“It is well we should recognise that the business of education is with us all our lives, that we must always go on increasing our knowledge…As for that aesthetic ‘appetency’ (to use Coleridge’s word) upon which so many of the gentle pleasures of life depend, it is open to many disasters: it dies of inanition when beauty is not duly presented to it, beauty in words, in pictures and music, in tree and flower and sky.
The function of the sense of beauty is to open a paradise of pleasure for us; but what if we grow up admiring the wrong things, or, what is morally worse, arrogant in the belief that it is only we and our kind who are able to appreciate and distinguish beauty?It is no small part of education to have seen much beauty, to recognize it when we see it, and to keep ourselves humble in its presence.” ~ Charlotte Mason (full text at Ambleside Online, emphasis added)
Beauty in Homeschooling
Beauty is not something we tend to think of as a subject in school. But cultivating a love of beauty, of truly wonderful things, is a gift we can help our children develop. There is a sacredness found amongst lovely things, be it music, art, poetry, or even the intricacies of the language of mathematics. It not only provides us with something to admire, it inspires our own creative natures.
We were created by a Creator who delights in beauty. He created us to worship, and part of that worship is using our own gifts to create. Appreciating the beauty of both God’s Creation and the creations of His children is time well spent.
Here are a few of our favorite methods and resources for cultivating a love of beautiful things in our homeschool.
Cultivate a Love of Art
Art is a huge part of our homeschool. We love looking at art of all varieties and we love creating art. Mr. T has been painting for many years while Mr. F prefers to draw. Both love creating with clay. I dabble in painting, remaking furniture, fabric creations, and Bible journaling is my current love. Mr. J is a technical director for a theatre, so I guess you could say we are a family of creatives.
For art study and art creation, these are the resources we use most:
Mixed Media Courses from Flourish. These courses are video based, you go at your own pace, they are able to be used by children with multiple skill levels, and the cost is for a lifetime membership to that class. These are a great value and the Mixing with the Masters Course is amazing. We just started it and I think it may be our new favorite.
Picture Study Portfolios from Simply Charlotte Mason. These are what we use for our weekly artist studies. They are so well made and the care taken to select the pieces shows. Even Mr. F, newly turned 4, will ponder and notice details during our art studies.
Craftsy. Craftsy classes cover a multitude of art styles and levels. These work beautifully online and through the app on iPads for older students (and moms). I’ve got a children’s book illustration class I just snagged during the last sale I can’t wait to get going on!
Your local book store’s bargain book area. We’ve picked up so many wonderful art books this way, and for a fraction of the cost.
Cultivate a Love of Music
Music often expresses what words cannot. Emotions and audio pictures are painted in nuances and melodies. Mr. T takes piano online, and I play as well. We also have electronic drums, a child sized guitar, violin, table harp, tin whistles, and two lovely harmonicas. Oh, and ear plugs 😉 Having instruments in your home, just the basic rhythm shakers and a harmonica or tin whistle will allow your children to explore making their own music.
Studying music is a wonderful way to ease into your school day. We use biographies, hymns, CDs, and our favorite music appreciation resource is SQUILT, it is so incredibly easy to use. Music is an integral part of our home and we use too many resources to list, so here are a very few of our top rated musical must-haves:
- The Magic Flute (The Met Opera)
- SQUILT (Super Quiet Uninterrupted Listening Time) This covers composers and pieces. It is an extremely well-done and well-linked study so you don’t have to go hunting down pieces yourself. It’s also perfect for musically-challenged parents.
- The Noisy Orchestra (for young musicians)
- Peter and the Wolf Maestro Classics This version teaches about the orchestra, music, story telling with sounds, and more.
- Melissa & Doug Band in a Box
Cultivate a Love of Poetry
Poetry is something many people think of with a bit of dread. Recalling some of the dry or dull pieces you may have suffered through in school, you might be hesitant to put your own child through that. I assure you, it does not have to be so!
Memorization and recitation are both wonderful for developing your child’s brain, vocabulary, memory, and appreciation for different styles of writing. Studying poetry is also a good way to sneak in biographies of writers. We currently have The Bard of Avon in our morning basket, so we will be including some Shakespeare sonnets in the next few weeks.
We have a few books that I truly believe every homeschool should have.
- A Child’s Book of Poems
- When We Were Very Young
- A Child’s Garden of Verses
- Kooky Crumbs (we all love these delightful and silly rhymes, they are short and funny!)
Cultivate a Love of Nature
Nature is such a wild and wonderful experience. We are journaling our first meteor shower into our journal of firsts this week. I cannot explain the awe and amazement of watching long-since-past comet bits pepper the night sky with streaks of blazing light alongside a 4 and 6 year old who have never observed such wonders before.
Seeing nature, touching, smelling, and tasting (when safe) are fun ways to explore and show our children the beauty that is all around us. Even in cities, there are parks, museums, and birds who find a way to thrive. There is always something to explore!
For nature study, our most loved resources are:
Watercolor pencils for nature journaling entries
Usborne Beginner Readers about animals, birds, and more
Enter to Win a Cultivate Beauty in Your Homeschool Basket
I’m more excited about this gift basket than all the others we’ve ever done! Here’s why:
- Celebrate Summer Mixed Media Art Course ($60 value) This amazing course has 20 lessons, all of which can be done at your own pace. They are fun and child friendly. Mr. T is a huge fan of Mrs. Alisha, the art teacher.
- Hands-On History Activity Paks: Composers ($18.95 value) from Homeschool in the Woods. We love the paks from this delightful homeschool family. The composer pak will introduce your scholars to the wonders of music through the ages and give you an awesome music appreciation curriculum to use this year!
- Give Your Child the World ($16.99 value) This resource is remarkable. “Give Your Child the World includes more than 600 children’s book recommendations from around the world. Reading lists are organized by region, country, and age range (ages 4-12). Each listing includes a brief description of the book, its themes, and any content of which parents should be aware.” It should be on every homeschool resource list.
- Royal & Langnickel Watercolor Pencil Tin ($6.25 value) We love using watercolor pencils for our nature journals and for our mixed media work. The boys control them much easier than traditional watercolors.
- Mod Podge Matte Finish ($7.47 value) You’ll need some for your Mixed Media class.
- Bernstein Favorites: Children’s Classics ($6.99 value) This CD contains Carnival of the Animals, Peter & the Wolf, and The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. A wonderful compilation to help your young listeners develop an appreciation for beautiful music.
- Cultivate Mug ($16.30 value) from our Zazzle shoppe. A reminder throughout your day to cultivate what matters.
- Sampler pack of Blooming with Joy tea to enjoy in your new mug. They are custom designed artisanal teas from a lovely homeschool mom. You can read more about how lovely they are here.
The giveaway is closed.
52 homeschool bloggers have joined together to provide one massive back-to-homeschool basket giveaway! Take a peek around these 52 sites and enter to win as many baskets as you like. Each blogger is conducting her own giveaway, so you never knowÖyou may end up winning more than one! All giveaways will be live on Monday, August 15.