Stop Motion Video & Homeschooling & Time

Time. It is something we don’t have, right? Wrong.

Part of the reason I homeschool is to give my children a chance to seek their passion, explore their interests and find things to do that are creative, educational or just plain fun. I give them TIME…for details on how I do this listen to my Podcast here– available on Monday Noon Eastern. I give myself permission to complete curriculum on our time, not as prescribed by the public school system. That is not to say that my kids are behind, far from it.

This summer there was time set aside to explore, create, read, swim, and of course play baseball and softball.

One day I noticed my son, Mike, had all of his building bricks out – and his “guys” dressed in combat gear. I didn’t really think too much about it – he either plays with them or he doesn’t. He is thirteen and while his older brother does his best to tease him, Mike could care less. Mike plays baseball, reads constantly and is a good student. So, it shouldn’t have surprised me that he taught himself how to create stop motion video, but it did. I was shocked.

My office was converted from my daughter Christina’s old room. She co-authored the Truth Seeker’s Mystery Series with me, in her teens. In order to get to it I have to walk upstairs and through our school room and past Mike’s desk. The fact that I overlooked exactly what he was doing still astounds me. Mike’s desk is next to built-in shelves, against the wall. One shelf juts out and is the perfect place to set up a stage. However, did I notice? No.

Stop Motion Animation - Step by Step Guide Downloadable PDF with everything you need to know. #lego

On a good day I’m not the most observant person. I see “Mommy” things – like clothes that are not picked up, things on the floor, whether or not the trash has been taken out, you know…Mom things. But, if I’m standing in line and talking or engrossed in my grocery list making sure I didn’t leave something out, then no – I don’t see the person trying to get by so I can move out of the way. I am an engrossed kind of person.

And that is why I didn’t even know what Mike was doing other than him asking me for things. Such as, “Mom can you print a page of scenery on your color laser printer for me?” That printer is off limits to the family and used for work, so my permission was needed, and I did. It was a nice scenery. I asked him what it was for, and he said a project he was working on. My kids work on projects all the time, those they give themselves.

Then the question of a light bulb, a small lamp and our old computer monitors. The lighs were an easy fix, but I no longer have the monitors, the two small flat-screens from desk top computers that no longer functioned. Those were donated to a local, special needs schoolm awhile ago.

I finally asked, “What exactly are you doing with your LEGO(R)?” And, his answer? “Stop-motion videos.”

“What?”

The conversation soon turned to how in the world this came about. Obviously his teacher didn’t teach him how to do this! Umm, that would be me! He began explaining how his friend taught him a portion of what to do, he watched other videos that were similar but more professional, and how his iPad Mini (that I purchased for him to read eBooks) had software that captured his still shots and turned them into a production.

Wow. I was impressed.

I asked to see his video and I was even more impressed. He was very critical showing me the shadows at the beginning before he solved his lighting problems, the jerkiness and the ending where his hand was caught in the action and he needed to re-record the scenes. And, he still did not have the voice over. He is in the process of writing his script. To some it may be an amateur version of the real thing – but he did it all by himself! He created this from nothing. Without the help of his parents. It was his summer project that kept him busy, entertained and it became an amazing educational opportunity in: computer technology, photography, lighting, editing, creative writing, screen play, animation and more.

He finds lots of faults with this video, however I convinced him to allow me to place it on my blog. I couldn’t wait to show all of you his project – so here it is.

The point of this post is not to say my son is awesome, although of course I think he is; it is to explain that none of this would have ever happened without time! This summer we took a break from formal school, and it was the first year, in a long time. Sure, we’re working on finishing last year’s Biology text currently, but I’m happy we took the break. Giving kids time to experiment, play, read, and just have a chance to think is so important to any home. In this way they can find their passions, look at different things they may be interested in, and focus on learning more–if it turns out to be educational, well then all the better.

Mike was so happy I was excited about his project. He asked if he could use this as a credit for high school, and we are searching for the correct course code to give it, but yes, why not? I hope he can improve the video and receive a high school credit in computer animation. There are so many educational things you have to know in order to do this type of thing.

Here is a great step-by-step printable on how to create a Brick Film by Michael, my son. [Steps-to-Creating-a-Brick-Film_Printable_Copyright2014_MediaAngelsInc].

If you are interested in more ways to use LEGOs in your child’s education, my friend Amy has a large collection of posts and printables for LEGO learning.

Mike also became more excited about beginning this school year and the things we would learn. His enthusiasm rubbed off on me and on his sister. I’m always excited at the beginning of every year and I love, love, love to teach. In fact, my children want to place a time limit on my teaching extemporaneously – I admit I do go off on tangents. But most of all, I’m delighted because my son –is excited about learning. This is a gift, and one I wish I’d had as a child. Now I see education as a way to rise above the ordinary and reach for the stars.

The encouragement and time we give our children to explore is a priceless gift. While Mike was perfecting his craft, Anne was working on a micro-business and started a small, custom candy business. She makes and ships fudge to members of our immediate family. It is a family recipe that is very difficult to make in humid, Southwest Florida. My kids are ordinary but I know they can achieve extraordinary heights given the time.

Time is the one ingredient our Lord seeks from us, the time to close our eyes, and listen. It is in those still and quiet times that we find peace, and tranquility.

I encourage you to give yourself time to create and explore as well as your children. If you must fit it into your daily schedule or plan. If you run out of time remove the distractions like television, computers or electronic devices. There’s a country song that talks about the by gone days and whatever happened to writing letters. There is a gem of truth there – a lesson we can all learn.

How will you fit time to explore into your day – share it with us!

Disclaimer: The owner of this blog is not affiliated, sponsored, or endorsed by LEGO® Education or the LEGO® Group. LEGO®, the LEGO® logo, the Brick, are trademarks of the LEGO® Group. ©2014 The LEGO® Group.

Comments

  1. This is VERY timely for me as my 13-year-old son also loves creating things with his LEGOs but struggles thru math, reading, and writing. This would be perfect for him to work on! Please thank you and thank Mike for posting this!

  2. Thank You!

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