a humble place https://ahumbleplace.com Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing. Camille Pissarro Fri, 10 Jul 2020 01:59:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 https://ahumbleplace.com/uploads/2018/09/cropped-chickicon-32x32.png a humble place https://ahumbleplace.com 32 32 Weekend Entertainment: 10 July 2020 https://ahumbleplace.com/weekend-entertainment-10-july-2020/ https://ahumbleplace.com/weekend-entertainment-10-july-2020/#respond Fri, 10 Jul 2020 07:00:00 +0000 https://ahumbleplace.com/?p=59274 I was summoned for jury duty back in March to report on April 1st. When COVID started becoming more alarming and because it’s not convenient to have to serve jury duty in the middle of a school year, I opted to use my one postponement. My new date was supposed to be this Tuesday, July […]

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I was summoned for jury duty back in March to report on April 1st. When COVID started becoming more alarming and because it’s not convenient to have to serve jury duty in the middle of a school year, I opted to use my one postponement. My new date was supposed to be this Tuesday, July 7th, but I never got a new summons. When I checked out the county website, I discovered that they actually canceled ALL trials (except emergencies) from early March until July 6th.

Rats.

So I emailed them to see how I should go about reporting if I didn’t have a new summons and they said the trial was canceled and I fulfilled my civic duties for 2020. Yay!

That was the first part of the week. The middle part was spent at a very dear friend’s house helping her to pack as her family is moving to Georgia. There are no words to express how sad I am about them leaving. I love her. I love her kids. I am SO THANKFUL I got to know her better over the last three years but I am still so sad about all of it. It’s not easy for me to make friends and she has been a wonderful one to me.

Today I have my first dentist appointment in (I’m ashamed to admit) four years. 😳 It’s been an eventful week.

Now on to the links….

Homeopathy for First Aid – The Most Important Remedies and How to Use Them We’ve been going on more and more hikes in the last few weeks, so I’ve been working on replenishing our trail first aid kit and this list is absolutely invaluable!

Why Read Aloud to Kids Who Can Read Themselves? #4, all the way. When I read stories with my kids, I feel like we’re taking a journey or going on an adventure together.

Less waste, low effort: simple kitchen swaps to cut down on single-use items While we haven’t gotten to the point where we can kick the paper towel habit, I still love a lot of these tips for reducing waste in the kitchen.

Creamy Sausage Tomato Basil Spaghetti Squash I made this for supper last night and three out of four liked it, so I call it a success!

Comet NEOWISE Could Be Spectacular: Here’s How to See It I am definitely pulling our telescope out for this!

Also, the print version of the Charlotte Mason-Inspired Kindergarten Curriculum is back in stock for those who have been waiting!

From the blog…

A Simple Homeschool Kindergarten I’ve got a new post up on the blog this week about KINDERGARTEN! This month I wanted to dive a little deeper into some of the aspects of not only my Charlotte Mason-Inspired Kindergarten, but also the idea of the kindergarten year as a whole. What is the purpose of a kindergarten year, especially if you’re coming from a Charlotte Mason background? In this week’s post, I’m mainly discussing why it’s a good idea to start later (including scientific research that backs this philosophy), how kindergarten now probably looks a lot different than the kindergarten you experienced as a kid, and how exactly a kindergarten year really ought to look, which is very different than what you might expect….

(2014) What Does a Virtual Assistant Do? I had my own little virtual assistant business from late 2012 to just about a month ago. In the beginning, I was sort of a jack-of-all-trades and did a little bit of everything, though in recent years I focused more on graphic design. If you’ve been thinking about going down this path, here’s a little overview of what it looked like for me.

(2012) How to Make Kombucha This is the very simple method for brewing kombucha that I’ve been using since I grew my first SCOBY (which is still in use) back in 2011.

Have a lovely weekend!

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A Simple Homeschool Kindergarten https://ahumbleplace.com/a-simple-homeschool-kindergarten/ https://ahumbleplace.com/a-simple-homeschool-kindergarten/#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2020 21:44:39 +0000 https://ahumbleplace.com/?p=58899 This month I wanted to dive a little deeper into some of the aspects of not only my Charlotte Mason-Inspired Kindergarten, but also the idea of the kindergarten year as a whole. What is the purpose of a kindergarten year, especially if you’re coming from a Charlotte Mason background? I won’t be discussing arguments that […]

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A Simple Homeschool Kindergarten - ahumbleplace.com

This month I wanted to dive a little deeper into some of the aspects of not only my Charlotte Mason-Inspired Kindergarten, but also the idea of the kindergarten year as a whole. What is the purpose of a kindergarten year, especially if you’re coming from a Charlotte Mason background? I won’t be discussing arguments that Charlotte Mason did not approve of any kind of kindergarten (which is not true) as I think Leah Martin has already done a wonderful job covering that. Today I’ll mainly be talking about why we decided to start our kindergarten year later than when my son’s peers were entering kindergarten and why we chose to make it a very simple format as well.

Starting Kindergarten Later

I was not lax in the “structured” day department when my oldest child was born. I remember very clearly, just after his first birthday, finding a toddler “curriculum” that I felt would be a good addition to our days. This was mainly due to the fact that I was a new mom and had no idea what to actually do with a child every day. I also use the word curriculum here lightly as it was essentially a few suggestions for nursery rhymes, songs, Bible verses, classical music, games, and board books to sing/read/do with my barely-toddler-aged son each day. I remember printing the nursery rhyme out each week and taping it to the bathroom mirror above his changing pad so I could recite them to him every time he had a wet diaper. I still have very fond memories of those little “lesson plans.”

When he was a little older, I started diving into the Montessori Method and printed out Montessori activities for him to do during the day….like matching things or grouping colors. It was never anything strenuous and we didn’t sit and do the activities for long periods of time. I also purchased a few child-sized household items like pitchers and bowls so he could practice pouring and sorting. If you know anything about early childhood development using the Montessori Method, you’ll also know that we ended up with a LOT of trays and baskets.

I say all of this to emphasize the fact that I was very open to early childhood education and in fact tried to implement some of those practices in my home, though most likely to a much lesser degree than a daycare or preschool might do.

When we opted (for various reasons) not to send him to preschool at the same time that his friends were being enrolled in these program, I decided to do some research on my own to see what kind of “preschool” I could do with him at home. The book that was the most helpful in this process was The Heart of Learning which gave me a better view of what early childhood development really ought to be (and when more formal education should begin). I was also introduced to Charlotte Mason during this time and read this in her first volume:

perhaps a mothers first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it spent for the most part out in the fresh air. And this, not for the gain in bodily health alone––body and soul, heart and mind, are nourished with food convenient for them when the children are let alone, let to live without friction and without stimulus amongst happy influences which incline them to be good.

vol 1 pg 43

These ideas coupled together resonated so deeply with me that I knew this was what I wanted for my kids. So we decided to just take everything very slowly and we read books and did crafts and had playdates and went to the park for a few years more. Later on, when his friends were being enrolled in kindergarten right around his fifth birthday, we were confident that waiting another year really was the right decision for him. In hindsight, I am so thankful that we took this path as there would’ve been no way he was developmentally ready for kindergarten just after he turned five OR ready for first grade just after he turned six.

It does seem, though, that the general consensus these days is that the earlier kids start more formal education, the better, especially with programs like No Child Left Behind. I’ve read and heard claims that go so far as to say that if you don’t start your kids’ education (especially learning to read) as early as possible, you’re actually putting them at a disadvantage. However, a study from 2015 came to a different conclusion:

“We find that a one-year delay in the start of school dramatically reduces inattention/hyperactivity at age 7, a measure of self regulation with strong negative links to student achievement. We also find that this large and targeted effect persists at age 11.”

“Our results indicate that a one-year increase in the school starting age leads to significantly improved mental health….Consistent with a literature that emphasizes the importance of self-regulation for student outcomes, we find that this construct is most strongly correlated with the in-school performance of Danish children. This targeted effect is also consistent with theoretical explanations from developmental psychology that stress the salience of extended play for the development of self regulation. We are also able to examine whether these short-term effects persist using the most recently available data which tracks students to age 11. We find that the large and concentrated effects largely persist to later childhood.

Thomas S. Dee, Hans Henrik Sievertsen, “The Gift of Time? School Starting Age and Mental Health”

One study even suggests that the earlier a child is enrolled in kindergarten, the more likely they are to be incorrectly diagnosed with ADHD, which makes sense. 4-year-olds, many 5-year-olds, and even some 6-year-olds just aren’t ready for a school environment where they have to sit, be attentive, and do “busy” work for long periods of time.

So if you can, take that extra time. Spend that extra year with your child, reading with them, playing with them, taking them on nature walks, and getting to know them better. Not only will this strengthen your relationship, but when you really know your child, which is a side benefit of spending all day, every day with them, you will be able to be a much more effective teacher for them when it does come time to start those formal lessons.

Using Gentle Lessons

I’ve read in a few places that kindergarten is now considered the new first grade. Whereas in the past kindergarten was more play than academics, in more recent years it has simply become a precursor “grade” to first grade. In their report on “Reading Instruction in Kindergarten,” several educators noted:

The 1980s saw the beginnings of a shift in kindergarten education from play-based experiential approaches to more academic approaches, from hands-on exploration to worksheets and teacher-led instruction.

Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin, Joan Wolfsheimer Almon, “Reading Instruction in Kindergarten: Little to Gain and Much to Lose”

Chances are the kindergarten you remember from your youth is very different than the kindergarten taking place today.

And with the advent of programs like No Child Left Behind and Common Core State Standards, this also makes sense. When teachers have to meet certain governmental standards that have been written across the board for every.single.child of a certain age living in this country, it makes sense that they would want to get a jump start on meeting those goals. However, the race to meet these standards has come at a cost to children:

When children have educational experiences that are not geared to their developmental level or in tune with their learning needs and cultures, it can cause them great harm, including feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and confusion.

Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin, Joan Wolfsheimer Almon, “Reading Instruction in Kindergarten: Little to Gain and Much to Lose”

Chances are you’ve heard the saying that childhood is not a race, and this is especially true for kindergarten. Children at this age don’t need worksheets and standardized tests, they need unstructured time, open-ended toys, art supplies, and good books read to them. They need to be allowed to take the world in in their own ways. They need to be allowed to be little kids for a little while longer.

And really, there is no benefit to rushing children in to academia:

Dr. Arnold Gesell found that all children go on the same path of development; however, some go faster, some go slower, and all have spurts and set-backs along the way. The obvious example is the age that children learn to walk. Some children learn to walk as early as nine months, some as late as 15 months. But that is all normal and we all agree that the early walker is not a better walker than the later walker. A similar example is the age that children learn to read. Some children learn to read at age three or four years, others not until seven years or later. That range is quite normal. The most compelling part of the reading research is that by the end of third grade, early readers have no advantage over later readers. Some later readers even go on to become the top in their class. Reading early is not an indicator of higher intelligence. In fact, children at the top of their class in kindergarten only have a 40 percent chance of being at the top of their class at the end of third grade.

Dr. Marcy Guddemi, quote from “Reading Instruction in Kindergarten: Little to Gain and Much to Lose”

Given these observations by experts (and I’ve observed them anecdotally in my own life as well) and taking into consideration the harm that developmentally inappropriate education might do to young children, it seems best to err on the side of going slowly rather than beginning more structured education too soon.

A Simple Kindergarten Year

So given everything said above, how should you approach the kindergarten year if you’ve chosen to homeschool? Don’t overthink it! Instead of trying to approach a 5- or 6-year-old child expecting them to respond positively to academic rigor, meet them on their own terms at the place where they are for their age. I love an example from an 1895 Parents Review article from the life of Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, a 19th-century education reformer:

[Pestalozzi] had vainly been endeavoring to explain to [his] child the nature of running water. Why it ran, where it ran to, and the laws attending it sending it on its course. It was like burdening the child with words and expressions, the meaning of which, in spite of the greatest perseverance, persistence and even punishment, it failed to grasp. In the course of a walk father and child passed by a running brook. “Ah!” said the child, “the water flows from the mountain into the valley,” and in this brief space of a few seconds the child grasped the meaning of a natural law by actual impression, which the most painstaking explanation failed to give to him.

Gunsberg, “The Kindergarten System,” Parents’ Review Vol. 06, No. 09 p.669

In this little episode, Pestalozzi realized that the best way to teach children was not through lecturing or offering facts or memorization, but rather through impressions, especially children of kindergarten age.

We don’t burden the child’s brain with matter it does not understand. We don’t ask the child to commit anything to memory. We don’t torture the delicate sprig of humanity by discipline, yet we teach the child a great deal, we enrich his memory to a marvelous extent and we give him the best training by means of impressions only, impressions of the most pleasant kind, conveyed to the child by actual experience, by play, and in a joyful way.

Gunsberg, “The Kindergarten System,” Parents’ Review Vol. 06, No. 09 p.670

How do we offer these “impressions” to our young children, then? Through-firsthand observation and play are good options, but the easiest and most effective way is to read rich, well-written books to our children that convey these impressions in the best manner possible. There is no better way to get an idea across to a young child than to tell them a story.

…supposing a teacher of philosophy were to lecture you with all the ability or eloquence at his disposal on some point of morality, try and convince you that it is wrong to think too harshly of your fellow men, he might go on talking for many hours or writing volumes and still he would not convince you to the same extent as a couple of hours’ attendance at a theatre, where the plot of the play may be the very field which the lecturer endeavored to bring home to your understanding. Those of us who have often shed tears over a good play or seen others do it, will at once appreciate the difference which I am trying to establish between teachings and impressions. The reasons why we are so affected by the plot of a play is because it is conveyed to us by impression.

Gunsberg, “The Kindergarten System,” Parents’ Review Vol. 06, No. 09 p.670

The kindergarten year is also about make good impressions about school itself. Using that year to sing songs together, recite poetry, read good books, do crafts, and play simple math games is a way to not only ease your child into a more structured day, but also a lovely way to give them a good first impression of what being taught more formally is like.

Finally, it also allows you to help them establish essential habits that they will need during their school years. Things like paying attention, listening, sitting for longer periods of time, and waiting their turn to speak. By easing them into these things slowly, while they’re definitely still learning on their own terms and at their own pace, you are setting them up for success in their academic career.

The kindergarten year doesn’t need to be complicated and, in reality, it shouldn’t be! Enjoy this precious time you have with your still-very-young child to ease into homeschooling in a gentle and enjoyable way! And if you’re not sure where to start, I have a free book list for kindergarten over here!

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Weekend Entertainment: 3 July 2020 https://ahumbleplace.com/weekend-entertainment-3-july-2020/ https://ahumbleplace.com/weekend-entertainment-3-july-2020/#respond Fri, 03 Jul 2020 18:34:19 +0000 https://ahumbleplace.com/?p=58741 We had our first “free” week of the summer and it was so nice to do things on the fly. We met up with some co-op friends for a hike yesterday and today we’re going for a walk and catching up on cleaning. I always have plans of doing deep cleaning during the summer and […]

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We had our first “free” week of the summer and it was so nice to do things on the fly. We met up with some co-op friends for a hike yesterday and today we’re going for a walk and catching up on cleaning. I always have plans of doing deep cleaning during the summer and this year is no different. Clean Mama is my go-to resource for all things cleaning, so I’ve been looking through her old posts to find different ideas for deep cleaning naturally. I think I’ll be relying on her spring cleaning checklist especially.

We’ve also been purging and organizing which has been a little painful (infant car seat 😭) but also feels very good not to have all that extra stuff in our house anymore. Our local donation center finally re-opened, so E brought down a truck-full of things we’ve had packed away for several years. We even cleaned out enough room in our furnace room that we could move our chest freezer down there and I have a shelf above it with my dehydrator now which is much more convenient than dragging it out of storage every time I want to use it. I love efficiency.

For Independence Day, our town has a tradition of shooting fireworks off one of the buttes located near the center of the city so you can see them from pretty much anywhere and we were all looking forward to this. However, we just found out we’re under stage 2 fire restrictions yesterday, so they’ve been canceled. It’s a disappointment as it feels like we’re under so many restrictions already, but I’m also glad that the city is willing to make this call to protect us and our firefighters from wildfires.

For those waiting on the printed version of Charlotte Mason-Inspired Kindergarten, it’s coming next week! I hope to have them back in-stock on Monday.

On to the links!

Charlotte Mason and John Muir Quote Enamel Mugs I posted a few new items in the shop this week that I’m very excited about! These are light-weight and great for camping!

Why Are Homeschooled Kids Weird? I first read this post a few weeks ago and parts of it have stuck with me so deeply that I wanted to share it. “‘Weird’ homeschooled kids say things that cool kids don’t say because they don’t run their every word through the ‘Am I cool enough?’ meter. They are not jaded. They say what’s on their minds and do what seems logical and interesting in the moment. They don’t second-guess their every move because they don’t know that falling in line is supposed to be part of the program. Their childhoods have been fiercely protected, and the term ‘socially awkward’ could be used to define nearly every child who is allowed to just…be.” I love this.

July Seasonal Produce Guide I love referencing these when I’m sitting down to meal plan. It’s helpful to know in advance what I’m likely to find at the grocery store and what will be less expensive as it’s usually more economical to eat seasonally.

The 27 Greatest Decluttering Tips of All Time I already do #17 (my limit is a year since I don’t really own a whole lot of clothes already) but #12 is one I definitely want to try. For some reason, I have a much harder time getting rid of things in the kitchen since I do have the space for them…..I just never use them.

Sew a Softie in July If your kids (or you!) have been interested in starting to sew, this looks like a great way to start!

From the blog…

System Status: Second Quarter 2020 My quarterly system status post is up with books I’ve read, things I’ve loved, new items in the shop, and bird sightings!

(2018) Charlotte Mason Picture Study Aid: John Constable This remains the most-downloaded Picture Study Aid on my site!

(2014) Starting Over Again It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since my husband was laid off from his job of 10 years. This was the fourth lay-off we had experienced between the two of us since we had been together and it was a very difficult time for us. I think, however, that it also clarified a lot of things….how we want to live and raise our kids specifically, and I don’t think we would’ve ever considered the entrepreneurial path we’re on now if it hadn’t happened.

(2013) Real Food Sources I need to do some updating of this list, but it’s still pretty accurate for my favorite sources of real food at reasonable prices.

Have a lovely weekend!

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System Status: Second Quarter 2020 https://ahumbleplace.com/system-status-second-quarter-2020/ https://ahumbleplace.com/system-status-second-quarter-2020/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2020 18:07:38 +0000 https://ahumbleplace.com/?p=58084 In the morning, very early,That’s the time I love to goBarefoot where the fern grows curlyAnd grass is cool between each toe,On a summer morning-O!On a summer morning! That is when the birds go byUp the sunny slopes of air,And each rose has a butterflyOr a golden bee to wear;And I am glad in every […]

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In the morning, very early,
That’s the time I love to go
Barefoot where the fern grows curly
And grass is cool between each toe,
On a summer morning-O!
On a summer morning!

That is when the birds go by
Up the sunny slopes of air,
And each rose has a butterfly
Or a golden bee to wear;
And I am glad in every toe
Such a summer morning-O!
Such a summer morning!

~ Barefoot Days, Rachel Field ~

We began our summer break the second week of June and I thought I’d finally have time to catch up on some things that have been on my to-do list for a long time. Because of some BIG changes in my husband’s business in the second quarter, I also shuttered my VA business completely that week and ended my agreement with one client while the other one retired. It was bittersweet as there were definitely aspects of being a VA that I really enjoyed, but I also love the feeling of having more time available to me to be with my kids and work on my own things (like more picture study aids!). Of course, thinking that I had lots of obligation-less time coming my way, I filled my calendar with other obligations and last week in particular was just very busy. E was out of town for a week-and-a-half before that and so it hasn’t been a very restful summer so far. I’m hoping to plan a vacation for us at some point…something not too far away and not too long, but that is definitely challenging these days.

Aside from COVID and everything going on in the world, this was a stressful quarter for other reasons as well. Many of our neighbors who have been here since these houses were first built in the early 2000s are moving out, new people are moving in, and I feel like our little world here is being very disrupted. This feeling is especially acute right now from one house in particular where a quiet middle-aged couple lived with their daughter and 6-year-old granddaughter for the last 17 years. B and C liked to climb up on our fence to talk to her and she would swing very loudly while she played on her swingset, which was very cute. They moved out two weeks ago and a new family moved in with teenagers and a younger daughter who might be a year or two older than B and the introvert and mama bear in me is just feeling a lot of anxiety about this.

Also, where there were acres and acres of ranches surrounding our little subdivision when we first moved in, a new housing development is now going in on one side and it’s really only a matter of time before the other side is taken as well (a house has already been built there to block our view of Pike’s Peak on the back patio 😩). And, I found out last week that one of the families in our homeschool co-op with kids that my kids had especially grown close to is not returning next year, which means there will be no one C’s age in it anymore. This was very heartbreaking and I’m really, really struggling with all of these big changes happening so quickly.

So we’ve been looking at moving again….hopefully further south and closer to some of our co-op (or former-co-op) friend families. Because of the changes in E’s business, this feels a lot more doable than it did a few years ago and I feel like God has been slowly opening doors (sometimes painful ones) as well as changing our minds about where we want to live to move us in this direction. But real estate is still quite expensive here and getting what we want, which is land, is not easy. I’m trying to just be still and know and be thankful, because there is SO MUCH to be thankful for. But anxiety is tough to battle.

On that uplifting note…..on to the lists. 🙂

Books

The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. I have known about this book for years. I actually worked in a Christian book store in the late 1990s right around the time the Ragamuffin Band was extremely popular. It drew attention to this book, but at the time I just ignored it. In some ways, I wish I had read it back then. So many of the things he talks about are conclusions I’ve come to on my own over the last twenty years. I wonder if I would’ve come to them faster if I had read it. (20RC)

A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny. The Chief Inspector Gamache books are my go-to for audiobook listening while I’m folding laundry or driving places. I’ve been more lax with them lately, and I think part of it is that I haven’t found good ones that have kept my interest (also…I’m not driving as many places these days!). This one was okay… a little less strange than the first three books in the series. But maybe I liked the strange? I’ll still keep listening/reading because the characters are so interesting and Ralph Cosham was a perfect narrator for this series.

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. Ann Patchett is a favorite author and this one, the story of a brother and sister and how they lose their parents but cling to each other, did not disappoint. The struggles the narrator had with his mother were especially relatable for me.

Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings by Diana Pavlac Glyer. Joy Cherrick recommended this one to me several months ago and I picked it up from the library just before the world exploded. I wasn’t able to finish it before my due date, but thanks to COVID, I had two extra months to read it. This was good as it was not at all a fast read, but it was fascinating to hear how the Inklings worked together. As an introvert, I never thought of collaboration as a necessity in creative pursuits, but I can now see how it is so beneficial.

I also finished these books at the end of our homeschool year: The Heroes, Secrets of the Woods, Moses and the Exodus, and The Irish Twins.

With B, I finished Ember Rising and he is absolutely loving this series (C is chomping at the bit to hear it also, but I will definitely wait a few years for her as there are still some parts that make me nervous even reading to B). We’re currently working through Ember’s End.

With C, we finished Among the Farmyard People and we’re currently reading Among the Pond People.

With both kids, I finished The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. While E was away on business, we’d pile on to our bed at night after baths and I’d read two chapters. It was a surprisingly quick read (it’s been a long time since I read it on my own) and we are now on Prince Caspian. I hope to make it through the whole series by the end of the summer as they are both really enjoying it.

I am currently reading Emma (I usually love Austen, but this one has been difficult to get through), Sourdough (I needed a fun read for the summer), and Scale How Meditations.

2020 book challenges:

Goodreads Reading Challenge – 17/24

Back to the Classics (BC) – 2/12

Modern Mrs. Darcy (MMD) – 3/12

20 for 20 Reading Challenge (20RC)- 5/20

On the Blog

Why is Charlotte Mason picture study important?

Charlotte Mason Homeschool: Third Grade Term 2 Recap (and Term 3 Plans)

2020-2021 AmblesideOnline Picture Study Print Files The AmblesideOnline artist study rotation picture study print files for the 2020-2021 school year are now available for download! These PDFs include pieces by Titian, Leonardo da Vinci, and Rembrandt.

Charlotte Mason Homeschool: Picture Study In this post, I introduced a series I offered on Charlotte Mason picture study. I emphasized the importance of including it, alleviate fears that you have to know a lot about art (you don’t!), and lay out a way to do it that is simple, easy to implement, and comes straight from Charlotte Mason’s ideas.

Why is picture study important? In this post, I expand on why picture study should be important to anyone. I believe there are several reasons that picture study is important to include in our homeschool, and in this week’s post, I cover four of those reasons.

How to do Picture Study Here I posted an outline of what a typical picture study session looks like in both our home and our co-op at the link below, but I also think the following quote from a PNEU Teacher’s Handbook sums up the teaching of picture study well: “Parents who are not very familiar with Art need not feel daunted by the idea of teaching Picture Study; teacher and pupil can learn together very successfully in this subject.”

Frugal Ideas for Homeschooling (& free printable book budget sheet!) In this post I shared 12 ways I save money and pay for our homeschool. At the end, you’ll also find a free, printable spreadsheet for keeping track of your own homeschool expenses!

Favorite Picture Books for Summer Reading Reading is obviously a huge part of our life during the school year, but that certainly doesn’t stop when we put our school books away for the summer. Here I shared some of our favorite books with warmer-weather themes. Or no themes….just good books. ☺

Custom Homeschool Planner Covers with AnnaVancePaperCo This week I waxed poetic about how much I love my homeschool planner from my friend Anna, but I also announced that she and I have joined forces and I made a few cover designs for her planners!

Free Printable Calendar! I’ve offered this free, printable calendar the last two years and I finally got around to updating it for the coming school year. 🙂

Picture Study by E. C. Plumptre This week I re-typed an article from a Parent’s National Educational Union pamphlet on picture study because I feel this essay presents a short but thorough view of picture study as a whole. I wanted to share it in the hopes that it might aid you in your own picture study endeavors!

Charlotte Mason Homeschool B’s Third Grade Recap and C’s Kindergarten Recap Overall, the year went really well, especially considering all of the restrictions in place and it was the first year I was attempting to teach two students. On that front, because I was doing a very simple kindergarten year with C, I was able to experiment with how to juggle two students. Also, C and I were able to spend that time together. That in and of itself is priceless as I feel like the last three years, I’ve been very focused on her brother. I’m looking forward to having that more intentional time with her as she gets further into her school.

Loving

Altrasonic White Ceramic Aromatherapy Diffuser for Essential Oil I finally broke down and picked up a second essential oil diffuser as I was tired of carrying the lone one we had up and down the stairs twice a day. This one arrived in late May and it’s so pretty!

Walter Santi YouTube Channel In recent years, I have grown to accept that I am a cat person and to not be embarrassed (at least not a lot) when I say that. If you are also a cat person or just like animals in general, we love this channel. He not only has a small zoo of cats living in his yard in Turkey, but he also rescues random stray cats he finds and brings them to the vet (if he isn’t able to care for them himself at home). I love this kind of example for my kids to see that kindness to animals is very important. Also, his laugh as the soundtrack to the antics of his cats is hilarious. 🙂

TruBind Coil Binding Machine I have been wanting one of these for years and finally justified it by using it for a few things in my business. I’ve also been using it for binding ebooks I buy for homeschool and I absolutely love it!

AnnaVancePaperCo Companion Planner Since even before I started using a paper homeschool planner, I was using a generic academic planner to keep track of things for our family. Last year I picked up a cheap one at Target that worked fine, but this year, I’m using one of Anna’s companion planners for this purpose and I had fun this week setting it up for the new year. (And, in case you missed it, I made a few cover designs for both her companion planners and her homeschool planners!)

Window Hummingbird Feeder The window hummingbird feeder we bought when we first moved into this house back in 2016 fell one too many times and finally bit the dust last summer. When I went back to buy a replacement, I discovered that it was double the price I had paid before, so I chose this one instead. It’s been up since April 20th and hasn’t fell at all. I HIGHLY recommend these for up-close hummingbird observation.

Sakura Pigma Micron Ink Pen Set I’ve always just used whatever pens are laying around the house to write just about anything, but Anna’s planning videos got me thinking that I wanted to try something a little better for my homeschool planner so I picked up this set of Microns. It was a good way to see which tip I like the best, but also allows me to use different sizes for different things (eg. headers vs. body text).

In the Shop

To go along with the covers I mentioned above that you can now choose when you buy one of Anna’s planners, I’m also offering printable versions in my own shop (along with the other custom covers I have always offered in the past)!

Bird Sightings

We had a lot of activity at our bird boxes early on with mountain bluebirds and then eventually our yearly house wrens and I was excited to think that maybe we’d have both boxes filled this year. The wren male dutifully started building a nest in one of the boxes and we saw two of them flying around it one point. At about the same time we had our first few eggs in the box last year, I decided to go out and begin monitoring for NestWatch. One of them was sitting on the nest when I opened the top which I assumed meant there were eggs but I checked again a few days later and there was no bird and also no eggs. We saw them go in a few times after that, but they apparently chose a different site for their nest this year as we haven’t seen or heard them since. We also had some interest from tree swallows in the other box, but it was very brief, so both of our boxes are empty this year. I feel like all of our good neighbors are abandoning us!

What are your plans for the summer? Anyone attempting a vacation? Or reading any good books? Share in the comments!

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Weekend Entertainment: 26 June 2020 https://ahumbleplace.com/weekend-entertainment-26-june-2020/ https://ahumbleplace.com/weekend-entertainment-26-june-2020/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2020 22:19:46 +0000 https://ahumbleplace.com/?p=57996 I decided to take a little break this week from posting and I think it was a good decision as it ended up being a very busy week for us. My friend Joy Cherrick interviewed me for her YouTube channel on Monday (find the link below!), Tuesday I had a meeting with my co-op during […]

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I decided to take a little break this week from posting and I think it was a good decision as it ended up being a very busy week for us. My friend Joy Cherrick interviewed me for her YouTube channel on Monday (find the link below!), Tuesday I had a meeting with my co-op during which we made plans for our upcoming year (I’ll be teaching picture study, Shakespeare for the lower forms, and folksongs this year), and Wednesday I had another interview recording with a podcaster….I’ll be announcing that one later this summer. 🙂 Thursday, my kids had a FaceTime playdate with the daughter of my friend Anna. Again – I’m so thankful for technology that allows my kids to grow friendships even when they can’t be together, either because of viruses or distance.

On to the links…

YouTube Chat about Charlotte Mason Kindergarten with Joy Cherrick from Nature Study Hacking As I announced above, my friend Joy recorded a chat we had earlier this week about what a Charlotte Mason Kindergarten year can look like. I am not photogenic or….videogenic? at all, so you have to forgive my awkwardness and lack of finesse. Also, I promise I wasn’t picking my nose in the beginning! 😊

Idyll Challenge 3 My beloved Charlotte Mason book group is shutting down this year, so we will no longer have our monthly meetings. Sad me. Anyway, I missed the first two years of the group, so I’ve really only read most of Charlotte Mason’s original volumes and not all of them. I am seriously considering joining this year’s Idyll Challenge to read all if them in two years….but it’s a tiny bit intimidating. Is anyone else out there doing it?

What Is Underneath Anger? I have found as I’ve gotten older that usually anger is a coverup for something else….sadness, fear, anxiety, etc. This has been a good thing for me to keep in mind especially when trying to navigate being a mom. I love the reminder Shawn offers here.

How World War II fiction is helping me navigate this pandemic I have an affinity for WW2 fiction as well, but I never thought of how it was applicable during the pandemic. It does make sense! (Also, All the Light We Cannot See is one of my very favorite books.)

Greek Salad with Chickpeas and Homemade Dressing I made a big batch of this (from my favorite cookbook, Nourishing Meals) earlier this week and it’s been so convenient (and tasty!) to pull out of the fridge at lunchtime rather than having to make anything!

From the blog…

Morning Time for Moms #charlottemason #commonplacing

(2019) Simple Morning Reading Routine for Moms A little outline of my very own (simple) morning time which I’ve been doing almost every day for a year now.

(2016) Charlotte Mason’s “Ourselves” Quotes (Part 2) More quotes collected from Ourselves, my favorite of Charlotte Mason’s volumes.

(2012) A Day in the Life of Reb A day-in-the-life post from 8 years ago! B was so tiny….

Have a lovely weekend!

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Weekend Entertainment: 19 June 2020 https://ahumbleplace.com/weekend-entertainment-19-june-2020/ https://ahumbleplace.com/weekend-entertainment-19-june-2020/#respond Fri, 19 Jun 2020 07:00:00 +0000 https://ahumbleplace.com/?p=57389 If you’ve known me or have been reading my site for more than about three years or so, you know I have a habit of redesigning every so often. I used to update my blog design at least quarterly, partially because I can’t decide on a style a like, and partially because I enjoy designing. […]

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If you’ve known me or have been reading my site for more than about three years or so, you know I have a habit of redesigning every so often. I used to update my blog design at least quarterly, partially because I can’t decide on a style a like, and partially because I enjoy designing. I have less time these days to do it and it’s more difficult with all of the moving parts of an online shop, so I haven’t been able to do it as often (I guess that’s also not a good practice to have for bloggers….but I’ve never been good at following proper blogger rules). Earlier this year, however, I decided it really was time for a change, and so, here we are! There are probably a few weird formatting things in different places, but I’m slowly working on fixing the little things. Hopefully the majority of it is working just fine for you, but if you see anything wonky, let me know!

We’ve been getting into the swing of summer this week. My husband was out of town all last week and part of this week, so we also had his homecoming to celebrate. My hope is that it’s a productive but restful summer for us. It feels always as if I have a lot of plans for the summer and then 90% of them never happen. This year feels a little different in that many of those plans just can’t happen. We are hoping to get a camping trip in at some point, but aren’t sure what that might look like.

What do you have planned for the summer?

From the internet…

Charlotte Mason & Sunday School We have really struggled with the approach that our church has to Sunday School for children, so much so that currently they don’t attend. A friend and I were having a discussion about this several years ago and talking about how much richer Sunday School programs would be if they took a few lessons from Charlotte Mason. In this post, Nancy Kelly offers many wonderful ideas to do just that!

Pilates for Beginners This summer I’m attempting to get rid of some of the extra pounds I’ve added over the last few months of staying home (and eating….a lot). My goal is to go on at least a few walks or hikes each week, and then the other days to work on some exercises at home. This includes Pilates, a form of exercise I used years and years ago before the kids came along. This video is just the right amount of challenge, but is short enough that it’s easy to fit in at any time of the day (and doesn’t require any special equipment!). I’m also hoping to eliminate the little dowager hump I’ve begun to sprout with these exercises as well. Anyone want to join me? 🙂

Cover Designs for AnnaVancePaperCo Companion Planners Anna and I received such a positive response to our collaboration for covers to go with her beautiful Charlotte Mason Inspired Homeschool Planners that we decided to extend that to her wonderful companion planners as well! These planners are very versatile! I use mine to keep all of the plans for our family organized, but they can also be used for older students or even for a small business! I designed 3 covers to go along with the 3 I made for the homeschool planner, and then 3 additional covers just for the companion planners.

From the blog…

Charlotte Mason Homeschool Third Grade Recap and Kindergarten Recap We finished our school year on Friday so this week I shared recaps for both B’s third grade year and C’s kindergarten year. Overall, the year went really well, especially considering all of the restrictions in place and it was the first year I was attempting to teach two students. On that front, because I was doing a very simple kindergarten year with C, I was able to experiment with how to juggle two students. Also, C and I were able to spend that time together. That in and of itself is priceless as I feel like the last three years, I’ve been very focused on her brother. I’m looking forward to having that more intentional time with her as she gets further into her school.

(2019) Charlotte Mason Homeschool Second Grade Recap This is the time of year when I do our recap posts. Here’s what our second grade year looked like.

(2018) Charlotte Mason Homeschool First Grade Recap And here’s first grade. 😊

(2017) Charlotte Mason-Inspired Kindergarten Recap And kindergarten the first time around.

(2014) Be Kind “I see us, sometimes, as beings of many faces. We struggle with financial difficulties, sickness, marriage problems, mental illness, death, and the difficulty of being in certain seasons of life, not to mention the myriad other things that pop up while we draw breath. Things that everyone else experiences at some point in their lives, as well as challenges that some of us can’t even imagine. We fight through these things while we drive to work, go grocery shopping, or take the kids to the library. Life is hard and we have no idea how hard it is for the person we pass by on the street.”

(2012) What I Lost After my son’s very traumatic birth which resulted in an emergency c-section in 2010, I was diagnosed with PTSD. I began seeing a new counselor in June of 2016 who gave me different assignments to work through this and I decided to share the first one on my blog. Birth trauma isn’t something that’s really talked about much or even acknowledged in some circles, so I wanted to offer my own experiences in the hopes that it might help other women who have gone through the same thing.

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Charlotte Mason Homeschool Kindergarten Recap (Take 2) https://ahumbleplace.com/charlotte-mason-homeschool-kindergarten-recap-take-2/ https://ahumbleplace.com/charlotte-mason-homeschool-kindergarten-recap-take-2/#respond Wed, 17 Jun 2020 13:38:05 +0000 https://ahumbleplace.com/?p=57290 On Monday I posted about B’s third grade year and I wanted to do the same for C’s kindergarten year. I’ve done very thorough plan and recap posts over the last four years as I’ve begun this homeschooling journey with B, however, I think for C I’m going to only do a planning post at […]

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On Monday I posted about B’s third grade year and I wanted to do the same for C’s kindergarten year. I’ve done very thorough plan and recap posts over the last four years as I’ve begun this homeschooling journey with B, however, I think for C I’m going to only do a planning post at the beginning of the year and a recap post at the end since this is will be our second time around. We’ll see, though…. I put this in writing but plans always have the ability of changing drastically in a short time. 🙂

You can see the post I wrote last summer (what seems like a million years ago…) with my plans for her kindergarten year. We used my Charlotte Mason-Inspired Kindergarten Curriculum and it all went really well. It was good for me in that it provided me with a way to figure out how to juggle two students and it was good for C to start establishing good habits she’ll need for school. Also, we were also able to spend that time together. That in and of itself is priceless as I feel like the last three years, I’ve been very focused on her brother. I’m looking forward to having that more intentional time with her as she gets further into her school.

So here’s how the year went…..

Bible

The Child’s Story Bible

This was an area where C’s readings were different than B’s. With him, I read a story per day from The Jesus Storybook Bible or the Children of God Storybook Bible. However, by the time C reached kindergarten, she had heard both of these read several times. I happened to pick up a copy of The Child’s Story Bible at a thrift sale as I knew it was very popular among Charlotte Mason families, so I decided she and I would read that one instead. Now I wish I had read that one with B also! I still really love The Jesus Storybook Bible especially for young children, but I felt The Child’s Story Bible was perfect for kindergarten-age kids. I chose to read one story (or section of a story) per day with the first three days of the week for the New Testament (and specifically the life of Jesus) and the last day for the Old Testament. At this pace, we didn’t finish, so we’ll continue reading it through the summer.

History

Fifty Famous People

We read this one every few weeks with each reading being usually less than 5 minutes. The stories aren’t linear, but instead focus on a different person in each reading, so there was nothing to recap in each one. She did enjoy these readings, though she looked forward to other books more.

Geography

The Irish Twins
Children Just Like Me

Both of these books were a big hit. I think she enjoyed the linear books more as she was able to really connect with the characters, and this was especially true for The Irish Twins. When I told her to bring this book to me, she would grab it from her cart and then on the way over to the couch tell me what happened the last time we read. I was impressed by this as most of the time I couldn’t remember what we had read!

She actually told me last week that she did not like Children Just Like Me. I asked her why and she said it was because I hadn’t read about any of the other children in the book, so we’ll be doing that over the summer as well. It did help to pull out our globe when we were reading from this book so she could see where in the world the person we were reading about that day was located in relation to us. She especially liked it when they were on the other side of the world from us.

Nature Study

Old Mother West Wind
Seed Babies

C loves Thornton Burgess, so I knew Old Mother West Wind would be a success. For Seed Babies, I did not follow my own advice and sprout beans in our kitchen, so we missed out on that (maybe another summer activity?). She loved the talking beans, but there were definitely parts of the story that she did not enjoy as much as others, particularly when there was a lot of dialog. She now really, really wants to find some tadpoles and bring them “back to life.”

Science

One Small Square Backyard
Science in Seconds
One Small Square Pond

We ended up reading both of the One Small Square books with Backyard in term 1 and Pond in term 3. In term 2, we were learning about weather in our homeschool co-op and I also picked up Joy Cherrick’s nature study guide for weather, so I decided to include her with that instead of doing Science in Seconds. While she did participate in some of the activities and readings, she wasn’t all that interested in most of it, so she just kind of tagged along when we did things outside. I also didn’t want to force her to participate since this was supposed to be more of a casual year for her. I do plan to use Joy’s guides in Year 1 for her, depending on what our co-op looks like, but I think it’ll be better when I can really focus on her rather than trying to do them with a 5-year-old and a 9-year-old. I also think she might be more interested in a different subject at this age as well.

Literature

Winnie-the-Pooh
Beatrix Potter
The Children’s Book of Virtues

All books in this category were absolutely loved. She has heard the stories from Winnie-the-Pooh and Beatrix Potter, but thank God he made small children okay with hearing the same stories over and over again! She also absolutely loved The Children’s Book of Virtues (we called it “the golden book” since the binding on the three-book volume is a shiny gold) and got very upset when the reading was short. This is another one from which she as asked me to read other stories.

Poetry

Favorite Poems Old and New: Selected For Boys and Girls

We read one poem per day and C enjoyed this part very much. I love the variety of poems in this book and how it introduces so many different poets and poetry styles.

She also did very well with her monthly recitation poems and we now have several new ones to add to our family recitation notebook!

Math

MEP Reception

This was my second time doing MEP Reception and I was constantly reminded of what a wonderful, gentle way it is to introduce basic math concepts. We spent a lot of time counting and coloring and playing games together and she did so well. Next year we’ll switch to RightStart Level B, but I feel very confident that she’s prepared for that after having gone through MEP Reception. I do know that the directions can be hard to follow or understand at times, so I plan to write a post later this summer that hopefully explains it better.

Art

We studied the following pieces from Claude Monet in term 1:

In term 2 we learned about Emily Carr and these works:

And Norman Rockwell in term 3:

C has always been good about participating in picture study and is eager to narrate, so she was an active participant when I introduced these pieces. This was a huge change from her brother who has never really cared for this part of our school time.

Music

For composer study, we learned about Claude Debussy, Aaron Copland, and Miles Davis, mostly in co-op, though I did play the music at home between co-op meetings. Folksong and hymns were also introduced during co-op and then sung alternating days during the week in Morning Time.

Handicraft

The Nourishing Traditions Cookbook for Children
The Artful Year

We were able to do a few of the handicraft activities but unfortunately our schedule didn’t allow for most of them. I also got her a simple needlepoint kit at the beginning of the year, but it required a lot of help from me so she quickly lost interest. I’m hoping it’s something she’ll want to take up again in the future.

Copywork

I started with simple copywork sheets from worksheetworks.com for her, but then noticed that some of her letter formations weren’t as good as they could be, so I printed out alphabet sheets for her instead. I started with these to introduce how to form the letters and then we worked through these for additional practice. I definitely saw an improvement after that, but we’ll have to keep working on this.


And that was our year! She is chomping at the bit to start narrating which is very encouraging as it was such a struggle with her brother. I am so looking forward to reading the books I went through with him in Year 1 and not only reliving those memories, but making new ones as well!

Other posts in this series…

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Charlotte Mason Homeschool Third Grade Recap https://ahumbleplace.com/charlotte-mason-homeschool-third-grade-recap/ https://ahumbleplace.com/charlotte-mason-homeschool-third-grade-recap/#comments Tue, 16 Jun 2020 03:55:24 +0000 https://ahumbleplace.com/?p=56721 (Please note that I have linked to book lists on the AmblesideOnline website to respect their licensing terms and the hard work they’ve put into such an amazing curriculum that they offer for free. Books that use affiliate links here are not listed on AmblesideOnline.) Third grade, and Form I with it, are a wrap! What a strange end […]

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(Please note that I have linked to book lists on the AmblesideOnline website to respect their licensing terms and the hard work they’ve put into such an amazing curriculum that they offer for free. Books that use affiliate links here are not listed on AmblesideOnline.)

Third grade, and Form I with it, are a wrap! What a strange end to the year, though. Almost our entire third term co-op meetings took place via Zoom which was both good and bad. It was nice not to have to make the drive those Friday mornings, or frantically clean my house on the Thursdays before we were scheduled to host, but it was hard not being with our people and doing everything on a screen presented other problems as well. Still, I am so thankful for the technology that allowed us to keep going with co-op and for my kids to be able to see their friends.

As I mentioned in my term 2 recap post, I decided to try having a sabbath week in the middle of the term and I think it was a great thing for us. I’ve already planned out our schedule for next year and included sabbath weeks in the middle and at the end of each term there as well, so this is a practice we’ll continue doing.

There were so many times this term when I was so thankful that we homeschool, beyond the gratitude that I normally feel. Knowing that my kids’ days were not really all that affected by COVID-19, other than their dad working from home every day (a good thing!), was at least one less thing we had to worry about in all of this mess.

And now the recap….

Bible

Bible Book List Here and Here

This year we read about Moses and the Exodus as well as the book of Luke. I really enjoyed how reading through Exodus and Numbers felt a lot like reading the story of Moses’s life. There is so much I learned here right along with B and I feel like this gave him an excellent foundation for all of the things we’ll read later, but also continued very well the story of how God has used the Jewish people to bless the entire world.

Luke was a lot of “review” for B, or so he felt. Many of his narrations began with him saying something along the lines of us already having read a certain part. So I explained to him how there are four gospels and he’ll be hearing these stories again. And again. And again… (I hope, anyway. ☺) I am glad that I’ll have another commentary to read along with Mark next year, but it was also nice to have a break from reading two commentaries at the same time to prepare for our Bible time.

Again, I can’t recommend the J. Paterson Smyth commentaries enough. While I don’t agree with everything he writes, I so appreciate the refreshing view on stories I have heard my whole life, yet am only realizing I didn’t fully understand until now. I love that I can offer these views to my kids from an early age.

History

History Book List Here

In American history, we learned about early European exploration in North and South America and the eventual colonization of North America. We read about Jamestown and the Plymouth colony (as well as briefly about other, smaller colonies) and all of the challenges (and some failures) surrounding those.

In European history, we read about the European perspective of North American colonization. We also learned more about the British monarchs from Henry VIII to to George II (including a LOT about Queen Elizabeth I). And we read a few short biographies of people involved with the Reformation.

B has been much more engaged with This Country of Ours and Our Island Story readings this term, even though he still groans when I take them out. I think keeping the monarchs straight has definitely been a challenge for him, so I used the whiteboard a lot more this term, taping off the middle so we had four sections where we kept track of different names in different books that were important to our reading. This helped a little but when it came time for exams, he struggled with questions about specific monarchs. Admittedly, I have even had a hard time keeping them all straight. A few people have posted charts with all of the British monarchs on the AO Forum that have helped them, so when C’s turn comes around for this, I may use one of those. B’s American history narrations and exam answers, however, were very good, so that’s encouraging.

I continue on with my recommendation to pre-read This Country of Ours, Our Island Story, and Trial and Triumph. They were much tamer in term 3 than in past terms, but there were still parts I’d be wary of reading to a sensitive third grader and, at least on our part, required some editing.

Biography

Biography Book List Here

This year we read biographies about Leonardo da Vinci, Queen Elizabeth I, William Shakespeare, and the Pilgrims.

In term 3 we read about the landing of the Pilgrims and it was interesting to hear a more thorough story than the summary of their landing and first few years here that I got when I was in school. I’d recommend, again, pre-reading Landing of the Pilgrims as, while the overall story I think is good from the point of view of the Pilgrims, there are definitely racial slurs (eg. “savage,” “red man,” etc.) that are easily replaced with more respectful terms like “Native American,” “man,” or even using their nation name, eg. Patuxet There is also a particularly violent scene toward the end of the book between Captain Standish and Wituwamat that I felt it was necessary to tone down and I skipped over some of the more lurid details.

Geography

Geography Book List Here and Here

We read the biography of Marco Polo over the course of this year and explored 14-century China (the Yuan dynasty!). We also learned about different climates and how the shape and tilt of the earth affects them. And we learned about the lines of longitude and latitude as well as different types of room/city plans and basic maps.

Marco Polo was not a hit for B, except near the end. While he found a lot of the descriptions interesting and amusing at times, I think he had a hard time keeping all of the different places straight in his mind. I did have a map of Marco Polo’s travels that we looked at in the beginning, but it wasn’t particularly detailed so we essentially only pulled it out a few times. I think when it’s C’s turn for this book, I will try to find a more detailed map for us to use.

When learning about room and city plans, as well as overall maps, I highly recommend doing the exercises in Long’s Geography and Charlotte Mason’s Geography that are offered in the readings listed on the AO website as I think these really help cement those ideas in little heads. B hemmed and hawed and complained to no end when I told him he had to draw a map of an imaginary country for his exam, but he has a hard time with more abstract tasks and, eventually, he made a very nice map.

Natural History

Natural History/Science Book List Here

This year in natural history and science, we learned about hermit crabs, the properties of water, and woodland animals.

In term 3, we all really liked the stories in Secrets of the Woods. I really appreciated the balanced point of view the book offered from a man who did hunt the animals, but who was also respectful of the wildlife he was hunting. Admittedly, though, I was very thankful he didn’t actually shoot anything in the book!

I also found it helpful to to find videos of the animals we were learning about if they weren’t familiar to us. In particular, for the ruffed grouse, I found a video of the males drumming that really helped us picture the bird in the story better.

Charlotte Mason Homeschool Third Grade Recap

Literature/Tales

Literature/Tales Book List Here

This year in literature, we read a nice variety of books that were a range of enjoyment levels for B.

In term 3, we finished The Heroes with the story of Theseus which B liked the least of the three contained in the book. While he, again, grumbled about narrating and said he didn’t like the book as a whole in the end, there were several parts where he was definitely emotionally invested in the story. This one is another book that I’d recommend pre-reading as there are definitely violent parts in it.

In Parables of Nature, we read a few stories, but I thought “Kicking” and “Imperfect Instruments” were probably two of my favorites that we’ve read from that book. B doesn’t care for it, but he gave good narrations so I’m hoping the lessons learned stay in that little brain and reveal their deeper messages some day.

The Jungle Book, after “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” (which we’ve read several times before), wasn’t much of a success and neither of us liked the story of the seal, especially the fairly graphic description of clubbing. I’d recommend pre-reading this.

And we finally finished both parts of Pilgrim’s Progress! It was a challenge at times, but I thought it was a good read and despite the fact that the language can be tough, B gave mostly good narrations, only really struggling when there was a lot of dialog. I’m very glad we included this one in our readings over the last two years as, admittedly, when we started it in year 2, I was really second-guessing keeping it.

In co-op, for Shakespeare we read the Lambs’ version of Pericles, Prince of Tyre (this was the second time for B as we read it at home earlier this year) and Nesbit’s version of Much Ado About Nothing at home. I chose Nesbit mainly for time constraints. If the play is a comedy, I generally go with Lambs, but if its a comedy or we’re short on time, I got with Nesbit as her versions are generally shorter and less descriptive. Hamlet was also on the AO schedule for this year, but we read it last year in co-op, so I decided to skip it this time around.

Poetry

Over the year we read the poetry of William Blake, Sara Teasdale, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. In term 3, I decided to read poetry from a Longfellow book we already owned, however, I think in the future I’ll stick to the AO schedule as this didn’t work well for us. We read a few of his shorter poems and then spent the second part of the term reading The Courtship of Miles Standish which was so long that we didn’t finish it. It also contains a recount of the fight between Standish and Witawamat that I mentioned above. I think if it had been a larger anthology of his poetry, it would’ve been better, but since it was really just a sort of “greatest hits” it didn’t work well in this setting.

Math

RightStart Mathematics Level D

We did not finish RightStart Level D, but that was to be expected. This was mainly due to the fact that we only do 20 minutes of math per day and B is sometimes very slow, especially when doing the practice/review problems. He is definitely, however, making progress and always does very well on his assessments (which RightStart does throughout the year) and worksheets. He does get so very, very frustrated, though, so I am thankful that we’re able to take this slowly. We will be working on it over the summer at a lesson per day so I hope that we’ll be ready for Level E in the fall.

Charlotte Mason Homeschool Third Grade Recap

Copywork

We continued with cursive through the end of the year. I used the now defunct Yahoo AO copywork group to create copywork sheets in cursive on worksheetworks.com with every other line having the text that he was to copy on the line below it. Even though I thought his handwriting was fine at the beginning of the year, I can still see improvements in his letter formation between then and now so I’m gald this is part of our daily routine.

Phonics/Reading

Additional Reading Suggestions Here

We continue with B taking 10 minutes per day to read outloud. I used the additional reading suggestions on AO for a Year 3-4 student after we finished the third Treadwell reader earlier this year. This term we started The Matchlock Gun, but I didn’t care for the content, so we switched to The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen by Lloyd Alexander, who was one of my favorite authors when I was a kid. This one has been a hit so far, though we weren’t able to finish it before the end of the year so I am debating having him read it outloud over the summer. He is, of course, resistant to this idea. 🙂

Spanish

Salsa
Wyoming Department of Education Salsa Materials
De Colores Book and CD

This year for Spanish, we alternated days by watching a Salsa video on Mondays (the same one 3 weeks in a row), then doing an activity for that episode from the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) materials on Wednesday, and then also singing a song from De Colores on Tuesdays and Thursdays (one song per month). I think this worked a lot better for us at this age than what we’ve done in the past, so we’ll be continuing with this routine next year. I used the kindergarten pace mentioned in the WDE guides for C, so we’ll move that up to the first grade level next year. This year they learned basic parts of conversation, colors, and parts of their head as well as other random words. They also like singing their Spanish songs over and over again until they are permanently stuck in mama’s head. 😊

Nature Study

We did a little bit of a gamut of activities this year in nature study. In the first term we went along with the AmblesideOnline nature study schedule and learned about cultivated crops by reading parts of The Handbook of Nature Study and watching videos that went with that crop (in co-op, we studied wildflowers). In the second term, I decided to use one of Joy Cherrick’s nature study guides and we learned about weather (we were also studying this in our co-op), and in the third term, I decided to give us a little break and we only did our co-op nature study assignments which were about birds. We’ve studied birds before, but this term we went a little more in-depth on the different parts of birds, rather than different kinds of birds, and I think this was a nice way to round out our education on our feathered friends. It was also nice to have a lighter load since we were not doing both our co-op assignments and the additional lessons from the nature study guides each week, especially as it ended up being difficult for us to go on hikes or walks due to COVID-19.

Timeline

Timelines was an epic failure this year. I think I had B color in about two squares of his personal history. Not good. In the fall, he’ll be starting on his own Book of Centuries and adding items from our readings, so I hope I am more diligent about that. I hope…..

Recitation

B learned and recited poems from the poets we read this year, including William Blake and Sara Teasdale, and, in term 3, the following from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

I’ve been making them slightly longer and longer and he has been reciting them very well, so I’ll continue on that path. I’d love to get to the point where he picks his own pieces for recitations, but he’s not all that interested. Over the summer, I plan to read Maria Bell’s article on recitation more thoroughly and give our own practice of it a revamp for next year.

Charlotte Mason Homeschool Third Grade Recap

Brushdrawing

Brushwork: Elementary Brush-Forms

Brushdrawing, which B does for fifteen minutes every Wednesday, started so well last year and he was making beautiful paintings, but then as we got further into it, it became less and less neat. I’m not sure if this is because we switched paint. Initially, when he was doing the red blobs, I was using a fairly expensive watercolor paint I bought several years ago. I’m a firm believer in providing high-quality art supplies for my kids, but I felt I had to make a tiny bit of a compromise when it came to the watercolor paints as each one of those little tubes really adds up! I tried two different kids of paint and the first brand smelled horrible. It was really, really awful and I ended up throwing the whole thing away. The second brand was better in the aroma department, but the quality of the paint was questionable. I may explore other options over the summer as I know it’s frustrating to him also when his paintings are sloppy.

Picture Study

Over the course of this year, we studied Claude Monet (and were able to see an enormous exhibition of his paintings in January at the Denver Art Museum with our co-op), Emily Carr, and, in term 3, Norman Rockwell. I originally scheduled Norman Rockwell because there was another exhibition scheduled for May at the Denver Art Museum with many of his paintings, including the four freedoms, but they closed the museum in March due to COVID-19 and it hasn’t been open since. It was still a good term of art, however, as we studied the following:

Drawing

What to Draw and How to Draw It

We continued having a little drawing session every Monday for fifteen minutes, simply going through the book and doing a new object or animal each week. Sometimes C would join us and sometimes not, but I think it’s not only a nice way to build up his drawing skills, but is also a good way to alternate the types of lessons we’re doing (eg. reading/drawing/reading/something else/etc.).

Swedish Drill

Swedish Drill Revisited

We did Swedish Drill once per week one Tuesdays during the year and then again when we met for co-op on Fridays. In term 3, we finished learning the first official routine. I think next year I’d like to do this more than just one time per week as it was actually scheduled three times per week in the PUS and I think the movement is good for ALL of us.

Charlotte Mason Homeschool Third Grade Recap

Handicrafts

B completed three pastel drawings this year which we learned by watching videos. I think he really liked the first two, which were a meadow scene and a mountain scene, but he did not like the last one, a rooster, as much. This was mainly because he had a hard time blending the pastels after having put on so many layers, and that was very frustrating for him. The rooster didn’t turn out quite how he liked, so he really did not enjoy this project. Still, I think he learned a good amount about pastels and can hopefully extend that knowledge to other areas of art.

Composer

This year we learned about Claude Debussy, Aaron Copland, and, in term 3, Miles Davis. We get our composter study instruction during co-op, so we spent part of our co-op meetings listening to jazz. 😊 It was interesting to learn more about Davis’s life as I knew virtually nothing about it before this term. Also, he tied in so well with our folksongs (see below) and Norman Rockwell picture study (particularly the last two images).

Folksong/Hymn

Our hymns for term 3 were 40 Days and 40 Nights and This Joyful Eastertide. I appreciated that the leader of hymns in our co-op chose to include ones that fit along with the liturgical calendar this year.

Our folksongs in term 3 were Down by the Riverside and We Shall Overcome. We had a lot of Pete Seeger that last few months. 😊

Piano

Hoffman Academy

B and I decided that for the sake of shortening our school time in the morning, we’d move his lessons to the afternoon, so he has been responsible for making sure he gets them done every day. He’s still plugging away, though it has definitely become more challenging for him. I’ve been impressed by the fact that he has continued to persevere with the lessons, even though they are sometimes difficult. In particular, the recordings that play along with the practice sessions are too fast for him at this point, so he has learned to pause and play as he can. Usually when something is especially challenging for him, he wants to quit, but this has not been the case with piano.

Also, we’re still really liking Hoffman Academy. It was especially nice to have online lessons when all of the stay-at-home orders began!


And here we are at the end of another year. It’s hard to believe we’ve been doing this for four years now, but as we get further and further into it, I’m so glad we chose this path!

Charlotte Mason Homeschool Third Grade Recap

Other posts in this series…

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Weekend Entertainment: 12 June 2020 https://ahumbleplace.com/weekend-entertainment-12-june-2020/ https://ahumbleplace.com/weekend-entertainment-12-june-2020/#respond Fri, 12 Jun 2020 07:00:00 +0000 https://ahumbleplace.com/?p=56557 As of today, we are done with Year 3 and Kindergarten! And this is my last year of teaching kindergarten. I dispersed the kindergarten books into our regular book collection and, admittedly, got sad. So begins our slow good-bye to school years that won’t be repeated. Woe is mama. Anyway, today we’re finishing everything up […]

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As of today, we are done with Year 3 and Kindergarten! And this is my last year of teaching kindergarten. I dispersed the kindergarten books into our regular book collection and, admittedly, got sad. So begins our slow good-bye to school years that won’t be repeated. Woe is mama.

Anyway, today we’re finishing everything up with exams and then next week I hope to go on a hike. We’ll be continuing math through the summer as we didn’t finish RightStart Level D this year, but at only 20 minutes a day, it won’t be too bad. What are your summer plans?

On to the links!

We Were Created To Be In Nature “I see now how my spiritual life is connected to my nature life. The farther away my body gets from the earth, the bigger the distance between my heart and God’s. There’s correlation, and most definitely causation. As He draws me nearer, I want to spend more time in His creation.”

Is a Charlotte Mason Education Good for Black Children? This is so well-written and was very inspiring to read. Last week, I saw at least one person dismiss an entire Charlotte Mason curriculum because she felt it was too Euro-centric and I agree – they definitely can be. However, I am hesitant to toss it all out the window. I know that I can be flexible and make changes, substitutions, subtractions, and additions as I see fit. I am a thinking mom and I can see that, yes, CM curricula are often white-washed, but then I can also listen to others and do my own research and add to our readings. I can find rich, living books that offer a different view of people of color, whether it’s overcoming the enormous odds stacked against them and/or living lives of inspiration and motivation, and I plan to do just that.

Traveling Through the Pages Summer Reading Adventure I’m not much for offering prizes for reading, but I do love the idea of keeping track of what we’ve read and having specific goals in mind. Also, free printables! 🙂

From the blog…

Picture Study by E. C. Plumptre This week I re-typed an article from a Parent’s National Educational Union pamphlet on picture study because I feel this essay presents a short but thorough view of picture study as a whole. I wanted to share it in the hopes that it might aid you in your own picture study endeavors!

(2019) Junior Ranger Programs: Rocky Mountain Region I put together a list of all of the National Parks in the Rocky Mountain region (Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming) that offer Junior Ranger programs. The parks are slowly starting to open back up this summer, so if you’re making a trip anywhere, I highly recommend checking to see if there are any open near you! (You can also collect badges online as well!)

(2015) Here I Am In the summer of 2015, I had an almost-five-year-old, an eighteen-month-old and my husband had been unemployed for a year after having been laid off. We lived in a tiny condo with no yard and I was really struggling with life in general. “I just really have to hold on to that hope of some day and know that today, this moment, right now, even though at times it all just feels so awful when all the thoughts start piling up on each other, that I truly, truly have so much to be thankful for. And I can just be in the here and now. Not where I should be. Not even where I want to be.”

(2014) How to Make Raw Milk Yogurt This is my tried-and-true method, in case you’ve been looking for a recipe. ☺

Have a lovely weekend!

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Picture Study by E. C. Plumptre https://ahumbleplace.com/picture-study-by-e-c-plumptre/ https://ahumbleplace.com/picture-study-by-e-c-plumptre/#comments Mon, 08 Jun 2020 07:00:00 +0000 https://ahumbleplace.com/?p=56377 Today I wanted to share a re-typed version of a Parents National Educational Union pamphlet on picture study. This pamphlet was written in approximately the middle of the 20th century by E. C. Plumptre who was a House of Education Graduate. Though I tend to shy away from anything written for the PNEU or PUS […]

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Today I wanted to share a re-typed version of a Parents National Educational Union pamphlet on picture study. This pamphlet was written in approximately the middle of the 20th century by E. C. Plumptre who was a House of Education Graduate. Though I tend to shy away from anything written for the PNEU or PUS after Ms. Mason’s death in 1923, I felt this essay was definitely an exception as I think it succinctly explains the importance of and practices for picture study.

There are a few sites that re-type the articles and essays from the Parent’s Review magazine and L’Umile Pianta such as Charlotte Mason Poetry and AmblesideOnline. However, as this pamphlet was published outside of the PR or L’Umile Pianta and was found in a box with other documents in 1953, I wasn’t sure this one would ever make it to their lists. To make it hopefully easier to read and reference, I decided to type it up myself.

There are a few deviations suggested here from how we do for picture study that I thought I might mention. For instance, with younger children looking at a painting depicting a specific story, she recommends reading the story to them before they look at the piece. I actually like to do this after they’ve had a chance to look at and narrate the painting as I feel that first impression without any pre-conceived ideas of what they’re looking at is so important. However, this is just what I prefer with my own students. As all children are born persons, your students may respond differently and hearing the story beforehand might allow them to hang the painting in the halls of their imagination more securely.

She also recommends hanging the pictures up somewhere for the children to see before they actually have their picture study session with that particular piece. In the environment for which she was writing-most likely a classroom with a group of students and possibly not enough reproductions or prints for every student to have their own-this is a good way for all of the students to get exposure to the piece before the intentional picture study time. However, if you have only a few students and/or a copy of the piece for all of them, I’d highly recommend waiting to “reveal” it until you sit down for your picture study time. The kids in my co-op in particular show a tiny bit of excitement for picture study when it’s time to flip their new pieces over with many of them trying to guess what it might be.

No matter what, though, I feel this essay presents a short but thorough view of picture study as a whole, so I wanted to share it in the hopes that it might aid you in your own picture study endeavors! For further reading, I have also written posts on why picture study is important and how we do it in our homeschool and co-op.


Picture Study

by. E. C. Plumptre
Parents National Educational Union

No piece of work undertaken in life will overstep its aims. Though men fail again and again to achieve their highest aims, they never drift unawares above the level they have desired. This truth applies also to lessons given. But in the rush of daily life, or among the exacting demands of a full time-table, the aim once in view is easily lost to sight. So from time to time it is a good thing to call to mind the aims in giving certain subjects to the children and the end to be achieved. The aims of Picture Study lessons and some of the means by which they may be attained are considered in what follows.

The children in the P.U.S. have Picture Study every term from six years old upwards. Between that age and, say, fifteen a child has studied reproductions of pictures by some thirty of the world’s famous artists, and may own a considerable collection of reproductions of their works. Why are these lessons arranged? In order that the children may be put in touch with the contribution that each famous artists has made to the world’s store of all that is beautiful and ‘worth-while.’ Just as Literature introduces us to the thought of the greatest writers, so Picture Study opens the gates to the ideas of the famous artists. To deprive anyone of such an introduction is to shut him off from a wide field of enrichment and enjoyment; there are other, secondary, aims to the lessons. Powers of observation increase as children learn to look at a picture, a sense of beauty will be more fully developed with further power to appreciate. But these aims do not stand first; they are incidental. It is the child’s contact with the work of the artist that takes foremost place. Here lies a difficulty. It is so easy for us to stand between the children and that contact; without our help it may never be made, over-much help may prevent it from being direct contact. The grown-up who takes the lesson is an all-important middleman, but, like other middlemen, she must be lost in the background. There are many pictures that make their own independent appeal. Her judgment must tell when the helping word is needed, or when-as is specially the case with older children-too much speaking or over-much enthusiasm may be a barrier.

At this point it is convenient to consider the question of how much of the life of the artist children need to know. The general principle is-only so much as is really necessary to the enjoyment of his pictures, except in the case of girls of thirteen, fourteen or upwards. For example, when looking at Fra Angelico’s pictures it is a real help to know of his saintly life in the community of monks at San Marco, though the rest of his life is of no importance. Or, to give another example, Millet’s works are better appreciated by those who know that he led the hard life of a peasant, though the details of this life are not necessary. But for the pictures of Raphael, Memlinc [sic] or Constable the artist’s life is of no importance. To attempt to interest small children too much in this may even take away opportunities of gaining intimacy with the man’s pictures, and they are what he gave to the world.

In every Picture Study lesson it is important that there should be a short time in which children can look quietly at the picture, uninterrupted by questions of discussion. That is when there will be the best chance for each one to gain his own link with the picture and its painter’s thought. Just how much time should be given to this, and at what stage in the lesson it should come, are matters that call for much discrimination. Many children love to ‘chatter’ about the picture, and it is right that there should be plenty of free discussion. But if this is quite unrestricted there is the danger that it may degenerate into mere chatter, and also the possibility that the bolder child will come out with everything before the quieter one has a chance to express himself. The place of this discussion in the lesson depends upon many factors-not least the picture itself. In any case there are always those few minutes for studying the picture quietly. As the children find what is expected from them in the description that follows straight upon the ‘looking,’ so they learn to ‘look’ and not to gaze vaguely. At first there will be wandering attention among younger ones, unless a little help has been given beforehand. But this help must never be an explanation of the picture-that would be taking the child’s part from him. It consists of any facts that may be needed by the child to enable him to enjoy and to describe. For a picture of St. Christopher an outline of the story is needed. With little children is is better to tell or read this before they have the picture, and then let them have the fun of discovering which part of the story is illustrated.

With very large classes it is not always possible for each child to have a copy of the pictures. But even with a single set there is no need for the children to miss that undisturbed contact. For a week beforehand the picture for the next lesson will be on the classroom wall, and after the first rush to see what it is, there will seldom be an odd minute before or after classes when one or two people are not standing in front of it and just looking. When the lesson comes around, different members of the class tell what has been gathered from the picture, the teacher explains anything not understood, and between them the class give a well-ordered description. Memory sketches may be added if the children are old enough, either individually or collectively on the blackboard, or a tableau pose of a group of figures may be given.

The foregoing are general considerations applying to lessons with children of any age. But at different ages varying aspects appeal. With 6-10 year-olds it is mainly the details that fascinate and the description given by the children should include as many as possible. Very likely it will contain nothing else. But the discussion may give an opportunity of leading towards something further. Suppose Gainesborough’s portrait of Edward Orpin, the Parish Clerk, has been described. Someone of eight years old may have noticed his beautiful, thoughtful face. The question, ‘Why do you think he looks so happy?’ may or may not bring a satisfactory answer. But it will make an opening for the realization that his Bible reading has brought this to him. Such ideas lead to that fuller understanding in older years which will find the thought that as the sun lightens his features, so the Bible has has shed light on his mind and given him such a noble countenance.

Some little children are astonishingly quick to notice small details, while others seldom see anything in the background. A word from a grown-up often helps them to find what is there without actually showing details. The father digging in the garden in Millet’s Labecquée [sic] may have been missed. When he has been ‘found’ there may be opportunity for giving an idea-he is at his daily task, just as the mother is at hers; it is part of the divine ordering that there is no food for man without labouring; the daily round and the yearly rotation;-different thoughts appeal to different people. Of course there must never be any forcing of meaning where none is intended. Gainesborough’s Market Cart or Millet’s Girl Watering a Cow are straightforward pictures and should be taken as such.

By eleven years old children should be giving orderly descriptions of pictures, and training in this must begin gradually some years before. By an ‘orderly’ description is meant one in which the principal objects and their positions are mentioned first, so that a listener who has never seen the picture gains a general idea of the arrangement (sometimes it is not a bad idea to imagine that someone who has not seen the picture is present!) Then the details are given, not haphazard, but on some considered plan. For example, when describing Millet’s The Shepherdess, shepherdess, flock, plain, dog, time of day comes first and then follow the details of her clothes, the sheep, the distant landscape and the lighting. With a more complicated picture, such as Durer’s St. Jerome in his Study, the narrator must give some thought if a successful ‘general outline’ is to come first. Children in classes soon become critical in this respect, and it is not a bad plan for the teacher to keep her own record of children who have begun in this way, so that she may see that a first description falls to as many as possible. Although there is no teaching of composition, work along these lines prepares the way for its apprecitation later on.

Some time between eleven and sixteen most girls go through a stage of intense criticism. Anything, stiff, unusual and awkward is noticed immediately, and Italian or Flemish Primitives are not easily appreciated, even by those who at six or seven loved such pictures. For at that age the spiritual appeal of the picture is direct and unfettered by the attitude of maturer years. Naturally this growing sense of valuation-criticism-is not yet coupled with discrimination. To keep a happy medium is the teacher’s part. Children should not be allowed to spend much time in rather pointless discussion over details. If some corners of the picture are rather dark, or if there is a small reproduction of a very detailed picture, e.g. Memlinc’s [sic] Light of the World [the name of this painting was actually The Seven Joys of the Blessed Virgin], the fact that everything will not be clear must be accepted and it must be realized that in consequence everyone has a right to her own opinion. When studying Manet’s portrait of his parents, or Gainesborough’s one of his two daughters, it is the faces and personalities that are important, not the details of the curtains or trees or whatever is behind the figures. So the balance of the lesson is kept in the right place.

It is a good thing to give children of this age a variety of ways to ‘narrate’ the picture. In addition to oral or written descriptions, there are memory sketches, sometimes of details sometomes of the grouping of the whole, sometimes monocrome studies of dark and light masses. As a rule it is principal lines that should be memorised, and it is well for none but the most gifted to put in facial features.

From fifteen years old upwards Picture Study assumes a slightly different aspect. The history of the development of the ‘schools’ of Western European Painting is being studied in Mary Innes’ book, and the artist for the term takes his place in this development or in relation to other members of the same school. Moreover, direct attention will now be paid to the composition of a picture; the particular pictures studied fall into place as regards the artist’s work as a whole; there is some knowledge of his contribution to the history of painting and of his special characteristics.

This paper has dealt with a number of possible difficulties but not because Picture Study is a ‘difficult’ subject. Indeed all that is needed is enthusiasm and interest for pictures and understanding of children. Everyone will have a slightly different method of carrying out the lessons; some may disagree with the suggestions given here. But whatever the method used in a lesson, the end achieved is always the same. The children have been put in touch with one of the ‘great’ men of the world and with a part of his work, which was himself, because it was a creative work.

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