Saturday, August 13, 2011

Spontaneity: The Lady of Shalott!

Butterfly and I had a amazing spontaneous day this week.  We entered learning, led by the both of us, that would be considered way past her level in public school.  I love it!  and she loved it too!  This is what homeschooling is all about!

It all started with this song that I heard on the radio in the morning:
If I Die Young by The Band Perry

I got hooked by it's catching tune and totally Youtubed it when we got home.  Butterfly then got hooked on it too, and of course it was on repeat and she danced... but then I noticed something in the video!  It was about Tennyson's Lady of Shalott poem!
So I looked it up and read the poem to Butterfly.  It has words she could not understand of course and a sad ending she most likely still hasn't picked up... but she sat, and listened, and enjoyed it!  The rhythmic reading probably.  Then afterwards I explained the story in her level, and she was all over it because it sounded like one of her Princess stories! And then she was loving The Lady of Shalott!

Another thing I had remembered, as both Butterfly and I LOVE Anne of Green Gables (Lucy Maud Montgomery), Anne makes reference to Tennyson's poem quite a few times in the movie, and there is one scene where her and her friends act it out!  So Butterfly and I watched Anne be The Lady of Shalott.

After watching The Band Perry and Anne of Green Gables act out The Lady of Shalott, of course Butterfly wanted to as well!  So we did!  She thought of using the laundry basket as her boat in which she filled with her blankets which were the tapestry that The Lady of Shalott weaved in her tower.  Butterfly used her skipping rope to "loosed the chain" to float away, and of course I was the one pulling the laundry basket around the room with the blankets to make her "float" away, hehe.  I was also Sir Lancelot who found the boat up on Camelot's shore, saying the last lines of the poem:  "She has a lovely face; God in his mercy lend her grace, The Lady of Shalott."
Here is Butterfly "acting" in her boat.  I have come to know her love for drama and acting!  She can get herself into any emotion to play the part, pretty creative!

I also recalled, from my high school art classes, a John William Waterhouse painting of The Lady of Shalott.  The Pre Raphaelites loved painting Tennyson's poetry.  So I pulled up the painting on the computer (gosh, I love the internet- best teaching tool ever to find anything by a click!) and Butterfly and I studied the painting talking about all the different features in it.  The tapestry she weaved the village pictures in is in the boat with her, how her hand is on the chain to let the boat float away, her name that she wrote on the side of the boat, how she is feeling by reading her facial expressions, ect.

Butterfly has been playing The Lady of Shalott since our spontaneous day of learning, and tells whoever she meets about Alfred Tennyson!  This was total unplanned curriculum that was levels above her age, but it intrigued her, it intrigued me, it was both child and parent led, and it was beautiful!  It gets me all excited all over again for the decision we made to homeschool, imagining many more days ahead like these!!

Through this, Butterfly learned and was exposed to:
  • Music and Movement and Lyrics
  • Poetry and Rhyming words
  • Reading together
  • Introduction to Medieval Times
  • The classics of Anne of Green Gables and Tennyson
  • Drama and Acting
  • Pre Raphaelite Artwork, Waterhouse's work
  • Analyzing Artwork

    Who knew in PreK we were going to start learning about King Arthur's Court! Butterfly always loves a good Princess-Prince story, this is just about a lady and a knight!  Now to find a Medieval Production for our family to attend, it would be the icing on our cake! :)


  1. I absolutely LOVE this post! Great job Mama! Natural learning is awesome!

  2. I've always loved that poem. I had the poster hanging in my dorm room. And I remember so well my English Lit professor reading it beautifully!


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