Saturday, January 26, 2013

Homeschool Without Traditional Art

This last week of the Virtual Curriculum Fair is on Seeking Beauty: The Arts and Everything that Brings Beauty to Our World.  Immediately I thought, "Oh, that's not for us".   You see, Amber and I are not artistic.  Actually, to put it that way is insulting those who can draw identifiable stick people, unlike us.

Then after thinking for a little bit, I realized we do have lots of Art and Beauty in our school and lives.  It just isn't visual arts.  We do try to expose Amber to visual arts when possible. Amber takes occasional art classes at a local studio where she can try different mediums.  She usually has fun in the class, but she clearly does not excel in art.  She doesn't even want to try art unless it is a "fun class".
Best ever results from one of Amber's art classes, the instructor did the wording... completed at age 10 yrs and 11 months. :)
I, personally, loved the Art Appreciation and Art History classes I've taken and enjoy going to art museums even though my drawing and painting abilities are non-existent. I hoped this might be the case with Amber as well.  We started off this 5th grade year using A Child's History of Art - Painting and A Child's History of Art- Architecture. Both are from The Calvert School and include art cards as well as a small spiral bound book.  It was a total no-go for Amber.  Just too dry.  No problem.  I've heard nothing but wonderful things about Harmony Fine Arts, so I purchased the 6th grade Medieval and Renaissance level.   We dutifully used it for a few weeks during which  Amber was initially thrilled, and then one day she was not.  Neither art or art appreciation are her cup of tea.

Where does that leave us with Arts and Beauty?  Music, is our obvious starting point.  Amber has taken piano since she was 5 years old.  She loves to play piano and has a natural gift for music.  She is not as motivated to practice regularly as I would like, but it fluctuates enough that overall her practice times are sufficient.  I have the responsibility of instructing her in the piano.  We use the Faber and Faber Piano Adventures series.  We've found it to be a bit slow at times, but that's about the only complaint we have.

Amber also plays on a children's chimes choir at our church and she is hoping to move up to the middle school handbell choir next year.  This is one of the great joys of her life.  She lives for each practice and performance.

Chimes performance and piano practice
Additionally, Amber took voice lessons last semester and this semester is trying out musical theater classes.  While she has always liked to sing, her voice was never well controlled.  I was shocked how much out of her comfort zone she was willing to go for these lessons.  The private voice lessons resulted in a solo Christmas carol in the Christmas concert.  Musical theater this semester will require acting and singing at the spring recital.  While Amber isn't thrilled with visual arts, apparently musical and theater arts inspire her.

Normally, I think of Amber's dance classes as Physical Education, but they too bring beauty to our lives.  Amber has moved from the age of little kid dancer bouncing around the studio to dedicated child dancer still happily leaping across the room.  Amber left competitive dancing a couple years ago, and now that she is more focused on learning dance just for enjoyment we have found that her dancing has greatly improved.  She performed her first solo (and duet) in December for the Christmas recital.  A more beautiful sight we could not have imagined.

Dance and more Dance. 
Although Amber and I are not artistically gifted, we do like crafts - especially needle / yarn work.  Amber loves to latch hook and can happily sit for hours working on a project.  We've given away many a latch hook pillow as a gift from her.   Amber has tried to cross stitch, which is my favorite craft.  She likes the idea of cross stitch but not the time requirements or squinty close work.  Amber has also recently taken up loom knitting and finds this much more to her liking than cross stitch.  Our personal service project this year is knitting baby hats, booties and blankets for local children's hospitals.  Amber has already completed quite a few preemie and newborn hats, along with a few doll hats and scarves.

Knitting hats.  Sock puppet craft made as a gift.  These are our "art" projects.
Beauty in our home and school comes from things other than traditional art.  Music, dance, crafts, and even just watching our adorable cat play all show us the beauty in this wonderful world.

I've enjoyed participating in the Virtual Curriculum Fair this year, but mostly I've enjoyed reading and gained new insights from the other participants' posts.   If you have time, look over at their posts too.

Homeschooling Hearts & Minds Virtual Curriculum Fair Button

37 FREE Online Art and Music Resources by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Homeschool Without Traditional Art by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Draw What? by TechWife @ A Playground of Words
Flower Pony Tail Holders - Beginning Sewing Projects by Julie @ Highhill Education
Seeking Beauty- Virtual Curriculum Fair by Karyn @ Teach Beside Me
Creating an Artsy Homeschool, even if you're not by Erin @ Delighting in His Richness
Living with an Artsy Boy by Annette @ A Net In Time


  1. I think this is awesome! My two sons are very visual and love drawing. My oldest daughter is the dancer and the crafter. She doesn't see herself as an artist, but she is, just in a different way than what we maybe typically think of when we say "art." I think it's good to think outside of the box. ;)

  2. that was an interesting read. thanks for sharing. I too have enjoyed being part of the curriculum fair.

    Annette @ A Net In Time

  3. Thanks for the peek into the world of performing arts - it's one area that has been left largely unexplored in our home. What a great variety!

  4. I think Amber does lots of Art Christy. Art can mean so many things. Keilee is not a huge 'drawing' kind of girl although she has done more lately but she is one of the most artistic people I have ever seen. I love all her knitting projects!! Great job. Dance, music, creating, voice...all such lovely things. :)

  5. Thank you for sharing the things that bring Art and Beauty to your world. Your world is beautiful to me! I hadn't thought about things like music as art, but now that you mention it, my daughter does art in the form of music also, choir, handbells at church, piano lessons. She has also taken the Art appreciation and history course Time4Art, through Time4Learning and loved it. She doesn't like to be crafty, but her drawing has steadily improved through lesson and the art course. I really love that you added performing arts to the list. Thanks!