(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.
Why do we love homeschool clubs?
Writing Club is one of the highlights of our week here at True North Homeschool Academy. We meet twice a month for a time of writing, reading, skills building, discussion of great books and smart goals. Students are writing plays, novels, poetry and more!
We are expanding our clubs at True North Homeschool Academy to include Speech, Debate and Art Club! Why? Because homeschool clubs are an essential part of Jr. and Sr. High School! Don’t believe me? Here are ten great reasons why your 7th-12th grader should be in a homeschool club!
Homeschool Clubs offer accountability.
In a homeschool club, students meet regularly with others with similar interests and abilities, setting goals and report progress to their classmates and club mentors. Writing down and sharing goals is a sure-fire way to move ahead with them!
Homeschool Clubs provide a diverse learning environment.
Rubbing shoulders with those who know more than you allow students to have something to reach and strive for. In our Writing Club, we have students aged 12- 17 with a broad range of ability, experience, and passion. The older kids encourage younger students and provide amazing role-models.
Homeschool Clubs offer mentorships.
Being a mentor for those who don’t know as much as you do gives students a chance to hone their own abilities. The best way to learn something exceptionally well is to teach it. In writing club students with experience are reaching out to younger students to offer advice, encouragement and support, share contests, online resources, editing, and more!
Homeschool Clubs are skill building.
Clubs allow students to grow and develop their skills in ways that they possibly wouldn’t seek out on their own. Our writing club has delved into songwriting, comedic sketch writing, and more based on the interest of club members!
Homeschool Clubs are low stress but offer high rewards.
Clubs allow students to immerse oneself into an area of interest without a huge time or monetary investment. Jr and Sr high school is the perfect time for students to explore various areas of interest. Clubs give students support to explore and develop in areas that may lead to career interests, lifelong hobbies, friendships, and professional skills!
Homeschool Clubs are a great way to earn credits.
Clubs are a low-stress way to earn credits. Our writing club is automatically worth a half a credit a year but students can earn up to a full credit of writing, depending on their goals and commitment. This allows students to build their transcript in a low-stress fun way!
Clubs often offer side benefits.
Because our good writers are readers, our writing club does a weekly “Book-Share” too. Students learn about different genres, learn assessment tools and participate in co-authoring quarterly “Tweens and Teens Book Recommendations,” which are published on our blog. Also, students have the opportunity to write blog posts for our blog, allowing them to publish before a fairly wide audience while still in high school.
Homeschool Clubs offer more freedom than a traditional classroom.
For example, homeschool club members can socialize with people that they have things in common with. In our Writing Club, we often do break-out rooms with smaller groups. The kids work on projects together, like writing poems or songs and have a blast laughing, brainstorming, and coming up with amazing ideas together.
In a Homeschool Club, everyone is there because they want to be there.
They are already interested in the subject matter which makes it easier to make friends! People tend to be warmer and more engaged when it’s something they want to do versus something they have to do. In our Writing Club, kids are meeting and talking with kids from around the country both inside (and outside of class).
Homeschool Clubs allow students to have input!
On the suggestion of one of our Writing Club members, we have writing “buddies.” Kids were paired up randomly with someone else in the class. This is because kids wanted to be able to continue writing prompts, share ideas, and brainstorm outside of class. The enthusiasm is contagious and some writing buddies are even writing stories together!
Clubs. We LOVE them at True North Homeschool Academy because we LOVE watching students learn, grow and develop into people who are passionate and eager to engage in the world around them!
What are you waiting for? Join a Club for Spring! At True North Homeschool Academy we offer:
Which one will you choose?
Take Time for Art: Curriculum Review
Take Time for Art: Curriculum Review came about because I am always on the look-out for quality art programs for high school students. As a closet artist drawing instruction and the fundamentals of art have been non-negotiables in our homeschool. Couple these basics with several years of high-quality art instruction at co-op by some talented homeschool Mommas, along with some professional art instruction and well, we have high standards. And we have had a hard time finding homeschool art instruction or materials that meet the mark.
Enter Take time for Art: Hands-on Art History by Penny Hayes
First, we received a box of beautifully packaged, high-quality art materials. Each student pack comes with all but the most basic and common art materials and supplies needed to complete each of the projects featured. This actually makes the program so much more enjoyable because all you have to do is keep the project pack neatly and carefully packed together in a large, durable zip-lock bag for storage; meaning that your materials will be ready to use when needed.
We chose Ancient Greece instead of Ancient Egypt, or Ancient Rome because my 18-year-old son is an old hand at re-creating historically accurate weaponry and costumes and he was quite curious about the Spartan helmet included in the pack.
The program is a winning combination of online history, art instruction, and hands-on creation.
Ancient Greece’s program includes 16 units that vary in length between 5 and 22 minutes. Each unit covers a specific period and is a visual feast of artwork, compellingly narrated by Penny.
About every fourth lesson is an art project. For this set, the projects were:
- an octopus painting, reminiscent of frescos found in Ancient Greece
- a tile painting
- a foil relief picture
- a 3-D Spartan Helmet
These are not cheesy, elementary projects, but very nice, artistically delightful projects that are suitable for gift giving. Our art group included a 15-year-old artist, an 18-year-old artist and a 24-year-old nurse who does not consider herself an artist, all of whom are or were homeschooled. My two kids have had extensive art training and are quite good in their areas of interest, but the great thing about these projects is that provide a very solid base that allows your kids to follow the projects exactly or get creative.
Penny does an exceptional job of explaining and showing in detail each art project. Penny’s explanations are thorough and complete, and the lessons are neither too rushed or too drawn out.
Penny also includes the name and artist of each piece of artwork displayed in the Credits. Under “Resources” there is a brief welcome letter, materials, a pacing guide and resources needed to create each project. The Pacing Guide is actually a curriculum guide and includes art and history questions. This is a great introduction to basic art terms. Also included is a video on the color wheel and instructions on how to make one.
This program could quickly be turned into an art history class if the parent wants to have the kids memorize the artwork included, of which there is an impressive amount.
Also included was a unit titled, “On the Road with the Apostle Paul.” This is a lovely rendition of the Road to Damascus story, told in gorgeous artwork, again with Penny narrating. It is clever in all the best sense of the word, and a unique look at an important event in church history.
My kids were a bit worried that this program was going to be childish and silly but they spent several happy hours talking about the history, looking up and cross-referencing things Penny had mentioned (we are die-hard history people, too!). The art projects the kids chose to focus on gave them several happy hours of creative relaxation. Furthermore, the end results were lovely! Also, included were art mats and suggestions for how to complete the projects for every day use.
Lastly, Penny teaches the kids how to make a Roman Road in a cup. A simple but profound aspect of the Roman world and a lesson in construction that isn’t crazy messy but gets the point across.
Take Time for Art – I loved the thoroughness of the program, the attention to detail and Penny’s gentle and sweet spirit as she guides young artists through history and art!
This is a unique and well-done program and is definitely worth the cost, especially considering that you can have more than one student accessing the course at a time. Do yourself a favor and purchase the art supplies when you order the class so that you’ll have artist quality supplies at the ready.
The actual lessons add up to about 3 hours and each project will take between 1-3 hours. Each program is easily worth ¼ credit of art; combine two for ½ high school credit of Art, History or Elective credit. This program is easily accessible to kids in elementary school throughout High School and beyond and would make a lovely present for the historian or budding artist in your life!
You can find Penny on her blog, Take Time for Art, on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.
(Disclaimer: I received a copy of this product in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.)