Letter 27 – Creativity

As I reflect on my more than 23 years of homeschooling, I believe that creativity is the most wonderful gift you can give your children!   Here is the next letter to my younger self — Letter 27 ~ Creativity

These new collages are from images of our many creative moments over the years.  Warning ~ This post is chock-a-block full of links to previous creativity related posts; proof of my emphasis on creativity!  I recommend you bookmark this letter to come back to read all the links.)

Dear younger Nadene,

Your children’s happiest moments in homeschooling revolved around your creative approach which included frequent hands-on activities.  Realizing this joy, I want to urge you to provide daily creative opportunities such as arts & crafts and doing regular hands-on activities such as lapbooks, making models and paper projects, and allocate time for lots of dramatization.  Figure out how to fit in hands-on activities into your schedule, and these activities will become your children’s favourite homeschool memories.  Your Fabulous Fine Arts Fridays will save you and your children from burnout and stress! Over these years you will produce many creative projects.

Your children will create cute finger puppets for narrations, cut and colour Lego-punched dioramas for poetry, make models of Laura Ingalls’ Little House, dress up to act out their History narrations, re-create famous paintings in 3D, create their own sets of paper dolls.  Amazing mobiles will adorn your schoolroom for different themes and study topics. Every year you and your children will make puppet shows such as the Nativity Play and Esther play for Purim and their art will cover the walls in your home.

Your young children love to be creative every moment of the day!  In their free time, they love to dress up and you will even sew them boned corsets! You will make them a rag doll family to replace their Barbie dolls, and your middle daughter will use her skilled fine motor skills to create her own Polly pocket in a soap dish!

Join Sketch Tuesday and do art every week. There are so many advantages to sketching weekly! This simple weekly Sketch Tuesday activity will produce an enormous skill set and build confidence! Not only will it be the most welcome time of enjoyment and respite in your week, but it will offer regular opportunities to try new mediums and styles and your children will excel in all their artistic activities.

Because you provide them with a creative space and creative materials, they will also make jewellery and beautiful gifts.  Your daughters love creating beautiful flower arrangements. They will create beautiful rustic decor for their brother’s weddings.  Your daughters will become experts at home decor.  You will teach them all to sew and knit and your teenage daughters will start their own beautiful pyjama clothing range called La Lune

Your eldest daughter Tess will become an incredibly talented seamstress at just 15-years old, sewing dresses for weddings and Matric farewell functions.  She and her best friend will put on and host several fashion shows. When your daughter graduates, she will work in the hospitality industry for a season.  She will marry and her home will be filled with beauty and loveliness.  When they move Sedgefield, she will renovate and restore the old family seaside home into a lovely Airbnb.  Her homemaking, cooking and creativity will spill into every area of her life.

When your middle daughter Kate graduates, she will continue to create her own unique styled art, create professional designs and logos, and develop her digital art.  She will hone her photographic skills and assist her boyfriend Mathew with photography at weddings.  She will assist him in developing his website, his marketing and social media. Kate loves food and she will enjoy cooking Masterchef-type food!  She will become a singer and musician, teaching herself to play musical instruments.

Your youngest daughter Lara will do art every day.  Her Instagram feed is full of art, art and more beautiful art!  Lara and her talented wood craftsman boyfriend will start their own collaborative online art business called Collection Shed.  Joshua will make beautiful custom frames for Lara’s paintings!

Your children’s creativity and handicrafts skills will become great assets.   They have so much creative talent that it spills over into entrepreneur and job opportunities. They will start businesses, sell products at markets and online, work for art and animation studios, sell art via social media. All of them will develop wonderful unique artistic styles and their regular creativity will generate wonderful rich art portfolios. Your family will be known for its creative flair!   

You, too, will find great joy in doing creative projects, regularly sketching, painting, sewing, knitting, gardening and doing decor and DIY projects.  As your homeschooling journey nears the end, your lifestyle and time will allow for much more art and creativity, so it is a good thing to take part in arts and crafts with your children while they are still young.  Maintain your creativity as a hobby lifestyle, or as Charlotte Mason describes it as “Mother Culture” and you will have a fulfilling and joyful transition post homeschooling.

And very importantly, don’t be afraid of your children’s occasional boredom.  This time is the essential ingredient that is necessary for them to discover and develop their creativity!  In this day and age of constant stimulation and distraction, quiet undistracted time is a gift for creativity.  

Keep a simple schedule and avoid rush, stress and over-committed extra-mural activities.  Plan for days at home, free afternoons and long, unrushed weekends. 

Creativity also requires grace to learn, to experiment and to make mistakes. Offer your children and yourself gentle encouragement and avoid any comparisons.  Compliment and display your children’s art and keep trying new materials and techniques. 

Here are some wonderful creativity quotes ~

  • “Creativity is the way I share my soul with the world.”  Brene Brown
  • “Creativity is experimenting, growing, taking risks, making mistakes & having fun!” Mary Lou Cook
  • “Creativity takes courage.” Henri Matisse
  • “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” Albert Einstein
  • “You can’t use up creativity.  The more you use, the more you have.” Maya Angelou
  • “To live a creative life we must lose our fear of being wrong.” Joseph Chilton Pearce

With fondest love from your older and creative self, Nadene

I’d love to hear your views and thoughts on this topic!  Would you share yours in the comments below?

In case you missed any of my previous “Letters To Me” in this series:

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Practical Tip ~ Creative Opportunities

We are a very creative family!  Right from the start, I provided art and craft materials and allowed my children much free time to create daily in our homeschooling, which I believe laid the foundation to their  their talent and enjoyment of all things creative.  May I encourage you to do the same?

Homeschool 20154Set up a craft area with supplies to provide creative opportunities for your children.  This is especially good for hands-on activities while the children listen to a read alouds, or for handicraft time in the afternoons.

Art and craft supplies need not be expensive.  I started our collection with a cheap craft purchase here and there each month, and added new, interesting items to our stash to keep my kids excited and stimulated.  I stored these items in Ziploc bags in plastic suitcases, placed in an easily accessible area on the bookshelf.   Read how I organized our art supplies here.1-P1160658-001

Here are 25 art and craft ideas gathered from around the globe on Pinterest ~

  1. Watercolor set, brushes and paper
  2. Wax crayons and watercolor to create wax-resist painting
  3. Giant chalk to create outdoors drawings on concrete floors
  4. Shoestrings and wooden beads
  5. Cheap camera and nature prompt list
  6. Recipes and ingredients
  7. Magazine, scissors and glue to make a collage
  8. Soap block or soft pine wood pieces and carving tools
  9. Wool and pompom maker
  10. Shaving cream, food coloring in a tray to make marbled paper
  11. Lego, cardstock and felt-tipped markers to create a Lego diorama
  12. Flowers and vases or flower press to create a pressed flower collection
  13. Felt, scissors and a felt board
  14. Pipe cleaners and tiny pompoms to create fantasy animals
  15. Sunflower and bean seeds and some small garden  tools
  16. Long piece of cheap fabric, pegs and poles to create a tepee or tent
  17. Tinfoil, card board, glue and string to create foil art
  18. Stamps and stamp pads
  19. Feathers and beads to make necklaces
  20. 51 ideas with shoe boxes
  21. Dress up clothes
  22. Music instruments or let them make their own musical instruments
  23. Twisty balloons
  24. Leaf rubbings with wax crayons
  25. When all else fails – Bored jar with activity ideas
Tips on making art and crafts activities easier ~
  • It is worth spending a while clearly and simply demonstrating to your children how to work with the materials, how to take care with specific things, how to clean up and pack away.
  • Establishing foundation skills with each activity prevents the mess and chaos that most moms hate and therefore avoid doing art and crafts.
  • Purchase some plastic sheeting or cheap painter’s drop cloths to cover the floor if working with messy things.
  • Insist that your children wear an old over-sized T-shirt (my kids loved wearing their dad’s T-shirts) or art smocks or aprons over their clothes.  You can even make aprons out of plastic bags.
  • Set a limit where the activity can take place.  Children may only work in a specific room, on specific tables or floors.  Don’t encourage them to wander around with the supplies.
  • Remind your children to wash paint brushes, close glue tops, pack away when done.
  • Lastly, provide a lovely gallery to display their works of art.

Check out all my art ideas, lesson plans and free downloads on my Art Page.  Have you got any creativity ideas to share with us?  Please share in the comments below.

Here’s wishing you and your family hours and days of fun and creativity!

Blessings, Nadene
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Time for creative mom

In response to my post Sketching Again, a reader recently asked,

“How much time do we as moms need each day to be creative? “

I suppose it depends on your family life and demands on your time, and whether you enjoy creative activities.  Enjoyment is a powerful motivation.

If I can carve just 20 minutes of creative sketch time for myself, I feel so grateful and rewarded. This is not every day, and it is not always possible when life and stressful situations are more important, but it is something I find easy to pick up and do when there is a lull or gap in my days.  Right now, with just one teen to assist in her homeschooling, I have a lot more free time than I had while juggling three young kids all on different cores so I can find time to be creative!

We need to grow and be creative ourselves in order to give continually to others.

For some folk that “creative / me time” may be physical, such as going for a brisk walk or run, doing a quick workout, or taking a nice hot bath with soft music playing. Others need to be alone, maybe to read a book or listen to a podcast.   Some love to garden, sew, knit, quilt, or sketch.

When the children are young, then it is best to sketch or craft with them. Within a few weeks of doing sketches or nature journal prompts, the kids feel more confident and know what to do and can pretty much work without your help, giving you that time to do the activity along with them.

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Doing art together with my children. You’ll see my art page at the bottom of the picture.

We enjoyed Fabulous Fine Arts Fridays, a whole day for our Music and Art Appreciation lessons and some poetry or Shakespeare.  Our Fridays were always so relaxing and enjoyable, so different from our normal school schedule, that we all looked forward to this time together.  It was also very informal.  We simply listened to a classical music piece while observing an artist’s work and often did some art ourselves.

Sketch Tuesdays always were a wonderful opportunity to draw and sketch something really simple.  Because we had a whole week to complete the sketch, there never was any pressure.  And despite there being no feedback or critique given, the children learnt so much about their art and skills simply by viewing the slideshow and experimenting with new and different art mediums.  We sometimes copied other famous artist’s style in some of our Sketch Tuesday sketches, discovering the artist’s true talent and ability.  Again, it is fairly simple to pull out some paper and sketch and paint right alongside your children.

Otherwise, simply do something creative and personally rewarding in the afternoons while the family are doing their own thing.  I often find a half hour after lunch before I need to take down washing or start preparing dinner.  Weekends are also a good time to sketch, paint, garden, sew or do some sort of creative hobby.

If you have lots of children, or little babies or busy toddlers, then you may be deep in the trenches, and creative time for yourself might be impossible for this season, but, remember, that this season will pass, and you will be able to have your body and space back!

Blessings to you as you carve out small Mother Culture moments for yourself each week.

In Grace, Nadene

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3 things to avoid in art lessons

What Works! 

Art is about creativity and inspiration, but many moms avoid teaching art in their homeschool because it is often seen as messy and unpredictable.

Here’s what to avoid in your art lessons — with helpful practical hints to do instead ~20160607_143154

Too focussed on the end product

Inexperienced moms and insecure children often look for a “cookie-cutter” approach to successful art lessons.  Typically these art lessons give step-by-step instructions which always result in similar outcomes.  This often kills creativity.

Always look for an opportunity to teach important art concepts, techniques, or history, and find ways to tie as much learning and personal choice as you can into every project you do with your students.  It is important for the art teacher to know what to do and how to do it, but it is more important to allow the child to discover and create and enjoy the artistic process without feeling afraid that it “won’t come out right”.

20150831_152347Too Formal

A gentle, informal approach to fine arts is really effective!  After years of teaching art, I found that most real creativity is often spontaneous and requires a sense of freedom.  Avoid tedious technical lessons, or using mediums that require great skill and ability or processes that frighten and exasperate children.  Rather let the child practice with a new medium or process on scrap paper and then apply this to another process.  This encourages exploration and discovery and will increase the child’s artistic skills.

Too Time-consuming

Plan art lessons in manageable  time frames.  Young children need shorter lessons, while older children can work for longer periods.  It is always difficult to pack away art and try restart the process another time.   Homeschoolers can devote a whole day to fine arts and complete rather complex art activities, if they want.

Plan and schedule art and do it with your children!  It is a wonderful way to build relationships and grow in creativity together.

What have you found works in your art lessons?

Blessings, Nadene

Kate’s Doodles

Hardly a day goes by without Kate sketching or doodling.  This is just one of her many gorgeous “doodles” ~

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Create Together

Homeschooling moments that I love …

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Silk painting a scarf with my daughter.

Blessings as you create with your children!

 

More Art Fun!

This past week we have thoroughly enjoyed more art fun with our

Usborne Activities 365 Things to Draw and Paint by Fiona Watt.

The art ideas in this book are pretty fool-proof, so diverting slightly from the lesson is not that risky.  I tell my children to feel free to tweak the ideas in each activity.

Last week we all did “Decorated Elephants“.  Each of us produced a slight variation on the art activity in the book.  I love this kind of originality!

Art elephants

My 14-year-old daughter did “Mixing Paints” lessons with her water colors and enjoyed the art activity so much that she prepared some planks of wood and created 2 versions with acrylic paints.  They came out so well!  Such happy-looking poppies!  She hammered picture hanging hooks to the back of each plank and has dedicated the one as a wonderful gift!

Art fun poppies

Mid-week, my youngest and I did “Patterned Park” with pastel pencils on colored sugar paper.  When one works with patterns, it becomes such a relaxing, right-brain activity.  I also was determined to stay away from real, representational colors and enjoyed playing with colors that ‘pop’ and contrast.  Fun and simple!

Art pattern park

This weekend my 12-year-old and I had fun working through the “Simple Faces” lesson.  Here is Miss. L12’s painting.  She is happy with her painting and I love the bright clear colors!

Art simple faces

Waking from an inspirational dream, I wanted to work with masking fluid and represent one of my favorite photos in this simplified, stylized manner.

Art simple faces1

Here’s a simple tutorial:

  1. I used water-color paper, art masking fluid and on old, but very thin paintbrush.  Masking fluid can ruin paintbrushes if it dries in the bristles, so wash the brush in warm soapy water as soon as you are done.
  2. After I penciled in the outlines, I painted the designs in masking fluid.  This stuff is creamy white and dries to become fairly transparent and yellowish.
  3. With fairly wet paints I washed my background with a broad brush. The paint will not penetrate the masking design and those areas will remain white.
  4. Next I painted in the details and left the page to dry well.
  5. The next stage was such fun!  I gently pulled off the masking fluid which pulls off easily in long sticky strings.  You can rub it off too,  It rolls into balls which you can pull off and throw away.
  6. Finally I added silver and black outlines.  Lovely finished product and such an enjoyable activity.

Go ahead and have some art fun this week!

Blessings,

New Fun Art!

For a while my 12-year-old has avoided been reluctant about her art.  So sad. Somehow, her perfectionism got in the way of her creativity.  And, perhaps I focused too seriously on Charlotte Mason art appreciation lessons rather than presenting her simple art fun.

I was delighted when I came across this book at our local library ~

A Usborne Activities 365 Things to Draw and Paint  by Fiona Watt

(ISBN 978-1-86806-319-2)

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According to the title, this book offers amazing art activities for every day for a whole year!  Actually, each double page layout presents several interconnected ideas, and so you have about 126 lessons here instead of 365.

Much to my delight, Miss.L12 immediately tagged about 30 pages and we decided to try to do one a day!

Here is how fabulous Miss.L12 felt about her first art lesson!

Art fun

And I’m smiling too!

What I like about these art activities is the simplicity of the lesson combined with an exploration of different creative techniques such as printing, rubbings, splatters, cutting out, doodles … superb creative fun!

Here is our “Laboratory Experiments” activity with blowing, splatter and print art elements ~

Art fun1

And here is our “Printed Fruit & Vegetables” with finger painting, print techniques and rubbings for the fruit crates.  Again, huge success!

Art fun2

I’m doing these art activities along with my daughter and we are having such a lovely creative time!

I guess that I am going to renew this library book several times! [smiles]

Blessings,

 

Decorated Frames

Friends visited us for a week during our winter school break.

While we sat through a rainy spell, the older girls asked to do a craft.

We decided to use a few old frames lying in a box.

I wanted them to make this a special frame,

decorated with things found on the farm.

It could be made into something useful;

with hooks or wire or mesh to hang jewelery on,

or simply a pretty memento of the time together.

Miss. T made a jewelry frame as a gift.

First she painted the wooden frame in a lovely light teal green, left it to dry and then scraped off some paint to create a distressed look.

She covered the back of her frame with some lace and fabric off-cuts that she sewed together and ironed flat.

Then she pulled the material over the hard board back and taped it down.

She used a piece of rusty old chicken mesh to cover half of the material.

Now she secured the frame to the back.

She glue-gunned some dried rose buds she had in her stash to one side of the frame,

added some interesting pieces of lichen she found on an old tree,

and completed her frame with 3 brass hooks which she embellished with some buttons and ribbon.

Lovely!

Her friend, Miss. C, found a lovely picture of a heart and a crown in a Christian magazine as her inspiration.

We made a colour-copy of the original.

She spent some time embellishing the picture with pen, glitter and then glued some crumpled brown paper edging.

As she felt that her frame was a little narrow, she wrapped her rusty mesh over the sides of the frame.

She found some rusty tin which we carefully snipped to form a heart.

Her mom had crocheted a cotton heart and Miss. C attached the hearts to her mesh with the same thread.

Beautiful!

Both frames were so unique.

What a lovely rainy-day craft.

Pop over to my project pages for more crafty inspiration!

Blessings,