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    Home Education

    Picture Study on a Friday Night

    October 12, 2015 by Brandy Vencel

    [dropcap]F[/dropcap]riday was busier than I expected, and one thing led to another, and somehow picture study fell through the cracks. It wasn’t like I consciously cut it from the roster — it was just overlooked and eventually forgotten.

    Picture Study on a Friday Night

    It is tempting to think that, since the school day — and, on Friday, also the school week — is over, that this means we missed out on whatever it is that didn’t get done. Oh well. We will have to add it back in somewhere else to make up for it.

    This Friday was different from usual, though. My husband was going to a hockey game with a friend and wasn’t coming home until late. The children and I were grabbing a pizza {two actually, since our resident Gluten Free Girl gets her own special version} and doing a little reading aloud {our current selection is Captains Courageous}.

    My eventual goal was to enjoy a brainless evening.

    By myself.

    The children were outside playing, and I noticed my little stack of picture cards, all ready for them. I wondered how I had forgotten, but there they were, unused. It dawned on me that the children were still awake, and I was not yet completely useless, and so perhaps there was hope after all.

    As dinner was wrapping up, I handed out the cards.

    “What are these?” asked O-Age-Seven.

    “Your picture study cards.”

    Surprisingly, no one objected to spending a little time with Corot. They are still pretty excited about each getting their own card, which they are allowed to keep if they like. That is new for us this year, and only the teenager seems unimpressed.

    And so we did it. We spent about fifteen minutes total. They studied their cards, then closed their eyes to see if they could recreate the picture in their minds. They opened their eyes to compare, and then studied whatever part of the picture that was still fuzzy in their minds. Halfway through, A-Age-10 gave her best picture study narration ever.

    Overall, it felt like it actually went better doing it spontaneously and informally when compared to how it usually goes when it is on the schedule. No one was in a hurry, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

    I might actually do it again sometime!

    While I don’t want school spilling into all parts of the day, this managed to not feel like school at all. Dare I say it was fun?

    Sometimes, it pays to get a little creative with how we use our time.


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  • Reply M October 23, 2015 at 8:23 am

    I know Charlotte Mason is not very structured per se until age 6. My kiddos love to learn and we have no budget for homeschool right now, although we are working to get out of some debt. I am using a free online curriculum along with flash cards and color cut and paste. We don’t get to be outside much. Can you offer some tips and tricks for preparing your heart and home for the more rigorous stage of homeschooling little ones?


  • Reply Stephanie October 13, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    We did something similar on Saturday with nature study. We had visited a botanical garden on Thursday but had not entered anything in our nature journals even though we had wanted to while at the gardens-we ran out of time. I laid out the nature journal books and art supplies on Friday night. Saturday morning we all sat down after breakfast and routines in an unrushed manner, turned on music from our composer studies, and added to our nature journals. The children took their time, but even when they finished and slipped away to play I continued to paint for a lengthy amount of time-something not possible during the weekday afternoons. It was delightful and relaxing.

  • Reply Virginia Lee October 12, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    When my husband travels for work we often do things like this. Picture study, night time nature walks, or read alouds that are better when the littles are sleeping (we wait till the littles go to bed). We actually love it! It always feels like a special treat to us. But I am a night owl and so are 3 of my 4 kiddos. So I’m sure that helps as well.

    I actually foresee us having a late start time when all the kids are older and doing one or two subjects for evening school. Or maybe I just want an excuse to sleep in. 😉

  • Reply Sara McD October 12, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Brandy, I’ve been having a hard time with getting prints of the art. Thank you so much for the gift.

  • Reply Becca October 12, 2015 at 8:03 am

    I love little moments like this….when everyone realizes that beauty doesn’t have to be scheduled. In fact, this is how we realize that all life is learning, scheduled, or not.

    It was such a blessing to read of “the best picture study narration ever!” What a wonderful end to the week!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel October 12, 2015 at 8:59 am

      I think I inadvertently discovered that this particular child is more alert at night than midday! That is handy to know. 🙂

  • Reply Melissa October 12, 2015 at 7:40 am

    “…school spilling into all parts of the day.” This happens frequently at our house lately. Fall has been very busy! For example, we didn’t get to our Friday history reading so we did it last night (Sunday) at bedtime, along with our regular bedtime read aloud (currently The Adventures of Tom Sawyer). No one objected. It was very laid back. Now this morning, we all start fresh with no leftovers 🙂

    Some may disagree with this, but the more I think about it, really, isn’t this part of Education is a life. As homeschoolers, we shouldn’t feel locked into Mon-Fri, 8-3:30 or whatever. We are fortunate to have flexibility. Thanks for sharing your Friday night picture study….maybe it will help others break the mold 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel October 12, 2015 at 8:56 am

      Well, technically “education is a life” deals with the presentation of living ideas as the foundation for knowledge and not how we spend our time. But I know what you mean. 😉

      The main reason why I try to draw a line between school lessons and the rest of life is to protect my children from ME. 🙂 I think that it is easy for me to start to act like I have a right to *all* of their time. Sad, but true. 🙁

      • Reply Melissa October 12, 2015 at 10:43 am

        “The main reason why I try to draw a line between school lessons and the rest of life is to protect my children from ME.” …interesting thought, I’m pondering this. Do you think this also helps draw that defining line between mom/teacher?

  • Reply susan in st louis October 12, 2015 at 4:54 am

    Sounds fabulous! Thanks so much for giving us a glimpse into your day! 🙂

  • Reply Heather October 12, 2015 at 2:50 am

    Where do you get your picture cards?

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