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.
If I were to define our homeschool by what we do most, I would say we are a reading school. Books form the spine of our studies. We revel in the written word in ways I cannot fully express.
And it is one of the greatest joys of my day to sit with each of my kids and read to them, every day. There are not many days I can remember where I have not read to each of my kids. For each kid a special book, a special connection.
There are times I am sad to think there will be a day when they will not want to read with me. I hope it is not until they are fully grown!
But if I am being completely honest about homeschooling my kids, I would have to say my greatest homeschooling fear was teaching my children to read. Reading is a magic trick.
I had almost forgotten that I made these Liquid Equivalents Cards earlier in the year. I updated the version I made the first time we went through Cycle 2 to be more visually appealing. Then in the busy-ness of learning and reviewing Skip Counting, I forgot all about them!
But Week 12 of Classical Conversations is upon us and it is time to break these out, laminate them and enjoy them with my kids.
But I don’t just want to share these cute cards with you, I want to give you my very best ideas for reviewing Liquid Equivalents.