How We Use Art in Our Homeschool

How We Use Art in Our #Homeschool - resources we find helpful at An Island Family By Grace


Art has never been my strong point, so it has therefore been a blessing and a surprise that several of our children are very artistic! It is also an encouragement to me that home educating mums don’t have to be experts in all subjects, in order for their children to excel at them!

When the children were younger, we just provided lots of paint, play dough (at first bought from ELC, then using the homemade recipe from the Miller family books, similar to this one at 1+1+1=1 which also includes essential oils!), paper, card and craft materials (translation: household rubbish!)

Buy a small amount of quality art materials

Something I read around that time that we have since used in our homeschooling, is that buying a small number of quality art supplies will allow your children to experience different art media which are usually only given to High School and older art students, and that these supplies will last a long time because of their quality. I have found this to be true- I bought a set of oil pastels, soft pastels, watercolour crayons, and 2 quality paint brushes about 6 years ago, and we are still using them now. These supplies only get taken out when I am supervising, and not with the general ‘kid’s’ stuff.

Use cheaper art materials for ‘everyday’

Most of our art and craft supplies are very cheap, however, and I usually buy colour pencils rather than felt tip pens, as inevitably pens will dry out a few days after I bought them when someone leaves the lid off, or it rolls under some furniture. If funds allow, I try to buy colour pencils such as Faber-Castell or Staedtler, as we have found these less likely to break every time they are sharpened.

Pencil sharpener problems!

As a side note, we have a bit of a pencil sharpener problem in our family! Often a pencil sharpener will not actually sharpen pencils, (particularly, shall we say, for some people in the family for whom this is more important?!) That’s not to mention how often we manage to lose pencil sharpeners. A couple of years ago I splashed out this crank-operated pencil sharpener that clamps onto the table. This was the most I had ever spent on a pencil sharpener, but it was very good at sharpening our pencils… for about a year!

So if you have a recommendation for a good, (long lasting!), pencil sharpener that is affordable and can stand up to heavy use, please let me know!

Anyway, back to art resources! As I said above, when we started homeschooling, we used a very basic approach to art. Since then, we have gone through various approaches to art, using some bought curricula.

This is how we use art in our homeschool:

1.Nature Notebooks

I talked previously about nature study in our homeschool in my post 10 Nature Study Resources. We use blank paper on clipboards to draw what we find outdoors, (or bring it into the house to draw, if it is moveable!), then cut this out to stick into our nature notebooks. However, Lynn from Raising Little Shoots has lovely examples of painting directly onto a notebook in her post A Calendar of Firsts.

2. Picture Study
At the moment we are using Raphael from the Art for Children series, by Ernest Raboff, for picture study. We look at the painting together, discuss what stands out to us, or any techniques we notice, and read what the author says about the painting. Sometimes we will look online for other paintings by the same artist, (Wikipedia or art gallery websites are good for this), then we will do our own drawings or paintings using the same technique or subject as the painting we have been studying.
JES from Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth has lovely posts on art, starting with What is a Picture Study?, and Practical Pages has lots of excellent posts on art appreciation for a lot of different styles of art.
We have previously used for picture study, Artistic Pursuits Book 1, (which also teaches art techniques, and is available from Conquest Books in the UK), and an older book which is now out of print.
How We Use #Art in Our #Homeschool - An Island Family By Grace
3. Drawing and Painting Prompts
When our older children were about 4 or 5, we were given several ‘doodle’ type books- The Doodle Book 2: Draw! Colour! Create, and The Big Book for Little Hands. We were later given a present of Drawing Class, and a kind homeschooling friend passed on The Art Doodle Book: Create Your Own Masterpieces in the Style of the Great Artists  to us, which is a combination of picture study and prompts for your own drawings. We recently also downloaded ‘What to Draw and How to Draw It’ for free from Homeschool Freebie of the Day.
4. Artist Studies
 Following on from doing picture studies of famous paintings, we occasionally do a study of a particular artist. This works well with some of the lessons from Mystery of History, which we use once a week, (it is available from Conquest Books or the Book Depository in the UK). We have also used free downloadable Artist Biography notebooking pages from You can use free mini unit studies on famous artists from Homeschoolshare too, such as these ones on Van Gogh, Edgar Degas, and Grant Wood. They include reading suggestions and a free printable notebooking page for each artist. Our younger girls also still love the Katie and the Artists picture book series, and others like it.
5. Local Art and Craft Events
In the past we have been to open days and educational trips to art galleries and museums, where specific art activities were organised. Often museums and art galleries will have printable activity sheets to take with you on your visit, listed under ‘education’ or ‘schools’.
The girls and I more recently attended an art and crafting workshop run by a local craft group at our community hall, where you could choose different activities to try out, with the help of someone more experienced! The girls and I did some watercolour painting, then the younger girls moved on to knitting with handspun wool. Weaving, felting, printing and pyrography were some of the other activities on offer.
We found out about this event in our local newspaper, and the events at galleries and museums are usually publicised on their websites. Museums and stately homes often have children’s materials available, such as scavenger hunts or quizzes on the different paintings or sculptures to be found in the property.
These are the favourite ways we do art in our homeschool family, and probably the main ones we use. Do you have any other ideas that I have not mentioned? Please share them in a comment.

Have you enjoyed this post?

If so, please subscribe to my newsletter and have posts delivered to your inbox once a week.

* indicates required

Email Format


May be linked up at Making Your Home Sing MondayModest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Mom 2 Mom Monday, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop,  Titus 2sdays, Teaching What is Good, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up Party, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Hearts for Home Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Growing in Grace Link Up,  Faithful at Home FridaysFellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Linkup, Frugal Friday, and Faith Filled Friday.



This post contains some affiliate links to Amazon. Shopping through them won’t cost you anything extra, but if you do buy something, our family will earn a few pence. I only link to products I have used and would recommend.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

15 Comments on “How We Use Art in Our Homeschool

  1. I’m guilty of neglecting art in our home school day. I have a couple of excellent art books from Usbourne books that I need to use. One particularly good one The Art Treasury. A piece of Art is featured, studied and then suggestions are given on how to create your own.

  2. These are such great ideas. I don’t homeschool my children but they are just getting into art a lot more and I have very little artistic ability when it comes to drawing. So I am excited too, when my kids draw something really cool. Your neighbor at Titus2Tuesdays
    Jaime Wiebel recently posted…The 12 Praise of ChristmasMy Profile

  3. We aren’t doing all of these consistently yet since our daughter is still young but have plans to tackle art in the same way. 🙂 We have a Norman Rockwell Christmas book we are using right now that would be great for an artist/picture study. It is by John Kirk and has a lot of information about Rockwell’s life as an artist as well as over 50 of his Christmas paintings. Thanks for another great post!
    Kristi Miller recently posted…25 Family Approved Christmas BooksMy Profile

    • I can’t say we are super consistent either, but we definitely use some of these things, some of the time! Your Norman Rockwell book sounds interesting- thank you for letting me know about it 🙂

  4. We also love art and have some very talented artists! I have always been interested in different mediums of art and am so glad that my children have been so gifted. I have always bought them art supplies but this year I started buying some better acrylics, water colors and oil paints and canvas’. We also nature journal. I have been having a lot of fun doing it with them. We recently went to our local art museum on free museum day. We were all really inspired. We have a terrible missing pencil problem. I can’t stand it! I am trying to figure out a way so as not to lose all our pencils. We used to have a unsharpened pencil problem but I bought a motorized pencil sharpener and it has been a life saver. Thanks for all your great tips and resources. I have been wanting to do a study on different artists so I will be checking out your links!

    • Where do these things go?! We have not used canvas yet, so that would be interesting. Thanks for your comment Rebekah 🙂

  5. This was a great post. I’ve been wanting to add some sort of art curriculum to my grandsons home schooling. These are great tips. Thank you for sharing. I’m receiving your emails. Thanks for sharing. I’d love you to come over and visit.
    Have a great week.

    • Thank you Sherry 🙂 I hope some of it is of help for your grandson. I’ll come over for a look at your blog 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

WordPress Anti Spam by WP-SpamShield

error: Content is protected !!