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How to Teach the Visual Arts

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How to Teach the Visual Arts

Welcome Back to the

5 Days of Teaching Art at Home!


There are many benefits to homeschooling our children.  One of those benefits is we can nurture our children’s academic interests.  For example we have the opportunities available to include the arts (visual and performing arts) in our home instruction.  Teaching art does not come natural for all homeschool moms.  In fact, art instruction can be intimidating.  So how does a homeschool mom educate her children on the arts when she does not have an eye for or interest in art?  Let me show you how to teach the visual arts without it being overwhelming.

I must be honest.  I have struggled with teaching the arts since it is difficult for me to grasp abstracts, some structural art, and opera.  On the other hand, I do see the benefits of learning the arts and obtaining those skills.  This is because the knowledge gained from learning the arts carries through to other subjects much like the rest of the educational courses.


Methods of Teaching

There are two things to keep in mind when teaching the arts.  First, remember the advantages.  We may not enjoy math but for our children’s benefit, we teach them the subject.  Second, be open-minded.  When we express our displeasure towards any subject, that displeasure may very well predetermine our children’s mindset.  Besides, we may discover an art form we do enjoy.

As with any other subject, you need to decide how you will provide the teaching.  Will you utilize curriculum, create your own unit of study, and/or enlist help from others?  What method you choose will depend on the age of your children; their learning styles, your teaching style; and your children’s previous art experience.

The curriculum options come in book form, video/DVD, or internet resources.   For creating your own curriculum, incorporate the information you wish your children to learn as you would with any other unity study.  By far the easiest curriculum I have ever used and continue to use is from SEE THE LIGHT.  All my daughter needs to do is gather the art supplies and follow along with the DVD.

There are other options for teaching art as well.  Consider the following:

  • Homeschool co-op – another mom might be artistically inclined
  • Homeschool group leaders often arrange art classes for their members.
  • Neighboring art teacher from either a public school, college, or gallery
  • Local artist that specializes in one medium
  • Museums
  • Homeschool student whom possess artistic talents

Decide on What to Teach 

Next, you will need to decide on the lessons and the length of the study.  For instance, do you want to focus on drawing for the entire school year or will you concentrate on one or two artists instead?

Be sure to include the basic art terminology in your studies.  The definitions make for better understanding the learned material.

There are a variety of resources to help you.  In the Hands of a Child offers the Study Any Painter curriculum (be sure to enter in the giveaway for this product.)  If you have a high school student, you will want to read the post on High School Fine Arts Course.  I will also share with you some art freebies on Friday.



Keep Supplies Readily Available      

Encourage your child’s freedom of artistic expression by having supplies available at all times.  When your children become inspired, the idea can easily be lost without the needed medium.

Consider having two boxes of supplies.  One box containing an array of supplies for everyday use.  The second box containing specific supplies reserved for art class.  The second box assures you have what you need for your current art study. 



Often times, students want to begin painting without learning how to draw.  Drawing is a preparatory skill utilized in painting, sculpting, and other forms of visual arts.  Therefore, help your children develop the basics of drawing before moving on to the next art form.

The use a variety of media (pencil, charcoal, colored pencils, crayon, and etcetera) adds interest to drawing.  To engage your children, let them draw objects that interest them but at the same time encourage the use of a variety of subject matter to help with progression of their skills.


Set of watercolor paints - Ariel Waldman



Initiate painting by teaching the color wheel.  Have your children participate in creating the colors as you discuss:

  • Primary colors
  • Secondary colors
  • Tertiary colors
  • Warm colors
  • Cool colors
  • Color harmony (analogous colors, monochromatic colors, and complimentary colors)

Utilize diverse media in explaining the real life uses for the color wheel.  Mixing colors for cake decorating is one example.

For younger children, advance from finger-painting to the use of watercolors and acrylic paints.  Experiment by adding texture with various items such as salt, sponges, wax paper, and tissue paper.

Introduce canvas painting to your older children as their painting skills improve.  This gives your children an incentive to apply extra effort into their paintings when they know you will display the paintings for all to enjoy.


Polymer clay examples

Clay and Ceramics

Most children learn by seeing and doing.  They become amazed at their creations when they have something concrete to hold and manipulating clay is often a favorite.  An idea book and Sculpey clay can keep a child occupied for hours.  Sculpey is easier to manipulate than modeling clay and is less messy.  After baking, the creation hardens and the children have a treasure to keep.

Not every household has a pottery wheel but that should not limit the use of your resources.  Learn about the methods of creating a ceramic piece by seeking out a local artist.  Inquire if he/she is willing to show your children the process of forming a piece of clay into a work of art.  Also, ask if your children can participate in the process.

For home study, discuss the history of ceramics, types of clay, potter’s tools, and firing and glazing process.  Pottery Magic has useful information on these topics.

3-D Art

3-D art comes in different forms such as bean art, wire art, and structural art.  Look around your home for unusual objects and let your children use their creativity to turn the objects into pieces of art.

Decorative wire can become beautiful sculptures.  LessonPlansPage has information on how to teach wire art.  For more ideas on metal and wire art see Dick Blick’s website.


Hopefully, I have show you how to teach the visual arts without it being overwhelming.


Angie McFarren, Homeschool Consultant

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Please share. It makes me happy. :)

Angie McFarren

Angie McFarren is a homeschool mom of 1 high school student and graduated another who is now attending college. She has homeschooled them since they were in K and Pre-K. Angie is passionate about homeschooling and enjoys Helping Other Parents Educate. She is a Homeschool Consultant and the author of Educate the Home Educator Crash Course. Angie is also on the See the Light Art Curriculum team.

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