After years of seeking the most fun and efficient ways to classically educate my children, I developed something I am really excited about. Fine Art Learning Placemats work like this: You plop a colorful placemat in front of your kids at the kitchen table during lunch. You let them observe the front of the placemat where they are viewing a beautiful painting by a famous artist – Monet, Van Gogh, Gustav Klimt, Benjamin West, to name a few. This is, of course, Charlotte Mason’s ideal method of teaching art appreciation, only more convenient and accessible.
Then you pick up the placemat and read them a question or two from the back. What do you notice first when you look at this painting? Or what do you see far off in the background? Next time you pick up the placemat you might want to pull up on the internet one of the other paintings listed. Compare it to the painting on the placemat. How does a different artist view the same subject?
Then holler at your Alexa or find on YouTube the one of the classical music listening selections on the back of the Fine Art Learning Placemat. March to Strauss’s Radetzsky March or lasso that pony to Copeland’s Hoe-Down. The brief notes on the back will give you some ideas of what to listen for. We introduce instruments, format, and sometimes a snippet of music history. The mini-lessons cover jazz, opera, and folk music, as well as the baroque, classical, romantic, and modern eras of art music.
Take the book list (also on the back of the placemat) with you to the library! Or my favorite – reserve the books on-line so they are ready when I get there! Here is a quality selection of picture books for preschool and elementary school that fit with the seasonal themes. President’s Day, snow, rocks, harvest, the sea – a different theme for each month. It is sometimes time-consuming to find quality reading material for little ones, so I have done the work for you.
And since learning happens best by seeing and doing, take the list of field trips from the back of the placemat and put something on the calendar for each month that gets you out and loving learning! Try a Native American Pow-Wow or a factory tour in your area.
That’s it! In a few minutes day, or even a few minutes a week, you can supplement your curriculum with classical music and fine art appreciation, no matter what age your children are. This is perfect for teaching multiple ages. The placemat format keeps the art right in front of your child for contemplation, Charlotte Mason style. The lesson plan on the back of the placemat means you do not have to pull out any other supplies and books to get started. The art and lessons change each month to hold interest. It is simple, effective, and efficient.
The printable format means that, although you print and laminate yourself, you only need to buy one set if you want a placemat for each of your children. And you can reprint if a placemat gets ruined.
Give my lovely Fine Art Learning Placemats a try! You can find a sample in my Shop. You might learn a thing or two yourself!
Sign up to hang out at Never a Doll Moment each week! I never share your information with anyone. Plus, you will receive my free Long Term Homeschool Planning Worksheet to get you started on an amazing homeschool journey!