Sunday, September 24, 2006

Form Drawing Block 1

On Friday we finished our first main lesson block: Form Drawing. For the past three weeks Nightowl and I worked on a number of linear forms for the beginner.

Initially, the notion of Form Drawing felt completely baffeling. I read many, many sources but couldn't get a plan to gel and aside from a notion of which forms to start with I had nothing: no creative story incorporating forms, no real order, no idea how to really begin. Ultimately, I just decided to jump in.

At the end of the three weeks I have to say it went pretty well. We covered ten forms beginning with the single, vertical line. I didn't have a story to use so I made it up as we went along. It was a simple tale - tale is a generous definition, more like a few defining sentences. It went as follows:

1 - Danny, a young boy who lives in a little house with...
2 - His grandmother, a wise old woman who walks with a cane...
3 - And his three sisters: Isabel, Mary, and Louise.
4 - Their home is in a large meadow of flowers.
5 - Sometimes Danny would walk out and stand in the meadow.
6 - Sometimes he would stretch his arms.
7 - Sometimes he would look up to the sky.

8 and 9 - One day while Danny was standing in the meadow he noticed two horses with riders approaching his house. One rider was carrying many gold baubles. The other was dressed entirely in red.
10 - As the riders continued toward the house they eventually passed Danny. As they did each gave him a gift. The first rider gave him a gold bauble. The second rider gave him a bottle of vivid red perfume....

The story ends on a cliff-hanger, of sorts, to be continued during our next form block. I have no idea what is going to happen but I imagine it will evolve.

Nightowl enjoyed drawing the forms. We started by drawing them in the air with our hands, drawing them with our feet, using sidewalk chalk, walking the forms, creating them with sticks, buckeyes, strings. She then tried them on the chalk board, the transfered them to paper.

Imediately after form number two (the old grandmother) I realized that Nightowl was not ready for curves, so we spent our weeks on linear forms. She was most challenged by form number four (the meadow - horizontal line) - it brought her to tears of frustration.

In my reading I've learned that form drawing is the precursor to geometery and handwriting. But it is so much more. Nightowl really enjoyed the activitiy, despite the difficulties. Our daily hours of form drawing initiated a depth of concentration and a desire work slowly and simply. It also gave her a new way of seeing - the form within the image. We find our forms all over the city. It was also amazing to see how she needed to sit with, or sleep with certain forms before she could translate them to paper.

I'm really looking forward to our next form block when we will begin exploring curves. We won't abandon form drawing completely until then. During the next few months I'll be asking Nightowl to put final versions of her forms in a main lesson book. I'm hoping that this will keep them alive and vibrant.

And what about the Bearcub? She enjoyed the form drawing as well - scribbling along and erasing on her own little chalk board. This block was a great introduction to both first grade and homeschooling. Based on this I feel completely happy and grateful that we are homeschooling.

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