For composer study we like to begin by reading biographies by Opal Wheeler, Mozart the Wonder boy, Handel in the Court of the King and The Young Brahms. The study set we purchased came with coloring pages from the charming illustrations in the book and a CD of music that is also introduced in the story as we read it we listen to the music the composer wrote or played. The stories are engaging and tell a lot about the life of the composer. My boys love them. At some point we will fill out a Notebooking page about the composer and look at where he fits on the timeline. We will also add his picture to our composer lapbooks which we started last year. Finally we like to listen to Classical Kids productions. This year we have Mozart’s Magic Fantasy, Hallelujah Handel, and Daydreams and Lullabies. At night we play the music of the composer we are getting know as they go to sleep.
In between composers we continue to learn about the instruments they were composing for. Last year we began by having some fun with Carnegie Hall’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra online. We will play around with that again this year too! We are using The Story of the Orchestra as our spine and doing some copywork with the info found in there. I made up a few other games and some montessori cards to give more ways to interact with the instruments and have some fun at the same time. I also picked up a second hand copy of Meet the orchestra and The Philharmonic Gets dressed just for fun.
Our Artist studies usually begins by reading a short kid friendly book about the artist. This year we have Suzette and the Puppy a story about Mary Cassatt, Smart About Art: Pierre Auguste Renoir, Paintings That Smile, The Girl With the Watering Can and Cezanne and the Apple boy. Then we will color some of that artist’s work, and do some art work in the style of that artist if possible. At some point we will fill out a notebooking page about the arts and add some stickers of that artist work to our page. I also like for the boys to become familiar with 12 works of art by that artist by name. I try to select works which are the most well known and that they would relate to. To do this I have made Montessori cards for Cezanne, Cassatt and Renoir. We play go fish with them, concentration, and match the names to the pictures.
In between artist studies we are learning some of the basic skills of drawing using Barry Stebbings book, I Can Do All Things. I photo copied the Introduction to drawing portion of the book (pages 9-105) and bound it with my handy pro click binder.
Though art and music are considered electives at our house we rarely skip these subjects. I feel they add richness and beauty that is useful for inspiration, refreshment and creativity which are so important to us all as human beings. My boys enjoy learning about the lives of interesting and creative people and I enjoy knowing they are becoming familar with some of the best minds in the world.
That concludes our curriculum for this year. So much of the ease and flexiblity as well as the organizational ideas I have came from Sonya Schaffers guide to planning, called Planning Your Charlotte Mason Education. Though I am not a strictly CM home educator, and rarely do I sit down like I did the first two years with the planner and use it like a manual, the ideas she gave me have modled my thinking and set me upon a easy road where I am free to pick and choose resources I love and be sure I will be able to fit them together and within a time frame of a day, a week, a school term or a school year, and at the same time allow for life to throw us curves and still be fleible in our daily living. Thanks Sonya, I am indebted. :)
Now onto the fun and adventure of learning!