6.21.2010

A Glimpse of Charlotte Mason

I went to my very first homeschool convention this weekend.  It was really great!  Aside from the classes, spending time with a bunch of women on a 4 hour road trip (each way) and in a hotel room . . . you can't go wrong!  I did learn that I'm not as young as I once was . . . it's taking me four days to make up for the 4am bedtime!!  (sigh)

Before talking Charlotte Mason, I want to share this site with you.  I met the Human Calculator!  I went mostly because my 10yo son is completely immersed in the Guinness Record books and so I had to get this guy's autograph.  I'm so glad I went to this class.  He blew me away!!  He's started a new math website as well to help kids think the way he thinks.  Check it out.

For next year I've been thinking a lot about what I'm going to do with my girls.  My oldest will be entering the public school world for a year and I'm going to have some valuable time training my girls.  I'm really excited for this opportunity!  One of the things I wanted to do more with all of my children, but especially my art-minded daughter, was art appreciation.  I've always leaned more toward the Charlotte Mason ideals, but I haven't studied them enough or implemented them enough to really be affective.  I went to a couple of classes based on the CM way and got even more excited about reading her original writings.  The best part I learned was how to teach art appreciation the CM way. 

*  Take 6 prints of one artist.  Have a "lesson" on one print each week for six weeks. 

*  For about ten minutes show the kids the painting, collectively and then individually. 

*  Then take the picture away and have them tell you what they observed in the painting  (start with the youngest to give them a chance to get the easy stuff out of the way). 

That's it!  I guess the goal was to expose the children to 30 artists in 9 years! 
Simple.  Amazing.  Effective.

The goals in doing this excercise are for your children to
1) learn the power of observation
2) develop a sense of beauty and power to appreciate
3) get direct contact with great art

The speaker told us that oftentimes we get so excited to teach the technicalities of art that the kids actually lose interest and that love for learning.  I so needed to hear that!  

One of my other goals next year is to make sure I get out into nature more.  This year I did a little more than before, so I'm just hoping I can increase that year after year.  I'm going to use this same approach on our nature hikes.  I'm just going to have my kids sit for 10 minutes and then share what they've observed.  If they want to draw or write in their nature books, that's great too. This exercise isn't only going to be great for the art and nature appreciation but I hope it will also teach my children how to be still.   I think we can all use this lesson!!



"Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth."
 - - Psalms 46:10

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