Art and Composition–A Full Semester Review

We are nearing the last week of our full semester of adding Fine Arts as a priority into our learning home. Allow me to take a moment and share our journey these past 4 months –

I am thankful to :

Timberdoodle – for allowing me to review the A Young Scholars Guide to the Composers . This has been a wonderful book of information, ideas, lesson plans, and encouragement to dig deeper into understanding the history of music, the composers, their lives, faces, etc.

Where we have seen results:

Last evening we were at a Christmas Play and I saw a couple of Biblical timeline problems that always seem to crop up at plays, like the wise men arriving before the Shepards, etc. On the drive home, I asked the boys if they thought the play had historical errors in it, even though the kids did an Amazing Performance. Nate very quickly says, “Yes, the music was wrong. One of the Angels asked what he thought the people would think the Messiah would come as instead of a baby, and one Angel said Music Star, they wouldn’t have had those and then the music they sang at the birth was all wrong.” He went on for about 2 miles about Gregorian Chants, and the development of music in the 18th century, oiy. A simple, The Wisemen Came Later and the Inn wasn’t a Motel would have been the answer for 200 points. . . . . Mind you, we haven’t talked of the history of music since the first weeks of September.

I am thankful to:

Harmony Fine Arts – for reading my posts and knowing my heart for my boys – and for the courage to SPEAK. I knew we wanted to study music, and I knew I had great resources, but I wasn’t sure HOW. She sent me a beautiful email, gently urging me to remember my first love of teaching style, and the boys’ love of learning style rests in the Charlotte Mason way. She gave me encouragement to tweak my lesson plans a bit, and the results have been amazing. At her suggestion, we made a leap from Gregorian Chants to Scott Joplin’s Ragtime. We spent a few weeks learning how to incorporate Art (Drawing Instruction), Art (Artist Study), and Music (Composer Study) into our week. Using her Grade 4 Modern Art Plan we set aside each Wednesday to soak in the artists and learn from the masters. All three of us at our separate levels started looking forward to Weds. as our favorite day. We are going to wrap up our study at this level next week, still having the whole guide as a great resource, but move on January to the Grade 8 Modern Era. The boys are wanting a bit more from the art instruction, and we now have a copy of the 8th grade level Junior High Book 2 Artistic Pursuits, thanks to The Crew.

Where we have seen results:

The boys are commenting on photos and music – linking them to the artist. They are seeing styles of drawings, and naming them Monet, Picasso, etc. I try not to swoon. Their biggest conversation has been about the music. The style. The Mood. The feelings the pieces evoke. Listening to Rimsky-Korsakov: The Tsar’s Bride – Overture I was in the garage working on Laundry, Jon was in the Learning Library/CraftRoom/Lego Disaster Area, and Nate was working on his drawing – I say to Jon, “Wow, it feels as if we are on a pirate ship!” Jon quickly responds with, “I was in a Western.” Listen to it change at about 2:49 and let me know where you were. He and his dad have been watching a lot of Rifleman in the mornings. As we walk the forest, paddle the river, I hear the melodies. It starts to orchestrate the washing of the dishes. The sounds fill our home. The boys – LOVE – the lessons. We draw, listen, discuss, and it lasts through the week. They have started sitting on the front row of church to watch the musicians play, watch their fingers, imitate. Imitate. Imitate. My heart is full. Almost like learning to listen to long books on tape, they have increased the time of tolerance for listening to these pieces as well. At first, one piece, a part of a piece, and I could tell they were filling their mind with their own thoughts. Now, I watch the finger, the foot, the head, nodding and pausing when the music shifts long into the piece. We have been putting the composer on our Pandora as a channel and enjoying it there as well.

P1020068I have seen the results in their other work, with the drawing instruction. We are studying Henry David Thoreau, Walden Pond, Peregrine Falcons, My Side of the Mountain, the above is what Jon drew while I read a story about Thoreau.


Jon, Nate and I using oil pastels to draw Picasso.


Harmony Art Mom adds quite a few links to Podcasts, YouTube, Coloring Pages, etc to keep the lessons fun, changing, fresh, and engaging. Here we are watching a video on how to draw 3D. We choose the 3d square using pencils. I thought I took a photo of their drawings, but didn’t find it, their progression was impressive!


So – You are planning for January? Did you like the idea of quite a few of us linking up to Composers but didn’t know what to do week to week? I can’t tell you how simple it is to open up the page, see a 15 minute lesson on Art, a 15 minute lesson on a composer, a 15 minute lesson on an Artist. All of the links, notebooking pages, coloring pages – right there! Just because we spend all morning and will start to spend 2ce a week on it – doesn’t mean you need that much time.

(Disclaimer: I have already fulfilled my obligation to review for Artistic Pursuits and A Young Scholars Guide to the Composers, but I do use the products and recommend them. I did receive Grade 4 for free to try a new way as a gift, no obligation, and I liked it enough to purchase Grade 8. I am not an affiliate for any of the mentioned companies. If you plan to purchase any, I’d request you do it through Timberdoodle and Harmony Art Mom as it supports them.)


I am not sure if there will be a link up for the rest of December, but join us in January as we start fresh! – Edit – Here is this week’s Link for December 16th –

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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3 Responses to Art and Composition–A Full Semester Review

  1. Pingback: Learning History through Movies | Petra School

  2. Tricia says:

    This is wonderful stuff! I so enjoyed it – the drawings, details of how you work the lessons into your work and the excitement over the learning. We also started using HFA for the first time this year. And all you share here is true for us as well. The ease of the plans and how simple it is to make it a habit. Lovely post!

  3. Your post filled me up today. This is really good stuff. I do so love to hear about your success story with composer study using HFA. I wish you the best as you venture on to Grade 8.
    The falcon is wonderful! Man, your boys are really taking a hold of drawing…their skills are improving all the time. Great job to all of you.
    Thanks for sharing your experience with me.

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