Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. –Pablo Picasso

I’m a big believer in the importance of art, not just for it’s own sake but for the benefits it brings to the mind and soul. Appreciation of art can expand our understanding of the human condition, and empathy for others. The emotions that are tapped by truly great art draw on a common well of human experience and allow us to see the world and life through the eyes of others. Art can raise questions, elevate us, and create strong responses, including dislike, which lead to good conversations and debate.

In our homeschool, the way we prioritize art is multitiered. Firstly, in our home, we display great art. Masterpieces from Michelangelo, DaVinci, Klimt, Raphael, and Rembrandt adorn our walls and refrigerator in the form of posters, prints, and postcards. The children have a daily familiarity with them, like members of the family. Occasionally, I am reminded that this is a unusual by other children who visit and comment upon the nudity in Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” or Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus.”

We also incorporate a Charlotte Mason style picture study into every week. Simply put, we look at a picture, discuss what we see, and then put it in a frame for display for the week. We spend several weeks or months looking at pictures by the same artist to become familiar with their style, and subject matter. I use the Picture Study Portfolios from Simply Charlotte Mason. They include everything I need, and guide me through the process. I found it a bit intimidating at first, but it is really very easy.

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The children have free access to quality art supplies. In addition the white paper, cardstock, colored construction paper, scissors, crayons, glue, and tape which are always accessible to the children, I also have artists supplies. Canvasses, acrylic and oil paints and medium, brushes, oil pastels, and quality papers are used by even my littlest ones to create from their imaginations. I have framed and hung several of their masterpieces and people often comment on how nice they look.

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Drawing is a foundational art skill, and //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=ss_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=clasathome-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=0874778271&asins=0874778271&linkId=SKSLIW343FPAIMV5&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true“>Drawing book of Faces, and “>Drawing Book Make a World.

Barbara Soloff Levy’s How to Draw series, especially “>How to Draw Faces and “>How to Draw People, are very good, and introduce a more realistic shape to drawing for children. “>Art for Kid’s Drawing introduces shading and perspective in a kid friendly way, for the slightly older child.

We have been using the series, Name Your Link“>Draw Write Now for years. It has a small amount of handwriting copywork relating to an illustration that the child is guided through making. The books increase in difficulty. We’ve been working on this in a composition book for years and can see the improvement. It’s really a lovely little collection to have.

Many museums offer homeschool, weekend, and vacation classes for children and adults. We attend a weekly homeschool art class at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. For $9 each, the children get a age appropriate, guided tour built around a specific type of art, such at portraiture or moving sculptures. Then they are guided in creating a unique piece of art relating to that theme. I also get in for free, and we get discounted parking. If this is too much, our library offers free passes that you reserve in advance.

All this serves to give the kids exposure to great art, and familiarity with creating their own work. It stimulates their imaginations, and helps them to look at the work closely, observing detail. I don’t imagine that either of my children will become famous artists one day, but I hope that they are friendly with great art all their lives.