I’m not artsy-fartsy. At all. I’m not the “crafty homeschool mom.” I cringe at the mess, the planning, and the unfettered enthusiasm that hinders following instructions. But I strongly believe art is an important part of education. I’ve tried Pinterest projects with varied success, but I feel like all the projects are disconnected. Then, I discovered Usborne art books. Eureka!
For the younger children who want to draw but are still mastering fine motor skills and detail in drawings, I’ve started using The Usborne Step-By-Step Drawing Book. I love it! It’s got simple instructions using basic shapes. Kids don’t need to be able to read well (or at all) in order to follow the directions. They’re taught how to draw animals, people, monsters, buildings, plants, vehicles, bugs – anything that a kid could possibly be interested in drawing. The book gives them ideas for backgrounds and scenery. The younger three (S, H, and Toddler R) have been “playing school” in anticipation of the start of the school year, and this book keeps them busy for hours on end. Other art books that are not quite as exhaustive are What Shall I Draw? and I Can Draw People, both by Usborne.
The older two have much better fine motor skills. I want them to continue to develop that. Almost every accomplished artist I know grew up watching Mark Kistler (aka “Commander Mark”) on PBS. N and C use his book Mark Kistler’s Draw Squad. He does a great job of teaching drawing techniques like perspective and shading.
I also want the kids to learn how to work with a variety of materials for making art. My favorite book for this is The Usborne Complete Book of Art Ideas. It introduces different materials, explains different techniques, tells the difference between the different types of paints and inks, and gives the kids some rather impressive-looking projects to complete.
I struggle with figuring out how to teach art history as well, but I’ve found several books that provide a good introduction to it:
I gladly welcome suggestions for teaching art history!