Finding Balance with Academics, Art, Music, and Joy

Music reviews have been an added joy to Petra School’s Blog for me. Christian Vocal Artists and  Vineyard Worship Leaders.  Listening to the first song – thinking -eh- It’s ok. But- it’s a review, and there is a promise to listen to the whole thing. It is by the second or third song that a picture of who the artist is starts to form. Their life starts to take shape. What they and those they are in relationship with are walking through. I see their heart. A message starts to form and it draws me in. Each lyric moving towards the next, the songs building upon each other – a larger picture is created and I appreciate the work even more.  I’ll set a time at the Lake, the Beach, or on the Dock – to listen over and over. I’ll share my favorite song with a friend.  I might look up on line to see if the Artist shared what influenced their work. I’ll wake in the morning – and drift in the evening with their tunes on my mind. Joy and Fullness. Learning and Growth. Encouragement.

And then – I wake up on a Wednesday.  Prepared academically to share music with the boys.  I had a lofty idea that they should be able to match a song heard with a face and a name.  That they should be learned in music. I followed what worked for another family – by reading 3-4 pages of interesting tidbits about a person/era – and then listened to the music for 2 minutes on YouTube. We would all go – Eh. It’s Ok. Unfamiliar. No Thanks. And then make tuna fish egg salad sandwiches – glad we are so cool that we “studied” the person.

What? What just happened there?  The newspaper reporter that came to our home this week asked me how my education in the Private and Public Schools differs from the boys’. Oh – I spun him examples of real life learning – that I’m sure he was a bit sorry he asked, but he pretended to look interested – the main point? That they could learn – as we learn as adults. Find a topic that’s interesting and pursue it.  Sometimes we learn of topics on Facebook – the News- a Blog – It’s not always our idea – but it interests us – and we hop on for the ride. A huge and deep desire to approach the Composer Study differently filled my heart last Wednesday evening – but I didn’t know how to swing it around.  I woke up Thursday morning with the intent on turning our day – using A Young Child’s Guide to the Composers as a tool – but not “the way”. (It does have TONS of information, resources, coloring pages, notebook pages, YouTube links, etc).

And what do my early morning watery eyes find in my email box?  Oh the most precious of emails from my friend Barb at Harmony Art Mom. She must have read my previous posts – and saw what I had not seen – The same approach to Nature that my boys take – could be applied to Composers. Really – Should be applied to all of our studies.  She allowed me to use her 4th year study on Art and the Composers. She says – “Start with Lesson 7 – Scott Joplin – My boys really liked him – yours probably will too.”  What?  A lesson plan that can start any ol place that interests you?  Oh For the Joy of Resources! As the weeks move on – I’ll share with you her Art and Music Study in the same way I share the Nature Studies. – But since this is long on text and you are probably short on time – I’ll share the results of this week – and next week’s post will be all about our new process –


JoneE has decided if Monet can have his name printed like maw-NEY in the dictionary – he should be jone-E from now on. We had a time of writing out other 2 syllable words this way – he and Nate really seemed be be side tracked on this for a while. Focus Boys. We’re not supposed to be learning here – just enjoying music! Sheesh.

We completed Lesson 2 in Drawing with Children – learning about starting with the object that is closest to us, and how to draw objects behind it. Instantly, for the past two days, all of Jon’s drawings have become more dimensional. No longer side by side objects – or objects drawn on top of a full landscape – it really looks different when you intend to draw what is closest first.

We listened to quite a few pieces from Scott Joplin – they just wanted to hear more and more.  We’ll be on Joplin for the next few weeks – and the boys are excited.  We listened to a Podcast highlighting his life as his music played cheerfully in the background. Nate said it sounded like the music played in the bars in western movies. The music seemed to lift Jon’s spirit and made his shoulders dance.


Mixed with Art – We learned that Monet would go out into nature – “he would draw in his boat”.  Which was funny – I told the boys to find two objects to draw – and Jon wanted to head out to the dock to draw. On any other day – this would be fun –but combined with the music we needed to stay indoors. Maybe next week I’ll load my iPod with Joplin Ragtime and we’ll have art and composers out in the boat. I got in a lot of trouble for being mean schoolmarm when we read this line about Monet.


We had the Scott Joplin page open while listening to Maple Leaf Rag with You Tube videos. Nate wanted a picture of Joplin to copy for his page.


Nate really enjoyed the fun notebook pages from Harmony Art Mom on Joplin.


Apparently Reall Art and Real Spelling are not in the same class . . .



Ooops.  Grumpy Art Hand got mad at my photographing them.  He did want to show that his bird from last week is in the photo being displayed. . . .and to explain that the round thing at the bottom is a packet of colored pencils with the flap open. Ok. Ok. No More Pictures! I get it!


Here- Nathan uses the coloring sheet from Scholar’s Guide – and the information from Harmony Art Mom – to begin his own notebook page.


harmony fine arts buttonClick on Harmony Fine Arts to learn about her 5th – 8th grade bundle – Available until October 31st – with a few extras thrown in!

“From now until October 31, 2011, I am offering a blog special for all customers who purchase my
Harmony Fine Arts Grades 5-8 Bundle.”


Disclaimer – I did receive the Scholar Guide for free for Timberdoodle and have already fulfilled their desire for me to use it and write about it – I am just enjoying to continue to share how we use the product with you.  Harmony Art Mom did give me a copy of year 4, as a friend, with the written desire that I not feel the need – or be directed to – write about the program at all – just to have a chance to see another way.  I’ll continue to share with you how I combine these two great products in the future. I am not an affiliate for either company – and only wish to share our resources with you.

About +Angie Wright

The Transparent Thoughts of an Unschooling Family of Boys - Answering the question - What DO you DO all day?
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8 Responses to Finding Balance with Academics, Art, Music, and Joy

  1. Eva Varga says:

    Oh vey, Angie! Thank you for this post. I have so wanted to join in … my life is seemingly not my own yet and we are still adjusting the changes brought upon us by our recent move. I’m still struggling with my decision to partner with an umbrella school … which takes time away from what we really desire to do … so your post is a very helpful reminder to stay true to our “roots”. 🙂

  2. That sounds like a fantastic week. I have the composer’s guide, too, but have it collecting dust on the shelf right now. Scanning the pages from the book was too cumbersome for me!

    I’ll have to check out Harmony Art Mom’s ebooks. I know how much we love art and music, but never get it ‘in’ our school like we should.

  3. Pingback: Finding Balance with Academics, Art, Music, and Joy - - christian families network

  4. Cori says:

    How did the newspaper article turn out?

    • pebblekeeper says:

      He accidently deleted it or his computer broke or somethingernother. He was getting it retrieved off of his hard drive and it should run next Thursday. Fun only having a once a week paper.

  5. So glad to see some positive reaction to the composer of choice. I say do what captures their hearts while they are young and start training their ears. Just keep building the interest. Listen, listen, listen. I loved reading how your week went and I look forward to watching you find some passion in this area as well.

    Thanks for your kind words.

  6. ~julie ~ says:

    I am so glad you went back to your “roots” 🙂

    what is it with the hand people? hunter has been doing those too this week 🙂

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