Maybe it’s just me, but I literally drool over art history, random trivia about the lives of the master artists, and especially, their amazing works of art. Okay, I don’t literally drool, because that would be kinda gross! (And even if I did, I wouldn’t reveal that to anyone because I have a reputation to uphold. Ahem… Just work with me here...) But my eyes have welled up quite a few times in art museums, and I ugly-cry every time I watch the Doctor Who episode with Vincent van Gogh, but I digress…
The point I’m trying to make is that art and artist study is important to me. And I hope it is important to you because it should be! Why? (I’ll get to that in a moment.)
But first, how do you approach art study in your home? Have you ever thought about creating an art appreciation notebook for your homeschool? You and your kids can become “curators” of your own personal fine art collection by doing so!
Disclosure: All of the beautiful copies featured in this post were provided for free by The Homeschool Printing Company in exchange for my honest opinion. I was compensated for my time in writing this post. For more info, please see my Disclosure Policy.
Why Art Appreciation?
I believe that it’s important to expose our children (and ourselves) to the great masterworks of art throughout the centuries. By doing so, our lives are richly enhanced – we learn to find beauty in the everyday, in common things – a sunrise quickly dashed out in oil paints on a canvas so that the “moment” is forever captured, a portrait (or self-portrait) of one who lived long ago before there were cameras to capture their likeness, a vase full of sunflowers, some vibrant, some quickly fading, or a historical scene rendered in tempera as imagined in the mind of the artist.
Learning to appreciate art helps us learn to appreciate what is beautiful, and it awakens in us a connection with the past. We see through the eyes of an ordinary person who lived long ago, a person who had the desire to express his or her daily life, or hopes and dreams for the future, or even weird random stuff that nobody understands (probably not even the artist himself). It’s as if we are transported in time and are able to form a connection with someone we never knew.
Appreciating art can also give us a connection with the creativity that resides in each of us. And if we can learn to give expression to that creativity in some way, we become more fulfilled in our lives.
I encourage you to add the study of art and artists to your homeschool on a regular basis. Below, I show you how to do so. You and your children (and teens) can assemble a beautiful art appreciation notebook that will last for years to come, and will the primary means of studying the great masterworks of art and forming connections with the old masters.
Assemble an Art Appreciation Notebook
Gather the following supplies from around your house (or online):
You will need:
- 2” or 3” Binder (preferably with clear front pocket)
- Divider tabs
- Page protectors
- Sharpie marker
- 3-Hole punch
- Laminator (optional)
- Art Appreciation curriculum*
* I highly recommend Masterpiece Society Art Appreciation curriculum (since obviously, I wrote it! 😉 ), or at the very least gather the following and print from the internet:
- Artist notebooking pages
- Art movement notebooking pages
- Quality 8×10 prints of art pieces you’re studying
- Artist PDFs (biographies, fun facts, quotes, etc.)
Here are just some of the goodies included in the Masterpiece Society Art Appreciation:
Printable Notebooking Pages (the artists, art movements, and artwork):
Printable Masterpieces (three by each artist):
Printable Art Templates (to color or transfer for a more in-depth art project):
Saving on Ink When Printing Your PDFs
Once you’ve got a good selection of art, notebooking pages, biographies, and such, it’s time to get them all printed. Now, you could print them on your own home printer, but the quality wouldn’t be as beautiful as having them professionally printed. Plus, you’d probably go through a lot of ink cartridges.
Remember, art is visual, so you need to find high resolution images and print them out in the best quality possible. For this I highly recommend The Homeschool Printing Company. They are a young company (and a veteran homeschooling family) that offers excellent prints at amazing low prices! All you do is send them your PDFs, and Melissa (their daughter and point person) will send you an estimate on how much it will cost to print everything out (as well as shipping).
Once you agree to the estimate and give her the go-ahead, you’ll be added to the queue for printing (or laminating, spiral-binding, etc.). After your order is printed, they will ship your prints via FedEx.
Every new customer gets 10% off the pre-shipping cost of their FIRST order. Just tell them Alisha sent you and that you are a new customer to get that discount.
Click below to watch me unbox my art curriculum:
You could purchase full-page dividers to separate each artist, but I chose to use the Avery Ultra Tabs because they’re repositionable in case you want to add different artists over time. (They’re also brightly colored and match the colors of my “Masterpiece Society” logo – ’cause that’s important, you know!)
Also, I wanted to use the covers of each volume as the divider. I had The Homeschool Printing Company print those out on cardstock, laminate, and three-hole punch them. Then, I wrote out each artist’s name and applied the tabs.
Here the tabs are all aligned (see how the colors match the logo?): 🙂
Once you get your dividers all nice and “tabbed out” it’s time to add in all the other artsy goodness. The following are examples of what you might want to include in your “curated” Fine Art Notebook (all of which are included in he Masterpiece Society Art Appreciation Curriculum):
- Artist biographies
- Art movement summaries
- Art prints (preferably high quality and 8.5 x 11, so they can be slipped into page protectors)
- Notebooking pages (artist, art movement, art pieces, etc.)
- Fun facts about each artist
- Quotes by each artist
- List of art terms and definitions
- Art templates (especially after they’ve been colored in) – or better yet, have your student recreate the piece themselves!
I encourage you to involve your kids and teens in this process. Go slowly. Really get to know each artist and his or her works. You will create wonderful family memories, intimate connections with each artist, and a keepsake art notebook that will last for years to come!
Watch the video below to see my art appreciation notebook fully assembled:
- Click here to find out more about the Masterpiece Society Art Appreciation curriculum.
- Click here to find out about my art courses, Mixing with the Masters, Volumes 1 and 2.
Alisha Gratehouse is an artist, art instructor, minister’s wife, and homeschooling mom of three. Her days are filled with creating, painting, writing, drinking lots of tea, laughing with (and at) her family, and spontaneously bursting forth into song. Alisha is the author of several books including, A Life That Flourishes.