Archive for the ‘ Arts and Crafts ’ Category

Add Art Appreciation to Your Week

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

I’ve been thinking and planning out the next six weeks of our homeschool… We have some things that we really need to address like spelling and grammar. Since the kids ADORE math circle time (see this post here) (which is basically critical thinking and math riddles) we have to add that back in as well.  But the big fat blank — the ugly square looking me (and you!) square in the face is the art/music block.

(Sorry about the flowery hard to read font… I made this for me as I was planning things out, not really with you in mind!)

I haven’t helped the kids learn a new piano piece in nearly 2 months (I couldn’t when I was so extremely noise sensitive!!). And while the kids are always drawing and doodling, we haven’t done any art (I purchased Meet the Masters, but we were derailed after my first ear surgery back in October).   So as I mulled over that big fat blank, I thought I would pull out our calendar and the art cards I made about 4 years ago.  It boils down to changing out the pictures each week and mentioning the artists’ name, but is doable at the moment. Realistically, we don’t have time to add in yet another subject, but changing out cards? That, I can do!  I thought I would share this idea if it works for your family. (If you have the time and are looking to do an actual unit, then be sure to check out Erica’s Great Artist Unitmwhich is free over on her blog, Confessions of a Homeschooler. I hear people rave about it! And Meet the Masters is highly regarded as well, but is not free.)

Back a number of years ago (when the kids were 6 and 4  – & ED was a tot), I had a calendar that hung on the wall near our dining room table. Each week, I featured a new artist in our weekly calendar. I copied and pasted some of the famous pieces done by one particular artist.  For example, in the photos below are pictures by Norman Rockwell and Albert Bierstadt. We also did  following artists:

Leonardo DaVinci
Van Gogh

I usually posted a self portrait of the artist and we talked briefly about each picture (what they see, what they like or don’t like about it) and leave it at that. These quick lessons did sink in as LD noticed a Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” and commented on it a few weeks after I posted those pictures.

Another week we featured Georgia O’Keefe:

And another week was on Pablo Picasso:

If you want to go a little farther, you can do an art project based on the artist you feature.  For example, we did an art project based on Picasso. Here’s what I wrote about that activity:

The new artist we put up in the calendar this week was
Pablo Picasso. I remembered a wonderful Picasso art
lesson at Art Projects for Kids that was aimed at first
graders.  There’s a similar lesson at Deep Space Sparkle.
LD did well with it; he said it was hard, but he was
proud of his picture when he was done. DD colored in
one that I outlined and did an impressive job too.

Most weeks I try to place a new artist in the weekly
calendar that hangs behind the dining room table.

DD (above) would have just turned 4 at the time.

I just copied the art works I liked and pasted them into Word, resized them and printed them out each week. I laminated them for durability and lucky for me, still have them stashed away. I never saved the files (and don’t know about copyright issues anyway), but it was pretty quick and easy to make those cards.   Hope that helps someone this week!

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The Free Art Drawing Lessons That My Girls Love

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

I can’t say enough about Kathy over at Art Projects for Kids and the amazing lessons she shares on her blog.  We have been benefiting from her free lessons for years! With everything else that has been going on for me the last few months, it’s been wonderful to have this resource helping to inspire my kids. We have an ever-growing notebook of lessons that the kids flip through and select.

DD loved this lesson on How to Draw a Dreaming Story.  She didn’t want to include the girl in the bed, but spent a lot of time working on the quilt:

All of the kids spend time looking over the drawing lessons and choosing things to draw. The directions are so clear that the girls have been using her lessons since the age of 4. Here are some of the drawings DD did a week or so ago:

And here’s a picture of ED’s writing workshop journal from last September. (ED is 5.) You can see she learned how to draw the really learned this lesson on How to Draw a Fox. She spent days writing “chapters” for her story about the fox and the cat.

I love the art journal lessons Kathy shared not long ago and hope to do these with the kids as well. She has several downloadable lessons: Lessons 1 and 2 (Line and Shape/Form); Lessons 3 and 4 (Space and Color); Lessons 5 and 6 (Value and Texture). I have her lessons printed out and tucked into our ever-growing art notebook! Thank you, Kathy! 

We have a whole notebook of drawing lessons that the kids thumb through several times a week.  Just a couple of days ago, we pulled out the notebook to write thank you cards for all the meals we received last week:

To be honest, seeing someone who shares her lessons free with the wider world has been inspiring to me personally.  I know how grateful I am to have a place to turn when it comes to art… Since I am so grateful for her expertise, it makes me inspired to share the things I make for my kids with the wider world as well in the hopes that I’m passing something of use too.

Anyway, I highly recommend you go check out Kathy’s blog, Art Projects for Kids!

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You wake up on the weekend with all these plans…

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

only to find out that making a dog bed is on your agenda!!  ED decided she really, really had to have a dog bed for her pet puppy, Cookie. She and I put our heads together this morning, got out the fabric scraps, sewing machine and set to work!

Now there’s a sense of accomplishment for 9am on a Sunday!

It turned out pretty cute!  It’s fun to be a Mom!

and Cookie enjoying her bed:

P.S. On the agenda for Sunday afternoon?? Helping DD make a dog bed for her pet! ;)

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Homemade Christmas Keepsakes (Great as Gifts!)

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

Every year there are a few Christmas decorations that I absolutely LOVE bringing out!  I wanted to share a few of our family favorites!

My personal favorites are the ones that include pictures of the kids. One year when the kids were not-quite-2, 4 and 6, I made a holiday picture banner. I took pictures of the kids holding all the letters in Merry Christmas.  Then I laminated them and strung them on a long Christmas ribbon. I sewed small red fabric bows and holy in between each picture. We hang the banner up in the living room and the kids always come rushing to look at their pictures!

I also love putting this ornament on our tree! I made a simple popcycle stick Christmas ornaments one year for all of our extended family. My older two kids were 2 and 4. It’s a bit cheesy, but boy do I love pulling this out of the box!

Fingerprint Christmas Ornaments:

We made these ornaments last year making fingerprints into snowmen.

This year we’ll be making fingerprint reindeer ornaments (like this reindeer ornament at the Crafty Crow):

And finally the Christmas Star:

The kids glued toothpicks onto a star shape (it needs to be cut from a firm piece of card board).  After the glue dried, we spray painted it gold and glued a toilet-paper roll to the back.  It slides easily onto the top of the Christmas tree!

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What We’re Doing for Homeschool Art (K, Gr. 3, Gr. 5)

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Last year DD and LD did art class once a week at an art studio.  We decided we really needed to cut that out for now (because of the cost — although the teacher is absolutely brilliant and wonderful with the kids!).  This year we’ve got art scheduled in once a week (so that we actually carve out time for it).  We had our first art time yesterday (Thursday) — and luckily we homeschool because the kids worked for over 3 hours. In fact, I had to drag them kicking and screaming away from their work at almost 2pm to eat lunch!!

We’re using a number of resources for our art ‘class.’  


I found a really terrific book that I thought had some really good jumping out points. For example, we looked at this lesson about pattern birds and talked about the patterns in the black and white drawing.  We decided to trace our hands instead and went off to create our own hand projects.  When the kids asked if they could do something different, I said, “Of course! Of course!”

The reviews on Amazon weren’t terribly good, but I actually am really happy with this book. I’d say the lessons are geared more for the ages of my kids (elementary) than for 7th or 8th grade. You can buy it used from Amazon. It’s called Complete Art Curriculum Activities Kit. I like that it has suggestions for all kinds of different art projects–coil pottery, tile prints, construction projects… just all kinds of ideas that I’m familiar with, but need at my fingertips (in a book) to actually bring into our homeschool.

Another fun book we have on hand is called Draw Write Now. We have several from the series and the kids will draw and write from these books from time to time.  I noticed that our local library has this series, so you might want to check to see if your library it on hand.

Free Lessons Online:

We have used the website Art Projects for Kids for years and years! The kids have done lots and lots of lessons shared by Kathy on this wonderful website.  Yesterday, the kids pulled out a lot of her lessons and spent SO much time making their own drawings! You definitely need to bookmark her website!

We’ve also visited Deep Space Sparkle and Kids Artists from time to time and you can get great ideas from Pinterest like — Art for Kids from Great Blogs.

Purchased Art Curriculum:

Our friends have been using Meet the Masters.  I saw that Meet the Masters is offered at Homeschool Buyers Co-op for nearly 40% off and decided that with J’s enthusiastic recommendation that we would give it a try as well. (Besides, it’s cheaper than 1 month of art lessons in the studio — so it seems like a pretty good deal.)  By the way, if you wind up purchasing through the link above (or below) I get 500 smart points at the Co-op.  Just wanted to let you know… it costs you nothing, but it helps them promote their material, etc.

I opted for the Meet the Masters 3-pack (E-G) at Level 2. I figured that’d be the best option with the ages of my kids (5, almost 8 and 10)

Anyway, I’m still awaiting my order. We’ll hopefully start with that next week. I’ll let you know how that goes!

Materials we have on hand for art: The kids were SO excited when I brought out all of the materials. I thought others might be curious what materials we have on hand.

  • Oil pastels (Cray pas)
  • Soft Pastel Set (chalks) (Reeves)
  • Ebony pencils (for drawing)
  • Charcoal
  • Regular color pencils
  • Water Color Pencils (Reeves)
  • Water Color Crayons
  • Water color Paints
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Paper of various kinds

Have fun with art!!

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