Jaworski School of the Arts
By Kim Jaworski, Homeschool Resource Specialist
When it came to “teaching” the arts (I use quotes because I’m not a very artistic person and the last one who should be teaching someone else anything about art) we used more of an exploratory approach. I wanted the boys to be exposed to the range of artistic expression out there, but I had little expertise or talent to offer beyond the written arts.
My plan basically boiled down to a few easy phases of exploration.
We picked a topic (painting, pottery, ballet, classical music, etc).
We went to the library and looked to see what we could find (videos, CDs, books) and we dragged them all home for family perusal. We looked them over, we pondered, and we critiqued (basically we clarified what we liked or didn’t like, personally). And we learned the lingo. Every genre has its lingo.
Then we tried to either copy or satirize with our own work along the same lines. Maybe we did our best to copy a painting, or we tried our hand at a bit of family room ballet, or we conducted an invisible orchestra while Beethoven played.
The next step was to create something original, in all seriousness, based on what we had learned. Sometimes we took a class through community ed or at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. We gave it a try. We jumped in and got messy with it.
And I always tried to tie in a field trip. A trip to the art museum, tickets to a play, tickets to the St Paul Orchestra, tickets to the Mn Opera, or a day at the sculpture gardens. A chance to see art in action or on display and lots of talk about what touched us and what didn’t.
We talked about beauty being in the eye of the beholder, and how different each beholder can be! We also talked about respecting other people’s choices and tastes in art. They like what they like and we like what we like. That’s just how it is.
There were some surprises. They enjoyed the opera more than they thought they would. They found classical music that also shows up in cartoons. They admired the strength it takes to dance at a professional level.
I might not have raised passionate artists, but I know they have been exposed to the rich artscape that decorates our world and they appreciate what it takes to create it. And when there’s a documentary on PBS about an artist or musician or performer, they will typically stop channel surfing and watch. So I’m happy with the outcome.