What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Friday, September 28, 2012

The "Be Inspired" Board and How We Tackle the Arts

Because I have been asked by several people, and because it is fun to talk about (much moreso than MATH), I wanted to answer a few questions about how we cover the Arts in a separate post.  (Get ready.  It's a long one.)

Here is my philosophy, in a nutshell:

  To that end, I created the BE INSPIRED board.  

If you notice on the school schedules for the year, we study a Composer of the Month, an Artist of the Month and a Poet of the month.  Obviously, that doesn't cover very many in a years time- but I like just having one to focus on so that we can experience (and by experiencing, hopefully, remember) that persons' gifts more extensively.  We look at a LOT of that artists paintings, we read many of that poets words, we listen to many beautiful works of music all through the month.  Much better than a quick gander at a few paintings that will likely not root seeds of appreciation.

The object, in these early years, is just to introduce things- create mental "pegs" to hold information.  Someday as more mature individuals, a painting or poem or orchestral work might move them deep in their soul, and it might feel as if they have known that painting or poem or song all along.  THAT is what I am going for.  

Not everyone does things the same, or even values the same things--but since you asked, this is what *I* do.  Or rather, this is what I *TRY* to do, when I am self-disciplined enough to do it and/or when life isn't throwing me too many crazy curveballs.

Composer Studies:

The nitty-gritty:

On Mondays we talk specifically about the composer of the month.  (1st Monday  we introduce that artist.  Following Mondays of the month, we review information we learned (name, date, birth place, important facts) and then follow up with other supplemental sources.   
Thursdays the children listen to an episode of Classics For Kids (there are usually enough for the month).  The rest of the week we just listen to some of their works--can be during school time, or while I am making supper or more often, while we eat supper.  We like to listen to classical music when we eat. 

Some  helpful supplemental sources:

Great Composer by Piero Ventura (a great book for elementary children that introduces the reader to many of the most famous composers through a chronological history of music.  Our library has this and Great Painters and last year I borrowed it, renewed it, borrowed it, renewed it so many times I thought I needed to get my own copies this year.  So we did.  Now the rest of the library-goers can have a chance with them!)

Stories of the Great Composers by June Montgomery (this one comes with a cd that has one classical work of each composer.  Good stuff.)

Getting To Know the World Greatest Composers by Mike Venezia (A great series of biographical works on famous composers.)

YOUTUBE.  At the start of the month, I search YOU TUBE for my composer and see what they have to offer.  Sometimes it is part of an opera, sometimes it is the music set to animation, you never know what you will find- but usually there is SOMETHING good.

 The Classic Cat (a free source of tons (6,000 or something crazy like that!) of classical works to listen to, organized by composer.)

Dover Great Composers Coloring Book.  I photocopy the pages instead of letting them color in the actual book.  That way, I can use the coloring book for ALL my children and not just one.)

Ambleside Online has a wonderful selection of links and resources for Composer studies (and art studies.)

A great link I found there was a series of  Music Talks with Children.  (and no, no relation to the e-text guy there.)

Art History and Artist of the Month:

The nitty gritty:

I want the children to not only be exposed to art, but to be able to look at it whenever the fancy strikes.  I'd love to see them really LOOKING at a painting-without me telling them what to see-so in the beginning of the month, I print out some of the Artist of the Months' most famous (or profound) works and laminate them.  That way, they can handle them ALL they want.  We hang 'em up on the board, but we take them down each week to look at them again and try and remember the name of the work by playing little games and having little contests.)

Mondays: Introduction to Art and Picture Study (We read a chapter of the book Introduction to Art or look at famous works.   Sometimes, Mondays don't happen (it is grocery day after all) and we kind of incorporate picture study into Fridays.

Tuesdays: Art Project, Craft Project, Drawing With Children.  Tuesdays may or may not correlate with the artist of the month.  There are great sites that have pictures to color of some major works of art which are good to do for our Artist of the Month.  There are plenty of good ideas swirling around the internet of how to recreate art in a similar fashion and using similar techniques as your Artist of the Month or to make projects related to him/her.  (This is a great book along those lines and another one of those books I should really just BUY instead of hoard from the library.)  But sometimes, we just want to do something frivolous.  A themed project.  A seasonal craft.  So, it all depends on our mood.  Some just-random art fun comes from this blog and this one.  I'd love to find a book that offers lots of projects and ideas of different art techniques to try in one place.  Maybe THIS one

Fridays: Artist of the Month (We spend time learning about the artist of the month; we spend it learning and/or reviewing the important information (Name, date, type of art, some of his famous works.)  We play guessing games with their works as review. We read books on them.  I go on Amazon and search for books on that artist, borrow them from the library and read them.  (Not just biographical books, but fun KID books too.  Like this one.  Or this.) Also, this is a great source of free lapbooking stuff for Artist Studies.

This is where I find most of my artist works to print and laminate.  It requires free registration, but they are very kind and give permission to print anything you like for homeschooling purposes if only you ask.  In fact, when I asked, she sounded downright thrilled!  I love people like that.  Plus, I totally agree with their philosophy.


This is the easiest of the bunch.  Basically, get a good Childs Anthology of Poetry and go through it.  Pick a poet, then spend the month reading poems!  

Poetry For Young People is a wonderful series of books, with each book covering the works of a famous poet.  Many wonderful choices.

I have quite a few books of poetry but even so, I would really love to get my hands on this book

Here is a good Introduction to Poetry for children.  When the time comes to start trying to write poetry, this book is a handy one to have.  It teaches the different poetry styles as well as offering examples of good poetry and short biographies of a few poets.

The Grammar of Poetry is a classical DVD course for older students (6th-9th) that seems stellar for "some day".

 Sometimes we use poetry for the childrens' copywork, sometimes it is poems that the children read aloud to me, sometimes they memorize poetry other times they just listen.   No matter what, they are becoming familiar with the beauty of the written word and learning to appreciate it.  And, that is the goal.

PS. Tomorrow I'll be answering all other questions in a Q&A post...so if you've got a question to ask- you better do it quick! ;-)


Leah T. said...

I LOVE the Be Inspired board and will have to do something similar for our children! Thank you so much for sharing what you do for these subjects! I need to get more organized and either invest some money in some of the books you mentioned or see if our library has any of them. (We have a very small library and even with ILL there is not a big selection.)

I can't believe the week is over! I'd love to hear even more about your homeschool days and how they work. :)

Anonymous said...

What do you have to do as far as reporting to the school district? I know requirements can vary greatly from state-to-state and am always curious to see what others have to do.

And I love the reclaimed barn wood - it's all the rage right now! Who's idea was it?

Paula said...

Your inspiration board is such a wonderful idea and I love how you really focus on one person each month. You are so right that it is better to know lots about one area, than a little about lots of areas. 'Jack of all trades, master of none' as they say.

I am really enjoying your school posts. I don't home educate my children (though I would very much have liked to), but I am always trying to find ways to enrich their education at home. Schools focus far too much on the hard facts and not nearly enough on the LOVE of learning. I try to fill that gap in at home. We go on nature walks, visit museums, we do art and craft projects and we read, read, read together. I think I shall have to add something similar to your inspiration board to our home activities. It is such a lovely idea.

sandy said...

Am I too late!? hoping the time difference will get me in! Just wondering what grammar program do you use? What do the littles do while you help the others? What phonics program do you use?

Love you map wall! Don't even have an ugly wall and I want to copy the idea!:-) Its all so lovely, it makes me super excited about homeschooling! And my oldest is only 2! Have to force myself not to wish the years away so we can get started!

sandy said...

Am I too late!? hoping the time difference will get me in! Just wondering what grammar program do you use? What do the littles do while you help the others? What phonics program do you use?

Love you map wall! Don't even have an ugly wall and I want to copy the idea!:-) Its all so lovely, it makes me super excited about homeschooling! And my oldest is only 2! Have to force myself not to wish the years away so we can get started!