Each year we have prepared for Memory Master for Classical Conversations, I have thought about writing an article explaining our process (and my best tips). And each year (3 years) I have gotten behind and have not gotten around to it. Here we are in our 4th year of Classical Conversations and I am finally telling you my simple memory master prep thoughts and suggestions.
A word about Memory Master. This term is extremely foreign to non-CC families. When one announces proudly that Junior has achieved this accolade, the vacant smiles appear and the “Con…gratulations!?! What’s that?” start. Most people don’t understand what a HUGE deal this is.
For those of you reading this, hoping to make a similar announcement, direct your unknowning family members here and I will give a quick run-down.
Is it just me or is it hard to get back into the swing of schooling after the winter holidays? Between the various sniffles and sneezes, we have been struggling to get through our weeks. Thankfully, one of the anchors of our homeschool day is our Gathering.
I can’t point to a lot in the past month that has been successful, but I do know my kids have some songs in their hearts that point them to Jesus. They have some funny jokes they enjoy retelling. And they have some beautiful artwork in their mind’s eye to reflect upon as they lay down to fitfully sleep at night.
And I am thankful to have completed the entire year of Gathering placemats before school started. If nothing else goes right in each day, we can start with some amazing riches. I can’t wait to get to the February Gathering placemats out to share with my loved ones.
You know that thing where you are learning about a topic independently and you get so excited about a bit of trivia, you just can’t wait to share it with someone? And then their response…falls flat?
It is not that they aren’t interested (necessarily), it’s that they lack the proper context. It is impossible to express to the person sitting opposite you at a table, just how fascinating some odd fact about an obscure artist is. Or how it is funny that you never notice little things and then you see them and can’t unsee them and they rock your world.
And that’s the primary reason for learning in community. Discovery is exciting! But discovery amongst peers is exciting and encouraging and engaging. It is just the BEST!
When I set out to create Artist Mats for our Classical Conversations Cycle 2 year, I had no idea how much I would enjoy it! Although I have almost no artistic ability, I remain interested in the history of art, the techniques of art, and the stories of the artworks themselves. Each little alleyway in the study of a specific artist has had treasures untold!
In case this is your introduction to our Artist Mats, I will give you a brief description of the Artist Mats but there is more about the Artist Mats here). Artist Mats are intended to be used in community but are also perfect for at home unit study of specific artists. Each Artist Mat includes:
an extended biography of the artist
portraits of the artists
quotes from the artists
eight selections from the artist’s catalogue
four “Art Terms to Know”, and
art study questions
Currently I have plans to make 6 sets of Artist Mats this year.
Since we began adding artworks to our Gathering in the last year, my kids have become more conversant with each artist. It gives me joy when one of my kids excitedly points out a work of art we have studied in a book or an unexpected place. And when they notice an artist’s style in a new-to-them painting I realize they are truly becoming art enthusiasts!
After I finished the Gathering Placemats for the 2019-2020 school year, I quickly realized I would like to create similar “mats” in other more specific genres. My interests in art and history sort of came together to create Artist Mats to go along with the Classical Conversations Cycle 2 artists.
When I started creating the Gathering placemats, they were intended to be a way to connect with my kids effortlessly. They were a labor of love to be sure. But once they were completed, I printed them out (and laminated them) and put them out for my kids to enjoy. They are a complete resource in themselves, but there are times (as with all homeschool things) where they serve as a jumping off point for more discoveries, more treasures. Thus, I humbly offer those who are Gathering with their family each month, some extras. Here’s the list for the January 2020 Gathering.