by Amber Bishop

One of the best things about home schooling is the opportunity to build the type of environment you desire for your children and your family. A great way to add a little culture into your home school is by doing a consistent art study with your child. You do not need to be an accomplished artist. Just have a willingness to learn along with your child. It is that energetic and cooperative spirit that will energize your child and inspire them to create something for themselves.

Here are a few ideas to get you and your family started.

Purchase an inexpensive artists set. The one we purchases came in a wooden box with a spatula, all the basic acrylic colors, a pallet and several different types of brushes. It makes our children feel like real artists’. We use this set during certain times of the week to delineate it from standard markers and crayons. I purchased a painters pad so that their work can be kept and framed as they produce those first master pieces. Again, there is no need to spend a lot of money. Just having something special to work with really gives your child a since of wonder towards creating art.

Study some of the classics. Each semester we study one famous artist and look at one of their works each week. We talk a bit about what we observe and how it makes us feel. It is a great way to cultivate a taste for art in your children as well as give them a natural eye for color, form, shape, line and texture. The library is a wonderful resource for finding great works of art in book form and of course using the internet is a valuable tool as well. Each week we add another classic master piece to our screen saver so the kids can have it in front of them all week. We also print one on photo paper and hang it in a frame at their level. Think of little steps to immerse them into great works of art. We even print a double set of 8 card sized prints and create a simple matching game for the kids to get their heads around the names of the pieces. This helps them become familiar with the artists work.

Take lots of pictures together. We allow our children to take digital photos of things they find interesting. It is more of a discipline of giving them the eye for something visually pleasing. Many nature shots we put in a flicker account and post them on our nature blog to remember them, where we were, as well as other fun thoughts that the picture reminds us of.

Go to museums and art galleries. Every chance we get, we walk into an art gallery or museum. This gives us a bird’s eye view of what other artists are creating. Most of all, art study is something you will grow to love if you just start to do it. Your children will absorb the love of art and your little acts of sowing art into your family life may produce the next Picasso or Rembrandt.

Amber Bishop is the co-founder of http://www.smartmoms-smartbusiness.com/ and http://www.smartmoms.freeforums.com/ ; online resources for work at home moms. She is also the owner of http://www.homeschool-diva.com/ She stays home and home schools her three children while building a successful home based business.

Article Source:
WAHM Articles

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Photo by J-Bug 1/08
Frozen Waterfall at the Zoo

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It's important for families to show their love for one another, so what better time than Valentine's Day to play some games all designed to show each other love and support?

One fun activity is all about giving each other "snaps" for being who they are. Over the course of the year, mom and dad, and the kids as well, can add "snaps" to a special jar or containers. These "snaps" might include things like "dad helped me build my pinewood derby car" or "Joey read books to his sister each night without complaint". Read these little slips of good things, thank each other for caring and empty the jar to start it again for another year.

At dinner on Valentine's night, have each family member tell others why they love them.

What about dad made mom love him?
Why does Joey love his sister?
What about sissy is special to dad?

It might seem a little corny at first, but in the end, everyone will enjoy hearing wonderful, positive things about themselves.

One fun family game involves family trivia. This game is particularly fun if the children are a bit older and there are at least 2 children in the family. Mom (or dad) creates a trivia game that looks something like this:

There will be a series of index cards with a bit of family trivia on each card.
Someone draws a card and tries to answer the question correctly.
If correct, they get a point. The person with the most points at the end of the game gets a prize or extra chocolate syrup on their dessert.

Some questions might be things like this:

*Which one of us suffered a broken leg at the age of 8?
*Which of us, at the age of 3, flushed an entire box of Tide down the toilet?
*Which of us snuck into mom and dad's room every night until he or she was 6 years old?

At a certain age, children begin to enjoy preparing meals for mom and dad. For a fun Valentine's activity, the children could be asked to prepare a meal for mom and dad. Ideally, this would be breakfast in bed and could include foods that are traditional "romantic" foods (like strawberries and chocolate) or whatever the kids want to make. They might even like to prepare a special Valentine's Day menu and let mom and dad choose off the menu. This would be a fun tradition to start as an annual event on Valentine's Day.

Consider a fun family game of "hidden hearts". In this game, children are given clues to find chocolate hearts hidden around the house. The clues can be easy or more complicated to figure out depending on the ages of the children. If one or more children are very young, mom and dad can help them with the clues. When they find the hearts, they can eat them, but mom or dad, remember where you hid the hearts and be sure to count how many are found, so there aren't any left to get ugly in the house!

Finally, a fun family activity around Valentine's Day is to make cards for other people. Have the kids make handprint cards for the grandparents or have the kids make cards for their friends. Handmade cards can be so much more meaningful than the store-bought kind and kids learn a lot
from the experience of putting their hearts (literally) into making the card for others.

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