Frequently Asked Questions
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Art is not just "fun time." It involves a learning process just like all the other academics. Therefore, we believe, the best program for students is one that teaches the fundamentals, whether it is in drawing, color theory, painting, lettering, etc. Fundamentals are the basic building blocks in art. For instance, to learn color theory, some of the fundamentals would be an understanding and application of: the color wheel, primary and secondary colors, the purpose for complementary and analogous colors, and so forth. Likewise, there are also many basic fundamentals to be learned in beginning drawing and painting. Learning the fundamentals requires a structured program with lessons that have specific learning objectives. However, the younger the student, the less structure should be given. For example, with a four-year-old, you may only be able to teach a few of the basic fundamentals, allowing the child the liberty to be self-expressive for the remainder of the class time. As the student matures, you can offer a more structured program.
There are many levels for teaching beginning drawing: a very basic level for ages 4 through 7, a more structured level for ages 8 through 12, and a comprehensive and more advanced program for ages 13 and older. Older children have developed their motor skills (hand and eye coordination) to such a degree that they can practice many more of the fundamentals and effectively apply them to their artwork.
Evaluating children's artwork takes confidence and practice. One way of evaluating is to see if the student fulfilled the specific objective(s) for each lesson, following the instructions. Another way is simply by holding drawings up to a mirror (to see a reverse image of the picture), which will reveal many of the mistakes. Finally, when evaluating, balance praise with constructive criticism.
Every student becomes frustrated with their artwork at one time or another. Focus them on having a good attitude and doing their best. If they continue to have difficulty, assist them with the art lessons. If the assignment is too difficult you may chose to go on to another art assignment or return to art at another time. Mood has a lot to do with art. Don't insist on art time, as it is a subject that can not be forced on most students, but works best with encouragement and enthusiasm.
There are many students who have little confidence when it comes to doing artwork. However, every student has a level of ability to one degree or another, and this should be nurtured. First, select a curriculum that complements the student. Do not obtain something that is too easy or too difficult. However, remember, the greatest teachers have the highest expectations for their students. Select a curriculum that is a little above their expectations. It is up to the teacher to inspire, encourage, and direct, installing a belief that they can do anything they set their hearts to.
Inspiration is very important. Our main source is God. Pray over the works of your children's hands and invite the Holy Spirit into your classroom. Also, playing classical music during art time is a wonderful source of inspiration. Visit the libraries and museums and become inspired by works of the great masters. Finally, go out of doors to draw in God's creation. And, don't forget, be enthusiastic as an educator. As Emerson stated, "Nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm."
Generally speaking, start with one or two hours a week for the beginning student; three hours a week for a student who seems to show a real interest; and five hours or more for the really serious art student.
Most of the lessons have been created to last one class period - anywhere between thirty minutes to an hour. However, this will vary greatly from assignment to assignment and student to student - some lessons are easy and others are more difficult. Likewise some students are impetuous while others are meticulous. As a teacher, I would insist that students take their time. Also, make sure they fulfill the specific objectives for each assignment. If they finish ahead of time, have them add more detail or color to their artwork (while other students are still completing their work) and always have a back-up lesson for them to do. Finally, learn to broaden the lessons by adding your own creativity.
Generally speaking, the younger the student, the more quality time you will have to spend with them. You may even have to do parts of a lesson for them when they become frustrated. This is called "hands on." Children also love it when you sit next to them and do your own artwork. As they become older, students can work more independently. Review each assignment before beginning to know what the specific objectives are and be nearby to evaluate and encourage as they do their artwork.
Use your library. Find out the different periods of art, i.e.: Byzantine, Renaissance, Reformation, Baroque, etc. Have your students do a written summary of each period along with an illustration of a piece of artwork from that period. Students can also do comparative studies of different artists from the same period, i.e.: Charles Russell and Frederick Remington (the American West artists); Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh (the Impressionists), Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci (the Renaissance Period), etc.
Have a sketchbook for each student and try to have them put their best artwork in it. When they do something of good quality, you may want to have them do it again in their sketchbooks. Hold their sketchbooks so that they will respect them and use them as a portfolio of their best work. (An art journal is also recommended as an effective means for preserving artwork.) For younger children, have them do colored marker artwork on poster board or card stock paper. as it will provide a more durable surface for the bold colors, stores well, and will prevent their artwork from wrinkling.