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Simply Charlotte Mason - Picture Study Portfolios: Monet Review by Brittney Rutherford

Emily Kiser
Simply Charlotte Mason
930 New Hope Rd #11-892
Lawrenceville, GA 30045

As a homeschool parent, I most closely identify with the Charlotte Mason philosophy, as it brings beauty and depth to our homeschool that we had not experienced when going in a different direction. One of the methods that is used to broaden a child’s appreciation for the world is Picture Study, though it is one I have never fully implemented. Each term, a family or class should choose an artist to study together. Every two weeks, one piece of art should be studied, so that over the twelve weeks, you have imprinted a little bit of this artist to the mind and can recognize their style. Studying three artists per year, you will have a storehouse of beautiful images over the years. Simply Charlotte Mason has brought together a wonderful resource to help parents do picture study quickly and effectively, and I was so excited to begin this year’s picture study with the famous artist Monet!

The Picture Study Portfolio comes in a large, sturdy envelope for storage. On the back of each portfolio, you will find a portrait of Monet, his birth-death years, and a timeline to show where he fits into art history, with Monet being a modern artist. You will also see a small version of each print that is included in the portfolio.

Inside the Picture Study Portfolio, you will find the Monet picture study handbook and eight full color works by the artist. The handbook, written by Emily Kiser, contains everything you need for a successful picture study, especially if you are unfamiliar with the activity. There is information about why we should do picture study with our children and how to study a picture, utilizing the method described by Charlotte Mason, with supporting quotes from her original books. There is a short biography of Monet to share with the students. It is suggested that you might need to break the reading up over two lessons. We read it in one session, but I’ll definitely be doing two sessions in the future. The biography was interesting, though, and even my 4-year-old insisted on sharing what she learned when the others were narrating.

The next step is simply to select the picture to study. There are eight prints included in the picture study portfolio, so you have a little choice in which six pieces to study. Each picture is 8.5” x11” UV coated card stock. They are full-color and beautiful to look at.  The Monet portfolio includes the following:

Impression, Sunrise

Arrival of the Normandy Train

La Grenouillère

Monet’s Garden at Vétheuil

Rouen Cathedral, the Portal, Morning Effect

Haystacks, end of summer

Woman with a Parasol


The picture study handbook includes suggestions for doing the picture study each week, with ideas for helping the children see the picture in their mind’s eye and describing it from memory. Then we have information for a picture talk, with the reminder not to turn the talks into quizzing sessions. Having Charlotte Mason’s original works is invaluable for understanding and implementing her philosophy, but having this consolidated resource for a specific activity makes the entire process simple, yet thorough.

To begin our Monet study, I chose the first picture to study, then I have given each of my children the opportunity to choose one of the prints that they want to include in our study this term. I wanted to make sure everyone has the opportunity to be included, and to make a personal connection with the artist and his work. Each print gets framed while we study it and displayed in a prominent area at eye-level, as we are encouraged to keep it available for viewing. I have noticed the children stopping to look at it as they pass, so it is a great idea to keep it accessible. I also looked over the “For Further Reading” section of the handbook, and set out some of the suggested books, in case the children want to browse through or read them on their own.

Overall, I am very impressed with the Monet picture study portfolio. The resource includes everything you need for a twelve-week picture study, and the prints are lovely. Simply Charlotte Mason offers a variety of artists from different time periods, and they offer a printed kit, a download kit, as well as the option to purchase additional prints if you need just the pictures for multiple students. Our children are already eagerly discussing who we will study next, so I am pleasantly surprised at how well picture study has been received! I plan to continue using these portfolios as I continue to spread the feast for my children! Although this resource is designed for using in a Charlotte Mason education, it can most certainly be used in any family or classroom for enjoying art appreciation in a simple and effective way.

-Product review by Brittney Rutherford, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October 2017