Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Art lesson

I do a fair amount of reading about homeschooling these days. I'm drawn to a Charlotte Mason-esque philosophy of learning, but sometimes I'll read an idea and think "how wonderful! But will that really work? Will my child really do that??" CM had such high expectations of a child's ability, and sometimes I think that is fantastic and some days I think "yeah right."

Besides that, I'm trying to navigate learning/teaching with a child who is only four (younger than children in most CM schools) and yes, he is very much only four, but also displaying an amazing appetite for learning.

So it was with some caution that I decided to try learning about art. (Have I mentioned that I can't draw/paint/color anything but stick figures?) We ordered a couple of books of Dover Art Cards - small art prints that can be given to the child to study - and today we began.

I am astounded by what occured. Jonathan did exactly what CM philosophy predicted. :)

We sat down together and looked at our first print: Claude Monet's The Water Lily Pond; Harmony in Green.

I asked Jonathan to tell me about what he saw, and with very few assisting questions he described the picture in surprising detail. (Thomas repeated everything Jonathan said, which is great speech therapy as well as artistic learning!) Then we turned it over and I asked Jonathan to describe it again, which he was willing to do (!!!) and did well! We talked very briefly about the name of the artist and the name of the painting, and then we sat down with watercolors at the table, propped up the art card to use as inspiration, and this was the result:

From Thomas (notice the choice of colors!)

From Jonathan:

I'm over the moon with pleasure in their success, and more than that, his enjoyment of the whole process. Learning with the boys is so much fun!


MirCat said...

that is just beyond cool, Em!! thanks for sharing. I've never heard of Charlotte Mason, and now I'm going to look her up...

Amy said...

I've been reading CM too! We're going to start in the fall with my 4 1/2 yr old! So glad it went well!

sarah marie said...

Don't tell J, but I actually think Thomas has better captured the essence of impressionism, as well as choosing a palette more in keeping with Monet's original. :) Heehee. I'm impressed with both of them, though!

sarah marie said...

It's also interesting that -- if I'm seeing J's painting correctly -- he was more struck by the *absence of* waterlilies in the middle of the water than by the presence of them everywhere else. He's got the dark spot very clearly in his painting!

Libby said...

That's great, Emily! That's pretty much how they teach Art at my school. The Art teacher focuses on a particular work from an artist, they talk about it in detail, and then the students try to imitate it. Then in the next lesson, they may do another work by the same artist, or move on to another artist altogether. They pick up a little Art History along the way too, because of course the teacher talks about the time period and the artist himself as well as his style, etc. I think it's great!

Amber said...

This is odd - I thought I commented on this post but now I don't see it there. Hmm.

Anyways, I love what you did with the boys, that is wonderful! I really want to start doing that this year. I had hoped to last year... but you know what my last year has been like!

I am really captivated by what the boys painted - their use of color is wonderful. Thanks for posting about this and sharing their paintings.