Bringing your kiddo home this fall?
Here are four things you need to consider when beginning homeschooling:
I compiled a Homeschool Mama Reading List just for you! These books are ones that have taught me everything that has helped me structure my homeschool.
Fine arts is mostly my thing.
I’ve only had one of four kids remotely interested in the arts, and this daughter was not the kind of kid that would tell me she liked anything that I was giddy about.
But she did go with me without resistance. She and I wandered the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and enjoyed Van Gogh and other Dutch artists. She walked our town’s Art Walk during late summer. She joins me at the Vancouver Art Gallery whenever we trek eight hours to the big city.
That same daughter backpacked solo in Mexico where she independently perused art galleries, museums, and Catholic cathedrals, just because she enjoyed them.
My own foray into the art world began as a kindergartener.
With a fat red pencil in hand, the teacher instructed us to draw anything. Draw? I was mortified. I knew my attempt at drawing was a recipe for humiliation. I drew what I knew I could draw for sure: electrical poles. It was all I could think to do.
Fast forward thirty years, I signed up for an official drawing class (me-time as a homeschool mama of four) and I discovered that this drawing thing is as challenging as a high school geometry class. Those few drawing lessons were super helpful, but my brain didn’t consider this rest time.
So I would introduce fine art to my children, on the regular. I expected their hands to be busy while I read to them.
This recent artistic offering was created by one of my daughters:
When can we go on a field trip?
We have done a bunch of travelling as a homeschool family. And on those trips, bring me to an art gallery and I am in my bliss. Visiting Paris’ Louvre was a dream and New York’s Met was divine.
My husband brought our two youngest kids to lay eyes on the Mona Lisa, then get out as quickly as he got in (which wasn’t quick, because it was as busy as a Taylor Swift concert). I, on the other hand, could spend days leisurely walking the halls, maybe even hiding in the bathroom to stay all night.
While my husband brought the kids to a Parisian McDonald’s (exactly the same fare, but more expensive), I spent the day in bliss. Okay, truth be told, I loved my time at the Louvre, but then I got lost in Paris and missed my daughter’s 7th birthday. But while they ate French fries (that were just like all the McDonald’s French fries), I explored the twelfth century Phillip II’s fortress.
My family was as eager to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City too. While I leisurely stood, stared, gazed, peered at the brush strokes, overlistened to pricey tour guides, and tilted my head from side to side as I pretended to understand what I was looking at, my family headed to the Central Park Zoo.
How to find Fine Arts studies for your family:
Hamilton & other stories found on Broadway. Here’s where my husband enters stage left. He has a passion for musical theatre, soccer, American Football, presidential history (despite being Canadian), world politics, and baseball stats. We attended a few theatre presentations and he has singularly influenced our family’s musical memory by regularly playing Sirius Broadway Hits. And we visited Broadway too.
Professor Noggin’s History of Art card game. If you feel you don’t know anything about art history, this is an excellent flyover. It’ll give you questions you can research on YouTube. YouTube is replete with cool art history channels for kids.
Drawing pencils & Sketch books. Get the official stuff and you feel more official as you practice drawing.
Drawing classes. Or drawing practice on your own. Even Picasso’s early practice pieces were sold through Christies for ginormous prices, and they were valued because of who he was, not because your kindergartener couldn’t accomplish something similar. (Check out Picasso to know what I mean.)
Colouring books. You know those meditation colouring books for adults? Well you can find them in any subject. Try the Harry Potter Magical Places & Characters Colouring Books. Or Animal portraits. Or my favourite, Jane Austen (my favourite).
You Can Draw in 30 Days by Mark Kistler. This artist is super practical and engageable for anyone, and will get you drawing no matter how ‘not artistic’ you are. You can learn what you’re doing if you want to read along with his instructions or just follow along step by step.
Watch Bob Ross. Besides being a morning meditation if you like (the guys voice is so soothing), he is amazing. In one half hour, this guy gets a piece of art off his easel.)
Find the Louvre or Metropolitan Museum websites online. Naturally, the websites of the largest art galleries in the world are an excellent place to start your fine arts learning. Their online shopping options are the best places to find fine arts curriculum too. (PS I found the coolest Usborne art books on Rome’s Colosseum when I was in the Colosseum.)
Chalks, pastels, watercolour art kits. My opinion, if you have small kids, stay away from oils, unless you enjoy cleaning stains out of your kids’ clothes (and I have no idea how to get rid of those stains, so good luck with that). Purchase chalks, pastels, and watercolours and have fun.
Keep cardboard or white packing boards. So your kids have an official place to draw their masterpieces and so you don’t have to buy official canvases. Until, of course, your kids want to buy official canvases to decorate your home, or your chicken coop as mine are presently.
Pursuing my fine arts interests has broadened my children’s worlds (whether they know it or not).
Are you considering homeschooling your kids?
I’ve got a free mini-course that introduces you to me, so I can get you from “I don’t know where to start, to I’ve got a plan.”
I’ve got a full course that inspires you to consider what an education is anyway, and get you thinking and planning for your child’s education.
I’ve got a course that will get you from “I don’t think I can do this, I’m too uncertain, nervous, or afraid” to “I know I can do this, I’ve got this girlfriend.”