Charlotte Mason was a lover of all the arts. During vacations she would visit museums in Europe. She read and wrote much poetry. Along with her associates, she developed ways of helping children establish relationships with the arts.
should begin both to express himself and to appreciate, and his appreciation should be well in advance of his power to express what he sees or images.” (Vol. 1, p. 306)
To develop a child’s appreciation of art, bring the child into direct contact with the best art. Choose one artist at a time; six paintings per artist; study one painting per week (maybe 15 minutes per week). Allow the child to look at the work of art intently for a period of time (maybe five minutes). Have him take in every detail. Then take the picture away and have him narrate (tell back) what he’s seen in the picture. As the child gets older, have him write detailed descriptions of the pictures. Have him try to recreate a favorite piece by incorporating coloring pages (Dover Publications) or using online tutorials. Many other homeschool families have shared online how they have studied a specific artist.
Using an art calendar is an excellent way to obtain twelve gorgeous reproductions without excessive cost. Purchasing calendars when on sale provides even bigger savings. I buy calendars with works by just one artist that include most or all an original piece of art – not portions of the artwork. When we study the artist, I take the calendar apart so that we’re not distracted by the month and place them into 12″x12″ sheet protectors which are then stored in a scrapbook. My children’s artwork can then be stored alongside the artist which inspired it.
If the calendars are really inexpensive, then I buy two. One of the calendars becomes a set of jigsaw puzzles. I take apart the calendar, glue the image onto cardstock and press it flat between heavy books. Once dry, I cut the print into pieces. Put the pieces in a small zip close bag. I cut the tiny picture off the
Another great resource is a publication called Taschen Portfolio which we frequently find on the discount table at Barnes & Noble. At approximately $12.99, each portfolio includes fourteen full-colour 11″x14″ art prints and a brief biography. [Admin Note: You may wish to view the website without children present as, sadly, the publisher has iffy so-called “art” books, too.]
We have the Taschen Portfolio book for M.C. Escher and two similar books by PCR Publishing of Rembrandt and Dali. I hope to purchase the Taschen Porfolio books for Claude Monet (one of my favourite artists), Edvard Munch, and Leonardo DaVinci.
When we’ve gone to art galleries we’ve been fortunate enough to buy postcards of different works of art. If you purchase two postcards of each, it makes for a fun game of Concentration with your kids. Use Post-It Notes to hide the name of the artist or glue a piece of dark paper to completely cover the back of the postcard.
We’ve found art calendars at bookstores, stationers’ and at Costco Wholesale. I’ve also posted requests on FreeCycle.com and Craig’s List and have have gotten good response. Ask friends and family for their calendars at the end of the year as well. We’ve built our collection of art prints by simply asking around.