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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

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Christopher Columbus Homeschool Art Lesson

Let Nana’s chalk pastel lessons make learning about American history fun and engaging! Enjoy an I Drew It Then I Knew It Christopher Columbus art lesson to complement your history studies! This art lesson is the sample from Nana’s Classical Collection of American history video art lessons. All of Nana’s I Drew It Then I Knew It lessons are included at the Complete level of the You ARE an ARTiST Clubhouse.

Enjoy an I Drew It Then I Knew It Christopher Columbus art lesson to complement your history studies! This art lesson is the sample from Nana's Classical Collection of American history video art lessons you can find here. All of Nana's I Drew It Then I Knew It lessons are included at the Complete level of the You ARE an ARTiST Clubhouse!

All you need are a starter set of chalk pastels, a pack of construction paper, and the You ARE AN Artist Complete Clubhouse Membership.

The You ARE An Artist Complete Clubhouse Membership is a wealth of resources! There are online chalk pastel lessons from early American history through modern American history and everything in between, with new lessons added each month! There are 700+ lessons of all sorts to choose from. Then, there is the Companion I Drew It Then I Knew It History workbooks!

These are perfect jumping-off points for a quick history study!

Christopher Columbus Art Lesson for Homeschool

This video art lesson is perfect for learning all about Christopher Columbus in your homeschool. Not only do you add art to your day, but your child will enjoy learning all about history as well.

Please note: if you are already on our email list, you will not be added again. Thank you!
  • Suggested supplies: light blue construction paper. White, brown, red, black and ocean colors.
  • A note on chalk pastels: Pastels are an easy, forgiving medium. Fun for children and adults alike! Details on the pastels and paper we use, how and where to purchase, and links to all of Nana’s other pastel lessons are here: Our Favorite Chalk Pastels
  • The practical aspects of a mess: Pastels are blessedly messy. We always have baby wipes close by to wipe hands. We wear something we don’t mind getting stained or don a smock.

Share Your Homeschool Art (FEATURING YOU! YOU ARE AN ARTIST!)

Paint your Christopher Columbus art lesson and be sure to share with us! Simply tag @chalkpastelart on Instagram, use the #YouAREanArtist hashtag, or upload a photo to the

Growing a love of art at You ARE an ARTiST is a multi-generational passion! Tricia is Nana’s daughter and a mama of five children. Nana shared her first chalk pastel art lessons with her grandchildren around Tricia’s kitchen table. Homeschooling since 2000, Tricia has seen the fruits of home education with three homeschool grads so far! She shares the art and heart of homeschooling at Hodgepodge and is author of the book, Help! I’m Homeschooling! She and her husband, Steve, are also owners of The Curriculum Choice.