The Art of Home-School

Most children love to draw or paint. While so many of us are stuck at home it’s a great way to keep them occupied too. A few friends wondered if they should be encouraging more ‘mind-improving’ activities such as maths and English worksheets. Art tends to be viewed as a ‘bolt-on’ extra in school. But art is so much more, and along with music should be given a much more prominent role within education.

Drawing, painting and sculpting help mental, social, and emotional development. Creating art boosts our ability to analyse and problem-solve.

As a conscript teacher in the ‘school of mum and dad’ it’s easy to fall into the trap of ’right and wrong’ when we would be better to remember that art should be about the process rather than the product.

As children manipulate a paintbrush or pencil, their fine motor skills improve. As they mix colours they learn about proportions, and when they experiment with different media they dabble in science. Most importantly if a child feels good about being able to experiment while creating art, it boosts their self-confidence. Children who feel able to try things and make mistakes develop more creative ways to think which extend beyond their artwork.

Lots of parents don’t feel comfortable with art, because unlike maths there isn’t a ‘correct’ way to do it’, or they feel they have to intervene to make things look ’right’. So, I’ve put together a list of art websites that offer tutorials aimed at the children themselves rather than at their parents. They all use real world art equipment, not digital platforms and have all been tested by my own 10-year-old artist-in-residence.

www.artforkidshub.com – This is a lovely art website for kids. It has hundreds of tutorials, mostly for drawing, but some painting and origami too. Mr Hub does the drawings in a slightly speeded up time scale, but the instructions are clear and easy to follow.

artprojectsforkids.org – This site is run by an art teacher who has put together lots of fun art projects for kids. There are drawing lessons and craft projects.

stepbysteppainting.net – A great site packed with online step-by-step canvas painting tutorials, suitable for all the family, with a complete section dedicated to kids. Older kids who are keen artists will love the more grown-up painting tutorials too.

thepaintrepublic.com on Facebook – This is our favourite site by a country mile. Lindsay teaches live sessions on Facebook a couple of times per week. The tutorials then stay on the page so that children can access them at any time. She’s an encouraging, enthusiastic teacher and paints along with her sons, who are funny, lively and very normal, and this is the big bonus for my own son, who is missing his friends and the banter of the classroom. We probably underestimate how much of the important stuff in a school day doesn’t seem important at all. The silly incidents and funny anecdotes our children bring home are woven into the tapestry of their day-to-day existence, and at the moment that part of their lives is on hold. Lindsay and her boys are a breath of fresh air in our house. The art is great, and she also leads adult classes for when the kids are in bed. Cannot recommend this one highly enough.