Friday, November 21, 2008

Great Moments in Homeschool History

There are so many things I love about teaching. High on the list are those moments when all cylinders are firing, communication is clear, and your student goes above and beyond what what you're asking them to think about or do!

The sweet girl and I had one of those moments this morning. On Fridays we do art and music appreciation...i.e. we listen to music by a certain composer and look at a painting by a certain artist. Today we were going into a new four week segment on Beethoven and Cezanne. Today was our first day with both.

Our daughter is becoming an artist. She's really amazing us lately with her ability to draw, her eye for color and design, and her desire to "do art" as much as possible. But she also loves to look at paintings. This morning she was sitting at the computer zooming in and out on Still Life With Compotier on the artchive site (great website). I was several feet away, jotting down some notes on our art worksheet/narration page as we talked about the painting together.

As usual, I asked her "What do you notice in this painting? What do you see?" I confess I was expecting her to say something like "apples" or "I see some fruit in a bowl." Instead she gestured at the painting and said, oh so enthusiastically, "What I notice are the bright fruit colors against the darker background."

Seriously. My six year old said this. Yes, I am beaming. What made it even more fun (besides the very astute observation) was how she really found excitement in this. She went on to talk about the different colors and to make sure that I really "saw" what she was getting at about the bright and dark.

Lest one think that our homeschool mornings are always full of non-whining (ha!) enthusiasm and clever answers, let me hasten to tell you about the other moment this morning that made me laugh in a different way.

We'd moved on to listening to some Beethoven. Our loud, exciting piece this morning was the Allegro movement from symphony no. 5. As a good contrast, I thought we'd play the quiet "adagio" from the Moonlight Sonata.

I should mention that the sweet girl truly enjoys music, but it doesn't seem to come close to her passion for visual art right now. Which is fine! I often let her color while she listens to music as it helps her to focus. She was coloring when I moved to the Moonlight Sonata track. I thought I would introduce it briefly, since I love it so much. So I explained what it was called and then (getting a bit misty) mentioned that it was one of my very favorite pieces of music in the world.

At which point she looked up a bit vaguely from her drawing and, without missing a beat, mused "I wonder how llamas get water? You know, when they're up in the Andes..."

Hee. All I could think of was that old Gary Larson cartoon "what we say to dogs" and "what dogs hear." Remember that? "Blah, blah, blah, Ginger..."

Yes, teaching is full of those moments too. Which doesn't make it any less fun or rewarding.


Erin said...

LOL! That's one of my all-time favorite Far Side cartoons. I guess she was just in the zone. I have a bit of a reputation at home for making random comments completely out of the blue; I always forget that my family members can't see my thought processes... Anyway, nice observation on the Cezanne! She definitely seems to have an artist's eye!

Edna said...

I liked this post--it works the same in the classroom. Those few but wonderful moments when it all clicks, and then the times I KNOW that all they here is "Blah, blah, blah".

Edna said...

Oops. I can't spell anymore, apparently. HEAR, HEAR, HEAR. Gotta proofread.

Beth said...

"In the zone" is a marvelous description for it. I love how you just seem to 'get' Sarah! :-)

Beth said...

Hear, hear. :-) Teaching is such a mysterious process, isn't it? But such a life-giving one too!