Thursday, September 22, 2011

Introducing Pat Knepley

We have an exciting guest today. If you haven’t already heard Pat has come alongside The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine to join the family of talented writers who support and encourage homeschooling parents offering their expertise in several subjects.

Art matters in education and Pat has made it her mission to pair her passion for art with her passion for God. Her beautiful commitment to both will be a blessing to us homeschool mommies who long for a bit of creativity in our home without losing the focus and appreciation for this gift our Creator has given us.

Look for Pat in her upcoming column, The Artistic Homeschooler, this January.

Of course, since such special introductions shouldn’t have to wait, Pat was kind enough to stop by and introduce herself today.

Hi Pat. It’s so nice to have you with us. Can you tell us, how did you first become interested in art? Have you always felt like an artist at heart?
I can never remember a time when I didn't want to create. Like most children, my first marks were to draw images rather than to write. My favorite gift growing up (and was in my Christmas stocking every year) was a new box of crayons. Oh, the possibilities! As social as I am, and I loved to play outdoors with my friends growing up in Pennsylvania, I also relished time alone at home on the rainy or snowy days. That meant I could spend hours drawing paper dolls, complete with an extensive wardrobe, or creating my own board game or puzzle. Before the days of recycling, my father would bring home old paper used in his office so I could have scraps of all different colors. This was a goldmine to me! It also showed me that you didn't need to have expensive art supplies or 'new" everything in order to make something special...just a lot of imagination. I drew every chance I got. Sometimes, I admit, I doodled too much during my school days, as my paper's margins would be full of cartoons or designs that were running through my brain. But I longed for the assignment of a project where I got to draw to my heart's content! God designed us in such a way that there are certain things that "fill our cup"...for me, it is making Art. If I am not doing it often enough, I sense a restlessness and lack of joy in my life and will grab a pencil to start drawing!

What would you say to a parent who wants to know why she should include art instruction her homeschool curriculum?
That would be like asking why include geography or spelling. Art is a key part of the human experience as God designed it. I truly believe God, as the Master Creator, designed us all to be creative beings as we are in His image. For some of us our creativity reveals itself in problem solving, cooking, or new business strategies. For some, it manifests as adding to the beauty of the world through Art or music. Also, the addition of arts education has been proven in study after study to result in greater academic achievement

(see I prefer an approach that integrates Art and Bible with core academics rather than separate stand-alone Art lessons. Educators who use the visual arts to understand world cultures, experiment with mathematics, explore literary themes, etc have seen that students not only retain information but are able to make gains in critical thinking and verbal skills. As most parents of more than one child know, kids learn a lot of different ways! Integrating practical art instruction with Bible and Art history into the core curriculum is a great way to add visual and kinesthetic opportunities for learning.

Please share with our readers today a good reason why parents should take time each day or each week for art.
Of course, as an artist, I would love to see Art instruction every day! But I think a once a week plan is a good one for the home educator. I think the reason educators pause when asked to include art instruction is the concern over lack of their own ability. "But I don't know how to teach Art" is what I often hear. I am no chemist, and really don't like chemistry but that does not mean I would eliminate chemistry from my child's curriculum! I would get chemistry books and read up in advance and use the best resource out there to make chemistry more interesting to my child. Same thing with ART! One way to solve that dilemma is to use resources out there from those who are more knowledgeable. It just means spending time to find the right fit. My ART CLASS DVD series is a foundational drawing program designed for students of all elementary ages, walking children through the seven Art elements - line, shape, space, value, color, texture, form - in a user-friendly format, with skill building application, basic supplies and step by step guidance. And no workbooks! Parents can work alongside their students if they want to or leave them on their own as they complete projects, and there is always a biblical integration as well as an Art history component. The best part is there are 36 lessons in the one lesson per week for a full nine months! We are working on the next year, ART CLASS 2 right now, and I am very excited about the upcoming projects we have planned. It is a great tool for home educators who want quality instruction at a reasonable price in a flexible format that works for their family. And it is fun!

More on Pat’s outstanding artsy talents:
Pat is a See The Light Master Artist. She has been drawing and painting since she was able to hold a crayon, and loves sharing her passion for Art with kids! Pat graduated with a degree and teaching credential in Art Education from Penn State. Currently Pat serves as the Director of Children’s Ministries at a large non-denominational church in Southern California, where she combines her love for the Lord and His word with her passion for teaching kids.

You can read about and purchase her curriculum here. I also encourage you to stop by her blog. She offers free lessons and fun stuff.

Giveaway Time!

Today, we're giving away two great gifts from TOS. One winner will receive a one-year digital subscription to The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, and a second winner will receive a digital copy of the 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner.

One-Year Digital Subscription to The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

What do you look for as you homeschool? Motivation? A little encouragement? Perhaps a unit study? Maybe an art activity? Within each issue of The Old Schoolhouse® you’ll find amazing resources, candid interviews with business owners, glimpses into the routines of other homeschools, articles from the experts in homeschooling, as well as up-and-coming innovators helping our days run a little more smoothly. Find them all in our pages along with their insight, expertise, and honesty as we all homeschool together!

Along with your subscription, you'll receive free access to Teacher's Toolbox, our exclusive, subscribers-only website packed with daily recipes, "This Day in History" lessons, printables, unit studies, and more!

E-Book: The 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner

Jump into a great year with The 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner! Erase the frazzled feel of disorganization with the 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner and bring order and efficiency to your school year. Packed with relevant articles, clever calendars, useful forms, handy lists and so much more, this planner is the key to meeting your many goals for the 2011-12 school year. We put our heart into the 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner so you'll have more time to put your heart into your home. Click here to view sample pages from the Planner.

***This contest has ended. ***

KGGx5 will enjoy a one-year digital subscription to The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine!
Emma Catarino will enjoy The 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner!

Congratulations to our winners!

Don't let the fun end here. Keep on hopping. Don't miss one moment of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine's Birthday Bash Blog Hop. Homeschooling with Heart blog is posting daily giveaways during the blog hop, plus you can download the Ana Lyze 9-Pack bundle as a FREE gift (see here)! The fun continues until September 30th!

Thanks again for stopping by Pat! We look forward to reading your column soon.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Art That Fits You

Have you ever thought about what size of art fits you the best?

My oldest daughter, Chloe (9) enjoys making chunkies with me. My son (7) and daughter (5) both enjoy making ATCs, though they will also go through piles of printer paper, butcher paper or construction paper in a day if given the chance. My youngest likes her artwork big. She needs lots of room to move her arm with each stroke. Her fine motor skills are still developing and she isn't always drawing from the wrist yet. The wider area gives her more room for movement. When she uses smaller paper we try to keep it free of design to avoid frustrations. Abstract art is very rewarding for her.

Chloe likes the 4x4 size best. This size gives her the space to move and offers the challenge of coordinating detail.

In this video she shares her chunky and how she made it. Maybe your children would like to try this size as well.

If 4x4 chunk art isn't your thing, that's okay. Take some time today and think about the size of art that suits you best.

Spend a little time playing with art today!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Chunky is Beautiful

I just realized that my children and I make chunkies all the time and I've talked about them here and linked to places about them but I haven't really explained what they are.

A chunky is a 4x4 piece of artwork usually done on a very sturdy surface like chipboard, thick cardboard, or even re-purposed square coasters.

Once you have your surface you prepare it by painting, drawing, collaging or in any way decorating the square. The front and back should be decorated.

Give special care to leave the left side free of embellishments as it is usually bound on the left. Some people bind traditionally from top to bottom while other add a decorative ring clip at the top corner to collect their chunkies on.

On the right side you want to add your chunk. This is the really creative part. The sky is the limit here. You can tie on ribbon, buttons, beads, feathers, fibers, antique dudads, yarn scraps, lace, found objects like screws and bolt, even pop tabs are fun.

Be sure to sign and date the back.

I trade my chunkies at ATCsforall. I love that place. I can't get enough of it.

Remember, a chunky makes a great card for any family member or occasion. My children like to make them to have on hand to give out for birthdays and holidays.

Here are some of the chunkies I've made and a side shot of my chunky book.

It is so reassuring to see something beautiful referred to as chunky. It gives me hope. :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fair Time Again

Last year was our first experience with the Tulsa State Fair and it was a blast. If you are a homeschooler and you live in the area you have to check it out. They host Oklahoma's Largest Classroom which is a fantastic field trip you don't want to miss.

Last year Chloe and I entered the competitive art exhibits. She entered one division for acrylic painting. She painted this picture of me.

I entered these two in the mixed media division, one was in the birds/animals category and one was portrait/figure. I took first place for one of them, but I can remember which one.

This year we all joined in the fun. We pulled out the crayons, paints, paper and canvas and went to town as a family. The kids had a blast! I can't wait to see all of them beaming with pride as we visit the fair this year and they see these precious works of art hanging on display for all the visitors to enjoy. I'm so proud of my little artists.

Below in order: Sadie Age 4 Acrylic, Nevie Age 6 Crayon, Caibry Age 7 Acrylic, Chloe Age 9 Acrylic, Me (I am not confessing my age are you nuts?!!) mixed media.

Is this enough eye candy for one post? I think so. Speaking of candy, the fair has loads of yummy food too. I can't wait!