For a long time I did not see the importance of including regular practical art (Charlotte Mason’s ‘handwork’ is different to the prac art I’m speaking of) in our homeschool. I’m not great at thinking up endless art ideas and having taught in a pre-school BH (before homeschooling) was sick of endless and pointless box construction projects and paintings to find homes for (my daughter was in my class). It drove me batty! But I have come to realise – after 4 years – that practical art in the home holds an altogether different place to what school art projects did.

When I was looking for Friday art projects to do with the children, the thought -‘ are they not to old for some of these activities?’ – did cross my mind! However – it has proved not to be the case. My 13 and 11 year old have absolutely loved the simple art projects we have done so far. The delight on their faces has proved to me that art has no set ‘correct age’. When I was writing up my Themes and Plans for August, I decided that I wanted us to spend this month experimenting with different ways to work with paint. The first project tied in really well with our Artist study. We are looking at Georges Seurat and pointillism. So our project for that week was to create a picture (we chose a ‘peace’ theme as that was the week of the riots) using dots of paint.

The girls really enjoyed this project. It was interesting to see the dot techniques used by each child. The more ordered of the two painstakingly placed her dots neatly side by side, while the other little one randomly placed hers in a haphazard way ;o) . Today we experimented with ‘bubble art’. Just look at the delight on their faces as the paint erupted out of the cup…

they experimented with different colorways, adding glitter to the paint and enjoying popping the bubbles with their paper. I think what they enjoyed the most was the process of making bubbles ;o)

We selected one each for our gallery and the rest of the prints have been commandeered by my eldest for her card making – quite a good idea I thought.

An interesting comment that my eldest made (just to prove my point about art being ageless), she said that she had done this sort of painting in pre-school, but had enjoyed it far more this time round. So there we are, don’t deprive your children of good old messy fun because you think they are too old for it. Even I got my fingers dirty and dived in today. And yes – I really enjoyed it too!

The place that practical art projects into our school week, is the opportunity it gives us to work side by side just enjoying each other. There’s no teacher/student role, no pressure, just enjoying each others company, enjoying the easy chatting about arb things, enjoying the creative process together. So as you can see – what you do is not really that important, just provide an opportunity to be together, getting messy and producing something that you’ve had fun on. Each time one of you looks at that piece of art displayed, a memory will be seen, a conversation remembered and another precious moment together treasured!

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