School budgets all over the country are taking hits. Hard, hard hits. Even while there are increasing demands on academic performance and standardized test scores, there is less money for curriculum. And even less money is available for arts education. What many consider a “nice to have but not necessary” expressive outlet for kids is getting cut hard. That means that if you believe that arts education is an integral part of your child’s education, you’re going to have to supplement your child’s art education.
Art education in the schools is more than just making some nice paintings to take home to Mom and Dad. Art teachers talk about the history of artistic expression, famous artists in history and how society affected their art, and sometimes even about science in of different mediums.
Art teachers encourage creative expression as a creative and physical outlet to the intensity of the academic day — while recognizing how what they do actually complements the reading, writing and arithmetic. Art education is part of learning connections.
If your school district is moving to reduce or even eliminate art education in the schools (and your efforts to lobby the school committee not to do so fall on deaf ears), you can supplement your child’s art education outside the school doors.
The home craft stash
Supplementing your child’s art education starts with your home arts and crafts stash. A well-stocked stash for exploration in multiple mediums will not just enhance your child’s art education, but also may enhance academic subjects as well. Many kids (and adults) find that drawing out diagrams of science topics or math concepts enhances their understanding. Doing it in an artistic way, exploring different artistic mediums, is a bonus.
Local art classes
There are bound to be local art classes available to your child, either through community education programs or directly through artists in your regions. Whether your child wants to paint, do ceramics or try some other art form, look in the classifieds of the local paper for artists that advertise both group and private instruction.
You already know the Internet is a terrific resource for communities, shopping and research — and that includes art research. Images from well-known classic collections can be viewed online, with detailed discussion of influences, technique and importance — without the pricey plane ride and museum entrance fee. While seeing an object online will never be the same as seeing it in person, spending time researching artists, art history and even specific artistic technique is a valuable supplement to art education.
Museum and gallery trip
Whether you live near a big city or in the country, there’s bound to be a museum or artist’s gallery in reasonable driving distance. Viewing art and learning to appreciate art in it’s own space is a different experience than making art or viewing it on the Internet. And these outings can be terrific one-on-one experiences for you and your child
If you find yourself in need of supplementing your child’s art education, don’t be daunted by it. It starts with what you have around the house and can evolve into terrific mentoring experiences and special time with your child. Arts isn’t just bonus time in the school day, it’s essential to a complete education.
More art resources for your family
- Essential art supplies for creative kids
- Arts and crafts: Beyond paint with water
- Preserving and saving your children’s art