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elementary

Growing Up

Artist Mats: Thomas Gainsborough

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
  • a timeline
  • 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.

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Growing Up

Artist Mats: Rembrandt Van Rijn

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.

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Growing Up

Simple Shakespeare for Kids

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.

The waters, it turned out, were just fine.

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Growing Up

Bringing Saxon Math together with CC

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.

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Growing Up

The Problem of the Day

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series Homeschool

Our first day of school was Monday, but Monday was not a day for pictures and celebration as I had hoped it would be. It was a day filled with tears only God could could count (and screaming, and frustration).

It started almost the moment she woke up. I chalked it up to her needing food in her mouth and nourishment for her tummy to function. She and I are intensely similar. The situation improved with each moment of our Gathering.

Then we sat down for math (Saxon, grade 3). This specific morning math meeting I shall never fully understand, nor ever forget.

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Growing Up

Simply Genius Homeschool Printing Hacks

You know those things you do in your daily routine that make you feel like you are pretty smart? They are usually the solutions you happened upon after banging your head against a wall (problem) for a while. Or maybe they are the things that you thought of the moment you laid eyes on an object (cue lights and music) – and you instantly saw a solution.

Maybe it is pride…well, yes it is pride, but I glory in those solutions. I just love when I find something that makes me feel like a genius. When something makes life just one tiny measure easier. (How does one measure ease anyway?)

Our homeschool is dotted with solutions such as these. They are little genius-level hacks that make me delight in the doing of our daily tasks. And honestly, until I mentioned them to other moms, I thought they were so mundane that everyone was doing them. Turns out they aren’t that common.

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