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Why Homeschooling Middle School Is Better With Hands-On Learning

When my son was in his elementary years, hands-on learning seemed effortless.

Everywhere I looked, there were cute and fun options for crafts and art projects, all designed to help with learning. I incorporated something multi-sensory learning into almost every aspect of our school day.

It helped him comprehend and retain what we were learning, and it was a lot more fun!

Why Homeschooling Middle School Is Better With Hands-On Learning

As he got older however, and especially as we moved into middle school level learning, our options seemed to dwindle. It was no longer easy to find ways to supplemental hands-on activities for our homeschool.

It was harder to find options for multi-sensory learning, but it was no less important. In fact, my middle schooler needed hands-on activities to thrive.

Why Homeschooling Middle School Is Better With Hands-On Learning

Why Homeschooling Middle School Is Better With Hands-On Learning

Study after study has shown that learners of all ages do best when the material is presented in a multisensory format. Text combined with video, hands-on creative activities, and even art as a way to demonstrate understanding have all been proven to contribute to more successful learner outcomes.

The strategies behind multisensory learning are supported by decades of research, particularly Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. This theory, which was developed by Harvard professor Dr. Howard Gardner, states that the traditional notions of learning and intelligence are too limited. Gardner proposes that people can have proficiencies in different kinds of intelligences, and that teaching students in a way that matches their intellectual strengths can help them grasp tough subjects.

Waterford.Org

So, if the research proves it and we know to it be true in our own homes, why is it so hard to find options for middle school?

I think as we transition kids into more independent learning, the hands-on component tends to get lost. We assume that independent means a textbook, pen and, paper.

But it doesn’t have to be!

Why Homeschooling Middle School Is Better With Hands-On Learning

Middle School Hands-On Learning With You ARE An Artist

Finding You ARE An Artist changed our middle school completely, as it gave me easy resources for hands-on learning across our academic subjects.

For example, when my son was learning about Pompeii in his ancient history study, we created a volcano with Nana. When his seventh grade science book introduced astronomy, we completed You ARE An Artist’s Space Exploration Unit.

We have found lessons for language arts, art history, poetry time, American history, scientific inventions, and so many more, all with our Clubhouse Membership. It completely solved my problem: hands-on learning was back in our middle school!

Adding More Independent Learning To Your Homeschool

As I mentioned, I think one of the reasons options for multisensory learning dissipate in the middle school years is that we expect our children to learn more and more independently.

You ARE An Artist provides an opportunity to practice independent learning as well!

My son completes his lessons without any help or involvement from me. We pick the unit and gather the materials, then I go about my day while Nana takes over as his teacher. (The only thing I sometimes do is create my own version of the activity along side him – not because he needs it, but because I find it to be a wonderful way to connect and create together. )

Homeschooling Middle School With You ARE An Artist

When we were first getting started, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there are so many opportunities for hands-on learning with You ARE An Artist.

Here is just a brief summary of the multisensory lessons available for homeschooling your middle schooler –

Middle School History/Geography

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

Science For Middle School

  • Inventors
  • Moon Missions
  • Solar Eclipse
  • Solar System
  • Space Exploration

Literature And Language Arts

  • Harry Potter (one of my son’s absolute favorites!)
  • Stopping By The Woods – Robert Frost
  • The Hobbit
  • Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
  • Lamp Post – Narnia C.S. Lewis
  • Hundred Acre Wood – A.A. Milne

Art Lessons For Middle School

  • A Simple Start In Acrylics
  • A Simple Start In Chalk Pastels
  • Art Techniques
  • Famous Artists
  • Art Master Classes

I am so grateful to have found You ARE An Artist. It’s been an integral part of our homeschool throughout my son’s middle school years. He has learned in ways that work best for his interests and needs. He has become a more independent learner. And, he had fun along the way.

What more could I ask for?

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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The Art of Kindness

As homeschool parents, of course, a primary focus of our homeschool is teaching our children to do ‘reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmatic. However, a more encompassing goal, both academically and personally, is developing who they become. Not that they need to be famous or rich, but that that they become men and women of character and integrity. I want them to love Jesus and love people and leave this world a better place. I want to teach them the art of kindness.

While they may one day do big things,  I think that most of our impact comes in the little day-to-day actions. Things like showing kindness to other people, being honest, and making good decisions. We teach them this through many big and small actions over the years.

The Art of Kindness

One of the ways that we like to share those small acts of kindness is through our artwork. There are many ways to use artwork to make someone else’s day just a little bit brighter.

There are many ways to use artwork to make someone else's day just a little bit brighter. It's the art of kindness

Sending Homemade Cards

My children love to draw, paint, and create cards for any occasion. They love being able to express their creativity in the cards and knowing that it might just make someone else smile.

There are many ways to share small acts of kindness through artwork to make someone else's day just a little bit brighter. It's the art of kindness.

A Treat for Service Workers

We love to sit out cookies, candy, or some other treat for our mail carrier, UPS driver, recycling pick-up team. We have even taken some to the library or on other errands.

Recently, we realized that we could add small pictures that were colored by the children to make them extra special. Just a small way of letting those people know that we appreciate their hard work. To show them that they are special to our family.

Artwork as Gifts

This one might be the most obvious, but making artwork as a gift can be a great way to spread kindness. As a bonus, it helps reduce the clutter of too many masterpieces. That could just mean giving or mailing one of your paintings to a grandparent.

However, you can take it a step further and choose art subjects based on the interest of those whom you want to gift. For example, my daughter knew that my mother-in-law loves owls. Therefore, she did a beautiful chalk pastel owl for her. Other times they have chosen a beach scene for someone that loves the beach. 

That is one of the many things we love about our You Are An Artist Membership. There are so many lessons to choose from they can always find one that will work for the people in our lives. You could even do artwork on an unusual object like painting a rock, decorating a canister set, or creating a wall hanging.

Giving the gift of art and time.

Creating Art Together

Finally, sometimes the kindness is not in the art itself but in finding a way to make someone feel cherished. Taking the time to create art together can be a great way to include grandparents, friends, or maybe residents of a local nursing home into your lives. It can be the gift of time and memories, with art as a fun by-product of time well spent.

Have you ever used art as a way of spreading kindness? How can you incorporate kindness into your routine? If you are looking for ideas for gifts make sure to check out Nana’s Gifts to Make and Give Class in the You Are An Artist Membership.

You might also like: The Art of Hymn Study. Dawn shares a wonderful match up of her hymn studies with Nana’s hymn art lessons!

Dawn is a passionate follower of Jesus, wife to Chris, and homeschool mom of four. In her spare time she loves to read, hike, and write on her blog Schoolin’ Swag. She enjoys reviewing curriculum and helping moms find the right fit for their family.

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10 Ways To Effortlessly Add Art To Your Homeschool Anytime of Year

Add Art to Your Homeschool

Have you been skipping art in your homeschool, but you are ready to start implementing it now? Or maybe you aren’t sure how you can work art into your homeschool. No worries! You may not know this, but ChalkPastel.com has multiple ways to help you add art to your home and homeschool. 

And we can’t wait to show you just how easy it is! No matter what kind of homeschooler you are, we have a way for you to bring the joy of art into your home.

Whether you are a serious planner mom or a spontaneous fun family, we have some ideas to share with you. Because art can be the cherry on top of all your learning at home and kids thrive when they can use their hands and exercise their creativity! 

Here is How You Can Effortlessly Add Art to Your Homeschool Anytime of Year! #homeschoolplanning #homeschoolart #artcurriculum #homeschoolcurriculum

10 Ways You Can Plan Homeschool Art with You ARE An Artist

Spontaneous  

If your homeschool family likes to wake up each morning and see where the day takes them, you can access over 600 art lessons anytime with your Clubhouse Membership. Just sign in to your membership and browse through all the available lessons and choose. Easy!

Add Art to Your Homeschool

Coordinate with Your Homeschool Curriculum 

This option is perfect for families that like to plan their weeks and months ahead. Since You ARE An Artist has a wide range of art lessons spanning from history, science, nature, famous artists, composers, presidents, Bible, hymns, inventors, space, and more – you can find an art lesson to coordinate with just about anything you may be studying! You can find this by using the search bar inside your membership or browsing through the various courses. Make sure you take advantage of our companion workbooks to access multiple art lesson planner pages too!

Companion Workbooks for Homeschool Studies 

Since we just mentioned these in #2, let’s talk about the companion workbooks a bit more in-depth. We have been creating companion workbooks to go along with our I Drew It Then I Knew It Series. Each of these workbooks comes with a recommended book list for the topic, biographies or overviews, planner pages, fast facts, writing prompts, research ideas, and more to complement whatever you are learning. Our companion workbooks make adding art to your homeschool easier than ever! Everything you need to complete a fantastic homeschool lesson with art is right at your fingertips. 

Don’t forget to utilize the search bar within your membership dashboard. The search bar is an easy way to find a last-minute art lesson or plan as far ahead as you need. Either way, pop whatever you are looking for in the search bar to search over 600 art tutorials. 

Art Lesson Calendar 

Nana and the You ARE An Artist team are always planning new and exciting lessons for Clubhouse members. You will find live events, holiday art, and seasonal relevant lessons pre-planned for you. Accessing the art lesson calendar is easy; it’s right inside your membership dashboard. Utilize the art lesson calendar, and you will never forget another fun opportunity to enjoy art in your homeschool!

Courses 

Not sure what to study? We have a solution for that too! Please browse through all of our courses to see what your children might find interesting. We have an entire series dedicated to I Drew It Then I Knew It and many other topical art courses to keep learning at home exciting. Pick a course and dive right in. Learning never has to be boring with You ARE An Artist. 

Art Credit For High School

Art for a Credit for Homeschooling High School

Do you have a teen that needs an art credit for high school? We have just the thing! Let us walk you through how simple it is to receive an art credit using chalk pastels. 

Homeschool Curriculum Match-Up Lists 

You ARE An Artist also has another effortless way to add art into your homeschool lessons with a match-up list. Download a curriculum match-up list from your dashboard for Ancient, American, Medieval, or Modern History and add art to any history lesson. 

Live Events 

Here at You ARE An Artist, we are always planning exciting ways to bring art into your homeschool. One of the ways we do that is by hosting live events online with our community. You can log into your membership dashboard to keep up with all of the upcoming events and add them to your planner or calendar, so you never miss it! Then your family can tag us on social media using @chalkpastelart and hashtag #youareanartist. Your kids will have an amazing time as you search the hashtag to see all of your fellow homeschoolers out there doing the same art lesson. 

Add Art to Your Homeschool

Family Time 

Art adds joy and erases the mundane from our homes and homeschools, so remember, You ARE An Artist on rainy days, for family time, and anytime you hear “I’m Bored”! Stretch your membership as far as possible by using it recreationally; it doesn’t have to be just for homeschool. Saturdays, summer, tea times, anytime with friends and family are also perfect times for chalk pastels. 

Don’t forget we have plenty of lessons for preschool so that you can add your youngest to the fun too. You can always add a little learner to any of our chalk pastel lessons, just give them a piece of paper and a couple of chalk pastels, and they will feel like the big kids! 

We hope to help you make the most of your learning at home together and your membership! Don’t have a membership yet? No worries! Grab yours now.

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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Mini Moments for the Homeschool Mom with Chalk Pastels

Whether you have 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, or more, take the time to recharge your spirit with these mini moments for the homeschool mom. Even busy moms can appreciate the simplicity and ease of chalk pastels. No super long supply list is needed! Just a starter set of chalk pastels, a pack of construction paper, and a few moments is all that is required for a mom to reconnect with herself and her love of art.

Mini Moments for Mom with Chalk Pastels: Whether you 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, or more, take the time to recharge your spirit with these mini moments for moms. Even busy moms can appreciate the simplicity and ease of chalk pastels. No super long supply list is needed! Just a starter set of chalk pastels, a pack of construction paper, and a few moments is all that required for a mom to reconnect with herself and a love of art. #momlife #momtime #motherhood #mom #relaxation #selfcare #minimomentsformoms #momselfcare #momart

When I feel overwhelmed, art has a way of helping me feel more grounded and centered. When I’m morose, art has a way of helping me see the joy and tranquility of life. It has a beautiful way of helping myself and my children process emotions we may not have even realized were there.

I can move forward in life more easily when art is made a weekly priority.

Art has always been precious to me. I remember creating stick figures as a little girl. But in my mind, they were so much more than simple lines. Those figures were knights and ladies, dragons and whales, jungles, and far-off places.

As an adult I turn to art when I’m anxious, happy, or sad.

There’s just something about mixing colors to create new colors. Taking a blank canvas and creating something from nothing is always thrilling. There’s magic in the way the chalk feels against my fingers as I blend to create different shades or the way the paints glide from my brush.

I find I get lost in worlds of color, texture, and form.

Mini Moments for Mom with Chalk Pastels

Mini Moments for the Homeschool Mom

As a mom, it’s not always easy to find hours upon hours to get lost in my fancies of color. But, I have found that it’s far easier to take small chunks of time or mini moments while the children are otherwise occupied.

I’m talking about 5-10 minutes, folks. 20 minutes at the most unless my husband is home. Yet those 5-10 minutes are so precious for this mom’s self-care.

Mini Moments for Mom with Chalk Pastels

Filling Your Cup as a Homeschool Mom

I find that when I carve out time for my own self-care and needs I am a better mom to my kiddos. Nana helps me do that with her chalk pastel and acrylic paint video lessons! Her lessons are short and simple which is a plus in my de-stressing department.

My favorite lessons include lots of color, the tranquility of nature, or my favorite literature! They range from super short lessons to a few that I can get lost in… if my husband is home to watch the kids.

Mini Moments for Mom with Chalk Pastels

You ARE An Artist Chalk Pastel Membership and Homeschool Mom Art

With the You ARE AN Artist Chalk Pastel Membership you and your children have access to over 700+ video art lessons including this homeschool moms’ favorites:

  • Jonquil in a Jar
  • Easter Lily
  • Dandelion
  • Vivaldi’s Spring Tree
  • Bear
  • Deer in Forest
  • Garden Bunny
  • Aslan (The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe)
  • Hobbit Hole (The Hobbit)
  • Rabbit in the Woods (Green Ember Gala)
  • Wren on Teacup (Bird Acrylics)
  • Titmouse (Bird Acrylics)
  • Bluebird (Bird Acrylics)
  • Fall Tree (Master Class Acrylics)
  • Winter Tree (Master Class Acrylics)
  • Bird Nest (Master Class Acrylics)
  • Lighthouse (Hymn Acrylic)
Mini Moments for Mom with Chalk Pastels

Mini Moments for Mom and Me

Sometimes even getting 5 minutes of alone mom time can still seem impossible. That’s why I also make regular mommy and me time during the week. This is just a lovely way to share one-on-one time with your child while also incorporating art. Or we will pick a day of the week and make that our homeschool art day, like our recent Harry Potter themed chalk pastel teatime! In this way, the children get in art as well as this mom. It’s a perfect pairing!

But, if you find that you can carve out the time, I challenge you to grab your favorite beverage, construction paper, chalk pastels, and Nana’s video art lessons for a quiet moment of color and reflection. After all, art isn’t just for kids. It’s nourishing for moms too!

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

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

It certainly was for me and my family.

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

Thankfully, I found You ARE An Artist.

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

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

You ARE An Artist Courses For Middle and High School Homeschool

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

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

History and Geography For Older Homeschoolers

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

Science For Middle and High School Homeschoolers

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

Literature and Language Arts For Middle and High School Homeschoolers

Art Classes For Older Learners

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

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

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

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

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

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

Incorporating Art Into Other Subjects For Middle And High School Learners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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Exploring Famous Artists with Chalk Pastels

Exploring famous artists with your children 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 700+ chalk pastel lessons including Famous Artists video lessons with the following master artists:

  • Monet
  • Vermeer
  • Michelangelo 
  • Norman Rockwell
  • Rembrandt
  • Audubon
  • Beatrix Potter 
  • Van Gogh

  • Degas
  • da Vinci
  • Lichtenstein
  • Betsy Ross
  • Warhol
  • O’Keefe
  • Picasso
  • Winston Churchill
  • Georges Seurat (lesson premiere April 2021)
  • Bob Ross (lesson premiere April 2021)

Plus, a new artist is added most every month! You ARE an ARTiST Complete Clubhouse members also get an I Drew It Then I Knew It Companion Workbook with famous artists biographies and more!

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

Enjoy making some beautiful memories with your children as you experience the famous artists chalk pastel art tutorials! With our I Drew It Then I Knew It Famous Artists Companion Workbook, you will get biographies of each famous artist, multiple planners, a book recommendation list, fast fact sheets, and overviews to work through Nana’s art lessons.

Our Famous Artists Companion Workbook paired with a Complete Clubhouse Membership is the perfect way to enjoy art history and a study of the master artists!

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 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.

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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.