To him, each pristine page is an awaiting masterpiece with endless possibilities. A chance to get lost in his own creative ambitions. There are no RIGHT or WRONG answers. No formulas to follow. No set of pre-determined directions. Just imagination and inspiration and a chance to SUCCEED.
Although he is almost always game to make a cute craft project to adorn our holiday table, he much prefers Wednesdays with its homespun ART class. And this homeschooling momma couldn’t be happier!
At the risk of sounding too impassioned, the GREAT DEBATE over art vs. craft is quite similar to one that every homeschooling mom is familiar with…public school vs. home education. So many of us, have chosen this educational path because by its very nature, it is individualized. Homeschooling affords a child the chance to learn at his/her own pace. There are no RIGHT or WRONG ways to learn. No formulas to follow. No set of pre-determined directions. Homeschooling is about the PROCESS of learning and developing that PROCESS so that it extends for one’s lifetime. On the contrary, many feel that public schools have become institutionalized…mimicking factories that pour out cookie-cutter PRODUCTS. Children are not given a chance to learn what interests them or what would nurture their God-given gifts and talents.
Knowing this, as a homeschool mom, why wouldn’t I choose to teach ART over CRAFT…PROCESS over PRODUCT? Now don’t get me wrong. Craft projects certainly have their place in the home. Who doesn’t love a popsicle stick bird house hanging on the front porch? But, if you are looking for an enterprise to allow for independent expression of talents, the mastery of a set of artistic skills, and growth in cognitive reasoning, ART…or better yet, the PROCESS of art is the natural choice.
Unlike craft projects that come with a set of directions and a patterned outcome, art is open-ended with a wide variety of results. Craft projects often require much parental set-up, supervision, and involvement, but once a child is taught a certain art skill, he can create any number of masterpieces ALL BY HIMSELF. Very little thinking happens while completing a craft project because the steps are pre-determined. Art, on the other hand, breeds decision-making. The child gets to choose what he will make and how he will make it. Since fifty kids could complete the exact same craft project only to find that all of their work looks exactly the same, they have very little ownership in their product. But, producing a piece of art…no matter how primitive looking…provides a sense of accomplishment.
In homeschool art time, you have the opportunity to turn creative expression into education. Not only can a child learn many artistic skills, he/she can master a wide-variety of mediums and tools, build an exceptional vocabulary (foreground, background, composition, hue, monochromatic, etc.), and even learn world history with a look at famous artists and the external happenings that influenced their art.
Granted, most of the masterpieces completed by my children have not been gallery worthy. But, in focusing on the PROCESS of creative expression instead of the PRODUCT of a pre-prescribed outcome, they are gaining valuable skills to use for a lifetime…not just during the holiday season.
For inspiration or to find some great art tutorials, be sure to check out the following jam-packed Pinterest boards from other homeschooling mommas who have chosen PROCESS over PRODUCT.
Art Ideas by Jamie of The Unlikely Homeschool
Art Ideas by Barb of Harmony Art Mom
Free Art Tutorials by Tricia of Hodge Podge
Fine Arts by the many moms of Curriculum Choice
Work of Art by Stephanie of Harrington Harmonies