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.

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AnArtfulJourney said... @ 2/27/2008 12:13 AM

Art is one of our favorite homeshooling subjects.

We tried doing an artist a month but we were just so excited about the number of artists that we wanted to study that we simply couldn't stand just twelve a year. We ended up studying a particular artist's work for anywhere from a week to two weeks, depending on the artist and feature a new work of art each day.

Jenny-up the hill said... @ 3/02/2008 8:49 AM

We study different artists weekly..sometimes it stretches out for several weeks. Right now we are studying Grandma Moses and finishing up with Mary Cassatt...a few weeks ago the Homeschool estore had a free Mary Cassatt lapbook. I'll have to say that my daughter is much more interested than my boys...they seem to like the composers better....

ArahMan7 said... @ 3/05/2008 7:50 AM

Hi EJ,

First, I would like to thank you for dropping your Entrecard and and bidding to advertise on Web Directory. And I'm happy to approve your application.

You've a very educational blog here. If ever I got a kid of my own, I'm gonna refer to this post to teach art to my children when I an NOT an artist.

See you around EJ.

Greetings and lots of love from Malaysia.

Writing Mommy said... @ 3/06/2008 3:52 AM

Good tips. Thanks very much. I'm going to try some out next month when my son's school vacations begin. :)

Lori - heaven graphics said... @ 3/07/2008 1:23 PM

I was going to suggest Anartfuljourney.

I homeschooled my boys from junior high school onward. It's nice to see art as a homeschool subject, our public schools here have basically nuked any chance of art being taught.

I don't know about schools across the country, but here in Wisconsin, art and music are basically non-existent in teaching unless you are able to join something extracurricular or take electives in the higher grades.

Carolyn B. said... @ 3/09/2008 2:52 PM

Hi, I read this post a day or two ago and didn't comment at the time (shamefully lazy of me), although I thought, "How cool that you go to this trouble to make art an important part of your kids' education."

I'm writing now because I just noticed something in the news about California requiring teaching certification for home-schoolers. It seems like this kind of legislation will stifle the parents who truly are investing in their children's education, even if they don't have teaching certification. Then I remembered this post of yours and it made me think about the parents who go the extra mile to enrich their home schooling. I thought I'd drop you a note to get your perspective on that, even if it doesn't affect you directly (you're in another state, right?). I don't know many homeschooling families, and I'd love to hear your thoughts.

I have mixed feelings, myself: I understand the goal of focusing on the best possible education for all children, but I don't think a professionally trained educator is the only one who can achieve that. It seems like this is just a political move to appease the teachers' union. If the true goal is the children's best interests, then aren't the state educational standards that you already meet enough? This kind of overly intrusive legislation drives me crazy.

Anyway -- a penny for your thoughts.

Note: I don't home school my children, but I am strongly in favor of parents having the right to teach their children themselves if they're committed to providing a quality education and meet or exceed basic educational standards. I respect you for the choice you've made to educate your children yourself and the efforts you make to do it well. I just wish legislators felt the same way. :o/

Best regards, Carolyn Bahm, Collierville, Tenn.

EJ Cooksey said... @ 3/09/2008 4:07 PM

I want to thank everyone for stopping by and for their comments.

artfuljourney: You have a wonderful site for teaching art for homeschooler and I have added you to the list of homeschool resources.

jenny-up the hill: my kids are the same way...my son likes the composers better also.

arahman7: thank you for letting me advertise on your site.

writing mommy: Hope your son enjoys the art.

: our schools are the same here - no art or music classes till JR High and High school and then only as electives or extracurricular.

carolyn b. : I had not heard about what was going on in CA until this weekend when I read your comment here as I have been busy with a ton of projects lately. I am going to have to read up on this and then do a post about it. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

BillyWarhol said... @ 3/10/2008 10:09 PM

I think thass a Fabulous post + some Excellent tips! Yes all U need is a Box of Crayons + Scissors + simple Painting kit to start* Discovery will be their Best Teacher! + I loved the Photography Tip! That will lead to other Endless areas of exploration - Holga + Lomo Cameras are Inexpensive too + create Amazing Art!

;)) Peace*

Dana said... @ 3/13/2008 2:35 AM

"Discovering Great Artists" by Mary Kohl is the best book I've found to begin with younger children.

Robin said... @ 4/18/2008 9:35 AM

You're so lucky to be homeschooling! I am so envious. I always wanted to be a teacher, but I ended up being an accountant. If I had the opportunity to homeschool my kids, I would have a field day with it!
Nice blog.

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