In general home schooling isn’t working here as I envisioned it. We aren’t setting aside formal time for school like we did in Singapore or Corralitos. I have to gird myself for battle to get the kids to blog every other day. We seem to be too busy living our learning to sit around and write about it. But I am desperate for us to capture some kind of meaning from these experiences. I told the kids that we have collected lots of ingredients from our reading and travels and now I want to see what they can make from it.
Clearly they have different styles of learning and experiencing our adventures. Max is always looking for the action. If the day plan includes castles, armor or weapons, water fountains (or mud) or a really big monument to climb he is very content with the plan. Max has already climbed to the top of St. Peter’s Dome, the Coliseum and Palestine Hill in Rome. In Florence he climbed to the top of the Campanile with a spectacular view of Brunelleschi’s dome. When he heard that Bologna was a city with arcades and towers he wanted to climb Due Torre on the first day! He is very excited to get to Venice later next week and spend the day crossing bridges over the canals.
Emma’s happiest when she’s sorting her pencils and reading the guidebooks and maps in preparation for our day trips. On the last trip to Firenze, she planned the whole itinerary and navigated our stay in the city. Not only did she love controlling the schedule, but also it was real life problem solving to get us around the city and keep us on track. She’s been working on our trip to Venice with our pre-travel assignment we posted earlier. She’s keen to see the glass blowing in Murano and the exquisite quality of light in Venice.
Little moments throughout the last weeks— like shiny coins on the road—show me that they are putting ideas together.
At the Vatican Museum in the evening courtyard I asked Max why the remarkable sculpture of Apollo Belvedere, a 2nd Century Roman figure of Apollo with his arrows slung on his back was important to the Renaissance? He answered “The old stories and myths became more popular as people rediscovered the Roman and Greek times. Also the human body was admired. People didn’t look flat and they were trying to get things to look more real with muscles and veins. Look at the way the fabric folds—that was important to artists like Michelangelo.”
Emma’s photography is remarkable and gets better every day we shoot. Her attention and perspective is unique, but on this trip she’s taken time to learn about her camera and fiddles with exposure with impressive results. We’ve fallen into a kind of pattern– we download the images and then she makes a first delete pass, then we take time to look through them in the critique format that she’s developed with Yvette.
Emma said that she “thinks about how the scene would look if it were in a story or a movie. What would be important to tell and not tell?” She is constantly looking at clouds, light and shadow and playing with composition. In this shot of Brunelleschi’s dome in Firenze she said that she framed it “on the bias” (bias was a word she just learned in costuming class meaning on the diagonal for good draping).
And so we keep learning and discovering. Tomorrow we head off to Venice and see the wonders that await us.