If you have followed this blog much you have seen the chalk pastel program that we do to work on art skills. We absolutely adore the program and the children have fun using it. In addition to these art lessons we wanted to make sure to continue to cover famous artists and their works. It is our goal that the children be familiar with and introduced to a wide variety of works and artists. We do not emphasize memorization but familiarity and enjoyment.
I have found that we do better when we spend a few minutes each week for a longer period of time (we started at a year but have settled into a semester) studying one artist. When we tried to do multiple artists at once or an artist a week.
When we started studying artists we used Confessions of a Homeschoolers program, The World’s Greatest Artists. I still use a few things I gleaned from that program but for the most part we go our own way. We do use the same series of books as our spine, Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists. This semester we are studying Georgia O’Keefe.
For our studies we will read through the book on O’Keefe that was mentioned above, a few pages each time we study her. We will also choose some of our favorite paintings of hers to hang on the wall of our school room. This can be done by buying a used art book that has some of her pictures and removing them or finding public domain prints that can be printed off at home or staples (we don’t have a color printer so I use staples for these if we don’t have any in an art book). I have found that having them up around the room for a semester helps to make them more familiar to the children. Over the course of the semester we will choose some and do a picture study, talking together about that they are, how they were done, what emotions we feel when we see them. We will also do some hands-on activities. For example, Georgia O’Keefe was known for her large pictures of flowers. So this week the children each painted a large flower painting.
Once we have gone through the Georgia O’Keefe: Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists book we will look at other books about her. One such book that we are hoping to read is My Name is Georgia. Whenever possible we try to find art museums or galleries that have works from the artist we are studying that we can visit. This is not always possible due to distance but we have found it to be a great experience when we could work it out. The kids were very excited a couple of years ago to get a chance to see this Rembrandt over the summer prior to us studying his works.
One of the parts of artist study that we struggled with most in those first few years was figuring out how to fit it in amidst lots of other things. We wanted to cover it and felt it was beneficial but it got pushed to the side in favor of reading, math, Bible, etc. When I found Tauna Meyer’s Loop Scheduling course and information I realized that loop scheduling was the answer to my problem. She blogs over at Proverbial Homemaker and has a great course and support group for learning to use loop scheduling. This allows me to keep a good rotation going.
We have studied many other artists including Da Vinci, Rembrandt, and Rockwell. Next semester will probably be Grandma Moses. I’d love to hear what artist you are studying or which one has been your favorite to study. Leave a comment on the post to tell me about your artist study. We are intentionally choosing American artists this year to loosely tie into our American history study. In years past we have chosen artists based on the time period as we did a chronological study of world history.
If you are thinking that you love the idea of artist study but don’t like the idea of creating your own program like we did, you can always check out the programs at Schoolhouse Teachers. They have several great courses for artist study. If you have a high school student that needs credit they have a great class called Art the Timeless Treasure which studies art and architecture. For middle school ages they have ‘A Century of Art‘ which studies art from 1870-1970 and gives students the opportunity to try out different styles. If you are studying world history or Africa in particular they have a course on South African Art. So many different options to choose from. If you are not familiar with this program you can try an entire month out for just $5, this includes not just these art classes but over 300 other classes for all subjects.
In all of this I hope you take away the idea that studying artists can be fun and rewarding. It doesn’t have to be boring and it doesn’t’ have to be a big burden and weight added to an already busy schedule.
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