American Modernism

The latest exhibition to come to our local museum, the Ashmolean, is ‘America’s Cool Modernism’.

So for our ‘artist of the term’ we have expanded that to a broad sweep of a movement.  The tag line for the exhibition is ‘O’Keefe to Hopper’. Quite a spectrum! Whilst we have not delved deeply into American Modernism before going to the exhibition, I have tried to introduce the children to a very different flavour of paintings to what they are used to. We have benefited from browsing through the catalogue to familiarise ourselves with the works, ideas and concepts. The Ashmolean have also produced some helpful notes for teachers, which have given us some insights too.

These short picture books about Georgia O’Keefe have been enjoyable.

We finally managed to get to the exhibition today and it really did not disappoint.  It is truly wonderful to see the children maturing in their appreciation for art.  I do still keep the visit short and sweet but whilst we are there they are really engaging with the work. The children and I were excited to see familiar friends hanging on the walls and get a better feel for the movement.  Edward Hopper was definitely a favourite.

Charles Demuth’s I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold, 1928.

If you are passing through Oxford, the exhibition is on until 22nd July.

Artist of the Term: Michelangelo

Every child should leave school with at least a couple of hundred pictures by great masters hanging permanently in the halls of his imagination . . . 

— Charlotte Mason

Last term our ‘artist of the term’ was the magnificent Michelangelo di Ludovico Buonarroti Simoni (1475-1564).  This was a treat, if a little brief for such an artistic giant – sculptor, painter, architect and poet.

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Getting Ready for the Ballet

The fine arts find their origin in God, the Creator of language, color and music. Fine arts reveal within us an intrinsic need for beauty that is a part of God’s image stamped on our being.

— Clay and Sally Clarkson, Educating the Wholehearted Child

The Ballet

Tchaikovsky’s ballet of  ‘Swan Lake’ is coming to our city next week.   Continue reading

‘These are the days when birds come back’

Observing

We have been studying birds this term – learning names of garden birds, spotting them wherever we go, listening out for the ever increasing bird song as spring takes up residence, learning about their homes, nest making, migration and more.  We are total amateurs and our garden’s most common visitors are wood pigeons, blackbirds, robins and magpies, but all the same we have delighted in having time to actually observe them carefully.  As well as enjoying the birds around us, this morning we visited our local RSPB Nature Reserve, where a delightful retiree took time to point out oyster catchers, herons, a yellowhammer and some grass snakes!

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The Bayeux Tapestry

If you’ve been watching the news recently you will have noticed that The Bayeux Tapestry is coming to Britain in 2020.  There has been great excitement in our house since we heard, as we are right in the middle of studying the Norman Conquest of 1066. Continue reading

Museums and Galleries with little ones

Happy New Year!

Many of us are making resolutions and hoping to try new things as we plan for 2018. One thing I was reflecting on as I looked back on last term was that museum trips and art exhibitions were real highlights in our homeschooling life. Continue reading

Exploring Pond Life

I’ll be honest – I know next to nothing about pond life, its creatures or plants – but that hasn’t prevented me from exploring our local pond. A whole unknown world exists that the children and I love investigating.  We like to go with each changing season so we can enjoy the transformation that occurs and observe the aquatic life as the year passes.

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Paris

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Navigating the Metro

“Paris? With three kids?”

Over the last year the children have started to learn French. We have also tried to learn something of France: some geography, history, art and culture.  We have enjoyed some wonderful picture books and fiction set in France.  I love good books! So this summer we spent three nights introducing them to this beautiful city.
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Living History

Today the great excitement was Hadrian’s Wall and Vindolanda!

Our older two children have been learning Latin this year with Ed and in the same way my French text books were always set in La Rochelle when I was little, their Latin ones are set in the imagined life of this historical Roman site, Vindolanda. We have also been studying the Romans this last term, so it was thrilling to see history come alive for all of us. The latrines and the sponge sticks were of particular interest, as well as discovering all the places you could stand and shoot the enemy from! We were not there for long as I always find short and sweet is best with little ones in tow!

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Learning to love poetry

‘The Blessing of my later years
Was with me when a boy:
She gave me eyes, she gave me ears;
And humble cares, and delicate fears;
A heart, the fountain of sweet tears;
And love, and thought, and joy.’

— William Wordsworth

Today we visited Wordsworth’s childhood home. We are on holiday in the beautiful Lake District and so a visit to Wordsworth House and Garden was a must. Over the last few days, we got ourselves excited by memorising the first couple of verses of the poem ‘Daffodils’.

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