We can order their affections toward what is good and true by teaching children to love beauty from a young age.
Just one verse each day.
When it comes to raising children who love truth, beauty, and goodness, I believe the best defense is a good offense.
A mind filled with good and beautiful things just doesn’t have room for what’s sordid and crude.
So I make it my mission to order their affections toward what is good and true by teaching them to love beauty from a young age.
These are some of the things I do (or try to!) to raise children who love beauty.
One thing I love about the Montessori philosophy of education is that Maria Montessori advocated for hanging beautiful fine art prints at the child’s level, instead of the garish images that are often billed as “art for kids.”
Pro tip: You can find many lovely fine art images, already framed, at secondhand shops! My daughters’ bedroom holds a gallery wall of beautiful paintings, all from local thrift stores. (We joke that our decorating scheme is “fine art found at Goodwill.”)
When we study art in our homeschool, I encourage my kids to imitate the greats, noticing the shapes and colors they used to create their works.
I fill our home with library books about art like the Come Look with Me series, the Katie and the Artists series, and Vincent’s Starry Night.
Even the baby can look at art flashcards!
Don’t assume my kids are particularly sophisticated. They’re absolutely little hooligans, like most kids. But thanks to all this, they have developed strong opinions about their favorite artists and a decent ability at creating fine art.
Classical music can be intimidating. But I believe that, if you teach a child to intimately know and deeply love one great musical work, they will learn the tools to appreciate many other musical works as they get older.
For me, that musical entry point was “The Nutcracker.” Ever since my oldest was in preschool, every December we listen to the Maestro Classics Nutcracker CD and watch the Nutcracker ballet on DVD.
Now my older children are able to describe and appreciate other musical works in great detail, and it all began with this magical ballet.
Poetry is delightful! We love to have “poetry teatime,” in which we sit down with warm drinks and snacks and I pass out our collection of poetry picture books. Each child gets to pick a poem to read aloud.
After many readings, some poems we all have memorized. It’s sweet to hear them recite the words along with my reading. (And pretty silly—their current favorite is Daddy Fell Into the Pond!)
The benefits of time in nature are beyond what I can cover here! Raising kids who love nature is so important to me and my husband.
I strive to spend 1000 hours outside every year, which is a lot of hours! It helps to do our schoolwork outside and eat meals outside whenever we can.
I encourage my kids to collect little nature finds on our frequent walks. They like to draw or paint beautiful things they find outside in their nature journals.
What would it look like if we approached housework through the lens of beauty? What if we saw housework as a chance to be creative and clever instead of as mindless drudgery?
Instead of saying, “Set the table” or “Clean your room,” I try to say something like, “How can we make the table look beautiful for our family tonight?” or “What can you do to make your room more beautiful?”
We love the story of Miss Rumphius, and I remind my kids that they are so good at finding ways to make things beautiful. Then I encourage them to put that talent to use all around our home!
These are a few ways I’ve found to teach my children to love beauty. How do you appreciate beauty in your home?