Picture Study, Day 1

We tried our first picture study yesterday.  I began with Raphael, at Karen Andreola’s recommendation (see A Charlotte Mason Companion.)  I opened the book to a one-page reproduction (about 6×9 in) of the painting and covered the opposing plate with a piece of black paper (held on with a rubber band, which also served to keep the book open to that page.  We started with "The Choice of Hercules", a painting in which Hercules is sleeping outside the city, and two women (one holding a sword & book, the other holding a flower) are standing above him.  I chose to begin with this painting because Hercules is a very familiar figure to our children.  Perhaps I should have began with a painting representing a Bible story, because we couldn’t seem to figure out exactly what the two women represented.  A life of duty vs. leisure?  Violence v. love (then what’s up with the book)?  It was unclear to us, but the picture generated some discussion, and wespent a good part of lunch looking at it.  I want to spend tomorrow morning having the kids reproduce the painting. 

As we were doing this, I was reminded how hard it is to start new things.  it was not a smooth exercise.  The kids didn’t know what I wanted.  I asked far too many leading questions to get them to give me some details.  But I have to remember that, just as with any other subject, competency comes with experience. 

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