I’m going to be perfectly honest. I’m not an “artsy” kinda gal. And including art in my homeschool has been super intimidating. Multiply that by the five school-aged kids at five different levels  (six if you count the preschooler) and I was afraid it was never going to happen.

Including Art in your Multi-Age Homeschool Finished Project

I’d always figured that art was one of those classes I’d hire out eventually. You know, once I got my act together and had enough time, money, and energy to cart kids around to classes hither and thither.

But for now, we’re loving the gentle option of online art classes. We order supplies on Amazon. We watch the videos. And we do art at our own pace!

Including Art in your Multi-Age Homeschool Watching the Video

Here are some of the things I’m learning about making art happen in a multi-age homeschool.

Realistic Expectations

You and I both know that expectations can make or break a situation. And that applies to the kids as well as the moms!

It will be messy. Art supplies will be damaged – paint colors mixed, marker tips blunted, and water spilled on whole pads of paper.

Your children will produce child-like artwork. Don’t hover over their shoulders and gasp every time they are about to make a “mistake”. How will they ever learn to enjoy art and express their own creative vision?

Including Art in your Multi-Age Homeschool Drawing Lines

Speaking of child-like art, it might be a good idea to talk before hand about how everyone has different abilities and gifts.

Your art will not turn out like the lady’s in the video. And it won’t turn out like your siblings’ either. And that’s perfectly OK.

Including Art in your Multi-Age Homeschool Process

Tweak it for Your Homeschool

The lovely thing about video classes is that they are so fantastically adaptable! Here are a few things I did that worked beautifully for us.

  • We had hundreds of lessons to choose from. I decided not to go in order, (or even to choose something that aligned with what we are currently studying – homeschool gasp!) but to scan through and choose something that looked fairly simple. For the kids, yes, but also for my sake!
  • I watched the video the night before. It helped me get a big picture idea so I’d know what I needed to do to assist them. It also lowered the panic level; I could do this.
  • Instead of using canvases (because: cost and storage) we chose to go with mixed-media pads. Now we can add future projects to them as well!
  • The first thing I did was to sit all the kids down and show them the video at 2x the speed. They didn’t need all the detailed instructions, they just needed an overview of the project.
  • This project was supposed to involve ripping pages out of an old, tattered hymnal. It was like I suggested skinning the cat. That wasn’t happening, so instead, I photocopied hymnal pages.
  • Rather than try to manage six kids (down to age 4) all at the same time with acrylic paint and mod podge, we rotated in pairs. By the time everyone had rotated through to paint their backgrounds, the first pair of paintings was dry and ready for the hymnal strips.

Including Art in your Multi-Age Homeschool Paint Preparation

Help Wanted

Even with the above accommodations, I wasn’t about to tackle this first art endeavor alone. I chose a day when my mom would be with us.

We also took advantage of the television. Those who were not painting or mod-podging were watching a video so my mom and I could focus on the artists in action.

But the best help I got, by far, was from the program we used. I cannot recommend highly enough the Masterpiece Society Studio.

Including Art in your Multi-Age Homeschool Adding Details

Alisha Gratehouse is an artist and a homeschool mom. She offers online mixed media courses in seasonal bundles and by artist study.

Because we are members of the Masterpiece Society Studio this year, we have access to all of her art courses at once, as well as any new courses that are added during our membership. That meant I was freely able to pick and choose just the right project for us.

We are especially excited about the upcoming Essentials of Art courses: Drawing 101, Pastels 101, Acrylics & Oils 101, and Watercolors 101! This will be such a blessing for my oldest who is definitely art-inclined and so far only self-taught.

And here’s another plus for the mama of a multi-age homeschool. I had idyllic ideas of doing the art project right alongside my kids. It was a lovely fantasy.

But thankfully, Masterpiece Society Studio moms get to participate in a monthly Create and Connect. Mom’s need time to experiment with art, too!

Lynna Sutherland

Lynna blogs at Homeschooling without Training Wheels where she likes to remind families (and herself!) about the freedom and flexibility of homeschooling.  She is a mama to seven unique little people ranging in age from middle school to ninja toddler.  She loves to help families find comfortable and realistic ways to homeschool a variety of ages family-style!

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