My daughter LOVES art. If she had her way, our homeschool day would be spent with a pile of sketchpads and drawing supplies. I, on the other hand, don't care for messy art projects and would be just as happy to find other things to do. And, since I'm being honest, I'll admit that when things get busy art lessons are often the first thing to disappear from the schedule.
But one of the reasons we chose to homeschool was so TJ could pursue her own interests - even if that includes messy art projects! So I have to find intentional ways to include art in our schedule (without having to teach it myself!).
This post is sponsored by Atelier Homeschool Art. I was compensated for my time spent using the program and writing this article. All views and opinions expressed are my own.
Homeschool Art Ideas
The thought of messy art projects does not appeal to me... not one bit. But I know that hands-on art experiences are the highlight of my daughters week so I try to intentionally include ways for her to have fun with art. The simple ideas I've listed below are not hard to do - in fact, they are quite easy.
And remember, there is no right or wrong way to learn about art. Just provide the supplies and resources and let your kids explore.
Add Art to Read Aloud Time
My daughter loves our read aloud time and it is the perfect opportunity for her to work on art projects. We keep all our art supplies in a few containers on a shelf so everything is easily accessible. She is free to explore and create to her hearts content while I read aloud or we listen to an audio book.
You can also have children draw a 'narration' of the story you're reading. Work on art and reading comprehension at the same time - it's a perfect way to multi-task during school!
Include Picture Study
Picture study is an idea I discovered when I read Charlotte Mason's books on education and it is one of the easiest ways to learn about important works of art.
You'll need art prints or a few good art books and a few minutes to study a picture.
Simply have your children look at one piece of art and discuss the piece with them - the colors, the people, the scenery. After a minute or two, cover the picture and have your child 'narrate' the picture to your, describing the art in as much detail as they are able.
You could easily include a few minutes of picture study during a daily morning time or when you need to take a break between difficult subjects.
We also like to display our picture study pieces in our school area - a few weeks of looking at art prints and then a five-minute picture study session with each picture ensures that my daughter remembers them - even years later.
Incorporate Art into History & Science
It's easy to include art in history and science lessons. Students can diagram or sketch whatever they are learning about in science, labeling their work and getting as detailed as they can. You can study artists according to whatever time period you are studying. Learning about the Renaissance? That's a perfect time to learn more about Leonardo da Vinci and plenty of other Renaissance artists.
Have a "Fun Friday" Afternoon
My daughter and I work hard to get the bulk of the schoolwork on our schedule done by Thursday (and maybe a little bit more on Friday). This frees up Friday afternoon for fun things - like art, music, history projects, poetry - whatever strikes our fancy.
That larger block of time is perfect for longer art projects and curriculum. Instead of rushing through art lessons to move on to more 'important' subjects, we can take our time or even work on a few projects.
If you use a homeschool art curriculum, a "Fun Friday" every week is the perfect time to easily add it to your schedule.
Use an Online Program
Homeschool moms are busy and any program that makes our job easier finds its way on my list! And, honestly, after working on math, grammar, and Latin, my brain is too tired to deal with teaching much else. So I love to outsource or find materials that make my job easier. And with the myriad of online programs available, it's easier than ever to do - you can even find art lessons online!
One program we've been exploring for the past few months is Atelier Homeschool Art - all I need to do is make sure we have all the necessary art supplies in one location and we're ready to go.
A Quick Overview of Atelier Homeschool Art
All Atelier art lessons are presented on video, and reinforced by lesson plans. Not only are the videos a rich source of creative ideas and inspiration, it also clarifies the objectives, materials, techniques and procedures of each lesson. Abundant instructional coverage, as well as that of students in a virtual art class performing the lesson and displaying their finished artwork, consistently produces exceptional student results and learning, regardless of the art background of the parent-teacher.
When I started poking around and looking through the materials, I was so impressed - there is a lot of depth to this program. You'll find plenty of ideas for art and could really spend time digging through it all and creating a rich art program for your family.
Level 5 includes lessons about lines, color, texture, portraits, self-expression, media exploration, and much more. After selecting a lesson, you'll find a corresponding video, lesson plan, and student handout. The videos are taught directly to the students and the lesson material can be used to 'flesh out' the program even more. You'll find lesson objectives, vocabulary, art concepts, materials, instructions, evaluations, and review exercises in the included lesson plan materials. The student handouts provide extra drawing aids and supplemental work.
What I love is that it's so versatile - you could do as much or as little as you want (and you have three years for your subscription - so there's lots of time for digging deep). It's perfect for moms who need more hand-holding when it come to teaching art or for busy moms who want someone else to do the teaching.
How we use Atelier Homeschool Art for Middle School
For the last few weeks, I've been letting TJ explore Atelier art on her own. She grabs her art supplies, chooses a video, and gets to work. She's having fun working on art and I love that I don't have to teach it!
In the future, I plan to go back through and use some of the lesson plans to reinforce what she's been learning through the videos. Since it's a 3-year subscription we can take our time and dig deep when we feel like it.
Right now it's perfect for us as an independent art program but I love that we have the option to add more depth when we're ready, without feeling rushed to get it all done now.
More about Atelier
Each level of the online art curriculum from Atelier Homeschool Art is $140 for a 3-year subscription. You can fill out this form for a free sample lesson if you'd like to try the program before purchasing. Atelier also has a supply kit that includes many of the supplies needed for the projects (nice for busy moms who want a one-stop shopping experience!).