Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Arthur Rackham

Just thought I'd share this wisdom from Arthur Rackham, an illustrator of fantasy art that lived from 1867-1939.
"I can only say that I firmly believe in the greatest stimulating and educative power of imaginative, fantastic and playful pictures and writings for children in their most impressionable years - a view that most unfortunately, I consider, has it's opponents in these matter-of-fact days. Children will make no mistake in the way of confusing the imaginative and symbolic with the actual. Nor are they at all blind to decorative or arbitrarily designed treatment in art, any more than they are to poetic or rhythmic form in literature.
And it must be insisted on that nothing less than the best that can be had, cost what it may (and it can hardly be cheap), is good enough for those impressionable years when standards are formed for life. Any accepting, or even choosing, art or literature of a lower standard as good enough for children, is a disastrous and costly mistake."

Starting up the new school year

Wow. I haven't written or even checked in here all summer. I guess we've just been having too much fun. Summer has been full and beautiful. We had some days that were well over 100 degrees, which never happens in Anchorage, and while it's the natural inclination to complain, I knew better than that. I tried to enjoy it, knowing that I chose this. I'll take the few hot days in exchange for an extra 2 or even 3 months of summer compared to AK. March & April here felt like May in Anchorage. Here we are almost in September and it feels like July in Alaska. Woo-hoo! I am happy in my decision to leave Alaska. I miss it, and I miss my family horribly, but there will be a hard frost there within 2 weeks, and it won't happen here for another 2 MONTHS!!! Yes, doing a happy dance here, can't help it. :-)
I am currently reading, "Honey For a Child's Heart", and thoroughly enjoying it. I don't agree with everything the author, Gladys Hunt, writes, but so much of what she has to share resonates with me. It is a great book to inspire me as we start a new school year. I am so excited and ready to get back into the swing of homeschooling. Gil and I worked a lot this summer getting our ice cream business off the ground, and so we took the whole summer off of school work. I used to go back and forth in my belief of year-round school, sometimes doing some school work through the summer and taking longer breaks through-out the year, but this year I have absolutely loved taking time out to do whatever we felt like (and work!). I feel so much more ready to work hard on homeschooling now that we've had such a hearty break from it.
As to actually starting serious study, we have a sort of tradition, having done something similar since the beginning of our homeschool journey 8 years ago. Even when we did some "summer school", we always took August off. We have a big end-of-the-summer hurrah on Labor Day weekend and start homeschool the Tuesday after Labor Day. In Alaska we spent the entire weekend at the State Fair; this weekend we are going camping. Tuesday after Labor Day will start our "getting back to it" week. This week we have been talking about what we will be doing next week so the kids are prepped and are part of the planning.
Next week we will ALL together set up our study areas, put up maps, organize books and papers, and plan field trips and such. We will set goals and organize art supplies, packing away everything that will not be used this year.
We will do some copywork, one math lesson, and start a couple of our AO books. That's it.
More than likely we will be out berry picking some of those days!
On week 2, we will start our full load, or at least most of it. We won't start music lessons or some of the extra stuff until October. When it's a nice warm day out in September, I tend to say things like, "Forget schoolwork, let's go take a hike!" ;-) I don't like to be tied down too much.
BTW, the "planning and setting up week" was a cherished highlight of mine from gradeschool. I remember doing it in 4th grade with Ms. Price. Any wonder I loved 4th grade AND Ms. Price? She totally respected us, having us help her organize the classroom the way WE wanted. She was awesome.