Keeping Art in Our Homeschools
It’s fun, it’s messy, and it’s essential to a well-rounded education. Art awakens God-given creativity that’s necessary for our kids to excel in every subject! As an art school grad, I’ve seen the boost artistic creativity can give even the most technical of fields. The Lord Himself calls us His “work of art” and He infused the world with creativity and beauty— let’s allow Him to do the same for our homeschools!
A stress-free way to do this is having an “art break” in your homeschool day. It’s like a recess — I position mine between Bible and reading time. My kids are elementary aged, so it’s more playful than for the older ages, but I believe the “art break” can be done through high school.
To start, I reduce the lofty fine arts to three basic components: medium (like paints or pencil), type of art (like observational or collage), and theme (like winter or christmas). A fun way to do this is write several options for each category—making sure all themes are relevant for the season, of course— cut them out, then put them in separate labeled jars (mediums, types of art, and themes) and select one from each for that day. (If you have older children, they could each pick their own).
Let’s say I pull painting, collage, and winter from the jars. One elementary assignment I could do with this is have the kids glue construction paper squares to the white paper, and then paint dots of “snow” using white Tempera paint. (Let an older student create the project on her own). Then I’ll play worship music softly in the background while their creating. Depending on your kids ages, I recommend keeping each “art break” to thirty minutes.
Don’t direct it too much. I’ll give my kids the materials, explain the assignment and tell them to fill the whole page— then let them go with it. Although against the norm, I don’t show
examples for art projects. While there’s a time for learning artistic techniques, this art break is for experimentation. Every child thinks differently—they’ll learn more if they don’t copy. I’ll have one line up the construction paper squares in a shape, while another just places them randomly. The first paints huge snowflakes, while another makes tiny dots.
The key to teaching art is simply getting out of the way and encouraging discovery. And the great news is you don’t have to be an artist to do this. Happy “arts-ing” and here’s to keeping art in our homeschools!
Basic Art Supplies to have on hand:
● Construction paper
● Tempera paints (at least red, blue, yellow, white, black)
● Watercolor paints
● Basic white typing paper
● Glue sticks
● Sculpey clay (or other brand clay)
● Paintbrushes (several different sizes)
● Old sponges (for stamping projects)
● Old magazines
● Large Sketchbooks (at least 9 by 12)
● Pencils (regular, doesn’t have to be drawing pencils)
● Paper plates
● Paper towels
● Disposable cups (for rinsing paintbrushes)
Carole Ruffin is wife to Jesse and mom of five wonderful kids. She’s the author of Kids, Crayons, and Christ early elementary art curriculum, and also a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art. She blogs about practical ways to include art in every subject, and also creative ways to teach older kids when you have a new baby. Here’s her blog: http://www.drawinguntohim.com/homeschool