Topic | Art Study – what to do after the six weeks of pictures

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  • I bought the Picture Study Portfolios so that takes six weeks.  If you study one artist per term, do you keep studying the same artists using library, websites, etc?  Or do you study a different artist after the six weeks?  I am only doing art study once a week for about 15 minutes.  Thanks.


    I spend 6 weeks per artist, composer, poet and then we switch covering 2 per term of each. There’s no right or wrong.


    You could do it any way you want to.  You can cover two per term, or you could choose to do something else, for those other six weeks — maybe poetry if you aren’t already doing that.  Or you could chose to do artist one term, composer the next, nad poetry the final term.  You may have something else entirely to fill that time slot.  The possibilities are endless, and there is no right or wrong.  

    I’m new to CM and I find myself stressing out about all this.  Did you ever have a problem with this?  I want to have everything planned out.  Do you plan out your whole school year when it comes to art study, composers, and poetry? Thanks for your answers!

    Emily Kiser

    Hi there! 

    Just because CM specifies studying “half a dozen of one artist’s works,” doesn’t necessarily mean that should equate to 6 weeks. In our house we spend an entire term on one artist, savoring their paintings, and reading the biography. You could alternate weeks of reading with studying/narrating the picture, to spread out over the term. Or, you could study more than 6 works–we’ve included 8 (and in two of the new PSPs there is a “bonus” picture in the leading thought section) and if the portrait on the portfolio cover is a self-portrait that would make another as well. It’s my understanding that CM specified 6 works as that was a minimum number needed for the child to really get a grasp of the particular artist’s style, with no direct teaching on that subject necessary.

    As with any other aspect of the CM education, once you understand the principles, there is quite a bit of freedom to implement it in your own home in a way that suits your family. Please don’t stress over these details, as the point is to spread a rich and varied feast for your students, allowing them to sit under great teachers (in this case, master artists) and partake of the living ideas that are imparted in this way. While a CM education is rigorous, rich and rewarding, don’t feel like every detail must be laid out before you begin–you will burn out and stop before you get started, and therefore miss out on the wonderful joy of picture study (and other integral parts of the curriculum) and your children will miss them too. Yes, I put you as the teacher in there first as gaining great benefit from interacting with great art and other ideas in the school day. 


    Emily (Cottrill) Kiser

    SCM’s Picture Study Portfolios


    Very well said Emily!

    Thank you!  I will try to enjoy the process!


    I am a planner. I like to have a road map so I know where we are going and I know when we get there. Smile So, I have a 12 year plan for each child and also put together a detailed plan for each coming year in the spring.

    On the other hand, I make sure all my plans are written in pencil, because we need to have the flexibility to change when needed. For example, we were going to “officially” start school this week. We have been doing some test runs on things but not officially starting, but my Mom ended up in the hospital and we didn’t start. Oh well! I’m not behind, we are just starting later. I know we need 180 days, but I can always pick some up as we go along. If I find something is not working, or I find a fabulous new resource we can always adjust.

    It is not about finnishing the curriculum or checking off the boxes. It is about developing an atmosphere, constantly moving in the right direction, and spreading the feast of life and learning for my kids. Everything else is just a tool to get there.


    I agree with Emily. However, we have experimented with different ways of handling the arts. We like savoring and reading biographies, finding documentaries, looking up other works on the internet and going slowly. We have also done an alternating schedule. 6 Weeks of artist, 6 weeks of composer instead of both each week, if that makes sense. We’ve also done this by doing 6 weeks of Shakespeare and 6 weeks of Plutarch, but that is more difficult as the material is meatier and when they are older and reading actual Shakespeare and a more adult translation of Plutarch. I think it is worth trying it more than one way and then reevaluating after a year and choosing what works best for your family.

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