Drawing with Children Encouragement Again

“If people are dissatisfied with their ability to draw realistically, they should understand that drawing is a teachable subject. With practice and study, they can achieve success.”
Drawing with Children, page 11

Every year I try to read the opening sections of the Drawing with Children book. It always inspires me to keep on working with my boys and their drawing skills. I also find little nuggets of wisdom about the learning to draw process and I find ways to encourage my children as well as others through my blog.

“It’s interesting to note that when people accomplish something they never thought they could do, it changes their belief system.”
Drawing with Children, page 9

I find that quote to be so exciting and encouraging. I think it applies not only to drawing, but to all aspects of our life.

And if you need a little more encouragement to make art a regular part of your homeschooling, here is a quote from page 9, “School districts began doing studies to show that control groups of students given the Monart training were scoring better in reading, writing, and math at the end of the year.”

Aren’t we glad we homeschool our children so we can use the Drawing with Children plans in our homeschool week? I know that since I started putting art on the schedule and sticking to it each week, my boys have a better attitude about their other subjects.

“There is no right or wrong way to draw.”
Drawing with Children, page 8

I have been keeping track of a few families that are attempting to use this book for the first time this year and I see them struggling. I think it is a matter of realizing that a few minutes drawing each week is like a breath of fresh air. It clears the cobwebs and refreshes the spirit. Isn’t that part of the reason we homeschool? Don’t we want to provide things that public schools neglect or never seem to have time for? It takes effort and fortitude to push aside a more academic subject or one that we feel more comfortable teaching and actually pull out the pencils and paper and get started with drawing. This doesn’t have to be an *all or nothing* situation. If a week slips by without time for art, push it to the top one day the next week. Have a few minutes for art at the beginning of the day or take a few minutes after lunch to squeeze in a bit of art time.

I have found that over the years it has helped to make drawing a part of other subjects. I try to include some drawing in science and history assignments. Would you like to see a few samples from this year? Remember my boys have been through the Drawing with Children book several times and have used Mark Kistler’s Draw Squad twice. This is where you can be in a year or two if you stick with it.

History study

Science study

Lab chart from donnayoung.org

My children may never be great artists but there is much enjoyment and refreshment in spending a few minutes sketching each week. Practice and patience are needed to progress but great leaps can be made if you follow the plans in Drawing with Children.

Here are some links to Drawing with Children ideas you may enjoy:
My plans to use Drawing with Children on Squidoo
Drawing with Children-A Helping Hand
Drawing with Children-The Myths

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Picture Study for Older Children

As high school students, picture study as a means of art appreciation can be very enjoyable. The boys are old enough to take the assignment on their own and view as many paintings as they wish for our featured artist. They usually start out on their own but soon they are calling me over to have me look at something they found that was interesting. I love those moments and try to make myself available to share their excitement…or disgust depending on the subject of the artwork.

This week I gave them a choice of artist’s to view. They could choose from Giotto, Donatello, or Brunelleschi. I asked them to pick one of the artists, view their works online, pick one image to print out for their notebooks, and then to copy the work or a portion of the work.

One son chose Giotto and we enjoyed scanning through various paintings and learning about Giotto’s style. After the time viewing the artwork online, my son chose a piece to view more carefully. He printed it out on our color printer and then sketched out a part of the painting for his notebook. They usually print out a 4 inch by 6 inch size so they are not using much ink at all. My son commented when he started this sketch that he was not very good at sketching people. I think he did a great job on this sketch and told him so when he finished. I think he was satisfied with his results, not excited but satisfied.

Free Homeschool & Notebooking Resources
If sketching is a little intimidating to your child, another idea that I have tried this year is to use notebooking pages from Notebookingpages.com’s free resource section on art. Here is a completed notebooking page from our study of the Limbourg Brothers. We really enjoyed looking at this painting and zooming in and looking at details on the computer screen. There is a lot going on in this painting and my son had a lot of questions about it when we finished. Does anyone know why they put the zodiac signs on the top of the painting? I haven’t had time to research the answer to that question.

I try to keep our art appreciation very open ended. I allow the boys to take an artist and give input about how they will document their thoughts and ideas. High school age students can be a challenge as far as trying to connect with them and to get them excited about school subjects. Art appreciation is something that we can offer that has no right or wrong answers. It is just enjoyable. I wish I could say the same thing about geometry. 🙂

More about the Limbourg Brothers
More about Giotto
My plans for high school art appreciation

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Tapestry of Grace-Year 2 Unit 1 Artwork Projects

Back in my post about how our family included some extra projects for art and music, I promised to share a few results. Although the plans from Tapestry of Grace include some art projects, many time we have already done something similar and we are interested trying something new. I do a quick look through the topics for each week and come up with a few ideas to build on.

We always start with the Story of Painting pages that are assigned most every week and then we will use the internet to find additional examples to use for picture study. After that, I try to offer some sort of activity that will be refreshing at the end of a busy academic day, two times a week.

Here are some photos of the unit one art projects that we have completed.

In week one we viewed lots of illuminated manuscripts and then the boys tried their hand at a fancy letter. This is one of the finished products.


In weeks two and three we worked on mosaics after studying Byzantine artwork. It was the first time that we had tried using actual mosaic tiles and grout to make a piece of artwork. We learned a lot of things in the process. We used too much grout and we didn’t wipe it off soon enough so our finished project is not as colorful as we had wished for.

I decided to frame them and hang them in the bathroom and then when we get some free time we will complete another project and see if we can get the grout right. The one on the left is an octopus and the one on the right is a fish with bubbles. 🙂


In week five I gave the boys a pretty open-ended project idea. They were to use Sculpey and make something Viking related. This is one project that my son made…a sword. He also wrote a report on the use of the sword to go along with the artwork for our unit celebration. The other son made a model of a Viking masthead that looked like a dragon.


In week eight we used a kit to work with Chinese brush painting. (ISBN 1560108452) The first day we experimented with the brushes, paints, and the ink. The brushes were so different and were fun to try different techniques with and we filled a few sheets with color and line.


The second day we followed the instructions in the book to make an actual painting.

Here is a frog done with Chinese brush painting….very nicely done.


Week 9 found us designing and then drawing a stained glass image on a window. Once the boys got started, they really enjoyed the process of coloring in the window. They had a hard time getting the curves right and both came up with creative ways to do it.

Unit one moved pretty fast but I know that the art projects helped pull all the ideas together. They also had a lot of fun working each week and we are looking forward to the next unit where we will be starting the Renaissance time period.

I will post our plans for unit two when I get them all pulled together…..soon I hope. 🙂

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

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