26 November 2013

Music & Art Studies

I think besides history my favorite course of studies I do with my children would be art/artists/music/composer studies.  When I was a child I balked at the very idea of having to even listen to beautiful music let alone study a composer.  Not only did I hesitate in music but in art as well.  My father tried sharing art museums and classical music with my siblings and I more than once and each time he was met with hesitation.  Now look at me.  I have to laugh at myself!  In the words of Charlotte Mason, (whom I love) she has this to say:

"It is a pity that we like our music as our pictures and our poetry mixed, so that there are few opportunities as a listener a course of the works of a single composer...Let young people study as far as possible under one master until they have received some of this teaching and know its style."


"We aim at putting the children in touch with the great artist minds of all ages.  We try to unlock for their delectation the wonderful garden of Art, in which grow most lovely flowers, most wholesome fruits.  We want to open their eyes and minds to appreciate the masterpieces of pictorial art, to lead them from mere fondness for a pretty picture which pleases the senses up to honest love and discriminating admiration for what is truly beautiful - a love and admiration which are the response of heart and intellect to the appeal addressed to them through the senses by all great works of art."

We have been enjoying art and music study for many years in our home and I love seeing "the fruits" of the knowledge my children have gained in this area.  I am surprised many times when they hear a classical song or see a painting to hear them spout out the name of the composer/artist!  And all this time I just knew they weren't paying attention!  The kids are continuing their Charlotte Mason ART and COMPOSER studies as we've always done but each year I like to add new and different resources to go along with CM resources as shown in the links above.  This year we are adding Usborne Introduction to Art, Stories of the Great Composers, Meet the Great Composers, and The Story of the Orchestra along with Dover's amazing and informative coloring books!  As I've written in the past we use learning journals in nearly everything we do.  I have the younger kids color a picture of the artist or composer and they copy or print and read basic information on them and enter it all into their journals. Our favorite online site for art that all the kids can enjoy regardless of age is A Garden of Praise.  Wonderful links to more learning that is fun and interesting.  And for classical music we frequent THIS site often.

While we are very eclectic in our homeschool as far as resources go our methodology has not strayed off course from Charlotte Mason's ideology on childhood education.  Enriching our children's minds (and mine!) with whole, living books has been a joyful experience.  Not to mention a gentle and relaxed one!

Charlotte Mason believed that children are able to deal with ideas and knowledge, that they are not blank slates or empty sacks to be filled with information.  She thought children should do the work of dealing with ideas and knowledge, rather than the teacher acting as a middle man, dispensing filtered knowledge.  A Charlotte Mason education includes first-hand exposure to great and noble ideas through books in each school subject, and through art, music, and poetry.