Art and Music (and extras) in Our Homeschool

It’s that crazy time of year, isn’t it? This is the time of year when I have to look at the broad scope of learning and not focus on the spelling that doesn’t get done one day or the units that I’m dying to get into, but we can’t seem to find enough time at home to delve into them! Is it that way for you?

On the other hand, we are making lots of progress is in the arts…

LD, DD and I sang “Glad to Have a Friend Like You” (from the children’s album Free to Be you and Me) together in front of about 100 people last Friday (I accompanied them on the guitar). I couldn’t believe how brave and steady the kids were. They each sang a line solo, then we sang the rest of the verse and the chorus together. My Mom would have been proud (she died before the kids were born, but my Mom was a feminist… she started the NOW chapter in Phoenix, ran the National Women Studies Association for several years, wrote a textbook on Race, Class, and Gender in America. She even met Bobby Kennedy at one point.)  I was raised on the album Free to Be You and Me. (did you know Alan Alda from M*A*S*H could sing beautifully?!) I wish I could share a clip of that with you (I can’t because of copyright issues), but the kids were so cute and did so well (proud Mama here!).

LD is going to sing Christmas carols on stage with the choir at the local performing arts center this next Friday (the lead-in act after intermission for a ‘professional’ performer).

DD is a beginner on piano, but has a little recital this next Sunday. She’ll be playing We Three Kings of Orient Are.

The week after that LD will be singing with the children’s choir in a holiday program and will be singing four pieces, including one of my favorites, The Little Drummer Boy.

Plus, the kids still attend their weekly art class. I haven’t written about that on the blog, but it has been an amazing class. A close friend told us about this art studio last summer; her kids did art camp there. We looked into art class for DD this past fall. The studio offered a homeschool class and we signed DD up. LD was soon begging to go as well. A week later he joined the class. They have learned SO much! They’ve done portraits, shading, blending, perspective and on and on! I’ll share some of their artwork below:

Their art teacher is so enthusiastic and inspiring. The kids love her!

One week the kids did self-portraits (above). Then the next week, they had to do half of a self portrait and do the other half as who they feel are. I love how DD’s mouth is actually a cat with a tail!

It’s been wonderful to see how much they’re learning from week to week. Last week they learned a bit about perspective. This is LD’s picture. DD didn’t finish hers and left it to work on this week.

We’re also winding up our 6-week stint of homeschool swim lessons.

This is also a busy time of year for LD in gymnastics. He had his first gymnastics meet a couple of weeks ago and did really well. He metaled in all six events and won gold in the all-around for his level and age bracket. He has several more meets coming up in the next month or so including one this next weekend.

Also on the agenda? Several holiday parties, the arrival of Grams and Gramps, brownies (as in Girl Scouts, not as in baking!), extra rehearsals…busy, busy! Those extras sure add up!


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  1. by viv

    On December 10, 2012 at 12:56 am

    Oh liesl i love to read about all the exciting activities you and your kiddos are doing . thank you so much for sharing . I am teaching Tina piano at home and she is preparing for her first recital she will play jolly old saint nicholas :) xxx

  2. by Liesl Den

    On December 10, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Hi Viv,

    It’s so good to hear from you. That’s wonderful that Tina has learned to play the piano. I remember talking with you a year or so ago and you said you were thinking about getting a keyboard. Good luck to Tina at her recital. DD had hers yesterday and she did well — no mistakes. She said she wasn’t nervous at all. It’s so great seeing their self-confidence develop!

    Also, I have to admit I’m really grateful for your message… I worried a little writing a post like this because I didn’t want people to think they *have* to do activities like these with their kids. Since we don’t do co-ops the kids really love their outside activities. We’ve just tried to find things that the kids are passionate about. Gymnastics was pretty clear when at the age of 5 we couldn’t keep LD from standing on his hands!! Luckily for us, all the music things we do are free since I play the piano/oboe etc. and have a wonderful music network.

    Good to hear from you. Happy homeschooling! ~Liesl