Take Time for Art: History+Art Projects for Homeschool Families

One of the very best ways to help our kids get excited about history and remember what they’ve learned is by making meaningful connections.  Take Time for Art does an awesome job of doing just that, by bringing together audio, video, visuals, and really cool art projects into one fabulous program that makes history study so exciting and accessible!

About a year ago I got to meet Take Time for Art founder Penny Mayes, and I was so excited to hear about the way she has combined art and history into a program that I know other homeschool families will love.

My teenage sons and I got to work through the Ancient Greece program at Take Time for Art.  (They also offer Ancient Egypt and Ancient Rome)  In this program we got to watch 15 different well-done streaming videos that taught us about various aspects of Ancient Greece, such as the ancient Minoans, the Mycenean civilization, the dark ages, Athens, the Hellenistic period, and several forms of art such as metal tooling, fresco paintings,  pottery, wartime clothing, and more.  Each section of history is followed by an art project that’s inspired by that era.  The video walks you through each step of the process of creating the art, and the convenient art supplies pack contained all the materials we needed in order to complete the projects.  (except for a few basic items that you would be sure to have on hand)

For the Ancient Greece program we got to make the following projects:


  • a color wheel (which is referred back to in later projects–a great starting point for understanding the relationships between colors!)

  • a watercolor fresco painting of an octopus 

  • a metal tooling landscape project  (the other option was to make a Mask of Agamemnon, which was also super cool.  But we fell in love with these textures and all selected the landscape project.  They are so pretty in person!)



  • a Greek warrior helmet (we had the option to make it with or without a crest and other adornments.  It is really cool, and yes, you can even wear your finished helmet!)

  • a terra cotta tile art project that I really enjoyed!  I have never worked with terra cotta tiles, and I liked the surface and the way the marker color sinks into the surface.  We could have chosen a horse image for the tile as well.  Bonus fun was that we were able to heat this in our oven for 30 minutes, which makes the artwork on it longer-lasting!

 

One of the things I really like about this program is the variety of projects available.  Within this one program we got to learn a lot of history while also trying out several completely different types of art that we would not have thought up on our own.  Even better, within each project there are choices, sometimes an either-or option, sometimes an easier/more difficult option.  I love it that this gives the kids options and allows them to choose the thing they are most excited about.  This is also great because the program will work for the typical homeschool family that has many different ages of children represented in their family.  Middle elementary kids could certainly do these projects with some assistance, but there is definitely enough challenge for high schoolers and parents to participate as well!  I personally enjoyed doing some of the projects myself, and got to learn about art materials that I had never worked with before.

The other thing I love about this is that the projects are guided.  Sure, total creativity is exciting and cool, but not everybody’s mind works like that.  Participating in a guided art activity gives us the opportunity to work with materials and techniques that we may not be familiar with, and offers a jumping off point for future creative endeavors.  I am solidly in the camp of believing that BOTH guided art experiences AND free time to create art are valuable.  (for parents and kids alike!)

These are not fluff projects.  Each one is meaty, involved, takes several hours to complete (some are done over the course of more than one day), and produces a very nice piece of finished work for you to enjoy.  Your kids will be proud of their art work!

 

Budget-conscious moms may be tempted to wonder if they really need a separate art supply pack for each child.  You will definitely want to get one per person.  Sure, there are a couple items included that could possibly be shared between kids, but for the most part each person will need all the supplies provided, and it will be less confusing and complicated when everybody has all the materials they need.  I really appreciated how organized the art supplies kit was, how carefully the bendable items were packaged and protected, and that having all of it together made it possible for us to actually do these projects.  If I had needed to track down all the materials from the store, or worry about dividing them up between several children, that would probably have been enough of a barrier to make me not get it done.  Take Time for Art has made it about a simple as possible to watch the streaming videos and complete the projects!  Perfect for busy homeschool families.

I can see Take Time for Art being a wonderful addition to your more formal studies about the coordinating time period.  I think it would work well as a once-a-week or twice a month supplement and reinforcement where you would watch one of the history videos, and then work on the next art project.  Your kids will love the change of pace, plus they’ll have some really cool finished projects to display in their bedrooms or in your home that will also help them recall the time period and historical information related to the piece.

 

Click here to visit Take Time for Art and check out their programs!

 



51 Benefits of Art Education for Kids

I’m sure you’ve heard how arts education is being cut from school budgets all over the US. For many home educators, this is one of the things they appreciate so much about the freedom they have to prioritize educational and enrichment opportunities for their children. I was contacted by Neve Spicer, founder of We The Parents, and she was kind enough to share this short article and her infographic with us.
~Erica

Arts Education in schools is being backed towards a cliff edge.

In a bid to save the Arts, educators are trying to demonstrate that they enhance outcomes in non-art subjects. Yet, while it seems they do, studies rarely prove this beyond all reasonable doubt. The upshot is that, under pressure to funnel dwindling resources into core “academic” subjects (ie, math, literacy, and science), many schools are positioning Arts Education on the chopping block.

It’s time to take a stand!

Firstly, there is growing evidence that learning arts does improve academic achievement. But more importantly, the question must be asked: is the purpose of the Arts Education simply to boost academic results?

Emphatically, no!

Immersed in arts, kids experience the world and themselves in a different way. They often discover a lifelong passion, develop a sense of self and identity, grow in confidence, and envision a world beyond their immediate environment.

It’s vital that we reframe the case for Arts Education.

This visual guide by We The Parents helps to do this by highlighting 51 diverse ways in which Arts Education rewards children. It is clear that learning arts cultivates cognitive abilities, nurtures positive character traits, and fosters critical thinking. As you’ll see, many of the benefits span ages, genders, and socio-economic divides; some last a lifetime; and all are backed up by studies.

There’s never been a more important time to communicate the importance of Arts Education. Scientific studies struggle to capture the subtle yet profound ways in which the arts transform lives. And so, the impetus is on us – we who experience the positive impact first-hand – to share our story and to shout about it even louder.

 

~Neve Spicer, founder of We The Parents



Stone Painting for Kids

It seems like kids always love arts and crafts, and the new trend of stone painting is super popular and so fun for all ages! What’s more–you can really elevate the crafty side of this activity and use it across all areas of learning!  I was incredibly inspired when I got to read through the book Stone Painting for Kids and saw so many possibilities for homeschoolers to mesh the creative with the academic!  Read on for lots of creative learning inspiration, sponsored by Dover Publications.

Included in the book are ideas like:

  • Geometric shapes (teach your young kids colors and shapes!)
  • Numbers (early learning and math opportunities)
  • Letters (early reading, spelling, and writing opportunities)
  • Hearts
  • Faces (including fun cartoon styles that kids will love learning)
  • Multi-pebble flowers
  • Mushrooms (SO cute!)
  • Dominoes (yes! You can make your own dominoes game!)
  • Shell painting (fish, butterflies, and more!)
  • Chess sets (make your own set and then learn to play!)
  • Multi-pebble rabbits and other animals and people
  • Words (make sentences, poetry, verses, inspiration pieces, and more!)
  • Flowers (combine with your nature studies!)
  • Houses and Vehicles (you can make a whole town scene and create vehicles to cruise around!)
  • Memory Match game! (perfect for your young kids)
  • Sky scenes (including the solar system!)
  • Animals of all sorts
  • Tic-Tac-Toe game
  • Chalkboard paint stones
  • Washi taped stones
  • Math and counting game ideas
  • Storytelling activities
  • Spelling games
  • Scenes and themes you can make
  • and more!

The tons of photos of painted stones and the process to create them are wonderful, and really help you understand the steps you’ll need to take to make something similar yourself. I really like it that stone painting can be as simple as your preschooler would need it to be, but also complex enough to challenge and excite high schoolers and adults.

I spent a few enjoyable hours painting stones with the help of this book, and was delighted to see that even someone like me, that doesn’t have great original ideas for thinking something up, could replicate some of these adorable concepts and end up with a fun little treasure to enjoy!

My favorite items that I successfully made were a sleeping fox, a cute birdie, a ladybug, and a pink and purple A to give to my little granddaughter whose name starts with A.

The other thing I super loved about this book is all of the inspiration to enjoy the creative side of this process, but then use the creations in the learning process in your home.  Imagine how fun it would be for your kids to paint stones with letters and numbers, and later use those to learn sounds and math!  You could work together with your younger children to paint simple stones with just one color per stone, and end up with a wonderful set where you could practice sequencing!  For older kids, you could make a solar system set of painted stones, or write out one word per stone from a piece of poetry or Bible verse that you’re memorizing, and enjoy putting them into the right order or creating displays.  History lessons can be enhanced by painting stones with homes from different cultures and eras.  Nature study can be enjoyed on a rainy or too-cold day by painting stones in ways that remind you of things you’ve seen in your nature walks!  Truly, the possibilities are endless, and this book is a wonderful resource for inspiring you and helping you get started.

The author, F. Sehnaz Bac, is a stone paint artist who sells her creations on Etsy, and in this book she takes us by the hand and provides all of the basic advice on how to get started with stone painting, such as choosing stones and preparing them, what materials you can use to paint and decorate them, technique tips, and more.  I appreciated that the information in the book was straightforward and to-the-point, and that the step-by-step instructions were helpful without being tedious.

I was pleased to find that art supplies I already had on hand worked great for my stone painting project!  The only thing I purchased for this project was a container of craft stones from Walmart for under $5. (They had bags of sea shells available, too!)  Other than that, I used the acrylic paints and the paint brushes that I shared about in this post, plus my collection of sharpie markers and a white sharpie paint marker.  Easy peasy!

You can connect with Dover Publications at their website, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Watch my Facebook Live Show & Tell video here:



Myth, Legend, Literature: The Art of John William Waterhouse

English painter John William Waterhouse is best-known for his portrayals of women in Greek mythology and Arthurian legend. This collection is one of my favorites for drawing together myth, literature, history, and art.  You’ll find Cleopatra, The Lady of Shalott, Orpheus, damsels in distress, and more in this Fine Art Pages set.  

Currently you can get it FREE when you sign up at the right —>>> or click here.

 

 



The Art of Johannes Vermeer

Although Johannes Vermeer was not a popular painter during his lifetime, he is now considered one of the Great Masters of the Dutch Golden Age.  You are probably familiar with his most famous work, Girl With a Pearl Earring.  This month you can get a collection of 10 of Vermeer’s works to enjoy in your own home in the easiest form of art appreciation available:  Fine Art Pages.

It’s easy!  All you do is print ’em out, put ’em up, and let the magic happen.  Post one print next to each toilet, and you’ve got the whole family as a captive audience for several minutes each day, seamlessly getting to know these beautiful works of art!

Sign up to the right ——>>>> or click here to get your Vermeer Fine Art Pages for FREE!



Art Appreciation Made Easy! I’ll show you how.

Many homeschool moms want to include more art appreciation in their lives, but don’t know how to begin.  Today I share several different levels of natural art appreciation that anybody can implement easily and without great expense or time needed.

Resources mentioned in this video:

Sign up for our monthly freebies here

Home is Where the Art Is series

Can Young Children Really Appreciate Art?  Yes! (the Boy With Bird painting is there)

Amazon resource (affiliate):  Wooden Book Stand that I love so much!  

To email the Homeschool Printing Company (Tell them I sent ya and they’ll give you 10% off your first order!):  thehomeschoolprintingcompany@gmail.com



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