Am I being intentional about including BEAUTY in our homeschool - and in our everyday lives?
Checking off boxes sometimes becomes the goal, instead of seeing God in everything and stopping to appreciate the beauty around us.
Classical Conversations offers webinars free for the homeschool community - a recent webinar I attended was about homeschool scheduling, and allowing time for BEAUTY in our days.
This webinar renewed my conviction to expose my children to BEAUTY each day. No matter how our day has gone, if my children have been exposed to something BEAUTIFUL it is a success.
In this week's Collage Friday I'd like to share ways I've been cultivating beauty and wonder.
It hit me while writing this post that it is ESSENTIAL to have TIME to appreciate BEAUTY and cultivate WONDER. If we are living hurried, frantic lives - running from one activity to the next - there is never any time to slow down.
This slowing down is vital to a homeschool that cultivates beauty and wonder.
*This post contains affiliate links.
We haven't been to any musical performances this year. It's almost November - I was slacking on the job!
It's a blessing to have a local center for the performing arts, so I checked their schedule for last weekend and was in luck!
I took Grant to hear The Masterworks Chorale (a local vocal ensemble) perform patriotic works, complete with an original composition which was a tribute to the creation of The Star Spangled Banner. Chesapeake: Summer of 1814 tied in PERFECTLY with our studies in CC Cycle 3 - complete with a tin whistle solo in one of the pieces!
The concert was just an hour long and was very engaging. We had a great time, especially getting ice cream afterwards.
On the way home Grant said to me, "Thank you for taking me to that concert, mom. It was really good."
One thing did make me sad, though. There were NO other children at the concert. It was mostly an older audience. It saddens me to think music appreciation and an appreciation for the arts in general may be dying in this generation.
Cultivating Wonder in Middle School
Homeschooling a middle schooler is TOUGH. Sometimes I have wonderful plans, which Anna doesn't think are so wonderful. (And to be fair, sometimes her plans are better than my best laid plans!)
She has very definite ideas about things (which is fine), so I need to seize the day when she's really interested in something.
Anna has always been my reader. Her assigned reading for Challenge B this week was The Hiding Place. She finished this book in just two days. Although not in her curriculum, I also purchased Keeper of The Angels' Den on audio for all of us to enjoy. We've been listening to this in the van this week - everyone loves it!
Science has been very interesting for Anna this year. She loves learning about the personalities of famous figures, so the History of Science strand is right up her alley. Last week she researched Marie Curie and wrote a paper about her Nobel Prizes. I was able to sit in her class and listen to some of the papers. I loved a quote one of the children used in their paper:
Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.
That's a great motto to live by, don't you think?
*Our favorite book for science right now is Beakman's Book of Dead Guys and Gals in Science.
We also made an interesting discovery when our microwave stopped working last week. When the repairman showed us the fried up circuit board, Anna noticed there was copper wire encircling white plastic. She asked the repairman if there was a magnet inside and he said "Yes!".
Bingo - Electromagnetism at work. Anna knew this thanks to her study of Michael Faraday three weeks ago.
Anna is also taking tennis this year. While I know this isn't directly "beauty" or "wonder", it does speak to being physically fit and healthy in body and mind. Physical fitness has been the missing piece in Anna's homeschooling experience, and I think she is really enjoying tennis.
Music, Art & Literature
Every day we include at least two elements of art, music or literature.
Our current read-alouds and read alones are:
- The Hiding Place
- Toliver's Secret
- The Witch of Blackbird Pond
- Johnny Tremain
- Minn of the Mississippi
Generally we read aloud at lunch time. It's a great way to pause in the middle of our day.
We have also been completing a SQUILT lesson each week. Currently we are working through Volume 3: Romantic Era. I'm amazed at what discerning ears my children have! SQUILT time occurs during breakfast. Quality music sets a peaceful tone for our day.
If you aren't familiar with SQUILT, it is the music appreciation curriculum I author. It is simple, effective, and memorable. I promise.
Both kids also play the piano. Anna is preparing for a Sonatina Festival in three weeks where she will perform for judges and receive a rating.
Thanks to the Classical Conversations PreScripts books, Grant is very interested in fine art. The above painting of Francis Scott Key was in his PreScripts book this week, and it appeared again at the concert we attended. Grant was able to talk to me about the focal point, middle ground and foreground and sit and contemplate the picture. I LOVE it!
I'll share some of MY favorite things with you in today's Collage Friday.... favorite books and resources for me and the children:
- The Best Yes -- This is the BEST book. Read it. Now!
- Race to the Colosseum - such a fun Latin printable game to help learn John1 in Latin.
- Expo Click Markers - we go through A LOT of dry erase markers in our homeschool. These click markers are perfect for math problems, diagramming sentences for Essentials, and more!
What steps do you take to cultivate beauty and wonder in your homeschool?
Join me for Collage Friday!
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