Every truth has four corners: as a teacher I give you one corner, and it is for you to find the other three. Confucius

11 March 2011


Hi Everyone,

Art is divided into three focus areas throughout the childhood years. These areas are Arts Practice, Analysis and Response, and Literacy.

In practical terms, this means that children are creating their own works of art using a variety of techniques and mediums (writing, drawing, painting, movie making, photography, dance, computer animation, music, sculpture etc). The children may make a comment or analysis about their own artwork, and share their observations and responses to various artistic forms and works from other artists. Another aspect of the art curriculum is looking at art in the wider context of society, from a modern and historical perspective...how does art change our lives, and how does it reflect what's going on?

There are many interesting ways to facilitate art as it's broad enough to encompass everything from abstract painting to drama and dance. I find that having good quality paper, drawing and painting equipment, as well as craft supplies easily accessible is a good start in keeping an interesting art curriculum running. We have a craft cupboard that the children can reach, and they can set up art activities whenever they feel like creating something. Because they always have access to these materials, they tend to treat them with respect, clean up and put materials away when they're finished.

We do planned art activities occasionally, but often the children's enthusiasm comes from creating something which represents their interest at that time. Jay will sit and draw knights and vikings for hours, or build them out of lego. He will cut pieces of coloured paper out and build collages of palace or feast scenes just for the joy of representing what he's passionate about. Alexandra has built and illustrated a full cast of characters for a book she's writing, she's built characters from clay and used charcoal, oils, pencil and watercolours to illustrate at different times...it's just a lovely organic process that needs little prompting from me.

We tend to incorporate a lot of our art activities into the outdoors through garden design, nature studies, sculpting with clay or sand, building teepees, costume design, building a campfire and so on...

I also have a good supply of quality art books which we look through and discuss on a fairly regular basis, and all of my kids are quite interested in looking at detail and meaning within paintings. We study the lives and times of various artists informally as we're looking at their work. I framed a variety of fine art pictures and hung them on the wall where the children can see them, so quality visual art is a part of our everyday lives, just like music, dance or drama. We also visit the public art gallery and museum on a regular basis just to look around as well as doing the occasional school holiday programme.

In my experience, external art lessons (drama, dance, visual art, music lessons) can vary a lot in price and intensity. Abby went to art, music and drama lessons for a few years, and still loves the visual arts, theatre and playing guitar, but I don't consider paying a lot of money for external lessons necessary for a full art experience. Many homeschooling families will skill share if particular parents can play an instrument, paint, dance, whatever. This keeps costs down, allows children to share lessons with their friends, and to be instructed by people they already know.

In homeschooling our family, we generally encourage our children to do their best, to honour committments, and to extend on what they enjoy. We don't force an interest in artistic pursuits they're not passionate about, and they have always found plenty of fulfilling interests to keep them occupied.

Talk Soon, Cynthia x