Today’s post could really be entitled “2nd Essential Part 2.“ Because, just as there are homeschooling moms (or dads) who don’t feel particularly equipped or gifted to teach science, as I discussed on Tuesday, there’s likely an equal number of parents who don’t feel prepared to teach art. I even used to be one of those people!
Now, in our family aka homeschool, there has always been a place for crafts and/or kid art. You know: Crayola in all its various iterations; construction paper; foam; stickers; finger paint, etc. And we did a lot of little projects with those supplies, quite joyfully in fact, in the early years. And those projects provided a happy outlet for my creative boy, as well as satisfaction over the process of creation. Of course, the day came when many of those items seemed too “babyish” (“I’ve grown out of those” is the preferred term here)…and yet the need for creative expression still remained.
So, I began to research. And even for a non-art major like me (or maybe like you), I found an abundance of resources.
There are a lot of ways to access art these days. If you don’t have a great art museum in your hometown, you can access one online, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Art, the Louvre, and so on. All you have to do is Google your desired museum and you can often do a virtual tour, right there at your own computer. If you don’t have art project books in your curriculum, you can always find them at the public library. I love Mary Ann Kohl’s art books for children; she has fascinating ones on a huge variety of topics, and includes both history and art projects in them. Or, what about using Pinterest? You can even do a search for a specific kind of art in Pinterest’s search bar. Every time I run across a new piece of art or a cool art project, I pin it on either a DIY board or a Children’s Art board. We’ve had great fun in making several of those this year. There are also wonderful art blogs out there with art specifically designed for children.
What are the reasons I consider art an essential in our homeschool?
- First: because we have a creative child, whose soul is nourished and fed by the process of making art.
- Second: because I believe that it is important to train the eye to see beauty…and to take the time to do it.
- Third: and perhaps no less important—we just love making art and learning about it.
I mentioned above that I believe that it’s important to train our eyes to see beauty. There are a lot of ways to interact with beauty in our world; via nature, literature, relationships. But I love art for what it can do in us and for us, as we experience it. I believe that art can take us to a place of quiet and peace and stillness; all things, in my opinion, that are lacking in our techologically-driven world. If we can just take some time to really look at art…I think we’ll be amazed at what we can see.
Here’s an example. After Christmas, I did a short blog post on art observation, on Joos van Cleve’s “The Annunciation.”
Over the course of several days, I laid the print out on our table and looked at it off and on. I did a little research on what art historians have said about this painting, and about the various symbols in it. I looked, then walked away. I came back another day, and picked it up again. I had a list of different things I wanted to write about it. But then…on the third day that I examined it….I saw the most striking thing, something that had escaped me every other time I looked at “The Annunciation.” Something that was hugely meaningful not only to me but, I believe, to the painter himself as he was expressing this crucial moment in Mary’s life. Everything, every single thing in this painting is absolutely motionless.
Except for Gabriel.
His robes are swirling around him. Indicating what? So much, if you stop to think about it. He has rushed into Mary’s life from heaven. Perhaps the very winds of heaven themselves are still blowing around him. He is bringing her a message from the Most High God…a message that will change not only her life but the entire world from that moment on. He is changing everything about her—her future, her coming marriage to Joseph, all her expectations for what her life might be like.
With his entrance into her life, nothing will ever be the same.
You know, I almost missed all this. To me, paintings from this era (van Cleve lived and painted from 1485 to 1541) often appear stilled, hushed. Painters seemed to capture vivid images from life, compressed into somewhat fixed, immoveable quiet.
But not Gabriel! Not after observation, that is. He looked as still as everything else for the first two days that I looked at “The Annunciation.”
But because I took the time to really look….the real meaning of this painting sprang out at me. And I’ll never look at it the same way again.
This is the kind of joy and meaning—-of beauty and stillness—that interacting with art can bring. Not only to us, but to our children.
So let me encourage you. Find cool projects that you love, or that you think your children will love. Paint, draw, create together. Look at art with each other. Share your thoughts; what do you see? what is in the art? what do you think the artist meant to tell us?
Maybe this will be as rich for you as it has been for us!
Click on the links below, to see what other homeschoolers consider essential today.
Erica @ Be The One
Ellen @ Grace Tells Another Story
Jenn @ Treasuring Life’s Blessings
Christine @ Our Homeschool Reviews
Michelle @ Delightful Learning
Sharon @ Life with the Tribe
Hillary @ Our Homeschool Studio
Brittney @ Mom’s Heart
Heather @ Principled Academy
Or, if you’d like to see all 90 of the blogs, click on the banner below.