Art Appreciation tends to be one of those things that homeschool moms either feel too overwhelmed to take on, or they are managing to do it, but possibly making it more complicated than it needs to be. As a busy homeschooling mom of six for the past 20 years, I know that if things aren’t simple and effective, they usually don’t last long. Today I’d like to tell you about three great ways to make art appreciation an easy and natural part of your homeschool, because I believe that the joy and beauty of art can be deeply enriching to people of all ages. [Aside: Free Fine Art Pages at the end of this post!]
Art on your Walls for Homeschool Art Appreciation
So often we can get kind of timid about what decor we have in our homes. We might get stuck thinking that everything has to match, or that if we can afford “real art” that it’s not something to have on display. Well, I’m here to tell you that you are allowed to break all those rules in your home! And you don’t have to follow any high-falutin’ artsy rules about what’s “good” art and what’s not.
Here’s my rule: If you like it, it’s good art. The end. So, leave space in your decor for art to come into your life. It can be from a juried art show, a local artist, student art, things your children made, framed posters of famous art, pottery, weavings, wooden items, and much more. Open your heart and your mind to the beauty of art, and give it a space in your home.
This is one of the first fundamental pieces to truly appreciating art ourselves (yes, YOUR mindset about art matters too!) and to showing our children that we value and appreciate art in many different forms. If you were to come to my house right now, you would find paintings as big as a door, multi-media gourd art, pottery, ceramics, student art that I love, watercolor paintings that are simply tacked onto the wall, framed prints, antiques that have an artistic flare, felt art, woven fabric bowls, and much more. This is a collection that came to us piece by piece over the years, and each has special meaning and has been welcomed into our home because of some special meaning or spark of joy that it brings.
Our children have always seen us excited about and interested in art, and they natural understand and appreciate the skills and creativity that go into all of these different forms of art. Don’t underestimate the value of this level of art appreciation, because it’s a powerful starting point for your entire family.
Art Books on Display for Homeschool Art Appreciation
One easy and accessible way to share famous works of art with your children is with art books. While having the books on your shelf is a start, what you really need to do is get them open and accessible. Laying out a book or two on a coffee table can invite viewers to take some time to browse.
Or, better yet, purchase a book easel and have a spot set up on a side table or counter in your home where you can open a book up to display a particular page, so everyone will see the art without having to put any effort into it. Turn the page as often or infrequently as you like, because both short and longer periods of time spent with a piece of art are valuable. Over time you can often find used coffee table books featuring various artists at yard sales and used book stores. Or, you can simply check out many beautiful art books from the library and have a regular rotation of fine art in your home.
Fine Art Pages
Since I had six children in ten years, we had no shortage of little ones, sticky fingers, marker-wielding bandits, and sippy cup spills for a long time. So, displaying special books (or taking the risk of borrowing expensive art books from the library) within reach of little hands seemed like a dangerous gamble.
Several years ago I developed Fine Art Pages, and this takes the cake for the easiest, most effective, organic art appreciation approach available. Each Fine Art Page is a printable single page that features a work of art, with a little bit of information about the artist and the work. The idea is simple: Print ’em out, put ’em up, and watch the magic happen!
You’ll want to find spots around the house to place these beauties that children will naturally spend a few minutes of their time. The very best spot in the entire house is right next to the toilet! (yes, I’m serious) Think about it–every member of the family spends some time there every single day, and they are a captive audience.
Some quiet time with no distractions can allow your children of all ages to become familiar with art in ways that a more formal lesson will not. Fine Art Pages need no announcement or introduction. You can simply stick them up on the wall and walk away. The children will notice, and the process of natural art appreciation will be underway. Easy! If a Fine Art Page gets damaged, it’s not a big deal. Print another and carry on. This is a very low-risk way to make timeless art accessible for all ages in your home. Even very young children can appreciate art.
As a longtime homeschool mom myself, I love to encourage other homeschool moms in their journey! Today I’d love to help you enrich your homeschool with a FREE Fine Art Pages collection, so you can get started right away. You can sign up to get our Vermeer Fine Art Pages here!
I do believe that when it comes to the valuable but non-essential subjects such as the arts, it’s extremely important to make it simply accessible and a delight. Whether you try Fine Art Pages or any of my other ideas, I hope that you start to experience more of the joy and beauty of the arts in your homeschool this year!
Erica Johns is the owner of Enrichment Studies, where she helps homeschool families include more of the joy and beauty of fine arts in their everyday lives. Erica and her husband Dave started homeschooling back in 1997. They now have 3 grown children and 3 teenagers still being homeschooled.