I have two young girls who look forward to Fridays all week long. Why? We take a break from our normal school schedule and incorporate “tea time.” Our tea time isn’t just about tea; that is only a small portion of the weekly event. Tea parties were something I incorporated into our school schedule after joining the free Charlotte Mason club on CurrClick, and I have to say, I would not trade the days for anything. We use the time to learn about artists, poetry, composers, manners, and even to learn about refreshments.
If you’re having a hard time fitting artist studies into your plans, head on over to Ambleside and check out their plethora of resources. You can use the artists in the schedule provided, or like me, you might choose to skip around.
- Choose a single artist to focus on for 5-6 weeks and print off copies of the artwork provided. For older kids, I would suggest making a large copy for each child, but for my own kindergartener and preschooler, I make a single colored copy for them to share and place it in a 5×7-inch frame.
- During your tea time, place the frame on the table while you are gathering up the refreshments and give your children 3-5 minutes to study the picture so they can tell about it from memory.
- When tea is on the table, place the picture face-down and have your children give a narration about everything they can remember from the picture. They might describe objects in the picture, the colors of the picture, how the picture made them feel, or what they believe was happening in the picture.
- Discuss what you know about the artist with your children and research the artist’s life together. Learn as much as you can about the artist’s life, environment, or time period.
- After the week’s artist study, keep the artwork visible. We keep the framed artwork on the top of our refrigerator, so we can see it from the kitchen table each day. At the end of the week when I rotate the past artwork for the new artwork, the picture is hung on our school bulletin board. Then, at the end of the 5-week artist study, I take all of the artist’s work down and place it into a notebook. The kids revisit these at their leisure, or for reference.
We are currently studying Van Gogh and my 6-year-old interpreted the swirls in the sky of Starry Night as wind. Both she and my 4-year-old interpreted the dark shape to the left as a mountain, whereas I had always “seen” a large leafy tree. I love how art can be interpreted in so many ways. Not only that, but artist studies have also widened my girls’ view of the world. Ever since learning about Seraut’s The Eiffel Tower, the girls have been noticing the Eiffel Tower popping up in various areas of daily life, from coloring books to scrapbook paper.
So, you know all those fancy dishes you may have inherited that are now boxed up and stored away? I challenge you to haul them out and put them to use. Start your Friday “tea times” by discussing some of the world’s great artists.
Andrea lives in Northern California with her husband and two young girls. She left 11 years of public school teaching to homeschool and hasn’t looked back. Andrea loves reading, writing, and spending time outdoors so naturally she fell in love with Charlotte Mason’s methods with her own eclectic twist. Outside of homeschooling, Andrea owns her own tutoring and educational consulting business. Connect with her on at her blog No Doubt Learning, Facebook, G+, Twitter, or Pinterest.