A recent reader question was how do you separate arts and crafts, and how do you teach them? The one thing about artiness and craftiness is that they are just two ways that our children use and develop their creativity and gain confidence in their own abilities and skills on a daily basis. I have to say arts and crafts in our home are vastly different things… and creativity is not something that I teach so much, but over time it has become a way of life.
Se7en + 1 Differences Between Arts and Crafts…
- A Different Goal: With any project it helps to keep the outcome in view… in order to plot and plan and track our journey. I think it helps to know what your goals are for a particular topic and what you want your children to gain from it… knowing that I don’t want my kids to lose their initial love for drawing and creating keeps me motivated. In fact, I don’t want any of us to lose our creative enthusiasm as we get older.
- Art: When my kids finish school I am hoping they will have some familiarity with art history and have developed a love of drawing and be in the habit of always having some sort of sketchbook in progress.
- Craft: I am hoping that my children will leave home having tried all sorts of things, that they will have developed the skills and the confidence to create something that they have been inspired to create.
- Different Atmosphere: Art and Crafts forms a large part of how we spend our days, while it is work, it is also something we do together and it is how we play.
- Art: Art is a more formal part of our schooling and how we begin most of our days. Our art projects are very easy to implement, usually all we need is paper and our art pencils, or watercolors: for nature drawing, observational drawing… any drawing!!! We also use this time to learn about great artists… The busy-ness surrounding our art is quiet and intensive… background music is really a distraction and you wouldn’t hear a pin drop.
- Craft: Crafts are far more spontaneous and kind of happen as our day rolls around, someone may be inspired or might want to try something new… most craft projects involve lots of tape, glue strings and treasures found in the recycling. We have recently begun listening to audio books while we craft and chapters fly by!!!
- Different Materials: All our art and craft materials are available to use all the time… I learnt early on that any materials that I put away for a rainy day just about never ever got used… I would rather our materials were loved and used than looked pristine on a shelf.
- Art: Our art materials are stored in a box… drawing pencils, smudgy chalks, bright pastels, watercolors and pastels and sketchbooks. Our art materials are treated with utmost respect and returned to the box at the end of each arting event.
- Craft: Our crafting materials are stored in a dresser, different things in different drawers… sewing materials, sticking materials, collage materials and so on… I have written a post on our crafty materials before…
- Different Attitude: I am pretty relaxed about all art and craft projects and I let my kids dive in with enthusiasm but there is a very different feel towards arts and crafts in our home…
- Art: Art in our house is a discipline, it requires time and patience and lots of practice to get to a level of drawing competence. Of course all my kids produce copious amounts of artwork that they love, but I can see that as they get older they derive a certain amount of pleasure from be able to draw what they see rather than what they think they see.
- Craft: Craft projects are far more easy going… and they tend to involve lots of collaboration and discussion!!! Craft projects are much more open ended and often become something completely different to the project we began with.
- Different Planning: I don’t naturally want to create a mess… but my kids keep me on track.
- Art: Because art is part of our every day school I enjoy it, if we get nothing else done in a day, we usually get this done and I always feel like I am getting the day rolling when we get our art materials out and get busy with them.
- Craft: I am not as easy going as you might think, the first step is always the hardest!!! I don’t naturally want to make a mess and I have a vision of creative chaos. When my kids were much smaller, I may never have gotten a pile of craftiness out on the table, but I used to invite a friend over for a crafty playdate each week and I would leave really easy projects out for them to play with: boxes from the recycling and glue, paper bags and paints… and so on… It forced me to tip the balance towards the inevitable mess!!! Now that my kids are older, I have much fewer inhibitions about the mess and I have learnt to let them get their projects going and embrace it… busy kids are happy kids!!!
- Different Times While most of our work happens at the kitchen table… the biggest resource for doing arts and crafts with our children – is not impressive materials or studio space… Arts and crafts really do require time… a child can take hours, days even… making a spoon puppet, or a cardboard castle.
- Art: We have set aside time each day for art… we need a balance and can not spend all day on it, much as we would love too!!! But by having a set time in our schedule we know that that art time is special and not easily interrupted.
- Craft: Craftiness requires lots of time… not always so much time doing… but lots of time mulling over ideas and planning. We set a natural time limit on our crafty projects by having to have the table clear for dinner… but ongoing projects get put on the side for the night and resurface back on the table for more work as long they need too.
- Different Resources: We do a lot of free, open ended projects… they work better when you have multi-age children. All my children can work hard alongside each other, without compromising anyone’s skills or abilities. Children do learn by example and when I am inspired to do something then our children follow by example…
- Art: Step by step art has never worked for us, it is just too tight for my kids… a book that requires a child to draw pictures a certain way can be overwhelming, rather than encouraging, especially for young artists… who for example would love to draw a penguin and can draw a beautiful penguin but they are totally overwhelmed by “Step 1: Draw an oval…”
- Craft: Step by Step craft kits don’t work for us, just too many multi-aged children, not only that my kids tend to think “way out of the box” and a while they enjoy a quick packaged craft for fun, it is not their usual creative and crafty outlet. Not to mention the only instructions that my children might follow are LEGO instructions!!! They tend to get inspiration from “How to books” strewn around the house… they see the photographs and then wander off and create their own version. Usborne activity books and DK Craft Books are always a winner and tend to inspire all of us beyond measure… but that’s a whole ‘nother post!!!
- Different Past Posts: I have written about how we do arts and crafts in our home before, but I have never written about our different approach to these subjects. When I looked back at those posts I realised that while lots of things change dramatically over the years of homeschooling, the way we do our arts and crafts really has stayed the same. The only thing that has changed is that I have become more relaxed and my children have become a lot better at cleaning up!!!
- Craft: Se7en + 1 tips for Crafting With Kids… and Se7en’s Essential Crafting Materials…
And the Se7en + 1th Difference…
You are always welcome to stop by and ask a homeschooling question… we are happy to answer them, even though sometimes we take a while!!!