We spread the riches during The Feast every Tuesday and Thursday. This post focuses on only three: Shakespeare, picture study, and composer study.
After lunch on Tuesday, elementary and above students gather in mixed groups to study Shakespeare. What? Can fourth graders read Shakespeare? We shuffle students for that reason. Experienced actors read more and newer ones have bit parts. Our younger students still know how to play. They keep us laughing through their antics and flubbed lines. They shine during sword fights, pratfalls, and pranks. They learn from the modeling of our older students who read beautifully. Their eyes and ears adjust to the literary language. Their hearts grow fond of certain characters. A student my study nine plays by graduation.
Our play for this year is the comedy Much Ado about Nothing. All of Shakespeare's comedies sow discord between couples. The bard fills this witty war of words with music and masks; dancing, disguises, and deceit; and silly sidekicks and vengeful villains. As the plot unfolds, order is restored. Couples marry and live happily ever after.
After Shakespeare, students return to class for picture study. The whole school studies one painting from one artist every week. We focus on the paintings and life of one artist per term, and we study three artists per year. A student attending Harvest for twelve years studies thirty-six artists. Why stick to an artist for that long? The way to get to know someone well is to spend time together. Ten weeks gives our students plenty of time to know an artist. This year our artists are Vincent van Gogh (Term 1), Georgia O’Keefe (Term 2), and Giotto di Bondone (Term 3). We chose van Gogh because The Columbia Art Museum will host an exhibit about him this fall. Seeing a painting you have studied is like meeting a pen pal in person.
On Thursday, we do composer study. We listen to one piece of music written by one composer every week. We study the same person for a whole term, or three per year. After listening, students share their observations and we supply the musical terms to match their ideas. From time to time, our musical friends Richard and Johanna Pressley come and deepen our understanding. This year our composers are Felix Mendelssohn, Franz Josef Haydn, and the team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein.
If you missed the riches as a child, come and join us for The Feast! We would love for you to get your weekly dose of awe.
A community called to offer another way to learn for students in Clarendon County