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About This Club

<p>For those that embrace Charlotte Mason's teachings or philosophy and practice them in their homeschool journeys.</p>
  1. What's new in this club
  2. I would probably call this sort of thing something like the "decorative arts". So not fine arts, so much, but toward making the environment around you more appealing. It's fairly common for artists to do fine art but also "craft". So for example, I used to know a fellow who was a scrimshaw artist, whose work generally needed to be done on old ivory. Ivory is expensive and not that easy to fine, so if he got a nice large piece - often a walrus tusk, he spent quite a lot of time making an original piece. If you bought one, it was completely unique and also very expensive. He also used to do quite a few smaller pieces, usually on old piano keys which he mounted in a nice frame. These are smaller and cheaper, and the pictures while not identical, were more alike - there were a few general themes he would use for these though he varied them to keep it interesting for himself. You could buy one of these for a much lower price, but he made and sold a lot more of them and they accounted for more of his income. He made a pretty standard differentiation between these things - the former group was fine art, and the latter craft. I think they are both very valid. The only kinds of "craft" I don't really like are the ones people know are essentially meant to be thrown away, they are just busywork.
  3. I’ve read them but could check in and reread some if you have enough interest.
  4. I was thinking about Mimm's book club from the Hello thread here. Is anyone interested in reading through Mason's works a little at a time, and commenting - kinda like the Book A Week thread?
  5. It would be amazing if the pinned science threads on the HS board could be updated.
  6. I like the bigger picture of developing respect for the physical world, and competence. The cooking dd has done with Guesthollow's Kitchen Chemistry has been very good for developing kitchen skills and a wider appreciation of what our foods are made up of. She made pizza almost completely from scratch last week - making the dough, the sauce, the cheese. Who knew cheesemaking would be so interesting? Household repair is an interesting idea - we could have a go at it together. I wonder where would you put craft projects that aren't really art but aren't useful either? For example, dd likes to makeover dolls. It's sort of art, but using a variety of crafting techniques; the result is decorative rather than practical.
  7. I like your list of updated skills. Dd is very interested in learning digital drawing, which would fit in there, I think.
  8. Paper sloyd sounds like fun. I just got Patty Paper Geometry for this summer. Dd is very interested in crafting, so does a lot on her own outside of school.
  9. I tend to see handcraft in terms of developing respect for the physical world, and competence. Part of that is about things like manual dexterity. I think there are a lot of things that could be included, but I would put some boundaries around them. I likely would not include things that are actually useless, I think it's important that they ultimately have a sense of being a thing that would be used - not some sort of make-work craft destined for the bin. (Now, it might not turn out at first, that is a different story.) I'd also not include things that are too abstracted from the physical, as I would consider those to be more like academic work. For teenagers, in some way that is maybe an ideal time to do some of these things, as they are much more able to deal with manual dexterity or reading directions or pay attention to detail. There are a lot of options - jewellery making, carving, carpentry, building stone walls, gardening, rug hooking, engine and motor related things, soap-making, cooking. I'd also include lots off home repair type stuff, how to repair things around the house, regular maintenance like calking, electrical work. I'd also suggest that these kinds of skills aren pretty integrated with many of the academic subjects really. People are always talking about getting kids into things like engineering, but at this level I think learning how to repair a pump is a heck of a lot more revealing than some kind of academic course for high school students.
  10. I see handicrafts as having two functions: strengthening fine motor skills and building life skills. Sometimes an activity fulfills both functions (ie sewing on buttons), but often I choose and teach "handicrafts" that primarily apply to one or the other. I teach my boys braiding, not because I think they will necessarily use it a lot in their daily lives, but because it requires fine motor coordination between their hands. I teach finger knitting because it is a great fine motor exercise and it keeps idle hands busy without requiring tools that can easily get lost or dropped. My oldest has gotten very interested in making paracord bracelets, and I greatly encourage that activity not because I think it is a life skill, but because it requires dexterity, planning, and perseverance. I even think of playing with Lego or playdough as "handicrafts" in the sense that they are mentally stimulating activities that also strengthen fine motor control. As for activities that teach valuable/marketable life skills, I am willing to stretch the definition of "handicraft" pretty liberally. I think of coding as a modern day "handicraft". I would also put photography into that category - cooking, painting (both the fine arts kind and the paint a room kind), graphic design, making stop-motion movies, child care skills, playing a musical instrument, wilderness survival - pretty much any skill that requires long term practice to develop and perfect and which could, hypothetically, be valuable professionally or in daily life in the future. Wendy
  11. I think a lot of the handicrafts are still worth it. My oldest boy is still glad he learned to sew and knit and has definitely used that in his adult life, but I'm also glad we put an emphasis on other skills each year as well: knot-tying, mosaics, pottery, weaving...I don't want to focus on handicrafts as vocational skills, exactly, but I do want them to be things that round out life, you know? I have paper sloyd scheduled for next year's first semester, mostly to give a hands on application to geometry, strengthen attention to detail, and create all sorts of fun projects he can use in real life. I don't expect it to be vocational/life skills at his age, but to develop the path toward that by giving him the underlying skills he will eventually need.
  12. So what are your thoughts about handicrafts as updated to 2019? Yes, we should get really good at sewing? Or, no, it was a vocational/life skills focus and we should update it to ___ (insert your favorite life skills list here)?
  13. Help me, Aethelthryth the Texan, you're my only hope! I am caught up a tree freaking out! Just kidding (grin) Should I seize my courage in both hands and post a question like this - either my original question above or your what-was-your-experience question - on the high school or college board?
  14. Good point about the utility of focusing on one topic in high school, when depth of study is becoming important. And I would double-like "make it good is the most important thing" if I could (grin). I'd love to hear any recommendations you have for curricula/courses, and for significant books and nature study. I loved your comments on the philosophical/spiritual underpinnings of nature study in the other thread. I will sneak Law's Guide to Nature Drawing back into dd14's reading pile, but are there any other resources you've liked?
  15. This is encouraging - thank you! Do you have recommendations about high school science curricula that you think could work for a CM-approach inclined student?
  16. Well, CM does often have students working on more than one topic at a time. But I'd not have said it was strictly necessary, at all levels at all times. Sometimes there is a need for more concentration one thing for a tim, especially for older students.. There isn't anything in her principles that suggests this is a fundamental. I actually find the idea of doing only one science a year odd, and for the matter the way American high schools seem to divide up math with one major things a year - geometry say. When I was in school, math was a lot more mixed together, and people did one to three science courses, depending on their interests. In grade 10 I did integrated science and biology, in 11 I did chemistry and oceanography, and in 12 I did another of biology. But for CM, I'd look at doing whatever makes sense for coursework over the three o four years, be it a canned program or outside class, being good is really the most important thing. And I'd make sure there was reading significant books and nature study as well.
  17. I am struggling with this too. Right now DD is very into creative writing, art and crafting, and shows cautious interest in creative writing/digital art/comics programs for college, but she also says she might be interested in something like chemistry. (She is really enjoying Guesthollow's Kitchen Chemistry, which I added as an elective to breathe some life into her science year.) But folks on the high school board are very clear that programs like Guesthollow are not college prep, so I feel I need to have DD do college prep science as well as the more interesting programs that she actually enjoys...which I guess provides multiple strands of science (lol) but is time intensive. So second guessing here too, and wondering what other options/approaches there might be.
  18. Multi-strand: not single-focusing on one branch of science exclusively each year, eg 9th grade = Biology, 10th grade = Chemistry 11th grade = Physics, but studying science in a more integrated way, highlighting and exploring connections between the disciplines rather than studying them in isolation. Ursa Minor Learning seems to do this by having multiple areas of science focus happening together. For example, in 9th grade, they schedule Biology and Nature Study all three terms, and one term each of Chemistry, Medicine, and Engineering. I have tried to do this for dd14 (at her request) this year by using Trefil and Hazen's textbook The Sciences: An Integrated Approach (the one on which the Great Courses Joy of Science lectures are based). The Sciences has a "big ideas" focus, and works to make cross-disciplinary connections within the various branches of science. (Unfortunately, the textbook is proving a bit too dense for us at this point, and I think she will switch to Derek Owen's Physical Science curriculum.) Seeing it as CM: I am very far from an expert, but reading about and working on more than one topic in every subject (by subject I mean history, science, English et c.) at the same time seems very characteristic of the CM approach. Am I misunderstanding the approach?
  19. I like this idea. DD has a birthday in late Spring, and might like a camera.
  20. Yes! You said this so much more eloquently than me. There is a meditative quality to nature study. I think using all your senses (especially through drawing, for example) provides vital grounding for the experience. We were posting at the same time yesterday. It made me laugh that you recommended Law's Guide just as I was saying DD rejected it. I learned about it from BYL 10. Are there other good nature drawing resources out there for high school?
  21. o, what do people mean when they say "multi-strand"? And in what way to they see that as CM?
  22. So how does one implement a multiple strand science in high school, still leaving the door open for pursuing science in college, but without overwhelming the average student? I am interested in your this-might-work thoughts and your been-there-done-that experiences.
  23. Nature study: being physically present outside, using your all senses to observe elements of the ecosystem. I agree with Aethelthryth that one part of nature study is skills training in being observant, focusing closely on small details, and sketching from life. I speculate that another important aspect of is being immersed in a non-human-centered environment, the peacefulness that comes with being away from clocks, cars, hustle and bustle. My understanding is that Mason's students extended their learning by painting watercolors of their sketches and reading. But I'd lie to posit here that the nature walks, the being physically present in nature, is crucial to nature study. I'm very interested to hear what everyone else thinks, especially what it might look like for high school. Dd14 loves to draw, but not from nature - she unceremoniously rejected the Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling when I produced it as part of Build Your Library 10 this year.
  24. Yeah, you are thinking along the same lines as me, I think it has to be involved in actually interacting in some way with nature. So, not quite like reading Fabre, say, which is reading about him doing nature study. Very valuable, and related, but not the same. And maybe not quite the same as natural history either, which again is a bit more removed or abstracted. I really like what you said about drawing - I agree, I think that s what drawing and sketching, reproducing images, is about - it's about knowing things in an almost contemplative and intimate way. And importantly, knowing in a very physically oriented way - our society is very inclined to abstract information away from it's material basis - which is weird given how obsessed with "science" as the ultimate reality we are. I think this form of contemplative attention to the physical , compared to an abstract analytical approach to learning about a thing, is comparable to prayer or the Eucharist as a way to experience God rather than studying theology. Mystic experience over rational apprehension. Of course, really, the two things are not so separate in the end, you can't have real knowing without the experience. Anyway, while I was reading your post it really reminded me of a very good nature study book that you might find useful - The Laws Guide to Nature Study and Journaling. There is a lot of practical information about things like how to deal with moving animals, what to have in your pack, how to count a flock of birds, etc. But also quite a lot on using nature journaling as a way to knowing in both a deeper and even in a more analytical way. It talks about how to use what you are seeing to ask questions - "why are all the ducks facing the same way" - how to test possible explanations, how to record things in a way that allows you to collate information, show movement and time, plus lots and lots about drawing.
  25. So a comment in the GE forum made me think about this. I'd be interested to see what people's perception of this is.
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