It has been my privilege over the past few months to get to know Barb from Harmony Fine Arts. She has been a faithful contributor to Trivium Tuesdays here at Living and Learning at Home each week and through that I have gotten to be encouraged and inspired by her posts! While on her blog, I noticed that she has a fine arts curriculum. I had been eying it for a while, so when she offered me a copy to use and review, and another to giveaway, I was so excited!
A Little Bit About It
First off, Harmony Fine Arts is a curriculum that incorporates both viewing great art pieces and listening to great music and she has a curriculum for each year of your child's schooling.
What I love most is that it is designed to go along with your history studies. Each grade's curriculum goes along with a particular time period, cycling through again as your child grows. Each one has a suggested grade, but just jump in at whichever time period you are studying.
- Grade 1 - Overview
- Grade 2 - Medieval and Renaissance
- Grade 3 - Late Renaissance to Early Modern Art
- Grade 4 - Modern Times
- Grade 5 - Ancient Art and the Orchestra
- Grade 6 - Medieval and Renaissance
- Grade 7 - Late Renaissance to Early Modern Art
- Grade 8 - Modern Era
- High School Music and Art Plans
Harmony Fine Arts compiles lots of art and music pieces into a logical order of study and then offers many resources and ideas for how to study and learn from the pieces. I love this quote from the website:
Harmony Fine Arts plans organize great art and music appreciation resources into the classical four-year cycle of history and seasons each week with a Charlotte Mason flavor.
What I Love About It
I know nothing about fine arts. I hate to admit that, but it was sadly just not a focus in my education growing up. I love that Harmony Fine Arts takes care of that! I would not know where to begin or what to look for when teaching my children about the fine arts. This curriculum brings so many pieces together and shares so many options of study which is wonderful!
I also love that it is not a scripted type of curriculum. I always really enjoy freedom and flexibility when I teach my children. I love getting ideas from other people, but implementing them the way that I want to. This is exactly what Harmony Fine Arts offers. Each curriculum is 32-36 weeks long, but you can really do as little or as much of it as you want. Each lesson has three options, (and resources to go along with each) but you can choose to do just one or study a particular piece more in depth and do all three.
I love that each art and music piece is linked to a place on the internet where you can view or listen to it. This makes life so much easier! There are also select pictures of art included right in curriculum. You certainly could purchase art books to view the pieces and CDs to listen to the music, but you don't have to! I have just been printing put the pieces as we go along, but you could even just have your children look at the art on the computer or an e-reader.
Perhaps my most loved aspect of Harmony Fine Arts is that is that it fits right in with the classical model of teaching. I love to fit as many subjects as possible in with our history spine, so it makes perfect sense to study the art and music from the time period of history that you are studying. Now, you could spend hours and hours researching this all yourself, finding appropriate artists and composers, finding examples of their work, making notebooking pages, and coming up with activities to go along with each one, but you don't have to because it has been done for you! And for the very reasonable price, it is quite worth it!
How We Use It
When Barb (the creator of Harmony Fine Arts) first asked me about reviewing this curriculum, I was hesitant because my oldest child is only 4. I didn't know if it would be appropriate for us at this time, but she pointed me to a few posts on her blog about using the curriculum with younger children and so I decided to give it a try! Here is an example of how we have been using the Grade 1 - Overview curriculum.
First I have him observe the picture. We talk about the title and artist. I encourage him to tell me about everything he is seeing. We talk about the colors, subjects, feelings, etc. Then I have him (and little sister, who always likes to be a part of what we are doing!) color in a coloring page version of the picture. I have sometimes had him try to do this from memory and other times just by copying from the original. At his age, I'm mostly just trying to help him take care that his actually trying to color in particular places instead of just scribbling wherever. He doesn't color the entire thing completely, but he does a good job picking out things to color in.
Next, I print out one of the notebooking pages. This time I take the picture out of his site and have him tell me about it. At his age, I am mostly looking for complete sentences and ideas that are relevant to the subject matter. Sometimes I help him formulate his thoughts, but usually I just copy what he tells me. He is always thrilled to hear me read what to him what he has dictated =) I could have him write this himself, but I know about how much his hand can take and don't want make him discouraged just because I'm forcing him to do too much pencil gripping!
After we write our description, I have him try to draw what he remembers of the picture. This is difficult for him, but I have seen him improve which is encouraging =) Drawing isn't his favorite thing, so I do not expect intricate pictures, just enough to see that he is using his brain to remember what he looking at.
Then I put it into a binder so we can remember what we have learned! I really enjoy this process. I love that it stretches his brain to pay attention and remember what he has seen. I love that it encourages him to think of descriptive words and put them together into sentences. We do not always complete this in one day, sometimes we come back to it on another day to finish it up. And remember, this is just one example of how we have chosen to use Harmony Fine Arts. Depending on the age and interests of your children, you could do like we have done, modify it, or choose one of the other options of study!
How You Can Get It
If this looks like something that would benefit your family, there are a few ways that you can try it for yourself!
First, make sure that you enter the giveaway below to win a complete year's curriculum for yourself! You can choose the year that would be of most use to you.
Next, you can try lots of different freebies that are offered at Harmony Fine Arts. You can view sample pages from each of the years. If you have a child in the Rhetoric stage, you can download select ebooks completely for free (9th grade music appreciation, 10th grade music appreciation, 11th grade music appreciation, 12th grade music appreciation, and 12th grade music appreciation.) You can also find lots of great ideas and freebies on her blog and pinterest pages.
This giveaway is over. Thanks to all who entered!
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