Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Fridge Door Is Not Big Enough!

You know, there were certain aspects of teaching that were easier when I was a classroom teacher. The one I'm thinking about today is arts and crafts.  It's really fun and easy to do art and craft projects as a classroom teacher.  Make a mess.  Have a bunch of little hands help in the clean-up.  SEND HOME TO PARENTS.

That's right.  Let's make life-sized, paper-mache Napoleon Bonaparte statues!  AND THEN....take them home.  I don't have to worry about what where to put them!  Not my problem.  Figuring out what to do with your child's arts and crafts is part of the parents' responsibility in the well-rounded education I was providing their children!

Fast forward a few years to my home school.  In my determination to make sure my DD gets that "well-rounded" education and explore a variety of learning modes, I make sure to include arts and crafts.

Now, I have figured out what to do with her projects.  It's called her "portfolio."  Our state requires one.  It's a wonderful idea even if it's not required.  It gives you something tangible to show how much learning has taken place. 

Portfolios make it really easy to store. 

If it's flat, punch holes and put it in the portfolio!
That's what I did with her picture of the caterpillar.

If it's too big or 3D, then take a picture of it, journal about it, and then that gets put into the portfolio.

But here the quandary begins. What about me?  What about my artwork?

What about the cute groundhog I made for Groundhog's Day? Look at the wonderful shading!

Remember a few weeks ago I did a snow day?  Sure I displayed all her snowflakes on the front window of the house, but what about mine? 

And the lion I made was awesome!  Put a crown on him 'cause he's the king of the beasts.
Well, I have no answers.  All my projects are usually secretly treasured for awhile but usually end up in the trash.  I have, however, considered what all this means, and I wanted I'd share a few thoughts before I forget them.

First, I'm doing a good job enriching my daughter's education and life.  I try to integrate subjects, so science, Bible, and history lend themselves well to arts and crafts.  Things have greater meaning and impact when you make it real or do it yourself.  It also addresses different learning modalities and intelligences

Second, I'm attempting to set an example of striving for our best.  Do I criticize her lion for not looking as spiffy as mine?  No way! (Although, her lion was quite well done!)  But there is an issue if a decent attempt is not made. I also try to demonstrate how to "try, try, again."  Also, there are sometimes comments about how well I do things which leads to a discussion about more practice and experience (versus being old!)  I try to make sure she understands that even though we may do it differently, we should still both try to do our best.

Third, it's "quality time."  Unfortunately, I do not always stop to play checkers or Little Pet Shop with my DD when she asks.  I know it's something I should work on, but at least when we are having fun making something, I know that we are having a chance to have some "play" time.  After all, doing an art project can't really be school, can it?

Lastly, it's fun!  It's kind of like being able to re-live some of the fun of childhood.  Sure, there are all kinds of crafts and hobbies we can do as adults to help express our creativity, but is there anything as relaxing as opening that box of 64 crayons and coloring outside the lines a little bit?

So, I have a few more dust collectors or a few more recyclables.  It seems like the pluses outweigh the minuses when it comes to arts and crafts.

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