Saturday, January 28, 2017

Fine Arts Options in High School (VCF Week 5)

Welcome to the fifth and final week of the 2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair. Our theme for this week is Seeking Beauty: the Arts and Everything that Brings Beauty to our World, which is a rather broad topic.  I'm going to focus on how Amber, my high school freshman, plans to earn her fine arts credits for high school.

The fine arts are probably one of the easiest categories of credits for Amber to earn, unlike me who struggled to get in the last half of my single required fine arts credit and was down to the wire with art history the last semester of high school.  Amber, I fear, will struggle to earn practical arts credits though.

Given Amber's love of fine arts, we decided to simply track the hours from all of the fine arts related classes and activities in which Amber participates instead of attempting to categorize each into a tidy credit portion. At the end of high school will decide how to describe her fine arts credits and may move some to general elective credits.

We honestly don't have a real curriculum for any of Amber's fine arts since the majority of these are taken outside of our house. I've talked about our reason for outsourcing some lessons in a prior post, and still agree with that philosophy.  If I can't provide the best situation here at home, I will strive to find her a better way to learn.

The current Fine arts topics:
  • Music - specifically, flute lessons and performances.
  • Art - creating
  • Drama
  • Art appreciation / Art History

Amber is rather musically inclined and after many years of piano, switched to playing the flute in 6th grade. She takes weekly private flute lessons and we count the flute lessons as part of her fine arts credit although I do not count the practice hours since they are not instruction time. Amber can easily earn more than a single fine arts credit throughout high school on just her flute lesson and performance times. This does not include the time Amber intends to spend in music composition in the near future.

We have a love / hate relationship with art in our house.  Two of the family members love art, while the main teacher (me) is entirely devoid of any artistic talent or even desire. I've always been that way; remember that I barely finished my fine arts credit in high school.  There was no way I was going to be able to provide Amber art instruction at home, so for years she has either taken art classes at a local art store or in our homeschool co-op.  The co-op is hit and miss depending on which parents want to teach and if the topics are to Amber's liking.  Most recently she took 3-D art and found it interesting, but not exactly her favorite type of art. Amber will continue to take art classes at our co-op over the high school years when the topic suits her.

Drama is another topic we could never hope to offer at home given that Amber is an only child. Instead, she has taken drama at our homeschool co-op every year since sixth grade.  She not only loves, but thrives in drama class.  So much so that she has considered taking drama with a community arts group, but has not yet found the extra time to do so.  This easily will also accumulate her more than one credit of fine arts over the high school years.

Finally, although I am not artistic, I am ever grateful that my high school offered art history and I was forced into taking it. I never expected to enjoy such a class, but it was something that stuck with me and has brought beauty to my own life.  I want this for Amber, and so she will be working on art history / art appreciation throughout high school as a requirement from me even though she has sufficient fine arts hours. We are not limiting ourselves to single semester or year for it either, but instead will work as time permits and when we find outstanding resources.

Right now we are using an art history poster and the free downloadable curriculum it comes with as our art history study. We don't work on it daily and not even weekly, but we always enjoy every minute of our time. It is fantastic to see the light of recognition in Amber's eyes when she recognizes a piece of art in everyday life or finally catches on to references made in movies.

In today's technology heavy society, I'm thrilled my child still is able to enjoy a good foundation in the arts. It makes her a more well rounded person and brings beauty to her life in a way that digital entertainment cannot.

Miss a week? Take a look at some of the other posts from the 2017 Curriculum Fair.

Now I invite you to visit my fellow homeschool bloggers who are talking about seeking beauty in their homeschools:

Links will all be live by Monday at 12 noon EST.


  1. I also have my high schooler just record what he is doing in the fine art and how much time he spends, figuring I'll just sort it out into credits when it's time. Art is a passion for him, for it's more of a challenge to keep it from overshadowing his more academic work than it is for him to fill fine art credits. Thank you for sharing your daughter's artistic endeavors. :)

  2. That's a great way to do your art, if she's getting else where just use it. :) Visiting from the VCF.

  3. I never thought of that as a way to do a fine arts credit. My daughters will do well with that method. I'm not so sure about my oldest son, though!
    Thank you for sharing this idea!