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Picture Study-For Children

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Picture Study

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”~ Pablo Picasso

Three Little Kittens by Joseph Clark

When I first started homeschooling, teaching art was not high on my list priorities. To be honest, I didn't think it was too important. It wasn't until I met Charlotte Mason that I discovered the importance and need for art appreciation.

My first official year teaching the Charlotte Mason way brought lots of exposure to artists and beautiful work to behold. Although I have attended school and college, never have I learned so much about art until I became a homeschool mother. Homeschooling has a way of redeeming two educations at once.

It has been said, "Pictures are poems with words"~ Horace

The most attractive "part" of a Charlotte Mason education is the beauty of it all. We place beauty of words, actions, pictures, and conversation in our children's hands and hearts and allow our children to form relations with these things. The children are lovingly drawn to these beauties and it becomes part of them.

Charlotte Mason's schools had picture study every term. While it is true, picture study puts the child in direct "touch" with the artist, picture study also builds that habit of observation more so. Instead of just glancing through a picture, children are taught to observe the picture.

A lesson on narrating a picture:

Look at the picture above. Look at it long enough that you are able to close your eyes and still see it. (let children look for a length of time uninterrupted)

Okay? Got it? (picture is still in view)

What was the picture about? (listen to explanation)

Where the girls happy? (listen to explanation)

What do you think the girls were thinking about? (listen to explanation)

Tell me about the background of the picture...(listen to the telling)

What else do you think of the painting? (listen to explanation)

As teachers, we have to be careful with talking too much. We are using guiding words and that's it.

This lesson is the narration of a picture. The first time I narrated a picture (I, myself being the student) I discovered this method as a superior teaching method. In a group on 100 mothers, we were asked to narrate a picture of a woman working in a field. That lesson was almost ten years ago, and I can still recall the picture in my "mind's eye". After we were left alone with the picture for a few minutes, we were asked to tell back what we saw.

Since that day, I have always used this method.

An Artist's Life

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni

This year my eldest daughter read, "The Second Mrs. Gioconda". When she finished the book she said, " I never knew so much about Leonardo da Vinci! I see all his work differently now!" This book made relations for her.

Charlotte Mason said, " 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 a single picture."

Remembering, " A child is educated by his intimacies" let him love the artist. Let our children become acquainted with the man or woman behind the picture.

I have found, replicating the artist's work at home is a lovely "living" way to become acquainted with artists. In the Enchanted Kindergarten curriculum, we have scheduled weekly art lessons to begin gentle introduction into the great artists styles.

I highly recommend this book:

Charlotte Mason recommended becoming acquainted with at least six of one artist's works per semester. Studying varying pictures is the only way for children ( and adults) to gain the ability to pick out and recognize a certain artist's work among others.

How to do picture study:

1. Choose one artist per twelve-week term

2. Pick at least six of the artist's works

3. Display one picture for one week

4. Read the children the artist's biography

5. Have the student provide an oral or written narration using the above lesson for narration

This method will allow your children to become familiar with many artists throughout their homeschool years.

Picture books:

(please be aware some paintings contain nudes)


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