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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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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.