I’ve seen a lot of questions lately about how to work in extracurriculars, how often to include them, and what to use. We LOVE exploring extracurricular activities in our homeschool. Often it’s the overwhelm of choices that is the main difficulty. So I wanted to write a series of posts to discuss our extracurricular activities and the resources we’ve tried and enjoyed. Specifically in this post, I’ll share art study resources for homeschool families.
I am not an artist. On occasion I doodle in my children’s piano notebooks and it’s not pretty. I’m a word person. So getting my hands to draw-the-things is not my expertise.I have two boys who love to draw and are pretty good at it. So I try to encourage art study in our homeschool because I see their potential. I have turned to a lot of different resources to help my kids learn art.
Here are some of the art study resources we’ve used to give you ideas for your homeschool. If you’d rather watch the Homeschool Neighborhood YouTube video, here it is!
Art Study Resources for Homeschool
Discovering Great Artists
One of the first things we did for art study in our homeschool was in our Classical Conversations co-op. In CC, you study art twice during the year: drawing for six weeks and great artists for six weeks.
Classical Conversations uses the books Drawing With Children and Discovering Great Artists. In the drawing unit, kids do six weeks of learning elements of drawing, like shape and perspective and mirror image (symmetry).
Then they spend six weeks studying great artists using Discovering Great Artists (blog post), which is hands-on project based art study. So the kids learn all about a great artist and their methods. Then they would practice by creating a project.
My kids got to do some really wonderful art projects, working with resist, painting with different mediums: watercolors, acrylics, egg-wash paint. Drawing details like Grandma Moses or Pop Art like Lichtenstein. So many genres get studied because we take a look at an artist’s style, and then the kids copy their methods.
I really liked this for a very hands-on approach. It’s messy and I’m glad we did it in a co-op because I probably wouldn’t have had the wherewithal to gather all those materials and do those projects at home on my own, but I love this book. It gives a little blurb about the artists, talks about their technique, and then gives a project to do, with step-by-step instructions.
Another program we used was called Art Achieve (blog post). ArtAchieve.com is online video lessons. They have sample lessons, which you can try out for free. Now, one of the things I really loved about Art Achieve is their cultural approach. They give a culturally appropriate piece of art to inspire you to inspire the concept. For example, we did a project on tesselations and they showed some Roman artwork and they discuss the origins of the word tessellations. They give you some time to study some artwork and then you practice drawing. So you understand the concept and then you do the concept. It was a little challenging when I had a five-year-old but we had a lot of fun and we still did the work.
Then they make many cross-curricular connections. Sometimes they discuss music or geography. They give you links and resources and even printables to use in your study.
At the time I used Artistic Pursuits, there were only hard copy lessons and a spiral notebook. We use the K – 3 notebook which include a lesson section and then some instructions. They have different programs themes, like kindergarten, ancient art, middle ages. American studies, Italian Renaissance , drawing with graphite pencils, watercolor pencils. You can now get Artistic Pursuits as the hard copy book or as online video lessons, which are two-year subscriptions.
I love that you would look at master artists and study them and then create your own art. It covers a wide range of art concepts and skills. They talk about line, shape forms, color, using space, using texture, how to outline shapes, how to make landscapes and portraits. You can even buy art supply packs if you want a packaged curriculum. And you can use it with multiple students.
We’ve been using ChalkPastel.com for more than two years. It’s the art resource we turn to most often these days. I love Chalk Pastel Art with Nana. Nana is a grandmotherly figure, and she teaches the kids how to draw with chalk pastels. She is so gentle and encouraging, and you really feel like she is talking right to your kids. My kids love taking lessons with Nana. “You Are An Artist” is a blessing that Nana says over every student. It’s so loving. My kids really respond well to Nana’s art lessons.
With chalkpastel.com, you get a real human experience. She offers video classes where she (or sometimes her daughter Tricia) demonstrates the art step-by-step. ChalkPastel.com offers membership programs or unit study options. You can buy a unit on history or birds or preschool lessons. There are almost 800 lessons in their lesson bank. If you have a membership, you can participate in live events with Nana!
Plus, they have a new feature: the art lesson calendar. You can find a lesson suggestion for every day. In February, for example, they share a lesson on Groundhog Day on the second. There are a series of president art lessons for Presidents Day. As a parent, if I forgot to plan something for President’s Day, I just pop on ChalkPastel.com and we do an art lesson with Nana, for presidents. She talks about the president while she’s helping them draw the art. Kids get artwork and a little nugget of history or facts to help celebrate the day. Any day I need a little something extra, I can sit my kids down with a piece of paper and some chalk pastels and give them 15, 20 minute of art study. Even if it doesn’t tie into the lessons for that day, it will tie into the time of year or a holiday or something we might be studying.
Art Study with Classical Morning Menus!
I often slip in a little art study during our morning time. Using our monthly Classical Morning Menus, we study a famous artist each month. I use a series of questions to get my kids thinking about the colors and elements of the art. We also compare and contrast the artwork to previously studied pieces or even books. You can find out more about my morning menus that include art study here! Or visit my Etsy shop to purchase a set!
Which art resource will be best for your family?
All of these resources have been useful to our family for various reasons. You may find you enjoy one more than another. Before trying an extracurricular program, try a sample lesson. Most brands have a free or sample lesson you can do with your kids. See how they respond.
If you have art study resources your family has loved, share them in the comments.
Ask me anything! If you have a homeschool question or you are wondering about something about homeschool, whether it’s extracurricular or a problem you’re experiencing in your homeschool, scheduling, planning, or you’re wondering what to do next, ask me your question! I’ll get back to you and we can plan a time to talk LIVE!
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