I love art, but as a homeschooling mom, I don't always like to do art at home. Sometimes it's hard to find projects that are worth doing, and then how do you display all of the masterpieces your children create? It can be overwhelming.
Last year my kids attended a local fine arts co-op and I thought I had the perfect scenario - all three kids engaged in fine arts, and I got to sit back and talk with other moms! Win-win. However as the time approached to renew, we decided that it would be best to not return. While it is an incredible program, it can also be expensive when you start multiplying by three, and I missed being a part of the learning with them. So, now I had to figure out art at home and I was stumped.
Last week an opportunity arose from Alisha Gratehouse of Flourish to review her Art of Fall Mixed Media Workshop, and it was exactly what I was looking for! She offers online instruction for 20 projects that can be completed at your own pace. The course is recommended for ages 8 and up, so that was perfect for us. Little did I know the kind of art excitement that would ignite around my house in one short week!
Using the Art of Fall Mixed Media Workshop
Once you've enrolled in the course, you receive an email with links to each week of projects along with a supply list. We watched the first couple of videos and made a list of what we would need to complete the projects. If only you could have heard the squeals and giggles. My girls were thrilled!
While the workshop does not include materials, I think shopping for those materials was just as fun to my girls as completing the projects!
We all started with the mixed media owl project. My girls were so proud of their work that they had to take it as their presentation to our Classical Conversations community.
The second project we made were art journals. *Secret Confession* I have always wanted to make one of these! The course teaches you how to make an inexpensive journal out of old books. We are all so excited about our art journals!
Since we don't have much extra wall space, we've decided to continue using our art journal for other projects that are demonstrated using canvas. My girls really can't get enough of these projects. My son has joined us for a couple, but hasn't had as much time to devote to his creations...although he's really enjoying it as well.
Unexpected Blessings from the Art of Fall
1. Confidence Building
Alisha is so gracious in her instructions, and my girls love when something unexpected happens to her demonstration art piece that she will need to fix. Her light and easy presence has helped my family keep working through projects even when they don't seem to look as expected.
2. Quality Family Time
You might be wondering, "When do you have time to make messes like that?!" My answer is that we've worked in the evening. Yes, school went into the evening. Not a soul complained. We listened to books and music as we painted, or just chatted. It was great time spent together.
3. Restful and Revitalizing
I didn't want to miss out on the fun myself, so I've worked on all of the projects with them. This was good for a couple of reasons: 1) I love art and being creative, 2) I wasn't breathing down their necks which allowed them to create on their own. Even though we spent a lot of time on art this week, I feel more rested than usual. (And I'm really proud of my own art!)
4. My Mom Joined In
So my mom lives with us, and all week I was worried that she'd get tired of the messes that kept exploding in the kitchen. She said she didn't mind, but I always wonder if she's being honest or just saying that to keep the peace. However, after our third project, she was so excited about the results that she said she'd like to complete the next project with us!
While she didn't have an art journal to work in, she did let me use one of her really old hymnals in our projects, so she made her butterfly collage on the cover of her hymnal. It was fun to have her working with us!
5. Sparks Creativity
Since the mixed media projects are very flexible, it has sparked creativity for other projects. We had a ton of leftover "leaves" that we had torn up for our fall leaves project, and my daughter is dreaming up what she can do with those. I'm excited to see the skills learned in the course are so easily transferable to other creative endeavors.
Where to Buy the Art of Fall Mixed Media Workshop
We have genuinely had fun with this curriculum, and I can't wait to keep working through the projects. We might just do two a week, and the remaining projects will last us through the rest of the semester.
If you are wanting to get your hands on this great curriculum, click on the image below to order. It's on sale right now for $48 through September 30th! It is an amazing value, and you get access to the videos for life.
The projects I'm most looking forward to involve leaves. The girls and I are excited about collecting some leaves on our trip to Boston this fall to use in our art journals. Follow me on Instagram to keep up with our artwork this fall! You can also find what others are creating by searching with #artoffall.
Lowering my Stress in the Mess
Here are some quick tips that helped me feel peace in the midst of the messes:
- Use an old card table, not the dining table to create your art on. If they paint off of their paper, no worries!
- Have your kids wear old clothes or an apron while they paint. If they paint on themselves, no worries!
- Baby wipes are awesome! Alisha recommends them, and we've been very grateful for the quick spill cleaners.
- Clean up as you go. If you've got to wait an hour for something to dry, have your kids help clean up what they can. Chances are, you're done with something that's out, and every little bit of clean up helps.
- Attitudes are contagious. If you're stressed, your kids will know and they're more likely to spill something because they're tense! Chill out, and then don't cry over spilled paint!
So what are you waiting for? What keeps you from making art with your kids at home?
Disclosure: I received the Art of Fall Mixed Media Workshop free to review. All my opinions are 100% my own. See my full disclosure policy for more details.
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.