EXPLORE KENTUCKY'S FINEST FARMS AND SANCTUARIES
- Hike Raven Run Nature Sanctuary (free)
- Visit Old Friends Horse Farm (free)
- Hike Shaker Village's trails (free), ride the Dixie Belle Riverboat ($$)
- Visit the Kentucky Horse Park ($$)
- Spend a day at Serenity Hill Farm in Nicholasville, home to a small flock of Romney sheep. Watch the sheep shearing, card the wool and buy a skein of yarn!
- Day trip to the John James Audubon State Park in Henderson, KY.
SPEND TIME IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS
- Pick blackberries in the wild (free)
- Find and take a picture of a covered bridge in Kentucky (free). Here is a link to a nearby covered bridge, the Switzer covered bridge near Frankfort. Here is another covered bridge in Paris (Bourbon County), the Colville Covered Bridge.
- Go birding at McConnell Springs Park (free)
- Visit Salato Wildlife Center (nominal fee)
FAMILY FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES
- Attend Ballet Under the Stars at Woodland Park, August 1-4, $5
- Join the Lexington Public Pools ($$)
- Sign the kids up for a summer of free bowling!
- See a $1 movie: Cinemark Fayette Mall Summer Movie Clubhouse or for $3.50, a movie with popcorn and drink at Amstar Brannon Crossing
- Pick fruit and play on the playground/at the petting zoo at Boyd Orchards ($$)
- See a children's play performed at the Lexington Children's Theater ($$)
- Tour Kentucky's own Ale-8-One bottling plant in Winchester
- Ride the train at the Bluegrass Railroad Museum in Versailles, KY
VISIT HISTORIC SITES AND NATIONAL/STATE PARKS
- Visit Ashland, the Henry Clay estate ($$)
- Visit Mammoth Cave, take a tour and become Jr. Rangers (some activities free, some $$)
- Visit Red River Gorge (free)
- Visit Abraham Lincoln's Birthplace and become Jr. Rangers (free)
- Hike Natural Bridge and Whittleton Arch (free)
- Visit Cumberland Falls (some free, some $$)
- Visit Cumberland Gap National Park and become Jr. Rangers (free)
SPEND A DAY(S) IN OUR STATE CAPITAL, FRANKFORT
- Visit Daniel Boone's Grave
- Tour State Capitol in Frankfort (free)
- Visit Buckley Wildlife and Audubon Sanctuary ($)
- While in Frankfort, drive by the only Frank Lloyd Wright structure in the state of Kentucky, the Reverend Jessie R. Ziegler house. (free)
- Visit and tour Rebecca Ruth Candy
- Eat a burger at Wallace Station on Old Frankfort Pike ($$)
BROADEN OUR MINDS
- Join Lexington Public Library's Summer Reading Program (free)
- See William Shakespeare's "As You Like It" on stage at Josephine Sculpture Park in Frankfort. Performances are June 7-9 and 13-15 at 7pm.
- Learn about Just in Time manufacturing as we tour the Toyota Manufacturing Plant (free)
- Day trip to Frasier History Museum in Louisville, one of the best living history museums in the United States.
ATTEND SUMMER CAMPS/CLUBS
- Attend Vacation Bible School (free)
- Attend one summer camp. Winshape is one such camp that is hosted at Crossroads Community Church July 1-5, 2013. ($$)
ENJOY KENTUCKY FESTIVALS AND LOCAL EVENTS
- Go to Southland Assn's Bluegrass Jamboree (beginning May 28, every Tuesday night, 7pm, free to the public!)
- See a Free Friday Flick at Jacobson Park (starts May 31)
- Go to a Big Band/Jazz concert at Moondance at Midnight Pass Ampitheater Beaumont or Ecton Park (free)
- Attend the awesome Great American Brass Band Festival in Danville, June 7-9.
- Go to the Sweet Corn Festival at Evans Orchard on July 20. ($$)
Got anything to add? Tell us about it in the comments!
In my previous post
, I described why I believe children benefit from a study of architecture. In our school, we use a living book
written by Virgil Hillyer, former Headmaster of the Calvert School in Baltimore, Maryland. Hillyer co-wrote this book with Edward Huey, an art and science teacher at Calvert who had a particular interest in sharing oft-neglected works of art, sculpture and architecture with his students. Together, they spent seven years writing three books to introduce children to these subjects. We use the book pictured above, A Child's History of Art: Architecture
. It can be found for a reasonable price at new or used booksellers online.
Beginning with the pyramids of the ancient Egyptians, the authors bring to life the people and cultures that gave rise to the greatest civilizations on earth. We learn about ziggurats like the Tower of Babel, obelisks such as Cleopatra's Needle and the Washington Monument, the Greek Parthenon, Alexander's Lighthouse, and Roman arches and aqueducts. Children are introduced to a plumb line, a level and a carpenter's square. They learn the difference between a "capitol" and a "capital." Have you ever wondered what is the difference between a Doric, an Ionic, and a Corinthian column? Your children (and you!) will be able to identify them out the car window once you read this book!
Scheduling Architecture Study
Each week, we read approximately half of one chapter. We are usually able to complete the reading in one day, sometimes two if there are many new terms to introduce (as was the case with cathedral architecture). There are 29 chapters, which translates into spending 12 to 18 months with this book. If this sounds like a long time, it is and should be. We have over 5,000 years of architecture to cover! Spending time with the people and places and buildings in this book ensures we appreciate them in their context and do not rush through what they have to teach us.
Suggestions for Studying Architecture
- After reading through the passage one time, the children narrate the reading. (If you are unfamiliar with narration, please read this page.) Since there is more than one child in our school, each child narrates in turn without repeating information previously shared.
- Occasionally, we narrate through drawing instead of verbal narration. An example of this may be drawing Gothic and Roman arches and comparing/contrasting the two.
- After the reading and narration are complete, we look at the black/white pictures in the book. However, the internet is a treasure trove of pictures and additional contextual information. For example, enter the search term obelisk, and one will see hundreds of wonderful examples. Or, you could visit your local cemetery, where it is almost certain you will see an obelisk memorial.
- If we have time, we use Google Earth to virtually visit Notre Dame in Paris or Il Duomo in Florence, Italy.
- Approximately every other week, we update the timeline on our wall. If we have studied a particularly famous building (e.g. White House) or period of architecture (e.g. Baroque), we may paste a picture of the building or an example of the time period on the timeline.
- Outside of the classroom, we visit local buildings that are examples of the architecture that we are studying. See below for several Kentucky architectural landmarks.
- As we plan trips, if there is an architectural landmark on the way, we make an effort to visit. Last year when we visited family in Nashville, we took a few hours to visit the Parthenon. This may be the closest we ever get to visiting Ancient Greece!
- As we drive around town, even around neighborhoods, we encourage the children to spot architectural elements. When we drive down Tates Creek Road to downtown Lexington, we pass four different types of architecture: English Tudor, Gothic, Richardson Romanesque and Georgian Colonial. The kids have made a game of it now: "Mom! Gothic arch to the left! Georgian fanlight to the right!"
After the Study
If you live in Kentucky and are interested in visiting these places of architectural import, may I suggest the following sites and resources:St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica of the AssumptionCovington, KY
An excellent example of Gothic architecture
, the basilica has the largest rose window in North America and what is thought to be the largest stained glass window in the world.Hunt-Morgan HouseLexington, KY
Built in 1814, the Federal style
Hunt-Morgan House has many beautiful architectural features, including the Palladian window with fan and sidelights that grace its front façade. In 1955, the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation was formed to save the home from impending demolition. The organization restored the home to its Federal appearance and now operates the house as a museum.
Historic Fayette County CourthouseLexington, KY
This courthouse is an example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture
. Home to the Lexington History Museum, the courthouse is currently closed for renovation. However, one is able to walk all around the structure and appreciate the architectural details of the exterior. See pictures below of our visit to the Courthouse Plaza. Quite a lot of history here too!
Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National MemorialHodgenville, KY
Did you know Kentucky has her own Lincoln Memorial less than a two hour drive from Lexington? It is a wonderful example of neo-classical architecture
, including doric columns, cornices, dentil molding and fluting. The cornerstone for the memorial was laid on February 12, 1909, 100 years after Lincoln's birth. The monument was dedicated in 1911 by President Wm. Howard Taft. A plaque on the wall names the Board of Trustees of the Lincoln Farm Association
, who were tasked with raising private money for the building. Perhaps more well-known that the first listed trustee, President Taft, is the eighth listed trustee, a man named Samuel Clemens
When we began homeschooling four years ago, it never crossed my mind that architecture would be a component of our study, and it certainly didn't occur to me that we would find it to be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding parts of our education.
We were introduced to Virgil Hillyer by a friend at Childlight USA
. We had started to read Hillyer's Child's History of the World
, and she suggested that his three small books on architecture, sculpture and painting would be a wonderful supplement to our studies. Hillyer was the Headmaster at Calvert School in Baltimore. A teacher at heart, he was the author of many child's histories. He co-wrote the series on art with one of the science and art teachers at Calvert School, Edward Huey. They worked together for seven years on the series, bringing to a child's attention the oft neglected works of fine art, sculpture and architecture.
After four years of observing the fruit of architecture study, I believe that it should be a part of every child's education because it also helps the child develop a fuller appreciation for all
other subjects. When a child has studied architecture, he is unafraid of the Pythagorean theorem because he has seen it before in Egypt's Great Pyramids
and the Louvre Pyramid in Paris. In his U.S. History class, he can understand how a young John Quincy Adams could eavesdrop on fellow House members as they met in Statuary Hall because of the Hall's elliptical
ceiling. When he reads Pyle's King Arthur and His Knights
, he knows that a portcullis
is the huge latticework gate that is dropped across the gateway of a castle to bar intruders. He can visualize the Globe theater of Shakespeare's day because he knows that Tudor architecture
was popular during Queen Elizabeth's reign.
After building a good foundation in architecture (pardon the pun), children take delight in pointing out architectural terms in the books that they read. They love to discover that their house has dentil molding, casement windows, a fanlight, or arches and keys above their windows. They begin to look for elements of architecture in the neighborhood and cities they visit. By including a study of architecture in our schools, we are creating well-rounded citizens. We are not only exposing our children to the standard "reading, writing and arithmetic," but encouraging a child to become "a master of much knowledge besides."
Consider this comment from Charlotte Mason's Volume 6: Towards a Philosophy of Education
In the great (and ungoverned) age of the Renaissance, the time when great things were done, great pictures painted, great buildings raised, great discoveries made, the same man was a painter, an architect, a goldsmith and a master of much knowledge besides; and all that he did he did well, all that he knew was part of his daily thought and enjoyment. Let us hear Vasari on Leonardo,––
"Possessed of a divine and marvellous intellect and being an excellent geometrician, he not only worked at sculpture . . . but also prepared many architectural plans and buildings . . . he made designs for mills and other engines to go by water; and, as painting was to be his profession . . . he studied drawing from life."
Leonardo knew nothing about Art for Art's sake, that shibboleth of yesterday, nor did our own Christopher Wren, also a great mathematician and master of much and various knowledge, to whom architecture was rather a by-the-way interest, and yet he built St. Paul's. What an irreparable loss we had when that plan of his for a beautiful and spacious London was flung aside because it would cost too much to carry it out! Just so of our parsimony do we fling aside the minds of the children of our country, also capable of being wrought into pleasaunces of delight, structures of utility and beauty, at a pitifully trifling cost. It is well we should recognise that the business of education is with us all our lives, that we must always go on increasing our knowledge.
p. 54, Vol. 6, Towards a Philosophy of Education
Let us re-read one particular sentence. All that he knew was part of his daily thought and enjoyment.
How beautiful would it be to have children who daily meditate and take joy in the knowledge they are acquiring! Creating this sense of joy and passion for learning is exactly what we as teachers aspire to do. A feast of living books on a variety of subjects give us the best opportunity of accomplishing just that. I hope you that you will consider adding a study of architecture to your homeschool routine.
In my next post,
I will provide a suggested schedule and method for studying architecture.
One of the things I find most enjoyable about bird-watching with the kids is recording the first bird sighting of a season or unusual sightings we experience at home or on travel. We have a birding journal that we use, but it would be simple to create your own bird journal. All that is necessary is a spreadsheet that provides space to note the species, date/time, location, weather and other notes. Kids love to decorate a journal with pictures of birds from your photo collection or magazines, etc.
Several friends who are interested in beginning bird watching have requested a list of commonly sighted backyard birds in Eastern Kentucky. To just make a list of birds would not be very helpful, though, as it wouldn’t describe just how amazing these birds are and the wonder and beauty they bring to our daily lives. I put together a few paragraphs detailing our experience in learning about and watching these birds. I’m no ornithologist, and we haven’t lived in this zone (Kentucky) for long, but I hope most of my information is accurate for this area.
I’ll first profile those birds we’ve most often seen in our backyard, however a quick trip to a nearby creek or pond (such as Tates Creek, Hartland Pond or the Lexington Reservoir) would yield additional opportunities to view waterfowl such as ducks, geese and herons. I’ll profile those in the future. For now, get to know the European Starling!
European StarlingAs their name suggests, starlings are not native to North America. My understanding is that it took three introductions to the U.S. for the birds to become established here, and after that, they replicated at such a rate as to drive out other species and become what many people see as a pest. One of the neatest things we’ve experienced in Kentucky is a starling murmuration. A murmuration is a large grouping of starlings that will compete against one or more groupings of starlings in order to find a suitable place to roost in the evening. Around dusk, these enormous groups of starlings will literally dive bomb one another in what one would think is an elaborately choreographed death dance. I’ve heard many gasps from the backseat as the kids think surely the starlings won’t be able to pull out of their nosedive in time! We have thoroughly enjoyed seeing many murmurations over Hartland Park and Veterans Park. Murmurations are common in areas that have clusters of trees suitable for roosting.At first, one may mistake the European starling for the common grackle. They both have an iridescent coat that seems to turn brown to black to deep purple depending on its orientation to the sun. However I think that our starlings are slightly smaller than the grackle, and are certainly distinguished by the white speckles on their underside. They LOVE peanut butter suet; did I mention this? Put out a peanut butter suet, and it will be gone in one day, as starlings come to feeders in groups, rarely individually. They will fight with a larger bird over the suet. We have seen our red-bellied woodpecker fight with a starling many times.