Your kids want to go into science, writing, or music… so why waste your time on art?
It’s a valid question. We only have so many hours in a day, and we should spend them on what our kids are most interested in, right?
My personal take on this question is– yes and no.
Yes… definitely invite your kids to spend the majority of time on things they are passionate about. But don’t completely skip subjects like art just because you don't have a background in it, or your kids aren't interested in pursuing art as a career choice.
Art helps with everything else. Some of these will come as no surprise. There have been numerous studies that show how kids with a visual arts education routinely score higher than those kids who don’t take art class. But there are some other unexpected benefits of including art in your routine.
Kids Who Are Exposed To Great Art Have An Appreciation For Beauty
They respect their community, and feel a responsibility to help take care of it. They see loveliness in the little details of life that often get overlooked. They pay attention to detail, and feel gratitude for all the goodness that surrounds them.
Kids Who Study Classical Art Feel A Connection To The Past
And that understanding of history helps them feel more connected to their place in the present, and better able to envision where they want to go in the future.
Art discussions develop critical thinking skills
Your kids will learn how to take a moment to look carefully at something (in this case, art), and then they will formulate an idea or an opinion. They'll gain confidence as they discover ways to turn those ideas into words and have a meaningful conversation with you!
Kids Who Study Art Know There Is Great Value In Diversity
You don't have to like every style of art. But every style of art has someone who thinks that style is the best! Learning from a young age that different isn't necessarily better is a lifelong perspective that will allow them to be adaptable, open minded and extremely resilient later in life when someone doesn't like something that they do. My kids LOVE the art of Jackson Pollock, and when they learned that most of the art world hated his art when he first made it, they were shocked. Now when someone doesn't love their (dance, story, game, idea), they don't take it so personally. They know there will always be some people who love what you do and some people who just don't.
Art history inspires curiosity
Why did s/he paint that? Why did s/he paint it that way? What political, societal, and scientific changes caused the progression of art to develop as it did? What does the _____ symbolize in this painting? What does this mean?
Remember when your kids were 3 and 4, and they asked questions NON-STOP?
That level of intense curiosity is a primal instinct that we actually need for survival. We feel a strong urge to understand the world around us from a very young age, and that instinct may grow quieter in some children as they get older, but if you fan the spark of curiosity in them, they will continue to wonder, to ponder, and to think. They will be able to assess situations and form opinions based on fact. They will also be in touch with their intuition, and have a better understanding of why certain things make them feel a certain way.
So, HOW do you study art? (When you never took art yourself)
Don't be overwhelmed by the endless options out there. Be inspired by the endless options!
I like to start by thinking about what else we're currently studying, or what my kids are interested in.
Next, choose one piece of art to look at. It's not a cop out, I promise. If you study one piece of art, your kids will remember it. If you introduce them to every work Van Gogh ever did in an afternoon, they'll probably remember a few things, but the impact is diluted.
Once you have your ONE piece of art, look at it together and chat. (It's better to let your kids talk more than you do. Ask leading questions, and think of yourself as the guider of the discussion rather than the giver of information.)
Finally, invited your kids to make some art inspired by what you just looked at and talked about. There's no right or wrong. Keep it open ended and see what your kids come up with!
This kind of meaningful art experience results in some magical benefits for your kids!
And, if you’d like to have a pre-made curriculum you can open and implement (in just 20-30 minutes each week) consider joining us in The Studio. It’s Art History Kids monthly membership where we study a new topic each month, and you get weekly lesson plans to follow!
A Bit of Inspiration
If you need a little reminder to stick up on the wall, I've got just the thing! Join the email list and you'll get access to the resource library – which is full of fun stuff – and where I've just added a Picasso quote pdf for you to download and print. It's a fun reminder to make art part of your every day plan– even if it's only for 5 minutes.
Make sure to connect on social media and join us in our free and fun Facebook group where we chat about art!