Thursday, May 07, 2009

the mind's eye

Part of providing a generous and rich home education for our children includes non-academic pursuits such as handiwork, artist study and music study. We have chosen to follow Charlotte Mason's philosophies when it comes to educating our children and adore the principles of aiming to elevate the child's mind and nourishing his soul with living books and quality literature, poetry and other humanities that will develop the whole person and inspire his character.

Each term we choose a different artist to study and look at six of the artist's work over that term. This term's artist is Vincent Van Gogh and yesterday the children had the chance to quietly observe and then narrate all that they remembered about the painting, The Starry Night.

Our artist study usually goes something like this-

1. show the painting/art to the children and ask them to "take a picture of it with their mind's eye",
2. allow them to gaze at it for a minute or two (they will usually announce when they are "ready" to move to the next phase),
3. hide the art and ask each child to tell me what they remember about the painting and how they felt when they were looking at it.
While they are narrating I am sure to have a pencil and paper ready to write everything that they say down with precision because it usually comes quickly in one steady stream of words and expressions.

After they are through narrating, I bring the painting back into view and then read their descriptions to them as they are looking at the painting once again.

Here is what they had to say about The Starry Night...

“It looked like winds were blowing. I saw stars and a moon in the right-hand

corner of the painting. I saw a town and a big black building that looked like

a pointy rock. I saw blues and turquoises. The paining made me feel happy.”

- Sophia

“There were stars. There were houses. I saw grass in front and the houses

near the front of the painting looked really big because they were closer to us.

I saw golden. The painting made me feel happy.”


Artist study is a simple and beautiful way to expose your children to art within your home and only takes a few moments.


Mommy K said...

I am following Charlotte Mason, too and I think art will be the hardest for me. This is a great, simple idea to incorporate art into their lives. Thanks for sharing!

Blessed Nest said...

Beautiful! I keep going back to Charlotte Mason. I found a new site (for me) that I am loving.