Sunday, January 26, 2014

You Gotta Have Art!

What the VCF is (the short version):The Virtual Curriculum Fair is a month-long blog carnival that posts each Monday throughout January (we do skip “New Year’s” week) hosted by my blogger buddy, Susan, over at Homeschooling Hearts and Minds. The idea behind VCF is for participants to give other homeschoolers a peek into what they are really doing with their kiddos that works for them and why.
In case you've missed the rest of the months posts, here they are:
Week 1: Language Arts
Week 2: How to Teach Math, Logic and Patterns
Week 3: World Exploration: Social and Physical Sciences

I'm a closet artist, and a crafter to the core and consider art fundamental to real education. We've done lots of art and music over the years; and it's morphed and changed with regularity given how many kids we've had at home, where we've lived and the resources we've had.
Year end recital
While we love music, play it often, look for more, it's taken more or less a back seat in our lives as far as teaching it. Our older girls took piano lessons for years and then we lost our piano in the fire. We recently discovered Adventus, which can be done on-line via keyboard; piano lessons, reading and games. Good stuff.
We've also had the excellent fortune of being part of a co-op that offered chorale taught by serious musicians, which our kids loved. They know zillions of songs, from silly to profound and sing with regularity.
Art, too, has been mainly handled by capable and wonderful art teachers and co-op, who have done taught amazing projects, crafts and art skills, along with our true blue artist friend, who happens to sometimes offer clay classes.
My contribution is always basic and maybe boring, but drawing skills are what I focus on: Draw Right Now Books, Usborne Beginning Drawing, Bruce McIntyre's Drawing Textbook, et al., Mark Kistler's books and Drawing on the Right Side of Your Brain. Drawing is the grammar of all art and my kids leave home with the ability to draw- which is learned, just like Grammar or basic math. It's a foundational communication method, so it's a must do at the Gracious Heart Homeschool.
They all have also felt very comfortable with a paint brush in hand and have created some beautiful paintings.
Cartoons and comics are also de riguer around here and teach so much: the succinct telling of a joke, a good punch line, tropes, editing and humor- all done in 3 stills. That's economy, baby. Bill Watterson, of Calvin and Hobbes fame, is a perennial favorite, along with Charlie Brown and Garfield. See how we love him....

We garden. Which is not so much about making art, though it is profoundly artistic,  as participating in something bigger than ourselves.

We build stuff. Furniture and walls and door frames, etc. (check out the Tear Down posts to see all of the creative endeavors our house re-build has demanded). Art is more than pencil and paper and our kids have learned how to handle power tools, read directions, follow through and clean up on seriously large projects.
They have learned to Build Furniture, using Ana White's site. And they  have contributed to making something beautiful out of this house
from the bottom: Floors
on up: house painting
We've been involved in dramatic performances for years; from skits and plays
at drama camp to
 the annual 6 days a week 8 hours a day practice, culminating in a a 2 hour production of a Shakespeare! performance.
We've done tons of poetry memorization, including Horatius at the Bridge and the Poetry Outloud Competition.
And, not to forget, local homeschoolers gets together twice a month to go ballroom dancing (jr. high and up). The kids come out in force and dance their hearts out, ending in a semi-formal every year, started by, you  guessed it, other fantastic homeschooling parents!
I have big plans every year to incorporate a Great Courses Art or Music appreciation course. Really. But until that happens, I rely on Veritas Press History and Bible Cards to give my kids a great overview of world class art. I'm dying to get my hands on the Memoria Press art cards, too!
Join in the fun! How do you incorporate art in your life?
Please visit my fellow homeschool bloggers as they share how they seek beauty in the world around them!

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Michele said...

Your family is great at this art stuff! Will you be doing the Shakespeare Festival again this summer? We wanna join you all for the dance stuff when the weather gets a little better!

Unknown said...

Fabulous Photos! Thank you for sharing!