What a wonderful time of year to talk about Art and Music Appreciation!
Last night we discussed Chapters 25 and 26 in Karen Andreola's book A Charlotte Mason Companion.
In Chapter 25 she talks about picture study. Picture study is a wonderful way to expose our children to great paintings and it really doesn't take too long. It can take as little as 10 minutes once a week or every other week.
Resources can be found on the internet (see the end of this post), at the library, in the bargain section of your local bookstore (big coffee-table books are wonderful) and at after-Christmas sales. You should be able to find calendars and Christmas cards on sale after the holidays are over. Also, be sure to check any Christmas cards you recieve. Even if the picture is not done by a famous artist, it could still be used for a picture study.
How to do it?
Give the child a picture face down. Then have him turn it over to look at it for 1 or 2 minutes. Don't talk to him during this time. Just let the artist speak to him. After the time is up, have him turn the picture back over and tell you what was in the picture. Can the child describe the picture? Was there anything that stood out to him? (This is a type of narration and will help the child to learn the habit of attention.)
At this point, you can do a couple of things.
1. You can discuss the picture. If you have done some research, you can tell the child about any symbolism that may be in the picture. Or you can briefly (and I emphasize "briefly" so you don't loose the child's attention) talk about the artist himself. You need not go into a lot of detail about the artist at the younger ages. As the child approaches the teen years, then he can learn about the lives of the artists.
2. Give the child a 4X6 copy of the picture and let him write about the picture on a notebooking page. He can write about a detail that stood out to him or the way the artist painted the picture - anything that helps the child to connect with the piece. Do not let the child just write, "this is an interesting picture" or "I like this picture very much." If they write that, ask them to answer the question "Why?" This notebooking page is perfect for your end of the year portfolio.
Once you have finished with this, be sure to display the picture somewhere in your house (We put ours on the refrigerator) so the child can see the picture again and again. Be sure it is at the child's eye level.
The site with the free notebooking pages can be found here: Notebookingpages. com
Just click on the link for Free Resources and you will find all sorts of pages for your porfolios.
Art websites that I recommend include (but are not limited to)
Web Gallery of Art
Biblical Art on the WWW
Art and the Bible
National Gallery of Art for Kids
National Galler of Art
National Gallery of Art Loan Program