As you prepare to teach homeschool art, you may have a number of questions in mind about what you’re going to do. Especially if your own experience with art in school was limited – and many people went to schools at which art wasn’t taught as frequently as other classes – you may not be sure about how to approach it. This article helps sort out what you need to know and decide. If you haven’t yet checked your state’s homeschool curriculum, find your state’s education website here at the United States Department of Eduation site: nces.ed.gov
The National Standards and Homeschool Art
The National Standards for Arts Education are found at ArtsEdge on the The Kennedy Center website: artsedge.kennedy-center.org/ They were developed by the Consortium of National Arts Education Associations, and they tell what students should know and be able to do in the arts of dance, music, theater, and visual arts. The standards do not, however, tell what you should do in your classroom in order to achieve the standards: that is a matter for your curriculum and textbooks or program of study. Depending on your curriculum requirements, you may only be dealing with visual arts and music as main classes, for example, but theater and dance may come into play as electives.
The standards for art are divided, as many standards are, into three levels or grade bands: K – 4, 5 – 8, and 9 – 12. Each standard at each level explains what to look for to know that students have achieved the standard. You can use these descriptors to help get ideas for your class, as well.
References for Homeschool Art
References for homeschool art can be a wide variety of different materials and types of materials. Keep an eye out for various kinds of verbal and visual dictionaries, video, and audio to help capture each art as fully as possible, as well as histories or style compendiums that give a thorough review of each area. So-called coffee-table books of works of art or performances, as applicable, and video or audio recordings are also useful. Check your local library for recordings and check television and radio for broadcasts that would enhance your instruction.
Supplies for Homeschool Art
Supplies for homeschool art can get rather specialized if you are putting on a particular theater piece, learning to play a particular instrument, focusing on a special area of art, such as stained glass, or learning the a particular style of square dancing, for example, so the recommendations here are general:
- Visual Arts: a variety of modeling materials; a variety of drawing and painting materials and different brushes and paper; adhesives, such as glue, paste, and tape; found materials for sculpture, such as ribbons, buttons, pebbles, rubber bands, colored paper clips, etc.
- Dance: different styles of recorded dance music to experiment with and instruments (see music below) to make your own music to dance to
- Theater: a dress-up box including a variety of shoes, gowns, neckties, masks, funny noses, scarves; a Halloween make-up kit with basic face paint; costume elements such as an eye patch and gold earring for a pirate, a tiara for a princess, fireman’s helmet, etc.
- Music: a piano or keyboard; kazoos; recorders; harmonica; simple percussion instruments, such as triangle, tambourine, maracas, claves, finger cymbals, bongos, etc.; folk song/sing-along recordings
Projects for Homeschool Art
Here are some ideas for homeschool art projects, but of course there are thousands of projects that could be done: these are just to get you started:
- Visual Arts: Creating a stencil for room decoration; making greeting cards; making paper; making windchimes; creating an origami diorama; creating a website design; using photography and captions to tell the family history
- Dance: create “footstep guides” to dance steps on butcher paper or other large paper so others in the family can learn steps; organize a family square dance or a neighborhood line dance
- Theater: Building a puppet theater; making puppets; writing a script and putting on a finger puppet or sock puppet show; telling a joke; presenting an original monologue; presenting a well-known dialogue (such as “Who’s on First?”)
- Music: Create your own harmony for “Happy Birthday”; learn some songs on guitar or piano to help guide a family sing-along; provide electronic music for a theater project; form a kazoo choir to help pass the time when traveling in a car or camper.
Web Resources for Homeschool Art
The ArtsEdge site does actually have some curriculum materials in the form of lessons, many of which are actually cross-curricular, dealing with multiple disciplines. You can find them here: artsedge.kennedy-center.org
Note that these are sent in by teachers, not prepared in a systematic way, and are not aimed at providing a complete curriculum. The How-To’s on the ArtsEdge site here: artsedge.kennedy-center.org may also be useful to your understanding of the arts as an instructor.
ARTstor is a vast collection of artwork available online. It is accessed through affiliation with a non-profit institution that participates: this could be a public library or a K-12 school or a museum, for example. Find out more at the website here: artstor.org
Field Trips for Homeschool Art
Here are some general ideas for homeschool art fieldtrips:
- Visual Arts: museums, galleries, studios, art fairs, craft shows
- Dance: performances (e.g., ballet, modern dance); square dancing; competitions; observe classes; ice rinks
- Theater: performances; backstage tours; observe rehearsals; costume makers, theatrical supply stores
- Music: performances; observe rehearsals; sidewalk musicians; instrument sales/repair; museums with musical instrument collections