Many homeschoolers feel under qualified in the art department. And with so many other subject areas and resources to buy, not many have the funds available to pour into a pre-packaged curriculum or private art classes for their children. So what is the average, non-artistic homeschool mom to do?

Well, it turns out that between a few well-chosen books (purchased or borrowed from the library) and the internet, you can add Art to your homeschool syllabus without cost or expertise!

Homeschooling Art Without a Curriculum! Picture study is an excellent way to cover art without an expensive curriculum. All you need are a few carefully chosen resources and your library card!

This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure statement for details.

Homeschool Art – No Fancy or Expensive Curriculum Required!

If you are interested in using free, online resources for art in your homeschool, I’ve put together a list of our Top 5 Websites for Homeschool Art.  Included there are tutorials using various medium, as well as sites that provide lesson plans for Art Appreciation.

Another option that has long appealed to me is the practice of picture study. Picture study is a simple way to enjoy art with children of all ages and involves showing your children a work of art, allowing them time to inspect and enjoy it, and then removing the picture and have them narrate, or tell back, what they remember about it.

I had been intending to begin picture study with my children for some time now, but even with its simplicity, I still found it a bit overwhelming. Since I have had absolutely no experience, training, or exposure to the arts in my own education, I didn’t even know where to begin in choosing the art and artists to study! I did find some wonderful resources with selections, but I would still need to hunt down either in books or online, the prints of the paintings to use, and then have them printed.

Then I found the perfect solution to my problem: Usborne Famous Paintings cards. I highly recommend them! There are 30  4×6 cards in the box featuring some of the world’s most famous paintings from the 1400’s all the way to modern art. I organized my cards in chronological order, and now we can study Art in tandem with our History!

Our Favourite Art Appreciation Resources:

These resources are great to use with the Usborne cards or other art prints. Get my printable lesson plans that coordinate these great resources at the end of this post.

Usborne Art Treasury

This full-colour book features 22 works of art, biographical information about their artists, and projects inspired by them. It’s great for exploring the themes, ideas or mediums used in the famous works shown.  10 of the 30 works or artists from the art cards are featured in this book, providing ideas to go along with your picture study.


 Discovering Great Artists

This book, by MaryAnn F Kohn & Kim Solga, features 75 artists and 110 art appreciation activities. It contains 17 projects that correlate with the Usborne art cards.



Getting to Know the World’s Great Artists

This is a collection of 37 books, each featuring an artist. Written by Mike Venezia, they are colourful, informative, and humorous. 18 of the artists featured in the art cards have a book in this series. Our library carries several of them, but we liked them so much that we purchased some for our own collection.


 Start Exploring Masterpieces

This is a colouring book with line drawings of 60 works of art for colouring. My girls really like to colour, so I thought that this would make a nice add-on activity for our picture study. We have been having a bit of fun trying to match the colouring and shading of the paintings using colouring pencils! There are 19 artists/paintings that tie in with the Usborne cards.

How We Do Picture Study with the Usborne Famous Paintings Cards:

Day One: We begin our week simply by spending a few minutes observing the card silently. In advance, I tell my girls that this is like our SQUILT lessons, only instead of Super Quiet Uninterrupted Listening Time, it is Super Quiet Uninterrupted Looking Time!  After we are done, I cover up the card and ask my 5-year-old to tell me everything she remembers about the art. Her answers are pretty short, but then my 8-year-old has a turn to chime in with all the things she remembers that Little Sister left out. Finally, I take a turn and add on anything else that I remember that hasn’t been mentioned yet. This works wonderfully into our regular Morning Time when we cuddle on the couch to read and sing before we start our day.

Day Two: The next day we look at the card again and read some biographical information (from the card itself, or the other resources listed above) about the artist or art movement they belong to. Sometimes we sit and colour from the Masterpieces colouring book at this time.

Day Three: This is the day we get our hands dirty, and try out any hands-on activities or art projects that go along with the art or artist.

How to Homeschool Art without a curriculum!

Free, printable lesson plans using Usborne Famous Paintings art cards


If you are interested in my lesson plan spreadsheet, co-ordinating the above-mentioned resources with the art cards, click on the image to download and print.





Have you used any formal art curricula in your homeschool? What have you used, and what did you like about it?

This post is part of The Canadian Homeschool Blogging Team’s feature on Art in Our Homeschools.

The Canadian Homeschool Blogging Team

Living and Learning at Home

Pin It on Pinterest