Tag Archives: art lessons

Is Your Artist a Perfectionist?

At our co-op this year, I’m teaching a senior high art class. This is the first time in a while that I’ve taught older students, and we’re having a lot of fun with the projects. The purpose of the class is to show the students different techniques for drawing and painting and to introduce them to new types of media. Hopefully in doing so, they’ll find something they enjoy doing as a creative outlet, whether or not they pursue art in the future.

Recently, a comment was made that got me thinking. After working with oil pastels, one of the students stated that he really didn’t like anything he drew. This reminded me of my own 12-year-old daughter who, after participating in numerous art classes in my home, has sworn off art forever. Both students are perfectionists, and if the image on the paper doesn’t appear like the one they envision, they are unhappy with it. My daughter will even say that she’s wasted her time in drawing the picture.

But it’s never a waste of time. Every time you try something new, you learn something — you work your brain, you dip into your creative abilities (latent though they may be), and you grow as a person. And drawing, just like any other skill, takes time — it takes know-how and practice to become proficient. Why do we assume we should be able to create a great drawing just by picking up a pencil? True, some people are so gifted they can do that, but the rest of us need to work at it, just as we need to work at learning an instrument or learning how to crochet. Would we expect someone to build a house without first learning how to use the tools?

If you have a child who’s a perfectionist and become discouraged about art, remind him that drawing and painting are skills that he can learn. Then set it aside for a while, but encourage him to try other creative avenues (my daughter is currently involved in scrapbooking and really enjoying it). He may come back to art, or he may not. But either way, he would know that he could.

Time with Friends

DSC_9545For the last couple of years, my children have done quite a few extracurricular activities: P.E. class once or twice a week, a literature class once a month, FCA club meeting twice a month, scouts, music lessons, art classes, and holiday parties. We saw the same friends sometimes two or three times a week, and they enjoyed being together. This year, though, that group has gone in many different directions, and we haven’t seen some of those friends since school started back.

I’m not worried about my children’s socialization — they’ve been meeting new people this year as they’ve attended co-op classes. We still have some friends over to our house once a week for art lessons, and that’s a lot of fun. But as the saying goes, old friends are like gold, and I don’t want my children to lose touch with the friends they’ve spent so much time with in the past.

So today, I made the 30-minute trip back to our old P.E. class. The P.E. class was re-arranged this year so younger children play games during the first hour while older students play during the second hour. My oldest, John, was the one who wanted to participate the most, so we went for the second hour.

And it was really good. The girls, Luke, and I went to a friend’s house who lives nearby; her girls and younger sons weren’t doing P.E. that hour, so all of them had a great time playing together inside. Another friend whose older sons were also in PE stopped by with her daughter, and it turned out to be a very relaxing visit. And John had the opportunity to play soccer with friends he hadn’t seen in a while either.

On the way home, I asked them if the trip was worth it. A resounding “YES!” went up from everyone else in the car. We won’t be able to go every week, but when we can, we’ll make the effort to get there. It’s an investment of a little more time and a little more gasoline, but I’m sure it will have a big return as the relationships continue to grow.

Bartering

I’ve read where many homeschoolers barter for goods or services, and I think it’s a great idea. In fact, I’m one of them!

I teach art lessons to children, and I know how costly lessons can be. Three of our children are involved in music lessons, and although the teachers have given us a very good price, the cost can add up over time. So when parents ask me if I’d like to trade, I understand, and I’m happy to oblige. The barter has always benefited both families.

At one time, I had two art students whose family raised goats. Each week, we traded art lessons for fresh organic milk, something I wouldn’t have been able to afford had I purchased it at the farmer’s market. Now I’m trading lessons for homemade organic bread. The mom who bakes it even grinds her own grain. It’s good for my family and tastes delicious, and it’s something that would be too costly for our grocery budget. It’s a wonderful trade!

I’m also trading a class for a class. One of my daughters spends a couple of hours one day a week at a nearby horse farm, where a friend who works there teaches her all about horses. My daughter feeds them, waters them, cleans the stalls, and learns about the different types of saddles, bridles, and bits. She also has opportunities to ride. In exchange, the friend’s son comes over once a week to practice his reading skills with me.

If you’re on a more limited budget and don’t have the funds for classes for your children, you might want to consider bartering, too. You can trade off household or yard help, childcare, sewing services – whatever you can offer. Don’t be afraid to ask – the worst a teacher can say is “no, thanks,” but you might just receive your “yes!”