My dad and my brother are both quite artistic, but unfortuntely the “artsy gene” passed me over when I was being formed in the womb. (Bummer!) But, despite my almost complete lack of artistic skill, I do my best to incorporate art into our homeschooling whenever possible, mainly because the kids love it.
When I read to the kids from a novel or from the Bible I often let them draw pictures related to what I’m reading while they listen. When we read a novel called Kildee House a month or so ago, all three kids tried their hand at drawing the main character’s house in the woods. When we read a couple of novels about horses, they enjoyed drawing or coloring pictures of horses while they listened to me read. When we do copywork as part of our language arts program, I always have the kids draw a picture to go along with the sentences they have copied.
I also try to keep lots of art supplies on hand for the kiddos to pull out and make various “projects” of their own design with. Katie loves drawing portraits of friends and giving them as gifts when people come over. Austin and Ethan enjoy making castles or mountains out of cardboard for their Lego mini-figures to have adventures on. They constantly create all kinds of things using paper, glue, tape, crayons, paints, and anything else we have on hand. One day, for some reason, the boys got into making paper snakes of various sizes, including a giant one with scary, sharp teeth! They had so much fun adding and adding to their paper snake collection!
When we studied about the life of Michelangelo recently, we taped coloring pages with scenes from the Sistine Chapel ceiling to the bottom of two tables in our homeschool room and the kids got a chance to experience a small taste of what it must have been like for Michelangelo to spend four years craning his neck to paint his famous fresco. It was cheating a bit, but I had them use crayons instead of paint to avoid the inevitable spills and huge messes that would have followed if I’d handed them paint for them to use while lying on their backs. 🙂 Michelangelo, we discovered, actually stood on a scaffolding (in a very uncomfortable position) while he painted the ceiling of the Sistine chapel, but we cheated on that too since our tables were way too low for them to stand under. But, hey, we had fun! 🙂
Another art resource that has been popular in our house is a mosaic making kit that I got at Toys R Us awhile back. It comes with colorful plastic cubes and pre-printed mosaic templates for creating pictures of things like dolphins and watermelon slices. After using the templates a few times, Austin and Ethan started to create their own mosaic pictures, usually based on scenes from the Star Wars movies. (Yes, you know they are die-hard fans when they start to immortalize Star Wars in a mosaic!) 🙂
Below are photos of some of these recent art activities.