Posted on

Homeschool Art for Middle and High School – You ARE An Artist

Finding homeschool art programs for middle and high school learning can be difficult.

It certainly was for me and my family.

The options seemed either too formal, or too babyish, for my older learners. But both of my boys have an interest in art and learn best with hands-on, multi-sensory activities. So I continued to search for a solution.

Thankfully, I found You ARE An Artist.

Homeschool Art for Middle and High School With You ARE An Artist

I wanted options for learning beyond a basic art class. More than that, my youngest son clearly learns best when art is a part of other academic subjects. I was pleased (and a little relieved) to see how many opportunities for older learners are included in the Clubhouse Membership.

You ARE An Artist Courses For Middle and High School Homeschool

This is a small sample of the lessons we’ve done so far that have worked well for both my middle school and high school homeschoolers.

Homeschool Art for Middle and High School With You ARE An Artist

History and Geography For Older Homeschoolers

  • American History
  • American Landmarks
  • Ancient History
  • Famous Composers
  • World Maps
  • World Landmarks

Science For Middle and High School Homeschoolers

  • Inventors
  • Moon Missions
  • Solar Eclipse
  • Solar System
  • Space Exploration
adding art to literature

Literature and Language Arts For Middle and High School Homeschoolers

Art Classes For Older Learners

How We Incorporate You ARE An Artist Lessons Into Our Middle and High School Learning

There are a couple of ways we have used You ARE An Artist to fuel our upper level learning.

The first is the most obvious, as we use You ARE An Artist for visual art credits in our homeschool. The second has been even more of a support in our homeschool. With these lessons, I have been able to incorporate art into our other areas of study to create a more robust and engaging learning experience.

You ARE An Artist For Homeschool High School Transcripts and Credit Hours

Because art is an elective that both of my boys would choose to take if they attended the school down the street, You ARE An Artist meets all the requirements for this type of credit.

I found this post from Courtney to be really helpful in figuring out what to “count” and how to reflect the learning on my son’s homeschool high school transcript. It outlines exactly how to accurately reflect art credit for high school using You ARE An Artist.

Incorporating Art Into Other Subjects For Middle And High School Learners

When my children were younger, it was a lot easier to find opportunities to weave art into our overall learning. As my boys have grown into middle and high school coursework, this became much more challenging, although no less important!

You ARE An Artist has made it not only possible, but easy for me to plan engaging, age appropriate activities for my older learners.

Homeschool Art for Middle and High School With You ARE An Artist

For example, my son has an intense interest in the Harry Potter series. Although he has read them before, we decided to incorporate them in to our literature study this year, with a focus on character analysis.

At first glance, it might seem that this would have no real tie to any art, much less specific lessons with You ARE An Artist. But after searching the membership, it became clear that we had more than a few options available.

When my son and I discussed the sorting hat and its role as a lesser identified “character,” he completed a lesson with Nana, drawing the sorting hat and then practicing his handwriting (much needed!) with his favorite sorting hat quote.

Homeschool Art for Middle and High School With You ARE An Artist

When the trip from Kings Cross to Hogwarts came up, my son created his own map of Great Britain with Nana as his guide.

  • He drew the map locations himself.
  • Next, he asked me to create the labels for his map (again, handwriting is a concern and he was so proud of his work, he didn’t want to “ruin” it.)
  • Finally, he was able to identify the locations on the map from memory, and point to them for me to label.

This is just a glimpse of why this approach to learning is so effective for children of all ages, even middle and highschoolers!

Homeschool Art for Middle and High School With You ARE An Artist

Time and time again, I am amazed at the benefit of adding art into our other academic subjects. You can see in this example, he not only comprehended the material, he retained it.

It’s what learning with You ARE An Artist is all about!

Posted on

The Power of Adding Art To Literature Lessons

adding art to literature

When your child struggles to read, language arts can be a difficult, and often stressful subject. Adding art to literature lessons has completely changed my son’s ability to engage in and enjoy the stories without the pressure of struggling to read them.

What I’ve learned is that this is a powerful approach to learning, no matter what your child’s reading ability!

There is something powerful that happens when we add art to literature lessons. This is an in-depth look at why it works so well.

Art Brings Story To Life

I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me before.

Of course art makes a difference in how we can connect with literature! Bringing a story or poem to life in this most accessible way, allows a learner to not only understand the learning, but retain it as well.

For example, drawing The Globe Theatre as a part of our Shakespeare study gave my son an immediate visual reference whenever it came again in the 39 Clues Book series. He knew it because he drew it!

art and literature

The Connection Between Art And Language Arts

One of the first times I experienced this connection between art and language arts was when my youngest was only seven. We had just read a Ramona Quimby book, together as a family, and we were discussing her antics.

Without promoting, my son went over to our art supplies and began drawing a picture or Ramona squeezing toothpaste into the sink. It was a highlight of the series for my son, mostly because he had always wanted to do it himself!

When he was done with the picture, he brought it over to me, curled up on my lap, and recounted the story itself. It was a small glimmer of what I would come to know about the relationship between language arts and art for my child.

He retained the highlights of the story itself and was able to communicate his comprehension and character analysis after he committed his thoughts to the page in the form of artistic expression.

The Power of Adding Art To Literature Lessons

The Power Of Adding Art To Literature Lessons

Because this has been such an important part of his learning, I want to share with you an example of how this practically works in a real life homeschool lesson.

Earlier this year, Robert Frost came up in conversation as we discussed poetry. As I mentioned, my son struggles with reading. Poetry is actually easier for him to read because he can anticipate the words based on the cadence and flow of the language.

I knew Robert Frost was next in our homeschool learning plan.

The Power of Adding Art To Literature Lessons

You Are An Artist Literature Lessons

Because You Are An Artist features a Robert Frost Lesson, we were able to get started right away.

Even the poem itself was included as a download, so I didn’t have to go searching on the internet. We simply printed the poem, pulled Nana up on the screen, got our art supplies and relaxed into an afternoon of poetry and art.

The Power of Adding Art To Literature Lessons

Here is how we tackled the learning:

  • We read the poem together out loud.
  • We listened to Nana and each drew our own Snowy Woods.
  • My son read the poem to me on his own, and we laughed at my crazy horse drawing.
art and literatue

It was so simple, so easy, and it was one of the most productive lessons we’ve had together in a while. He practiced reading. We enjoyed poetry together. He engaged his senses in a hands-on learning activity. It was a total win.

I found myself wishing every homeschool afternoon could be like this one.

The good news is, maybe they can!

You Are An Artist has a wealth of literature lessons to chose from.

Did you know that with the You ARE An Artist Clubhouse Membership you’ll have exclusive access to the You ARE An Artist Clubhouse Literature Video Art Lessons? And with these lessons, members receive an I Drew It Then I Knew It Literature Companion workbook filled with writing prompts, fun facts and more!

These literature chalk pastel lessons include:

Shawna Wingert

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.

Posted on

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.

Posted on

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.

You might also like:

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.