Fine Arts and Nature Study have found themselves entwined this year. Our drawing lessons, picture study, composer’s study, and nature notebooks are so closely related that it seems as if we are in nature at all times. I purposely took the time to mesh all these areas of study in order to form a complete understanding of how God uses the gifts and talents with which He blesses each of us to share Himself with others.
Mondays are our Drawing lesson day. Bruce McIntyre wrote a wonderfully helpful book called, Drawing Textbook. I’ve used it off and on for years with our older children. The simple directions and examples he supplies are easily followed and offer a chance for lesson by lesson improvement. Howdy and Posie will enjoy learning from Mr. McIntyre’s instructions while applying them when drawing in their nature notebooks.
Each Tuesday afternoon we look forward to learning more about the artist for the term. Each of them have made a huge impact in the areas of art, science, and nature study. I chose them deliberately to enhance this year’s heavy focus on nature study. We’ve been learning of the life and contributions made by John James Audubon this term. Next, we will study the contributions made by Carl Linnaeus. Our final artist will be Beatrix Potter. All three of these artists left a wealth of pictures for study and their scientific observations inspire us to get outside and make observations of our own.
Our scheduled time out in nature happens on Wednesday afternoons. We are studying insects, trees/leaves, and wildflowers this year. Our afternoon begins with a chapter from Parables from Nature, by Mrs. Alfred Gatty. Then, we head outside to study God’s creation. Each term has a specific focus. We’ll continue to refer to our all time favorite, Anna B. Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Study.
Term 1 will focus on insect collections and detailed drawings. Posie has objected to “killing bugs,” so she opts to view them in a Mason jar prior to “collecting” them on paper in her notebook with a pencil. During Term 2, our topic involves the careful observation of trees and their leaves. This study may prove to be difficult if winter hits earlier than usual. Otherwise, we should be able to observe the trees from fully clothed on through their color changes as we key them out and press them for framing. I’m hoping we receive enough rain to make our Term 3 study of wildflowers an exciting adventure. We live in the Wildflower Capitol of Texas, so there should be a variety of specimens if the rain does come. The flowers we collect will also be pressed and framed to hang in our hall.
On Thursdays, while we drive to tennis lessons, we are enjoying the music composed by three gifted musicians. We’ve enjoyed Handel as part of our Term 1 studies. In Term 2, we will appreciate Haydn’s contribution to classical music. Finally, during Term 3, Mendelssohn will be our music appreciation focus. We read about the lives of our chosen composers on Friday afternoons. Many of the selections have a theme that reflects nature making us think back to our time out of doors.
Tying our studies together has made it very easy to have short lessons that have a huge impact. So many subjects are covered this way. Reading, writing, math, science, history, art, music, and more are all part of each day without enormous stress. It’s a beautiful study and one that we will always remember sharing together this year.