Fine arts is mostly my thing, so how can I do fine arts in my homeschool even if my kids don’t prefer it?
I’ve only had one of four kids remotely interested in the arts, and this gal 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 traveling as a homeschool family. And on those trips, I find myself an art gallery, whether it was in Paris, New York, or Nairobi, Kenya. And I am in my bliss.
My husband brought our two youngest kids to lay eyes on the Mona Lisa, then got out as quickly as he got in (which wasn’t quick, because the foot traffic was as busy as a Taylor Swift concert).
I, on the other hand, could have spent 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 in Paris as North America, but more expensive), I spent the day in bliss at the Louvre.
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 and loved it.
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, over listened 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,
- 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.
Drawing pencils & Sketchbooks.
Or drawing practice on your own.
Even Picasso’s early practice pieces were sold through Christie’s 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. Do 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 guy’s voice is so soothing), he is amazing. In a 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 curricula too. (PS I found the coolest Usborne art books on Rome’s Colosseum when I was in the Colosseum.)
Chalks, pastels, watercolour art kits. In 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).
Keep cardboard or white packing boards. So your kids have an official place to draw their masterpieces 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 present.
Pursuing my fine arts interests has broadened my children’s worlds (whether they know it or not).
At the very least, our children will be interesting cocktail party guests when they discuss the reasons the impressionists weren’t acknowledged as artists. They’ll recognize two of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. They’ll recognize Byzantine art by their golden touches (not arches, touches). And they will certainly grow up to tell stories of their mom’s passionate deep dive into fine arts in their homeschool worlds.Teresa Wiedrick, author of Homeschool Mama Self-Care: Nurturing the Nurturer