Monday, March 10, 2014
I have been grasping at straws for writing inspiration. Thank goodness for Pinterest, the best gathering place for great ideas ever. I love it when an idea literally jumps into my brain and I know exactly what I want to do when the kids gather together on Friday, but that has not happened in quite some time. However, there are worse things to do on a cold gray day than curl up with a cup of tea and browse through the beautiful pages of Pinterest.
Saturday, March 8, 2014
Thursday, March 6, 2014
More art, more art history. I am making an effort to incorporate this into our home. I recently discovered that our library has purchased some new dvds, including several from Getting To Know The World’s Greatest Artists. We borrowed the Edgar Degas dvd and watched it one snowy afternoon. No matter your age, 11 or 42, you will find something to like and learn.
Lilah and I worked on our own dancer. One of these days I am going to have hers framed to hang in my bedroom. I just adore it.
The following week we discovered a little documentary about Mo Willems on the top shelf at our library. Knuffle Bunny is one of my all time favorite picture books. We watched this and drew our own pigeon with caption. Perhaps one day we will take this illustration and write the book that goes along with it.
This little exploration into art and art history makes me want to purchase the Meet The Masters program. I know it pops up now and again on sale at Homeschool Buyers Coop. I would not want to do this program with just my children however. I think this would be a most excellent addition to my Friday writing group.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
The strange thing about the way we live and learn is that we really don’t have closure to any one thing we are studying. We don’t finish a chapter, take a test, write a report and get a grade. We don’t just turn the page to a new topic. Not really. Even though we move on and ahead in our learning, what we already studied is not forgotten and finds a way to keep popping in reminding us that the world and its history is all interconnected.
Saturday we took the girls and their friend to see The Monument Men as a way to bring our study of the Holocaust/WWII to a “close”. Through this movie, the girls gained another layer of understanding of the Holocaust, of Hitler’s motives, the strategies of the countries involved in the war, of the importance of art, and of the human side of conflict.
Some of the artwork recovered by this reconnaissance mission include:
- The Mona Lisa
- Jan van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece
- Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper
- Michelangelo’s Madonna of Bruges
- Leonardo da Vinci’s Portrait of Cecilia Gallerani
- Edouard Manet’s In The Conservatory
- The Bust of Charlemagne
- Johannes Vermeer’s The Astronomer
- The original manuscript of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6
- Rembrandt’s Self Portrait 1645
- Botticelli’s Primavera
Artwork by Rubens, Picasso, Rembrandt, Degas, Pissaro, and many other masters, is still missing and being searched for today.
To be completely honest, I never knew of this mission in WWII. I never knew the great treasures of Europe were stollen, hidden and destroyed. I did know that Jewish families art, china, and valuables were taken, but I never realized the magnitude of what took place as the Nazi forces pilfered their way through cities and countryside.
This movie was to serve as the “close” to our Milkweed book study but it may just have opened up a new direction in which to journey....more art, more art history.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Our first book club meeting took place this week. It far exceeded my expectations. A group of six 13 year olds and one 11 year old can get a bit silly if left to their own devices. However, these kids came ready to talk. Armed with a Starbucks drink and settled into a great space (a university bookstore where other groups of students were meeting) they held their first book talk.
Each child came to the meeting with something to discuss, in the style of literature circles. There was a discussion director, a connector (brings connections to his or her life), question askers, book reviewers, word smiths (bring a passage of language that touched you), etc. This helped direct a dialogue, rather than have a free-for-all discussion. The book also facilitated great conversation.
Topics we discussed:
- Was Uri good or bad?
- Metaphorical references for the necklace, the horse, the pied piper, the milkweed seed.
- Why did Micha’s story finally matter when two women stopped to listen to him?
- We had a friend share poetry he brought back from a recent visit to Washington D.C’s Holocaust Museum.
- We discussed historically accurate parts of the novel like Dr. Korzac and the Jewish resistance which were covered in the documentary about Irena Sendler.
- We talked about whether we would recommend this book and to what age group.
It really was fascinating to see these kids, who I have known for several years, tackle this with maturity. At the end of our meeting, we narrowed down our next book choice from the 4 books I selected to one; Neil Gaiman’s Coraline. While not everyone is 100% thrilled with this choice, it was not listed as #4 on anyone’s ranking. We agreed that many of us would not picked up Milkweed as a "fun reading adventure" and book clubs are meant to help the reader step outside of their comfort zone and read something they may not choose on their own.