Homeschool art: What makes it better than art done in a school setting

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homeschool art

There are two very basic, very important elements to a homeschool art program that a traditional art curriculum cannot have no matter how excellent it is.

The first one is the amount of time allowed for the art itself. As I read through the various blogs of art teachers out , I hear the same thing over and over again about how restricted they are with their time.

Home school parents have time on their sides. Want to do math a bit later so you can finish your drawing, no problem. Want to spend more time redoing a project you didn’t like…go ahead. School teachers do not have this luxury.

Aside from the time factor, I believe that home-school art  has tremendous potential in another area.. That is  the ability to have the same teacher (the parent) and same ideas  continued from one year to the next and then to the next. That is major. Continuity.

The reason it is so major, is because it often takes more than a year or two for children’s development to start taking off. If they are in a good preschool program for example, and they have the best year in art, that is wonderful. What happens though, when they move into the next class or early  elementary school where either there is no art, or there is a different type of teacher that doesn’t understand what kids really need in art. It’s almost like all their gains down the drain.

When you have the same person doing the art year in and year out there is a great sense of continuity plus the ability to see growth.

All good art activities can be given to many different ages and they will all create according to their developmental level. If you give them the same art year after year then you will undoubtedly see the growth before your eyes.

Torn paper collage is the perfect example of this.

When children first start out with this activity all they do is rip and paste without much thought to what they are doing.

As they get a bit older they start to put more thought into their torn paper art, maybe using more design elements like lining the edges or making a pattern.

A little older and they start doing their own representational work using the torn paper to create works of art.

If you are doing this at home as part of a home school curriculum then you  get to do the same activity a few years in a row and you get to see the growth through the art. If a child does this as a 3 yr old in a traditional school program then some teachers cannot deal with the lack of representational art that really young children are not yet capable of, and may try to impose their own copycat brand of crafts on their students.

What an amazing thing to be able to see the growth through one type of activity.

Painting with kids is a similar idea in terms of allowing children to develop at their own pace.Painting  though is very wide and there are so many activities you can give the kids to help them go further without stifling their creativity. In traditional kindergarten classrooms there is usually just easel painting or no painting at all.

As far as I am concerned a good homeschool art curriculum usually includes 4 things

  1. Good kids crafts that are developmentally appropriate to help celebrate holidays and seasons. Even though the crafts is not essential to a good art program, most parents want to do these with children and can do so in a developmentally proper way. (When children are very young you would need to start with good art projects for toddlers)
  2. A good collage curriculum. There are loads of kids collage activities that are available to get kids started.
  3. Great painting activities. Starting with easel painting or tray painting to make a color wheel is only one great beginning.
  4. A sequential drawing curriculum. I got interested more recently in learning about Mona Brooks drawing curriculum which leads you into other areas of art as well.

Many of these activities can feed into each other. As the children gain skills and confidence they will also start using art to tie into other areas of their curriculum very similar to a reggio emilia approach.

Of course, if you are home schooling and know nothing about art you may be intimidated to start. If you are using creative curriculum lesson plans then you may have more of an idea.Just know that you do not have to be  certified art teacher to give your kids a great homeschool art curriculum. Your kids will probably get more from your efforts than any school art program.

You can start with some of these creativity exercisse in creativity for kids and go through many of the posts on this blog to see how you can give your children good homeschool art.

What has been your experience so far with homeschooling and art?

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