The world of art is vast, and helping your kids study it can seem daunting if you didn’t study art growing up. But there’s no need to feel overwhelmed. A few tips and resources, like this FREE Charlotte Mason Artist Study can get you started on the right foot.
I never got excited about art as a student. It didn’t “click” in my mind, and it always seemed disconnected from everything else I was learning about and studying at the time. As an adult, I had the chance to visit a large art museum, where I discovered that some museums displayed not only portraits and works of art but also historical artifacts. Once I saw that I could learn about history at art museums, I started trying to visit more.
Getting Excited About Art
That’s when it happened. I read the information beside one of the paintings, and it shared the story behind the painting, about how and why it was painted. That was something I could get excited about. This wasn’t just trying to learn to appreciate brush strokes. This was a story (my favorite way to consume information).
I found that many works of art have fascinating stories to tell. They were created by real people living in historic times who were influenced by the culture around them.
Even for other works of art whose stories weren’t as easy to discover, I found they could inspire stories. I remember looking at a beautiful stained glass window that had a flowery scene on it in greens and purples. It was amazing! Then I let my mind wander a bit and wondered what it would be like to step through the window into the world it depicted. What would I find? Who would be there? What would happen next? The window became a tangible, three-dimensional writing prompt.
How to Study Art
There are many ways you can help your students learn about art, whether you live near an art museum or not. There are countless books available that showcase artwork for various times and on many different themes.
To avoid the trap my studies fell into, try to find a way to incorporate art that connects with what your students are interested in or studying. For example:
Are your kids studying the American Revolution? Check out this FREE Analyzing Historical Art Activity that features 18 works showing scenes from the American Revolution.
Do your kids enjoy trains? A quick search on WikiArt.org brings up more than 100 works of art depicting trains. (As with any art website, please be sure to preview the search results first, as not all are appropriate.) When I did this search, I found it interesting that Claude Monet did multiple paintings of trains including:
- Saint-Lazare Station, Arrival of a Train
- Saint-Lazare Gare, Normandy Train
- Train in the Snow
- Train in the Snow at Argenteuil
- The Train
Why not use these pictures as a launch pad for a unit study on Claude Monet or impressionism?
You may find yourself wondering at this point what to do next. Your child has looked at the art. Is that all there is to it? Yes and no. Looking at art is wonderful, but there are ways to go deeper. That’s why we are sharing this FREE Charlotte Mason Artist Study with you.
Inside, you’ll find forms, questions, and prompts your child can use to help them think about the art and learn about the artist. It includes:
- About the Artist – this has room for key information about the artist and painting, including recording the names of other works the artist has done
- Art Narration – gives your student a place to record his or her thoughts about the painting
- Picture Talk – a notebooking page to capture your student’s thoughts regarding what they liked and did not like, what stood out, and what emotions the painting touches
- My Drawing – has a space for them to create their own version of the art
- Picture Study Question Cards – these can help them go deeper in their thoughts about the art and artist
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Here are some more FREE art resources we don’t want you to miss:
- Periods of Art History Resources – Teach your kids about different periods of art history with these free resources.
- Famous Artists Study Series – Learn about these famous artists with free printables and resources: John James Audobon, Leonardo Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Monet, Mary Cassatt, Pablo Picasso, Norman Rockwell, & Vincent Van Gogh.
- Fine Arts Notebooking Journals – Study famous composers and artists in your homeschool with these free instant downloads.
- Famous Artists Cheat Sheets – These FREE Famous Artists Cheat Sheets will help you learn about 45 famous artists and the works that they are known for.
- Elements of Art and Color Wheel Worksheets – You are going to love all these wonderful FREE Elements of Art and Color Wheel Printables and Worksheets to use in your art class.
- Artists Notebooking & Research Unit – Help your students sharpen their research skills while they learn about 50 famous artists with this FREE Artists Notebooking & Research Unit.
- Famous Artists Notebooking Research Journal – Help your kids dig into art history as they learn about 50 famous artists and complete their notebooking research journal.
- Picture Study Resources and Printables – Big list of free picture study resources and printables.
- 10 Ways to Incorporate Art Into Your Homeschool – Struggling with figuring out how to incorporate art into your homeschool? Check out these tips from a non-artsy mom!