The Living Page Discussion: The Gallery of Forms

This is a post in The Living Page Discussion - but it's not the only one. Check out my others:
- Intro 
Nature Notebooks and the Gallery of Forms
Calendar of Firsts

Chapter of The Living Page is the Gallery of Forms which briefly describes the different notebooks that Mason mentions subtle but important difference between some of them (timelines vs book of centuries, I'm looking at you two!), learned about some new ones and got inspired to expand my own personal notebooking even more than I had anticipated at the beginning of the year.

Even though I've been reading and studying Charlotte Mason for a while now, I've only recently begun any actual notebooks. But this is the year people, this is the year!

Commonplace Book

I mentioned here that I started a Commonplace book this year and I have enjoyed adding to it. The commonplace book is such a great one to start with because it is so simple and straightforward. Mine still mostly consists of quotes from Mason's writings but I'm sure with time that will change.

Nature Journal

We've been nature "journaling" for a little while but only on loose paper. You can see one of our first times in this post and here are a few watercolor paintings we did last week of the paperwhite bulbs we are anxiously watching. (And by anxious I mean I'm really quite worried they won't actually bloom. I'm crossing my black thumbs!)

From the left: Lucy's first, second and then mine

My emphasis when I do nature table times with Lucy is always on observing more than what she puts down on paper so I asked her to tell me what we saw and off she went. If you've ever had a one on one conversation with her, you'll know you that she doesn't need much prompting. That girl likes to talk! She told me all about the plants and the rocks that hold the bulbs and the little flower parts that are starting to open up and what colors she needed me to mix for her. I don't worry about over instructing too much because she's perfectly willing to ignore my suggestions. I drew mine then painted over my pencils marks and I offered her a pencil but "No, mom, I'm fine without drawing. I know what I'm doing" and then I showed her how I was going to do mine vertically so I would have room but her reply to that "Well, I don't want to do that." Okay then. But she ended up doing two versions and the second version she did vertically. Of course, that had nothing to do with my suggestion, she did it that way because "Van Gogh did his Sunflower still life vertically so I should do mine that way." I'm fine with that since I would much rather she copy him then me.

I picked up my first book after the paperwhite paintings but redid those as my first entry in my real book because I'd like to draw and/or paint them again once they open up (see how positive I'm being, when they open up, not if they open up.) I also wanted to add a bit more detail than I was able to do while also helping Lucy with hers and keep Jonah from drinking all of his paint.

For me, the decision to move to an more permanent notebook was a commitment to embrace imperfection. I love the idea of notebooks but get worried that I'll mess them up. I know, heaven forbid I "mess up" a $5 sketchpad but I see pictures of other works and feel like mine will never be that good. Yet, every time I've actually sat down and taken the time to sketch what I'm seeing I'm quite pleased with my results so I'm ready and I'm committed now.

I debated getting one for Lucy but held off. When we are just playing around with art supplies, she can go through reams of paper but when we do nature study work and she sees me modeling, she is quite deliberate about her work so I wasn't worried about that aspect. But one point I thought The Living Page illustrated quite well was how Mason valued children through the use of the notebook. Giving them the freedom and opportunity to work in the blank slate of a notebook was a way of showing that their ideas have value and merit and deserving of space because they were just as much of a person as an adult. For Lucy and perhaps others her age, I think that concept is demonstrated just as much, or perhaps more so, by displaying her work deliberately as I do one her "art wall." I also thought it we be fun for her first real notebook to be a first grade privilege.

Upcoming: Book of Centuries and Calendar of Firsts

I'm trying to start deliberately and slowly build up my notebook so I don't burn myself out but right now I'm struggling because I'm so inspired. I don't think I'm alone. I get the idea that anyone who reads this book suddenly starts yelling "KEEP ALL THE NOTEBOOKS!"

The next one I want to start for myself is the Book of Centuries. I had always thought it was just a timeline in a book format and that seemed nice for students but I had no desire to do it for myself. Now that I truly understand the format and purpose, I really want one. I got a bit of birthday money that I plan to use to buy this one. It's already effecting my thinking because as I've been reading and visiting museum lately, I keep thinking "Oh, I wish I had my book already so I could add a drawing of that thing or this date."

I also want to do a family style notebook in the form of a Calendar of Firsts and even Craig seems excited about participating in this one with us. The kids already get excited about finding the first strawberries and raspberries and right now we are all on the lookout for any sign of spring so I think it truly will be a family affair.

The format for this is a little more open. I've seen everything from monthly layouts to a 2 day/page set-ups. My first instinct was to put together something to print out and fill in and I think that could look really nice but as I've read through the rest of the Living Page, I've decided to just buy a nice blank notepad and fill it in completely by hand with 8 days per 2 page spread, starting a new spread at the beginning of each month. I think that will give us enough space to write without being so detailed that I lose the seasonal perspective I'm trying to capture.  I had hoped to do that before this post but it just didn't happen because of snow and sickness. That's okay, as long as it happens before the first robin appears or my first tulip emerges.

1 comment :

  1. I'm looking forward to hear more about this because it sounds beneficial. However, it feels really overwhelming with five potential notebookers in my home!