8 ways to raise art-smart kids

artsmart

Written by Laura Grace Weldon of Free Range Learning

My seven-year-old daughter and I dressed up for a special evening out together. After years of attending Cleveland Orchestra children’s programs and listening to stories of composers at home, she wanted to attend a “real” concert.

We settled in velvety seats, excited to see a college symphony perform.

When the music started she was silently enraptured. The man sitting behind my daughter leaned forward. I assumed he’d whisper his delight at seeing a music-loving child in attendance. Instead he informed me I was an idiot for bringing her. He was sure she’d wreck his evening, although he stomped away from his seat too soon to find out.

It’s assumed kids and fine arts don’t go together, or not till assignment-laden Shakespeare is imposed on high school students. Wrong!

The arts can be joyfully woven into children’s lives from babyhood on.

These days my kids (now teens and young adults) eagerly engage with the arts. They go to plays, enjoy new classical music scored for video games, and keep up with literature.

During a recent discussion I overheard my kids relate the theme of a current movie to Homer’s Odyssey, tied together with quotes from a Terry Pratchett book plus a cartoon meme.

Lightning fast, funny, and sharp. No curricula could possibly keep up.

Here’s the enjoyment-based way my family has gotten comfy with fine arts:

[Read more…]

The power of poetry

hannah2picmo

Written by Hannah Vanderpool of Praying with One Eye Open.

We’re in the living room. Two of the kids are stretched on the couch and they’re tugging a blanket between them, though they know better than to wear it out further.

The middle boy sits on the loveseat. He smiles and flops himself flat, legs off the side.

He knows he has the better seat, the one across from me.

I pick up the poetry book. It’s a thick, yellow anthology, one we’ve been working through for almost a year.

Every day we sit in our places and I read from it — words about love, and trees and ordinary people.  Today is no different.

This morning I read my best, paying attention to the rhythm and flow of the lines. I finish the last line of a Langston Hughes poem and then I don’t say anything because there is meaning in the air and I want them to feel it.

[Read more…]

Those little things I miss

kris1
Written by Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

You know how everyone is always talking about the things you’re going to miss when your kids are older? When you’re knee-deep in diapers and toddler tantrums, sometimes you don’t believe those older moms.

I’m not going to lie to you – I don’t miss diapers or tantrums. I have been known to whisper to my kids that I’m glad they’re grown when witnessing one of those tantrums.

As I – and my kids – have gotten older, I’d started to think that maybe I wasn’t as sentimental as most because I wasn’t exactly pining for those younger days. However, in recent weeks, those nostalgic feelings have hit with a vengeance – particularly in the face of teen trials.

I’m not sure which is worse, dealing with a toddler tantrum or worrying about your 19-year-old who is out on a date – because, you know what? When I look at her, I still see that cherub-faced toddler. Cherub-faced toddlers should not be dating!

If you’re in the trenches with little ones, I thought you might like to know what I’m missing, lest you think that being a mom to older kids is all rainbows and unicorns.

[Read more…]

Candle making with kids

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support of this site!

Candle making with kids
Written by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom

You guys? I did something amazing.

I. MADE. FIRE!

Well, hand-dipped beeswax taper candles at least.

If you know me at all, you know that I don’t “do” crafting.

Aside from Green Kid Crafts (which I love exactly because I don’t have to plan anything, and all the supplies greet us at the door each month), I try to stick with my strengths, which happen to be in mostly non-artsy arenas.

But I love learning how to make practical things that my family can use, and for this reason (as well as reading about Mother creating them in Farmer Boy), I’ve always wanted to try my hand at making candles.
[Read more…]

The best Christmas scenes in children’s literature

annechristmaspicmo

Written by Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy.

For your holiday enjoyment, I present to you the best Christmas scenes in children’s literature. (I shared the best Christmas scenes in English literature last week.)

It was painful to choose just a snippet to share because the extended scenes—and the books from which they were drawn—are all so good!

Narnia christmas

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

(Find the movie version here.)

“It was a sledge, and it was reindeer with bells on their harness. And on the sledge sat a person whom everyone knew the moment they set eyes on him. He was a huge man in a bright red robe (bright as hollyberries) with a hood that had fur inside it and a great white beard that fell like a foamy waterfall over his chest. Some of the pictures of Father Christmas in our world make him look only funny and jolly. But now that the children actually stood looking at him they didn’t find him quite like that. He was so big, and so glad, and so real, that they all became quite still. They felt very glad, but also solemn.

“I’ve come at last,” said he. “She has kept me out for a long time, but I have got in at last. Aslan is on the move. The Witch’s magic is weakening.”

[Read more…]