Thursday, June 17, 2010

progress report week: the arts

Now that I've covered the Three "R"s over the last 3 days, I'll move on to the other important pieces of our learning year. I'm lumping all of the arts together in one post, otherwise this progress report is going to go on for weeks....

At left is a sampling of weaving that we did this spring, both in association with a co-op we worked with (where we took a fleece all the way from the back of the sheep that grew it to a finished woven product), and messing around with it here at home just because weaving is fun.

As usual, I didn't do nearly enough crafting (by my estimation) with the kids as I had hoped to. For some reason this always winds up on the back burner, and even though I intend on doing more crafting, it seems to be the thing that is dropped first when we run out of time. Next year, crafting will become entwined in our story work, and will have a more prominent place in our daily rhythms so that it is not so easily dropped. I also find it's easier to work on crafting with groups of kids rather than just us here at home, so much of my kids' crafting this year happened in classes (that I taught, and in classes they took with others), or just on their own.

Fortunately, both boys just love making things with their hands. J continues to crochet on and off when the spirit moves him to pick it up, and he does a daily origami project, which he likes to work on before the rest of us are up in the morning so he can surprise us with his creation of the day. He worked his way through a paper-airplane making book and came up with some cool designs. Zoo Boy is receiving the magazine "Ranger Rick: Just for Fun" which is a crafting and activity magazine, and he loves making those projects on his own. He also completed a workbook on cutting, and is now quite adept with a pair of scissors. By request, he is currently working with a cutting-and-pasting workbook at his own speed, making simple craft projects almost daily.

Drawing of course is a major part of our school work. J's drawing has always been wonderful, but I saw him really mature with his work this year. He puts a lot of good thought into planning out his page and what technique and colors he wants to use to tell his story. Zoo Boy has also come a long way with his drawing skills, although he'll still say that he really doesn't like to do it, especially if we are all drawing the same scene from a story. He's much more interested when he's allowed to draw whatever he wants.

Zoo Boy much prefers painting to drawing. I think the fact that the output isn't as obvious, and the brush strokes are so much less precise, is what appeals to him. J enjoys painting also, and while we did much more with painting this year than we ever have before, I still feel like we could have incorporated it even more. A goal for next year! Unlike with drawing, Zoo Boy does not balk at my leading the painting with a verse or story.

One area where I have definitely not adequately touched on is sculpture, and I really need to do something about that for the coming year. Fortunately, our discovery of Keva Planks filled that particularly void nicely this spring. But we only pulled out and sculpted with beeswax a couple of times, and I can't really blame that on anything other than having planned on it, but never having actually just done it.

And of course I can't forget music and the performing arts! It's been a big year for that, especially for J who discovered a passion for dance. Between singing with the youth chorus and doing solos in both the winter and spring shows, taking 3 dance classes and landing a solo in the recital, performing in a musical with the Monday Homeschool Classes group, as well as their talent show, and now participating in rehearsals in the leading role of "Oliver!", J's pretty much covered all of the performing arts bases. The only horizon yet to explore is musical instruments, and I'm in the process of lining up guitar lessons for him to start in the fall, if not sooner (which is the instrument of his choice -- he also plans on learning the piano as well, but has decided he'd rather learn that himself via instructional books rather than have formal lessons).
I haven't forgotten Zoo Boy -- he too is a lover of the performing arts, but more as a patron than a participant. He loves watching J rehearse and attending shows, but has no desire to be up in front of an audience himself. But I know that he is getting his own nourishment from being an audience member, and he's got a beautiful singing voice that he enjoys using to harmonize with his brother in the privacy of our own home. He also is helping J learn his lines for "Oliver!", reading all the other parts for him when he practices at home. He's also told me that he'd like to work on the scenery for the show, which will be a great way for him to get involved with the performing arts on a level that he is comfortable with.

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