Saturday, January 14, 2012

Weekly Report 9 January - 13 January

This was another eventful week here in our homeschool! Highlights this week include the vet discussing revolting dog things with the children (science-check!), a delivery from Rainbow Resources, a new 6-week composer/artist study .... Read on, Dear Reader, read on!

My parents gave me a gift certificate for Rainbow Resources for Christmas. The order arrived this week, and I am looking forward to livening up these winter months with new lessons and books. Monday we started our new 6-week artist/composer study: Rembrandt and Vivaldi. I love a new beginning with a new plan. I never know whether the end result will meet or exceed the plan.


Our first picture for study is Tobit and Anna.

This is from an episode in the Book of Tobit. The righteous Tobit has become blind, and his faithful wife Anna is working and brings home a goat kid. Rembrandt has painted the couple after Tobit accuses his wife of stealing the kid and then asks forgiveness. We had a Sunday School lesson on this in October for Raphael the Archangel's feast day. I hoped this would be fresh in the girl's minds. St. Raphael, who is the angelic guide to Tobit and Anna's son Tobias, is a favorite of mine and Jerry's. This archangel leads Tobit to the wife God intended for him, and prayers are often prayed that, by the power of God, St. Raphael will lead you to whom you seek. Jerry had a St. Raphael prayer card that he carried with him for some time before he met me. We have decided St. Raphael's feast on October 24 will be our "Valentine's Day."

Even if you are not interested in this book for religious reasons, I strongly recommend familiarity with it if you plan for you or your children to study art history.

Resources I plan on using for Rembrandt

Now, don't freak out about the number of books on my list! It is not all necessary! I have collected many of these books over a couple of years from my favorite used book seller for $1-$3 each. Some I have purchased on the Amazon Marketplace for under $1 plus the standard Marketplace shipping of $3.99. An incredible variety can be found if you hunt and hunt for months and years BEFORE you do a lesson. I don't have any where near this many books on any other artist, but Rembrandt books were easy for me to find. I just want to show you what is available if you look around (or check your library.)

The focus of picture study in grammar and middle school is on the PAINTING itself, not the artist or his times. Some of the books I have are for me to read (and educate myself!) and pass on the information to my children in conversation. I know my children would be mortified if I hauled a few books to the museum and walked around reading out of the book! I hope (one day) my children appreciate me walking around the museum and whispering to them funny stories and sad histories related to the artists and their works. My children want us to tell them things in conversation; they want to be treated like maturing human beings. Eventually, my children can read the art histories for themselves. I love my Kindle, but I cannot imagine studying art history on a screen.

Many of my books are ex-library. I hope they can still be found on many other library shelves!

General Art Histories

*The Story of Art by E. H. Gombrich (I think I paid around $6 total)

A classic work for generations. You can read about the various editions and choose the one for your purposes.

*The Story of Painting by Sister Wendy This is an enormous coffee table hardback rich with color. Because I care neither about the original dust jacket nor the black line drawn across the bottom end, I was able to purchase it for $20 and free shipping. Some of the paintings cover 2 pages and are good for detailed study.

*The Annotated Mona Lisa by Carol Strickland

I love the sidebars! I love the comparative charts! A "Crash Course!"

Anthologies for Children

*Lives of the Great Artists by Charles Ayres

If you hang out on homeschool forums long enough, you will notice other homeschoolers posting "deals and steals." I think this book was on special pricing for $3 or $4 and free shipping at one time. The selection is limited to 20 artists from Giotto to Van Gogh. The book is over-sized which allows for pictures large enough to study. There are sidebars throughout such as "Why don't you..." and "Did you know..." The artists covered are covered well for $4.

*Stories of the Painters by Amy Steedman.

This book can be found from $20 to $100. Mine was $20, in beautiful condition, and with pages still uncut. Many of Amy Steedman's books are in the public domain and can be found in many places online such as The Baldwin Project and This book is apparently not in the public domain. Sometimes I see 1910 as the date and sometimes 1938. I love this book. I love Amy Steedman's writing style and the color plates. As always, Steedman's stories begin with childhood. These stories make a nice read-aloud over several days for grammar and middle school students.

*Masters of Art by David & Emily Kales 1967

I spotted this book at a friend's house. Her librarian MIL passes along "discards" to her. I read several selections and then immediately turned to the computer. I found it on Amazon for $0.30 plus $3.99 shipping. I plan on using this book for middleschool outlining and written narrations.

*Young People's Story of Fine Art by V. M. Hillyer and E. G. Huey

Hillyer and his works are legendary in the homeschool world, but because of decades of revision and updates, I never know which editions to choose. My favorite online used book dealer, Linda's Used Books, had several individual titles in his art series for $3 each. She was selling the homeschool library that belonged to a friend. I have rarely paid $3 for a used book before, but these have been worth it. These are from 1970, and have color pictures and text suitable for both reading and outlining. (Nutmeg has written several narrations from the Architecture book - I highly recommend it as well!)

Specifically Rembrandt

*Picture Study Portfolios published by Simply Charlotte Mason.

I purchased the Rembrandt because I felt I needed "handholding" as I embarked on this journey. A booklet is included that gives detailed information (with quotations from Charlotte Mason) on the purpose and form of CM Picture Study, as well as an adapted biography of the artist. In the case of the Rembrandt Portfolio, the biography was adapted from Amy Steedman. Eight large, glossy, sturdy prints are included. This would be an option for someone who does not have ideas about which pictures to choose. (I like none of them.) Finally, the portfolio includes a list of other books for further study. Here I found the title of a middle school novel called "Night Watch." I have been unwilling to pay $15 for it on Amazon though. I'll keep searching...

*Hanna in the time of Tulips

a picture book by Deborah Noyes

*Introducing Rembrandt by Alexander Sturgis

$1.50 ex-library book, middle school

*Rembrandt and Seventeenth-Century Holland by Claudio Pescio

This ex-library book I bought from Linda has come in very hand this year as we have studied the 16th and 17th centuries. Several other artists from this time and place are covered as well as political and social aspects of the society. It is over-sized and contains good pictures and illustrations. The large, detailed illustrations of the canals, dikes, and windmills were invaluable as we studied events in Holland's history. There is a lot of information here!

*Eyewitness Art: Looking at Paintings

I have had this ex-library book for several years. It has interesting information on wide range of topics.

Composer Study

Our Composer for this 6-week period will be Vivaldi. The children are already familiar with some of his music; Jerry and I listen to it a lot. The focus will be putting the name, face, and a few facts with the music.

*Classical Kids cd and Teacher guide Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery

*The Music Masters Series cd The Stories of Vivaldi & Corelli in Words and Music, $4 ?

*Lives of the Musicians Good Times, Bad Times (And What the Neighbors Thought), used

*I, Vivaldi a children's picture book written by Janice Shefelman, used

*Anna Maria's Gift A Stepping Stone Book by Janice Shefelman, used

I worried that this last book might upset 7-year old Buttercup. The first chapter deals with the death of a beloved parent. I then remembered that most of Buttercup's imaginary games begin with orphans whose parents have died of the cholera... Yes, Buttercup has been steeped in classic children's literature, in large part due to

I am considering reading the chapter on Vivaldi in Victor Chapin's 1969 The Violin and Its Masters. Perhaps I could glean some interesting bits of information and pass along to our violinist, Nutmeg. It is something to keep on hand for high school at any rate.

In addition to these resources, we will be listening to my husband's impressive Vivialdi collection as well as some Vivaldi pieces found in the Beethoven's Wig cd series. We love those at our house!


Some time ago I purchased a download of Beautiful Feet's geography program using four of the Holling Clancy Hollings books. I did not want to spend the money on the maps hoping I could use some I already had or could find on the internet for free. Using my gift certificate, I bought the Beautiful Feet maps that go with the program. Each of the four maps is 24" x 18" and printed in two shades of brown on cream cardstock. I really think these maps are necessary to the program; the size will allow the child to include and observe so much detail! Nutmeg was very excited when she saw the maps, less excited when she saw the first book, Paddle to the Sea. I think she will certainly be able to handle one lesson per week.


I also purchased Elementary Greek: Koine for Beginners volume 1 of a 3-year program. It is New Testament or Koine Greek. Now, I know this is perhaps controversial. I know that Attic Greek is preferred in Classics departments. I know it is recommended that one study the more difficult, Attic, before the simpler, Koine. I know.


1. My primary goal with this subject is for my children to read the New Testament as written and to understand the nuances and idioms.

2. My husband is studying New Testament Greek.

3. There are many homeschool Koine Greek programs for non-Greek-reading parents to choose from. Attic - not so many.

4. I got a Rainbow Resources gift certificate. This program was on their damaged/bargain page. That's how I was raised to shop. :)

I'll update again in the coming weeks and let you know if these resources are livening up our homeschool through the winter months!

Hope you found something useful!

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Sarah Beam said...

Amazing. I love how deeply you delve into these things (and save me some research time).

Also, I shop the same way you do, so I would have chosen the same Greek program.

LaughingLioness said...

Really impressed with teh art study- wow! We did BF Geo and loved it. I agree- the maps are necessary! My 11 ds started Intro to Biblical Gr. yesterday! Have a restful week-end!

MissMOE said...

Rainbow Resource orders always make me happy as well! I love your method of educating yourself first, so the knowledge can then flow naturally.

My name is Tiffany said...

Your love of art is coming through, its going to be a great six weeks. I too am collecting resources so when I find a deal I take advantage of it. RR gift card that is a great gift.

Regena said...

I love reading about what you're doing! All your work looks so much like what we do - I can't wait for next year when we'll be doing a more formal art and music appreciation program!

We used the BF maps to do the Holling studies a few years ago and I absolutely loved the results. I think you will, too!


Jennifer said...

your kids are so fortunate to have you as a teacher.