Living Stones Academy

Educating by atmosphere, discipline, and life

Art and culture study pay off

on July 13, 2010

Art and music study (or composer study) are part of Charlotte Mason teaching, but not gone into deeply until after the age of 6. However, as outlined on Simply Charlotte Mason, for the early years, exposure to art and classical music is encouraged, though young ones are not expected to really “learn” or “study” either. Simple exposure prepares them for later years. I decided to start the kids with a Japanese artist, since we are in Japan, rather than a traditionally known Western artist. I chose Hokusai, whose prints we see everywhere. To my surprise, when I started reading about him, I found at that the likes of Van Gogh, Degas, and even Monet were inspired by him and other Japanese artists during the Oriental craze of the 19th century. So it turns out he will make a good segue into other artists.

We started with the print, “Great Wave off Kanagawa”. I put the picture on my netbook background, and found a coloring page of it on another website.

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This is a picture of a hanging I bought at the BX. After a week of showing them the picture and asking simple questions—What colors do you see? What shapes? How many boats are there?—they recognized it when they saw several copies and became very excited jumping up and down saying, “Mommy, mommy, it’s the wave!” The Japanese retailer was especially delighted to hear Caleb say, “Hokusai!” and point to it (should’ve asked for a discount haha).

I’ve also been doing a sort of general knowledge thing with them. What I call “Calendar Station”, although the calendar is only our first stop. Hanging on our hallway wall are a calendar chart (which also has dates, seasons, and weather), a map of Japan, a map of the world, and a phonics chart and wall hanging (we just started using those). Opposite this wall is a Japanese language chart for kids that accompanied a set of flash cards. We start off with calendar—days of the week, months of the year, weather report (one of them runs to the window and looks out and reports back), and seasons. We then move to map, and I recite, “We live in . . .Japan (the kids yell). On the island of . . .Honshu. In the prefecture of . . .Aomori. In the city of . . .Misawa.” At the world map I point out Japan and say, “We live in Japan. We are from . . .” They yell, “United States!” And so it goes.

Today, the kids were playing with their Aquadoodles. Isaac was making just a big blue mess, in my opinion, until he came to me yelling that he’d made, “Great Wave of Honshu!” I corrected him, “No, honey, off Kanagawa.” “No, mommy, I make Great Wave of Honshu.” I went to look, and he showed me his interpretation. 🙂

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It certainly looks like an inspired work to me! It feels good to know this sort of thing is making an impact, even this early.

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