Monday, August 20, 2007
Now that I've briefly explained the "why", I'll tell you how we put it into practice using this year's studies as an example. We're covering the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation in history this year, so I've chosen to study artists from this time period as well. I purchased a wonderful coffee table book called The Great Masters by Giorgio Vasari. It contains large color prints of the paintings and sculptures of Giotto, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Raphael and Titian. Beginning with Giotto, I've selected five paintings that will be our focus for the term. I made color photocopies of each and put them in some wood document frames that I bought at the dollar store. They hang behind the couch in our classroom so that we are constantly exposed to them. Once a week we choose one of the paintings for further study. We study it silently for a few minutes, flip the picture over and take turns narrating, usually with the youngest going first. Narration is simply telling in your own words what you saw. We will often discuss what each of us liked or disliked about the painting. If there is a bit of background information that may be helpful, I will mention it after the narration has been given. I give my narration last, pointing out anything that I noticed that they may have overlooked. However, my children have sharp eyes and they often point out things that I never noticed! This is not intended to be an art lecture; it is intended for the children to develop a relationship with the world's great works of art as they form their own ideas and examine their feelings about each painting.
We are rounding out our study with two wonderful resources. The first is Knights of the Art by Amy Steedman (see link to the left). It is a very well-written account of the lives of some of the great Gothic and Renaissance artists. We read from this once or twice a week to gain some insight into the lives of the artists we are studying. The second resource is Discovering Great Artists by Maryanne Kohl. It suggests hands-on activities to go along with the study of each artist. For instance, we will be making our own egg paints using ground up chalk and egg yolks, much like Giotto would have made his paints. Often we will copy a painting or paint one of our own "in the style of" the artist we are studying. As they study and practice the art of the great masters, their own artistic endeavors begin to grow and mature.
I hope you've enjoyed this glimpse into our adventures in art. If you think you'd like to try this in your home and would like additional information, resources and support, come join us at the Artist Study CM Yahoo group. Hope to see you there!
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
We started back on July 30th with no big fuss or "to-do". It was more of a comfortable settling in, kind of like coming home again after an extended absence.
I'm really looking forward to this year. Our history studies will focus on the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation which is my absolute favorite period in history. And with three boys, what could be better than the age of chivalry with its knights in shining armor? Personally, I'm looking forward to the Reformation and learning more about our Christian history and heritage.
Our Science spine is 106 Days of Creation by Sonya Shaffer. We'll be studying science in the order of Creation. For instance, Day 1 saw the creation of light so we are currently studying things like shadows, reflections, refraction, etc. We just completed a fun experiment where we traced our shadow with chalk on the driveway at 10:00 a.m. and again at 1:00 p.m. We compared their shapes, discussed why and how shadows are cast and why they changed over time. Alek then drew a picture of the experiment and wrote a brief description for his notebook. Of course we are also continuing our regular nature study. Yesterday we caught and examined a grasshopper and last week we were able to closely observe and (relatively confidently) identify a Banded Hairstreak. I'm hoping that the boys will continue to develop their powers of attention and observation this year. They still tend to miss so many of the wonders that God sends their way because they flit from one thing to the next without really attending to our observing what is in front of them. That is definitely one of Charlotte Mason's favorite habits that we will be focusing on this year. Check back for my next post where I'll tell you about another tool that we use to sharpen the powers of attention and observation: Picture Study.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
O.K., so maybe it's silly to post about my bedroom being painted, but I love the way it turned out so I thought I'd share. Now I just need to do curtains and wall hangings and accessories and... Where's my interior designer sister when I need her?
We bought paint for the classroom and kitchen too, but I need a break before moving on. I was hoping to get the classroom done before school starts (which is in two weeks, yikes!) but I'm not sure that's going to happen.
I guess you can stay tuned for more "Home Makeover" pictures!
Saturday, July 7, 2007
We had a picnic lunch right there by the creek and then decided to venture on and check out some of the other sights in the area. We travelled up the mountain to Fort Mountain State Park and on the way we were able to stop and take in the amazing view. The mountains just roll for miles. It's a very different mountain view than what we are used to. The mountains here are smaller and gently rolling, but they are beautiful none the less. We stopped at the information center when we reached the park and collected some information on camping and the cottages they have for rent. What a fun time that would be when Nana and Poppa come. There's a beautiful mountain lake up there with swimming, hiking and even miniature golf. It's a lot like Red Top Mountain and we would definitely like to go back and visit.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Monday, June 18, 2007
Noah's 5th birthday party was a success! The kids all received pirate names when they came in the door, along with a headscarf, eyepatch and earring. Noah's pirate name was Barnacle Breath Gus. I was Sharkbait Jade Sparrow. I was so busy running around that I don't think I ever saw Andrew's or Alek's. We had a great day playing, going on a treasure hunt, opening presents and eating cake.
Speaking of cake, I actually made one that looked good! For those of you that don't know, cake and I just don't get along. Every time I try to make a decorated cake it ends up looking completely awful, and every time I swear I will never make one again. But this time I was pretty happy with it. What do you think?
All in all, it was a wonderful day. I wish our family could have been there for the fun, but we enjoyed talking to everyone as they called to wish Noah a happy birthday.
The title of my blog comes from Psalm 144. David prayed "Let our sons in their youth be as grown-up plants, And our daughters as corner pillars fashioned as for a palace; Let our garners be full, furnishing every kind of produce, And our flocks bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields; Let our cattle bear without mishap and without loss, Let there be no outcry in our streets! How blessed are the people who are so situated; How blessed are the people whose God is the LORD!"
We have been very richly blessed, especially with our three amazing boys. Our purpose and prayer for them is that they would be as plants grown up in their youth, producing fruit for the Lord at a young age. This is a huge part of why we homeschool and we're seeing the desired results already.
I hope this blog is a blessing to all who visit and I can't wait to see where it goes!