Previously I published a post asking readers to tell me which artist was their favorite for doing picture study. I got the term “picture study” from reading the book A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning by Karen Andreola. You can see the results from the poll by clicking here. If you have not voted for your favorite then please do.
I have been thinking a lot about Charlotte Mason’s feelings about education and how the ideas could be applied to teaching art. Karen Andreola spends a whole chapter talking about “picture study”. So, I am sure that many of you homeschooling parents already include picture study in your homeschooling program.
Today I want to talk about ways to use the Charlotte Mason method in other aspects of a child’s art education. I am in no way an expert on Charlotte Mason or her teaching methods. Keep that in mind as you read my thoughts. If I am off the mark on anything, don’t hesitate to let me know. I love comments! 🙂
I am going to paraphrase a few quotes made by Charlotte about education. She said, “Let them learn from first-hand sources of information…..do not let them be flooded with the lips of their teacher. The teacher’s business is to indicate, stimulate, direct, and constrain to the acquirement of knowledge and thought to the children they are educating, the better for the children….Children must be allowed to ruminate, must be left alone with their own thoughts.”
What are some ways to give your child first hand sources of art information?
Here is a list I compiled as I was brainstorming:
- Take a trip to an art museum or local art gallery. Let your child look and enjoy the art. Later discuss the art pieces the child was drawn to. In fact, if you have your discussion near the museum or gallery, you could have the child take you back to see their favorites and discuss the reasons while looking. Be the facilitator of the discussion. Do not put words in your child’s mouth.
- Subscribe to an art magazine. Have the magazine available to be looked at when there is some spare time at home. Allow the child the chance to look through the magazine for fun. Not necessary for your child to read. They can look at the pictures of the art work. Pages can be pulled or torn out. A collage of their favorites could be made. The favorites could be copied by the child.
- Check out art books at the library. Let your child pour over the books looking for their favorites. Let them mark the pages with post it notes to show you later. As a parent, your job is to listen and understand what they are drawn to and why.
- Give you child the chance to watch art demonstrations. You can do this in several ways. The local library may have a collection of art videos that can be checked out. Be sure to preview the videos before showing to your child. Another way is to find out if any art associations in your area have demonstrations for the public. Check out art demonstrations online as well.
- Take you child to a local art fair or festival. The atmosphere is usually very exciting. Seeing all the different types of art work can be inspiring. Plus, most art festivals try to have an area for children to try their hand at using art supplies you may not have at home.
- Give your child an art box filled with supplies. Allow your child to experiment with the supplies. Depending on the age of your child you may or may not have to be present. If my child was young, I would definitely be there as a guide to protect the area from crayons going where they shouldn’t. If the child is older then give them space, allow them to work without you hovering. Come back periodically to check, to give encouraging words, to answer questions. If you do not know the answers, say you will try to find out.
- Order art supply catalogs. It is great fun to look at all the supplies that are available through art supply stores. The art catalogs sometimes include art tips as well. Let you child look enjoy sorting through the pages. You might play a game such as, “If you had $50 to spend on items in this catalog, what would you buy?” You can play the game too. Then compare later with your child. This is also drawing a little math into the art experience.
I’m sure there are many more ways to give your child first hand art information. If you do an activity with your child that is not on the list please let me know. I would be happy to add it to future articles.
If you have not read A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning by Karen Andreola you might want to look into it. Have a great weekend!