I am not an accomplished artist by any means, but I love art and any chance to share it with my kiddos. To me, God is the Ultimate Artist, so it’s not a far stretch for me to incorporate art in many things that we do as homeschoolers. One of the ways we try to do artistic things is when we are reading our bibles. Drawing, painting, and crafting have a way of ‘cementing’ information and concepts into the brain that would otherwise be more difficult to explain, especially with younger ones. Most of my children tend to learn best by doing, just like me, so…we DO– in order to process the information we are taught.
Recently, we re-visited the garden of Eden in our studies and we talked about the Tree of Life that was in the middle of the garden that Adam and Eve were allowed to eat from. I pulled out the paint for my littles to make their garden and tree.
It’s always a revelation to see what my students will produce, to see things from their perspective. I painted a picture of a large tree…but my 5 year old chose to do an aerial view of the garden. Our Lil Miss had no clue as to what she was doing, ha ha, but had fun with the color blue and spots of color, I’m pretty sure that she kept saying ‘tree’ as she painted those colorful streaks… regardless, learning was taking place, and much more than just “art”.
My Lil Man got a great idea…
“Hey mom! If I mix red and yellow… it turns ORANGE!”
Lil Miss figured out that she could use two paintbrushes at once…
The mess is well worth the learning.
Art through any subject is fun, but it becomes special when we teach that God is the Ultimate Artist. He created, and this is why we desire to create. He makes all things beautiful, this is why we appreciate beauty. We talk about how beautiful the garden must have been. How delicious the fruit must have been. We talk about the tree that gave life, and how Jesus has given us life through Him. We talk in detail about gardening, seed planting, and what our family garden is going to be like this coming year. We talk about how there is another tree… one that Adam and Eve were not supposed to eat from and that this tree is for another lesson someday…
Art makes a way for thoughts and conversation…
“Sseesssusss” Our Lil Miss, only 17 months old, doesn’t understand all that we are saying, yet, she says the Name in the best way she can… priceless. Yes, the mess is absolutely worth it.
It doesn’t have to be formal– but here’s a few tips I’ve learned along the way:
- Have supplies available— too often we tuck our supplies away in a box or on a high shelf and when inspiration strikes it is simply too inconvenient to pull it all out. Our paint brushes are in a jar in the cabinet right next to our table. A stack of paper is always waiting nearby on the counter. Is it something I naturally want taking up space on my counter? No. But I have learned that it needs to be available in order to be used.
- Examine your schedule and see if it is crowding out some amazing teachable moments. Going at a slower pace often allows enough margin for creativity. If I only give myself 20 minutes for bible study, or any other subject for that matter, then I am less likely to allow time for hands on learning.
- Invest in some trays and cloths that make clean up a little easier. In the above session, I didn’t use trays for the kids’ work, but I usually do. I usually use a picnic table cloth as well. If you have these things on hand, clean up is a breeze. You could even make or invest in some aprons for the kids. We usually go straight into the bathtub after certain activities because my kiddos love that.
- Schedule your art time when there isn’t pressure to do something else. If you’re worrying about moving onto the next subject, art time is not going to be very enjoyable. We usually reserve art or crafts as the last activity of the day. There’s no pressure to get to something else and we get the added bonus of ending our school time on a fun note. Win win!
- Just do it. Recognize that it’ll take a few sessions to fall into a groove. But it’s never gonna happen unless you just ‘dive in’.
In what ways do you incorporate art in your homeschool?