You now know everything you to know to bring art history into your homeschool in a meaningful way. Here's where the fun part begins... diving into your first topic together! Before you get started, I have a few more general tips and tricks to consider as you move forward.
The most important thing to think about as you study art history together is being fully present in the moment. This simple shift in your mindset can completely transform your experience. Instead of feeling like an obligation that leaves you exhausted, drained, and stressed about all the other things you need to get done, you’ll finish art time feeling rejuvenated, inspired, and content that you connected with your kids in a really meaningful way.
The quality time you spend together is the most valuable aspect of exploring an art education with your children! But, like anything, and it takes a little practice before it becomes second nature.
I’ve reflected on what we did differently when our time felt most special, and I’m sharing all my insider tips so you can have a huge head start.
- No phones... except to take pictures of your kids, or to look up a specific question they have. I never mean to, but taking a quick peek at my email leads to just replying to that one message, and then I remember I need to add something to the shopping list, and then I see a notification from instagram, and I just have to heart that adorable picture of my nephew, and then… Ahhhhh! Phones will quickly lead us down an endless rabbit hole of distraction. This is YOUR time to spend with your kids. Even if you just sit with a cup of coffee at the dining room table and zone out while you watch them paint for a few minutes. That direct and undivided attention won’t be lost on them, and you may be surprised to find that a 10 minute break rejuvenates you for the next few hours and leaves you feeling connected to your kids on a deeper level. Be in the moment… even if it is only for a moment.
- Make art a priority. If you can’t make it part of your daily routine, decide how many days you can dedicate to art, and make sure you honor that time. Put it on the schedule! It’s easy to get stressed when we’re behind in our math book, and that copywork needs to get done, and we’ve got a science experiment to get to. Sometimes art gets pushed down the to-do list, and has a hard time making it back up to the top. Making it a priority will help to make sure it happens regularly at your house.
- Expect nothing. Detaching from the outcome will make the process of learning art history, and creating art a truly liberating one for your kids. One time I had a fun Mondrian activity planned for our afternoon, and as my son worked diligently on his Mondrian inspired painting, plotting out his black horizontal and vertical lines with mathematical precision, my daughter started wildly splattering her easel with every color of paint she had. Rather than redirect her idea, I encouraged her to continue (as soon as I moved her easel to the back yard). My only agenda for the day was to do art. I had planned to do Mondrian, but she was inspired to do something else (apparently, a Jackson Pollock). Mondrian can wait, her enthusiasm for art needed to be encouraged, nurtured, and celebrated!
A journey without a destination
Hopefully by now you’re inspired to get out there and get started, and you’re even a little excited about the fun that awaits you and your kids on this journey. It is exciting! It’s a journey you take together, and as you make discoveries together, you’re relationship will grow and your bond will strengthen.
Your kids will see that you don’t have all the answers, and that you’re still learning, too. They’ll see your interest in finding out more, and that will inspire their curiosity. You’ll follow as they lead, and you’ll adapt and become the guide they need you to be each day.
As you start making plans and scheduling museum days (you'll find blank planning pages in your workbook for noting down ideas as they come to you), remember that it is a journey, and a very unique one at that, because it has no final destination. It’s a journey you’ll be on together for as long as you choose because it’s endless. There’s always more to learn, there’s always a new way to look at things, there’s always a new connection to discover, and there’s always always another piece of art to create.
Have fun, enjoy the journey… and make some colorful memories!