CM 3 Audioblog #18 A Charlotte Mason Inspired Way to Get a Homeschool High School Fine Arts Credit

CM 3 Audioblog #18 A Charlotte Mason Inspired Way to Get a Homeschool High School Fine Arts Credit

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Show Transcript:

CM EP 18

Julie -

Welcome to the Charlotte Mason Show, a podcast dedicated to discussing Ms. Mason's philosophy, principles, and methods. It is our hope that each episode will leave you inspired and offer practical wisdom on how to provide this rich living education in your modern homeschool. So, pull up a chair. We're glad you're here.

Today's episode of the Charlotte Mason Show is brought to you by Medi-Share. Find out more about this affordable Christian alternative to traditional health insurance at

The Charlotte Mason Show would also like to thank their sponsor, Operation Christmas Child. Now, more than ever, children need hope. As the world struggles with the coronavirus pandemic, we want to let them know that God loves them and has not forgotten them. The best way to get involved is to pack a shoebox yourself. As you specially select each item, packing a shoebox becomes a blessing for you, as well as the child who receives it. Be sure to include a personalized note and photo. If packing a traditional shoebox isn't an option for you this year, we can do it for you. Build a shoebox online. You can find out more at Again, that's

Now, on to the show.

Gena -

Hi. This is Gena Mayo, from Music In Our Homeschool, and today we'll be talking about the Charlotte Mason inspired way to get a homeschool high school fine arts credit. I will be explaining what a fine arts credit is, why every student should get a fine arts credit, regardless of what they're planning to do after high school graduation, and how to do it the Charlotte Mason inspired way.

I thought I'd start with an introduction for those of you who aren't familiar with me. My name is Gena Mayo, and I've been married for almost 22 years. I have eight children who are ages 19 down to 8, two have graduated high school and completed their first year of college. I've always homeschooled all my kids, except my oldest, who did his last three years of high school at a public school.

I'm also a music teacher. After earning a bachelor of music education degree from Baylor University, I received a master's degree in vocal pedagogy. That's how to teach voice lessons. And an early childhood music and movement certification from Music Garden. I taught for five years in the public school system, junior high choir in elementary general music before I had my first child.

After becoming a mom, I taught Music Garden, Mommy and Me classes out of my home, and eventually, at our homeschool co-op. And other music education such as private and group voice lessons, musical theater classes, and music appreciation classes. One of my favorite ways to teach music is as a musical director for full-length musicals, which I've done every year for the past six years.

I began the website, Music in our Homeschool, which you can find at, as a way to encourage and equip all homeschoolers to include music in their homeschools. My online course site,, provides super easy to use, click and go music classes for students of all ages, preschool through adult. And I also have two memberships. One for elementary ages and one for the high school ages there.

Let's talk about Charlotte Mason inspired. I learned about the Charlotte Mason Method of education even before I began homeschooling my first child, through the books, For the Children's Sake, by Susan Schafer McCauly, and A Charlotte Mason Companion, by Karen Andreola, and although I am not a purist, our homeschool has always been Charlotte Mason inspired.

Last year, I did a workshop for the 2019 Charlotte Mason online conference and wrote a blog post called How To Teach Music the Charlotte Mason way, where I discussed six different aspects of a Charlotte Mason inspired music education. Those six aspects are composer study, hymn study, folk song study, musical creativity, dancing, and living books through music. You can find that post at

What is a fine arts credit? So, let's get into the meat of this talk today. Fine arts is a type of elective class that a student takes in high school, including in a homeschool high school. Let's set out by defining fine arts.

Fine arts is defined by as the following: The performing and visual arts generally refer to as the fine arts, are unique and important in a school curriculum. For purposes of developing this curricular area, we define the fine arts as consisting of the visual arts, dance, music, and theater, although certain of the language arts may fall within a broad definition of art. They receive sufficient attention in the school curriculum through their inclusion in language courses. All other courses such as the practical arts that include the word art in their titles, serve different educational purposes and they should not be considered as part of the fine arts.

Well, that is one way to look at it. But many others in the education realm have differing definitions. I will, at this point, encourage you to research your own state or countries individual laws regarding graduation requirements. Some states require fine arts and have a specific definition of what you are to include. Others don't, so you have much more freedom on how you will create your own fine arts class for your student.

I love that homeschool high school fine arts can cover such a wide variety of disciplines. This means that if you have a student who may be really averse to some of these areas, here she might be excited about others. So, these are the things that I believe can be included in your fine arts credit. Art lessons, voice lessons, piano, guitar, or any other instrument lessons. Church band, praise band, or vocal group, choir, band, orchestra, music ensemble, such as barbershop quartet, jazz ensemble, string quartet, or even a garage band. Any dance lessons such as ballet, jazz, tap, ballroom, or praise dance, drama productions, and drama camp. Film making, playing, and or attending classical music concerts. Attending ballets, operas, plays, or musicals. Visiting art museums, art galleries, and local art fairs. Music theory class. Music appreciation or music history class. Art appreciation or art history class. Music recording and producing. Virtual choir participation. Photography, drawing, painting, pottery, leatherworking, jewelry making, ceramics, printmaking, and sculpting. Reading about and studying artists, composers, musicians, dancers, and actors. Video production. Scriptwriting, playwriting, screenwriting. Audio editing. Poetry study and poetry recitation. 3D design, graphic art, animation, songwriting, and music composition. Acting and pantomime. Musical theater class and performances. Technical theater and stagecraft. Improvisation in theater, music, or dance. Puppetry, fashion design, including costume history. Textile and fiber arts and architecture history and design.

So you've probably noticed that I included way more disciplines and ideas in this list than the previously mentioned definition.

So, how are you going to determine credits in high school? It's important not to count a class twice. For example, you will have to decide if your ballet class will be your fine arts credit or your physical education credit. It can't be both.

Another example is poetry. Your poetry study going to be part of your fine arts credit or your English literature credit.

Furthermore, decide if you are counting this activity as an elective or an extracurricular activity. Again, it can't be both. For example, you might want to list praise band at church as an extracurricular activity on their high school transcript, instead of as part of your class. You get to decide, and yes, it is allowed that it can be one thing one year, and another thing the next year. So you might want to research more about elective versus extracurricular.

A full credit class contains 120 to 180 hours of work or 60 to 90 hours for a half-credit course. Why not have an exact number of hours? Well, that would just make it too easy for us, right? You can research further the Carnegie unit. Personally, I tend to push for the upper level of hours for my own students since I think of high school classes this way. A school year in the United States is typically thought of as 36 weeks. Students go to school five days a week and are in a high school class, about an hour a day. So five hours times 36 weeks equals 180 hours. However, we also know that that is the absolute maximum time. Rarely do public school or private school students actually do a full hour per class all five days a week, for a full 36 weeks during the school year.

If you are creating your own class, log the hours you work on it and keep it as proof. If your class happens to be from a high school level textbook or a high school level online course, or a high school level in-person class, you generally don't need to log your hours, unless you're using that class as only part of your full fine arts credit.

For example, one year, my son took a singing class that met for a couple of hours a week for 20 weeks. He was also taking private voice lessons and practicing a lot at home, so I was able to add that outside class to his voice lessons and practicing to equal a full fine arts credit.

So, how to log hours for your homeschool high school fine arts class? Well, logging hours is actually very simple to do. All your student needs to do is pick a method, stick to it, and long every single time they work on the class. Here are a few ideas where to log hours.

A spreadsheet app on their phone, or a spreadsheet on the computer.

A spiral notebook.

Student high school home school planners often have a place in them to keep track.

Or, I have some notebooking pages over at where you can download a log of hours notebooking page.

What will you include on your logging hours sheet? Well, have you ever heard of Bloom's taxonomy? It's a classification system that expresses and explains different levels of human cognition, such as learning, thinking, understanding, analyzing, and evaluating. The many verbs listed on the Bloom's taxonomy chart will cover a wide range of thinking skills and can provide some hands-on ideas and other inspiration for your actual learning. Let me give you a couple of examples of these verbs.

Compare, describe, select, summarize, devise, revise, criticize, illustrate, estimate, match, repeat. So, those kinds of words can give you some ideas of what you can do in your fine arts course.

Now, I have a list of ideas as well, so maybe you're doing a course where you're studying music appreciation, art appreciation, and poetry appreciation. And these are some activities you could do.

Read a music appreciation book, such as The Gift of Music, or an art appreciation book along with your course to learn even more about the styles and composers of the artist.

Teach or narrate what you have learned to a sibling, parent, or friend.

Read and recite the poem out loud.

Film yourself dramatizing it.

Memorize it.

Write essays, such as five-paragraph, compare/contrast, or descriptive essays every week based on the lessons that you're studying.

Write a research paper based on a topic that you studied in your course.

Compose a poem based on the style or form that you're studying in your course.

Give a speech, using one of the essays, or the research paper that, as a basis. You could even include a multimedia presentation, such as with Google Slides.

Go to a concert, recital, opera, or musical to hear one of the composers or pieces that you study in your course.

Learn to play or sing something from your course.

Explore an art museum or art gallery to see art, hopefully from one of the artists that you studied.

Compose a musical piece or create a piece of art based on a style that you studied in your course.

That's just a list to get you started. There is so much more you could do. Now, I would like to talk about why every student should get a fine arts credit. You may think I'm a little biased because I am a music teacher and it's in my blood, but I do think that every homeschool high school student should get a fine arts credit. Yes, I know every student is different. They all have different goals for what they're going to do after high school. Some will be heading to college. Others to a vocational school. Others straight to a job. Some will go to the military, and some will go straight to marriage and family life. Some students have special needs. Some are highly gifted. These considerations all make a difference in choosing the high school courses a student will take when you're planning out their four years of high school. Let me encourage you to consider, however, that no matter what your student's giftings or goals are, all high schoolers should get a fine arts credit.

The fine arts tend to tie together the disciplines of history and culture. So, of course, some fine arts helps your student develop an integrated understanding of people and culture. If the student is learning some music or art history, it's fascinating to see how the arts and culture influence one another during each historical period.

Furthermore, have you noticed the many references to classical music and the composers in books and movies? Studying music history or music appreciation will also help your high schooler understand the integration of these various art forms. And here's one more reason to get a fine arts credit. It can be really fun and easy. I'm not offended at all to think of fine arts as an easy A type of class. We don't want our kids only to be taking hard courses such as British literature, precalculus, foreign language, and physics during high school. Give them a breath of fresh air with a fine arts course.

As I've discussed already, you can plan out a fine arts course in so many different ways. Let your high schooler even help plan it out for himself. However, if you aren't interested in doing that, I did create a Charlotte Mason inspired fine arts course that will require no planning on the teacher or the student's part. Each lesson has three parts to it. Music appreciation, art appreciation, and poetry appreciation. Simply read the included lessons, watch the embedded videos, and work on the notebooking pages. Keep all of your pages in a three-ring binder and log your hours.

I use the following five aspects of the Charlotte Mason Method as the basis of this Charlotte Mason inspired high school fine arts course.

One. Attention to detail. Looking intently and analyzing something being studied.

Two. Narration. Speaking or write about what was learned.

Three. Recitation. Speaking aloud the poems.

Four. Composer, artist, and poet study. Spending an extended period of time just on one composer, one artist, and one poet at a time. In order to really recognize and hopefully understand his or her style, and

Five. Living books. Biographies are great for studying fine arts. Don't use a boring textbook.

With the Charlotte Mason inspired high school fine arts online course your high schooler will earn a full credit in homeschool high school fine arts. Studying music appreciation, art appreciation, and poetry appreciation, in this Charlotte Mason inspired self-paced online course.

What makes the course Charlotte Mason inspired? Well, Charlotte Mason said this: It is a pity that we like our music as our pictures and our poetry mixed so that there are few opportunities of going through as a listener a course of the works of a single composer. Let young people study, as far as possible, under one master until they have received some of this teaching and know its style.

So, what I have done with this course is to create a way for the student to study only one composer, one artist, and one poet per month. They will have the opportunity to study as far as possible under one master by listening to about four hours’ worth of music, studying six to eight pieces of art, and reading and studying seven or eight poems from each master.

There are nine months’ worth of lessons, and each month features a new composer, artist, and poet, from all eras of history: Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Impressionistic, and the modern era.

These are the nine composers that will be studied: Palestrina, Handle, Vivaldi, Hayden, Beethoven, Chopin, Rossini, Debussy, and Copeland.

And these are the nine artists that will be studied. Botticelli, Rembrandt, Diego Velasquez, Antonio Canova, Jacques Louise David, Francisco De Goya, Delacroix, Dega, and Grandma Moses.

And these are the poets that will be studied: Shakespeare, John Milton, Jean de la Fontaine, Phyllis Wheatley, Robert Burns, John Keats, Edgar Allen Poe, Stefan Mallarme, and Mya Angelou.

I do have some other options for a homeschool high school fine arts credit course if that particular course doesn't pique your interest. If you want music history, I have three separate music history courses that take you through the entire eras of music history. The first one is middle ages through classical period. The second is music appreciation of the romantic era, and the third is a twentieth-century music appreciation course. And all of those can be found at

Well, I hope you have enjoyed learning about the Charlotte Mason high school fine arts course that I've created. And, all about including fine arts in your homeschool. I hope to see you over at Music In Our Homeschool. Have a great day. Goodbye.

Julie -

Thank you for joining us today on the Charlotte Mason Show. I'm your host, Julie Ross, and I would love to meet you in person. All of the Great Homeschool Conventions have been rescheduled to 2021. Go to to find a convention near you.

But you don't have to wait until 2021 to experience the amazing speakers and vendors at the Great Homeschool Conventions. They now offer an online convention that you can find on

Also, if you would like the show notes for today's episode, go to If you would take a moment to subscribe to this podcast in iTunes and leave a review, I would greatly appreciate it. It helps get the word out about this podcast to our audience.

Thanks for joining me today. Until next time, may your home be filled with books, beauty, and Biblical truth.

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