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Why Adding Art To Homeschool History Makes All The Difference

My children have naturally enjoyed our homeschool history studies since they were very young.

They love the stories, the adventure, and the thought of foreign lands.

Yes, history has always been a subject with less resistance and more interest for my children. But the truth is, as they got a bit older, it became clear that in order to truly understand and retain the lesson, my boys needed something more.

adding art to homeschool history

At first, I thought we needed more structure to our learning. I added quizzes and worksheets. I bought an expensive textbook. I tried all the things that a more formal school setting does to teach history.

None of it worked. In fact, not only did my boys retain less than before, they began to dislike history and avoid it.

It was only when I decided to go with what I knew they would enjoy, that our homeschool history study came alive.

I added art.

It may seem simple, and I guess it is, but adding I Drew It And Then I Knew It to our history lessons was the solution I was looking for.

As the years have passed, I’ve had time to think about why adding art to our homeschool history was so effective. This is what I’ve learned.

adding art to homeschool history

Why Adding Art To History Works So Well

1. Adding Art Increases Attention Span

One of the most immediate benefits I discovered when adding art to our homeschool history was my boys’ increased ability to focus and sustain attention for longer periods of time.

For my youngest, who really struggles with attention issues, the multi-sensory experience of creating his own art work as we discussed (or listened to Nana discuss) a particular topic in history, made a significant difference. For the first time, he was able to work through an entire subject without needing a break or leaving the table.

For my oldest, not having the distraction of his younger brother helped him focus as well.

2. Art Supports Comprehension

Studies have repeatedly shown that adding a multi-sensory component to any learning increases overall comprehension.

It seems we have proved this to be true in my own home as well.

When we added art to history, my children seemed to pick up on the main topic of the lesson, and comprehend the more nuanced details, much faster than when we just read about it.

I have since learned that this is true for most children and even adults – adding something hands-on to any new learning increases overall engagement and comprehension.

adding art to homeschool history

3. Adding Art Increases Retention

One of the greatest benefits I’ve found to adding art to our learning is how much it increases my sons’ overall retention of the information.

This makes sense to me, even as I consider my own school experience. When I look back on my learning, the assignments and lessons I remember most are the ones that involved some sort of multisensory experience.

The same is true for my children. Not only do they retain the information more fully, they are more easily able to recall what they’ve learned when we add art to the lesson.

4. Adding Art Makes Learning More Fun!

This is an easy win and one that I think needs to be highlighted.

Adding art to our history study also added in an element of fun. It brought back that love of history that my boys had from the very beginning.

Art decreases any resistance they have towards the lesson, and allows all of us to connect in a way that is not only education, but enjoyable.

It’s a win-win.

Adding Art To Homeschool History Makes All The Difference

Because adding art to our homeschool history has been such a success, I’m grateful for all that You Are An Artist offers. It makes my prep work super easy and allows me to learn right alongside my kiddos as Nana teaches us all.

(You can also read all about how we also incorporate art into our homeschool science HERE.)

Shawna Wingert is a special education teacher turned writer, speaker and consultant. She is also a homeschooling mom of two brilliant boys with differences and special needs.  Shawna has written four books for parents – Everyday Autism, Special Education at Home, Parenting Chaos and her latest, Homeschooling Your Child With Special Needs. She helps parents of children with learning differences, behavioral challenges and special needs every day at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.

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Why Art Is An Essential Part Of Science In Our Homeschool

I learned a long time ago that my son learns best with a multi-sensory approach. His comprehension and retention is so much greater when we focus on the more experiential aspects of a particular topic.

The problem is, sometimes, it’s really challenging to find ways to engage his need for hands-on learning. In fact, for many years, I spent hours scouring the internet, looking for creative ways to enhance our textbook learning.

When I found the academic videos included in You ARE an ARTIST I was excited, but more so, relieved. I could take the subjects we were already studying in more formal ways and instantly make them more engaging for my kiddo, just by clicking play and letting Nana do the teaching!

While we have used You ARE An ARTIST across many different subjects, including nature study, language arts and history, this year, we are incorporating it into our science study. I continue to be grateful for the support it provides for my sons’ learning needs and today, I want to share a bit of how it works for us.

How We Make Art A Part Of Science

You ARE an ARTIST offers several different video courses that align well with many traditional scientific studies.

For example, we completed the Shark Art lessons as a part of our Marine Life and Oceanography Study. We also did the I Drew It Then I Knew It Inventor course as we completed a unit on electricity.

This year, we are starting off with an astronomy study and including the many chalk pastel courses as part of our learning. Again, this helps to solidify any reading or more formal learning we complete, by allowing my son the opportunity to engage with the topic in much more creative and hands-on way. (We have also use art as a way to “test” what my son has really learned and will again with this unit.)

Here is a snapshot of what I have planned for the first two weeks of this particular science unit:

Week One

Day One: Look at and discuss a poster of the solar system

Day Two: Read about the planets

Day Three: Complete You ARE An Artist Video Tutorial – Saturn (While we both follow the lesson, my son and I will discuss what we have learned so far about Saturn in particular and the planets in general.)

Week Two

Day One: Watch YouTube Video about Haley’s Comet

Day Two: Read about comets and meteorological events

Day Three: Complete You ARE An Artist Video Tutorial – Haley’s Comet (While we both follow the lesson, my son and I will discuss what we have learned so far about Saturn in particular and the planets in general.)

The Art In Space Video Course Super Bundle has 17 video tutorials all about the solar system, space exploration, comets, super novum and more. I will add more astronomy topics as we progress through our textbook and incorporate more of the bundle’s art videos accordingly. By the time we are finished up with the astronomy book, we will have covered six full weeks of study – and we will have had fun doing it!

Here is Why Art Is An Essential Part Of Science in Our Homeschool. I can't imagine a better way to learn science in our homeschool. This approach has made all the difference in helping my child engage in what we are learning and retain it as well. By Shawna Wingert

Why Art Is An Essential Part Of Science In Our Homeschool

This approach has made all the difference in helping my child engage in what we are learning and retain it as well. He can tell you a lot more about electricity, not only because we read about it in a book, but because we discussed it as we created our own chalk pastel art all about it. I imagine the same will be true for astronomy once all is said and done.

It works well for my child, but the truth is, it also works well for me. The planning is easier and the lessons are already defined. All I have to do is get out the art supplies and relax.

I can’t imagine a better way to learn science in our homeschool.

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Shawna Wingert is a special education teacher turned writer, speaker and consultant. She is also a homeschooling mom of two brilliant boys with differences and special needs.  Shawna has written four books for parents – Everyday Autism, Special Education at Home, Parenting Chaos and her latest, Homeschooling Your Child With Special Needs. She helps parents of children with learning differences, behavioral challenges and special needs every day at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.