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One of the things I love about homeschooling is that we are always actively engaged in learning. Reading, writing, math, and science are naturally included in daily life. We read recipes, write letters, estimate the grocery bill, and care for our garden. I want to make art something that comes naturally to my kids too.
One way that we encourage Hannah and Ben to flex their creative muscles is by giving them “real” art supplies.
We use canvases that I purchase in bulk at Michaels. If you wait until they are on sale, you can buy them for around $2 each. I like to purchase a variety of sizes. We paint with acrylic paints, plastic pallets, and horsehair brushes. These can be purchased pretty inexpensively and will last quite a while. We buy cheap new acrylic paints about once a year. The pallets and brushes are the ones we have been using for the last 7 years and they are still going strong.
We have used acrylic paint for the past few years, but you should know that it will not wash out of fabric. Make sure to wear old clothing or cover up (or strip down, if you prefer).
We first started painting on canvases when Hannah was 4. At 4 years old, we used tempera paint because it is washable. The end result is pretty similar and I didn’t need to stress about ruining my chair cushions or carpeting.
We didn’t paint any canvases while we were living in our rental house because the lease stated we could only hang a few pictures. One of the first things we did after closing on our new house was bust out the painting supplies. Hannah and Ben both came running when they saw the canvases, paints, and brushes laid out on the dining table.
I like to pull out the art supplies when we need to slow down.
Painting gets the kids to sit still, relax, and focus on being creative. It is a great way to entice the kids to come inside when they have been playing in the sun for hours and need to cool off.
It is also a fantastic activity for turning around a bad day. Painting without a specific assignment gives them the freedom to get their emotions on paper. I have had children come to the art table with a scowl on their face, angry at the world. Half an hour and lots of black paint later, they walk away looking as if a weight has been removed from their shoulders. Not all art has to be happy.
We occasionally choose a famous artist to study. We read some books, watch some YouTube clips, and visit a museum (sometimes only virtually) to see the artwork. Then we try to recreate the artists style at home.
Other times their paintings are purely their creations. It is so interesting watching Hannah and Ben paint. It is very reflective of their personalities.
Hannah is always focused on the result. She chooses a topic, sketches her design, carefully chooses the paint colors, and painstakingly paints her picture.
Ben, on the other hand, just enjoys the act of painting. He likes the way he can change the texture by moving his brush differently. It is not uncommon for him to paint picture on top of picture in a single painting session. He very rarely ends up with a picture that is recognizable. That is okay though. It is all art and he loves it.
I think it is important to display the paintings.
The kids feel a sense of pride in their artwork. It isn’t unusual for me to find an empty spot on the wall because a child decided they love their artwork so much they want to display it in their own room.
Hannah and Ben’s paintings are my all time favorite artwork. It is actually one of the first things you see when you enter my home. I feel like that sets the tone that children and creativity are valued here.
How do you foster a love of art?
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