Gold in Florence

I have to say I love where I live. Being so close to the Nation's Capitol and all these free wonderful museums makes homeschooling on a budget super easy.

Froggy fell in love with Art recently after hating from birth. Isn't this auspicious timing? So I am having a vacation from planning, preparing and doing while both Froggy and I are having a great time learning Art History, Art Technique, Geography and History.

This week was week two of our tour of Italy. I cannot say enough good things about this program. Every little detail is thought of in advance to make the experience as meaningful and fun as possible. We had the same docent for our visit as last week. This week we visited Florence although we learned/saw very about the city. The focus was on the artist and the techniques he used. We read A Boy Named Giotto and learned not only of his amazing life stories but the interesting techniques he used to create his masterpieces. The story was much longer than one would typically find being read to a group of 4-7yr olds. Yet the docent did a great job with it and there was little wiggling or disruption. There was so much neat stuff to learn about his life. After the story came the neat stuff. We got to see all the steps that go into creating such a unique work of art, from prepping the wood (not canvas as we expected) to drawing the outline, to painting and laying the special base for the foil. We also got to see the pigment powders he used and learn how he mixed his own paints.
After seeing the steps he took, Froggy made her own art work. No unfortunately the children did not get to work with real gold foil for obvious reasons. They did a scratch art which simulated the technique and at least let them use a stylus.The docent explained the technique prior to moving to the "art table" emphasizing how important pressure is. You have to push hard enough to leave a mark but too hard and you go through. Different amounts of pressure leave different types of marks. The key to a varied and interesting piece is control, a perfect learning experience but something very difficult for Froggy. I was a bit concerned but as you an see she really got into it.We were late to meet friends for lunch because she did not want to stop working. We continued the exploration at home with a couple of new books from the library. Froggy is all about maps these days and wanted to know more about Italy so we picked up Italy in Pictures. It is dense with lots of information but will be a great reference for the rest of our journey. We also got Discovering Great Artists because it has a neat project where we got to make pigments the way Giotto did.


  1. What an awesome way to learn about different countries through works of art of their famous artists. Ironically, I have Italy for StArt this week too :)

  2. What a neat thing to do and a great way to learn something new!

  3. This looks like a great opportunity. What fun!

  4. What a great experience! Lucky to have those things so nearby!


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