Art Field Trips

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Now that the standardized test is behind us, we can have some fun with subjects like foreign languages and art, which I tend to de-emphasize in the months leading up to the test. We visited two art museums recently, to get our art juices flowing: Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg and the Knoxville Museum of Art.

Girl looking at digital art

My daughter looking at digital art, in Knoxville, at the Museum of Art

At Arrowmont, we caught the tail end of the juried exhibition from Sevier County residents. We live in a community full of talented artists. It was inspiring to see all the different pieces and media.  Continue reading »

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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 »

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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.

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