(The following is a guest post from Penny Mayes, curriculum creator at Take TIme for Art.)
How do you integrate art into your classical homeschool? For some of us the answer is not very often or in spurts and starts. I know, it’s frustrating, and the truth is it shouldn’t be that hard. But what’s a mom to do when you are trying to cover all the bases, give your child a strong classical education in the basics, and generally managing life? Trying to teach art and art history much less integrate it into your classical unit studies is just not a priority. But what if it should be a priority and what if there was an easier way?
First, should art be a priority in your classical homeschool? And if so, why? To answer that question let’s go to the Bible to visit a couple of artists. The first artist is of course, God. And to see God’s handiwork, we go to the place where He creates His masterpiece. We go to Genesis.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Genesis 1:1-2.
When we talk about art we need to start at the beginning and recognize that the source of all creativity comes from God. He is the Master Designer and the Creator of our world and our being. We can’t even begin to compete with God, but we can learn from Him as we study His creation and his beauty.
And that is exactly what happened with our second artist. When God designed His dwelling place among the Israelites in the desert, He chose a special guy to build it.
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel, son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts.” Exodus 31: 1-5.
Never imagine that God doesn’t have a plan for you. He really does cause everything to work together for good for those that love Him and are called according to His purposes. And that is just what happened in the life of a former slave who used to work for Pharaoh’s glory, but now worked for God’ glory.
Created to Be Creators
The truth is, we are all created in God’s image and made to be creators, just as Bezalel was a creator. We all have this need to make, to create, to improve, and to subdue our world. It is built into us as image bears of God. And we need to figure out how to do it for God’s glory. That is what training your child in classical integrated arts education is all about.
Integrate Art with History
But how do you do this? In my opinion, one of the best ways to do this is to integrate art with your history curriculum. By studying the art history of a time period you get to put a picture and a face on a culture of people. And you get to contrast the beliefs of that people group with Biblical truth. Art always reflects the beliefs of a culture. By looking at their art, you can bring in Biblical truth and a Christian worldview.
Then based on what you’ve studied, hands-on projects in art should follow. When you study Ancient Egypt, the tomb art, the stories, and the history, you should make something fantastic like an Egyptian mummy mask, a sculpture of a piece of tomb art, or a tomb painting. And you can talk about how when we create we do it for God’s glory. Seem a bit overwhelming? Let me make it even easier.
Let Me Help you do the Heavy Lifting
At Take Time for Art we integrate history with art history through our streaming video curriculum. We do it with a Christian worldview, and encourage each of our students to create for God’s glory. And we have wonderful hands-on projects taught step-by-step in our videos. Check us out at taketimeforart.com. We even have wonderful art materials packs that make your life even easier. Check out our videos on Vimeo.
Making art happen in your classical homeschool doesn’t have to be that hard. Let us help you do easily and successfully. And let us help you bring a lot of fun into your homeschool too!
(Are you interested in an amazing classical education for your homeschool student? Then be sure to check out our classical courses at True North Homeschool Academy.)
Penny Mayes is a veteran homeschool mom of 20 years and art teacher. She creates integrated curriculum for homeschoolers at Take Time for Art. Her goal is to make art easy to use, fun, and integrated with your history unit studies. And she teaches from a Christian worldview. For more information, visit her at taketimeforart.com.