Every year, we pore over catalogs. We walk through convention halls, attend workshops, and read reviews. Then we carefully plan out our kids’ subjects, making sure that they have the necessary skills.
We make sure to get in the necessities, and then we add in the extras…but within a few weeks, some of those “extras” start to fall away. We realize that there just isn’t enough time or patience in a day to get it all in. Something’s got to go.
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Unfortunately, the arts tend to be first on the chopping block. Unless you’ve got a naturally artistic child, subjects that foster and understanding and appreciation of art just don’t make it into the schedule.
There are ways to fix that, though! Over the next few weeks, I’ll be offering fun and easy ways to work them into your day. You can find a lot of them in my unit studies!
Speaking of unit studies, I’ve created a series that combines art and art history with activities across the curriculum. You can check out Art History through the Ages here!
Teaching Homeschool Art
You might be asking yourself, “But why? If my kiddo isn’t artistic, why should I bother to add art to our day?”
Good question. Here are some good answers!
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The Arts Include a Lot More Than Just Art!
For some kids, doing something artistic on a regular basis is almost like breathing. They just do it. And if they’re not allowed to, well…it’s not pretty. Incorporating art in their day is what keeps everything running smoothly.
Other kids would sooner chew off a limb than pick up a paintbrush or set of markers. Trying to convince them to create a piece of art is like trying to enact world peace. It’s just not going to happen.
Fortunately, the arts don’t just consist of making visual art!
There are a lot of different options, and each of them have something important to offer. You can choose from art history, composer studies, musical instruments and genres, crafts, dance, poetry, and more. And if your child does enjoy making visual art, there are a lot of different options to dig into!
Art for Kids: Drawing: The Only Drawing Book You’ll Ever Need to Be the Artist You’ve Always Wanted to BeArt Lab for Kids: 52 Creative Adventures in Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Paper, and Mixed Media-For Budding Artists of All Ages (Lab Series)
You Don’t Have to Make Them a Separate Subject!
This was what tended to get these knocked off of our schedule…simply trying to find time to work them in. I would faithfully schedule time, but then life happened. The dog got out and we spent an hour looking for her. Math took an hour and a half instead of 20 minutes.
I know I’m not the only one this happens to. And when it does, well…something has to go.
I found that working them into other subjects not only helped me work them into our day, but also helped the arts actually become relevant. And if your child is anything like mine, that’s essential!
If you need some help with this, check out Art History through the Ages – it’s an easy way to add in art instruction!
The Arts Make Other Subjects Come Alive
The great thing about the arts is that they’re really not separate subjects unto themselves…they’re an extension of many other subjects. Because of this, they fit incredibly well with just about every other subject.
Every form of art is a reaction to an idea, an event, a thought process, or something in the world around us. It’s an expression of something else. It’s a person’s way of showing the world what they think, see, or feel.
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Many works are reactions to things or ideas that are happening in a certain time or place – they go well with history and geography. Others are inspired by things in nature or science, and they are paired well with science studies.
Some types of art are expressions of ideas in theology, government, or philosophy; they can really enhance a study in any of these areas.
In order to work these in, ask yourself: what does it tie into?
They Help Us Understand Each Other
Carrying point #3 forward, sometimes it’s easier to understand the ideas or viewpoints of others when we can hear or see what they think in a new way.
Music is an incredible way to that, and studying composers, periods, and genres of music can make worldview studies easier to grasp.
Throughout history, artists have used different methods and techniques to portray their messages. Sometimes this has to do with colors, the play of light and dark, or placement of elements within their piece.
Taking a little time to dig into these details can open up a whole new world of understanding. In turn, this can help us better understand where others are coming from.
The Arts Are an Extension of Culture
Are you having trouble making geography interesting? Is your child finding a foreign language difficult to learn? Add in some arts!
This doesn’t have to be anything extravagant; it can include anything from a quick project to videos on Youtube. (Check out my Pinterest board for some great arts channels!)
Learning about what other cultures view as beautiful or noble can offer amazing insights into their lives and thought processes. And this can make geography studies a lot more fun!
They Give a Great Foundation for College Studies
At most universities, Humanities is a required course; some even require multiple semesters of it. Having a foundational understanding of how art applies to history, literature, politics, religion, and culture can make these courses much easier – and much more interesting.
Building that base in your homeschool can help your student quite a bit down the line!
Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art for Children in the Styles of the Great Masters (Bright Ideas for Learning)Art Workshop for Children: How to Foster Original Thinking with more than 25 Process Art Experiences
They’re Just Plain Fun!
Once you tap into the arts in ways that engage your kids, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier to keep them in your schedule. Seeing your kids gain a deeper level of understanding and watching them really interact with what they’re learning is amazing. And you’ll start having fun with it, too!
So How Do I Do It?
I’ve created a series of unit studies based around artists and art movements. They incorporate art (of course), history, geography, and far more. These studies reach from the early Renaissance through Contemporary Art – you’re sure to find some that your kids will love!