A recent addition to our homeschooling activities has been the introduction of “art class”. For our first few sessions I did some searching online for tutorials and ideas and came up with some simple yet enjoyable projects. The first was crayon etchings, and the second was watercolour pencil drawings.  Then I had the realization that I DO have an “art curriculum” sitting unused on my shelf! A few years back I purchased Drawing With Children but was somewhat overwhelmed with the prospect of implementing it and following through with my plans. I loved the premise of the method, and the examples given of children’s work is quite impressive. But life was busy (pregnancy, move, newborn, move) so we just stuck to the basics for the time being and focussed on “The Three Rs”.

So now that we’ve got our own grove going, why not give it a try?

Here are the basics of the book:

The author of the book, Mona Brookes, proposes that drawing (like music, dance and other artistic subjects) should be taught through basic instruction. She refutes the notion that drawing evolves naturally and that you shouldn’t give young children any guided instruction in drawing. She has broken drawing down into it’s basic components which she calls the basic elements of shape. When learned and practiced, these elements make up the basis for the drawing of all subjects. This melds very well, by the way, with the tenets of a classical education’s grammar stage. The Five Basic Elements of Shape make up the “grammar” of drawing.  I really appreciate her philosophy that anyone can learn to draw well, that drawing is a  learned skill, and not only possible for the few of a us who are gifted with it.

The book contains step by step instructions for 5 lessons. The student begins the program by determining their starting level (1 of 3) which encompass children from approximately age 4 to the adult beginner.  Then The 5 Basic Elements of Shape (dot & circle family, straight, curved and angled line family) are taught. There are warm-up exercises and teaching tips, as well as information on selecting good art supplies and preparing your environment (and attitude!). We are very excited to see where our learning takes us! This is really the perfect project for us, because it will feature the teacher learning alongside her little students!

So check back often and follow along with us to see how we are progressing! We are sure to be having fun!

We don’t expect children to play the piano, study dance, or learn a sport without showing them the basic components of these subjects. Why do we expect them to understand the complexities of drawing on their own?

Have you used Drawing with Children? What are you doing with your little learners for art?

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This post is first in a series about our implementation of Mona Brookes’ Drawing With Children. You can check out the others here:

2. Drawing With (My) Children: Lesson 1 BIRDS!

3. Drawing With (My) Children: Lesson 2 LIONS!

4. Drawing With (My) Children: Lesson 3 DRAWING FROM A STILL LIFE

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