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Celebrating a Decade of Art Lessons

Friends, we recently realized that we have over 600 video art lessons in the You ARE an Artist Clubhouse and growing! With Nana’s video lessons and my written, step-by-step art lessons, there are upwards of 800 art lessons total! Wow! That is worth celebrating! We also talked about how Nana shared her first lesson with her grandchildren back in 2009. So we are also celebrating more than a decade of art lessons.

Here’s a quick run down:

All this plus a wonderful community and bonus material. We even have an online calendar for members with daily art prompts and links to archived lessons.

Roughly 800 lessons — worth $4,000! You can have ALL ACCESS with a monthly Complete Clubhouse membership for only $30!

What have you been waiting for? Join Nana in the You ARE an Artist Clubhouse!

With over 600 video art lessons in the You ARE an Artist Clubhouse and growing, we are celebrating more than a decade of art lessons.

To celebrate a decade of art lessons – and to make your membership extra wonderful – we are giving away a set of chalk pastel drawers to organize your chalk pastels. Plus a set of chalk pastels to help fill those drawers! The giveaway is happening over on our Instagram from the evening of 6/16 – 6/21 with winners chosen on 6/22.

Read all about our favorite chalk pastels storage and favorite sets of chalk pastels in our Frequently Asked Questions section.

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5 Reasons Not to Forget Art on Your Back To Homeschool List

Do you know what one of the most skipped subjects is when it comes to homeschooling? Art! Can you believe it? For some of us, skipping art is unimaginable. Whether you enjoy art in your homeschool daily or weekly, creativity is essential to your homeschool’s health. As you plan your homeschool year out and make careful curriculum choices, don’t forget to include art. Here are 5 reasons not to forget art and why you need to begin including art in your homeschool regularly. 

Creativity is essential to your homeschool's health. Here are five reasons not to forget art on your back to homeschool list.

5 Reasons Not To Forget Art On Your Back-To-Homeschool List

  1. Turn that bad day around. It happens to all of us, a bad homeschool day! You can let it ruin the day or use your secret weapon – art to turn the day around. It never fails! Bring out the chalk pastels, and everyone lights up. Better yet, add some sweet treats and yummy drinks, and you can have a complete experience. Try it and thank us later.
  2. Use themes along with art to drive a lesson home. Research tells us that children are more likely to remember a lesson when a hands-on activity is included. With I Drew It And I Knew It, you can pair up a homeschool history lesson, for example, and make it so much more exciting. When you incorporate color, creativity, and fun – your children will remember the lesson. Luckily, ChalkPastel.com has all types of art lessons to accompany history, nature, science, maps, literature, and more. 
  3. Our children crave creativity. It’s natural for them. Creativity allows for personal expression, and personal expression fosters mental growth. Kids can express their feelings and enhance their development when they have creative freedom. 
  4. Art is not only fun, but it is inexpensive fun. When you invest in a membership with You Are An Artist, your whole family can enjoy it! So basically, you can buy one membership, and kids ages 0-99 can all enjoy! This is incredibly valuable because parents, grandparents, and all the siblings can participate in art as a family—what a fantastic way to bond with your children. In addition to the great deal that a membership is for the family, the supplies are minimal. All you need to get started with chalk pastels is construction paper and a box of chalk pastels. Few other art mediums are this inexpensive to get started with. 
  5. Family memories are made around art. Of all the homeschool curriculum you will buy, which subjects do you think make the best memories? Yes! Art. Of all the things we include each day into our homeschool, many necessary of course – most of us want our children to have good memories around the table together. I am sure you know that those memories are less likely to be about math or language arts. But art has the power to create beautiful memories and provide opportunities to bond with your children. 
Creativity is essential to your homeschool's health. Here are five reasons not to forget art on your back to homeschool list.

After a dozen or so years of homeschooling, I have learned that including art is not just adding a little fun to the day. Adding art to our homeschool helps enrich our homeschool and gives my children the necessary outlets they need to thrive at home. Art makes everyone happy! So, I encourage you not to skip art this year, include it in your homeschool and reap the emotional, intellectual, and creative benefits. 

Family memories are made around art. Of all the homeschool curriculum you will buy, which subjects do you think make the best memories? Yes! Art.

If you are still wondering how to incorporate art into your homeschool days, here are a couple of practical ideas to help you plan. 

  • Plan Your Projects – Add art into any subject to make it more fun with this cool art lesson planner. You can easily plan when to add the perfect art lesson to align with your homeschool plans. 
Art is not only fun, but it is inexpensive fun. When you invest in a membership with You Are An Artist, your whole family can enjoy it! So basically, you can buy one membership, and kids ages 0-99 can all enjoy!
  • Set Up Your Art Space In No Time – If you are worried about the time it takes to set up, it took me 10 minutes to set up the space you see in the photos here. (We were enjoying nature art lessons about birds.) You do not need all of these things, but here is what I use to set up and clean up in under 10 minutes. 
  • Baby Wipes
  • Chalk Pastels
  • Construction Paper
  • Paper Plates
  • Butcher Paper or Ikea Paper Roll
  • Packing Tape
Use themes along with art to drive a lesson home. Research tells us that children are more likely to remember a lesson when a hands-on activity is included. With I Drew It And I Knew It, you can pair up a homeschool history lesson, for example, and make it so much more exciting.

Step 1 – I quickly cut pieces of butcher paper off the roll to cover the kid’s workspace. That way, I can rip the paper off when we are done, and there is no mess to clean up. Tape the paper to the table. 

Step 2 – I grab construction paper and chalk pastels. Place the necessary chalks on a paper plate. Again, this helps minimize any mess. 

Step 3 – Put some baby wipes on the table. This makes it easy to wipe your fingers between colors. 

Step 4 – Push play on the Chalk Pastel art lesson and have fun!

Turn that bad day around. It happens to all of us, a bad homeschool day! You can let it ruin the day or use your secret weapon - art to turn the day around. It never fails! Bring out the chalk pastels, and everyone lights up.

I highly encourage you to grab a membership and use art as a wonderful new resource for your homeschool this year. (In addition to the year of art projects for your homeschool, you can also enjoy art summer camp with your membership.) Your kids will be so happy you did! 

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Courtney is a Jesus-pursuing, native Texan, homeschool mom of three, and she believes homeschooling can be a peaceful and productive rhythm. At Grace, Grow & Edify she helps families create peaceful homeschooling atmospheres through faith, organizational strategies, and cultivating strong roots at home.

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What Raising an Artist Looks Like

Today we welcome Stef Layton. Stef has a wonderful family that I like to say, ‘grew up’ with us. Her children started chalk pastel lessons with Nana when they were very young. And she helped us realize that our, now older, artists needed more challenging art lessons. So Nana’s I Drew It Then I Knew It was born to meet that need. We are so encouraged by Stef’s story! I wish I could remember how I first came across Hodgepodge and Chalk Pastel. Almost a decade ago I had read Hodgepodge blog a few times being part of the “online homeschool world”. She was a wise homeschool veteran a few years ahead of me and I was thirsty for direction. Yet I had zero knowledge of this chalk pastels thing she shared. Still, today, I share my family’s story of chalk pastels through the years and what raising an artist looks like.

Once a week magically became every other day as we couldn’t wait to try out another chalk art tutorial. Here is what raising an artist looks like. And how practice grew into an unexpected chalk art business!

What Raising an Artist Looks Like – Chalk Art Yesterday

I was familiar with sidewalk chalk raising my boys on endless games of outside tic-tac-toe and hangman. But this unique art medium was far beyond my pathetic art knowledge which consisted of gluing my fingers together in elementary school. I was happy with a large set of colored pencils and markers. However my oldest son, Jake, at the time in 4th grade, wanted to do “real art”. Markers, crayons, and watercolors were for little kids mostly because his younger brother started using them. This chalk stuff was new territory and honestly I was hoping my son didn’t like it. It was more expensive than markers. It was a bit messy. It required some work blending. Why did we always run out of black construction paper? Chalk pastels were intimidating just when I was finding my homeschool mama stride.

We started chalking slowly. I remember adding chalk art after our history lessons. Chalking a ship for a Christopher Columbus history lesson. Then adding chalk during science. Smudging a red cardinal as he listened to Apologia’s Flying Creatures. Jake, being highly tactile, loved chalk art. We weren’t serious chalkers – yet. If the art fit easily into something we were already doing, then I’d add it to a lesson at least once a week. Once a week magically became every other day as we couldn’t wait to try out another chalk art tutorial. Volcanoes, waterfalls, beaches, tornadoes, and super cool castles – it all came to life on our dining room table. This is what raising an artist looks like.

Enjoying chalk pastel art in space lessons to match Apologia astronomy.
Art in Space – all those colors on black construction paper!

Eventually when Jake started high school he stopped using chalk pastels and started sketching pen and copic markers, his favorite medium. He enjoyed digital videography and film editing.

Then #YouAreAnArtist started trending and I quickly jumped to support with a membership. My youngest son, Henry, struggled with delayed fine motor skills. He was not thrilled to use chalk pastels. Trying to keep Nana a part of our homeschool art time, I allowed him to draw along with the tutorials using thick markers. The artwork definitely looked different but it was easy to pair I Drew It Then I Knew It with the Classical Conversations timeline. Nana does a great job walking students step-by-baby-step through the art process, so with markers or chalk we still created fun pieces of artwork. Eventually Henry’s dexterity improved and we added a space unit with our Astronomy lessons. Although he still proclaims to be more of an “engineer builder than artist”, he still enjoys a chalk lesson. Another instance of what raising an artist looks like.

We are thankful to find such a loveable art teacher. Nana is a peach and not just because they’re in Georgia! I want to bottle up Nana and adopt her for myself. Her southern charm and love for art are endearing. Bless her heart she has made art fun for the Layton family and taught me to stop fearing “art”. To relax and enjoy creating.

Chalk Art Today

Since our very first tutorial many years ago, I have always kept a box of chalk pastels around the house. When the quarantine happened here in Colorado I sent my bored children outside to chalk up the driveway. (lesson learned: black chalk pastels do not like to leave a concrete driveway, ever). I realized my mistake of using chalk pastels on the concrete and ordered a ridiculous bulk supply of generic “side-walk-chalk”.

The different chalk did not stop my oldest son from being creative.  I thought it’d be a fantastic idea to provide the neighbors with something to uplift spirits. First we left dad jokes then we’d put down a little sun or rainbow. Eventually Jake started chalking half the driveway. From Snoopy to Gumball, the Easter Bunny, and butterflies. He’d sketch the outline and we’d fill it in together.

One day I saw on Nana’s Chalk Pastels Facebook Page she was going to create Starry Night. I sent Jake outside with a bucket of blues, yellows, whites, and blacks. He created a 5ft x 7ft masterpiece, something the neighbors stopped to admire.

Minutes after Starry Night was completed on my driveway, when we were covered in chalk dust from head to toes – I hopped into the shower thinking about a long distance friend’s recent “drive by parade”. Her daughter was celebrating five years cancer free. The Facebook video of all their family and friends driving by with balloons and honking – hanging out their windows waving and blowing kisses – it makes me cry just remembering it. I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be cool if Starry Night was on Kim’s driveway as everyone drove by? She deserved it! We could make birthday drive bys a chalk business! 

Van Gogh's Starry Night by JTL Sketches http://facebook.com/jtlsketches (@ChalkPastelArt reshared @laytonadventures image on our Instagram account. It remains the most liked photo in our feed!)
(@ChalkPastelArt reshared @laytonadventures image on our Instagram account. It remains the most liked photo in our feed!)

Not more than 10 minutes later I was walking outside to see if my boys wanted dessert. A neighbor, I had never met before and haven’t seen since, jogged by slow enough to shout that she loved my artwork. MY artwork – not in a million years! For weeks everyone assumed the artwork was done by an adult. I laughed and told her it was my teen. She called back over her shoulder, “I might have to hire him to come do that in my yard”. That angel ran off never to hire my son, but to spark a business idea instead.

Of course my teen couldn’t understand why anyone on this planet would ever in a million years want to hire him. “It’s not a big deal. Everyone can do it. I’m not that good”. He kept debating me. I recognized the rejection in his voice from all the job applications he had been filling out lately. He was desperate to find a job to start saving for next year – college! The rejection was really starting to get to his heart. Also, my son does not believe he’s a good artist because he’s comparing himself to Van Gogh. Who would think they were a good artist compared to that high bar?

Frustrated, I went to the laptop and pulled up his old Facebook page we created for an Art Festival. He sold over $150 worth of ink & marker drawings. I uploaded new chalk photos I had taken over the last few weeks. Then I shared the page in the local neighborhood Facebook Group. “Looking for a birthday, good luck, congratulations, happy anniversary message? Support a teen artist & order a Chalk Driveway Message”. I tagged his page and walked away. If it was going to be of interest all we had to do was wait.

Well, we didn’t have to wait long. He was hired for two jobs 15 minutes after that post. We laughed together and high-fived each other, but he was incredibly skeptical he’d make enough money to even cover the chalk supplies.  The next morning we woke up to eight more job inquiries. Requests from Disney balloons to Fortnite characters. Another Starry Night for an autistic boy and a Bob Ross sunset for a 70yr old woman. Those eight jobs quickly doubled and then tripled.

Stef Layton is sharing her family's story of chalk pastels through the years and what raising an artist looks like.

Since the DMV closed and Jake still does not have a Colorado driver’s license, I offered to be his first employee, mostly so I can ride shotgun on the way to his job. Each morning we wake up early and get to the job by 8am. He sketches the outline in white chalk then we fill in the colors. I usually paint over the chalk with water to blend and spread it better (a little sidewalk trade secret) while he likes to rub it in with his palm. I’ve rubbed off two fingerprints because blending on concrete is far different than construction paper. This is what raising an artist looks like. 

Once the color is down Jake goes back over the artwork for details. It takes us about an hour to do a large 5 ft character. After the job is complete he takes me out for Smoothie King because he knows he has to pay for employee help. And let’s be honest, he’s thankful this crazy hair-brained idea his mother had is actually becoming a legitimate part time job. We work together just about every morning and we’re home within two hours before my youngest son wakes up. Not too bad for a kid who doesn’t think he’s talented.

Chalking a 'thank you' message on our driveway for a 2yr old fan who checks our driveway every morning for a new picture. What raising an artist looks like.
Chalking a ‘thank you’ message on our driveway for a 2yr old fan who checks our driveway every morning for a new picture.

One day while we were chalking a driveway I was overcome with giggles. Jake looked at me curiously. I told him, “A few weeks ago I was thinking how this is your last year at home. It made me a bit sad and I missed the sweet days of bubbles and sidewalk chalk.” Holding up dusty dirty hands I wiggled them and laughed, “be careful what you wish for, huh”?

Truly, I am thankful for this time together. We’re outside in the cool Colorado mornings. We laugh and sometimes get onto each other for mistakes or the fact that someone forgot to measure the letters – again. He takes his gifts for granted and all of these jobs just reinforce the fact that the man-child is talented! What a treat I get to watch it dawn on his face every single time we are finished with a job. As he steps back and declares, “that’s really good”. THIS is what raising an artist looks like.

This quality time together – quality time, his love language … I see it as a gift. The quarantine practically created birthday car parades forcing parents to plan special ways to celebrate birthdays. Had it not been for Tricia and Nana all those years ago reminding us You Are An Artist – blessing us with knowledge, chalk lessons, encouragement and creativity … he’d be downstairs playing video games instead of saving for college. I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

Stef Layton started homeschooling her boys in 2008. She spends most days hiking, bird watching, and picking Colorado wild flowers. @LaytonAdventures. Jake Layton is a high school senior. He likes to sketch, play guitar, and do parkour. Together they run JTL Sketches in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.


Stef Layton started homeschooling her boys in 2008. She spends most days hiking, bird watching, and picking Colorado wild flowers. @LaytonAdventures.
Jake Layton is a high school senior. He likes to sketch, play guitar, and do parkour. Together they run JTL Sketches in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

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Online Summer Art Camp

Are you looking for a summer art camp for your kiddo this year? How about an online summer art camp chocked full of artful activities? With just a little bit of planning you can create an online summer camp right from the comfort of your own home!

Are you looking for a summer art camp for your kiddo this year? How about an online summer art camp chocked full of artful activities? With just a little bit of planning you can create an online summer camp right from the comfort of your own home!

Online Summer Art Camp for Kids

Even if you can’t get your children to a “real” summer art camp this year, I want to encourage you to explore an online camp. With the wonders of technology at our fingertips, this can be an amazing option for many families to choose from. Plus, art camp can be an easy way for kids to learn to express themselves this summer. That’s because art gives children the chance to be creative, carefree, and engaged. Your child will gain self-confidence as they develop the skills and techniques to bring their creations to fruition. No artistic talent needed. Just an openness to creative expression!

Even if you can’t get your children to a “real” summer art camp this year, I want to encourage you to explore an online camp. With the wonders of technology at our fingertips, this can be an amazing option for many families to choose from. Plus, art camp can be an easy way for kids to learn to express themselves this summer. That’s because art gives children the chance to be creative, carefree, and engaged. Your child will gain self-confidence as they develop the skills and techniques to bring their creations to fruition. No artistic talent needed. Just an openness to creative expression!

Summer Art Camp with Chalk Pastels

The first step in creating a fantastic online summer art camp to decide how long you want your summer art camp to be. Maybe you want to do one artistic thing with your kiddos per day for a whole week, or maybe you would prefer to have multiple lessons on only a single day. Do what works for you and your kids!

Next, gather your art supplies! We adore Chalk Pastels! They are so easy to use that preschoolers through adults can enjoy this wonderful art medium. Chalk Pastels make gathering needed art supplies easy. All you need is a set of chalk pastels, construction paper and the You Are An Artist Clubhouse Membership!

Looking for a summer art camp for your kiddo? This online summer art camp is chocked full of artful activities yo can enjoy from the comfort of your home!

With the You Are An Artist Clubhouse Membership, you have access to a bank of art lessons for all ages, a wonderful art community; plus new art lessons from “Nana”, including themed art events throughout the year! You don’t have to worry about being the teacher, “Nana” has got your covered!

Another aspect that brings my children joy is that they get to choose which art video lessons they want to explore. The Complete You Are An Artist Clubhouse Membership offers you endless access to the ENTIRE Chalk Pastel library of courses!

Let Kids Choose the Chalk Pastel Videos

My kid’s love “Nana” and her videos! She is such a wonderful art teacher and with every lesson she always reminds us that, “You Are An Artist!”

Another aspect that brings my children joy is that they get to choose which art video lessons they want to explore. The Complete You Are An Artist Clubhouse Membership offers you endless access to the ENTIRE Chalk Pastel library of courses! Clubhouse members enjoy a monthly curated calendar with lessons chosen for you, should you choose to access it. Members also receive exclusive, new Summer Art Camp lessons.

 That means your kiddos could choose:

  • Summer Camp Video Art Lessons which include camping, camp tree house, bubbles, canoes, hammocks, and pools!
  • Nature courses such as Sharks, Seashore, Forest Nature, Spring, Garden Nature, Backyard Nature, Pond Nature, and more! Many of these Nature lessons contain everything kids love about summer – lightning bugs, beach vacations, bullfrogs, dragonflies, flowers, and dandelions.
  • Famous Artists series explores Michelangelo, da Vinci, Monet, and Rembrandt.
  • American Landmarks Lessons include the Liberty Bell, Washington Monument, Niagara Falls, and loads more landmarks you’d only see on summer road trips.
  • Plus, so much more!!!
I like to include the poetry teatime aspect to our art time by making it enjoyable with treats, beverages, and twinkle lights or candles. The ambiance and fun factor can change a child's perception of art! It doesn't matter what the art looks like. It doesn’t have to be perfect. All that matter is that your children are finding joy and making memories.

Making Summer Camp Special

So, how can you make your kiddo’s online summer art camp just a little bit extra special?

  • Set the table with a fun tablecloth or strip of fabric. I used an old top to a quilt that was never finished. The colorful squares just screamed summer picnic!
  • I added a vase of flowers to the table that I had picked earlier from our yard.
  • Light some candles, tealights, or string a few Christmas lights to give off that “campfire” glow.
  • Following the summer camp/picnic theme I let the children make their own S’mores in the microwave. If you’ve got the time and the day is nice and sunny, you could always let your kiddos make Solar Oven S’mores before getting started with their art.
  • Nothing says summertime like S’mores and Root Beer Floats; however, any treat and favorite beverage will do. It doesn’t have to be fancy!
Nothing says summertime like S’mores and Root Beer Floats; however, any treat and favorite beverage will do. It doesn’t have to be fancy!

Summer Art Camp Fun

I like to include the poetry teatime aspect to our art time by making it enjoyable with treats, beverages, and twinkle lights or candles. The ambiance and fun factor can change a child’s perception of art! It doesn’t matter what the art looks like. It doesn’t have to be perfect. All that matters is that your children are finding joy and making memories. I always quote Miss Frizzle to my kids, “get messy, make mistakes!”

But keep a roll of moistened paper towels nearby.

Summertime is the perfect time for kids to explore and get excited about art! With endless chalk pastel lessons to choose from, your kiddos are going to love celebrating these lazy months in new creative ways.

Easy Online Summer Art Camp

Summertime is the perfect time for kids to explore and get excited about art! With endless chalk pastel lessons to choose from, your kiddos are going to love celebrating these lazy months in new creative ways.

An art camp is perfect for kids this summer as it provides a wonderful artistic outlet!

So, call the kids in from the heat and watch as they learn, explore, and grow their imaginative talents! Your children are going to enjoy traversing the world of chalk pastels.

So, call the kids in from the heat and watch as they learn, explore, and grow their imaginative talents! Your children are going to enjoy traversing the world of chalk pastels. There is so much to discover about color, technique, and self-expression with an online summer art camp! Additionally, at the end of each lesson they will always be reminded that they ARE an artist!

There is so much to discover about color, technique, and self-expression with an online summer art camp! Additionally, at the end of each lesson they will always be reminded that they ARE an artist!

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Erin is a writer, blogger, and homeschooler to two intense kids. Her blog is filled with information to help you explore a child led education while making meaningful connections with your children. Discover favorite read alouds, seasonal books, games, art projects, hands-on activities, and learn to just breathe through the ups and downs of life. She loves nature, farm life, good books, knitting, new pens, and hot coffee. Erin is a contributing writer for Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers. Her work has also been featured on Simple Homeschool and Book Shark.  

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The Ultimate List of Art Marathons

Often we hear of our artists going through many of Nana’s video art lessons in one sitting. We know that sometimes students are interested in enjoying ALL of the lessons on a certain topic simply because it is their favorite thing right now. So we created the ultimate list of art marathons to make it even easier for you to plan.

Of course the easiest way to enjoy an art marathon is to join the You ARE an Artist Complete Clubhouse so you have immediate access to ALL of Nana’s video art lessons. Our members receive specific plans and lists of lesson marathons.

Want to enjoy ALL of the You ARE an Artist lessons on a certain topic? We created the ultimate list of art marathons to make it even easier for you to plan.Ultimate List of Art Marathons

  • Chalk Pastels at the Movies (a bonus full of art lessons for movies and favorite books – with Artist Clubhouse membership) – here are just a few:  Star Wars (a whole marathon of its own!), Incredibles, Minions, Finding Nemo and Finding Dory, The Grinch, Frozen, Mary Poppins, How to Train Your Dragon, Jaws (Sharks art lessons) Pooh, Narnia, Green Ember, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Madeline, Charlie Brown, How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World, Cars, Harry Potter, Dr. Seuss, Harold and the Purple Crayon , Angry Birds and many more!
  • Composers Art Marathon (member exclusive continuing series) John Williams (and all that movie music!), Symphony Conductor, Beethoven, Aaron Copland Lincoln Portrait, Handel’s For Unto Us a Child is Born, Beatles, Jazz Composers, Vivaldi Spring

With our preschool chalk pastel video art lessons your artists will learn how to draw circles, squares, triangles and even a straight line!

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Homeschool Science and Art Curriculum Match Up

We have a handy, dandy Homeschool Science Curriculum Match Up Checklist for your science curriculum. All of Nana’s I Drew It Then I Knew It science and her nature video art lessons are listed – including inventors, space and more!

Matching Nana’s You ARE an Artist video art lessons to your homeschool science curriculum just got so much easier!

This homeschool science and art curriculum match up checklist has plenty of planning space for you to add your corresponding science lesson or to jot down a date, note or page number.

Homeschool Science and Art Curriculum Match Up

We hope this helps makes it easier for you to expand your science learning with art! Download yours here!

*Once you use your new handy, dandy curriculum planning sheet, please tag us in your photo at @chalkpastelart – we would love to see how Nana’s lessons match up with your studies and feature you!

Find the full list of all of the 50+ courses here and the You ARE an Artist Clubhouse here.

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Giveaway!

Apologia has generously offered one (1) winner a choice of an Apologia science course! Simply follow the instructions in the rafflecopter widget, below:

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Why Combine Art And Academics?

When I was in seventh grade, we were all assigned a different country to learn about and present back to the class. The presentation itself required more than just a standard book report. It required us to combine art and academics. We had to create a salt dough map, and then use the map to guide the class around our assigned country.  I was given Italy and spent days preparing for my presentation and painting that map. Twenty years later, I still know more about Italian geography than any other country in the world outside my own.

I share this example, because my guess is, you likely have one too from your own school experience. The diorama, the science fair presentation, or that one cool teacher who let you create a project instead of submitting a written report – when we think of them now, we smile, and we actually remember what we learned

This illustrates perfectly the power of using art to aid academic learning.

Why Combine Art and Academics?

Adding art to a more formal learning assignment has two essential benefits for learners.

  1. It creates a multi-sensory experience.
  2. Creativity leads to ownership.
You Are An Artist combines art and academics with lessons designed to foster creativity and a multi-sensory approach for effective learning. 

Art and Academics with Multi-sensory Learning

Multi-sensory learning is typically defined as an approach to learning that uses more than one sense (seeing, hearing, touching, doing).

Research has repeatedly shown that this type of learning is far more successful, because it allows the child to access the information in different ways.

“… when we engage in creative activities, we change the neurochemistry of our brain in ways that a drug can change the neurochemistry of our brain.” Kelly Lambert,  neuroscientist at the University of Richmond.

This is one of the reasons why I Drew It and Then I Knew It lessons work so well for my son. 

The audio of Nana’s instruction, the visual input from the computer screen and from the colors as my child paints, as well as the obvious tactile experience of holding the chalk and blurring the lines on the page – all work together to create a seamless, multi-sensory experience for my son. This type of multisensory learning leads to greater comprehension and retention for all children, and especially those who have learning differences.

Creativity Increases Ownership

When we create something, anything, it requires a certain level of commitment from us. The same is true of our children. It forms a much more personal relationship to what is being learned and goes far beyond what a simple worksheet or quiz can provide.

This increased ownership is another contributor to the increased retention and comprehension we see when we add art to academic learning. It’s one of the reasons why we all remember what we learned from those more creative assignments back in school.

Adding Art To Academics in Our Homeschool

As homeschoolers, we are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to create these types of learning experiences all the time. Rather than just the one or two projects I remember from my school days, I am excited to incorporate this type of approach into our learning as much as possible.

Here is a recent example from my own home:

  1. My son saw a hummingbird outside and we decided to learn more.
  2. We read a book together about birds.
  3. We watched a  video online about hummingbirds.
  4. We added an element of creativity with You Are An Artist Chalk Pastel Bird Study,
  5. As my son created his picture, we listened to Nana talking about hummingbirds and we reviewed what we’d learned.

It may seem simple, and I guess it is. But the truth is, my son has comprehended and retained this learning far more than had we just completed the chapter in his science book.

You Are An Artist is an easy and incredibly effective way to combine art and academics in our homes. The lessons are designed to foster the ownership creativity brings, along with the multi-sensory approach that stimulates more effective learning. 

What a wonderful and seamless way to incorporate art into our academic learning.

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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.

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Why Art Is So Powerful In Helping Struggling Learners

When I was in school, I had a complicated relationship with art. I was a very type A, by the book, just give me a worksheet and let me fill in the blanks kind of learner. For me, art seemed to be unnecessary and, at times, it frustrated me. (That, and I thought I was pretty awful at it). Fast forward 25 years to when I found out why art is so powerful in helping struggling learners.

Art is so powerful in helping struggling learners because they are engaged in the multi-sensory components of the learning (and it’s way more fun!)

Now, I am homeschooling two boys who are vastly different learners than I was at their age. (For example, no matter how much I love them myself, I never give them a worksheet if I actually want them to learn.)

Not only are their learning styles different than mine, but they also struggle with learning differences. My oldest is on the autism spectrum and profoundly dysgraphic. My youngest has attention, sensory and processing issues and is also profoundly dyslexic and dysgraphic.

Helping them learn in ways that allow them to actually retain the information has been a daily challenge. Moreover, it has required me to look beyond my own school experience and instead, consider what actually helps them make progress.

To my surprise, art has become an essential element of their learning, in almost every subject.

Here’s why.

Art is so powerful in helping struggling learners because they are engaged in the multi-sensory components of the learning (and it’s way more fun!)

Why Art Is So Powerful In Helping Struggling Learners

Through a lot of trial and error, my own research, and work with outside therapists, there are three things that I have found work best for my children, and for most kids struggling with a traditional school approach.

  • Multi-sensory learning
  • Short lessons
  • Moving at the child’s pace and allowing him to explore

You Are An Artist lessons naturally incorporate these three essential ingredients in ways that have helped my own children immensely. Nana and her sweet, kind, artist’s way have become a staple of our learning, precisely because they work so well with my boys’ learning needs.

You Are An Artist Is Perfect For My Struggling Learners

There are several reasons why this program is such a good fit for us.

Multi-Sensory Approach

As I mentioned, this is essential for any learner who is not connecting with the standard textbook and worksheet approach to learning.

You Are An Artist’s  multi-sensory approach allows my sons to use their hands, experience the “feel” of the medium, see the video, and hear the sound of Nana gently guiding them through not just the art, but the history or science lesson as well.

For my kids, this makes it “stick” in ways that I would not have expected. Because they are engaged in the multi-sensory components of the learning, their brain is much better able to retain what is being taught (and it’s way more fun!).

Perfect for the Perfectionist

We tried art therapy for my youngest son a few years ago, with mixed results.

Most of what got in the way of him being able to relax and engage, was the feeling of needing to make his art “perfect.” (If I think back to my own experience in school, I am pretty sure I felt the same way and disconnected from art because of it.)

Using chalk pastels has completely changed this for him. Because they are not as precise as using a pencil, crayon or marker, he can make “mistakes” without feeling like his project is ruined. Chalk pastels are also incredibly helpful for a child with gaps in fine motor skills.

Plus, it helps that Nana always gently reminds her students that mistakes aren’t really mistakes in art, and even makes a few herself to model flexibility.

Pressure Free Learning

Using art in more traditional subjects completely changes the tone of the learning for my boys. Rather than worrying about whether they will be able to keep up, they relax into a much softer, but just as effective learning environment.

Shorter, well-paced lessons combined with the multi-sensory nature of the learning means a struggling learner can connect with the topic without the pressure of performance or fear of failure.

I would never have predicted how much art, and especially You Are An Artist, would help my children learn.

But the truth is, it has and it continues to, even as they get older.

Finding ways to connect with struggling learners can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. You Are An Artist is a great place to start.

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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.

 

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Easy Art Workshops For Your Homeschool Group

Some of the best times you will have with your homeschool group or co-op include…art. Yes! Art is a crowd-pleasing subject that is extremely versatile. All ages and skill levels can participate in the fun, which can often be harder to manage with other subjects. Not to mention, art is entirely flexible when it comes to planning educational lessons. Here are some easy art workshops for your homeschool group.

Art is flexible when it comes to planning educational lessons. Here are some easy art workshops for your homeschool group with Nana of You ARE an Artist.

Why Chalk Pastels

Chalk pastels are perfect for group art projects. Chalk pastels are affordable and reusable. The supplies you will need for a chalk pastel art workshop are minimal. All you NEED to complete multiple chalk pastel art projects are only the chalk pastels themselves and construction paper.

No mess. Chalk pastels are not messy like paint, for example. Which makes them easy to pack, use, and clean up. A damp cloth or baby wipe will easily wipe away any residue left behind.

Hands-on. All kids love using chalk pastels. Chalk pastels are easy to manipulate with their hands, and children love the hands-on sensory-like experience of drawing and creating with chalk pastels.

Art is flexible when it comes to planning educational lessons. Here are some easy art workshops for your homeschool group with Nana of You ARE an Artist.

See How Easy Art Workshops Can Be For Your Homeschool Group

Choosing an Art Lesson

Depending on the age level and objective of your group, you can choose from a range of seasonal, holiday, or educational art projects.

Luckily, You Are An Artist makes it simple for you to choose a project that everyone will love. With everything from preschool art lessons, historical options, seasonal, holiday, STEM, inventors, and so much more – you are sure to find something for your group.

With seasonal lessons, you can tie in nature study, poetry, and botany, for example. Choose the seasonal lesson you want to use, and plan to read poems from that season as well. You can add in some nature study fun outdoors before or after your art lessons too!

Plan something fun like eating pumpkin pie after you create a slice of yummy pumpkin pie from the fall lessons, or set up a fun hot chocolate bar to have a holiday party after drawing a mug of hot cocoa with Nana.

If you want to design a workshop with more of an educational aspect, you have a ton of lessons to choose from at You Are An Artist. With the “I Drew It And I Knew It” series, you can select a historical period and enjoy multiple art lessons all from that time.

Better yet, if you have studied a period of history, the perfect way to end your semester or course is by having an art workshop! Invite your students to all dress up from that time, bring snacks, and have an art party to celebrate everything they learned.

You Are An Artist makes our jobs as homeschool group and co-op leaders easier. With the curriculum match up printable, you can find art lessons to accompany just about anything you may be studying at co-op. (The curriculum match up is totally FREE by the way, go snag it now!) You can incorporate lessons throughout your studies or celebrate the completion of specific topics with an art workshop. Either way, add some art because your students will love it.

Here Are A Few Tips For Setting Up A Chalk Pastel Art Workshop For Your Group Or Co-op

Secure a Venue

If you don’t have a permanent space, you will want to secure a venue complete with tables, chairs, and a visual screen big enough for your students to all see.

A great place to look for space could be your local church, community centers, or your local library. If you have a small group, this would also work at the dining room table with a laptop.

Plan Ahead

For the best turn out make sure you give your group plenty of time to RVSP. At least three weeks to a month gives everyone time to plan accordingly, and time for you to plan the event. Send emails or post on social media a few times leading up to your event to remind students that they can join. If you need a headcount, give your group a cut off date, so they know when they need to respond by.

Collect Money

If you are a co-op, you may already have the means necessary to fund an art workshop. However, if you are a homeschool group that does not have an annual budget, you may need to collect everyone’s payment ahead of time. The need to collect payments is another good reason to promote your event at least 30 days in advance, so your families have time to budget appropriately.

Pack Up

In all my years of leading a homeschool group, the chalk pastel art workshops were by far the easiest to pack and plan for.

Make sure you have the right color construction paper for each project you plan to complete (you can find this in each video lesson) and plenty of it.

Pack up your chalk pastels, I recommend baby wipes for easy cleanup, and butcher paper to line the tables with. The butcher paper and baby wipes will make for the most effortless clean up ever.

Make sure you bookmark the link to your chosen chalk pastel video lessons for easy set-up and don’t forget an HDMI cord. The HDMI cord is for connecting your laptop to the screen/TV you plan to use. (Or whatever necessary equipment you need to connect.) You may want to check with your venue in advance for access to the wi-fi as well. You will also need your laptop.

Art is flexible when it comes to planning educational lessons. Here are some easy art workshops for your homeschool group with Nana of You ARE an Artist.

Set-Up

I recommend arriving at the venue early to connect your computer and set up the room.

Check your wi-fi connection, test the audio, and pause the first art video lesson until you are ready to begin.

The most efficient way I have found to quickly set-up the room is to cover each table with butcher paper. Make sure the tables are all close enough to the tv or monitor screen so that each student can see the videos in full view if you can. Place one package of baby wipes in the center of each table. The kids will want to wipe their fingers in-between projects. Place the construction paper on each table and the chalk pastels. You can put the chalk pastels that they will need for the day on paper plates in the center of the tables, as well.

Art Workshop Time

If you have a wide range of ages, start with the preschool or the less challenging projects first.

The attention span of the younger kiddos will run out sooner, so that allows time for them to participate and then leave the tables to go play or read nearby. Then the older children can work on slightly more skilled projects.

Invite parents to join in too! There is no age limit to who can and will enjoy art with chalk pastels.

We hope this gives you some new fresh ideas for how you can add some art to your homeschool group or co-ops. Your students will be begging to do it again! For more information on how you can use You Are An Artist with your homeschool group or co-op click here.

Courtney

www.gracegrowedify.com

Courtney is a Jesus-pursuing, native Texan, homeschool mom of three, who believes homeschooling can be a peaceful and productive rhythm. At Grace, Grow & Edify she helps families create peaceful homeschooling atmospheres through faith, organizational strategies, and cultivating strong roots at home.

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Christmas Chalk Pastel Joy

The beauty and magic of the holidays are upon us and your kids are going to love making Christmas chalk pastels. These fun and easy chalk pastel tutorials help bring joy and celebration to the holidays. Especially when you add in a mug of hot cocoa, some twinkly lights, and a little Christmas music for an extra bit of enchantment. It’s Christmas chalk pastel joy.

The beauty and magic of the holidays are upon us and your kids are going to love making Christmas chalk pastels. These fun and easy chalk pastel tutorials help bring joy and celebration to the holidays. Especially when you add in a mug of hot cocoa, some twinkly lights, and a little Christmas music for an extra bit of enchantment. It's Christmas chalk pastel joy.

Chalk Pastel Christmas Homeschool

There are so many ways to make this time of year truly special. But, let’s face it. The holidays can be chaotic.

I for one like to put away the “academics” and focus more on what I like to call “Christmas School!”

It’s all about building relationships and focusing on what this time of year is all about.

“Christmas School” may include the study of:

  • Religious Significance
  • Holiday Baking and Cooking
  • Christmas Crafts or Homemade Gifts
  • Decorating
  • Volunteering and Giving Back to the Community

Did you know that we’ve even turned tracking Santa on Christmas Eve into a family fun geography event?

We still incorporate loads of read alouds, and games into December as well.

The beauty and magic of the holidays are upon us and your kids are going to love making Christmas chalk pastels. These fun and easy chalk pastel tutorials help bring joy and celebration to the holidays. Especially when you add in a mug of hot cocoa, some twinkly lights, and a little Christmas music for an extra bit of enchantment. It's Christmas chalk pastel joy.

Christmas Chalk Pastel Joy

But art has been the most special of Christmas homeschool activities.

There is just something about art that is so delightful. It simply brings joy to our lives. We love to incorporate chalk pastels into our holiday plans because:

  1. They are quick (most lessons are only 10-15 minutes long)
  2. Chalk Pastels are easy to use for preschoolers through adults
  3. All you need is a cheap set of chalk pastels and construction paper

That’s it!

Plus, art makes a great gift.

These fun and easy chalk pastel tutorials help bring joy and celebration to the holidays. Especially when you add in a mug of hot cocoa, some twinkly lights, and a little Christmas music for an extra bit of enchantment. It's Christmas chalk pastel joy.

Even if you find your holiday schedule chaotic, there is time for Christmas art.

Now, throw in some Christmas goodies, and twinkle lights and you’ve got memories in the making. You can make your own homemade treats or pick something up from the store.

My kiddos are particularly fond of cakes, cookies, and pie with their hot cocoa. Keep a good supply of your child’s favorites on hand.

Alexa, play Christmas carols.

Turn on the Christmas Music

I love playing Christmas carols first thing in the morning during the month of December. It seems to set the tone for a tranquil and joyful day. Did you know that you can do a Christmas Carol Study with SQUILT on many of the Christmas Carols you may already be listening too? We have truly enjoyed learning about the history and origins of many Christmas Carols. Last year we even did a Unit Study on The Nutcracker.

I usually have Christmas music playing softly in the background as we dive into our holiday art!

Yes, I participate too! Art is more fun when it is shared!

We string lights all around. Even on our homeschool table and books. Twinkly lights just fill us with a cozy warmth.

I also like to leave our chalk pastels out for easy access, because my kids will use them all month long… and have for years!

There are enough lessons for us to do new holiday homeschool art every day for the month of December if we want! This year the Complete Clubhouse membership also has a special study on composer Handel and his Messiah.

Easy Christmas Art for Kids

With the Complete Clubhouse membership, we have access to a whole of holiday chalk pastel tutorials including:

  • Christmas Video Art Lessons
  • Nutcracker Video Art Lessons
  • Teatime Art Lessons including Charlie Brown Christmas and more

There are enough lessons for us to do new holiday homeschool art every day for the month of December if we want!

This year the Complete Clubhouse membership also has a special study on composer Handel and his Messiah.

There is even going to be a “How to draw” the Biblical map of Bethlehem! This will go beautifully with the Christmas Star of Bethlehem chalk pastel the kids did.

Christmas chalk pastels offer an easy and fun way for the whole family to slow down and enjoy the tranquility that only art can bring.

Art can be a wonderful break from the hustle and bustle of the busy holiday season. It can help us to reconnect as a family while building lovely memories filled with enchantment and joy. Christmas chalk pastels offer an easy and fun way for the whole family to slow down and enjoy the tranquility that only art can bring.

Art can be a wonderful break from the hustle and bustle of the busy holiday season. It can help us to reconnect as a family while building lovely memories filled with enchantment and joy. Christmas chalk pastel joy!

Erin is a writer, blogger, and homeschooler to two intense kids. Her blog is filled with information to help you explore a child led education while making meaningful connections with your children. Discover favorite read alouds, seasonal books, games, art projects, hands-on activities, and learn to just breathe through the ups and downs of life. She loves nature, farm life, good books, knitting, new pens, and hot coffee. Erin is a contributing writer for Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers. Her work has also been featured on Simple Homeschool and Book Shark.