Simone Martini’s The Annunciation

Simone Martini's magnificent Annunciation for the Siena Cathedral.

Article analyzing the Martini Annunciation.

Simone Martini, The Annunciation. The Uffizi Museum, Florence, Italy.

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”  But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.

Luke 1:26-29

Welcome to day 5, I hope you are enjoying our journey. Yesterday we explored Duccio’s, ‘Maesta’. Today we move to one of Duccio’s students who is believed to have worked on portions of the Maesta.

Simone Martini was a Gothic painter who was heavily influenced by Duccio, and absorbed his use of color and harmony. Martini was also influenced by the graceful lines and delicacy of French Gothic Style. We can see both influences in his Annunciation painted for the Chapel of Saint Ansano in the Siena Cathedral.

The work was done in 1333 on a wood panel. You can read how panels were prepped here. The Annunciation is currently housed in the Uffizi in Florence.

The work is a tryptych, a work made on three panels. The panels are frequently attached with hinges and are meant to be viewed together. Tryptych’s were frequently used for altarpieces. In this case, art historians are not sure that the side paintings were originally viewed as they are now framed, but we do know they were meant to be viewed together. The saint on the left is Ansamo. This is the saint this chapel is dedicated to, and the saint on the right is Margaret.

The saints were painted by Martini’s brother in law, Lippo Mimmi, a celebrated artist in his own right, but we are not going to focus on the Saints today, but on the central panel.

Simone Martini, The Annunciation. Uffizi Museum, Florence, Italy.

The frame that the work is exhibited in is not the original. This ornate frame was made in the 1800’s, and can detract from the painting because it cast shadows onto the work, but the style is probably similar to the original frame.

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Hate history?

Ditch the textbooks and make history come alive!

 

Great article on teaching students to LOVE history. No more boring dry textbooksDo you hate History? Did you watch the clock tick off each minute as your teacher droned on? Did you suffer through dry readings, memorize meaningless dates, and answer pointless review questions? Do you dread subjecting your child to the same boring process?

If so, I’m sorry. Believe me, it doesn’t have to be that way!

While in college I have a vivid memory of sitting in the library studying with some friends  for an upcoming test for World Civilization. We were reviewing English history during the 1500’s.  My friends were struggling with dates, names and seemingly unrelated events.

I wasn’t struggling. The reason… in high school I had read a series of historical novels set in the courts of England. Nothing boring or dry there. There had been romance, court intrigue, religious conflicts, betrayal, heroes and villains. I’d cried for Queen Catherine as she watched her marriage and family crumble because she couldn’t produce a male heir, and was horrified as her daughter, Bloody Mary, turned her reign into one marked by revenge, fanaticism and bloodshed.

I wrestled with the issues that caused England to break from the Catholic church and was fascinated by the complex and fragile allegiances that were formed to consolidate power. The characters I met were complicated individuals who were forced to make decisions that would affect whole countries, individuals often beset with self-doubt and questions. I found myself caught up in their dilemmas wondering what I would do, what they should do…and rarely finding a satisfactory answer.

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Curriculum is not the key to your homeschooling success

You are teaching a child, not a curriculum

You are teaching a unique child, not a curriculum. One of the biggest mistakes parents and teachers make is teaching a curriculum.

Let’s take math. Our child needs to learn mathematical concepts, so we choose a math program. Then, almost universally, we become focused on the curriculum instead of the student.

Have you ever become hyper focused on your child finishing that day’s math page.  We hound them by saying,  “Pay attention, we have to finish this!” We threaten and bribe to keep them on task.

The shift is subtle, but the math lesson is no longer about the child learning the material, it’s about getting the lesson done. After all, our accompanying teacher’s manual says we need to do 4 lessons a week, with one day for testing! The curriculum has become our focus.

Completing the lesson, or the entire book, is of no value if your child didn’t master the concepts in the lesson. This shift in focus is sneaky, we don’t recognize it happening until 3 months down the line when we realize our child is hopelessly lost.

As parents, we are not the only ones who get caught up in this trap. Our students are even more likely to commit this mistake. Unless you have worked hard to convince your child that the purpose of the lesson is to learn the material, and they have bought into the idea, they will likely rush just to finish. Most kids work as quickly as they can so they can be done.

Your job, as a parent and a teacher, is to help your students see that finishing is not the goal, learning is.

I understand the anxiety that comes when we know we won’t ‘finish’ in a timely manner. However, the world will not end, your child will not be a failure if they don’t finish their 4th grade math program while in the 4th grade. What will create problems is your child being pushed through a curriculum ‘on schedule’ but with little comprehension of the concepts they needed to learn.

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New Homeschool Year Checklist

I LOVE September.  Forget the whole ‘January is a new year’ business, it’s the start of a new school year I love. So here is my list of what needs to be done as you begin the new school year.

1.  Evaluate 

Most of us want to jump straight into ordering curriculum, but there is some important work to be done before that. Arrange for some quiet, distraction free time and grab your notebook and pen. Go to a park, the library or Starbucks and think through the following:

    • What are your goals for the year for each of your children?
    • What are your child’s strengths…where do they struggle?
    • What worked last year that you want to build on this year?
    • What didn’t work last year?
    • How has your family’s needs changed…financially? Ages of children? New High Schooler?

2.  Make an ‘overall’ plan.

  • Decide on what curriculum you need to purchase this year. (If you need ideas for elementary school children you can check out my post here.)
  • Make sure you’ve covered the basics: Reading, writing, math, history, science.
  • Decide on any classes your children will be participating in, either with your homeschool group, music lessons etc.
  • Are your children going to be playing sports? If not, how are you covering PE?
  • If you have High Schoolers, make sure your students are on track to have the necessary courses to graduate in your state.

3.  Purchase Curriculum

  • If saving money is a priority check into used curriculums on Craigslist and ebay. Also, ask around in your homeschool group…perhaps you can purchase used, make a trade, or borrow.  Instead of purchasing readers check out the library. I’ll be posting an article soon about how to save money on curriculum, if you want to know when it’s posted you can subscribe to my email list, or like me on Facebook. New articles will be there.

4. Plan for the next 3 months

  • Dividing up specific assignments for the entire year is a recipe for disaster. Trust me, and the legions of other homeschool moms who’ve slaved over constructing year schedules. Schedule is done and then, bam, in Octobe a bad case of the flu worked its’ way into your household, and now you are hopelessly behind, and you have dates and plans and pages to finish. There are too many variables to be sure where you will be next February so hold off on a whole year plan.
  • 3 months is a doable option. You’ve planned ahead, but adjusting isn’t a mammoth task.
  • So for now, look at your curriculum and figure out what you want to have done by Thanksgiving and then break it up for each week. I find breaking it up into days is just too tedious. If I know what I need to get through this week, I’m good.

5. Enroll your child in any additional classes, music lessons, sports they will be participating in.

6.  Join HSLDA. Just do it. Even if you never need their services, you are supporting other homeschool parents who are fighting for their rights to homeschool…and those cases protect your rights. (For those who don’t know HSLDA is the Home School Legal Defense Association. Your membership is basically legal insurance. The attorneys at HSLDA do a phenomenal job fighting for the rights of homeschoolers. Check them out.)

7. Set up your ‘homeschool’ area

  • It’s fun to surf Pinterest looking at people’s homeschool rooms, HOWEVER, a dedicated room is not necessary!
  • I never had the space for a homeschool room, so we homeschooled at the dining room table and the living room couches. We had bookshelves of books sprinkled throughout the house, and each child had a box that contained all they needed. In the morning they could grab their box and get to work.
  • So organize what spaces you have to accomodate schooling, but a fancy set up won’t make your school any more or less successful.

9.  Find a support group

  • I think it’s best to find a local group of families that you can join. Having a support network, a place to go with ideas, friends to call who understand the frustrations is critical for success.
  • If you can’t find a local group, find an online community of homeschoolers. The key is to have a place to go for encouragement, ideas, and

 

 

 

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