Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Finer Things

As the new school year began for us this past week I have been doing quite a bit of thinking. Thinking about math, literature, languages, art, music, science and history. What should I include in Athena's studies? What would I like her to learn? What would SHE like to learn? There is a wealth of information to be had on the Internet and in the libraries and on home education blogs. Everyone has their own ideas, their own ways of doing things and their own thoughts about what is important and what is not. I do. You do. We all do.

The one thing that I do know for sure is that one cannot appreciate good anything unless one is exposed to it on a regular basis. Food, music, literature, art.

And so, in order to become a good writer one must read good writing. I am not opposed to children picking their own books but I do believe that we must read good literature to our children. I tried reading Junie B Jones to Athena and the grammar was so poor that I quit halfway through. Instead we have read The Secret Garden, Sarah, Plain and Tall, and just this week we started to read Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat. We will continue to read aloud one chapter book a month and I will choose these books from good classic literature. Tried and true. And then she will know what is worthy and what is not. That is my hope anyway.

I also believe that a child needs to listen to beautiful music. I am lucky that Athena has a true passion for it. She has said "I love classical music because the words don't get in the way." She can pick out her favorites on a CD. She loves The Nutcracker Suite and Swan Lake the best so far. So this year we will study one Classical Composer every month. We'll read biographies, color pictures of them and listen to their music over and over again. She would love to take violin lessons in the near future. She has perfect pitch (in my humble opinion) and most often can be found humming her favorite classical pieces all in tune. Love it.

And on that vein, there is art. How can you know what great art is if you never look at great art? Our art program will include studying one great artist a month. We will read their biography, look at their paintings, try our hand at re-creating one or two as well. I have some flash cards of famous paintings that we will learn to identify too. We will also work with the book Drawing With Children and do some just plain fun arts and crafts type of thing.

Of course we will study math, science and history as well. We'll learn phonics and grammar. We'll do lots of nature study and hopefully spend a good deal of time outdoors but I do want Athena to learn to love and appreciate the Finer Things. Yes I sure do.

1 comment:

Dawn said...

I like your philosophy of learning. I completely agree on the need to expose children to the Finer Things. My daughter used to love Junie B. Jones when she was young. We had the books on tape. The books had been recommended to me by a professor in college. I started having second thoughts about those books after a friend asked me if Grace liked the Junie B. Jones books. The reason....she was talking just like her!