Pinterest Hidden Image

In this episode of Your Morning Basket, host Pam Barnhill and co-hosts Dawn Garrett and Laney Homan share insightful strategies for incorporating picture study into your homeschooling routine. This episode discusses the benefits of picture study, such as creating a mental gallery of paintings for children to enjoy as well as highlighting that it’s not about learning art history, but rather about observing and appreciating the details in a painting. 

Gain practical insights on how to conduct picture study sessions, including the basic method of observing a painting, discussing it with your children, and prompting them to think about and offer their own titles for the artwork. Whether you’re new to picture study or looking for fresh ideas to invigorate your homeschooling curriculum, this episode has something for every homeschooling parent.


Pam Barnhill [00:00:04]:

Are you ready for homeschooling to feel joyful again? Do you wanna build closer relationships, remove some of the stress around planning, and enjoy learning with your children? Welcome to your morning basket. I’m Pam Barnhill, a homeschool mom just like you, and I’m going to show you the magic and fulfillment that morning basket or morning time can bring to your homeschool. Grab your coffee or tea and let’s get started. Hi there, and welcome to this episode of the Your Morning Basket Podcast. I am joined today by member success manager, Laney Homan, and customer service manager, community manager. She wears many hats, miss Dawn Garrett. And we are talking today all about picture study. So this was a class that we actually did at our beach retreat earlier this year in January. When we were down in Gulf Shores, Alabama, our We Gather Together Beach Retreat, And I do believe it was probably one of the most popular classes. Don’t you guys think?

Dawn Garrett [00:01:08]:

I think so. And I learned some things, so I was pretty excited about it.

Laney Homan [00:01:13]:

I have used some of the techniques that we went over in the class and when we were at the beach retreat since I came home, and I’ve I’ve loved it. And I think my kids have had a lot of fun with it.

Pam Barnhill [00:01:25]: Yeah. It’s really nice. So often, I think, when we hear about picture study and, you know, when somebody’s writing a blog post, trying to teach you how to do picture study or giving you some kind of instruction maybe through a podcast or something like that, they they wanna kind of, like, lay out the basics. And I think sometimes you sometimes you get this misconception in your head that the basics are the only way to do a picture study. Right? And, really, in fact, what you’re gonna learn through the next 20 minutes or so is that there are lots of ways to do a picture study. But, Dawn, let’s go back to the basics. And since you are our resident Charlotte Mason expert, can you tell us a little bit about what picture study is, why we want to do it, and what is kind of the basic way of doing it?

Dawn Garrett [00:02:08]:

So picture study is so that you and your kids have a gallery of paintings in their mind, that they have some I some pictures that they love and that they just they will have them for the rest of your lives. You hear about the people in the nursing homes who start reciting the poem right along with the kids who come to entertain them with the poems. It’s the same sort of thing. They have the poem in their mind for the rest of their lives, and now we have these great paintings, these great masterpieces in our minds for the rest of our lives that we can think about and muse over and enjoy. So that’s that’s really what picture study is for. It’s not art history. It’s not for learning about the painters and their lives, which often are not really all that valuable to learn about. Right? But it’s it’s really and truly to have that Monet and that Saison and that Michelangelo, then that Degas in your in your mind so that you have something beautiful to think about.

Dawn Garrett [00:03:15]:

Truth, goodness, and beauty. Okay.

Pam Barnhill [00:03:17]:

I wanna stop you right there. Is it also to help you learn to observe like nature study is?

Dawn Garrett [00:03:23]:

Of course. Everything really is about the habit of attention. Right? That we learn what we attend to. And so practicing in many ways, nature study and drawing, listening to music, looking at great art, listening to and reading poetry, all of those things will help with the habit of attention.

Pam Barnhill [00:03:47]:

Okay. And then I just wanna say, if you are wondering where do you get these pictures to study, we have tons of them available in the Your Morning Basket Plus membership and the explorations and the morning time plans and those kinds of things as well. We’ve done the hard work of choosing some of the great artwork for you so you don’t have to kind of sweat overdoing that part. Okay. So, Dawn, tell us about how to do kind of a basic picture study because that’s gonna be our first kind today.

Dawn Garrett [00:04:21]:

That is our first kind. You give each of your children a painting, a print of it. You put it on your TV. You put it on your computer screen, on your phone screen, and you literally have them look at it. I like to encourage my kids start in the middle and kind of use your eyes as an expanding circle. So you’re going out and you’re trying to see all of the things in that painting. Notice all of the details. See the that there’s this little red dress person in a red dress in the bottom left hand corner and this big bright light up in the sky in the upper right hand corner.

Dawn Garrett [00:05:00]:

And in the very middle, there’s castle. You know? Like, you’re you’re trying to get all of the details in your mind because the details are what the painter put there for you to see. So you’re slowly expanding and making these I’m I’m making circles with my hand. You can’t see this because it’s a podcast, but you’re kind of expanding your view around and around in circles and And then you say, okay. What was in the painting? And your child then narrates back to you what they saw. And you can expand on this a couple of times. Okay. Turn it back over.

Dawn Garrett [00:05:44]:

Did you tell me all the things that you saw? Are there other things here that you missed and that you really wished you had remembered? Spend another couple minutes and and kind of follow the same pattern and think through it. And you don’t have to be done with this one painting. You can look at this painting a couple of times over a couple of weeks even with just this method. This is fast, straightforward. It’s it is the first and basic way to do a picture study.

Pam Barnhill [00:06:11]:

And so the goal here is for them to put that painting in their mind. Do you discuss the painting at all when you’re doing this? Because I’m sitting here thinking one of the ways that would help me put the painting in my mind is to make a connection and to talk about that connection. So is it okay to do that kind of stuff as you’re doing this picture study?

Dawn Garrett [00:06:29]:

For sure.

Dawn Garrett [00:06:30]:

Yeah. What does this painting remind you of? What does it make you think about? What do you wonder about? Those questions are always valuable questions when you’re interacting with ideas and art and music and and all of the things.

Laney Homan [00:06:44]:

Yeah. When I show my pick kids a picture that we’re gonna do picture study for, I usually don’t tell them the title of the picture because, you know, I’ll ask them some of those questions to kinda get them thinking. Like, what who do you think is in this picture? What’s going on? Often, the title of a picture will kinda be a spoiler. And so sometimes I will just let them observe the picture and talk to me about what they think is going on in a particular image. And then, you know, we’ll talk about the title of the picture and how that maybe will, like, change their viewpoint or maybe that the author or the artist rather, like, had something different in mind when they painted it.

Dawn Garrett [00:07:23]:

The spoiler can definitely like, telling them the title can definitely make them focus on one part of what’s going on on the painting instead of the whole painting. So, yes, I I completely agree with not telling them the title first.

Pam Barnhill [00:07:37]:

Oh, okay. I love that idea. Like, not giving too much away by telling the title. And then maybe even for fun, before you tell them what the title is, ask them what would you have titled this painting? What title would you give this painting? So they can kind of see, you know, how their title

Laney Homan [00:07:53]:

That’s the writer

Laney Homan [00:07:54]:

in Pam coming out. Mhmm. Yes.

Pam Barnhill [00:07:56]:

Yes. It is. I don’t know. That just sounds really fun to me. They’re like, what would you have called this painting if you were titling it? So I I like making connections with the things that are in the painting. Okay. So that at its basic level and and Dawn said you would do this for just a couple minutes, so, like, 2 to 2 and a half minutes. At my house, You know, there’s a very good chance that there’s, like, not gonna be complete silence while this is going on.

Pam Barnhill [00:08:25]:

You know? But encourage them to stay focused on the painting. And I think it’s okay too to ask the kids, like, does this remind you of any painters that you know?

Dawn Garrett [00:08:39]:


Pam Barnhill [00:08:40]:

Like I mean, sometimes if I were to slap a painting down in front of Olivia, she she could probably, like, right off the bat, say, oh, that’s a Van Gogh or something like that.

Laney Homan [00:08:50]:

Right. And I think that has to go with, you know, what Dawn was saying, kind of like, what is the purpose of this? You know? Yes. We have these, you know, beautiful galleries in our mind that we’re creating there, but, also, I think some of it is just, like, just having a base knowledge of the different the style of different artists and being able to recognize a painting and have a good idea of who painted it based upon just looking at the artwork because you’ve studied it.

Pam Barnhill [00:09:16]:

Yeah. I think that’s a bonus. Yeah.

Laney Homan [00:09:18]:


Pam Barnhill [00:09:19]:

Alright. So, Laney, you do have another way of doing a picture study. So tell me about your way. So now we’re getting into the 4 ways that kind of go beyond the basic level.

Laney Homan [00:09:30]:

Okay. So one of the first ones that I ever did apart from just showing my kids a picture and then basically having them tell me about it was we did an acted out one. Somebody said had us it came from the idea of recreating a picture. Somebody said recreate a picture. And often when you think about recreating a picture, that’s like a style used in some art classes to have you, like, look at the master’s work and then try to recreate that art piece of artwork. My kids really struggle with artwork and, like, being able to do it without emotionally melting down. We because they would they would have a really hard time separating their recreation from the master’s actual creation. Like, they wouldn’t just learn the process and enjoy it.

Laney Homan [00:10:18]:

It would be mine doesn’t look like theirs, and so it would be very devastating. So we started, doing kind of this recreating by either posing as people in the pictures, acting it out in some way. I’ve had little girls that had, like, American Girl Dolls that would, like, recreate pictures using their dolls. My son one time used Lego minifigs to recreate a picture. But just again, this is not something that is elaborate. This is not something that is taking planning or forethought. This is, like, look at this picture. Now take a couple of minutes to go and pull something together really fast.

Laney Homan [00:10:58]:

Like, I’ll give my kids, like, 10 minutes if they’re gonna have to leave the table and go to their rooms to come up with something. And or sometimes it’s just, like, really just right there. Like, especially pictures of people can be super fun to do this with, the facial expressions, those kinds of things. But I know when we were at the beach retreat, we did something that didn’t have any there were, like, very few people at all. It’s like this boat on this lake, and there was a sun in the sky, and so we just literally, like, looked around and just positioned people. We used, like, a table to represent the boat, and then had 2 people kind of meal so

Laney Homan [00:11:30]:

were in the boat, and then somebody else held the like, a big, you know, gold colored bowl, above our heads to represent the sun. Like, it was it literally took us, like, 45 seconds to put it together. It ensued in hilarity. People were laughing. They’re I mean, you know, you can snap a picture of your recreation so you have a record of it if you want, and they’re fun to look back on. But, you know, again, I really want to emphasize, you’re not overcomplicating something here. You’re not necessarily using tons of oar. And I was like, what can we use as an oar? And somebody, like, 5 seconds later handed me a broom.

Laney Homan [00:12:17]:

And so we just, like, went with that. And so it’s really just kind of like a spontaneous spur of the moment, how quickly can you pull this together. But it also requires you to notice certain elements of the picture and then think about how you’re going to represent that in some way that’s not using words or art, which is another way I think somebody else was gonna maybe talk about.

Pam Barnhill [00:12:40]: Yeah. I love looking at you’re right. This can totally be done where there are not, like, close-up pictures to people and where there are only objects in the painting and stuff like that. You can get creative with it and do it. But the ones that I love are the pictures that you’ve posted of your kids, whether there are people in their facial expressions, and they just nail it. They just absolutely nail the facial expression in the photo. And you you can tell they are paying such close attention. They really are working on that habit of attention to get those details down, and they’re just so much fun.

Laney Homan [00:13:15]:

Yeah. And like I said, none nothing we have ever done has taken more than just a few minutes. It’s never a planned thing. It’s like, oh, hey. I you know, we need maybe we need a little motion in our morning time because people are getting a little fidgety. You know, we’re looking at a picture, so let’s go do something to to bring that to life. They always have so much fun with it, and it just it usually brings laughter. Like, definitely, it’s something that is everybody likes to do something kind of silly.

Pam Barnhill [00:13:42]:

I love it. I love it so much. But but they also have to really pay attention to the picture, which is what we’re wanting them to do. And then they own it. It becomes theirs.

Laney Homan [00:13:49]:

Yeah. And they remember it. They distinctly remember some of those features in the painting that would otherwise maybe not stick in their memory because they had to think about what prop or what thing they were going to use to represent that item in the picture. So, like, one of my daughters was, she was recreating a portrait by Angelica Kaufman, and the proportions were way off in her recreation. But what she did, she was like she had a doll, and she posed the doll as the person, but in the picture, there was a chessboard sitting next to her. So she just went and got a full size chess board and put it there. So, like, she didn’t get this great proportionate recreation of the picture, but she’ll always remember that there’s a chessboard in that picture, even though it’s actually one of those kind of minor details that you would have to really pay attention to to see it in the picture. So and it helps them to just kind of focus on some of those things.

Laney Homan [00:14:47]:

I think the use of props helps them remember some of the actual objects and things in the photograph or the the artwork.

Pam Barnhill [00:14:56]:

I love it. Okay. Alright. So I get to talk about the next kind, and and this came about one day. It was actually Dawn and I. We were, like, plotting together. We were doing a live event for our community at the time. Yeah.

Pam Barnhill [00:15:12]:

And we were like, how can we do picture study and kinda zhuzh it up a little bit, make it a little bit more interesting. And so what we ended up doing, it was genius. It was genius. We’re geniuses.

Dawn Garrett [00:15:23]:

We say so ourselves.

Pam Barnhill [00:15:24]:

We say so ourselves. That’s right. But do this. You will be just amazed at how well this works. But take a painting and break it into thirds. And so what you have and I suppose you could do vertical thirds if you want to. We’ve always done horizontal thirds, but you do, like, the top third of the painting. And once again, gesturing here even though it’s a podcast.

Pam Barnhill [00:15:45]:

And then you do the middle third of the painting and you do the lower third, and you’re only going to show your children 1 third of the painting at a time. So you show them the top third, though I suppose you could start at the bottom if you wanted to, and you ask them to look at that third and study it for a little bit and then to tell you what they observe about that third of the painting. And then you block off the top and the bottom, and you show them the middle third. And then you block off the top 2 thirds, and you show them the bottom third. And this is so much fun, especially if they’ve not seen the painting before because different things were you know, are revealed through the painting, and they’ll be looking at, like, 1 third of it and go like, oh, like, what is that thing? And they don’t realize what the thing fully is until they get, you know, to the bottom third. The other thing I think this is great for is really honing in on and paying attention to, colors in the painting Mhmm. Brushstrokes in the painting. Because a lot of times when you’re isolating the third of the painting, you’re not seeing a lot of detail.

Pam Barnhill [00:16:55]:

You’re not seeing the full picture. Painters usually use the rule of thirds where, you know, 2 thirds of the painting is either blank or 1 third of the painting is blank and 2 thirds have a lot going on. And so there is going to be at least 1 third where you’re just seeing sky or you’re just seeing grass or you’re just seeing water. There’s not a lot of detail, and it really forces you to look at light, color, texture, those kinds of things, which maybe you don’t pay as much attention to when you’re seeing the painting as a whole. And so this has really become one of my favorite ways to study and look at. A painting is doing it 1 third at a time.

Dawn Garrett [00:17:38]:

I think the ladies at the retreat were kind of in awe by this one. They were like, how can I do this? So they were thinking, well, I could print it out and cut it into thirds and just give my kids each third, like, a puzzle at a time, or I can use index cards and cover up different parts of it. Or I could do do it on the computer like we did. We put it on the TV, but, like, they use, you know, their photo cut paste kind of programs, and we’re able to cut it into parts and and project it that way. So there are a lot of different ways that you can actually accomplish this, and they were all like, we know just so many things about this painting that it was not a very full painting. Even even the 3rd that had stuff in it didn’t have a lot of stuff in it at the retreat. So it helped it really helped focus on what was going on.

Pam Barnhill [00:18:30]:


Laney Homan [00:18:31]:

I actually did this is one that I tried new for my kids when I got back from the retreat. And using the mountain’s exploration, there’s a photo called the belated party on Mansfield Mountain by Jerome B. Thompson. And I just did, like, a I pulled the photograph up on my computer screen, and I did, like, a screenshot of each third of it, and then I opened it one at a time. I didn’t even tell my kids we were looking at the same picture. I was just like, hey. I want you to look at this picture. What do you think? And they would talk about it, and then I’d be like, okay. Now look at this one.

Laney Homan [00:19:03]:

And I actually they didn’t recognize it was the same picture until I showed them the whole picture. They’re like, wait, we just looked at all of this. And so it was really interesting to see because, again, there’s, like, not a whole lot going on. In this particular section, there was, like, not a whole lot going on in the top 3rd, and then in the second 3rd, there’s looks like something else is going on, and in the bottom 3rd, you’ve got something else. And so they didn’t like, they were, like, well, yeah, it’s all mountains. Like, they might have even picked up on that with the fact that it was, like, a say the same painter or something like that. But until I showed them this the whole picture at the end, then they were like, oh, and then they saw it. And so it was really interesting to see them, like, process the picture in the different parts rather than just seeing the whole thing.

Laney Homan [00:19:50]:

And I just I really enjoyed the way that revelation went for them. And I think that it’s something, again, that they’ll remember very distinctly some of the features of that painting because of the slow reveal.

Pam Barnhill [00:20:03]:

Yeah. I love it. I love it so much. And, by the way, just to we’re not holding back on you guys. The painting that we did at the beach retreat was called impression sunrise by Claude Monet. I kept wanting to call it inspiration sunrise, and so I was like, wait, that’s not right. So I had to Google it while Laney was talking, but I we kept alluding to it and not telling you what the name was. So so, like, go look at it.

Pam Barnhill [00:20:25]:

We’ll include a link in the show notes, and you can pull it up and you could see, like, kind of what we’re talking about here.

Laney Homan [00:20:32]:

Well and one of the things I remember about that when we looked at it in thirds at the beach retreat was he Monet signed the painting. So by the time we got to one’s one of the sections, we were like, oh, it’s a Monet painting. I don’t think anybody in the room would have pegged it as a Monet painting until they saw that, and then saw it as a whole. But it wasn’t quite as obvious, whereas he has a very distinctive painting style, like we were talking. You can often look at his work and then recognize, like, oh, that’s a Monet. But I thought that was kind of funny because we’re all, like, looking at it, looking really intently at the detail from, like, 3rd, 3rd, and then the bottom third actually has his name in it. We’re, like, it’s a Monet.

Pam Barnhill [00:21:13]:

And we did. So we actually used, just for demonstration purposes at the beach, we actually used all 5 of these methods that we’re sharing with you today on one painting. Now that’s not something that we would typically do at home. It’s not to say that you can’t, but we wouldn’t typically do it. Yeah. Hi, friends. I’m interrupting this episode to let you know that we took all the hard work out of planning morning time. Our morning time plans are designed for ease of use for new morning time moms and veterans alike.

Pam Barnhill [00:21:49]:

You can bring beauty and fun to your homeschool with our easy to use guides. In fact, you can get a free month of morning time today. Head to the link in our show notes to get started with your free morning time sample. Alright. Dawn, go ahead and tell us the 4th way we can do picture study.

Dawn Garrett [00:22:09]:

Laney actually kind of already alluded to it by saying that, like, redrawing it would stress her kids out. So this is a case of know your kids, but it’s also not always bad to stress your kids out a little bit. But with this particular method, I think it’s really good if mom participates too because then you feel the pain and your kids see that you’re not exactly looking for perfection. So what you will do is make sure each of your kids has an index card or a piece of paper and a pencil. And this would be toward the end. So if you study the same painting for a couple of weeks or even a week, you would do this at the end of your study time. And you give them the the things and say, I’m gonna give you 5 minutes, and you set a timer on your phone so they know it’s limited. So they they really have to know that they can’t be perfect and that you’re not expecting perfection.

Dawn Garrett [00:23:14]:

Set the timer on the phone for, like, 5 minutes and say, okay. Draw the painting that we’ve been studying. Draw impression sunrise. Try to put things approximately where Monet put them. Try to, you know, try to draw as many sunflowers as Van Gogh had in his vase, that kind of thing. Try and do your best. Stick figures are perfectly acceptable here. So what you’re doing is you’re asking them to recreate to the best of their artistry in 5 minutes the painting that you’ve been looking at, and you do it too.

Pam Barnhill [00:23:51]:

So once again, this is an exercise in the habit of attention, and this is an exercise in owning that painting for yourself. This is not an exercise in recreating the style of the artist or learning art techniques or anything like that, which is is why you give them a pencil. Now I know one of the moms at the beach retreat I can’t remember, like, if Heather brought oils or, like, oil pastels or something with her.

Dawn Garrett [00:24:19]:

There were pastels. Yeah.

Pam Barnhill [00:24:21]:

Yeah. There were some pastels there, and she grabbed them and used the pastels. And it worked out fine because she was aware at that point, and she liked using the colors.

Dawn Garrett [00:24:31]:

And she was very like, she did a great job. It was it was very you know? This is not drawing instruction. Yeah. Yeah. Right. Our our instruction time.

Laney Homan [00:24:41]:

Yeah. And that’s I think that’s the thing. It’s paying attention to the detail and doing a quick sketch of it to represent the different things, it is not an art project. Right. And that that as opposed to, like, what I was talking about before is more like an art project where you’re really trying to, like, let me paint the same painting, you know, using this one as a model. And that’s the kind of thing that would stress my kids out. We do we actually recently did this with a picture from oh, I can’t remember which. It was, like, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount or something.

Laney Homan [00:25:13]:

It came from the Lent plans. And we, I had the kids sketch the picture after they had studied it for a few minutes. And then I posted some samples of that in the community of, like, what that looked like when they did it. And it was. It was, like, super simple, like, just stick figures, you know, did you put the right number of people in there? An interesting thing to note about that particular painting was that all of the disciples had the little halo around their head, except one of them had a black halo, and my kids figured that that was probably Judas. And so, like you know, but that was something that they, like, kinda noted in their sketches. The disciples had really bright colorful clothing on, so some of them did, like, grab a couple of crayons and just, like, to represent the bright colors. But it wasn’t even necessarily trying to recreate create the exact colors.

Laney Homan [00:26:00]:

It was just a, you know, a quick sketch. Again, like, it’s demonstrating the habit of attention versus this is an art project that you’re trying to make look like a piece of artwork.

Pam Barnhill [00:26:11]:

Yeah. Yeah. And I I think that’s just an important point to get across to your kids. We’re not doing an art project here. This is, you know, this is kind of fun little review of the painting that we’ve been studying to see what we remember about it. And I think Dawn’s exactly right. This is one of those places where mom sitting down and taking part is absolutely vital to, the success of this one until they especially until they get used to, you know, kinda doing it. Alright.

Pam Barnhill [00:26:38]:

Okay. Miss Laney, you are going to close this out with, picture study method number 5.

Laney Homan [00:26:43]:

Okay. So this one is kinda fun, and I think speaks to Pam’s writer’s heart.

Laney Homan [00:26:49]:

And this is to tell a story. So sometimes I’ll just have my kids tell a story about the picture. Again, this goes back to not revealing the title of the picture, not giving them any context. If the picture is going to provide them context on its own, I’m probably not gonna ask them for a story. So, for example, when we’re looking at Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and it is clearly a picture of Jesus teaching the 12 disciples, I’m not gonna ask for a story about that. But 2 people in a boat on a lake, I probably asked for a story about that. Like, what what’s going on? What are they thinking? What are they you know, is it a father and a son? Is it like, can you even tell? And I just will start asking them some questions. I do not usually do this as, like, an individual assignment because that would overwhelm my children.

Laney Homan [00:27:33]:

Of course, if you have super creative kids that like creative writing and want to do that, have them all tell their own story. What we like to do is one person just comes up with one sentence. So let’s start a story about the painting, and then we just go around the table. Each child adds one sentence to the story, and it usually kind of it’s hilarious like a Mad Lib. It goes off in all kinds of crazy directions.

Pam Barnhill [00:27:55]:

Yes. But you’re using things that are in the painting. So back to the Angelica Kaufman painting with the chess set in it, that detail of the chess set can play a role in the story, and that’s that’s kind of how you want it to. I mean, you don’t want space aliens coming down necessarily and, like, you know, doing things if there’s no evidence of that in the story. Like, you like, why is the chess set there? What are we doing with it? Did we just play chess? Are we waiting for somebody to play chess? You know, what other details are going on in this story? You know, are the 2 men in the boat escaping from the shipyard? You know, is it are are they sneaking away at sunrise? And so there’s always that kind of, like, give and take with your kids of, you know, keeping things reined in, which is always an adventure.

Laney Homan [00:28:44]:

Well and the thing is, when you do the method of, like, everybody tells a sentence like, for me, I’ve got 4 kids at the morning timetable. If I’m adding a sentence too, then we’ve got five sentences, that’s enough. Like, that’s a paragraph about the painting. Sometimes I’ll write it down so we have a record of it. Sometimes we just do it orally, and we just let it go. But, yeah, it’s not something that’s like, again, it’s not something that puts in a lot of time and effort. It’s just a short thing. If we think that we want it to expand, I might say everybody’s gonna go we’re gonna go around the table twice.

Laney Homan [00:29:15]:

You know? If you have a fewer number of kids, you might go around the table twice to kinda give people an opportunity to actually get a story going. But it’s not it doesn’t have to be a novel.

Pam Barnhill [00:29:26]:

Yeah. Yeah. And if you do go around the table twice and you kind of notice it getting away from you a little bit as mom, when it’s your turn because you are participating, you can bring the story back to where it needs to be, back to focusing on the details of the painting by kind of, you know Yep. Doing doing what you need to do. So because I know we’re gonna get that question. So.

Dawn Garrett [00:29:46]:

That that that is something. So I talked about mom participating in the one. Laney, you talked about mom per you talked about mom participating and telling the story about it. I think it’s really good for mom to participate in any kind of art study that you’re doing because it it helps to show the importance to your kids of why you’re doing it, that it’s valuable even for you as mom. So don’t forget about that.

Pam Barnhill [00:30:12]:

Yeah. And this is one of those places. Like, all five of these things that we’ve given to you are all age appropriate for teens. I mean, my teens love to do the acted out and to tell a story and things like that. And so this is not a situation where, you know, your teams are like, oh, you know, I have to go. This is too babyish for me because this is something that they can absolutely take part in. Either if you have all teens like Dawn and I do or if you have a wide variety of ages from teen all the way down to even the toddler can get involved. Yep.

Pam Barnhill [00:30:45]:

For sure.

Laney Homan [00:30:46]:

Lot of fun. So looking at the different ways to do this, it’s just made it so much more interesting for me to present art to my kids because I have some kids who are just really enthused by art. They’re their creative souls. They absolutely love art. The beauty speaks to them, and then I have some other kids who were like, why are we doing this? And that’s okay. Like, it’s not optional at our morning timetable. But doing something other than just kind of, like, what they expect is always something that catches their attention in a new way, and that’s kind of fun. So I change it up.

Laney Homan [00:31:20]:

Like, every time we do a picture study. We don’t do one more than the other. We just kind of switch it up, and we’re not doing picture study every day. But when it comes up, well just I’ll pick one that just seems like that’ll work in the moment.

Dawn Garrett [00:31:33]:

I also I wanna add, these are 5 that we have come up with and have talked about and used in our homes, but I hope this is a springboard for the community to think about a lot more. And if you come into the homeschool better together portal, which is entirely free, you can talk about this podcast and tell us your ideas for Yeah. Doing picture study and and other ways because we can always use some new ones to kind of refresh our morning time too.

Pam Barnhill [00:32:00]:

Yeah. I love it. Okay. Real quick before we go, because I did wanna keep this one like a manageable link for moms. But I do want to talk about this, Dawn, because you mentioned it earlier that this is not studying the lives of the artist or art style. Is it ever appropriate to bring up that information?

Dawn Garrett [00:32:18]:

I think so. I think there is a time to do art history with your kids. I think that’s a valuable study to read through some books and talk that kind of thing. And if your kids ask, well, I noticed that this one, this Monet one is similar, but not exactly the same as this other guy, this, you know, the pick a pick an impressionist. Why and when was this? Like, your kids will start to notice. I know my kids, we did J.M.W Turner, and they saw some other turners, and they were like, who looks like that guy? You know? So, like, they do start to really pick up on the style of a painter. If you do five or six of one painter’s, there are more than that out there in the wild. And they start to pick up on, oh, that’s that guy.

Dawn Garrett [00:33:08]:

And they start to pick up on when and where he’s painting and why he’s painting and, you know, how she approaches her her study. And so as they as your kids get older, they they will start to notice those things and will start to wonder about kind of how how they go together. And I think there are yes. You can talk about this as impressionistic or this is renaissance or, you know, different movements throughout history is is fine thing to talk about. But I don’t think during, like, during an initial introduction to a painter or in or a picture study, I don’t think you need to, like it’s kinda like giving away the farm when you give away the title and you you just let them notice. Why is it all splotchy like this? Why is it all dots? Why you know, pointillism is all dots. Why is it all dots? And then you can talk about those things.

Pam Barnhill [00:34:02]:

Okay. I love it. So so kinda start with some of the observation and the other stuff, and then as the conversation arises. And I love the fact I love this for a couple of reasons. So number 1, you don’t have to know all the answers. You don’t have to have all the answers when you’re starting to look at painting. You can just look at them and enjoy the exercise with your children. And number two, it gives you another subject to do later when your kids are interested.

Pam Barnhill [00:34:25]:

Then later on, you can you can do the art history. You can talk about those kinds of things. Makes a great credit on a high school transcript or For sure. Or something like that. So gives you an an opportunity to do something else. Well, guys, picture study. This is fabulous. I hope you have learned something today that you could take into your homeschool, and your morning time and use that, and that’s what we’re here for.

Pam Barnhill [00:34:48]:

And so, ladies, thank you so much for helping me.

Pam Barnhill [00:34:51]:

Thanks. Good to chat. Thanks so much for listening to your morning basket. If you are ready to spend less time planning and more time engaged in learning with your children, join Your Morning Basket Plus, a monthly membership with everything you need to start a morning time practice in your home school. To join, head on over to, and I’ll see you there.

Links and Resources From Today’s Show

Key Ideas About Picture Study

  • Emphasize the value of setting a timer for 5 minutes to draw a painting as an exercise in attention, not about recreating the style of the artist.
  • Highlight the importance of dividing a painting into thirds and showing each part to children, focusing on details like colors, brushstrokes, light, and texture. 
  • Discuss the process of telling a story about a picture to engage with the painting, emphasizing the use of details in the painting to guide the story.
  • Encourage the community to share more ideas for picture study and other activities in a free homeschool portal.
  • Stress the significance of building the habit of attention through picture study and other activities like nature study, music, and poetry.
  • Recommend not revealing the title of the painting initially to encourage critical thinking, and suggest asking questions to prompt children to think about the painting and offer their own titles.

Find What You Want to Hear

  • [0:04] Intros
  • [2:08] Picture study introduction
  • [4:21] First method, Dawn
  • [6:30] Making connections in art 
  • [9:19] Second method, Laney
  • [12:40] Habit of attention, Laney’s method
  • [15:35] Third method, Rule of thirds, Pam
  • [17:38] Dawn experience with thirds method
  • [18:31] Laney experience with thirds method
  • [20:03] Monet 
  • [22:09] Fourth method 
  • [26:38] Fifth method
  • [34:48] Closing