Guest Author - Alissa Moy
Teaching the Arts at home can be a challenge. How can you incorporate Art and Art History into your homeschool? There are many wonderful ways to do this successfully, and have fun as well!
Art History is an easy transition into Art as a general topic. Choose several of your favorite great artists (like Picasso) and study their work with your child. Use library books, local Art museums and websites like "Garden of Praise" for excellent Art lessons and resources. With a variety of featured artists such as Renoir and Cezanne, this site offers not only biographical information, but also pictures of the artists' work. I also found a super selection of corresponding worksheets and printable games to go with each artist. This is definitely a site worth exploring for Art History material!
Teaching hands on Art can be done in your homeschool classroom or you can look for a local studio that has classes. Some places to scout out include Art museums, which often have childrens' programs. Many offer "make and take" project days, admission deals or even free admission. Local Art studios may be willing to do a once a month class for your children or their homeschool group at a discounted rate. We are fortunate here in Central Florida to have an enrichment center called "Spark". They have a variety of classes for all ages encompassing everything from clay to "Eco-Art". The prices are reasonable and the staff is delighted to work with area homeschoolers.
If you plan to teach Art at home arm yourself with basic Art instruction books from your local library. If you'd like start an at home collection of Art History books appropraite for your children, like "Leonardo da Vinci for Kids: His Life and Ideas, 21 Activities". Sketching and basic drawing are often good places to start as this instruction requires paper and pencil. Younger children will enjoy learning about perspective and negative space when drawing, and colored pencils can be used to polish the work sketched. I have always framed my son's artwork, especially pieces he worked very hard on and is proud of. I have instant artwork for my home that is meaningful and memorable. "Teach Art At Home" is a super resource for free online lessons for basic drawing skills. Check it out for clear and child friendly lesson plans for your homeschool Art program.
Crafts do fall under the category of Art, and there are many online sites for crafting project ideas. Family Fun magazine has a fantastic section on their website with easy and fun craft projects for the whole family. Check with your local library for any craft programs for children, either afterschool or for your preschool homeschooler. Consider getting your homeschool support group or several friends to have a crafting activity time weekly or monthly. Many activities can be done outside in a park if the weather is warm. If outside meetups are not good for your family try asking your local library or recreation center to use one of their meeting rooms for a crafting session. More times then not these rooms go unused and would be great for a small group to complete a project together. Stores like JoAnn Fabric and Michaels Crafts offer free and low priced crafting programs at many store locations. A local JoAnn store in Orlando regularly hosts $1-$2 crafts monthly for a homeschool group. Ask around and you will be surprised at the resources you can access. Don't forget to sign up for the kids clubs at these stores, as you can get emails to remind you of upcoming activities for crafting fun!
However you choose to incorporate Art into your homeschool curriculum be sure to enjoy the creative process. Your perspective can make your homeschooler's Art experience amazing.