One thing that tends to be put on a back burner in homeschooling is art and music. I took Art History in my senior year of high school, and most people never take it and do not lack in any way. I didn't take art classes after 8th grade-- in private school before that I think we had it once or twice a week. My kids do crafts which I think is quite different than art. When I think crafts, words like glue, popsicle sticks, markers, fingerpaint, oj lids, beads, macaroni, pipe cleaners, paper towel tubes, etc. come to mind. When I think art, I think skills: linoleum carving to make prints, pointillism, watercolor brush techniques, collage, clay; perspective, realism, lighting, etc.
We have a bin full of craft supplies. I let the kids have at it periodically. I don't have the knowledge to teach skills beyond my 8th-grade-level attempts. (I can draw a cube. It occurs to me that people don't have to be drawn from the front. I know that in real life, everything doesn't have a black outline. I can cross-hatch. I know that it is possible to watercolor without dripping. That's about the extent of my skills.)
For our family, for this season, what works for us is art software for our computer. I purchased a program for $26. Now, my kids are learning about appreciation, history, and skills on their own. I don't let them watch tv in the early mornings, so I'll frequently come out in the morning to get my coffee and they're already learning. Later, I'll be in the kitchen and be overhearing their lessons and learning something myself! They use it whenever I say "No tv" but they don't want to go outside. For us this works.
For your family, you may want to take a different approach. The software I chose has 16 lessons with 2 subtopics for each lesson, and additional skill-builders on the side, and a decent library of works of art with artist bios and dates. What's 16 X 2 if not an entire year of weekly lessons? Maybe you'd like a more structured approach to the same software, such as assigning each lesson and limiting when to use the software. Or, you could use the software as an intensive summer course. Use the vacation time to focus on 'extra' subjects like this. This kind of subject lends itself easily to a unit study.
The last point I'd like to make is that like so many other things, homeschooling has its seasons. Our family is in the elementary age season, I shouldn't worry about the development of painting in the history of the world. Let them use tissue paper and paper towel rolls! However, when everyone has mastered reading and writing and math, then there will be time for the more intensive (and fun) courses.
To read all my thoughts on art instruction click HERE to go straight to the art tab on my blog, Higher Education.
Teresa (Tracy) Dear