Beautiful Part of a Full Education
One of the things that first drew me to a Charlotte Mason-inspired way of education was the inclusion of the arts. From artist and picture studies to hymn and composer studies, the extras were not treated as extras, but a beautiful part of a full education. We also include in this “things of beauty” category, nature study, art creation, poetry and Shakespeare. Although we would be happy to make these our primary studies and try to fit in Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic, that wouldn’t be good in the end. Many terms, we didn’t really get to any of these treasured topics. That is, until I stumbled upon Loop Scheduling. Looping our Beauty Topics saved our homeschool.
We were spending each school day trudging through the necessaries, both in schoolwork and chores. We hoped to have enough time at the end to spend a little bit of time on what we enjoyed the most. Loop scheduling gave us a rhythm to our studies. We might spend some time each week on each area or hit an area every two weeks, depending on our time available. The loop schedule let me pick up the next beauty topic on our list when we had time to cover it. There was light at the end of our boring-day-tunnel.
Running Out of Time
Then, I revisited the idea of a morning basket and morning learning time. We had done this many years ago when all my children were littles or younger. Why not have a morning learning time? We already do some of our subjects together, so this seemed to be a natural fit. We began our day with everyone together, then focused on individual time covering skills-based subjects. During this morning time, we began to incorporate our Beauty Loop. But, as much as we like this morning time and studying these subjects together, we were running out of time. The older girls were scrambling to finish their school work and get chores finished before dinner. It was time for a change, again.
Our Beauty Loop became an early tea time. We include read-aloud time, a snack and a topic (or two) from our Beauty Loop. We work on skills-based subjects in the late morning, just before lunch. When they finish their math and language arts (which we also have looped) they are free. Some choose to do chores at this time, others read or play. But, we have the possibility of free time in the middle of our day. Then we eat lunch, do a few chores if needed (like moving the laundry through) and flow right into another together learning time. I might start reading aloud while lunch is finished and a few dishes done. We listen to a composure or Shakespeare. We might break out the art supplies and create our own beauty. Now this is a wonderful school day that everyone can enjoy.
Simply Charlotte Mason and Read-Aloud Revival have been my biggest go-to sources for what to include in our beauty loop. Pam Barnhill’s Your Morning Basket is the basis for both of our together learning times. Maestro Classics, Squilt and Music in Our Homeschool are favorites for making composer studies and music appreciation fun (and easy for me). Artist and picture studies can be as simple as Googling an artist and looking at their works. To make it even easier, we use Enrichment Studies. We can print out the works of art and display for a term. There are many living books to learn more about the artists themselves. Mike Venezia has written many biography series geared toward upper elementary ages. Two of these are a great fit for our beauty loop; one for composers another for artists. Don’t neglect the original Creator of Beauty and His creation. We may cheat our loop to get to a nature walk on favorable weather days.
These are just some of our favorite resources and our current way to include beauty in our day. As is my norm, I’m sure things will be changed up. With rejoining the Homeschool Review Crew, other resources will be added – and reviewed. As the weather warms and garden chores increase, we may switch up when we fit things in, but we won’t leave anything out. Looping keeps us on track and gives us flexibility in the when. Our Beauty Loop lends itself well to Listening Lunches. Combining these together lessens our school time, without taking away from what we cover. We may sometimes drift from the CM way of doing things, but find ourselves back again, returning to the way that we enjoy and that works, for us.
Now I invite you to visit my fellow homeschool bloggers who are talking about seeking beauty in their homeschools:
Links will all be live by Monday at 12 noon EST.
Living & Loving Art by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Putting the Fun in School by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Art Fun In Our Homeschool by Amanda @Hopkins Homeschool
Fine Arts Is The Fun Part by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
Washing Dust Off Our Souls by Lisa @ Golden Grasses
Bringing Beauty Into Your Homeschool Through Poetry by Dana @ Roscommon Acres
Seeking out the beauty… by Kim @ Good Sweet Love
Joy in Home Education by Sarah @ Delivering Grace
Teaching Drawing (When You Can’t Draw) by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home
Homeschool Art for the Artistically Challenged by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart
Jesus, Peace, Freedom & Our Homeshool by Meghan W @ Quiet In The Chaos
Fine Arts Options in High School by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Reluctant Artist? What do you do? by Annette @ A Net in Time
Making Fine Arts a Priority by Lisa @ McClanahan 7
Creative Pursuits by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Arts and Crafts in Our Homeschool by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed
Where Do You Find Beauty? by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens