Monday, January 9, 2012

Art Projects and Homeschool

Art is definitely not my forte, but it is part of a well balanced curriculum in any school. So it should also be part of a homeschool curriculum. I've been doing a lot of research on the topic. How do I teach art to a 6 year old? How do I make it part of homeschool? What is the best way to integrate art with other things we are doing? These were a few of the questions I had. I came across some good ideas, but nothing really made sense to me. It seemed that some of the ideas were either too childish or too advanced. I don't want my daughter to just sit in front of a white sheet of paper and draw randomly. That's ok for afterschool but for an art class I was looking for something more structured. I wanted structure for me, as the teacher. Some guidelines that I could follow to make teaching art fun, productive, and educational.

I still haven't really found anything I can use. It's a shame because there is so much information out there for homeschool parents in general, but for this particular topic, there's not much. So, as with almost everything I do, I decided to come up with my own plan.

I am homeschooling a 1st grader who is naturally interested in art. That is a huge plus. I picked a couple of artists and/or artistic styles. I made a list. I am going down the list and trying different things.

My first artist was Georgia O'Keeffe. I picked this one on a recommendation. Looking back I would not have started with O'Keeffe in first grade. I think her style is too complex for first graders. I've also never been a big fan. But since homeschooling is not about me, I decided to give it a go.

First, I talked to my daughter about the artist in very general terms. Then we went to the library and got a biography about Georgia O'Keeffe (a children's biography). We looked through the book at first, then I began to read my daughter the story. Even this children's book was way too long and complex for a 6 year old. I read the story sometimes changing the words, making it simpler to understand. We did not read the whole book in one sitting.

On a different day, we read some more. At that point, we just talked about O'Keeffe and her art. I asked questions and my daughter answered in her own words. I encouraged her to talk about the art and how it made her feel. This part of the lesson was great.

Then, we went on the internet and looked at some more of Georgia O'Keeffe's art. I told my daughter to pick one that she really liked. When she found a purple flower, she was set. I then gave my daughter some paper and pencils and told her to make her own O'Keeffe flower.

I am very pleased with the outcome of this set of art lessons. I believe that in 1st grade, children do not need to know art in detail or know the names of artistic styles, etc. I believe at this age, children need to be introduced to a variety of styles in a supportive, creative environment, so they can explore their own tastes and abilities.

Next we are going to make paper snowflakes!! I can't wait.

If you read this blog and would like to contribute ideas, please do so! I welcome them. That is the purpose of this blog. I want to exchange information with other parents that are out there homeschooling and having their own experiences.

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