Art has the power to inspire, captivate, and nourish the soul. In the Charlotte Mason Method of homeschooling, art appreciation holds a significant place as it nurtures creativity, fosters observation skills and cultivates a deep appreciation for beauty. Don’t be daunted by the fancy title, I’m going to break down Art Appreciation and explore how you can incorporate it into your homeschooling journey, following the principles of Charlotte Mason. Let’s dive into the world of art and discover the wonders it holds for both you and your children.
Understanding the Charlotte Mason Approach to Art Appreciation
In the Charlotte Mason Method, art appreciation is regarded as an essential component of a well-rounded education. Charlotte Mason believed that exposing children to great works of art nurtured their aesthetic sensibilities, developed their observation skills, and cultivated a deep appreciation for beauty. Here are the core principles of the Charlotte Mason Method in relation to art appreciation:
Charlotte Mason believed that children should be presented with real works of art, not simplified or child-life versions.
Children should be encouraged to take their time with art, not hurried to form opinions. She believed they should observe details, colours and emotions portrayed in the artwork helping them to develop their understanding and appreciation of artistic expression.
As with all areas of the Charlotte Mason method Narration is important. Whether verbal or written children are encouraged to discuss and express their personal opinions of the artwork and connect with the artist more thoroughly.
No Artistic Analysis
This is one of the areas that I love about the Charlotte Mason Method and her belief in art appreciation. She believed in letting children form their own interpretations and expressions of the artworks analysed. Not an adult-centric view of what they think. This sings to me, as I know that my favourite artists and works of art may not coincide with yours. But, I often saw this in schools. Children were only exposed to the artists and art that the teachers liked and enjoyed teaching.
A Variety of Artists and Art Forms
Again, this is one of the reasons I gravitated to Charlotte Mason, the idea that art should be all-encompassing. Exploring different artists, styles and art forms as well as different periods, cultures and genres. From music to sculpture and fashion, we explored art in all its forms over the years and my kids have a deeper appreciation for art and enjoy it.
The picture study was the area that I initially was sceptical about when researching but it didn’t take long for me to understand it and make it part of our routines. The practice of picture study is where your children will study a piece of artwork in depth for an extended period of time. We did it on a weekly basis, looking at the piece and incorporating it into creative writing and other areas.
Mason believed that by focusing on a single artwork, children would develop a deeper understanding and start to develop more detailed observations.
As well as Art Charlotte Mason encouraged Handicrafts like knitting, sewing and more – why not incorporate more of these into your homeschool – check out our guide to Charlotte Mason Method Handicrafts.
How to Incorporate Art Appreciation into Your Homeschool Routine
Here are a few of the ways that we incorporated art appreciation regularly into our home education routines and days.
Exploring the Great Artists and Their Works
Although it is ever so tempting to stick to just my favourite artists. I made a concerted effort to cover a diverse selection of artists from different periods of time and art movements as well as cultures around the world. We also looked at how a single artist can develop and change as the years pass and especially with modern artists that are still alive delve deeper through research into why that could be!
Observation and Discussion
A core concept of Charlotte Mason’s Method is discussion and observation. Talk with your kids about the details the colours used, textures and emotions in the artwork. Allow them to dislike a piece, but qualify it with reasons. It’s that qualifying that will help them with so many other skills.
A Picture Study Portfolio
I said that the Picture Study element was the one that I was least interested in at the start. But when we started to delve into art appreciation more I realised that it was so important. A Picture Study Portfolio started to develop in a large portfolio book I had kept from school. We created pages within it with the picture but also included, biographies we wrote, statements and our personal reflections. When they were little it was often me writing these out. But as they got older we added their own writing and typed works as well.
Incorporating Art into Other Subjects
My kids think I’m crazy when I say I wish I had followed my art further in school just to aid my Marine Zoology degree. But why! Because a huge portion of the practicals involved drawing. Anatomical sketches of the creatures as I dissected them. In biology it’s so easy to include art, however, you don’t have to limit it, you can easily incorporate art into other subjects, like history, literature, and geography as well.
Outdoor Sketching and Nature Journalling
Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy included regular Nature Study and what better way to do it than including some sketching and nature journalling. Encourage your children to observe and sketch the beauty of nature, capturing their impressions and feelings in their journals.
Visiting Art Museums and Galleries
There is nothing better than visiting art museums and galleries to provide firsthand experiences of works of art. Whilst there engage your children in discussing the works that see, coincide your visits with workshops and when you return home encourage your children to create their own work inspired by the exhibits you’ve seen.
Artistic Expression or Process Art
Although your art appreciation can have a dedicated end product – like your nature journal or work inspired by a visit to an art gallery. However, children need to experiment, explore and find their own joy in creating art. Let them use different mediums, like drawing, painting, sculpting and collage making.
A word of advice with this – please this is where it’s worth investing in good quality materials. Poor art materials can make kids yes even young kids creative process stall as they just don’t work as well as they should. A good example is trying to do watercolour painting on some printer paper it just won’t work at all!
Art appreciation in the Charlotte Mason Method goes beyond simply studying famous paintings. It fosters a deep connection with art, encourages observation, and nurtures the creative spirit. By incorporating art appreciation into your homeschooling journey, you open doors to a world of beauty, inspiration, and self-expression. Embrace the principles of Charlotte Mason, and watch as your children’s love for art flourishes, enriching their lives and education in profound ways.
Remember, the goal is not to create artists but to cultivate an appreciation for art that will stay with them for a lifetime.