Art Study and the other SO CALLED STUDIES

Illustration by Arthur Rackham
I have to say first that we are new to art study this year. It was always one of the things I wanted to do and never did. At Ambleside they provide you with incredibly good painters and the prints to study according to their schedule, but for some reason that did not work for us, or not yet.

I only have my oldest in AO year 1, but I also want a way that my youngest, age 4, can participate a bit too. I've been getting inspiration from Charlotte Mason's Help, earlier in the summer, when I planned an overview for the whole year, and I encourage you to do this for the so called 'extras', although they are not really extras but important components of a Charlotte Mason education. Because they are the least elements you can find in a box, though you can find boxed things to help you, you still need seriously to come up with a doable plan and good news is that it can be inexpensive.

As with our nature study. First I just realized the importance of having these elements in the girls education, and why not, in mine too:

  • Hymn study
  • Folk study
  • Artist study
  • Composer or music study
  • Foreign Language study
  • Nature Study
  • Instrument Practice
Just take a piece of paper, write the 12 months. Think of 10 hymns you sing, or even five, write them down.

Go here, find Folk Songs, think of others you like, write them down.

Think of ten painters, if you don't have ten, start with three, once you go to this site, you can type anything, like children at play, families... and find or remember of other artists. Or even go to the Ambleside archives of former painters studied.

Composer or music study. Following Charlotte Mason's Help suggestion, we are doing


You can too! Once more, Youtube, and a favorites account you can have for free, it's where you add your favorites and organize them in categories, like HERE you can see mine. You can type Peter and the Wolf, and listen with them. We have Bernstein Favorites: Children's Classics, but even my public library has it. Just write on that piece of paper month by month a few books you may have or locate at the library, and a CD or the music on youtube you plan to use for at least one quarter. After I decided on this, I found these books by Tapper, and other possibility may be to pick one of his composers, read about him in his delightful and FREE books, and simply listen to music by him. Or once more, go to the always resourceful Ambleside archives, and study their current or past composers and locate their music on the Internet and either download it (I don't even know how to do that), or listen online.

For foreign language, choose one, type again children songs in X language you like to study, if they have the words better. The same, write the names of those songs, at least three or four, and be sure to play them during the week. I know it's preferred every day, but if you do this at least once or twice a week, that's a starter.

For instrument practice. Get your child a recorder, and a program like Progressive Recorder, or anything you may already have. Get yourself a recorder too, and simply set the timer to 10 minutes for them to do the lessons on DVD, and at times sit with them and practice. If you can't make your child of six practice 15 minutes almost every day such a thing as a recorder, why should you spend a fortune on lessons? The teachers are going to ask your child he or she practices daily at home. And the Suzuki method has the mother practice with the child at home... apart from the fortune that a violin is, plus the classes. To me it's the same as Brandy says about reading. It's much more difficult to teach a bright child of four to read than an average child of six. It's much more laborious and slow to teach a bright child of four to play violin, than an average child of six or seven. And it's very cheap to have a child of six or seven learn to read music, that will take them far in any instrument they want to pursue later. Plus my friend Stephanie assures me the recorder is a serious instrument as well. From there to the flute or clarinet I'm guessing the transition won't be impossible to make.

Someone in the Ambleside lists who teaches piano, says she doesn't recommend it before children can read, and guess what, when they can, they can understand those DVD's for a good few years. My husband's niece started to play violin at 8, and she got to play at the Houston symphonic... she couldn't continue cause her interests took her to Oxford for a master and now back to Houston for a PHD. She also played a whole lot of guitar by herself. We have this obsession with that we couldn't have, but there is no point in changing that for the other obsession of giving our children everything before they are even five.

For nature study, set a day a week, and if you don't take a short walk that day, do it at another time. Do not worry if you did not take pictures or not get to draw... first simply establish a habit of taking a brief intentional walk where you'll be sharpening your senses and looking and observing. Bring something in your head to look it up.
Ah, someone asked me how I research what I find in Google... mercy... I sometimes can't find what I saw or photographed for days. I type, for example, red wildflower in Texas, or plant looking like a furry ball, or purple dandelion looking weed!, and hit images, and try desperately to find something similar and go from there... sometimes it's an easy find, as when I wrote... animals that sound like sheep in ponds. Wow, I got a video of the exact serenade we had heard that day! And that Eastern Small-mouth Toad was told to be present in Texas!
Good luck with your STUDIES!

3 opinion(s):

...they call me mommy... said...

GREAT post, Silvia! My bookmark section is FILLING up with great links from you! :)

I love Charlotte Mason Help! I use her curriculum right now over Ambleside since it was a easier transition for me! :)

Silvia said...

Sorry Amy about the overflowing links! There's so many resources... at some time I also pull the plug and start just working and using what I have and the best I know, and it may not be totally ambleside or CM, or perfect, but we enjoy it and it works... just sayin'

Sarah said...

When we first transitioned to AO I slowly added the arts to our program. The arts subjects make the days so enriching! Thanks for all your extra info! xxx


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