Art Curriculum for Homeschoolers

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If you are anything like me, art is not exactly your forte. After looking around for several years, I have finally decided that the best way to teach art is by doing a combination of the following:

  • art projects from the internet
  • art workshops for children organized in our town throughout the year, by different entities, usually for free
  • arts and crafts for our history curriculum
  • art appreciation books
  • Home Art Studio DVDs

I recently ordered First Grade and Second Grade, and received a third DVD for free: the Holiday Arts and Crafts. They have a special offer going on right now and I think it is a great deal.

Home Art Studio Coupon

I can only encourage you to give this a try. For $29.99 per DVD set, you receive almost 20 lessons, PDF lesson plans, virtual art field trips and more. If you do any price comparison at all, you will know that this is a great deal. I like the convenience of staying home and not having to drive to an art studio rain or shine, where my children have to share the space with five to ten other homeschoolers.  Continue reading »

By the way, you don’t need to add the Holiday DVD set to the cart. If you order before September 15, they will automatically put that in your order of two other DVD sets.

One of the many things I like about homeschooling is the efficiency of the process. In less than a minute, we are ready for art. The kids pop the DVD in, I bring the supplies, DONE. Then they follow at their pace. We pause the DVD when they need time to finish the step they are working on. Then we press play again when they are finished with that particular step. They go about three lessons at a time, which takes 30-45 minutes, including cleanup.

Home Art Studio offers many helpful free videos about teaching art, storing their art work and even free sample videos from each level so you can get an idea of what to expect. They also have great videos on their Facebook page.


60 Ideas for Arts and Crafts

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Many people use “I’m not a teacher” as an excuse for not homeschooling. It’s a mentality they grew up with. I did too. I understand. I got out of it when I felt called to homeschool my children, slowly but surely.

The Industrial Age has turned all of us into specialized professionals along the assembly lines of the world. Each of us has been instructed to take care of only one job and so we go through life assuming teachers teach, bakers bake, pilots fly planes and architects design.

60Ideas

In fact, you CAN teach your child. You can! It’s as simple as picking up a teacher’s manual and reading the lesson the night before. In this post, I am illustrating the point by giving you 60 ideas for arts and crafts. I’m no artist. My kids can draw better than I can. But I teach them art with the right tools.

Even if you yourself are not that great at art you can teach your children art. To teach means to educate. And “educate” come from the Latin word “educare,” which means “leading out, taking somebody from here to there, guiding.” So you can guide your children through the process of discovering art. Take my case: I am not an artist, but I appreciate art. And, I discovered, it does not take much to expose my children to arts and crafts.

Here is a list of 60 arts and crafts you can do with your children:

1. Visit your local Museum of Art. For us, it’s Arrowmont in Gatlinburg and the Knoxville Museum of Art.

2. Visit your local children’s museum. The closest one to us is in Oak Ridge and we have not been yet. I have only heard good things about it, but it’s just been a little out of the way for us.

3. Visit your local science and technology center. Check this list out to locate one near you. They are bound to have craft tables, among all those scientific projects. If you travel, it would make sense to invest in a membership. That way, you can visit everywhere for free. We got a membership at The Muse in Knoxville and have already visited another science center for free (the Discovery Center in Charlotte, NC). That’s what you can do any time you travel.

4. Visit your local natural science museum. They usually have programs and tours for children which end up with a craft. We go to McClung in Knoxville for their free stroller tours.

5. Visit your local artisan shops. Sometimes they have artist at work demonstrations. Exposing the children to the creating process inspires them. We go to the Arts and Crafts community on Glades Road in Gatlinburg – 120+ shops to explore.

6. Visit the National Gallery of Art website for kids and virtual shop. You will gain four things: knowledge, inspiration, ideas, and pretty things to share with friends and family.  Continue reading »

7. Always have crayons and a drawing pad available for your children, whether at home or when traveling or waiting in a doctor’s office. My daughter has filled many pages of drawing during her brother’s violin classes.

8. Invest in a pottery wheel for children. You will have to get about five pounds of clay, too. We started with two pounds of clay and our two children used them up in one sitting and five projects.

9. Buy Sculpey – the greatest oven-bake clay there is. Once it’s dry, they can paint it. Or get colored Sculpey from the beginning.

10. Nothing beats Crayola’s air-dry clay. Always have some on hand.

11. The best art classes on DVD on the market – The Home Art Studio.

12. Discovery Kids sells a kit made out of wood with the solar system. They can paint or color each planet, the Sun and the asteroid belt, then hang them as a mobile.

13. Go through art books like this, or this, or this together and ask questions like, “What do you see? What do you think they are thinking about? What do you feel when you look at this? What do you think they are thinking about?”

14. Get art books from the library.

15. Invest in a few art books for children like the ones listed under #13. Or this one. Or this one.

16. Always have sidewalk chalk available at your house. It’s a great excuse to get them outside even on a cold day.

17. Take chalk projects to a new level by getting them a chalk kit which attaches to their bikes.

18. Play dough or modeling clay is a must, but always protect your work surface with a newspaper. Definitely don’t work with it on a carpet. Trust me. I know from experience.

19. Get books like Modeling Clay Animals. I made a giraffe for my daughter, which inspired her to try her own project. My mom thought my giraffe looked more like a horse, but hey, I tried, OK?

20. Draw Write Now – the series. You will refer to these books over and over again. If you want to teach manuscript, this doubles as a handwriting curriculum for beginners as well. We only do cursive, so I strictly use these books as art books – learning how to draw animals. After reading to them about mammals one day for science, we pulled out one of these volumes and learned how to draw a llama.

21. Watch Me Draw: Things Girls Love – need I to say more?

22. AquaDoodle pads are not just for smaller children. You would be surprised how busy any child will stay while drawing on an AquaDoodle pad. Get a smaller one for travel.

23. Photography is art. So invest in a child’s camera like V-Tech Kidizoom Digital Camera or let them have an older adult camera when Santa brings you an upgraded one. Show them how to use it and then how to download the pictures onto the computer. Delete blurry ones on the camera itself just to teach them how to keep their hands steady.

24. Deluxe art kit – for a birthday or Christmas gift, you cannot go wrong with this impressive set.

25. Coloring books, coloring books, coloring books. Choose a theme they like, like horses for girls and robots for boys, and let them go to town. (Dover)

26. Lapbooks are art projects in and of themselves, but they can also learn anything under the sun with them.

27. Color Wonder markers, paints, finger paints, and books. Mess-free art – for kids under five, it’s a must.

28. Free coloring sheets on any theme are only a Google search away.

29. Paper roll crafts abound online, too. Pinterest boards will help you there, too.

30. Pipe cleaners are incredible. Here is a book to get you started on some pipe cleaner craft projects.

31. Read picture books to them since infancy. Exposing them to colorful and/of black-and-white picture books stimulates their imagination and gives them a personal collection of images that nobody can take away from them. I wrote about 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten here.

32. Take them to your local library story time. Your children will listen to stories, look at picture books and do a craft at the end. At least that is the drill at our local library.

33. Watch for free events at your local bookstore. I once attended a Pete the Cat day at Barnes and Noble. There were crafts and coloring pages for us to enjoy there after the reading.

34. Visit your local zoo. They usually have an indoor play area where the kids can enjoy crafts year round, but especially so around Christmas time. The price of an annual membership pays for itself in so many ways and having access to these arts and crafts is one of them.

35. Stickers are a wonderful way to develop creativity. Buy this set for animal lovers, this set for nature lovers, this set for car lovers and this set for music lovers.

36. Coloring T-shirts are a great hit with my daughter. I’m thinking there may be other kids out there who would enjoy painting on fabric. You can get this one which comes with an outline. Or, get plain white t-shirts and puffy paint or fabric markers and let them go to town.

37. Scissor crafts develop creativity AND fine motor skills, so definitely look into making chains of angels or snow flakes. Here’s a pair of scissors for small children.

38. Preschool books will always have artsy projects mixed in with math and literacy pages. We have used Horizons, Rod and Staff and a few others.

39. Your local church will always have Bible-related crafts at the end of your child’s Sunday/Sabbath School class. Many times the children are encouraged to create these projects and share them with friends and family as an outreach effort. Great way to train them to be little missionaries.

40. Invest in an art easel like this one. Take it outside on warm, dry days and let them paint the landscapes around your home. Hint: these masterpieces make great Christmas gifts for grandparents.

41. Trace their hands. Let them paint or color them and then cut them out. Have some available in a box at the ready. You can make these into so many cute crafts. You can glue them to a small bottle of hand lotion or any such small item as a gift for somebody special (like a violin teacher or a friend graduating or performing in a recital). Write “You deserve a hand” on the cutout hand.

42. Trace their feet. Again, you can make their cutout feet into so many projects, from turkeys to robots.

43. Attend Summer Reading Program at your local library. Most will offer workshops on arts and crafts. My kids worked on collages one summer and I did not think they would like it, but they enjoyed it immensely. Not the first time I was wrong about my kids, of course. It goes to show that you never know what can inspire them.

44. Encourage them to draw their feelings. Talk about different colors. Would orange mean warmth? Would red mean anger? Would blue mean sadness?

45. Encourage them to draw during tough times, like when a grandparent dies. My son surprised us with a drawing one week after his paternal grandfather died. We did not ask him to do this. From what daddy shared, our son re-created the scene complete with uncanny details. I am sure it was therapeutic for him to record this event in his own way.

46. Decorate a Christmas tree in December.

47. Make turkey crafts in November, in preparation for Thanksgiving.

48. Make Christmas ornaments. Any medium is fine.

49. If your child attends a co-op, don’t skip the art class offered.

50. Attend craft time with other homeschoolers. Our local support group does not have a co-op, but once a month we meet at the library for craft time.

51. Follow the Fine Art Mom Blog.

52. Follow the Harmony Arts Blog.

53. Recycled arts – the sky is the limit. Sure, you can buy your own building blocks. But you can also, um, build them yourself, with your child’s help, that is. Paper grocery bags filled with crumpled up newspapers and sealed with packing tape make for wonderful blocks they can stack, build with, or even throw themselves on.

54. Build your own toys. We once made a train out of tea boxes.

55. Make Father’s/Mother’s/Valentine Day cards. Give them construction paper, crayons, stickers and scissors.

56. Always make a drawing as a thank you note for gifts received at Christmas and birthdays.

57. Make shoe planters out of old favorite shoes your child has outgrown. Your child can apply two coats of Mod Podge, then spray paint the shoes gold. After they dry, your child can add soil and plant mini carnations or other small plants. What a great gift for Mother’s Day!

58. Make a jelly bean American flag for Veterans Day by gluing read, white and blue jelly beans onto a cardboard.

59. Wood bird houses and any other wooden objects sold at craft store can be turned into painting opportunities.

60. If I still have not convinced you that YOU can teach your child art, pay for an art class.

And there you have it, my list of 60 arts and crafts ideas. I hope this helps inspire you. I have only scratched the surface. This list could easily be called 100+ ideas and extended to contain 100+ ideas. But 60 should give you a good start.

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Home Art Studio DVDs Review and Giveaway

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Home Art Studio DVDs for grades K-6th is a part of my birthday month giveaway extravaganza. Homeschooling can get a little rough around this time of the year. So I think a lot of homeschoolers should be interested in a curriculum that keeps the kids happily making art while mom can catch up on her work around the house. No textbooks required, no busy work, no power struggles.

Sculpey cinnamon buns and plate

We made cinnamon buns on a plate out of Sculpey, a clay one bakes in the oven before painting

But this award-winning art curriculum is more than just something to do to get over the winter blahs. During the school year, homeschool students can tackle one session a week and create different art projects in different media. Through painting, sculpting, drawing and coloring, children can express themselves while learning different techniques and even a bit of art history.

Home Art Studio DVDs K-5th plus holiday DVD

One lucky winner will receive all six grades plus the holiday DVD of this homeschool art curriculum

We have done five lessons so far from the Kindergarten set and our only problem is that once we get started, we don’t know when to stop. From a winter landscape to Van Gogh’s sunflowers, to a happy sun and sculpted cinnamon rolls on a plate, we had fun. That’s what it’s all about, right?

Van Gogh's Sunflowers, one of the projects on Home Art Studio DVD for Kindergarten

Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, one of the projects on Home Art Studio DVD for Kindergarten, as created by one of my children

I really like art but I would not know where to start and how to teach it. This DVD set does all the work for me and in a professional manner, too. I cannot say enough about how impressed I am with Ms. Volin’s relaxed, inviting teaching style.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the kindergarten curriculum. I only recommend curriculum we use in our homeschool. To enter the giveaway, please sign up for our quarterly e-newsletter on the right hand menu by March 1.


Katie Meets the Impressionists Review

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(This post contains affiliate links, i.e. you purchase great products at no additional cost to you and I receive a small percentage of their price. For my full disclosure policy, click here.)

Homeschooling moms tend to be curious, life-long learners because teachers must be willing to learn constantly. Personally, I love studying new things. I almost feel selfish at times for all the fun I have learning and reading and preparing my lesson plans for the following day. Take, for instance, art appreciation.

Recently, I came across a series of art books for kids, featuring Katie, a little girl who goes to the art museum and can enter and exit paintings as needed. James Mayhew, a graduate of Maidstone College of Art, wrote at least a dozen of these books, from what I can gather, and I want all of them! Do I sound like the nerdy kid from “The Polar Express” movie, when they passed by the toy store window?

We bought two titles to get started on our collection: “Katie Meets the Impressionists” and “Katie and the Spanish Princess.” My children asked me to read each of them twice the first time we cracked them open. That night, they asked daddy to read them again.

Auguste Renoir (French, 1841 - 1919 ), A Girl with a Watering Can, 1876, oil on canvas, Chester Dale Collection

My three-year-old recognized this painting. We have seen it before in “A Year in Art.” It was the first confirmation I received that my art education efforts are paying off.

In “Katie Meets the Impressionists,” our heroine meets Jean, Claude Monet’s son, as well as the Girl with the Watering Can, the girl on “Her First Evening Out,” and lots of Blue Dancers – all mesmerizing characters in famous paintings by Monet, Renoir and Degas.

I was very proud of my three-year-old daughter who reacted as soon as she saw the Girl with the Watering Can – “She’s the girl from that other book!” My daughter recognized the girl in the painting because we have been using “A Year in Art” for our tea time and this painting is featured in there.

Charlotte Mason advocated exposure to art. Most educators believe in the refining influence of art education. “Katie Meets the Impressionists” provides a gentle introduction to or an exciting continuation of art appreciation.

For the French names or words in the book, a Google search like “Degas pronunciation” helps.

Your own copy of this book, which you can show your children again and again, will create great homeschooling memories.

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop

3 Simple Solutions for Music and Art in Homeschooling

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In homeschooling, just like in traditional schooling, it can be tempting to set music and art aside for when we have time (or money). How can a busy homeschooling mom add music and art to an already full schedule? Here are my solutions (besides violin lessons):

1. Can You Hear It? will start you on this quest to steal a few moments for classical music and art appreciation simultaneously. My kids love this book and CD, which we got from the library. We soon got our own copy from Amazon.

I play the music during meals, but, also, while I cook and they play nearby. We open the book and turn the pages as the tracks change. Sometimes I read to the kids from the book. Other times, we listen and comment on what we see.

Small girl having tea and looking at painting

My daughter listens to “Carnival of the Animals – Aquarium” while looking at the corresponding painting in “Can You Hear It” and enjoying a bagel and raspberry zinger tea; my son is not in the picture because he was finishing up a LEGO project before joining us.

2. A Year in Art offers us visual pleasure as we enjoy our afternoon tea time, a tradition we started about a month ago. Around 4pm, I put a tea kettle on the stove and get out some scones, or biscuits, or bagels, or graham crackers, or toast. I use what I have on hand.

We open the book and look at 3-5 paintings while sipping tea and enjoying something sweet. They have questions. We look for answers together. Sometimes we locate towns and countries on a world atlas.

3. Free concerts – We catch the Knoxville Youth Symphony concerts several times a year and, also, the Sevier County Choral Society concerts (December and May). I used to sing with the Choral Society before I became a mom, so it sort of feels like a reunion for me. If you check your local newspaper or Google free concerts in your area, you should find similar offerings where you live.

I have felt the liberating and relaxing effects of art and music in our homeschooling enough, that I am thinking about experimenting with doing music and/or art before math, reading or writing. I’ll let you know if I have enough courage to implement it on a regular basis. So far, I have done it once and we all loved it.