Charlotte Mason Art Study~Van Gogh

by adustyframe ~ March 25th, 2009


(Van Gogh print on our fridge)

The longer I use Ambleside the happier I am with the results. This year I’m really seeing the fruit of Charlotte Mason’s principles, and I’m looking forward to watching James build on this excellent foundation.

One really nice thing about Charlotte Mason is that the arts are part of the curriculum, not just something that gets stuffed in if there’s enough time. That being said, learning about art and artists doesn’t take a huge amount of time.

Here’s an example from this term.

Ambleside selects the artist and prints and posts them on their site.

I don’t always use the artist they chose, but it’s a great starting point. Most of the time I do follow their selections because the work has already been done for me. I save the pictures to my computer and print them as a photo.

When the photos come back from the printer,  I  label the back of the photos with the artists’ name, the name of the work, and the date. James and I put them in a 3 ring binder. The protectors are photo holders so it works great. I make a little label with the artist’s name and slide it on top of one of the photos.

When we’re ready to study a print, James chooses one from the binder and we play a game. He looks at it for a minute or so and then hands it to me. He tells me everything he saw in the painting. He’s gotten very good at seeing small details.

Then he puts it on the fridge–we use a magnet frame. We see it everyday for a week or so and then we choose a different print and play the game again.

We take a few minutes to read about the artist and add them to our Book of Centuries and we’re pretty much done.

This time we did a project from Art Projects for Kids. Here are our results.





After we did this last week, we sat on the couch and looked at some children’s art books to see if there were any Van Gogh pictures to investigate.

James looked over my shoulder as I changed the pages and said, “Oh, mom, look Pieter Bruegel.”  If you have any doubts that this method of learning about art is too easy or makes no impression on a child, I’ll just share with you that we learned about Pieter Bruegel when James was in kindergarten. So 2 1/2 years ago at the age of 6, we did this quick method of learning about an artist and he still remembers.

I think that Charlotte chick knew what she was talking about!

lizzie2-2P.S. Here’s a fun site we found. It’s an online puzzle featuring paintings as puzzles. You can change the cut of the puzzle from big easy pieces to hard little pieces. Jigsaw Puzzle Gallery.


6 Thoughts Shared to Charlotte Mason Art Study~Van Gogh

  1. Lisa

    Hope this makes it into the next CM Carnival! Good post illustrating how this works. FYI there are several good picture books on Van Gough that James could read to himself and enjoy. Email me back if you need help identifying some [if you even want to].

  2. Cindy

    We just finished studying Van Gogh this month, too. We also did the same art project! :o) Besides his life’s story, I love Van Gogh’s work.

  3. *Kris*

    Thanks for submitting this wonderful post to the Charlotte Mason blog carnival!

  4. marie

    Thanks for sharing. I love studying Art prints and their history.It can lead to so many other studies. I love your pictures you both drew.

  5. { jamie }

    I love how simply but enjoyably you are studying art. I tend to either make it complicated or let it slide. Love your pictures, too! ♥

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