Tips for Homeschooling Art
Homeschooling art can be an amazing opportunity, especially if your child is artistically inclined. However, it can often get lost in the shuffle of all the other necessary core subjects that “have to be finished first”. Still, between the fact that nearly all children love and have a God-given talent for artistic creation, and the fact that studies continue to show that art affects all subjects positively, it becomes much more necessary to put a little more focus on art itself.
There are many ways to teach art, even if you don’t feel very capable of doing so. The truth is, if you think you lack skill, that can actually work to your advantage, especially if your child doesn’t feel very talented either. This way you can learn together, and your child will find great solace in watching both your abilities grow.
Encourage Art in Your Home
If you’d like to make art a more accessible subject for your child, be sure to keep a wealth of art supplies on hand at all times. You could set aside an area in your office dedicated to arts, crafting, needlework, or any other form of artistic expression that is prominent in your home. This might even take the form of an easel set up near a variety of media so that your child can freely work on their project, leave it for a time if they need to, and then come back to it with ease.
If you don’t have enough space to set aside an entire room or area of your home aside for this endeavor, don’t worry. You can still keep things artistic. At the very least, you can use a tote, however large you want or need it to be, and fill it with all the art supplies your child loves best. Then, when it’s time to use them, you can use a tablecloth, or even better, a shower curtain liner, to protect your table from becoming stained.
Homeschooling Visual Arts
Whenever “art” is mentioned in the homeschooling world, this is usually what most people think about first, especially in the early elementary years. This category, which is based purely on visual perception, contains such pieces as drawing, painting, pottery, and sculptures. Other arts that can be included in this group, but which are not often considered right away, include photography, bead work and jewelry, and architecture.
Keeping a nature journal is a great way to include drawing in your homeschool day. Not only do you and your child get to go outside and enjoy fresh air, sunshine, and all the beauties of nature, you can work on art at the same time. With such precious inspiration as God’s great creation, you won’t lack subject matter. Even a rough flower sketch can turn into something beautiful if a child is released to put their very best work forward.
In science class, ask for sketches or models of things you might be studying in biology, chemistry, or geography. The ideas can be endless, the more you think about what can be taught as art or from an artistic perspective.
Homeschooling Art Appreciation
You can teach art appreciation by focusing on knowledge of the most timeless works of art, what their qualities are, and what there is to be appreciated in them. Again, the types and styles of art can be quite varied so there’s plenty of room to alleviate boredom. The most important aspect here is to train for seeing specific nuances in each piece.
Homeschool the History of Art
Unlike art appreciation, which focuses on the piece of art itself, art history is a study of the various means of expression through the arts down through the ages. Various historic time periods were strongly influenced by the ongoing culture of the time and geographic location, and with a bit of study, your child will be able to pick out what era a piece of art is from just by studying it for a moment.
A great way to add art history to your homeschooling day is to simply add famous artwork from the specific timeframe you happen to be teaching about. Once you let your imagination go, you can come up with excellent ideas for all your subjects that can include artwork of some sort.
A Specific Art Curriculum
Many curriculum providers offer an art curriculum for those families who prefer it. These can be used as Unit Studies or as an independent curriculum and you’ll find they come in various price ranges. Some offer everything in hardcopy, with books, workbooks, and lessons, whereas some offer online content, especially for art appreciation and history.
You can even create your own homeschooling art curriculum by using a variety of free books found on the internet. If you go to Amazon, you can actually find a wealth of classic books, from the early 1900s, that are completely free and can be printed out from your computer for personal use. Gutenberg is another resource for free materials. They are much older, but I have found that sometimes, that’s the best kind.
If you’re looking for low-cost art supplies, don’t forget to check your local thrift shops or consignment stores. It’s never a “sure thing” that you’ll find something you can use, but if you’re always looking, there’s no telling what you might find.
Find the Best Art Instruction
If you need help finding resources, you’ll be glad to know they might be closer than you think. You can start with seeking out classes within your community. It’s not uncommon for hobby stores, churches, recreation centers and even some home improvement stores to offer art or crafting opportunities. Keep your eyes open for library bulletin board posts, the classified section of your homeschool newsletter, children’s museums, and especially word of mouth.
Homeschool co-ops are another great resource that often offers different types of classes, often taught by a local artist. Both co-ops and private groups often focus more on the elective end of the educational spectrum, so you’re most likely to find larger classes there.
Don’t overlook online lessons, which can often be found for free. You’ll find a great number of tutorials for everything from simple sketching to mixed media and everything in between. Books offer a very similar resource; however, the information will be self-taught as opposed to the kind of visual demonstration you’ll gain from video resources.
If you’re super lucky, you might have a friend or family member who just happens to be artistically inclined. Do they sell handmade goods online? Run a hobby shop or pottery studio? There are resources closer than you think that you might not even have thought about before but trust me, they’re worth looking into!
There is no one perfect way for homeschooling art with your child. Anything that works best for their age-level, interests, and ability will always make the class a success, so don’t be afraid to cater to those specifics. After all, homeschool was never meant to create cookie-cutter children. Sometimes, the opportunity to really spread their wings in an area such as art can have a massive impact on the rest of your child’s life. Whether or not they actually pursue a career in this field or not, they will have been given an opportunity to do what they really love, and that could be just the push they need to soar in every other area of their lives.