Friday, August 19, 2011

Start with the Arts ~ Picture & Poetry Study for the New School Year

At School by William Bromley

I loved this painting when I saw it! Does this look anything like your homeschool? Wouldn't it be a perfect beginning for the homeschool year to do a picture study on it?  Does that distracted child picking something off the ground resemble what half of your students are doing? Are the other half of the children watching him like the two others are in the picture? It made me laugh! Distractions… Children then and children now are the same! They just dress differently…

Picture Study

Have your children study this painting a few minutes every day. Ask them:
  • Do they think all the children are being proper students? Now is a good time to discuss what you expect from them this school year.
  • What items in this home are some of the items you still use in your home today?
  • When do they think this painting took place?
  • What new detail can they give you each day about the painting?
  • At the end of the week, have your older children write down a short "art review" on the painting. Younger children can narrate their opinions of the painting directly to you.
William Bromley, who painted the above picture, was born in England. Have your children find England on the globe.  Do they know any famous places or people from this country?

Perhaps they can draw what they think a normal homeschooling day looks like in your house! Yes, I know, there isn't a such thing as normal but tell them to use their imaginations.

Poetry Study

Read the following poems to your children:

Two Schools by Henry Van Dyke

I put my heart to school
In the world, where men grow wise,
"Go out," I said, "and learn the rule;
Come back when you win a prize."

My heart came back again:
"Now where is the prize?" I cried. ----
"The rule was false, and the prize was pain,
And the teacher's name was Pride."

I put my heart to school
In the woods, where veeries sing,
And brooks run cool and clear;
In the fields, where wild flowers spring,
And the blue of heaven bends near.
"Go out," I said: "you are half a fool,
But perhaps they can teach you here."

"And why do you stay so long,
My heart, and where do you roam?"
The answer came with a laugh and a song, ---
"I find this school is home."

For fun, read the poem below (This was my favorite as a child!). See if your children like it (something tells me they will…). And yes, of course we must discuss the naughtiness of the child! I tell my children that I am sure that little girl wasn't allowed to go and play after that fib!

Sick by Shel Silverstein 

"I cannot go to school today,"
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
"I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I'm going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I've counted sixteen chicken pox 
And there's one more--that's seventeen,
And don't you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut--my eyes are blue--
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I'm sure that my left leg is broke--
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button's caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained,
My 'pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is--what?
What's that? What's that you say?
You say today is. . .Saturday?
G'bye, I'm going out to play!"

Activities after reading the poems:
  • Ask the children if they liked the poem(s). Why or why not?
  • What is the main idea of the poem(s)?
  • Have children point out the nouns, verbs and adjectives in the above poem (or any other grammar rule you have been learning).
  • Have your children write a poem about your homeschool.


  1. I am looking forward to your picture, nature, and poetry studies this school year. Your enjoyment of the subject matter is insperational.

  2. Thank you! Let's teach the best to our children. They have but one childhood...

  3. Love the paintings! If only bookcases came with comfortable seating - they'd sell like hotcakes.

  4. Such a sweet idea for the first of school! The picture reminds me not to expect too much, and I need that reminder often. Thank you!

    1. Don't we all! Thanks for sharing Jennifer :)

  5. Great lesson plan. My son loved Shel Silverstein. I'll share this with DIL

  6. Thank you so much for this- it's our first day back at homeschool and the children (and I) really enjoyed both the painting and poetry study together :-)

    Love in Christ, Gwen.

    1. Hi Gwen, thank you for sharing that! It is nice to hear some feedback on the home education posts :) May your school year be blessed with learning and bonding and growing closer to God..


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