One of my favorite classes in high school (no, I wasn’t a homeschooler) was Art Appreciation. I loved learning about historic artists, their approach and famous pieces, their lives and impact, and above all, their approach to creativity and expression. But, I’m a homeschool mom and a trained history and literature teacher! What was I waiting for? When my oldest hit middle school, we began studying the Renaissance. I was appalled when he wanted to skip over studying the famous and amazing artistic talent of that amazing time period. I realized that I had not exposed him to art in an impactful way. In fact, he had never even been to an art museum! I resolved to change this reality moving forward. It’s easy to fall into this trap because art can sometimes get lost in the midst of the school year while you focus on core classes. I’ve discovered that summer is the perfect time to focus on and expose my children to art in a way that will impact and stay with them.
Here are my top six ways to explore summer art together as a family.
- Study photography and use your camera! Summer is a time filled with fun, fellowship, and family memories. Why not study famous photographers and “How to take great pictures” tutorials (think Youtube!)? Then, get out and explore together, taking your camera along and putting to good use everything you’ve learned.
- Take a painting or pottery class as a family. Art places that specialize in mimic painting or pottery are popping up all over the place. Ours is called “Painting with a Twist.” Once each summer we go and try our hand at a famous piece of art. I learn what we’ll be painting ahead of time and we study it as a family. Our children also love the experience, which often includes fun snacks and hanging their finished piece on the wall!
- Visit an art museum (or two, or three!). One of the best ways to explore summer art is at museums, something I had failed to do while my oldest was young. I quickly remedied this issue in the life of our homeschoolers by making sure that we visit at least two art museums each summer. I choose one based upon our travel route for vacation. This means we are exposed to different art museums all over the country, or at least up and down the eastern seaboard. We also visit our local art museum in Philadelphia. I make sure we study the exhibits ahead of time to prepare ourselves, and that we do not go on a day when other day camps will be attending (droves and droves of children are never fun). Our kids especially love the hands-on art centers we find at most museums.
- Sign your kids up for Art Camp. While this isn’t family-oriented per say, it will expose your child to art styles and methods you may not be teaching at home. Learning with other children will be an added bonus. And, the best part is, you can log the hours and present your student’s coursework to your evaluator for homeschool credit!
- Visit local artisans. I love our farmer’s market because it not only has local, fresh food, but also welcomes local artists to show and sell their pieces. From jewelry to pottery to needlework, our little community is a treasure trove of local artists. I bet you can find a wealth of art exposure and knowledge in your area simply by visiting a local arts festival and learning about the local artisans in your area. Of course, you may want to purchase some to learn from, enjoy, and recreate at home. Try to form relationships with the local artists to set up a time for your homeschoolers to visit during the school year and learn how the art is made.
- Just do art! It’s messy, yes, but doing art as a family is so fun and can bring you all together! Summer art is much easier because it can be done outside! Commit to doing art this summer with your kids. From painting to crocheting to chalk drawing, there are a million different ways to express yourselves and do art together. Here are a few hundred to get you started.
Art is fun, engaging, and enriching, especially when you tackle it during the summer when the school pressure is off your shoulders. Art is all around us, and exposing our children to its wonderful benefits can create excited learners who enjoy what art brings to society. Get out and explore summer art together with your family this summer — you’ll be thankful you did as you hang a few more masterpieces on the fridge to enjoy for a lifetime.
How do you plan to learn art as a family this summer?