Tuesday, 8 January 2013

New Year New Rhythm

About six weeks ago, I came up with a new idea which gives L and M individual educational attention and allows us all to be productive. We are fortunate enough to have a home office. My nephew came for a visit, and when he visits we share my desk. I have an extra office chair which I gave him to use. After he went back home, I had what Oprah calls an 'Aha moment'. I realised that I could share my desk with my girls to do our 'homeschooling' or 'home education'

Now each girl sits at my desk with me for one to one time having their lessons. I rearranged my desk and section of the office, and in the process found things that I had printed off for completion. Now, they are all in file folders and easily accessible.

There are some activities that require more space and so we go to the living room or kitchen and carry out the activity there. If we were doing a messy science experiment, I certainly would not want that happening in my office! That would be done outside, in the kitchen or in the bathroom where clean up would be easy.

There are certain things that we all do together like Composer Study and here is my playlist for this term. We are listening to selections by Bach. We listen to the music, discuss the mood of it and then we listen to other selections to see if we can notice a style that is specific to the composer.

We also do Artist study and look at six paintings each term. This term we have two artists to study and the are Jacob van Ruisdael (1628/9-1682) and Pieter de Hooch (1629-1684). We will look at three paintings from each of them.

Here are the six paintings we will look at:

Jacob van Ruisdael (Dutch, 1628/9-1682)

1. Two Watermills and an Open Sluice near Singraven, 1650-52, National Gallery, London
2. View of Haarlem with Bleaching Grounds, c.1665, Kunsthaus, Zurich
3. Windmill at Wijk bij Duurstede, c. 1670, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Pieter de Hooch (Dutch, 1629-after 1684)

4. Courtyard of a House in Delft, 1658, National Gallery, London
5. Woman Peeling Apples, c. 1663, Wallace Collection, London
6. At the Linen Closet, also here, 1663, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

We often will look at paintings done by other artists of the same era to see if we can see a style that is typical for an era and have looked at more than the six paintings of the artist of the term. We also learn about the artist. We analyse the paintings in the same way we analyse the pieces of music we listen to.

We discuss whether the music or painting is telling a story and next term we will be listening to some opera. I will have to work hard to not transfer my dislike of opera to them. This means I cannot wear earplugs! I expect the earplugs would be a clue to my dislike of opera. Perhaps the fact that I don't listen to it at all is another clue. Alas, I am sure they know I don't like it, when we are looking for something on the radio I make sure that if we land on a station that is playing opera, we change the station with lightning speed.

All in all, this system that we have is working very well for us and it is really helping us to focus on the material that we need to cover, especially for L's exams in May! She has two exams that are essay style exams. We are starting off with verbal essays and we will eventually move to writing on paper. Starting off with a verbal narration is part of the Charlotte Mason method and when they are able to successfully narrate what they have learned verbally, they move on to written narrations.

Have you made any changes for the new year? Have you found a new rhythm? Or is your new year in September when school years tend to start?