The Knight’s Dream


Homeschooling is nothing if not an adventure…and today’s adventure included Art Appreciation.  In the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling, art appreciation involves “picture study”.  Picture study, basically, is holding a reproduction of a great work of art in front of the child(ren) for a while, letting them study it well, then taking it away and asking them to tell you about the picture.  Fun, huh?  Like one of those baby shower games…only way better.  And more life enriching.

The students learn about a great artist and study six of his or her works per term (this term is Sept-Nov).  This week’s painting is The Knight’s Dream by Raphael Sanzio which, of course, THRILLED my boys, who are great fans of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle series (my fault).  RAPHAEL?!  Awesome!!! (They were only slightly less thrilled when I explained that it wasn’t the teenage mutant ninja turtle, but the guy he was named after.  But still…)

So the boys looked at the painting for a while, then I turned it away from them and let Sean start.  He did pretty well for a 7-year-old who’d rather be karate-chopping and takin’ names.  He said that he saw a young knight, whom he thought was in his grave, since the one lady was bringing flowers to him.  And he described the other lady well, and the castle, etc.  Great start, I thought.  (Interesting insight on the grave thing.)

Then Liam opened his mouth and blew me away.  He said, “I see a young, untrained knight…and this is just my personal opinion…and he’s having a dream of who he’ll be someday.  Young knights don’t fight with real swords, they fight with wooden sticks, so he’s dreaming about having a great sword of his own one day.  And also a really great handbook for knights, about horses and swords and all the things knights need to know.  And he’s also dreaming of getting married, and that’s what the young, beautiful lady is representing.  The flowers represent getting married.  And the other lady is sort of like a maid.  That’s why she’s the one handing him the tools he’ll need to be a great knight.  He’s also dreaming of the castle he wants to live in someday, instead of the small house he lives in now.  And you see he’s kind of smiling, so it’s obviously a good dream.”

He’s 9, by the way.


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