Remember the excitement of a new box of crayons? Those of us older than the internet recall those brilliant colors and putting those colors on paper. Maybe even melting them with your mom’s iron!
Art lessons for homeschoolers today venture far beyond coloring books, but the thrill of creating art hasn’t changed for kids of any age. The trick is helping them to discover their passions. How? Introduce them to the vast and diverse world of creating art with their hands…actually making “something.” Not just reading about it or watching how-to videos, but waking up their imaginations through mind-hand connections.
I grew up with an engineer dad and an artist mom who loved trying new arts and crafts, whether it was black/white photography, oil painting, sewing or any number of avenues. Had I been introduced to the glass arts at a young age (Mom didn’t start that until I was in college), my career might’ve been different. Instead I ended up in graphic design before computers ruled that field. (Those Eberhard Faber Design Art Markers were quite an improvement over the box of crayons!)
How Big Is the Homeschool Market?
In January 2018, the National Home Education Research Institute estimated about 2.3 million children are homeschooled in the US, preschoolers through high schoolers from all demographics (race, religion, income level, locale, political affiliation). That’s a significant group of youngsters who needs art, and parents who need help teaching art!
How Teaching Artists Can Reach Homeschoolers
If you are a teaching artist or freelance arts educator who communicates well with kids, start asking around. Soon you’ll find homeschool parents who know other families or local homeschool groups. Offer them (one family or several) a series of lessons in your studio or at a family’s home, or opt for one longer morning filled with more intensive learning.
At Art Cantina we make it easy for you to create a free teaching profile in the ArtEdu Directory. Be sure to specify which age groups you teach (such as children 5-11, youth 12-16), so homeschool parents can find you. You may also add your ongoing classes to our Learn-the-Arts Calendar.
Keep your fees affordable, and factor in art supplies. Ask your local art store, online suppliers or the manufacturers about education kits or special deals for your upcoming classes.
How Homeschool Families Can Integrate Art Lessons
Homeschool parents now have a wealth of resources at their fingertips, thanks to the popularity of homeschooling and the internet. They can download drawing and painting lessons and tap into color theory tutorials, but the visual arts encompasses many disciplines.
At Art Cantina, we list eleven main visual arts disciplines with multiple subcategories in each: painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, photography, paper arts, collage/mosaics, glass art, ceramics/pottery, fiber arts/textiles, and jewelry/metalsmithing. As we grow our ArtEdu Directory and Learn-the-Arts Calendar, homeschool families will find it easy to connect with teachers.
If you are a homeschooling mom or dad, check out nearby artist and artisan studios, then schedule some field trips, with or without hands-on activities. What about a local metalsmith who uses heat and flame to create works of art? Or a glass artist cutting and soldering stained glass, or fusing glass in a kiln? A fiber artist spinning wool or weaving? Ceramics and pottery studios are popular and will have all the supplies you need for delightfully messy experimentation.
Your local community center is another good avenue to tap into. Also visit nearby art museums; they often have art educators on staff and love connecting with young audiences.
Pinterest is a great place for finding DIY home projects. Lisa Vaught’s list “Homeschool Art Lesson Ideas” is a good place to start.
I also recently came across TinkerLabs’ website for nurturing creative minds; Rachelle Doorley, a mom and a well-credentialed arts educator, is doing something right…she even has a best-selling book. I especially appreciated her list of useful art education blogs.
The Long Reach of Teaching Art to Children
Whether homeschool kids learn art individually, or create in a group, they will find the visual arts fun and exciting, with something to show at the end of the day, week or month. They won’t even realize how important it is for developing their young minds.
And their young minds are our future. Business leaders realize this and they are now starting to acknowledge the importance of adding art lessons to reading, writing, math, science, and technology curriculums. Homeschool families are uniquely situated to easily integrate art into their lesson plans and adapt to their children’s desires. This flexibility and adaptation was evident as I watched my sister homeschool their four kids over the past eighteen years.
I would bet that most working artists, artisans and art educators today were introduced to creating art at a young age. You, too, can impart such a long-lasting impact on the next generation.