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Adding Art in Your Homeschool 

"Well, I'm just not artistic."

 I've heard that statement rather often from other homeschoolers when they talk about the lack of art in their days. Since adding in the joy of art is one of my passions, I'm here to encourage you that building this habit is not hard. You did not have to inherit the art gene to pull out the paint brushes.

Like most mothers, I really don't like messes either. And I didn't inherit my mother's natural artistic ability. However, over the last several years, my mother (Nana) has taught me and the children how to simply enjoy. She has helped grow this love for art in our homeschool. Nana teaches us in a very messy medium. Chalk pastels. They spread, they smudge and they stain. But they are beautiful. Blessedly messy. And forgiving. If we make a mark we don't like, we simply blend it into the picture and layer another color.

Simple Supplies

We are slowly adding to our stash of art supplies. Crayons and watercolors were about all we had when we started homeschooling. Based on what our children enjoy and the needs of studies, we now have markers that smell like scratch and sniff flavors, acrylics, colored pencils, tempura paints and chalk pastels. Um, and glitter. We are expanding into sculpy clay and more. For paper we often pull some from the printer tray, open our nature journals or enjoy our favorite Canson brand. Watch the sales, take your coupon and/or simply determine to make art supplies part of your curriculum expenses. Nana speaks specifically about supplies in the two posts I link to at the end of this post.


Be Prepared for a Mess

Take a deep breath. Part of being free of the fear of art mess is to be prepared. Before we get started, I always have the baby wipes handy. We enjoy our art time around our kitchen table. The table is well used and easy to wipe. It's also steps away from the kitchen sink. For acrylics and other liquid paints, we use washable, plastic palattes. Nana describes the palettes and where to purchase them in Acrylics Plus Links to Tutorials. Sometimes we wear smocks. Often we just wear something we don't mind getting stained.

Start With Subjects You And Your Children Enjoy

But the art medium is not really important. What is important is growing a love of creativity. We find success by picking subjects we enjoy. Maybe a character from a children's book, a seasonal topic like pumpkins. Often our art time compliments nature study. Give the opportunity for free, unstructured art time. Our children started out with paint with water papers while they sat in a high chair. Truth be told, my almost 15-year-old enjoyed some paint with water time with her four-year-old brother just the other day. My busy Middle Girl often asks to pull out the acrylics and just paint whatever comes to mind.


Give Opportunity for Participation

It is exciting for children to receive feedback on their creations. We participate in our state fair – entering art work in multiple categories. Our homeschool group sometimes holds an art and photo competition. Plus, homeschoolers everywhere are invited to participate in the quarterly Art for Homeschool online show. And don't forget that display on the family fridge goes a long way! When you grow a love of art, then further study like art appreciation and technique are much more natural. That's what we've found with our Harmony Fine Arts studies.

Make Use of Resources


Nana continues to stop by after work and teaches us new art lessons. We share those times with you in photo tutorial form at Hodgepodge. We invite you over for currently 45 lessons in chalk pastels and four lessons in our new medium, acrylics.

 I hope some of these easy ways will help you add the joy of art to your days.


Homeschooling for over a decade now, Tricia faces a daily dose of chaos with five children. She shares a mixture of free art lessons, frugal and allergy-friendly recipes and all things practical at Hodgepodge. She and her husband, Steve are also owners and authors at Curriculum Choice and Habits for a Happy Home.


Thank you to Tricia for guest posting today!  Please take a chance to read other posts from this summer's Homeschool Guest series.   You will find out about notebooking, art journaling, nature study, the call to homeschool, Five in a Row, and much more!   What fun we've had.  Next week you will hear from a homeschool mom that is also a published author of a children's book!  

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    Adding Art in Your Homeschool - Home - Homegrown Learners

Reader Comments (6)

Art fell out of our rotation last year. We must get back to it! Thanks for the inspiration!

July 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy @ Hope Is the Word

This is a great post! We don't incorporate painting and drawing into our schedule because as the parent, I don't feel qualified to teach art. I'm not artistic AT ALL, so I usually default to other artistic endeavors like ballet, choir, and theater productions. Thanks for the reminder that I don't have to be a highly skilled artist to show my kids that art for art's sake is fun and good enough.

July 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe Hill Hangout

Agreed ladies - just simple paint with water or a few minutes of your favorite medium brings such joy!

July 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

Great thoughts! Thank you for sharing. Chalk pastels...never thought of...will have to check in to those! Blessings!

July 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDawn @ Guiding Light

Your pastel tutorials are gorgeous. I'm not sure I am ready to brave the mess, though :) What medium do you suggest as good for beginners? we have liquid watercolors but it seems difficult to get them as dark as I'd like. Pastels look forgiving as you mentioned. Hmm maybe we should try again with colored pencils.

Thanks for the inspiration!

July 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Hello from Nana at Hodgepodge! I am the resident art-teacher-person and have a great love for children's art! I have been reading the comments on my daughter's guest post "Adding Art in Your Home school" and would love to encourage you dedicated and wonderful home school Moms and Dads to take that magical step into making memories and broadening your child's education with art. The projects that we do at Hodgepodge are not expensive; we started with chalk pastels because I am a FIRM believer that the beginning artist can find almost instant success in using pastels! It is an amazing medium...yes, it can be messy...but to see a child's shining face after the first painting...makes it worthwhile! Buy the most inexpensive set of chalks and use plain old copier paper...praise your student-children to the will have a wonderful hour of intense art education and the satisfaction of a well-rounded education! Hey, can you tell I am passionate about this??

July 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNana

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