Friday, December 2, 2016

Homeschool Book Review: Three-Dimensional Art Adventures

You might have noticed that I don't often have art as a subject in our weekly lesson plans. Primarily, that's because Matt has an art degree and he gives the children an art lesson every weekend. I consider them to be private art lessons, thriftily outsourced!

I do like to do art with the kids, but I don't consider myself skilled enough to prepare my own lessons, so I really appreciate packaged lessons that include study of an artwork and a hands-on extension. I have several of those kinds of resources in my Homeschool: The Arts pinboard, my favorite of which is this site with leveled art history studies. I especially like to incorporate those lessons into our other studies--we used the lesson on Daniel French, for instance, in our study of the Lincoln Memorial.

The other way that I like to use art lessons, if I don't have an academic context to put them in, is as a fun weekend activity to do with the kids. We spend a ton of time together during the school week doing projects, so you'd think that the last thing that we'd want to do on a weekend is sit down for another project, but it seems new and different, somehow, when it's not also a task to be checked off of a work plan.

That *kind of* explains why I received Three-Dimensional Art Adventures for free from a publicist back in July, and I'm only just now ready to write about it. I made note of the most promising activities, then put the book in with my other resources, and when the time was right for a particular activity, there it was, ready and waiting for us!

I think the kids' favorite of the activities that we tried is the "trick hand." The lesson began with a study of From the Knees of My Nose to the Belly of My Toes, which the kids found fascinating, then guided us through the creation of our own "tricky" piece:

I can't tell which one, but underneath Will's drawing is for sure one of those LEGO books I was telling you about yesterday!

Does it annoy you to try to draw or write on a picnic table? We do it all summer, and it bugs the crap out of me! Painting boards are on my long-term to-do list.

This is when the magic happens!

Everyone's turned out really well, although we all figured out ways to make the effect even better next time (use a ruler to draw the straight lines, elaborate the curve on the curvy lines, make the lines as close together as we can, etc.), so it's still an activity that's repeatable.

Another week, during our shark unit, the kids became fascinated with the clean, streamlined silhouette of the shark, and so I took that opportunity to introduce the "Capturing Simplicity" lesson. It began with a study of a sculpture from Ancient Greece (and now I'm putting that down in my Greek mythology lesson plans to look at again when we study Hermes!), and continued with our own simple, sculpted silhouettes:
I don't know why I didn't photograph Will's, but she did her first initial. It looks really cool!

The tutorial calls for air-dry clay and paint, but we used Sculpey, and it worked perfectly.

I've often wanted to create some sort of cataloging and indexing system for myself, to use with my homeschooling resources. I have tons of print and digital resources, and when I create unit studies, I'm always flipping through every single thing, adding a reading from here and an activity from there. I mean, just in this book alone, the artwork studied ranges from Ancient Greece to modern, geographically circles the world, covers a huge variety of themes, and uses materials from nuts and bolts to pen and paper to fabric to floral wire.

Next on my to-do list from the book: the collage lesson, just because it's been ages since the kids and I have done collages together (and I have a bunch of random materials that I've been saving up and would love to get used up!), and the lesson on sculpting movement using floral wire as the medium.

Because Hermes!

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