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.
This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series Homeschool
Intimidating. That is the one word that describes teaching Shakespeare to kids. At least for me. The language…the rhythm…the adult subject matter. “How in the world can we even approach this?” I asked myself this question a lot before I started teaching Shakespeare.
Encouraged by a podcast I listened to a few years ago, I knew it was a possibility. And I knew I would love to share Shakespeare with my kids. I shook off the intimidation and the insecurities and did as we have always done on this homeschooling journey: we simply jumped in.
This past summer the Classical Conversations topic for Practicum was Math. Groaning on the inside a bit, I attended each of the three days, stretching my brain a bit further each day. I had epiphanies – seriously – about math – I didn’t think it possible! And I enjoyed the challenge more than I would have thought. It was surprising for my history-literature-language loving self.
Another surprise from the three-day Practicum was the frequent aspersions cast upon my math curriculum of choice: Saxon Math. Now, I didn’t feel personally attacked, but I began to wonder, “Should we have chosen a different curriculum? Are we going to have to change it up later on?” And I was a bit saddened by that.
One of the most curious parts of the Foundations curriculum for Classical Conversations, in my opinion, is Latin. Not because I think it is frivolous or unnecessary, but because it is the one most obscured by the bridge from Foundations and Essentials to the Challenge years. It is as though we parents of littles can see across a wide river the benefits of Latin, but we can’t see the passage across.
It is hard to see the connections between what we learn in Latin in the Foundations years and what our students will be dealing with in the Challenge years – especially cycles 1 and 2. Noun endings and verb conjugations are just so abstract at this point.
So what do we do for our students who show interest in Latin, but who are just now repeating a cycle in Foundations?
Hey, planning parents (waves)! Don’t you just love the process of planning for the next school year? The activities, the crafts, the projects, the copywork! And do you ever look back over those carefully crafted plans and think, “When are we ever going to have the time to do all this?”
Or maybe you are still in that hazy-headed place where all plans are perfect and every day of the next year will hold happiness in the palm of its hand because you did it ALL.
Well, I don’t want to burst the beautiful bubble you have fashioned for yourself and your family…
but this is real life.
And real life is a bit more complicated than any lesson plan can parse.
This is our second time through Cycle 2 for Classical Conversations. And this time, I am really…no really, planning what we are going to actually do.
And it may surprise you to know that it is super simple!