If you have ever mentioned that you homeschool, you will, no doubt, have been queried on that most pervasive bugaboo Relevance, e.g. "How is a dead language or the stories of Dead White European Males relevant to today's world?" Some may ask these questions merely to keep the conversation rolling. Others really want to know, "How will they earn money from knowing that?" Again and again I hear questions about the link between this or that language or this or that subject with future financial gain. Well, that is what tech schools are for: learning specific skills for a specific career field. But my kids are in 2nd and 6th grade, for crying out loud! Surely this is the time to explore all the world has to offer! As an English Major (we often speak of that as though it were a profession with its own Tech School) I could not be bothered with monocots and dicots (I learned about them last year with my daughters). Now is the time for my children to explore the oft-neglected corners of the world to discover their own interests.
Exploration and discovery are important in themselves, but they also provide the content that is organized and later written and spoken about~ the writing and speaking skills so often lamented in this country. At the top of my History syllabus, I have this quotation by Susan Wise Bauer,
History is the training ground where the student learns to organize and evaluate information.
My, my. Learning to organize and evaluate information~ in which field would that not be relevant? I think I will use that as my response to questions about what we do at home all day. "We learn to organize and evaluate information."
We cannot measure the influence that one or another artist has upon the child’s sense of beauty, upon his power of seeing, as in a picture, the common sights of life; he is enriched more than we know in having really looked at even a single picture. ~Charlotte Mason
Picture study and composer study are going great! I chose some works by Rubens and sent them to Shutterfly. I received my prints on Wednesday; some were 8 x10, but some would only print as 5x7. Nutmeg's exclamation when she saw this was priceless!
Both girls loved it immediately, and were happy to hear I would later hang it in the playroom.
Nutmeg and Buttercup studied the picture, then turned it over and described the image they held in their minds. They each colored a simple coloring page while I read from a truly timeless treasure: Amy Steedman's Stories of the Painters. I cannot find this book available in the public domain; sometimes I see a publication date of 1910 and sometimes a date of 1938. I found a copy on Amazon for $17. It is so beautiful I almost cried. It has Amy Steedman's wonderful biographies, color plates, as well as some black and white illustrations. Some of the pages were still uncut!!
The girls made narration pages, and the picture was placed on the kitchen table for the week.
Composer study has consisted of listening to works by Corelli, and listening to The Stories of Vivaldi and Corelli in Words and Music. Next week we will do biography readings and notebooking about Corelli.
If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development. ~ Aristotle
Back to my relevance soapbox: We study History. Yes, history, that stuff that happened thousands of years ago, last century, last week, 5 minutes ago. It matters. We jumped into the history cycle in year 2. When we reached the American Revolution in year 3, I realized we were studying the influence of Rome and Greece on American thinkers and architects without our having studied what the culture of ancient Greece and Rome was. That is just one "light bulb" moment I've had. Historical context is necessary for the understanding of current events. Now repeat that 3 times. :)
This week we continued to study the ravages in the wake of the Protestant Reformation. We discussed Iconoclasm in The Netherlands and its effects. We watched a Rick Steves travel video on Amsterdam complete with a trip to a "red light district." I now recommend pre-viewing it first. Ahem. Buttercup enjoyed Katje the Windmill Cat and Don Quixote and the Windmills. She narrated and illustrated both books. I do realize Don Quixote is a Spanish story. We were studying The Netherlands' independence from Spain, so I thought Don Quixote and the windmills was a perfect fit.
Nutmeg is working her way through a retelling of Don Quixote by James Baldwin. I am trying to convince her that the more challenging vocabulary and sentence structure are an antidote to the Star Wars books she is so fond of reading.
She has been also practicing 2-level outlines using a library book~ outlining and Shakespeare Study! :)
A language must die to be immortal. ~G K Chesterton
We are all meant to be naturalists, each in his own degree, and it is inexcusable to live in a world so full of the marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things. ~Charlotte Mason
I found these in the back of a friend's yard on a nature ramble with my daughters and hers. The girls sketched, while I looked through field guides for identification. I settled on tick trefoil, but I am not sure which one. "You have the best weeds!" I gushed while asking permission to come back later for seed pods.
I am looking forward to cooler weather and more nature rambles!