Having to keep kids at home can happen for many reasons. Homeschooling is not new or extraordinary. For many around the world, educating and engaging children at home has been a choice. Parents choose not to send their children to the local school, for many reasons. Others live in remote areas and so the ‘classroom’, in more recent decades, has incorporated online learning. However, some parents (and grandparents) are now having to face the challenge of trying to continue the learning journeys of their children (and grandchildren) within the confines of their home environment.
If you’re reading this blog, then you have already probably been using Artventure to engage children in art-making. You may now be in a situation where you are required to try to incorporate lessons at home, hopefully with the guidance and support of your school’s teachers. I started to make notes of all the things I could think of that involve making artworks while also incorporating other learning activities - at home. Homeschoolers are experts at this! I thought I’d bring to your attention some of the previous blogs which may be especially helpful at this time.
Other Artventure blogs
TOOLS and EQUIPMENT
Much of this is covered in previous blogs above. But the things that immediately came to mind included drawing tools like pencils, textas, crayons, chalk and even charcoal. Paper, cardboard, books, footpaths and driveways - the ‘canvasses’ for their creations. Then construction tools like play dough, scissors, glue, magazines, cardboard, wrapping paper... Adding imaginative bits and pieces like leaves, stones, dirt, even food…
These incorporate creativity and the development of art skills as well as skills and knowledge in other curriculum areas. Just some starters that might trigger other thoughts.
# develop a daily chart of activities list and draw the things that should be done, could be done, want to be done...
# create an illustrated menu for each meal of the day based on what is available in the house - this could be one of the first tasks of the day (search ‘food’ in Artventure to find lessons on drawing some of these items)
# for some dishes, try making the food into a piece of artwork - and then eating it!
# make a set of exercise cards to give to others or do yourself - each card has one exercise eg star jump, step ups… (search ‘sport’ in Artventure to see how to draw some activities or just draw stick figures)
# chart the weather and make graphs - create a picture for each different type of day (search ‘weather’ in Artventure)
Around the house
# draw a plan of the house and or yard and create a treasure hunt for others to follow
# draw a plan of a bedroom with the correct dimensions for all components - cut out each of the main pieces of furniture and redo the plan with furniture in a new position
In the yard
# find minibeasts in the yard, take a photo and then research more information about them - create a report on it and include a diagram
# do the same for plants - or parts of plants (search ‘plant’ in Artventure to give you ideas for drawing)
# draw your pets in all sorts of different positions and activities (search ‘animal’ in Artventure)
# collect leaves - draw them, trace over them using crayon on paper on top, glue them to create a collage (search ‘leaves’ in Artventure for more ideas)
# create a mini scene with nuts, stones, sticks glued onto a sheet of cardboard or in a shoebox like a diorama
# open out a large cardboard box and draw a town on it - add smaller boxes as houses, garages…
At the table
# illustrate stories - written or told by you or the child (fictional or factual): photograph and email to a family member
# write letters and include cartoon characters or comic strips: photograph and email to a school friend
Take inspiration from a professional illustrator to create characters - previous blog
# create a poster about an interest - research the topic and include diagrams and drawings
# create an equilateral triangle with equal sides and angles; cut out multiple copies and create tessellations
This could be done with coloured paper, or triangles can be decorated in sets (a pile of spotty triangles, a pile of stripy triangles, a pile of swirly triangles; or red, green, yellow) then regular patterns created with these like tiles on a floor.
The hardest thing may well be maintaining engagement over a longer period of time, depending on your situation and why you need to be homeschooling. As I said, the existing homeschoolers are the experts, but I feel the key is setting up a routine. Ensure children have some ‘choice’ so they feel an element of control in this new learning environment: an environment that does not include daily face-to-face play time with their friends. This will be the hardest hurdle for the children to overcome. Ways to communicate with their friends need to be considered. Slot into the routine a time when they can communicate with friends, and decide together the best way to do this.
Adults will also be feeling isolated so working out regular communication times via phone, video, email or through other social media becomes important. One suggestion might be for adults to use a medium like Facetime, or equivalent, to share activities with school mates. While they engage in an Artventure lesson or one of the many suggestions above, set up Facetime to allow the kids to feel connected in real time with their friends (with adult supervision). Photographing and sharing the many artworks they create also gives the kids the sense of purpose and an audience for their endeavours.
There are many benefits in providing opportunities to engage in making artworks especially at a time when life seems to have turned itself upside down and children are experiencing big changes in daily routines. Art can be like a therapy, a way to express how we’re feeling: relaxing and distracting. Watch as your children create and build; talk to them about what they are doing, recognise and acknowledge their attempts and ask how they are feeling; help build their sense of connection with you when other connections have been cut off.