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.


  1. I wish I could send my kids over to join in your art day! I am reasonably sure that art would never have happened in our home if my daughter were not a natural born artist, unless my husband would have been willing to take it on. All I ever had to do was supply all manner of materials. She got better than her mother around age four, I think! Her very close in age brother just followed her lead, thankfully.

    My youngest seems to have some natural talent for drawing, but he does not love all the crafty stuff that the olders did. In fact, if I mention paint he runs the other way (hates to get all gooey!). So, with him I really have to be intentional, and to be honest, it can be a real pain (oops, did I say that?). Thankfully, big sister can be bribed into taking over. We've been talking about having her actually get paid to design and execute his arts and craft program for the coming school year. Woohoo!

    Music comes much more naturally for me, and we regularly incorporate singing and tons of listening into our days without much effort, because I love it.

  2. Jemimah does 'craft'. Exactly the kind of useless craft that Charlotte Mason frowns upon. I just can't get excited about this stuff. I would like your eldest to come and teach me how to do those gorgeous Easter Eggs. Maybe next time we're in Tokyo we could have an egg decorating day... Maybe?

  3. oh gee almost have to consider writing a reply blog post on this! Was only thinking about stepping up in the 'Handicrafts' department just this week. We are on break and start back next Monday.

  4. Oh dear. Art is a *natural* round here. Unlike math....☺ Quite a number of my family make their money one way or another from the arts & nearly all of us can turn our hand to various things. Given a choice between art & academics ~ art wins hands down every time!

  5. Stick figures here :-) Over the years I have utilized holiday programs at our Arts/ Crafts Centre in town. Pottery, wood work etc and some of our talented mums run a craft day most years. At home, it is slotted in each week. We use simple instructions from Lamb's Book of Art and other how to books, but like you the first thing to go when pushed is sure to be art!
    Hubby's family are more arty and musical but alas live a long distance away.

  6. I sort of answered in my latest post, I mentioned you! http://www.educandoenelhogar.blogspot.com/2012/07/charlotte-mason-history-and-ambleside.html

    TWICE! You always inspire, Jeanne.

  7. No help from here, one of the first things to go in our household too. blush. although one tip, when I set up an art centre it does happen naturally.

  8. I've been thinking about this. Drama is possibly the area I could easily forget. It comes up naturally in children's play, but isn't a 'subject' I usually choose to focus on.

    Art here tends to be natural, messy, always available. I like what I've seen of the Artistic Pursuits previews now, thanks to you ... just when I thought I was content!! Do you buy it from the overseas store or is there an Aussie supplier you know of? Just in case I decide it's a must have.

  9. Jeanne, I have trouble with art, nature walks and journals, and composers. I like classical music and we've often listened to it in the car, etc. but ow the girls groan and complaining, which sort of ruins the joy. I'm not artistic, either, so art is a chore. The girls used to take art classes through a hs enrichment program when they were younger. But now it's all fallen to me... Like Jemimah, my girls are crafty. The enjoy it, it keeps them occupied, and there's a degree of creativity involved: friendship bracelets, fashion design kits, etc. But we MUST do more with art!

  10. I'm not artistic either:( however I've found that when I make myself sit down with rebekah and do it I tend it enjoy it to my surprise:) I had to set a day aside each week to do all our arty stuff to make sure it's gets done ;) so Thursdays are called "artsy days" here:)
    Btw Maths never gets missed round here...two Maths loving people :)

  11. I enjoy art when we are doing it, but it seems that Mariposa is more naturally inclined to just pick it up than I am to set it up.
    So, art's all happening with very little direction from me. We have Artistic Pursuits and she's been helping herself along with it, just as she does with all her other pictures/painting/craft projects. (But, Maestro is another story. He prefers to read over art any day!)

    We're learning to crotchet at the moment .. which is challenging, because I don't crotchet .. and not left-handed either! Still, she's keen and we're working out how to do this together.

  12. I'm a left handed crocheter! YouTube has some good videos for lefties. Have you looked at those, Catherine?

  13. Much to Madison's chagrin, art often gets pushed aside too! I have to remember that she loves art as much as Logan loves history. Sigh, I am not artistic at all.


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