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When I would think of Art Appreciation I pictured the kids and I snuggled on the couch studying great works of art and learning about the artists. I have to admit that was NOT how it happened when we first started to include Art Appreciation in our school week. It was a mess. I tried so hard to achieve what I thought was the perfect way of studying art. It was so stressful and the kids totally did not enjoy it. So we quit. However, that nagging feeling to include art was always there. Now that we have been homeschooling for a while (12 years) I have learned to relax and let the kids and myself learn in a more natural way. So, I am here to tell you if including Art Appreciation in your homeschool week is not at all what you had pictured in your mind THAT’S OKAY! Just don’t give up on it. Here are some benefits of including Art Appreciation in your homeschool along with some resources.
- teaches children to closely observe details
- builds a relationship with the artists
- relates the different time periods of art to the history they are studying
- their sense of beauty and appreciation are being formed
“We cannot measure the influence that one or another artist has upon the child’s sense of beauty, upon his power of seeing, as in a picture, the common sights of life; he is enriched more than we know in having really looked at even a single picture” Charlotte Mason
If you are familiar with the Charlotte Mason method of education then you’ve heard the term “picture study”, if not, no worries I will explain. It only takes 10-15 minutes once a week with this method.
First, select an artist. You will study this artist’s work for 12 weeks (hint: select an artist that corresponds to your history time period). Once you have your artist, select 6 of their works of art. You will be studying one picture every two weeks.
When you begin, gather together and study the picture. Just look at it, taking in every detail, until you and your children can see it with your eyes closed.
Then turn the picture over and have your children describe it to you, in detail. They can take turns and build on what the others observed.
When everyone is finished, turn the picture back over and double check anything you weren’t sure of or didn’t observe that someone else did. Remember this is NOT an opportunity for art criticism or interpretation from the parent 😉
Finally, display the picture somewhere in your home for the next week or two. Then choose another picture from the same artist and do it all over again.
Continue with this process until you have studied 6 of the artist’s works. After completing that artist move on to the next. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
Another thing you might do is find a Living Biography of your artist to read aloud. Also, if you are keeping any type of a timeline be sure to include the artist. Another idea is to have the children create their own copy of the picture, learning the different techniques that the various artists use. You can also have the children do some copy work out of the Living Biography. All of these things bring the artist, their work, and history more alive for the children.
If you are just getting started with Art Appreciation or maybe need some ideas or direction here are some resources to consider.
- Ambleside Online Artist Rotation Schedule
- Enrichment Studies
- Masterpiece Society
- Simply Charlotte Mason
- Take Time for Art – hands-on art history
I also have an Artist Time Period Cheat Sheet for you to use with your history lessons/timelines
Much Love & Many Blessings!