A couple Fridays a month we meet with another homeschooling family and do art! It is a loose format as this is the beginning of us mothers and children working together this way. We meet, have a leisure lunch, a little playtime and then get down to art before having the rest of the afternoon for free-play. We started with Monet and Impressionism. For our first session we read about Impressionism, looked at many paintings and then focused in on Monet’s , Haystacks, 1890-1891. It was my friend’s lead and it has been wonderful!
First the children made their own haystacks from colored paper. I did not get photos! With shredded construction paper they topped the conical base to make their own haystacks. There was a lot of hot glue involved! The next time we met, the weather was gorgeous so we picnicked and brought along our haystacks to paint them “en plein air” –outdoors! My friend talked about shadows, light, and one’s perspective to capture our own impression. There was also some tree climbing and woods-playing before returning back to the house–for more play.
Arlene above, Ada below.
Last Friday when we met, I initiated the lesson time by asking them what did the word impression mean? They had great ideas: your first thought, your feeling, an idea, what you connect with something. Then I pulled out a stuffed bunny. I put the bunny in front of them and asked the children: what is your impression of this bunny? White, fluffy, bunny, soft, Easter, babies, were some of their responses. No right or wrong, I emphasized, just your impression! We looked at paintings again with a focus on subject matter (landscapes, slice of life moments) and technique (unfinished, quick, thick paint, bright, pure colors, lots of light). Afterward I asked them to close their eyes and I played some music. We were to allow any and all impressions from the music fill us up to then create a painting– just from those impressions. I really wanted to get at the heart of what this style of art was about. I read all these fantastic quotes from leading Impressionists and truly this was about what was inside of them. How could I lead several children in a process of discovering their own impression?
They were so sweet — sitting around listening to the music with their eyes closed. Don’t be thrown off by the band or odd cover picture, this song is wonderful!
We then pulled out the paints and they set to work. The tone was set so beautifully by the quiet intention of capturing our impressions. Everyone seemed to have a good sense of what they were going to paint and interestingly, everyone painted something different. There was abstract renditions, landscapes, portraits and interior scenes. They weren’t rushed, but paced and thoroughly engrossed in their paintings. They each expressed their impressions from the music into creative artwork. It was a special afternoon.
Ada’s Music Impression
Arlene’s Music Impression
Sheila’s Music Impression
These Fridays are such a highlight of our week. I am grateful to be striking this new balance: learning with another homeschool family, maintaining our own healthy rhythm, feeling rested and ready each day. I have often felt insecure about these types of homeschooling steps. I haven’t wanted to rush into complicated or too big commitments with homeschoolers. I’ve wanted to slowly build relationships with other families, learning along the way what other moms (& myself) are interested in and capable of in terms of offerings and teaching. Going slow and layering is truly the way to go with these and so many matters!
Us moms have tea after our focused art time, swap recipes, talk about where we are in life and in homeschooling and completely enjoy each other’s company. It is a wonderful way to spend a day!
Lunch is ready! (Heart-shaped chapati, kale, mung beans, rice and squash).