Picture study, art appreciation, artist study…whatever you call it, learning about great art is part of a Charlotte Mason education. Most people agree that art is an important part of well-rounded, comprehensive education, but if you ask why, many people can’t articulate the benefits.
Once I started exposing my children to great art, and working on art projects with them, I noticed subtle differences. I noticed they were developing interesting opinions, an artistic eye/creativity, and a definite jump in vocabulary. And this was after only a few weeks! Charlotte said:
We cannot measure the influence that one or another artist has upon the child’s sense of beauty, upon his power of seeing, as in a picture, the common sights of life; he is enriched more than we know in having really looked at even a single picture. (vol. 1, ch. 21, pg. 309)
But don’t just take my word for it, try art appreciation in your own home and appreciate the difference it makes. Some of the noted benefits are:
- Stimulates and develops the imagination and critical thinking, and refines cognitive and creative skills.
- Has a tremendous impact on the developmental growth of every child and has proven to help level the “learning field” across socio-economic boundaries.
- Strengthens problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, adding to overall academic achievement and school success.
- Develops a sense of craftsmanship, quality task performance, and goal-setting—skills needed to succeed in the classroom and beyond.
- Teaches children life skills such as developing an informed perception; articulating a vision; learning to solve problems and make decisions; building self-confidence and self-discipline; developing the ability to imagine what might be; and accepting responsibility to complete tasks from start to finish.
- Nurtures important values, including team-building skills; respecting alternative viewpoints; and appreciating and being aware of different cultures and traditions.
Can you believe that with all of those benefits (and more), parents are having to fight for art in schools? Don’t even get me started on the studies linking recess and P.E. with an increased ability to retain and organize information.
Making picture study/art appreciation a part of your homeschool is a no-brainer. Choose an artist and get started today. Your kids will love it and so will you.
Don’t be afraid to get dirty with art projects of your own, either. The creative process in all of us needs an outlet. There are plenty of great resources on the web and books in the library to help get you started!