Art is the Looking Glass Through Which We See Our Lives
We learn from literature, drama and art.
We start every babyhood with books. Hugs, kisses and lots of tactile attention, but also books galore. We have books with beautiful pictures and books with silly rhymes and books that tell thought provoking tales and books that speak to a child’s heart. Snuggling up on someone’s lap while reading a story is a wonderful way to embark upon a childhood filled with love and imagination.
Not all books are created equal.
This point is unequivocal. The first key to literacy lies in the selection of amazing books. Choose books that were written to be books. Rewording of TV shows does not make for quality literature, and in most cases can barely be read aloud. Choose beautiful editions. Illustrations do count. Choose stories that have an enduring message. Children love to feel that they “understand” the underlying significance, or moral, of the story.
Our initial reading program begins with the classics. We have read and studied the works and lives of A.A. Milne, Beatrix Potter, E.B. White, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Emily Dickinson and Charlotte Bronte.
We choose current literature that has characteristics in common with classic literature. These characteristics include excellent and creative use of language, characters using correct diction and a compelling story that is well crafted and carries a clear, value oriented message.
We continue with current books and authors, Rick Riordan, J.K. Rowling, and Suzanne Collins.
Literature Leads to Learning
Whenever possible we attend plays and performances so that we can see how a piece of literature is interpreted through theater. In conjunction with our reading, we have studied the art of each culture (ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman art) and time period in history (Italian Renaissance, Chinese Cultural Revolution, Japanese silk paintings) so as to understand the people behind the stories.
The Happymess kids and their friends have written stories, novellas, poems and plays. They have created beautiful sets utilizing what they have learned from studying science and art history. They have learned the art of calligraphy and Chinese brush painting.
Art is a mirror of humanity and we are teaching our children to find themselves in that mirror.
Do you want to give your children the gift of literacy? READ. It is that simple.
English Language Curriculum Resource Corner
Spelling: We use Zaner-Bloser spelling connections.
We do all the lessons related to spelling, including the challenge words at the back of the book. We do not do any of the extension activities or the grammar exercises as these do seem to be worth the time. We aim for one unit per week, with a spelling test on Friday. We complete one grade level book per year.
Grammar: We use Building Christian Grammar, published by Rod and Staff publishing.
We use the textbook, workbook, test book and teacher’s guide (with answers) for each grade. We do every exercise as they are all very valuable and really help with writing as well as grammar. We do some of the work directly in the textbook to save time, as recopying all the sentences is not as necessary as learning the lesson. We complete one grade level book per year.
Vocabulary: We use the Wordly Wise vocabulary program. This can be purchased through Christianbook.com, as well as through several other locations. We use the workbook and teachers guide, which includes review exercises, tests and answers for each grade. This is a great program for increasing word knowledge. Each word is defined with multiple definitions and uses (adverb, adjective, noun, etc.). We complete one grade level book per year.
Latin/Greek Word Roots: We use a variety of resources to study the origin of English and to enable our students to understand vocabulary that is new to them.
Handwriting: we use Zaner-Bloser.
We use these books from K-5. We also use homework assignments to practice our “best handwriting.” We complete one grade level book per year. Copying Bible verses and famous quotations is another way we practice handwriting. Beautiful words and thoughts are a perfect match for beautiful handwriting.
Library Book Clubs: Happymess kids join others in a Classic Literature book club.
Writing: We do not use any standard writing program. We write constantly, for many different purposes and create our assignments and lessons as needed.
Let Me Count the Days: Homeschooling is enjoying beautiful books with your family.