Category Archives: notebooking

Fauré – Composer ABCs

Gabriel Fauré is a French composer who lived from 1845 – 1924. He bridged the Romantic period and the 20th century. He was taught and influenced by many (now) well-known composers and he taught and influenced many who became well-known composers and musicians.

Fauré began, as many composers do, with piano. When he was just 9 years old, he was heard playing by Louis Neidermeyer. Neidermeyer was so impressed that he was immediately enrolled as a student at Ecole Neidermeyer. One of his teachers there was Saint-Saëns, who is on our list to look at when we reach the letter S. Studying at the music school brought out even more of Fauré’s ability. When he left the school after about 11 years, he had earned recognition and prized in piano, organ, and composition.

Fauré spent much of his life as an organist, teacher, and composer, though the last 10 years of his life were his most prolific writing period. While studying at the music school, he studied music by Wagner and Lizst and Chopin, among others. These were considered quite modern composers and not preferred by many of the instructors at this time.

In 1896, Fauré was appointed as an instructor at the Paris Conservatoire. He took over as head of the conservatoire. He instituted many changes that were not well liked, including studying some of the music that other instructors of this time did not approve of. Many instructors resigned as a result. He remained at head of the Paris Conservatoire until 1920, influencing composers such as Debussy and Ravel. He resigned then because of increasing deafness and ill health. He died in 1924 of pneumonia.

Fauré is not well known for his larger works, though he did write a few. He is mostly known for his smaller, more intimate pieces. His first piece was Trois romances sans paroles (1863). He was still a student when he wrote it. Below is number 3 of the trio.

Some of the piano pieces that Fauré wrote include thirteen nocturnes, thirteen barcarolles, six impromptus, and four valses-caprices. His also wrote a number of shorter piano pieces and a set of piano duets known as the Dolly Suite.

Perhaps one of his more well known pieces is one of his many, many songs. Clair de lune, (“Moonlight”) Op. 46 No 2, is a song composed in 1887 to words by Paul Verlaine.

Other vocal works include a couple of operas, which are seldom performed, and Requiem in D minor, Op. 48. Fauré’s Requiem is a bit different than most in that he omits the Dies irae, an unusual thing. In 1921, he is quoted about this piece saying “Everything I managed to entertain by way of religious illusion I put into my Requiem, which moreover is dominated from beginning to end by a very human feeling of faith in eternal rest.” According to sources, the last two parts of this piece are heard in many movies.

Another type of composing that Fauré did was incidental music for plays and dramas. His most famous is for Maurice Maeterlinck’s play Pelleas et Melisande (1898). Below is the suite for this Op. 80.

Resources for more reading:

Lori, At Home.

Thank you for joining me this week for Composer ABCs. Please visit the hosts to find the linky and other participants.

Desiree @ Our Homeschool Notebook and
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses

Composer ABCs in this series:
A – Leroy Anderson
B – Bernstein, Bizet, Bax
C – Copland
D – Debussy and de Meij
E – Elgar

Unit Study on India

India unit study

We recently studied India as our family’s country of choice for the International Feast Night we had with some other homeschool families. We had a blast and learned so much about India. We kicked it off by reading The Hidden Village by Bonnie Rose Hudson. Read my review to learn more about that book.

book cover

After learning about Manju and the world he lived in, we watched some videos. These videos taught us a lot about West Bengal, the part of India that the book was set in. We learned about Bengal Tigers, jute harvesting, the uses of jute, mangroves, markets in West Bengal, foods, mongoose, and more. There are a lot of things to learn about.

We also learned that West Bengal is just one of the part of India, which is extremely diverse. To learn about other parts of India, we used several resources from This is a site that we use often through the year and it provided us lots of good information on India. From the video titled India Unveiled in a series titled Trek to the Holy Land to a history study titled A Splash of Geography with a section on India, we had access to lots of good information and images. We looked at, but did not use, lapbooking sets on the rhino and the Bengal Tiger, both available at By far, the best resource on this site was Asia: Trade Route Safari (also by Bonnie Rose Hudson, who wrote The Hidden Village that we kicked the study off with). We learned a ton from the India sections of this study.

our display on India

We used an art project that is available as a lesson from ArtAchieve. In level 1, there is a study of wood block printing in India. This is how they print fabric for the saris. Miss J created this print using the techniques of this art lesson and some videos from their cross-curricular materials.

Miss L studied the sari and decided to duplicate it with material on two of our 18 inch dolls. They were adorable.

dolls in saris

We also used a set of notebooking pages from Hip Homeschool Moms titled Around The World Notebook Pages. These were neatly put together. The girls were able to research information for them easily and it was easy to for them to complete the pages.

As this was a feast, we took food from India that we had cooked, as well. Our menu consisted of:

  • Butter Chicken
  • Picnic Rice (rice with curd/yogurt)
  • Apple and Raisin Chutney
  • Naan
  • Gajar Halwa Ladoo (Carrot and coconut truffles)
  • Bhapa Doi

foods from India

The recipes came from these two food blogs from India – Chef de Home and Fun FOOD and Frolic. There are tons more recipes on these two blogs and I would definitely like to try a few more.

the girls' display on India

At the feast, the girls set up a display table with their information and projects. Each family also took a few minutes to talk about what they learned, giving each child a few moments. (Great public speaking practice!) The students also had to introduce their menu and describe each of the foods so that everyone could know what they were eating. This was a fun night.

Hopefully, this will give you some resources for your own study of India. This is a very large, diverse country and we have barely touched on it. Perhaps we will cover some more during the springtime when we need a diversion one day. So much more to learn!

At Home.

This post is included in the Homeschool Collection at the Homeschool Review Crew. Click the image below to see the entire collection of posts for March 2019.


Nature Research – Blogging Through The Alphabet

N - Nature Research

One of the struggles we have been having is motivation to do what is needed with a good attitude. This goes for me, not just the students in our school. Frustrations have been a bit overwhelming lately so we have been working hard at changing things up a bit, creating a different example of school work and finding a different attitude towards said work. While this change has been beneficial in some ways, it has not been the magical fix I wish it were.

One of the changes we made was to have the girls begin working on research projects. They are not major research papers but are rather a short assignment of a topic. The girls and I work together to come up with a topic and the presentation of materials. This presentation could be just a paper on what was learned. But it could also be a play, a 3D showcase, a piece of artwork, a computer presentation – anything the student wants as long as they can convince me that their chosen presentation style will be able to accurately communicate the research done.

n nature research

This is a blank notebooking page from


Miss L has been working on some butterfly research. A couple of week ago, she researched the life cycle of a butterfly. Her chosen product was to illustrate and label the life cycle. It came out beautifully.

Last week, she researched butterfly museum, using the internet to take a few virtual tours of butterfly farms, museums, and research centers. The product chosen for this one was to simply write up what she learned.

These simple nature studies have helped Miss L feel a bit more motivated about the other school work she still has to do. Nature studies are interesting and can really help make a needed change in setting, motivation, and ideas. We will be continuing these types of nature studies so that research skills are gained but also the interest remains high.

At Home. ~ a TOS review

Have you ever had one of those products where, after you get it and use it the first time, you slap your forehead and say “Why didn’t I do this sooner?!?!?!” That is how I felt after the very first time we incorporated notebooking with a study we were already doing using pages from the Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership at Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership Reviews

In all seriousness, I had looked at quite a bit over the past couple of years and thought something along the lines of “Well, I think I would like it but the girls? Not so much.” The reason I thought that was they did not respond well to writing from prompts. They’d do it but it would not be their best writing. I thought that was what notebooking was about. I was wrong. And I am so happy that I was!!

Tutorial is pretty unique in that you aren’t just tossed in there with a whole lot of notebooking pages and no instruction. You can do it that way but it isn’t recommended and you will certainly do yourself a favor if you take advantage of the tutorials that are offered. There are a series of tutorials that walk you through getting set up and understanding what notebooking is really all about. **Hint: it is NOT prompted writing, though it probably can be. That is key for our family.**

Notebooking is writing down the key information in what you are studying. It is not busywork; in fact – this replaces a lot of what we would often include in a study, like a workbook or worksheet. But it is rather the student putting down on paper, in their own words, what was important about the topic. We followed the tutorials very closely and WOW! did it create an almost immediate change in the way the girls processed information.

I’ll walk you through one of the first pages we created. We read a chapter in a book about the medieval times. After we read it out loud, I grabbed a white board. The girls then brainstormed ideas about what was important and stated those things verbally with me writing them down on the board. After they ran out of ideas for what needed written, we talked about it a little bit, clarified any words that might not have been understood, and put things in order if that was important. Then I gave them the pages they had chosen for the topic and asked them to write down the important things. I don’t think at any time that they all chose to write down everything that was on the white board because they didn’t all think the same ideas were important. And that is okay! Here is what two of the girls produced their first time out of the box with this product (Miss J had just broken her arm so while she did the work, it is not very readable, especially when scanned into the computer so I’m skipping hers for now):

So, we are doing this same process with some of the “fun” history and Bible that we are working through this summer. But, this has been such a hit that the girls are constantly asking if they can print a page to write about what they just read in their free-time reading. The girls have written pages on:Miss L working

  • Ancient China
  • Ruth
  • A favorite Bible verse
  • various history readings
  • presidents
  • ballet
  • Roman and Greek gods and goddesses
  • a book summary
  • Joseph Stalin
  • and there are plans for many more!

Very few of these were inspired by me telling them that they needed to do a notebooking page. Most of the time, I would be asked to print off a particular page for someone because the reading had already been done and she had been so interested in it that she wanted to write it down so she could remember it. Truly.

We have set it up using the suggestions on Each child has their own 3-ring binder to keep their work in. I have a teacher’s notebook. In it, I have placed copies of the catalog for the categories that we have used so far. A catalog is a set of pages with thumbnail images of every page available in a given category. So far, the girls have gotten the most use out of the blank pages for any topic. It has allowed for good personalization of the pages.

catalog view

When one of the girls is ready to write, she grabs the teacher notebook and finds the page she wants a copy (or four!) of. We pull up the site and print off the pages. With that, the giggly girl is off to write about her topic. Truly. That simple!

two page view Bible

There are catalogs on the site for a wide variety of topics. Our favorite category so far has been the Any Study category because it allows for so much personalization.categories headings

Let me share with you some of what I overheard my girls saying when grandma was here recently. They proudly grabbed their notebooks and shared with her all of the work they had done. They were excitedly describing things they had learned, the pages they had written and justifying why they had chosen the information. They were so proud! So, overheard:

“You can print out the ones you want.” – Miss J

Miss J Ruth

“It’s like a mini-essay. You get to explain it in your own words. I really like it!” – Miss L

Ruth verse

“I like telling about stuff that I’ve read. I like telling about it myself. I don’t like answering questions someone else has written. I like telling it myself.” – Miss E

And for the win? “I need to work on mine. I have eight topics that I am working on.” – Miss E

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The freedom provided by this method is astounding. I am honestly sad that I didn’t try this sooner because it has transformed the attitude around here. The transformation was immediate. (Note: I do think that following the tutorials had a lot to do with it because it kept me from giving too much narrow guidance and helped me elicit the thoughts from the girls for them to transfer to paper.) From improved comprehension to improved writing skills and handwriting (especially for Miss J now that she is out of the cast on her writing arm!), has changed how we are doing quite a few things in our homeschooling journey and it is definitely for the better. To put it in Miss E’s words “I really, really like notebooking!”

At Home.

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