What do we do for fine arts study in our homeschool?
A departure from a typical public education, I’m eager to expand our repertoire into classical music, fine art, and traditional literature. Fine arts is definitely one of my interests.
Here’s how to do homeschool fine arts study with our homeschooled kids.
I didn’t attend a fine arts college or take a fine arts bachelor’s degree (nursing science was my focus).
What do I have to offer my kids in an area that I don’t know much about?
The same thing that fuels the best education: curiosity.
What do I mean by fine art? The study of classical music, visual art, poetry, and classical literature.
For a half-hour each morning, we start each day reading poems or passages from Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages (yes, it’s really titled that, a rather pretentious title, if I do say so myself). It is an anthology of William Wordsworth, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Emily Dickinson, as readings from Agatha Christie, Charles and Mary Lamb’s Shakespeare, or Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.
While I read, the kids keep their fingers busy by drawing, colouring, painting, sewing, or whatever handiwork they’re presently interested in.
We load the Classical Pieces 101 CD and play a game of “Who remembers who wrote this piece and its composer?” After a while, everyone has learned Adagio by Albinino, Mozart’s Air on the G String, and Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.
They already knew Fur Elise, as we’ve had two practicing pianists at different times, and so many arias recognized from years of violin practice.
Recognizing the eeriness of Berlioz’s Fantasia and the charm of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons at least add to their cocktail party chit-chat.
When my husband and I have been to a classical performance or concert, I have brought home a program and shared the pieces via Spotify. (There are times that they join us for these concerts too).
I keep a classical playlist for the kids’ study time.
Sometimes they request no music for math studies, and sometimes a playlist of choral and sacred music keeps us focused.
Studying classical art: from Impressionism and beyond.
I have always been interested in French Impressionism, purchasing prints of Monet from Rona (yes, the hardware store) when decorating my first apartment.
With our family’s travel and exposure to museums…
- in Atlanta,
- the Met in New York,
- Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam,
- or the British Museum in London,
- the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam,
- or the Louvre in Paris,
- the National Museum of Kenya in Nairobi,
- to see David in L’Accademie
- Sistine Chapel in Roma,
- and the Galleria dell’Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David,
- and a bazillion other museums in Italy, and of course, in Canada too.
I have definitely whetted my appetite for genres beyond Impressionism.
Use Come Sit with Me series for younger kids; the Great Book of French Impressionism for bigger kids.
Check out the Come Sit with Me series that will help you process the details of the piece you’re looking at. Recently, we’ve been staring down a couple pieces from The Great Book of French Impressionism that I found at New York’s the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Inexpensive art book purchases can be found at used bookstores too. Or there are always Freeschool YouTube videos on famous artists and their works.
Morning art moment for mama.
I prefer staring down pieces myself, especially table art books of Renoir, Monet, and Van Gogh. I have expanded my repertoire with online apps like those from all the above art galleries.
To easily unpack a piece, to add meat to the story behind a piece, I love the series by Angela Wenzel that we recently finished: 13 Art Mysteries Children Should Know.
“I believe arts education in music, theater, dance, and the visual arts is one of the most creative ways we have to find the gold that is buried just beneath the surface. They (children) have an enthusiasm for life a spark of creativity, and vivid imaginations that need training – training that prepares them to become confident young men and women.”Richard W. Riley, Former US Secretary of Education
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A very entertaining and inspiring post.
I always remember fondly, the times when, as West Vancouver students, we would
be bussed over to the Georgia Auditorium to enjoy the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
School series. I found it fascinating and inspiring.
While teaching adult English Language Learners in Vancouver from 1992 – 2013, I would take the students, regularly, to the Contemporary Art Gallery on Dunsmuir Street where the process of Art criticism always resulted in engagement and deep learning.
The process of enjoying and engaging in Fine Art is a great ongoing strength as children grow.