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I am new to homeschooling. Our state has a compulsory age of 8 and my son is 5. I have a couple of years to “get it together” and am very interested in the Charlotte Mason method. We just finished kindergarten and I am trying to make some changes for my first grade year based on what worked and what didn’t this first year. I am really struggling with picute study. Can I just get some opionions on why this is an important thing for a child to learn? Is this something that can make them a stronger Christian? Or is it something that will make them more “culturally correct”? I am just trying to sort it all out in my mind and have added it and removed it from next years schedule several times. 🙂 Thanks for your help.memomo7Participant
Funny you should ask…Sonya’s last blog was about picture study and I think it will help you. Here’s the link, but if it doesn’t work you can find her post by clicking the link for SCM Blog on the homepage.suzukimomParticipant
Yes, read the blog post, as it has great info.
I think it is largely about learning to appreciate “beauty” – but I think also it helps for exposure to cultural knowledge… I think there is value in knowing what a Van Gogh would be… who did the Mona Lisa, etc. Also, we have had pictures in our picture study that have been of scenes in history, etc… so there are relations to be made.mfurnellParticipant
This is a terrific link regarding Picture Study. Jimmie gives links and excerpts from CMs original writings that explain why CM thought it was important (1. To cultivate a love of beauty and 2. To hone the ability to see). She also provides how to’s and resources for all ages!
I love Sonya’s post about it. Two other added benefits that I have noticed are 1) attentiveness- It is a wonderful way for the children to really look closely and try to picture in thier minds what they have just seen. A stress free way of encouraging them to pay attention. 2) They form relationships with the artist (I have noticed this in poetry study as well). I love it when they later see a picture and ask if it is one by Mary Cassat, a drawing by Di Vinci, or how it is similar to paintings by Monet. My 4 year old has danced around saying things by Robert Lewis Stevenson. Yesterday, my daughter (7) started a poem called “The Slide” and changed a few words to make it fit. They had just finished memorizing “The Swing” by Robert Louis Stevenson. These moments make me smile.sherazParticipant
Just for my family, picture study is a fun way to re-enforce attention and re-call. It also is a nice thing to look at a beautiful picture and feel something for it. It helps me to teach my girls to look beyond the “in your face” stuff called art nowadays to something more worthwhile. I know that they will find things to surround themselves with as they get older, and I want them to appreciate and love the beautiful things. Same thing with music – for example, I would never want to see them plaster posters of rock stars on their wall, because very few of them teach the values that I want to instill in them. It isn’t to be culturally correct, it is to help them see twaddle for twaddle – whether it be in books, music or art.
Picture study is so simple – 15 minutes a week tops. You can find lists of artists online, and if you google their name, you can find whole galleries of beautiful pictures. I just print one and put it in a frame on our bookcase each week. You could make that picture your computer background screen that week. You can make it more fun for him if you get coloring pages if that is something he likes. It would be cool to visist an art musuem – my kids thought it was cool to see the real thing. There are lots of ways to keep it fun…
Barb at Harmony Fine Arts has created a schedule for each grade of school. She lays out composers and artists complete with activities, books, etc for 3 levels of interest. Level one each year is simply the basic picture study ith links to the suggested pictures which can help if you are not overly familiar with a bunch of art. =) Level two is a creative type art. Level three is a picture study / coloring page. I use a blend of all three. We do 5 minutes of picture study and then sometimes we color it on Monday. On Wednesday, we do the creative art project which takes 10-15 minutes, and is simple. My girls like doing both.
Don’t give up on it – once a week at 5 minutes is doable. Eventually you will like doing it =)SueParticipant
I was going to formulate an answer, probably lengthy (lol!), but the answers above and Sonya’s post really say it better than I could.
One thing I take away from learning to appreciate art (and to create some of your own with whatever level of talent you’ve been given) is this: we are made in the image of our Creator, and He “creates” like none other! There is beauty all around us, and we humans love giving our best to reproduce images that imitate what He has done….and we call it art. It is important because He is important.
thanks so much all of you. this is exactly what i was looking for. i already said that i had taken this subject on and off my planner for a while. i think that now i can feel good about putting it on. i love all of your comments. i really enjoyed sonya’s post and the blog carnival that she had linked.
my son is definitely a detail person that needs some help training himself to stay focused and attentive. i can really see him enjoying going to an art museum and gazing at the “big pictures”. i think that my daughter will enjoy this too when it is her turn to get started.
i would still enjoy more hints about how to go about all this, but i loved the one about printing out the pictures and putting them into a frame or display around the house.
does anyone happen to have a list of artists that they would like to share to get me started?
thanks. i am really looking forward to this support for the whole team of you as we get more full-swing into charlotte mason homeschooling!
i can’t seem to find what you are speaking of over at harmony art mom. can you give me a link or tell me where to go?Sonya ShaferModerator
Denise, we have a list of some of our favorite artists on the SCM Curriculum Guide under Picture Study. Those might give you some ideas for starters.
Also, be on the lookout for a how-to post that we will publish this week. We’re doing a series on picture study, and the how-to’s are next in line. Hope it’s helpful! If you’re signed up to receive our weekly e-mails, it will come directly to your Inbox. We’ll also post it on our blog.SueParticipant
I don’t have a special list of artists at this time, but I can tell you about one we studied this year. We love being outdoors and my younger two are starting Apologia’s “Flying Creatures” for science, we studied the painter and naturalist John James Audubon. It was easy to find images of his paintings online, and local libraries had plenty of simple biographies available.
If your children happen to like birds and nature, they might like this.RobinPParticipant
My 7yo boys love picture study. Monet has been their favorite so far. In fact, today one of my son’s was flipping through a field guide and came upon a picture of a water lily. He said, “Hey! Didn’t Monet paint those?” A few months ago he came running out of a bathroom somewhere and shouted, “Momma, there’s a Monet hanging in that bathroom!” I said (like Sonya had said in one of her videos, I think) “Really!! Say it louder, honey!” LOL!
But seriously, I never appreciated art growing up and I’m so thankful that I can give my boys this gift of truly appreciating beauty. And CM’s way is so easy but it instills in them the ability to see the world around them with new eyes. Ours is simple…look at the picture, tell me what you see, leave it up for a week, repeat. Often we’ll read a short bio of the artist during the week, but that’s optional. Five minutes max and they recognize art all over the place. Don’t miss it.sherazParticipant
Hey, I PM’d my list for the year – all the artists and the pictures I wanted to use for 4-6 weeks each.
There are lots of ways to do this simply –
1. Go to the library and check out the art section. There will be big books with lots of pictures by an artist in those. Sonja says to get one with big pictures and minimal printing. =) Let your kid(s) make their own connections and impressions.
2. Make a list of artists from the library. Choose about 6-7 artists and go home and look at their official websites and find pictures that you like for your family. You can print them or just look at them. (I am printing ours and putting them in a binder so we can review and enjoy them more often.)
3. Go to used bookstores, library sales and yardsales to find art books cheap.
When you have choosen an artist and a picture, just show it to your son and ask him to look at the picture until he can tell you everything in it. Then turn it over and ask him to tell you what is in the picture. When he is done look at the picture again and see what he might have missed. (I demonstrated this the first couple of times and asked them to catch anything I might have missed – they liked the challenge.) Then display the picture somewhere visable during the week. Find a new picture by the same artist and repeat the process the next week. Do this for six weeks for each artist. During the six weeks, get a simple biography about the artist and share it with him. That’s it. You just go on to the next one, and the next one… Just choose a day and do it. 5 minutes once a week.
Also, at the end of the six weeks, I have my girls review the six pictures and talk about their favorite one and why it is the favorite.TiaParticipant
I’ll add one more thing that I noticed this year. (It was our first year doing picture study and my second year homeschooling, so I’m definitely no expert! lol)
Charlotte Mason said to be careful not to overexercise one area of the brain for too long. So, at the very least, it is a nice way to take a break in between more “concrete” subjects. The kids come back from picture study, refreshed and ready to tackle another lesson. I do not like “breaks” in our school, because I find it impossible to round everyone up afterwards. Picture study is a nice way to give everyone’s brain a rest, without sacrificing orderliness. So if you do it for that reason alone, I think it is worthwhile. I did find all the benefits already mentioned to be true…it turned out to be well worth our time and effort (which was minimal!)suzukimomParticipant
as for artists…
I like Canadian Artist Robert Bateman as a good first artist, as he is a nature artist. There are many many stunning pictures to chose from.
Here is a blog post with an index to a lot of artists (mostly on the AO Picture Yahoo groups…) http://maplehillacademy.blogspot.com/2009/08/more-picture-study.html
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