Monday, April 23, 2012

The Extras are Included

This week the TOS Blog Cruise is exploring the question of how to incorporate "extras" like art and music into our schoolday.  Even though most homeschooled students spend less time "in the classroom" than those in the public school, the very thought of adding another subject area or two to our schedule can be overwhelming.  Never mind that not all of us are good at art or music, or interested!

Well, what I've tried to do with Art is to include it packaged into something else we're studying - usually Social Studies.  And we can do that a little bit with Music as well.  Any time I've tried to have Art lessons as a stand-alone subject prior to high school, it wound up classified as a failed experiment in artsy-ness.  I had a little better luck over the past couple of years with a book called Geography Through Art by Sharon Jeffus and Jamie Aramini.

I have been choosing some of the art projects from this book to go along with what we are studying in Social Studies or History.

Earlier this school year we sketched Big Ben when we studied the United Kingdom, modeled columns when we studied Greece, and colored Celtic designs when we studied Ireland.


We also designed coats of arms when we studied medieval times in Europe.

Kennady enjoys art and seems to be pretty good at it, so she is always happy to draw something or do something crafty.  Landon doesn't like to participate in art nearly as much, but was okay with sketching Big Ben and modelling Greek columns.  He just wouldn't do that every day.  He liked designing a coat of arms much better.

Spencer enjoys drawing so he has done a few things with Art so far as a high schooler.  But by that time he is motivated enough to do it on his own.  I think Kennady will be the same way, and I'm confident enough in her interest in Art that I am willing to let her do an Art study on her own for next year.

We're fortunate that our spring co-op usually includes a class with an Art focus.  This year Kennady had a drawing class that she enjoyed.  I'll be honest - there have been years when the eleven weeks of Art class at co-op was all the instruction in art they had!  Just putting that out there, because it's reality.

As a former music student who had planned to be a high school choral teacher and piano teacher, you'd think I would do a better job of teaching music - at least piano! - to my own kids.  You'd think that, but you'd be wrong.  Honestly, it's been a case of me being the mom and the teacher of every subject and the homework police and the youth leader/Sunday School teacher.... and guess what, I'm just not up for being the piano teacher as well.  Especially when the boys weren't in the least bit interested.  If they'd WANTED to play, I would have done it.  But I was not about to fight them on that.  Kennady has a good ear and works on it, so I've been teaching her piano - VERY informally.

This year we did A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers, which is a music appreciation and history study, and that has worked out very well.

So for us, music and art aren't "extra" - they're included in the package.

How do you include "extras" in your homeschool? Add to the comments, and visit the TOS Crew Blog Cruise (this link will go live on Tuesday, April 24th) to get ideas from other homeschoolers. In the meantime, go to the TOS Homeschool Crew blog homepage to see past cruise topics and TOS Crew reviews.


Jen said...

I thought I was following your blog as well...but for some reason I was not.

I'm following you now.

Jennifer said...

I'd never heard of Geography through Art before- that sounds like a fun way to learn both.

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