Those are the words on my Brave Writer Lifestyle calendar this month. Gaze. Describe. Create. I honestly can’t think of a better way to describe art appreciation in our home. These three words put my mind in a peaceful place where I want to look at beautiful paintings all day long. They make me think of my daughter who loves art in every form, and I wonder if that is because she is naturally inclined toward art or is it because she has had the opportunity to gaze, describe, and create.
Art appreciation is one of the principles of a Charlotte Mason homeschool and the Brave Writer Lifestyle philosophy. It is also one of the reasons we homeschool. Art, music, theater — these were almost non-existent in the school my oldest attended. It wasn’t the teachers’ faults. They simply couldn’t afford to spend time (and sadly, money) appreciating beautiful paintings, concertos, or sonnets. Homeschooling affords us the opportunity to take time to admire the beauty around us.
How Can You Teach Your Children To Appreciate Art?
If you aren’t an artist, art appreciation is one of the most intimidating subjects to incorporate into your homeschool. In the early days, thoughts kept running through my head, “I know nothing about art only that it’s beautiful. How can I possibly teach it?” It took me a while to realize that I didn’t need to teach art the way I had been taught in school. I simply needed to appreciate it and show my children how they could appreciate it themselves.
5 Simple Ways to Add Art Appreciation to Your Homeschool
Picture study is by far the easiest way to add art appreciation. Simply admire art. Most of us don't have famous Renaissance paintings hanging on our walls, so you will need to find some resources for art. The easiest way is to search the internet for paintings. You can also purchase art books, art cards, and online art enrichment courses. Below are some of our favorites.
Studying an artist's life, their inspirations, and their artistic styles is another way to add art appreciation to your homeschool. Again, you can do this by reading books, researching a favorite artist, or by using an online course like these.
I love to incorporate games into learning any time I can. Playing a game like Go Fish takes on a new meaning when the pictures are of famous paintings.
I never took an art class as a child and thus have spent most of my life considering myself completely inept when it came to any artistic endeavors. Then one day a friend said, "I think you have found your medium." She was referring to a cake I had just decorated. I had painted the Arc de Triomphe on the side of the cake. I had never painted anything that looked remotely decent before, and yet I could paint with food coloring on a piece of fondant. Apparently, my medium is cake!
My kids, however, have taken art classes since about the age of five. They love to paint, draw, and create. Some are better than others, but all enjoy it. Over the years, they have participated in classes with our local artists, in a homeschool co-op, and with online tutorials. Each of these has given my children the ability to not only appreciate art created by other artists, but also art created by themselves and their siblings.
Some of the greatest moments in our homeschooling have come from visiting art museums. The first time I took my daughter to MoMA and the MET, I was surprised at how consumed she was by the art. She was 7, and already her artistic traits were evident. Three years later I was equally surprised when she and her younger sister admired the paintings in the Vatican and as they studied Michelangelo's David. They were able to appreciate the art in these museums because we had read about them, talked about the artists, and studied reproductions.
It's not always practical to visit a museum, which is why most museums have virtual sites you can visit. This can give your children an excellent substitute for a visit.
There are many other ways to add art appreciation to your homeschool like creating an art appreciation notebook, an art wall of your children's framed art, an original film, or an illustrated book. Choose one or two ways to add art appreciation this year and discover how easy it is to enjoy art with your children.
Follow my Pinterest Art Board for more art ideas.