My oldest son hated getting his hands messy, always needed to know where we were going, refused to use color and rushed through everything. Aside from the first couple of years when he was very young, I eventually determined that unless it seemed enjoyable to turn a lesson into a meltdown, I would simply not do art with him. Instead, I farmed it out to other homeschooling moms to have the "pleasure" of exploring J's creative side during the classes they volunteered to teach. Sorry, mom friends.
As a result, art has essentially sat dormant for a while. I tried to find ways to expose the boys to it in non-messy, linear ways. We looked at masterpieces and learned about artists and I have always had them drawing (lots of stick figure art going on over here). But that's essentially been my maximum effort. Because the terror of the art lessons of the past has never left me, I don't even get out the paints unless I'm really throwing caution to the wind. Sorry, Charlotte Mason, but we don't do nature notebooks.
When J was no longer schooling at home last year, B and I spent the year figuring out what worked for us. And then we spent the beginning of this year finding out what worked for him. He's an auditory/kinesthetic (large muscle) learner. His intelligences lie in the areas of spatial, body and intrapersonal. He's essentially an artist when he's not being an athlete. But he's not the kid who loves drawing and painting, shading, perspective, etc. He likes the sculpting, the building, the graphic designs, the turning-something-into-something-else kind of art. He loves to make things and he cherishes each thing he creates.
In the past month he's been busy creating. And surprise of surprises, I'm actually enjoying the process with him. Of course, I've always enjoyed art and pursuing creativity. And now, we've brought it back into our school day. It turns out that I just needed to do it with the right child.
I will no longer be afraid of the art lesson.
Here are just some of the projects B and S have done in the past few weeks:
- Rice Krispie castles.
- A tile mosaic crown.
- A truss bridge out of Popsicle sticks and white glue.
- Scarab stamps out of baked modeling clay.
- Egyptian wall friezes out of Plaster of Paris
This doesn't include the lanyard helicopters, the countless fuse bead projects, the carving he wants to do of the Sphynx or the paper mache mummies that we'll try to hit this week. It's exhausting. It's messy. And it's no longer fearful.