Thursday, January 10, 2008

Language Arts and Impromtu Art Appreciation!

I know, I haven't posted much lately. I think that's because we're back to our usual routine now that the holidays are over. But today we followed a bit of a "rabbit trail" and had a good afternoon!

First of all... just let me start with giving a little bit of background... in Texas we lived near a 75% Off Books store. Can you believe a whole store full of books with nothing over $5??? I would often go on buying binges... justifying each book with the vague explanation that it would be good for homeschool. Well... today I actually got to pull one out and use it in conjunction with something in our language arts curriculum! (Sadly... I have yet to find legit uses for a lot, okay most, of the books I acquired during my 75% Off Books binges.... but this gives me hope that one day I will...LOL!)

So, today Alex and I were working on his language arts (we use Sonlight Language Arts... I'll try to get a link up to what we use on the right). Tomorrow he's supposed to write a story describing what is going on in an illustration (that should have been today but we're a day behind this week because of the dentist). Today's assignment was to get a feel for describing what is going on in a picture by looking at some and discussing them. Well... what do you know? On one of my trips to 75% I picked up the perfect book....Tell Me a Picture!

It has 26 pictures in it to look at and discuss (it is arranged by artist... one for each letter of the alphabet). We went through and described what we saw, what we thought was going on, how the subjects felt, what we would feel like if were in the scene, what sounds we might hear, etc. I know we could have used any pictures to do this exercise but it was fun to use this book. Because I was doing this rather impromptu, I didn't have time to really prepare, we just started going through it page by page. A fun surprise is that in the back of the book there are the titles and actual descriptions of the paintings. There is also a little biographical information about the artists. The kids LOVED reading the descriptions of what was *really* going on... we would flip back and forth between the descriptions and the paintings. I thought it would be frustrating for them to hear different descriptions than what they had come up with (like their description was wrong... if you know what I mean). But they didn't seem phased at all.... mostly they seem excited to see what they had missed and studied the pictures even harder the next time they looked through them.

Didn't plan on an art appreciation lesson today, but we got one anyway! It's crazy the stuff you learn when you homeschool! LOL!

ETA: Totally forgot... there is some nudity in this book if it bothers you. One instance is very subtle in my opinion... barely noticeable. The other instance is very obvious (a woman with no covering on top)... but this is not at all the focus of the painting. My kids didn't even bat an eye and went on the describe what they thought had happened to the woman. We spend quite a bit of time in the Art Institute of Chicago so it wasn't anything unusual for them to see that in a painting. (yikes... this was hard to type in a way that hopefully won't end up with my blog coming up for someone doing a search using creepy terms)

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