If you have read my earlier post entitled The World Of Rembrandt and Free Books you will know that I have created an art curriculum this year that has my children and me convinced that the study of art should definitely become a mainstay in our home education. We have always enjoyed some “picture study” but hadn’t taken it a step farther to where we are studying the art as well as the artist until now. My oldest daughter is happy to devote a large portion of her day to these lessons, even setting up a “class” in which she shares her enthusiasm with her younger siblings. Whenever this happens I know I’ve found a keeper! Enthusiasm and inspiration seem to be catchy!
Her favorite lesson so far has been that of the Dutch artist Vermeer. Choosing a favorite artist might be similar to choosing a favorite book, each new one seems to be more wonderful than the last, until we pick up the previous work again! I really like Vermeer myself, with his simple, peaceful looking scenes of every day life as well as the idealistic Holland landscapes. (And I am happy to say that I didn’t run into the nudity dilemma with Vermeer like with some of the others.)
I have been so happy (and relieved) to see in the last couple of years that my older children are making connections between things we have learned over the years. For example, last year we became sidetracked while studying the pilgrims and spent a few weeks immersed in The Netherlands. We even took a virtual tour of Amsterdam. I mean, what’s not to love? Wooden shoes, tulips and flower markets, windmills. Wouldn’t it be dreamy to ice skate down the canals during the winter celebration? The Netherlands became my new dream adventure, sorry, Italy! Add the story of Hans Brinker between times and now Vermeer. I always have all of my children find the places we talk about on the globe. And, perhaps the main reason I love teaching my kids at home so much, I am receiving a higher education myself. Upon hearing about our Vermeer study my mom recommended that I read the New York Times best seller Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier. A very well written historical fiction about the mystery model in Vermeer’s painting Girl in a Turban. So my children learn and I am inspired to learn and grow with them. A man once made the comment to my husband that he feels bad for home schooled kids because they will only learn as much as their mothers know. Wow! Nothing could be farther from the truth! As the preacher in Ecclesiastes has said, “there is no end to knowledge”. Frightening if someone thought that they should complete twelve years of public school and receive a diploma and call themselves educated and cease from learning.
Here is an outline of our lesson on Vermeer. As always you are more than welcome to modify and use my ideas. The only thing I ask is that if you have it written or re-blogged you give me credit. Thanks!
Monday: Look up Vermeer in the World Book encyclopedia. Read the entire article and write a short essay about what you have learned. Be sure to include dates and locations. Where is Delft? Find it on the Globe.
Tuesday: Look through The World of Vermeer and find some paintings that you really like. Tell me about them.
Wednesday: Spend twenty minutes or so in a quiet place studying the painting Christ in the House of Mary and Martha found on page 168 in The World of Vermeer. Read the Biblical accounts that inspired the painting.
Thursday: Write a few paragraphs comparing and contrasting Vermeer’s depiction of the scene and the way you would have shown it.
Friday: Spend the afternoon, using either acrylics or watercolors, trying to copy Vermeer’s painting or creating your own rendition of the scene.