Did you get an art degree in college….or are you a self-professed non-artistic person?
Most of us fall somewhere between those two points. While I’ve always enjoyed art, I am not proficient in it. My son, however, has loved art from the very first time he held a paintbrush. And like so many things that we discover and learn as we homeschool, I’ve learned that the more opportunities I provided for him to express his creativity, the more joyful our educational journey became.
I can’t recommend art highly enough. Here are 5 easy ways to include more art in your homeschool—regardless of where you fall on the artistic scale.
Art in Geography
I recently discovered Sharon Jeffus’ and Jamie Aramini’s incredible book, Geography Through Art: U.S. & International Art Projects for Kids. I discovered quickly that it was just the resource I’d been looking for as I tried to make geography more exciting.
Geography Through Art couldn’t be more different than color-and-memorize geography studies. Yes, the book does have outline maps in its appendix. But that’s only a tiny fraction of what this curriculum provides. It starts with the globe, then moves through each continent. with a map and an overview, then hits the the continent’s various countries.
But then, the fun really begins! Art projects of all types are given which beautifully represent countries and areas. There are over 100 projects from all over the world to create and enjoy. Here’s just a short list!
- Paint an Aboriginal Stone Painting
- Sculpt your own Chinese Terra Cotta Soldiers
- Make an African walking stick in Golden Staff Finials
- Create your own stained glass window art
- Make a batik Easter egg
Art in Science
There’s a lot to love about science. Experiments. The incredible design of the world and all creation, whether animate or inanimate. The building blocks of cells and the DNA strand. But even apart from all that exciting knowledge, it’s very appealing to add art to science!
This year, one of our areas of study has been astronomy. Right there, you find an almost endless supply of art inspiration! Recently, we’ve painted the planet Earth, and a photo captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. Both provided wonderful hours of creation for us.
What about these, for some other ideas?
- Paint a rainbow, labeling the different colors in ROYGBIV. (This would be easy to add a unit study to as well as experiments!)
- Make a DNA strand out of toothpicks, marshmallows and gumdrops.
- Do an online search for magnified photos of viruses. They may not be things we’d like to catch, but many of them are absolutely beautiful with astonishing symmetry. They’d make an excellent subject for a pencil drawing.
- Paint a picture of your favorite constellation (like we did). The heavens DO declare the glory of God…and provide wonderful subjects for paintings!
Art in Nature
It couldn’t be simpler to create art in nature. Simply pack up a watercolor tray, a bottle of water, a paintbrush, nature journal and pencil the next time you hit the trails. (You can use a little of the water to activate the watercolors, and drink the rest; just be sure not to get paint in your drinking water!)
Art in History
I truly love the NEH’s Picturing America Teachers Resource Book. You can access all its art via the gallery at the Picturing America Home Page. The “Picturing America” Teachers Resource book is a free pdf download. And, you can access more lesson plans and other excellent resources on the Educator Resources page.
With these, you can teach a full curriculum of American art and history, from 1000 AD all the way to the present day. Among the artists included here are Copley, Sargent, Bierstadt, Audubon and more–40 in all!
Family Art Time
I happened upon Amanda Blake Soule’s The Creative Family when my son was a preschooler. And I don’t know why I haven’t bought my own copy! I check it out from the library over and over. Soule includes a plethora of wonderful projects for you to create with your child. One of her recommendations is that families set aside time to create art together. Each of us has our own art journal and I really treasure our drawing times together. It is peaceful, relational, and so very enjoyable. Plus you have neat creations when you’re finished!
What kinds of art do you like to do with your family?
Wren is happily married to her beloved husband; they met 18 years ago on the mission field and married the following year. They have one son who is the joy and delight of their hearts. They have been a homeschooling family since his preschool years–9 years ago! Wren enjoys reading, writing (and not arithmetic), gardening and crafts, and fun times with family and friends.