Friday, September 14, 2007

Art Journal Activities


Whew! We are finally at the tail end of our first, full-fledged week of school. We did start two weeks ago, but this was the first week that we started with the homeschool co-op on Tuesdays as well as our P.E. group on Wednesdays. Then there was the field trip to the Post Office today... I made it to the weekend!

You know, I continue to be surprised at the number of people who still ask me the "socialization" question.

#1, I guess I think homeschooling is so popular now that I just assume people don't think of it as something "different" anymore.

#2, If folks would simply consider the number of activities their children are/were involved in that weren't directly linked to school, they might pause before asking the silly question.

#3, Do my children, who speak fluently with people of all ages and are regularly complemented on their manners seem to be lacking in social skills compared with other children their age?

#4, And finally, if you know me - even briefly and well enough to be having even a casual conversation with me - you ought to be able to figure out that I would perhaps have thought of that "socialization question" myself and just may be concerned enough for my children to want them to have friends. I told my older daughter the other day that the next time someone asks me if I am worried about them being socialized, I'm just going to say, "Friends? Friends, shcmends! Who needs 'em? We believe friendship is highly overrated!"

LOL!

Anyway, at our co-op - you know, the one with 29 other elementary age children, plus their pre-school, toddler, and infant siblings - I am teaching 6 weeks of art journaling. I'll admit, the first day was a bit daunting with so many eyes kind of staring at me with that "deer-in-the-headlights" look. "Gesso? What's gesso? Where do we put it? What did you want us to do?"

But it was the first day, right? It's certain to get better! :)

My goal is to be able to introduce these children to something I dearly love and hopefully pass on just a bit of that passion to them. Unlike a class one signs up for out of interest, this is a whole mix of kids with differing likes and dislikes. I hope to at least interest all of them - and maybe pass the "bug" onto a few! Certainly, the fact that they all had their new school supplies and art supplies all in shiny new cases (tackle boxes, pencil boxes, large plastic jars) helps. My own children were excited with their new things and so I jumped on the chance to try out an activity I have been wanting to do for a while.

Amy, host of The Creative Mom Podcast, keeps her own art journal and also has one for her six-year-old son. To get him journaling in a regular way, they have a ritual of drawing together every evening. They each go and find something in the house that they might want to draw that night. Office supplies, she says, are big hits: the stapler, scissors, etc. Toys find their way to the table too. Then they choose which of the two items they want to draw and sometimes they draw both. They draw, then she has him write a sentence about his drawing or his day and then he dates it. And that's it. But isn't it marvelous? What a treasure that will be for him and his whole family! What memories they will share of their time together. I hope they well be able to keep it up! It is such a great idea! If you haven't listened to Amy's podcast before, give yourself a treat and listen in! If you like what you hear, she has a whole year's worth of archives - all inspiring, all wonderful!

My concern for my family was that they would be suspicious of any other regular activity with Mom. Was this an assignment in disguise? :) So, I'm keeping it loose and as much like a game as possible. Maia selected my jadeite tea canister the other night and so that is what we all drew or painted. Mine took much longer than the girls, but they were really excited with what they did and hung out a while longer doing their own drawings while I finished mine.

I love seeing all the colors that are in a one-color object! And I love just sitting with my girls and chatting and laughing and listening to the radio while we create together. Simple things. No rules. Just being. Just perfect.
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