Sunday, February 11, 2007

the art of homeschooling

so ... I have resisted from leaving comments on a couple of blogs lately simply because I do not want to be bothered with "arguing" or trying to articulate why exactly it is that a certain post left me scratching my head. I suppose the best thing is to blog myself, since that is the reason I started at home, on fire in the first place, no?

Lately I have been praying and mulling over choices for curriculum for next year. This is something we all do, even if you are a school-in-a-can type. You still need to be sure that what is being offered you is what will work and that you are being a good steward of your finances. I am not a canned curriculum kind of gal, and if you have spent any time at all here in this blog of mine, that would not be a startling revelation. What I am trying to get at here is that we, as homeschoolers, and in the case of my family as artists, need to be drawing from the well of resources that the Father has already given to us.

But, don't be afraid to copy! There ... I've said it.

It is so important to learn from the work of other people, especially in the beginning. I read one post very recently about art in the homeschool and that we should not tell our children what or how to create. She went on to say that she is opposed to any kind of project where the child is directed specifically by the adult as this is void of experimentalism, creativity, fun and is not "art" in her opinion. I just kept thinking it over and really felt I needed to express my personal opinion on art and kids.

There is certainly a lot of talent in our homeschool co-op and my husband and I were blessed with the opportunity to teach a series of lessons in our home studio, Onfire, just before Christmas. I fail to see how the parents would have been happy to spend their money only to have their children bringing home random pieces of "art" while we sat back at night laughing over our pizza take-out.

God is a God of order, not disorder. It is a waste of time to try and teach a child to create a piece of art without taking the time to teach the fundamentals of art. It's all about perspective.

In order to write a readable novel, the author must follow a pre-written set of rules for grammar, spelling, punctuation and even presentation. Without these guidelines, the novel would never be completed. It reminds me of the Korean student we had living with us over the summer, a 21 year old male that I was paid to homeschool. The Instructors who did the hiring informed me that it did not matter to them if anything he said made sense to anyone in or out of the home; they simply wanted him to speak English. How could I realistically follow that logic? Not only would we have been frustrated to the point of giving up, but he would also have spent a tremendous amount of money in vain, able to communicate properly to no one and feeling foolish every time he attempted. No, trying to teach any subject without a specific method of organization is as un-doable as trying to sing a song without any notes.

One of the main objectives of today's public-school art program is "Free Expression" ( creative self-expression ). We know that people who do not know how to draw cannot express themselves freely. Teachers, for example, who cannot draw, cannot express themselves freely on the blackboard. The intended meaning of "Free Expression" is really expression free from rules ( anything goes ), but this kind of an objective leads nowhere. The other objective, "Appreciation", is something which must come from within and cannot be imposed from without. If the subject is understood - if the student knows how to draw - appreciation will follow, and so will free expression. If the subject is not understood - if the student does not know how to draw - neither appreciation nor free expression can exist in the true sense of the word. Bruce McIntyre, Drawing Textbook

Art, like all disciplines, does not exist in a vacuum. Some believe that if you analyze ( ok, copy ) the art of another artist, that your own growth will be stunted, if it develops at all. Nothing could be further from the truth. Study Da Vinci, Michelangelo ... both sought to emulate their masters until they were not only able to copy them, but also supercede them in time.

How is it that we know about History ... the legends and hero stories? How do we hear about Christ's workings in the lives of others? Stories are told and re-told, passed down from Grandparent to grandchild, Father to son, Mother to daughter. Our heritage is passed from generation to generation. This is our lineage. We teach our children to pray the way our Heavenly Father taught us ... by example.

We give the highest honour we can when we follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before us, trying our best to "copy" their behavour and mannerisms. It is good and right to take that which we love in others and make it our own. This applies not only to art and music, my two loves, but to all of life in general. I want to learn the basics so I may build my heritage on a firm foundation.

Then I want to be a revolutionary.

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Feb. 11, 2007 - Can you please...
Posted by SmallWorld (

write a book?? Or could you come live by me and be my friend? You are a gifted writer and express yourself soooooooooo beautifully!!

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Feb. 12, 2007 - I Got Dibs
Posted by bestsister (

you can be my friend first and foremost, but I will share you on occassion! Yes, you are quite a writer, and artist, and songwriter, and and and and...
When I think of Kristina, I just think of....
God's little girl. you look more and more like your Father every day. I love you and am so proud of you.
Love Barbara

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Feb. 12, 2007 - No Barbara....
Posted by anotherblogonthefire (

I think I get first dibs!

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Feb. 13, 2007 - Your World View Is Showing
Posted by AcceptanceWithJoy (

And I mean that in the best way ~

[The intended meaning of "Free Expression" is really expression free from rules ( anything goes ), but this kind of an objective leads nowhere]

You talked about a readable novel and grammar rules. I understand writing way better than the world of art, so... I will use that thought.

e e cummings, didn't believe in rules. His writing demonstrate a total disregard for punctuation, capitalization and grammar rules. He writing reflected his belief that rules (particularly the repressive rules of Christianity) had kept society from being truly great. You can find examples of artists in every field that express their worldview in their art.

By the way, I try to follow rules too. I don't get e e cummings, I don't get Picasso and I really don't get Jackson Pollock.

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Feb. 21, 2007 - Thanks for visiting my blog
Posted by HarmonyArtMom (

I hopped on over to visit yours and had a good time reading, especially this post. My passion is getting more families to give art and music a try in their own homes.

I agree with you that copying isn't a bad thing....I try to tell moms that all the time. You must learn the language of art before you can express your own ideas.

Besides, aren't we all copying the Greatest Artist of them all when we create anything? Col 1:15, 16

Enjoyed your blog,
Harmony Art Mom

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Feb. 23, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by Anonymous (

I so much agree. The great artists learned by studying the great artists before them. They'd study under them and copy every stroke. They had to master what was before them before creating their own style and their own "thumb print."

I do think there is a place for letting a child just explore the materials, and I resist "art" projects which are little more than coloring sheets. But children seem born imitators and it is a grand time to teach them essential principles (of any subject) while they are naturally driven to imitate.

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Feb. 23, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by Anonymous (

sorry...that was me


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Mar. 3, 2007 - art imitations
Posted by Anonymous (

like-minded in arizona

check out:

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