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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.

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Spring Art Celebration with Chalk Pastels

Perfect for commemorating spring, Nana’s spring art celebration with chalk pastels explores all creatures great and small and all things bright and beautiful! These nature-inspired art lessons are easy and fun for the whole family!

Spring Art Celebration with Chalk Pastels: Perfect for commemorating spring, Nana's spring art celebration with chalk pastels explores all creatures great and small and all things bright and beautiful! These nature-inspired art lessons are easy and fun for the whole family! #springartcelebration #springartwithchalkpastels #chalkpastelartforkids #chalkpastelspringart #springart #springartforkids #springchalkpastels
#springchalkpastelsforkids

Spring is in the air, folks! We are starting to see the first crocus pushing up through the cold earth and the first jonquils are starting to bud. Isn’t it exciting to witness the first peeks of spring?

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.

Cecil Frances Alexander
Spring Art Celebration with Chalk Pastels

Spring Art with Chalk Pastels

These two stanzas of Cecil Frances Alexander’s hymn inspired our spring art celebration last week. Our winter has been so cold and grey, that we just couldn’t help diving into rich colors of pinks, purples, yellows, blues, and red! Does anyone else feel more invigorated when exploring worlds of color? My kids and I sure do!

Spring Art Celebration with Chalk Pastels

We started by setting the table with a pot of hot tea and our teacups. I didn’t have it in me to bake this week and that’s where premade snack cakes come to the rescue!

We scattered our chalk pastels across the table and pulled up our Chalk Pastel Clubhouse Membership to see what Spring-themed lessons were available and holy cow were there a load of lessons to choose from!

Spring Art Celebration with Chalk Pastels

You ARE An Artist Clubhouse Membership

With the You ARE AN Artist Clubhouse Membership you’ll have access to ALL of these Spring inspired art lessons for your own spring art celebration:

  • Garden bunny
  • Rabbit in the Forest (Green Ember Gala)
  • Shamrock
  • Rainbow
  • Jonquil in a glass of water
  • Vivaldi’s Spring Tree
  • Spring tree reflection
  • Rain
  • Bird’s Nest
  • dandelion
  • green anole
  • ant
  • chipmunk
  • hummingbirds at the feeder
  • lightning bug (or firefly)
  • snail
  • forest path
  • red-eyed tree frog
  • eagle’s nest with eagle family
  • rat snake
  • deer in the forest
  • bear 
Spring Art Celebration with Chalk Pastels

That’s not all! Here were even more wonders of nature to explore with your chalk pastel lessons:

  • honey bees on sunflower
  • bunny
  • ladybug
  • caterpillar
  • the pond
  • turtle
  • bullfrog
  • dragonfly
  • water strider
  • beaver
  • rainbow trout
  • goose
  • owl
  • cardinal
  • goldfinch
  • hummingbird
  • chickadee
  • robin
  • sandpiper
  • bluebird
  • lamb
  • piglet
  • kitten
  • puppy
  • seal pup
  • baby bluebird
  • cow
  • baby owl
  • dinosaur
  • Plus, so much more!
Spring Art Celebration with Chalk Pastels

Chalk Pastel Spring Art Teatime

We started our spring art celebration with a garden bunny because we often see a bunny in our front yard. My daughter loves to observe the little guy and now she has her own cottontail to hang on her bedroom wall. She even gave her bunny a garden with growing carrots and cabbages to enjoy! I love that Nana always reminds us that WE ARE the ARTISTS.

Spring Art Celebration with Chalk Pastels

Let Kids Be Creative

Let your kiddos explore their creativity as much as they want with chalk pastels! Instead of a single jonquil in a vase, my daughter created a whole pitcher full of flowers! When we were drawing our long neck dinosaur, she was creating a whole Cretaceous time period scene in which there were Pteranodons and cliffs! Or how she painted a lovely firefly fairy queen instead of a plain firefly. Even her spring tree had the added bonus of a bird’s nest with a father and mother bird anxiously awaiting the hatching of their baby chicks. She told me these elaborate stories as she drew each unique painting, and I listened in wonder.

Through her art, she is also a storyteller!

Chalk Pastels for Kids

Chalk Pastels are so easy to use! All you need is a simple set of chalk pastels, a pack of construction paper, and Nana’s video art lessons. Make it a chalk pastel teatime treat if you like by setting the table with flowers and your favorite tea set. Keep a roll of paper towels handy as spills do happen. But the memories made will outlast any spill or smudge.

Spring Art Celebration with Chalk Pastels

Spring Art Celebration with Chalk Pastels

Cecil Frances Alexander’s hymn reminded us of the wonders of nature, and all the beauty there is to be found. My children reminded me that art is a glorious way to celebrate any occasion including spring. Now, our refrigerator and bedroom walls are bursting with color and new life as we eagerly await the season of rebirth.

Spring Art Celebration with Chalk Pastels

Nature Observation Printable

A bonus for members to accompany all of Nana’s nature art lessons. 

Here is an educational resource and companion to our I Drew It Then I Knew It Series and nature art lessons. Our All Things Bright and Beautiful nature observation and investigation printable is a handy resource to accompany Nana’s nature art lessons and is a complement to your nature curriculum.

The Nature Observation Printable includes:

  • Observation and Investigation
  • Research Ideas
  • Observation Recording Area
  • Notes Section

Only available with You ARE an ARTiST Clubhouse membership, it is downloadable and printable.

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Draw Your Way Through the Resurrection Story with Kids

6 Art Lessons to Walk Through the Resurrection With Your Kids! Using these lessons, you and your children can “paint through” the Easter story in a colorful and memorable way.

We spend weeks preparing and anticipating Christmas. We tell and retell the stories of the people and places of Jesus’ birth. And yet, Easter seems to come up suddenly. Maybe it’s because Easter weekend moves around the calendar, or maybe because it is preceded by Lent which is more solemn.

I decided I wanted to spend as much time anticipating the Resurrection with my children as we did the Incarnation. Both are beautiful events in our faith. Both bring a sense of wonder and awe. The Resurrection is special because it shows “God with us,” and God victorious for us!

In the preschool years I’ve used several hands-on lesson materials to teach my boys the rich symbols and meanings of the Resurrection. 

Now that they’re older, I was delighted to see ChalkPastel.com‘s series of lessons featuring Resurrection themes! Using these lessons, we could “paint through” the Resurrection Story in a colorful and memorable way. 

6 Art Lessons to Walk Through the Resurrection With Your Kids! Using these lessons, you and your children can “paint through” the Easter story in a colorful and memorable way.

Draw Through the Resurrection Story with Kids

Here are a few ideas for using chalk pastel lessons to teach the Resurrection with kids. You could use these ideas in your homeschool, in a Sunday School, or for home church or family devotional time. Perhaps spread them through the Lenten weeks, or use them for a concentrated study during the Holy Week. 

Here are a few ideas for using chalk pastel lessons to teach the Resurrection with kids. You could use these ideas in your homeschool, in a Sunday School, or for home church or family devotional time. Perhaps spread them through the Lenten weeks, or use them for a concentrated study during the Holy Week.

Come into His Presence with Singing

The Resurrection events begin with joyous praise of the arrival of Jesus the King! Join in Hosannas with your children as you paint a simple picture of palm branches. If kids are interested, paint several, and lay them along a hallway to act out the Triumphal Entry. 

Sing a traditional hymn like “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” or a modern Hosanna worship song. 

Draw Your Way Through  the Resurrection Story with Kids - palm branches.

Observe the Last Supper / The Lord’s Supper

Older kids may enjoy painting Jesus at The Last Supper. My eight-year-old finds it challenging to draw people, so it was easier for him to draw The Lord’s Supper lesson. I love how the Chalk Pastel lessons offer a range of levels to pick from.

Churches often hold communion or Lord’s Supper services specifically at this time of year. This lesson is a great chance to discuss the meaning of the bread and wine to prepare children to understand what they see at a communion service.

Churches often hold communion or Lord’s Supper services specifically at this time of year. This lesson is a great chance to discuss the meaning of the bread and wine to prepare children to understand what they see at a communion service.

Prayer in The Garden of Gethsemane

My oldest painted the scene of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. Talk with your children about the power of prayer to help us follow God’s Will and have peace through difficult times.

Read through the biblical account in Mark 14:32-42 or Luke 22:39-46 and have a time of prayer together. 

Hope in Calvary’s Crosses

Although this scene represents a dark moment for the disciples of Christ, we know the end of the story. The Calvary’s Crosses lesson uses vibrant pink paper and sunset colors to show the hope and joy found in Christ’s sacrifice.

Sing the hymn “At Calvary,” which also tells of the great mercy and lifted burdens to be found at the cross.

Rejoice! The Stone Rolled Away

There is perhaps no more joyful scene to paint than the empty tomb with the stone rolled away. Kids can share their joy in the Resurrection by painting bold strokes of light radiating from the tomb.

I especially like to read the Matthew 28:1-8 account of this scene because kids love hearing about the earthquake and the angel of the Lord looking like lightning. This passage connects with the bright lines they painted streaming from the empty tomb. 

Play a YouTube version of “Christ the Lord is Risen Today, Alleluia”! Kids can enjoy the music as they hang up their artwork and sing along!

There is perhaps no more joyful scene to paint than the empty tomb with the stone rolled away. Kids can share their joy in the Resurrection by painting bold strokes of light radiating from the tomb. Draw Your Way Through  the Resurrection Story with Kids

Find Peace in the Easter Lily

Lilies are often mentioned in the Bible, and the Lily chalk pastel lesson gives an opportunity to share the gospel with your children. The white petals symbolize freedom from sin. The trumpet shape signals the message that Christ arose. The beautiful flower that arises from a dead-looking bulb is a picture of Christ being buried and rising again. 

Finishing a walk through the Resurrection with a lesson on lilies brings the story to a close with peace and beauty. 

Celebrate and share your artwork!

Whenever my boys complete a chalk pastel lesson, they are happy to show and share it. I love that my kids can grow and express their faith through their drawings. 

As your children complete each draw through the Resurrection lesson, hang your pictures for all to see. Perhaps in a picture window or front door. Share the love and hope of the Resurrection with friends and family through art! 

If you’re looking for more ideas to celebrate the Resurrection with your children through art, check out our “Big Picture” Resurrection project. Plus we have a pretty cool idea for blessing your neighbors with art, love, and a message of hope – using chalk pastels! Just click to see the ideas! 

If you’re looking for more ideas to celebrate the Resurrection with your children through art, check out our “Big Picture” Resurrection project. Plus we have a pretty cool idea for blessing your neighbors with art, love, and a message of hope - using chalk pastels!

By grabbing a Complete Clubhouse Membership, your whole family can get access to all of the art tutorials I mentioned.  

New Testament Bible, Easter and hymns art lessons are all included in the You ARE an ARTiST Complete Clubhouse. Enjoy making some beautiful memories with your children as you experience the resurrection story paired with chalk pastel art tutorials! Plus our new I Drew It Then I Knew It companion Easter workbook for Clubhouse subscribers!

IDITIKI Easter Workbook Cover

With our Easter Companion Workbook, you will get multiple planners, a book recommendation list, fast fact sheets, and overviews to work through our Easter art lessons. Our new Easter Companion Workbook paired with a Complete Clubhouse Membership is the perfect way to incorporate Easter into your homeschool or church-at-home.

Julie is a teacher, writer and homeschool mom. Her blog Happy Strong Home shares encouragement for cherishing children, enjoying motherhood, and growing strong families. Discover homeschool resources, natural living tips, and family activity ideas. Julie has been featured on Million Praying Moms, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, and the Melissa and Doug blog. She offers writing workshops and a “homeschool neighborhood” community to support parents in their homeschool adventures. Find Julie on Instagram to be the first to know when new workshops and community events are available. 

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How Chalk Pastel Art Has Benefited My Son with Learning Differences

Incorporating Chalk Pastel Art into our homeschool adventures this year has secured such a special place in the hearts of my children. Through the encouraging lessons with Nana, my artists have explored Noah’s Ark, splitting the Red Sea with Moses, taken joy in that holy night of our Savior’s birth, and celebrated the risen Lord. We’ve incorporated chalk pastel art with our early America history lessons, setting sail on the Mayflower, painting a visual map of the Pilgrims’ expedition. My honorable queen and brave kings traveled through the Wardrobe to a far-off land called Narnia, painting the frosty lamp post and mighty lion, Aslan. My valiant knights, smitten with imagination, courageously drew swords and shields, pretending to battle evil, all through the combination of lovely art and the substance of rich literature. This type of fruitful learning through Chalk Pastel Art has proven beneficial for all of my children, especially for my son with special needs. I want to share with you just how chalk pastel art has benefited my son with learning differences.

How Chalk Pastel Art Has Benefited My Son with Learning Differences. Fruitful learning through Chalk Pastel Art has proven beneficial for all of my children, especially for my son with special needs.

How Chalk Pastel Art Has Benefited My Son with Learning Differences

As a mom of a child with special needs, I am often searching for courses or activities that best meet his learning style. With the abundance of materials that are offered, this task can become quite overwhelming. Finding programs that work and meet his needs in so many different ways, is like gold. He absorbs information best with a multi-sensory approach, consistency, and repetition.  I have witnessed the benefits of using chalk pastels with Nana, by watching my special needs son grow through the consistency and repetition of art lessons. Below I have included and explained how the use of chalk pastels has helped my son in so many ways.

Chalk Pastels Encourage Fine Motor Skills, Coordination, and Cognition. How Chalk Pastel Art Has Benefited My Son with Learning Differences

Chalk Pastels Encourage Fine Motor Skills, Coordination, and Cognition

Using chalk pastels encourages fine motor skills, coordination, and cognition. While creating works of art with chalk pastels, my son has discovered that the way he holds the chalk pastels creates a certain effect.  For example, painting with the pointed edge of a pastel creates a different outcome than when painting holding the entire pastel sideways.  Also, my son has learned that different strokes and motions produce diverse results. The outcome of painting in a circular motion will lend a different effect than using upward or downward strokes. This is the same for using his fingers to blend colors and create shadows. Painting fine lines and straight lines (when needed) inspires working slowly and paying attention to intricate detail. This all exercises the area of the brain that uses fine motor skills! The process of planning and hand-eye coordination are all bundled together in just one art lesson!

Multi-sensory Approach to Learning. How Chalk Pastel Art Has Benefited My Son with Learning Differences

Multi-sensory Approach to Learning

Art supports a multi-sensory approach to learning. My son learns the best when visual, auditory, and tactile learning are woven together. Many of the lessons offered through Chalk Pastel Art correspond with the topics and books we study in our homeschool. Nana not only teaches art with chalk pastels; she also elaborates on the subjects she paints.  For example, in our homeschool, for our American History lessons, we studied the pilgrims. Chalk Pastel Art offers art lessons pertaining to Early America. My son was able to hear and listen (auditory) to a lesson about the pilgrims through Nana, watch her paint (visual), and draw it using chalk pastels (tactile)! When all done, the painting resulted in a fine picture, which provided a visual (visual again) relevant to the lesson in our own homeschool studies. “You Drew It, Then You Knew It!”

Art Lessons Improve Receptive and Expressive Language

Art lessons have improved receptive and expressive language. At four, my son was diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS), a neurological speech disorder that affects the planning of speech and all the necessary steps needed to produce intelligible speech.  Due to his limited language, at times, I do not know everything he understands receptively, meaning the language he understands when someone is speaking to him or giving directions. Art lessons through Chalk Pastel Art helps assess the instructions he is understanding and the language he doesn’t understand. During a lesson, Nana may give a gentle instruction to “turn the chalk pastel on its side”. If my son doesn’t understand that he needs to turn the pastel “on its side”, I know he receptively doesn’t understand this directive. This presents a fruitful opportunity for development in his receptive language. This is the beauty of art lessons. My son has the ability to learn, it just doesn’t arrive as easily and quickly. A combination of my son watching Nana and a little guidance showing him how to hold the pastel, allows him to be nurtured in this area!  I have witnessed this time and time again.

Expressive language is the language he can verbalize or “express”. This and building vocabulary intertwine with one another. There are art lessons he completes independently, but many of the lessons, he and I complete together. Not only does this pave the way for one-on-one time together, it also grants an opportunity for discussion. My son and I are able to discuss what we are painting and the lesson. I often hear Isaiah repeat many of the words Nana says and he asks a lot of questions.  This is such a wonderful avenue for my son to express himself through the beautiful combination of art and language.

Art Lessons Encourage Multiple Step Instructions

Art lessons encourage following multiple step instructions. For a child with learning disabilities and receptive language challenges, following multiple step instructions can be difficult. Often times, words may need repeating and instructions given in more explicit, smaller chunks. Through virtual art lessons with Nana, both my son and I are able to listen and watch, then push pause if needed. This is so accommodating for me because I am learning chalk pastels right along with my son. Watching Nana benefits me in a way that I can better serve my son as a homeschooling mom. When he doesn’t understand the directions, I learn from Nana first. Then I can show my son how to paint, repeat any directives from Nana, and, if needed, provide more instruction. I have watched my son grow in this area so much. When I look at his first painting of Noah’s Ark almost a year ago, I see progress. With practice and consistency, following multiple step instructions improves over time. And art lessons inspire my son to listen to instructions in such a fun and engaging way!

Art Boosts Confidence

Art boosts my son’s confidence. Academics isn’t easy for my son. He works really hard at it. Most things don’t come easy for him. Something as simple as talking for my other children is a breeze while my son has struggled with it all of his life. This can wear on a mom’s heart. Chalk Pastel Art has offered an effective way for my son to blossom in so many of the areas that present challenges for him. This is done in such a pleasant and enjoyable way. The lessons are gentle, timely, and colorful. When he feels painting something is hard, Nana’s tender voice and encouraging words of “You are an artist”, “This is your painting” spurs him on. As his siblings and dad look at his work of art and give many compliments, he is encouraged. When he works through the areas that challenge him, he sees the fruit of hard work and the stunning works of art he creates. He is brimming with smiles and is joyful of his work! This is beyond what a mom could ask for. I look at his paintings, I look at his smile, and I am in awe of his accomplishments. And I am so proud, and I am so thankful. I thoroughly enjoy the time I am allowed with my son through art lessons.  I truly enjoy the learning experience and the growth. The fond memories I will treasure forever.

Chalk Pastel Art not only brings the beauty of fine painting, it also weaves together a wide array of rich learning, creating such an awe-inspiring masterpiece in my son.

Incorporating Chalk Pastel Art into our homeschool adventures this year has secured such a special place in the hearts of my children. This type of fruitful learning through Chalk Pastel Art has proven beneficial for all of my children, especially for my son with special needs. I want to share with you just how chalk pastel art has benefited my son with learning differences.

You might also like:

Jamie is the author of A Brown Bear’s Language Arts Study (coming soon!), a literature-inspired homeschool mom of seven, and a former educator. She enjoys a bookshelf bursting with colorful picture books  and children’s stories of all genres. Indulging in a read aloud with all of her children around her is one of Jamie’s favorite moments of her days. Be sure to find Jamie on Instagram so you will be the first to know when her language arts study is available and to be encouraged by all her learning adventures with her wonderful family.

Jamie is the author of A Brown Bear’s Language Arts Study (coming soon!), a literature-inspired homeschool mom of seven, and a former educator. She enjoys a bookshelf bursting with colorful picture books  and children’s stories of all genres. Indulging in a read aloud with all of her children around her is one of Jamie’s favorite moments of her days. Be sure to find Jamie on Instagram so you will be the first to know when her language arts study is available and to be encouraged by all her learning adventures with her wonderful family.

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Chalk Pastels Bird Study with Nana

A chalk pastels bird study with Nana is a wonderful way to introduce bird art lessons to your kids. Chalk pastels are perfect for preschoolers to adults. They are super easy to use with no long art supply list needed. You’ll love adding these vibrant birds to your next nature study or in preparation for the Great Backyard Bird Count!

Chalk Pastels Bird Study with Nana: A chalk pastels bird study with Nana is a wonderful way to introduce bird art lessons to your kids. Chalk pastels are perfect for preschoolers to adults. They are super easy to use with no long art supply list needed. You'll love adding these vibrant birds to your next nature study or in preparation for the Great Backyard Bird Count! #chalkpastels #YouAREAnArtist #birdartlessons #birdartlessonsforkids #birdnaturestudy #backyardbirds #birdlessons #ChalkPastelsBirdStudywithNana

Each year we do a study of birds in anticipation of the Great Backyard Bird Count! We incorporate all sorts of Backyard Biology resources including books, games, bird feeders, binoculars, and even owl pellets! This year we’ve also added a chalk pastels bird study with Nana to the mix!

Chalk Pastels Bird Study with Nana

Chalk Pastel Birds

We always set the table for our chalk pastel “teatime” with Nana. It’s our tradition to serve a hot beverage and a sweet treat anytime Nana enters our home. Which is often. Actually, we have to differentiate between “chalk pastels” Nana and my mom who is also called Nana! It’s a delightful problem to have. But it goes to show just how important and how often chalk pastels “Nana” visits us…which is every week!

Chalk Pastels Bird Study with Nana

*keep paper towels and wet wipes handy in case of spills*

Trust me, they do happen, as do chalk hands and chalk dust!

Chalk Pastels Bird Study with Nana

Also, it’s OK if your kiddos don’t make their birds look exactly like Nana’s. She’s always very encouraging about making our paintings our own. And boy, do we! Especially my daughter. She loves pink and purple…AND she decided that some of our backyard birds are actually flying mounts for her fairy garden friends.

Yep. Check out that flowing purple hair!

Embrace the creativity and silliness, folks!

Chalk Pastels Bird Study with Nana

You ARE AN Artist Clubhouse Membership

Because we have the clubhouse membership, I’ve decided we’ll do several bird lessons per week leading up to the Great Backyard Bird Count! We are doing a little mini-study on each bird as we go. With the chalk pastel You ARE An Artist Clubhouse Membership you’ll have access to 600+ art lessons including these:

  • owl
  • cardinal
  • goldfinch
  • hummingbird
  • hummingbirds at the feeder
  • chickadee
  • robin
  • sandpiper
  • bluebird
  • cardinals in snow (try for FREE)
  • fall blue jay (try for FREE)
  • goose
  • eagle’s nest with eagle family
  • John James Audubon 
  • bird nest
Chalk Pastels Bird Study with Nana

Nana’s Acrylic Bird Lessons

You’ll also have access to Nana’s acrylic bird lessons if you’re interested in acrylics!

  • wren on teacup
  • bluebird
  • titmouse
  • nuthatch
  • bird’s nest
  • baby bluebird in a birdhouse
  • blue jay
  • cardinal
Chalk Pastels Bird Study with Nana

Remember to add in Nana’s lesson on Audubon to the mix! John James Audubon was the famous ornithologist, naturalist, and painter that documented all sorts of American birds in their natural habitats. He also identified 25 new species!

Famous Artist Audubon

Chalk Pastels Bird Study with Nana

Identifying and counting the birds in your backyard is a great way to get to know the wildlife that you share your neighborhood with. Drawing those birds adds a multi-sensory approach to learning which is proven to help children not only learn more effectively but retain what they’ve learned long term. Chalk pastels are perfect for adding to your next nature study or bird study. The clubhouse membership made it super easy to search for the art lessons we wanted, and Nana is always fantastic at reminding us that, “We ARE Artists!”… birds, fairies, and all!

Chalk Pastels Bird Study with Nana: A chalk pastels bird study with Nana is a wonderful way to introduce bird art lessons to your kids. Chalk pastels are perfect for preschoolers to adults. They are super easy to use with no long art supply list needed. You'll love adding these vibrant birds to your next nature study or in preparation for the Great Backyard Bird Count! #chalkpastels #YouAREAnArtist #birdartlessons #birdartlessonsforkids #birdnaturestudy #backyardbirds #birdlessons #ChalkPastelsBirdStudywithNana

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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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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Charlie Brown Christmas Art and Music

You are invited to a very special replay of an event with Ms. Mary of SQUILT Live! and Nana of You ARE an ARTiST Clubhouse! Music 🎶 + art 🎨 The music of Vince Guaraldi and art in the style of Peanuts. Charlie Brown Christmas Art and Music!

This special event is a preview of what will be happening in December in both of our memberships.​

Charlie Brown Christmas Art and Music

The following supplies are suggested for this event:

1. Download this lesson packet from SQUILT for the event. 2. Dark colored construction paper (black or dark blue preferred).
3. Chalk Pastels (Our favorites here) Suggested: – baby wipes or a couple dampened paper towels for easy clean up.

Did you know that Nana and Ms. Mary both live in Georgia and are practically neighbors? What fun that Nana, Mary and Tricia could plan such a special event for you!​ We can’t wait for you to join us for our special event, Christmas Time is Here! Music and art are such a great combination!

Nana’s Special Challenge for Christmas Time is Here
Hello, hello artist friends from Nana! As you can see I am wrapped up in woolen scarves and a coat. What in the world is Nana doing? There I am, SINGING my heart out, looking a bit like one of artist Charles Schulz’s kids singing Christmas carols. Yes, I am VERY much older than that mischievous Lucy, but here I am, my head thrown back and singing!
​Now, your job, as “Christmas Time is Here” is to put on your coat, gloves, hat and pretend that you are singing with the Peanuts gang! Then share a photo with us and TAG us here at You ARE An ARTiST! Tag @chalkpastelart on Instagram, use the hashtag #ChristmasTimeIsHere or email us a photo of YOU singing! Why? To celebrate our special Christmas Time is Here free event for all! Nana is joining Ms. Mary of @squiltmusic.
Because we know that YOU ARE AN ARTIST! See you soon! ❤️Nana
Please be sure to share with your friends!
Love,

Nana and Tricia


During the event, Nana mentions all that she will be sharing in the Christmas Clubhouse! Lessons for every day from now through the new year. From

  • Christmas trees to holly
  • Polar Express to The Grinch
  • a map to Bethlehem
  • hymns We Three Kings and I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
  • Nutcracker
  • The Messiah – Angels announce Messiah’s birth and For Unto Us a Child is Born (with special lessons from Ms. Mary)

These and SO much more! Leading right into January’s Narnia with Nana!! All in the Complete Clubhouse with Nana!

PS: Enjoy these fabulous ideas for your Thanksgiving and Christmas homeschool! 

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How To Plan A Biblical Christmas School Lesson In 4 Simple Steps

Christmas School

If you haven’t heard of Christmas school yet, let me fill you in, dear friend! Christmas schooling can happen anywhere between now and the new year. You can get festive with your homeschool plans, get educational, lean into Advent, or create a lovely combination of things. My absolute favorite part of Christmas schooling is the time spent preparing our hearts for Christ with our families.

If that isn’t a homeschool perk, I don’t know what is!

Many of you may be planning for Advent, and what I will share with you today would be the perfect addition to your plans. If you don’t have any specific Christmas schooling plans, you will love these ideas to homeschool through the holiday season too.

Either way, we have got some excellent resources to add to your Christmas school plans today. The best part is that these Christmas school plans can be done anytime and require little planning on your part. Because keeping it simple surely helps around the holidays.

What Exactly Is Biblical Christmas School?

Christmas schooling is whatever you want it to be! Right? We are homeschoolers, and we love the freedom to customize our lessons and homeschool days.

But in short, Christmas school allows us to focus on the real reason for the season. And you can do that in so many ways. We will give many resources to choose from and help you customize your perfect Christmas school day, week, or month.

Christmas school is also unique in that you might want to plan with the whole family in mind. Learning about Christ’s birth, reading Bible stories, and spending time together is perfect for the entire family. So remember to plan family-style when Christmas schooling. You may even want to add dad or the grandparents in on some of these excellent projects. Including the whole family is a wonderful way to make memories and get lots of great photos ops too!

Christmas School

Planning Your Ideal Christmas School In Just 4 Steps

Step One for planning your perfect Christmas homeschool plans may be to decide when you would like to block out your Christmas school time.

You may want to plan one epic day of Christmas activities in your homeschool. Or you may want to add little snippets all month long. I have done it both ways, and I am here to tell you that your kids will love it either way. No pressure, plan what you can. It’s supposed to be fun!

Christmas School

Step Two may be to decide what you will do. For us, that’s an easy one. Art! Every homeschool lesson is more fun with art. But I also want to include some educational aspects too, of course. It’s still homeschooling because education can be found in everything.

One of my favorite aspects of the Clubhouse Membership with You Are An Artist is that there is hardly any planning required for homeschool moms to put together incredible homeschool lessons. All you have to do is find the Christmas course in the membership area, and you will see all of the available tutorials in one spot. It’s that easy.

Christmas School

Onto the Christmas art lessons we chose for our family. Keep in mind; we prefer to enjoy all of these activities family-school style. I have a wide range of ages in my homeschool, and You Are An Artist is perfect for activities the entire family can enjoy!

According to your children’s skill level, a quick tip for planning your art lessons is to start with the easier lessons first. I have found that my younger artists might be ready for a break sooner than myself and my oldest. That way, we save the more advanced projects for after they have moved on to another activity.

Christmas School

One of the fantastic educational resources you may want to include, as we have, is a Biblical Map to Bethlehem. Mapping is the perfect way to add geography to your Christmas plans. You may want to read the story of Jesus’s birth before mapping, so your children have a good understanding of it before you begin.

Another cool idea to add to these Christmas plans is the Wise Men’s Star Chart! Yep, your kids will love this.

I also wanted to include the We Three Kings tutorial because it pairs perfectly with the whole lesson. We did something similar for Thanksgiving by including hymns into our day, and the kids enjoy listening to music as they create. And Christmas music, need I say more?

Christmas School

You may also want to add The Messiah Lessons – Angels Announce Messiah – This one is a beautiful lesson that also covers Handel, the composer, and has a lot of musical information & appreciation. The Messiah Lessons are incredibly fun and educational on its own. My kids really enjoyed this one, add a little hot cocoa, and they were all ears.

Christmas School

Some other fantastic Biblical Christmas art tutorials to add are Unto Us A Child Is Born, Nativity/Away In A Manger, Christmas Star, or Dream of Joseph, to name a few. Remember, these are all available within the Christmas Course section of your You Are An Artist Complete Clubhouse Membership.

Step Three is optional, but besides the Bible, what books would you like to include? If you are only planning for a day, you may want a few essential picture books, and if you are planning to work through all of this over a more extended period, you may want to include some chapter books. Remember to reserve them from the library now or jot them down on a list so you can pull them out later.

Christmas School
Christmas School

Step Four is a must. What will we eat! Come on; we are homeschoolers. We never stop snacking. Ok, but seriously, my kids will linger through any lessons longer with food. There are so many great ideas; you can plan a tea complete with baked goods or a lovely kid-friendly charcuterie board. What would be fun, and we decided to add it to our plans is a few food items from Biblical times. You can make this as educational as you please; there are so many exciting choices to include!

Christmas School

Another idea to think about adding in may be some holiday crafts or seasonal handcrafts. You could make a dried orange garland, bake cookies together and decorate, or paint ornaments all while listening to beautiful Christmas carols. You could even decorate the tree!

We hope that this gives you lots of inspiration for your Christmas school plans this year! Remember, you don’t have to do it all this year. Advent is all about preparing our hearts and dwelling in his perfect peace. Christmas school is an opportunity not only for creativity and education but for making lasting memories together.

Christmas School

Grab Your Membership Here

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. She is also the founder of Homeschool Mastery Academy.

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Exploring Famous Artists with Chalk Pastels

Exploring famous artists with your kids has never been easier! Now you can expose your children to the glory and wonder of master artists like da Vinci, Michelangelo, Monet, Rembrandt, Vermeer, and so many more with chalk pastels!

Exploring Famous Artists with Chalk Pastels: Exploring famous artists with your kids has never been easier! Now you can expose your children to the glory and wonder of master artists like da Vinci, Michelangelo, Monet, Rembrandt, Vermeer, and so many more with chalk pastels! #famousartistsforkids #famousartists #chalkpastels #masterartists #homeschool

It’s no secret my children love art. Be it watercolors, acrylics, or chalk pastels they love creating and exploring different techniques and artists. Last year we enjoyed Chalk Pastel Techniques and Master Artists. But You ARE An Artist Chalk Pastels has expanded their Famous Artist series! So, we decided to take this week and devote it to learning more about famous artists!

Exploring Famous Artists with Chalk Pastels
Monet

Exploring Famous Artists with Chalk Pastels

With the You ARE An Artist Clubhouse membership you’ll have access to over 600+ chalk pastel lessons including Famous Artists video lessons with the following master artists:

  • Monet
  • Vermeer
  • Michelangelo 
  • Norman Rockwell
  • Van Gogh
  • Rembrandt
  • Audubon
  • Beatrix Potter 
  • Degas
  • da Vinci
  • Lichtenstein
  • Betsy Ross
  • Warhol
  • Grandma Moses
  • Plus, a new artist is added most every month!
Exploring Famous Artists with Chalk Pastels

Exploring Famous Artists and Chalk Pastels

Before we get started, I always set the table with all our supplies. Don’t worry chalk pastels are super easy! All you need is a cheap set of chalk pastels and a pack of construction paper! No intimidating art list necessary.

*Although, we have found that a few of the harder Nupastels come in handy when drawing faces and the human form.

Exploring Famous Artists with Chalk Pastels
Norman Rockwell

I always serve a favorite beverage and treat when we are having art lessons. When we did our paintings for Rembrandt, I had cinnamon muffins and warm cider on the table. For Monet’s lesson, we had donuts and hot tea. It’s totally up to you if you want to add this little extra bit of fun to your art lessons.

Exploring Famous Artists with Chalk Pastels
Rembrandt

Exploring Famous Artists for Kids

FYI spills DO happen. It’s OK, though. Just keep a roll of paper towels handy. I like to think that the master artists knew messes happened. It’s all part of the process. Plus, not only are we learning about art, but we are also making treasured memories.

Exploring Famous Artists with Chalk Pastels

Exploring Famous Artists

Nana does an amazing job of bringing the master artists to a level that younger kids and older kids can understand and recreate. So, these lessons are perfect for beginner artists and advanced artists alike. She gives a little bit of history on each artist and even some of their techniques.

Exploring Famous Artists
Van Gogh

These lessons pair beautifully with Nana’s Famous Artist Podcast series where she goes more in-depth about each master artist! We listened to her Johannes Vermeer podcast after our Vermeer lesson. It was a wonderful addition and so educational!

Exploring Famous Artists with Chalk Pastels
Johannes Vermeer

Exploring Famous Artists with Chalk Pastels

I love that we are learning facts and history about these master artists as well as spurring on further learning and interesting rabbit trails of discovery.

Exploring Famous Artists with Chalk Pastels

The master artists are a must for anyone interested in art history or art techniques. Plus, we are having such fun! Creative messes, chalk hands, and smiles all included!

Exploring Famous Artists with Chalk Pastels

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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Grateful For Thanksgiving Homeschool Days Like These

Thanksgiving Homeschool

Years ago, I used to be so busy checking off homeschool lesson boxes that I missed the true meaning of homeschooling. Holidays would pass me by because we were so caught up with staying on track with our curriculum. 

I am beyond grateful that these days are quite the opposite! I take pleasure in slowing down and savoring the sweet moments without sacrificing education. 

It did take me a few years to figure out how to blend learning, family, and fun creatively. But once you learn how to make it all come together, you can have the most magical time learning together. 

Thanksgiving and Fall are some of the best opportunities to create these types of learning experiences too! 

Thanksgiving Homeschool

For the record, we don’t do this on the daily. I would never want you to look at some of our best times and think this is what our homeschool looks like every day. But, I do try to make something special happen at least once every two weeks or so. I find it helps to keep our homeschool fun, and my kids enjoy looking forward to our next special homeschool occasion. 

For this particular experience, we chose to get some mileage out of our You ARE an Artist Complete Clubhouse Membership at ChalkPastel.com. Our homeschool has been so blessed by our membership that I can’t stress enough how much you need one too!

The membership does more than just add art to your homeschool. A membership with You ARE An Artist enhances the learning that is already going on in your homeschool. Think of it as upsizing your homeschool! 

Thanksgiving Homeschool

By Having A Membership with You ARE An Artist, You Can Easily:

•Plan art into practically any homeschool lesson.

•Enjoy tea times with art. 

•Use a daily clickable calendar with art prompts.

•Utilize resources like the Curriculum Match-Up Checklist and add art to all of your homeschool history and science lessons. 

•Never miss celebrating a holiday or season in your homeschool with art. 

•Say goodbye to dull homeschool days. 

•Create custom unit studies – here is a wonderful example of our day filled with Johnny Appleseed activities.

 •Incorporate the entire family. (I love family-style homeschooling opportunities!) 

You really can look like the fun mom with a Clubhouse Membership, especially if you struggle with adding excitement to your homeschool days! I speak from personal experience. 

Thanksgiving Homeschool

Onto Our Thanksgiving Homeschool Lesson Plans

I plan to share with you all of the resources we used and hope you are inspired to plan a day unique to your homeschool. It’s an example of an easy way to make a simple unit study. We are incorporating an excellent array of fall nature, Thanksgiving, and history. 

Usually, I will block out the entire day to have fun around these themed type homeschool lessons. It gives us plenty of time to bake because you have to have treats, right? And the baking allows for some hands-on fun too! So it’s fitting that the featured treat for this day should be pumpkin pie. 

Thanksgiving Homeschool

We are currently exploring the season with a nature journal that’s perfect for autumn. The journal is packed full of information, including seeds, migration, autumn, and nature tracking. It also has hands-on ideas, writing prompts, and so much more. These fall art lessons pair so well with what we are learning through our informative nature journal.  

I love including all of my children on days like these. So I try to mix a balances blend of things they can all do together, along with a few more advanced things for my oldest and more age-appropriate activities for the younger ones. 

Thanksgiving Homeschool

With that said, we are using the Fall Leaves art tutorial for early learners and the Acorn and Wind in the Tree art lessons that are a bit more challenging. These all blend nicely with our nature journal activities and what we have been learning. 

Thanksgiving Homeschool

You could also add The Voyage of the First Thanksgiving art lesson because it’s a perfect match for early American History. Long gone are the days of boring mapping lessons in your homeschool. You ARE An Artist takes mapping to a whole other level! Your kids are guaranteed to love this one. It’s a must-add to your Thanksgiving homeschool lessons. 

And with saving the best for last, we are forever grateful because of HIM. Our homeschool keeps God at the center, and I love old hymns. I had to include the We Gather Together art tutorial; it helped tie everything together with thankfulness and gratitude. 

We did our art lesson as we listened to various versions of the hymn We Gather Together. The hymn is a fantastic reminder about bringing family and friends together to give thanks to God. 

Thanksgiving Homeschool

I encourage you to introduce this hymn to your children. You ARE An Artist also included a link to a hymn study on the song if your kids want to research the history behind the hymn too. If you are anything like me, I find such value in these little additions to our learning. 

Don’t forget to pull out some of your favorite read alouds to enjoy too!

Here Are The Resources You Need For Your Own Thanksgiving Homeschool Experience

Here is a quick recap of everything we used and a few others you may want to incorporate too! 

The Voyage of the First Thanksgiving Art Tutorial from the Maps Clubhouse Complete Exclusive

Preschool Fall Leaves Art Tutorial from the Preschool Fall Video Art Lessons Clubhouse Edition

Wind in the Tree and Acorn Art Tutorials from the Fall Video Chalk Art Lessons Clubhouse Edition

We Gather Together Art Tutorial from the Hymns Clubhouse Edition

Thanksgiving Homeschool

A few other art tutorials that you might want to include in your Thanksgiving unit study:

Pumpkin

Thankful for Art Resources

Norman Rockwell 

Acrylics Fall Tree Reflection

Thanksgiving Homeschool

Quick Tips: Don’t feel like you have to squeeze it all in one day. Spread these lessons out over a week or a month, but don’t rush them! Enjoy this time with your family, learning and creating together, savor these sweet moments. 

And if you don’t fit it all in, there is always next year! Homeschooling isn’t a race; it’s a journey. 

I hope that this gives you some ideas to expand on and plan around. Our plans were simple yet packed full of goodness and education. 

Thanksgiving lessons included with membership

Grab Your Membership Here and Start Planning Today! 

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. She is also the founder of Homeschool Mastery Academy.