16 Feb 2013

Art - a success story

If you look over at the Categories in my right sidebar you'll discover that there is one lousy teeny weeny little entry under 'Art'. Worse, if you read it you'll find that that one post is an admission that we didn't do Art very well in our homeschool. Now often I find that if the subject is one that I'm not good at then that subject has remained a problem from go to whoa. Not so Art. More than six months after I wrote that one solitary post, I am back to report that Art is now happening on a weekly basis with no effort at all. Such a pleasant surprise. It's amazing what being accountable to you gals has done!

I have no secrets, and our method is so painfully simple that I'm almost afraid to share it, but given that it took me six years to discover, I will, in case one of you, too, is art-phobic. Sometimes the simplest ideas are hardest to find.

Firstly, I purchased a curriculum. Those of you who are more artistic than me might be able to easily think up new and exciting activities every week and provide a wide variety of media and techniques, but I really like everything laid out so that I don't have to think things up. Actually, I dont think I could think things up, to be honest. I chose ARTistic Pursuits, and have been more than happy with it. We don't do all the art history lessons, but Jemimah has a bit of a read through the pages before she starts the activity.

Secondly, I purchased the materials required for the whole book up front. I found that if I didn't have all the materials required for a certain activity, I was at risk of giving up and thinking it all too hard. I bought ours from a local art supply store, although those of you who live in the US will probably find it cheaper to purchase a complete art pack containing everything directly from ARTistic Pursuits themselves. The postage is too much for me to do that, so I used Deans.

Thirdly and most importantly for me, I created a time in the schedule when I thought it would actually happen - first thing Monday morning. When I left it until the end of the day, it was all too easy to leave it until tomorrow. Or next week. Like the lyrics, tomorrow never comes, right? Now we do art right after our first block of work.

Finally, and here is the thing that made it work for us, while Jemimah draws or paints, I read. Each term, it seems, there is one long reading. This term it is David Livingstone's Missionary Journeys. This fascinating but old and densely written book is much more interesting read aloud, and to do so takes a l o n g t i m e. A very long time. Time enough to do a great piece of art. In the past I found it hard to get excited about adding another hour or so to our week when we'd rather be outside. Then I considered the fact that Jemimah had always done handwork during a our readings, so I wondered whether she would be able to listen while she painted. As it turns out she can. She continues to narrate and join in with discussion, only now she paints or draws while she does so.

Art this way doesn't add any time to our busy week, but it sure adds a lot of pleasure for Jemimah and satisfaction for me. I love it that this irritating grain of sand has been covered with nacre and annoys no more. It is actually a real relief, y'know?

I've been thinking about other things that don't get done as well as they ought. What easy changes can I implement that will allow them to be seamlessly integrated into our day like art has? Are there elements from our art solution that will work with them too? The possibilities are endless!

Do you have problem subjects like art in your homeschool? Have you implemented changes that made a long term difference? Care to share?


  1. Yes! Cait always did art while I read aloud. It worked as well for all her read~alouds & she did a lot of art that way. ☺

  2. If I had homeschool I think I would have done too much of this topic as I have 2 arty children and I love art myself:)) I would have done very little maths!!

    When I went to school I had the most wonderful teacher who taught art history that simply captivated us, we sat and listened as she told the story of an artist and it was just magical!

  3. Looks wonderful!!! I have purchased 'Art Lab For Kids'.
    So far so good :)

  4. Well done! We like Artistic Pursuits as I like it all set out for me too.

  5. I wanted to make Scripture memory part of our bedtime routine, but we have a baby so generally bedtime for the older 2 is Daddy's job while I tend to be feeding bub to sleep. And expecting Daddy to remember to sing a memory verse is unreasonable. Also Daddy can't sing for toffee.
    The simple solution I found a couple of months ago was to write out the verse on a piece of paper which we use as the bookmark in our nursery rhyme book (rhymes are our y0 kids' poetry and are also part of the bedtime routine). This also means we are reading all the rhymes instead of opening the book to a random page. Both of these habits should stand us in good stead when we start AO proper next year. 3 birds with one stone *yay*

  6. Getting all the supplies was something that helped us also. Even if your kids are artistic not having the stuff on hand can squash the enthusiasm.

  7. Oh this was for me Jeanne ! We really don't do much art at all and have just been thinking up,ways to include it every week. We bought artistic pursuits and only used it a little but that is my fault:( I've been thinking I'm going to make Fridays our art day as we don't do much school work on Fridays generally....I'll have to see how it goes:)

  8. Btw please tell Jemimah I love her painting. She did a great job!

  9. I'm using ART LAB FOR KIDS at the moment, but I might look into this for a later date :) Thank you for sharing :)

  10. Oh and yes...it's a wonderful painting :)


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