Some days you wish you were a normal person with a normal job so your family didn’t have to struggle with these days.

Some days you forget how much God has taken care of you in the past and want to take the easy way out.

Some days are exhausting and scary and heart heavy and hard.

Yet God still provides rainbows after rain.

Manna still comes in the morning.  It may not be much and you may be sick and tired or it, but there it is: Abundance. Just enough is all we need. And we only need enough for today.  

God is still in the heavens and He still owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

The bills will get paid in His time.

We will still have food on our table.

We will still be able to do what He has ordained for us to do.

We can trust Him because He is trustworthy; more trustworthy than government, or insurance, or man.

And all is right with the world for God is good.