Homeschool- Teaching Art Appreciation in five minutes a day

Our homeschool year consist of 3 terms- Fall (late August through Christmas),  Spring (Jan-May), and Summer (June-early August). Each term we pick one or two electives.

This Fall, we chose Art History.  Did you know that the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC will let you borrow curriculum for free? They will ship it to your house for free!  All you do is pay return shipping and you get to have it for months. We chose An Eye for Art. It’s a spiral bound book with beautiful paintings featured.  Each lesson has an artist,  a feature work, a couple other examples of his/her other pieces,  a bio,  and something to learn about art  (for example:impressionism). There’s a full page of the feature painting. Then,  about five short paragraphs and smaller pictures on the following two pages.  Then,  at the end,  they give you suggestions for how you can create something inspired by the artist.

This is how we did it: on Monday,  we would look at the feature picture.  Each child would really observe it for 2 or 3 minutes. Then,  I would take it away and say,   “Who can remember the most details?” Competition is sometimes a helpful tool, especially when chocolate is involved. I usually would ask something like,  “How does the painting make you feel? “Or, “What do you like about this painting?” Then,  I would tell them the name of the painting and the artist’s name.  Then,  we would repeat them a couple times together.  Last,  I’d read them the first paragraph. That’s it. Over.

Tuesday-Friday I’d pull out the book,  show them the painting,  tell them the title and artist name, have them repeat it a few times and then read one paragraph from the bio/extra info about the work section. If the artist’s country of origin was mentioned,  we would find it on the globe.  That’s it.  Often,  the kids would ask to create something that they came up with on their own.  But,  sometimes we would do the suggested projects from the book.  They would paint or color or draw while I moved on to the next subject- our read aloud time.  I read one chapter a day from whatever book we’re doing on that particular day.  Right now,  it’s Peter Pan. Then,  I’d read one passage from Story of the World.  By the time I finished reading,  usually they were finishing up art.

This resource from the NGA is great but,  you can do without it.  Usborne has artist cards //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=as_ss_li_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=underanelmtre-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=1409524086&asins=1409524086&linkId=f0d0011a9ee44d8bcd28c42acde29bd9&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true“>purchase here ,  your local library has art books, and Google is your friend.  Use the same basic pattern,  look at the painting every day.  Repeat the title and artist name a few times. Then,  follow up with a little snipet of extra info and time to create. The repetition works it’s magic and they really do glean a lot from it.  My kids recognize paintings months later when they see them on tv or the movies.  They understand vocabulary like pointalism, abstract,  impressionism,  etc.

NGA website, click education for this resource and online resources.
Other great options: Creative Galaxy  is a TV show on Amazon prime.  It is fantastic for little ones. //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=as_ss_li_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=underanelmtre-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00CB6VTDS&asins=B00CB6VTDS&linkId=952a088a9ae74da810f948e6ae00d992&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true“>purchase here

And,  the video series Getting to know the World’s  Greatest Artist is awesome.  My kids really enjoyed them and so did I.buy the set here

“We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”

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