Is teaching art to our kids really all that important?!? Shouldn’t we be spending the bulk of our time teaching them reading, writing, and arithmetic? Shouldn’t we follow the trend of many schools by eliminating art from our homeschools so that we have time for more important pursuits?
Actually, art is extremely beneficial to teach to our kids. Our brains have two sides. The left hemisphere is analytical, linear, logical, rational, and verbal. The right hemisphere is creative, holistic, intuitive, spatial, and visual.
Most schools tend to concentrate the vast majority of their time on developing the left side of kids’ brains while ignoring the right side. Teaching our kids art helps to develop the right side of their brains as well as the connections between both hemispheres.
It’s clear that if we want to help our kids fully develop their brains, we need to be sure we are including some art instruction in our homeschools. But how do we teach them art when we don’t have much artistic ability ourselves?
Teaching Art When You Have NO Artistic Ability
One of my sons is interested in learning how to draw. This has been a bit of a dilemma for me because the only type of drawing I’ve been able to master so far has been stick figures. Because of my lack of artistic ability, I certainly don’t feel qualified to teach my son anything artsy other than art appreciation.
And we have done plenty of that. We’ve gone through the book Discovering Great Artists and have done many of the suggested hands-on projects. We’ve also been through quite a few of the books in the Getting To Know The World’s Greatest Artists series.
But when it comes to actually teaching my son the finer points of art, I’m at a loss. My husband and I have considered signing him up for an art class but those can be quite expensive. My sister is a wonderful artist and I’d love to have her teach my son but she lives in a different city so that isn’t very convenient, either.
So you can imagine how delighted I was when I discovered the online art lessons by Atelier Homeschool Art.
Online Art Lessons
I was given this product for free and was compensated for my time, but all of my opinions are honest and I was not required to write a positive review.
These online art lessons are taught by Marcia Osterink, an accomplished artist who specializes in sculpture and watercolor. She has also been an art teacher to kids from kindergarten through college age for over 30 years so she knows how to relate to kids.
The Atelier art lessons are presented in video format. This is wonderful because this program takes almost no time to teach on the part of the parents. Kids are able to watch each lesson independently and follow along as Marcia teaches them step-by-step.
Each lesson contains the following:
- A list of materials which are necessary for each lesson
- Student handouts
- The lesson itself
- Examples of other students’ work
Marcia always starts each lesson by carefully telling the students the objectives for that class. She then talks the kids through each step of the process and makes it easy for students to follow along. Throughout the class, Marcia asks the kids questions and gets their feedback.
After each step, the video shows attempts by various kids which helps to clarify what they are expected to do. This also helps the watching student to feel as if he is in an actual art class with other kids!
My favorite aspect of these lessons is that I can allow my son to learn independently and he isn’t being held back by my lack of artistic ability.
The student handouts are also fantastic and they include:
- Drawing aids
- Vocabulary words with which your child should be familiar after watching the video
- Examples of other students’ work to give them some ideas
- Post-lesson discussion questions
- Tips for evaluating your child’s project based on the criteria given by the instructor
As I watched one of the lessons on learning Color Value and Cartooning by Drawing Clue Characters, I found myself wanting to try out Marcia’s techniques myself. I thought that if those kids in the video could learn how to draw people, maybe I could as well!
This is what I ended up with. Don’t laugh at the result. I was pleased with how it turned out compared to what I normally am capable of drawing. Can you tell that I was trying to draw Mrs. White from the game of Clue? And here is my son’s drawing of Colonel Mustard after watching the same lesson.
My son has started working through Level 6 and he is enjoying the lessons. He has been able to learn some helpful techniques in these classes such as Balance and Composition, Cartooning, and Drawing and Negative Space. His current interest is in pencil drawing; however, he’s starting to branch out into other mediums as he is going through these lessons. Who knows where he’ll end up after he has received some solid instruction for several months! We’re thrilled for him over here!
Here are a few of his creations after going through several of the Atelier Online Art Lessons.
Do you see a theme in his chosen subject matter?!? Can you tell that he loves Star Wars?!? LOL
My son is just getting started exploring his artistic ability again. I’m super excited to see how much he is able to develop his talent after he has been concentrating on it for a while. And the Atelier Art Classes are one method we plan to use to help him hone his craft.
If you’re interested in having one or more of your children check out these online art lessons, you can give them a try for FREE! If you don’t have a fast enough internet connection to stream videos, you can get these same lessons in DVD format instead.
For your convenience, the folks at Atelier Homeschool Art have also put together art supply kits which include approximately 80% of the supplies needed to complete one level of art classes. This makes it even easier for parents to have their kids go through these classes without a lot of hassle.
Question: Do your kids have an interest in art? Have you discovered any unique ways to include art in your homeschool? Please leave a comment below.