So, when I prep my math lessons, painting isn't my first thought. Or my last thought. Even as an artist, I still approach math in a conventional way that's restricted to textbooks and a few counting cubes. While this approach is essential to teaching math at its core, why not explore unique ways to practice math? I'm brainstorming projects to include in my elementary lessons this fall, join me! Feel free to post more artistic math project ideas in the comments. Include your grade/age level with each idea. My focus is visual arts-- as reflected in each project idea-- but you're welcome to include music and performance art ideas in the comments.
Early Learning (Pre-k/Kindergarten)
My kids are ages seven, six, four, and two. Needless to say, I've been at this early learning stage for a few fun years. Teaching math at this stage is playful discovery-- fun, FUN, FUN!!! Here's a few projects to get you started. 3-4 year olds should learn:
God Made Handprint:
Supplies needed: Construction paper, tempura paint, marker, and one little hand
Ask your child Who made his hand. Have your child dip a hand in a bright colored tempura paint and stamp it on a construction paper page. Wipe his hand, then have him dip a finger in a different color of his choice. Counting aloud, he stamps a dot over each finger on the hand print. Write the number five beneath the hand. On a separate page, do another hand print and have him mark four fingers. Then, another with three. Then two. Then one. Let each page dry and staple it together-- you have a great artistic counting review book to save!
God Made Footprint:
Supplies needed: Construction paper, tempura paint, marker, and one little foot
Same as the above project, only this time you're counting toes.
Potato Stamp Pattern:
Supplies needed: Potatoes, knife, permanent marker, tempura paint, construction paper
Make Potato Stamps, two or three different shapes. (Watch how to make a potato stamp here). Have child stamp construction paper alternating shapes in order you choose. Ask them which stamp comes next. Do a few rows of this, then let them go at it and make a stamp painting filling the entire page. Talk about how God is a God of order and he's organized nature using various patterns. Let dry and you have a pattern painting masterpiece.
Elementary Projects (1st- 6th grades)
(In process- check back soon!!)
(Additional Project Ideas)
How To Use Creative Art Projects To Make Your Student Love Math
Fun Middle School Math Projects
Elementary Math Activities
A Word on Art and Education
This article on the importance of art in school resonates with me. But the importance goes deeper than mere education. The Lord made us creative beings-- we're touched by art and music in our soul. While worldview comes at us through many venues, none is more subtle than the arts. Think movies, videogames, music, novels-- most of our kids and teens wouldn't know they're learning a philosophy, and sadly it's often the wrong one. Rather than lament, recognize the arts are an awesome venue for sharing Christ's truth! Let's harness this in our homeschooling by engaging our kids with visual, creative, and musical stimulation. Let's model for them ways to worship the Lord through art. Feel free to post your creative homeschool ideas in the comments. And I hope you find the posts to follow helpful and encouraging.
Welcome to my first post on artistic homeschooling! After the success of my summer camp Kids, Crayons & Christ I've longed to develop a more creative homeschool for my own kids. I'm just beginning the journey, join me!
What if we could use art to teach every subject?
This question lingers in my mind, wafting over my back-burner homeschool art lessons. Even though I'm an artist, I have so much to teach my four kids that art still ends up somewhere at the bottom. After all, the core subjects-- reading and writing, math and science--must be covered first. And, if we're honest, creativity takes work. I'm still new to homeschooling (my oldest just finished first grade), and I'm now discovering cross-curricular approaches like the dawn of a new day. Life is interwoven, right? Duh! Well, it seems obvious in living, but not in teaching, and--if you're like me-- you grew up with compartmentalized education. Shut this book, open that book. (I still can't do more than one thing at once well.) But God created the world fluid-- it ebbs and flows, rather than starts and stops. And math is in our reading and history is in our science and ... it's like you have several different facets of one subject rather than five subjects. In short, art can help us approach education by seeing the big picture and making it fun.
So, toss the books and just do art projects?
I crave stability in ways that are admittedly unhealthy. I depend on my workbooks and textbooks to provide that well-worn path to follow. I'm at the beginning of a long road trip-- enough said. The long and short of it is-- you decide. Keep your curriculum, toss it and do art projects, or use a mix of both. All I'm suggesting is, instead of breezing the homeschool road doing a cool seventy with windows raised and doors locked, get out and walk. Even take a hike to the top of the mountain. If you know where the road is, it's great to explore a bit. I'm compiling project ideas and tips for how to take these hikes along the way, so check back often or follow me on twitter @caroleruffin where I'll be posting updates. Also, for more homeschooling encouragement, check out What I'm Learning Now, my day to day journey of homeschooling and life. Jesse and I are in process, creating a wealth of curriculum so definitely check back for the side bar links.