It’s hard to believe we have only three subjects left in our Subject-by-Subject series. I hope you are enjoying this little tour through using Charlotte Mason methods to teach each school subject. And I hope the ideas have infused new life into your homeschool days!
Remember, you don’t have to teach every subject every day, but making sure you include the vast array of subjects that Charlotte included will give your home school a broad curriculum.
Today we will discuss how to teach art; next week will be poetry; and the week after that, to wrap up the series, we will focus on teaching math in a Charlotte Mason way. First, art.
Charlotte acknowledged a common problem in schools of her day: “There are few subjects regarded with more respect and less confidence in our schools than this of ‘Art’ ” (Vol. 6, p. 213). Yet art is a wonderful way to add variety into your day and to nourish your child’s mind and heart with what is good, noble, and beautiful. So Charlotte approached art in a balanced way, scheduling time for her students to both appreciate others’ art and to express their own art. We can do the same.
Charlotte’s desire was to introduce to the child the great ideas of the great artists, presented in their work, and to get out of the way. Hers was not a course in art criticism or art interpretation. She encouraged the children to look closely at each work and to form their own relations with it. Because of her simple yet effective approach, you don’t have to be an art expert to do this with your children. Simply schedule a ten- or fifteen-minute picture study once a week and you will make steady progress in cultivating within your child (and yourself) a keen and educated eye and mind.
To do a picture study
- Select one artist.
- Show the students one of that artist’s works. Look at it together until everyone can close their eyes and see every detail in its place.
- Turn over the picture and have the children describe what it looks like.
- Look at the picture again and discuss any other points of interest.
- Display the picture in your home for the rest of the week.
The next week repeat the process with a different picture by the same artist. Continue doing a picture study once a week until you have looked closely at six or eight pictures by one artist. You can also read a living biography about the artist and enter him into your Book of Centuries. At the end of those weeks, you and your students will have a pretty good feel for that artist’s style and ideas communicated through his works. Then choose a different artist and go again.
Our award-winning Picture Study Portfolios make art appreciation easy to do and keep everything you need for picture study right at your fingertips. We’re happy to announce that a new portfolio on Botticelli is now available, the latest in our ever-growing collection!
Charlotte also gave her students instruction in art and opportunities to express themselves artistically. She allowed time for both drawing from the imagination and for reproducing what was seen in life around them with a variety of art media: clay sculpting, charcoal, painting, and drawing.
While there isn’t a lot of detailed description as to how Charlotte taught art instruction, many of the principles that she used for handicrafts would apply.
- Schedule art instruction in the afternoon to allow more time for it after the shorter morning lessons are done.
- Emphasize the habit of best effort.
- To encourage the students to do their best work, teach them slowly and carefully what they are to do.
- Keep the project within reach of their skills. Challenge but don’t frustrate.
- Select projects that are worthwhile. Don’t give them assignments that will just be thrown away, but something that requires their time and effort and will evoke a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when completed.
We are excited about a new series of art instruction DVDs that adheres to those CM principles! Read below about the great new resource, Creating a Masterpiece.
Creating a Masterpiece: Art Instruction DVDs
I’ve been researching and reviewing many art instruction resources over the past year or two, trying to find one that fits well with a Charlotte Mason approach. Creating a Masterpiece is the best I have found, and we are pleased to make it available to you!
The teacher, Sharon Hofer, is a qualified, enthusiastic artist, proficient in a variety of art media, and she does a great job of keeping the instruction appropriate for all ages but not babyish. Each DVD presents a beautiful project in your selected art medium and encourages you and your students to work slowly and carefully to create your own masterpieces. The projects are divided into several shorter lessons, so you can customize your art instruction to fit in the time you have available.
The lesson DVDs come in two levels: Level 1 for beginners of all ages and Level 2 for those who already have experience in a particular medium. Each level is available as a complete set of six DVDs, or you can purchase individual DVDs. The lessons teach many different types of art work, including pencil sketching, pastels, ink, watercolor, acrylic painting, sculpting, and more!
Sharon has been teaching art classes for students for many years. She usually has more than 100 students registered for the year and a long waiting list. Over the years Sharon has repeatedly seen the benefit of offering several kinds of art media so each member of the family can find his or her niche. Maybe one isn’t as skilled at pencil sketching, but really excels at watercolor; another finds her happy place with sculpting, and another in pastels. For this reason, we are offering the complete sets at a discount. With the variety of media built into a complete set, your family will get to try a wide spectrum of art instruction, keeping interest levels high and offering plenty of opportunities to discover and enjoy!
Watch the sample videos and see for yourself how enjoyable art instruction can be when you are Creating a Masterpiece!
This is part of the series: Subject by Subject
How to teach each school subject in a Charlotte Mason way.
- A Generous Curriculum: Subject By Subject,
- Three Basic CM Principles: Subject by Subject, Part 2
- Teaching History: Subject by Subject, Part 3
- Teaching Geography: Subject by Subject, Part 4
- Teaching Spelling: Subject by Subject, Part 5
- Teaching Bible: Subject by Subject, Part 6
- Teaching Handicrafts: Subject by Subject, Part 7
- Teaching Science: Subject by Subject, Part 8
- Teaching Foreign Language: Subject by Subject, Part 9
- Teaching Music: Subject by Subject, Part 10
- Teaching Writing: Subject by Subject, Part 11
- Teaching Literature: Subject by Subject, Part 12
- Teaching Grammar: Subject by Subject, Part 13
- Teaching Beginning Reading: Subject by Subject, Part 14
- Teaching Art: Subject by Subject, Part 15
- Teaching Poetry: Subject by Subject, Part 16
- Teaching Math: Subject by Subject, Part 17