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Homeschooling does not need to be complicated! Stick to the core (reading, writing, math, and religion) and you are fine! Really, you are! The rest can come through those subjects and independent study. However, fine arts are essential. They are often pushed to the edges…you know, when you have “extra time.” Well, there is no such thing as extra time! The fine arts give students the skills to excel in language arts and sciences.
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But, what about the cost??
I totally hear you! Homeschooling on less money can be done. It can. Your homeschool should not be driving you to the poor house. However, and this is a big one, we need to be honest. Private music lessons or art school for the entire family can be very expensive. When you have to decide between math books and gas in your car, versus private violin lessons–I’m betting you will pick the gas and math books. That’s why I’m so excited to share with you resources that we use in our own homeschool for fine arts education. These are all easy to use (because mama, you have enough to do!) and easy on the pocketbook!
Why do we need fine arts in a STEM world?
Glad you asked that! We need arts more in a science based world, not less! It’s true. The fine arts teach problem solving, creativity, outside the box thinking, and self discipline. All of these are the soft skills needed to succeed at any career. And think of the world without art. If we only raise engineers, without any lessons in the good, the true, and the beautiful, our world will be cold, lost, and ugly. If you would like to learn more about why the arts are so important, check out my interview with A Better Way to Homeschool on that exact subject.
Music is the language of joy! It fuels the mind and the soul. We are born loving music. Just look at how a young baby reacts to rhythm or singing. Here are some music programs that you can implement easily and incredibly affordably in your homeschool.
Making Music Together
Dancing, singing, and banging on drums…what toddler or preschooler wouldn’t love that?? Musik at Home is an amazing program. Built for babies through early primary school, it will flood your home with raucous joy. Making music as a family is a bonding experience. My children have been blessed to grow up in a Mommy and Me style music class at our fine arts school. However, this year, we didn’t know if that program would be available. My youngest lives for that program! She can sing about anything for hours. Her songs, songs she has learned, songs without words…she sings, and sings.
While I know that her exposure to music from an early age has fostered this, it really is her special gift. I didn’t panic though, because I knew Musik at Home was there for me, and at an outstanding price!!!! Actually, I’m considering getting the mixed age program anyway, because she begs me day after day to go to music class.
My younger son wants to be a famous composer. He actually walks around pretending to be Beethoven in a long wool coat with rolls of paper in his pockets. They are his “manuscripts.” So, I have purchased the Sweet Beats game to help him learn to compose. It’s a steal at $8.99! (Hint: It’s on page 3 of the shop!) I also have my eye on the Instrument Kit! (Page 2) We have collected many instruments over the years. I used to buy one for each child every Christmas. Sometimes it was a simple maraca, other times a lovely set of handmade bongo drums. I stopped at some point because we had so much, but my youngest would go nuts over these!
Learning to Play Piano
As mentioned above, my son has been begging me to give him piano lessons. He also asked for a grand piano for his birthday. I promised that when he learns to play and compose, we will revisit the idea. For now, he has a keyboard, but we are considering an upgrade soon. Anyway, I really didn’t know how I would get him lessons. I just could not take on another activity or expense. A couple of tries for group lessons fell through. When I looked at the schedule for our fine arts school, he wasn’t old enough, yet. I shouldn’t have worried, though, God had a plan!
Through the wonder of the Internet, I got to know Angela of Joyful Notes piano school. She is fabulous! The Little Man took his first piano lesson, via Zoom, with Miss Angela last month and was simply over the moon. He has been practicing Hot Cross Buns every since. Joyful Notes’ lessons are engaging and extremely affordable at only $35 per month for pre-recorded lessons. That’s right, per month, not per lesson. Ok, I can do that! Plus, no running to one more lesson or juggling the schedule. Little Man can lesson while the other kids are working on school work, or whenever he chooses. This program has been the biggest blessing to our family.
Creating art opens doors. It’s not just a fun, side activity, it is a serious discipline. True art classes teach skills and techniques. There are plenty of programs with arts and craft projects. These are fun and have their place. However, I want my children to learn art. I’ve always had a passion for art, especially painting. When I was in high school, I joined the art club. It was a dream come true. Four hours each week to just create with all the art supplies and equipment at my disposal. Sadly, it didn’t last long because of budget cuts, and I never had the in depth instruction I really craved. So, I have made it my mission to give that to my children.
Art Beyond the Stick Figure
My children are blessed to be in an outstanding visual art program. Their teacher is Sally Stansfield, the art genius behind Beyond the Stick Figure! This visual art school provides targeted, engaging, and incremental art lessons for the whole family. Your children will learn the techniques that professional artists use. These skills and techniques will enrich their curriculum and their life. Far too many adults, believe they can’t draw. Beyond the Stick Figure is on a mission to change that. You can read more about this program, here.
To share the good, true, and beautiful with as many homeschool families as possible, Beyond the Stick Figure recently introduced Teatime with Sally. Participants will receive a bite sized art lesson each week. Best of all it is free for homeschool families.
If you are ready to dive deeper and truly give a delectable art education to your children, check out their wide array of classes. My Little Man is doing the full year program in person with Sally, while my oldest, is doing it online. Both options have been exceptional!
What fine arts programs do you use in your homeschool?