12 Jul 2012
On being artistic
If we didn't homeschool we would still read books. We would still go to the ballet and Shakespeare and the museum and the art gallery. We would still cook together and grow our own vegetables. We would still listen to classical music. We would still travel extensively and eat out at ethnic restaurants. These things go well in our homeschool because they are a natural part of life for us and they happen without any effort on my part.
There are other things, though, that we wouldn't do if we didn't homeschool. We wouldn't go for nature walks. We wouldn't keep nature notebooks. We wouldn't read books about war. We wouldn't do spelling or maths or grammar (although Jemimah would probably still have to do them at school, poor thing). And this is the biggy - we wouldn't do art. Making these things work in our homeschool takes effort because they do not come naturally to me. I sort of have to force myself to do them, and if time is short then these are the first things to go.
Let's face it, being artistic is not one of my talents. I am relatively creative. I like interior design and crochet and knitting and cooking, but art really does not do it for me. I hate the mess involved, and I hate thinking up things to do, and I am not very good at it. Okay, I'm lousy at it.
Not so my family. My husband's family is artistic in the extreme. His is a family of painters and sculptors and textile artists. People who actually make a decent living from their art. My husband can turn a hand to drawing and painting and pottery and woodwork and do a pretty decent job at all of them. My daughter also. Already at ten Jemimah is a far better painter than I am.
Which is why neglecting art in our homeschool is nothing less than shameful. Oh the guilt!
This year we've been working through the Artistic Pursuits curriculum in the hope that having it all written out for me might provide the impetus I need to make art happen at least occasionally. And you know it sort of has! We're still not getting to it every week, or even every fortnight, but we are getting to it occasionally, and I am happy with 'sometimes'.
Today I have my nieces and nephew visiting for a sleep over. It is raining, and it is a school day. So today has been declared Art Day and all four of them have been creating wonderful art together. Currently they're working on reflections using pastels and gouache. They look fantastic, and they are having great fun together. So much fun, in fact that I am determined to make art happen more regularly. I might even try it myself next time. Maybe.
What subjects happen naturally in your homeschool? Which do you have to work at? Do you have any sneaky ways that have helped you incorporate these subjects painlessly into your days? Do you think you would still do them if you didn't homeschool? Any ideas on helping me enjoy art would be gratefully received. If you can make me good at it then all the better.