Wednesday, October 20, 2010

This Home Schooling Life: Art

We love art at our house.  It is a major part of our lives--and not just because Aaron is an artist.  Making art is one of the kids' favorite ways to spend time.  The boys spend, on average, an hour and a half to two hours a day drawing.  I don't mean coloring books. I mean killing trees with reckless abandon as they cover sheet after sheet with detailed drawings of everything under the sun.

James has loved drawing since the age of 2 and could create recognizable images at that age.  It has taken William a bit longer.  He used to get very frustrated that James could draw anything that came in his head, while he could never get the things that were in his head to look the same on paper.
I know exactly how he feels.
But in the past few months, his drawing skills have become much more developed and he and James will happily lay on the floor, or sit at the table and draw and draw.  It is a lot of fun to watch.

I am not an artist nor an art teacher, so I have little to offer them.  In fact, James can draw almost anything better than me, so I really have nothing to offer him. This book, by Ed Emberly,  has helped a lot.  When Daddy isn't home to show them how to draw a walrus, this book breaks it down.
It has really taught them to see the shapes in everything and that every thing they draw is made up of different shapes.  

But in addition to the time they spend drawing every day, we also incorporate some other kinds of art.  Because they love to draw whatever is in their imagination, I feel it is important to push them a bit out of their comfort zone and make them draw or paint from life.
I think it is important to learn the skills of study and observation.  Of concentration and paying attention to details.  
I also think it is a marvelous opportunity for them to be out in nature and making art.
There is nothing like seeing a 2, 4 and 6 year old enjoying en plein air painting!

I took these photos on our first day of school.  After our nature hike with our home school group, we all sat on the grass by the stream, ate lunch and made art together.
I ask the kids to gather treasures along the way that they think they'd like to draw.  William chose to draw a bird we saw on the hike and he's using his favorite medium, pastels.

Watercolors were a new addition to our art box this year and James is really enjoying them.  He wanted to draw his leaves with a pencil fist and then paint.

Even Lilly joins in.

This art is hardest for James.  Not because he can't do it, but because he would rather draw an elaborate pirate ship.  But with each new piece, he is developing his skills and taking more pleasure in both the process and the end result.

Our home school group tries to incorporate art time into each of our nature days.  So in addition to art at home, both free drawing and more structured time, my kids get it each week with their buddies.  
I find it really wonderful that they belong to a community of friends that sits together each week and studies God's creation and then celebrates it in art.  What an amazing thing for my kids to be a part of!

I love too, that even the little ones are involved.  It is just the way we do things.  The littles are there, and they aren't going to be left out.
Don't get me wrong, it's more work this way.
But when I look down the road and think of the end result, I am pretty confident it will be worth it.

And in a time when art is being cut from so many schools because there is limited time and limited funds, I am very, very grateful that it is such a key piece of my children's education.

I am so enjoying the journey I am on with these little people.


Pam said...

Excellent. Beautiful art and photos, and I must say, children! I too enjoy art and knit it into our schooling in many ways. God bless.

katie said...

Luke is like James. He can draw for hours and hours and has been drawing since 2. The other two, not so much, but they try! They must take after me. I love what you are doing. : )