Art All Around Us

A key part of my approach to parenting and homeschooling is the belief that it is more important to look to the setting than the explicit lesson. Are you teaching politeness or modeling it? Are you telling them to read or reading in front of them? Are you sitting at the table talking about the ecosystem or walking outside weekly? The texture and rhythm that surrounds us is more important than any one lesson.

That’s how I approach art and music in our lives, too.


A book of 365 days of art called “A Year in Art: A Painting a Day”. I found it in Vienna’s Kunsthistorischesmuseum gift shop and struggled mightily within myself. We were at the end of our time in Europe, and I was only too aware of the numerous souvenirs, clothes, chocolates, and other items we were bringing back. And this book is huge and heavy.

But the art won.

A picture a day, worth a thousand words. We don’t make a big deal of it. Rainer and I might talk about the picture or the painter if we’re interested. But mostly, it’s there.

art game

A treasure brought back with us from our last trip to Germany in 2006. A wonderful game about some beautiful art from Prestel called the Kinderkunstspiel, unfortunately unavailable here in North America. Charlotte Mason pretty much designed this game, as far as I can tell.

It’s moments like this one that make it so hard to talk about homeschooling. Right now, I’m being interviewed every month as part of Statistics Canada’s Workforce survey. They want to know how many hours per week I spend at my main job. I laugh every time they call. None of the questions are ones for which I have tidy answers. I took this photo on a Saturday night. Are we homeschooling? Are we parenting? Are we playing or working?

I can’t split the roles, and that’s how it should be. Living is learning. The question I keep asking myself is, “If living is learning, am I living a large enough life?” It’s a good way to remind myself of the importance of getting the kids out of the house and into the world for trips big and little, or of the importance of having interesting people over for supper, or of the importance for pulling out the games or the puzzles, or even the importance of doing nothing and letting them see me rest.


10 thoughts on “Art All Around Us

  1. Kitchen Mama says:

    Today my kids did their math lessons really fast so they could get outside to shovel the snow from the neighbor’s walk, as well as our own, and then spent the rest of the day sledding. Since we live in a desert-like area, every snow day is a holiday for us.

    I’ve been greatly relaxing my concept of homeschooling this fall and I’m finally to the realization that you so beautifully put into words today: life IS learning if it is any kind of life that I want to live.

    Thanks yet again for putting into words such simple yet such profoundly important nuggets of wisdom.

  2. prairiepoppins says:

    Hope, that looks really good, but it’s not the same one as ours. Ours is for kids and isn’t trivia. It’s about looking at the art and seeing it really well and then answering questions about what you’ve just seen. The German name is Kinderkunstspiel.

  3. Hope says:

    Thanks for the proper game name.

    The way you describe it it sounds similar to some books the children and I really like: “The Art Fraud Detective”, “The Great Art Scandal” and I see there is a sequel “The Art Auction Mystery”.

  4. greenchickadee says:

    I can’t tell you how GREAT this really is. I’ve tried to explain to non-homeschooling friends how it really works, but it’s impossible. We’re schooling/learning/living/loving all day long, every day. It’s all just a mixture of fun and games and books and absorption and there is never a clearly defined answer. And I’m DYING to know more about this game!

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