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Monday, January 30, 2017

Living & Loving Art

This is the last week of the 2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair, and our theme is:

Seeking Beauty: the Fine Arts and Everything that Brings Beauty into Our Homeschools

Living & Loving Art Week 5 of the Virtual Curriculum Fair @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Today I’m going to be sharing how we live and love art. Be sure to read to the end of this post where you will find links to xx other bloggers who are participating this week.

Mary's sketch of rapunzel and a dragonThere’s a shelf in our kitchen right above the academic supplies. And on that shelf are colored pencils, crayons, watercolors, chalk pastels, oil pastels, and more. In the other room, there are a few shelves with different types of paper, from colored paper, to cardstock, to construction paper, to watercolor paper, and so on. Scissors and glue sticks are in easy reach. Oven hardening clay is had for the asking.

There isn’t a day that goes by that a child doesn’t pull out a sketchbook and start working on a new project.


Art is a thing for us. A living, breathing part of our lives. We don’t relegate it to a particular day of the week or limit it to our studies.

It isn’t something that we do if we have time. It is something that we are always doing.

Yes, we still do artist studies and planned projects. But about 90% of the art that we do is not “part of the plan”. Now, that doesn’t mean that we don’t take advantage of instruction or resources that are available (whether they be in person or online). Instruction is important so we can learn proper technique and practice our art in such a way that it improves and we become better artists.

Emma and chalk pastels

As I write this, my youngest is creating a chalk pastel painting at the kitchen table behind me. She’s still wearing her church clothes, because they are washable.

So, what programs do we use for art?

IMG_2624We keep it simple around here. I generally prefer to use resources to fit our needs at the time rather than a program with a year of lessons to follow in order.

Just a few things we’ve used and continue to use to improve our art (you can find more the things we use in the free resource post I’ve linked below):

Mark Kistler’s Draw Squad! Mark also offers online classes, which we’ve used briefly before. I fondly remember him from my own childhood. He taught me how to draw in 3-D on the PBS program The Secret City (you can find some of the episodes on youtube).

Discovering Great Artists is a great resource for trying out different art media and linking them to your history studies.

Draw A Box is a free site that comes highly recommended by my 16-year-old son. He says he has learned tons from this site and that it is better than many paid sites.

The Virtual Instructor is a paid site, but you can watch some of Matt’s videos for free and sign up for a super cheap trial. My 16-year-old loves this site. It is definitely for those who are serious about improving their artistic skills. It is aimed at teen to adult, but I think the videos are helpful for most ages (even my 7-year-old has learned things from this site). My oldest uses this site as a resource and picks and chooses the videos he wants to watch.

I admit that we also like to watch Bob Ross on Netflix.

We don’t live super close to any art museums, but we have driven into the city to take in some art. My oldest is also in regular contact with a local artist and really enjoyed rubbing elbows with artists at last year’s Comic Con. I definitely recommend taking advantage of local opportunities, but it doesn’t have to be classes.

If you’re not sure where to start with art and want a plan to make it happen (including a project), this post is for you:

art test-001


More art, including our Van Gogh Study and free online art & music resources:

van gogh-001art do it-00144awesomeart-001[3]


If you need more encouragement, click on Eeyore above.

Week 5 of the Virtual Curriculum Fair: Seeking Beauty @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Now I invite you to visit my fellow homeschool bloggers who are talking about seeking beauty in their homeschools:

Links will all be live by Monday at 12 noon EST.

Living & Loving Art by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Putting the Fun in School by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays

Art Fun In Our Homeschool by Amanda @Hopkins Homeschool

Fine Arts Is The Fun Part by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

Washing Dust Off Our Souls by Lisa @ Golden Grasses

Bringing Beauty Into Your Homeschool Through Poetry by Dana @ Roscommon Acres

Seeking out the beauty... by Kim @ Good Sweet Love

Joy in Home Education by Sarah @ Delivering Grace

Teaching Drawing (When You Can't Draw) by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home

Homeschool Art for the Artistically Challenged by Brittney @ Mom's Heart

Jesus, Peace, Freedom & Our Homeshool by Meghan W @ Quiet In The Chaos

Fine Arts Options in High School by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

Reluctant Artist? What do you do? by Annette @ A Net in Time

Making Fine Arts a Priority by Lisa @ McClanahan 7

Creative Pursuits by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

Arts and Crafts in Our Homeschool by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed

Where Do You Find Beauty? by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens

Looping our Beauty Topics Saved our Homeschool by HillaryM @ Walking Fruitfully

Would you like to join us? Link up your relevant homeschool posts:


  1. I like your advice about art supplies. This has made me think about moving ours around.

    1. Be forewarned that having the pastels within easy access might mean that your 7-year-old pulls them out before breakfast and before you know it, you'll be trying to figure out where to put her masterpiece so you can spray fixative on it without asphyxiating everyone on a cold winter's day. :)

  2. I like to keep art supplies where they can be reached and used any time. Even my three year old has a set of water colors and markers he can reach (markers because I disovered they are so much easier to clean off the wall!) It keeps them creating all the time.

    1. We keep most of our art supplies on a low shelf and in plain sight. It's easy to forget what you have when it's out of sight, but seeing it can provide a little needed inspiration.

  3. I hadn't heard of those art programs before, thanks for the heads up on them. Visiting from the VCF.

    1. My oldest had forgotten about Mark Kistler and decided to dive into his Draw Squad book. That book alone is a great resource for learning to draw in 3-D.

  4. I do keep some art supplies put away because of the toddler, but I have started keeping the basics easily accessible, and I've noticed the big kids do more art on their own, thus eliminating my need to be as intentional.

    1. It's funny how they will latch onto things and create without any help from us once they reach a certain age. I well understand the need to keep things out of reach of toddlers, though (even my 7-year-old will occasionally draw on herself just for kicks, lol).


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