Harmony Fine Arts:High School Music Appreciation

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I finally finished putting my free downloads for my high school music appreciation program on Harmony Fine Arts. Now all four grades are available to download in PDF format. If you previously tried to download the files and they didn’t work, you can now find the files in the “high school” section of the Harmony Fine Arts Store.

Here’s my blurb on this music appreciation program.
These music appreciation plans are designed for high school students looking for an organized way to listen to classical music in the four-year cycle of history as outlined in The Well-Trained Mind classical education plan.

Each plan gives week by week suggestions for readings in Classical Music Experience, suggestions for listening to related music on CDs or to music online, and links to additional information about the composers and the time periods under study.

In addition to reading and listening, the student is directed to write a one to two page biography for each composer studied and a one to two paragraph opinion of the composer. The student is also asked to keep a list of the musical selections he has listened to during the study period in a notebook.

My art and music appreciation plan also was just reviewed in the current winter issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Please check it out out in the magazine or it is available online below.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Review of Harmony Fine Arts

Drawing With Children: Les 5 Oil Pastels

In this installment in my Drawing With Children-nature journal style series, I am going to share some information and videos about using oil pastels. Although they look a lot like crayons, they are much more versatile even for younger art students.

The blending ability of oil pastels makes them an easy alternative to oil paints with far less mess.

You can use oil pastels in your nature journal but you need to be aware that if you don’t apply a fixative, you will have a smudgy mess on facing pages. I don’t mind the smudges but just make sure to always put them in the journal where they are not facing another entry.

From Drawing with Children, by Mona Brookes, page 166-167:
“Form the undersketch with a very light color and then build on top of it. Use the tips of your fingers to blend the shadings.”

My boys have really enjoyed using oil pastels over the years and I highly recommend you give them a try with your children.

So, are you ready for the videos? The first one gives you some specific techniques to get started and the second is a little more advanced, showing how to use the oil pastels for subjects in your nature journal. We are still working on training my youngest son to be my “camera man” so bear with us as we learn the best ways to video the lessons. 🙂

Enjoy!
Barb-Harmony Art Mom

The Pleasures of Winter-Charlotte Mason When it is Cold

winter flower found in the snow

“When there’s frost or snow on the ground, children have fun sliding, throwing snowballs and building from snow. But even when the snow is slushy and dirty, or the sky is gray, they should have interesting things to do outside so that their hearts are cheerful even when the day is cold and dreary.”
Charlotte Mason (in modern English) volume 1 page 85


Okay, so we don’t have 2 to 3 hours of outdoor time as suggested by Charlotte Mason in the winter. But with a little perseverance, we can provide *some* time outdoors each day or week.
winter gear and snowball
It snowed here yesterday and I was thinking as my boys pulled on their snow gear that it really is essential to have the proper clothing available for our children to enjoy being outdoors in the bitter cold. Boots with thick socks, waterproof gloves, woolen hats, coats and even snow pants may be necessary for them to really get the most out of being outdoors. If they get cold, they will want to come right back in.
snowman
If they are properly dressed, they may still need some direction as they head outside. I try to just be available during our outdoor time. I don’t necessarily do much to entertain the boys but I am always hovering around taking photos, puttering in the garden cleaning up, sweeping the steps, filling the birdfeeders, collecting interesting things to bring into the house for our nature corner, or just sitting and looking at the sky or the trees or whatever.
clearning snow
Giving them tasks to do will help if they seem to be aimlessly wandering around the yard. In the winter it can be something like gathering twigs and fallen branches from off the lawn to put in the compost pile or I have them put out different things for the birds to eat like peanuts or seeds and that always turns into a period of time to observe how long it takes the birds to find the treats.

I don’t want you to think that we have extended time each day outdoors because that wouldn’t be the truth. Some days it as much as we can do to go out and walk to the mailbox and back. But, every week we make an effort to be outdoors and be looking at things that we can find even in the winter cold. Every month we take a whole school day to devote to nature study. At first I was hesitate to take a whole day off just for nature study but in the grand scheme of things it has been a positive and important decision even with my boys who are older at ages 12 and 14. They need time to connect and enjoy nature.

Just a side note: Last week I was walking around at a ski resort and I saw a young mother with her little baby all snuggled down in a front pack. She had the baby in a snowsuit, in the pack, and an extra blanket draped over her shoulder. The baby had his little nose and eyes poking out from under the blanket and they were very happy eyes. I thought to myself that this was the answer for those with really little ones that want to spend time outdoors in the freezing temperatures. A few minutes snuggled with mom out in the fresh air can only help with everyone’s moods and dispositions.

So have I encouraged you? Have I shown you that this is something you can plan for even if you have to exchange one math period for one nature walk? It is worth the effort. Don’t forget when you come in all frosty cold, it is *cocoa* time!!
winter gear and hot cooca
It is okay if that is the best part for you…..just don’t let your kids know!

Barb-Harmony Art Mom
Check out my page on winter nature walks!
Winter Walks

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