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Yale Art Museum, John Trumbull and History Homework

Two weeks ago we had another class at the Yale Art Museum.  This month the focus was American Art.  It would have been easy to skip this class.  It was h-o-t, Grace just returned from Lead Week the night before, Greg was home, we don't have any friends in this class, etc.  It would have been so easy to stay home, relax and get Grace unpacked.

However, it is a rare occasion when Greg is able to join in on our homeschool adventures, so we went.  We toured a temporary exhibit of 19th century furniture made in Rhode Island.  The docent had a great scavenger hunt that kept the kids engaged in what could be considered a less than captivating exhibit.  

We studied the works of Edward Hopper, which Greg loved because he is a big fan.  Then we went upstairs to the hall of Presidents which is where things got interesting (for me).  We learned about John Trumbull, the painter, as well as the person the town next to us is named after.  We discussed historical portraits and how often the artist improvised some of the details, because the painting was often created after the event occurred.  We discussed George Washington's "costume" which still bothers me to my toes.  It is not a costume, it is a uniform.  Then we ate lunch at our favorite noodle house and we went home and filed Edward Hopper and John Trumbull away in the part of our brain that is designated for history and moved on.

Until yesterday when our history homework had us reading the speech Knowing History and Knowing Who We Are by David McCullough given at Hillsdale College in 2005 and there in the middle of his speech he references John Trumbull.

 "You look at the great paintings by John Trumbull or Charles Willson Peale or Copley or Gilbert Stuart of those remarkable people who were present at the creation of our nation, the Founders as we call them. Those aren’t just likenesses. They are delineations of character and were intended to be. And we need to understand them, and we need to understand that they knew that what they had created was no more perfect than they were." - David McCullough.

If you have time, read his words.  We found them very interesting and informative.  But back to my point, here is a reference to what we just learned two weeks earlier.  How can that happen over and over and over again?  I know it happens because we are on the path that is right for us.  We are off to a strong start this year and my prayer is that we can maintain it.  We love our new history program by Notgrass.  We would not have chosen this program if it were not for coop and we would not have read this speech from Notgrass American Voices if it were not assigned as homework.  

Our coop begins tomorrow, the enrichment part, the fun classes of photography, drawing, pottery, worship band, and guitar and the academic classed begin Tuesday.  I am hopeful that the work we have done in preparation for these classes is indicative of the work that will be done in class and our time spent with these groups will be challenging, productive, enriching, joyful, and fruitful.  At the intersection of life and learning, greatness can be found.  Here's to a new year, a new coop, a new curriculum, a new peer group, new challenges, new friendships, new opportunities, and new learning adventures!


  1. Hoping that the new coop is every bit as good as it seems to be so far.

  2. Sounds like the co-op is going to be awesome. That is kinda what I miss about CT. There were a lot more homeschoolers in close proximity to where we live.
    I also am glad to hear you like Notgrass's history. I just ordered the Civics course for William and am hoping I made a good choice, but sounds like it from you.


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