How do you incorporate fine arts into your homeschool? First, I know there may be some disagreement or confusion over what constitutes fine art. My loose definition would include music, art and drama…and, I’ll be honest, I do very little in the area of drama.
First, let’s look at music. There are lots of ways to look at music — appreciation, theory, history, and instruction to name a few. In our homeschool we focus on appreciation, history and instruction.
Instruction – My two youngest take music lessons once a week. My oldest is wanting to learn to play the drums or the guitar, so we may be seeking out that option of her sometime in the near future.
History – We enjoy studying a variety of composers and learning a bit about their lives and what was going on in the world when they lived. A composer a week is a bit much for us, so we tend to try to learn about one a month or every two weeks. This is one area that tends to fall by the wayside really quickly, but this year we’re going to be going through Bright Ideas Press’ new book, A Young Scholar’s Guide to Composers, so I hope that will keep us on track a bit better.
Appreciation – This is where our local library is our friend. I like to check out CD’s of famous composers for us to listen to and enjoy. I tend to lean toward classical, but, with several Star Wars fans in the house (myself included), we always make sure to include a few modern composers, such as John Williams.
I don’t typically make an especially big deal out of listening to the CD’s; I just pop them into the CD player when we’re doing other things, like eating dinner or doing an art lesson. Sometimes we let another interest lead us to certain composers or specific pieces. For example, the Twilight obsession shared by my older daughter and I have led us to discover that we all (the rest of the family included) have a great fondness for Debussy’s Claire de Lune. We’ll be looking for a CD containing more of his music on our next library trip.
Like music, art studies can take the form of history, instruction, appreciation, or theory. We tend to focus on the first three.
History/Instruction – We’re using Berry Stebbing’s book God and the History of Art this year and have really been enjoying it. The book basically combines history and instruction. It contains the history of art from ancient through modern times and teaches basic techniques of both drawing and painting. Our time spent working through this book while listening to relaxing classical music has become a much-anticipated, refreshing time of many of our days this school year.
Appreciation – Again, if we don’t let it fall by the wayside, we enjoy learning about an artist a month. We read biographies, look at his or her work, and try our hand at recreating art pieces in the artists’ style. An excellent free source for art appreciation ideas is Paula’s Archives Art Curriculum.
As for drama, I try to take my kids to a play or two a year. It doesn’t always happen, but, hey, at least we’re getting in art and music. How do you incorporate fine arts into your homeschool day?
Kris is the sweet-tea-drinking, classically eclectic, slightly Charlotte Mason, homeschooling mom to her three Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.
photo by joe57spike