Doesn't matter the subject, learning happens naturally, everyday.
A year ago, our daughter became increasingly interested in photography. A real interest. One she thought about every day. One she spent time researching, and then talking through her ideas. Home educating, I knew we had the freedom to explore her interest as part of our day, every day, if she desired. And she did!
Though I enjoy photography and have a "creative" bent, I had no idea what concepts and skills would be included in a photography course. So, when she asked me what areas I thought would be included in a photography course, I joined in the learning. Together, my daughter and I researched possible content, brainstormed life experiences which could cultivate and refine her craft, and dove into photography contests she could enter. She thought she would like to upgrade her camera. She researched pros and cons of brands and features. Her interest drove the learning, I simply learned alongside.
She wanted a road map, so to speak, of things she could study. As we brainstormed, we researched and wrote down these topics:
- The history of photography (the pinhole camera, daguerreotype, Kodak Brownie camera, film development, darkrooms, Polaroid cameras, flash cubes and flash bars)
- People of importance: Joseph Nicephore Niepce, Loius Daguerre, R.L. Maddox, George Eastman
- http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/linkall.asp?catID=2 (famous photographers)
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vu0Ul_wsYO8 (film developing)
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99Huief4Ylo (setting up a darkroom)
- Types of photography (portrait, children, pets, landscapes, macro, food, nature, architectural, forensic,sports)
- http://www.mediacollege.com/photography/types/ (helpful definitions and photo examples)
- Parts of a camera, features and components
- How cameras work
- Legal, ethical and copyright issues in photography (fair use, buildings protected by copyright, difference between photography for personal use or commercial use, model/copyright releases, editorial photography as a profession in regards to rights and fair use)
- Licenses in photography (rights-managed, royalty-free)
- Lighting, shutter speed, aperture, depth of field
- Composition, image color and sharpness, special techniques
- Analyzing and critiquing photographs
- Photo editing (Adobe Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, Photo Plus, adjusting color and brightness, layering, filters)
- http://pixlr.com/ (online editor)
- Documentary, photojournalism, stock photography, wedding photography
- Famous photographers and photojournalists
- Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Alfred Eisenstaedt
- http://artscenecal.com/ArticlesFile/Archive/Articles1997/Articles0397/AEisenstaedt.html (Alfred Eisenstaedt)
- http://www.anseladams.com/ (Ansel Adams)
- http://www.archives.gov/research/ansel-adams/ (Ansel Adams)
- http://www.historyplace.com/unitedstates/adams/ (Ansel Adams)
- http://www.anseladams.org/index.html (Ansel Adams)
- http://xroads.virginia.edu/~ug97/FSA/lang.html (Dorothea Lange)
- http://www.historyplace.com/unitedstates/lange/index.html (Dorothea Lange)
- http://www.photography-now.net/josef_sudek/ (Josef Sudek)
- Mounting and displaying photography (enter photo contests for practical experience)
- Photography careers (portrait photographers, commercial photographers, fine art photographers, scientific photographers, sports photographer, medical photographer, forensic photographer, nature photographer, aerial photographer, photojournalists)
- http://www.mediacollege.com/photography/wedding/ (wedding photography)
My daughter began her study of photography independently in ares of personal interest. We found safe online tutorials she could access (most camera companies offer tutorials and resources). Eventually she did enroll in an on-line high school course.
Finding a helpful "book" resource was difficult due to the nature of some of the specialty photography topics. At a used book store we did find Digital Photography Master Class, a DK hardcover publication. As a reminder, be sure to look through resources careful. Family guidelines vary. *
She became curious about pursuing further learning as well as potential career options in photography. Daytona State College offers these descriptions of their courses which helped understand the depth and scope of post-secondary study. Job shadowing a photographer or interning as a photographer's assistant at a wedding or larger event was a definite possibility. Of course, there are always the options of writing a research paper, reading a biography, making a pinhole camera, setting up a darkroom, and experimenting with mounting techniques. Perhaps the best education is the hands-on practice of taking, critiquing, and editing photos. We found on-line editing programs. The one we like best was Pixlr which didn't have to be downloaded to the computer. She also began compiling a portfolio of prints should she be asked to provide examples of her work. Practice is essential. Creating a yearbook for a co-op or working with a blogger to communicate content visually would be two wonderful ways to gain practical experience.
How could we communicate all she had learned and experienced to college admissions or perhaps a perspective client? Reading through sample course titles and descriptions on-line, I was able to write a concise course description of her work. Wow, to see on paper what she had accomplished. It was rewarding for her as well as confirming for me. She learned and understood foundational aspects of photography.
A curiosity revealed an interest, a catalyst for learning.
*The information in this blog is not intended as legal or educational advice. It is simply a journal of what worked for us. Parents are the overseers of their child's home education.