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Geography Through Art

April 11, 2016

 

When I started teaching homeschool art at PAAL, I wanted to incorporate books but, I also wanted my art class to be a place where kids would make connections to what they were learning at home. Because my classes are "Elementary Age" I teach groups of kids from K-5th grade each week, so its important that I challenge the older kids while not overwhelming the little ones. I decided to do this by adding bits of science or a few math words here & there, I referenced history events & used picture books ~ anything from another subject that complimented the art activity. 

 

But, the MOST fun came when I started adding geography to my art classes!

 

 

Artists lives are generally full of travel and books about artists for children are super easy to find so I was able to give the kids little fascinating tidbits about artists that piqued their interest & helped them remember some pretty cool stuff. I brought a fabric US or World map to class & would point to places where artists were born, places they moved to or visited, and sometimes where they left this life. I'd start by chatting about the artist for a few minutes giving them more information than I knew some of them could take in, but not so much to overwhelm or disengage anyone. Then, EACH time I would add a new fact, I would go  repeat the highlights of the path their lives took them on the map.

 

By the end of the lesson, most of them knew at least 1 new place on the map or globe. In the beginning, it was really just about exposure, but the kids caught on petty quickly & eventually I would ask THEM to tell me the name of the place I was pointing if we had already talked about it in another lesson while I covered the name on the map. When any of them would recall a country name, they all rejoiced as if they had beaten me at a game & I played along!

 

They had no idea they were "doing school" in art class but as time passed, more and more parents would tell me stories of how the kids would pull some random bit of (correct) information out of their minds & when the would ask how the child knew that or where they learned it "Art Class!" was the answer! 

 

Now, after years of doing this, when Mommas pick up children from art class I tell them "Art, geography & history are done, Mom ~ take a break this afternoon & just enjoy them!" These years are just too short to worry about marking off all of the boxes in a curriculum & this is one way I've found to start combining subjects to make school a little more hands on and memorable.  Have great tricks? Find another homeschooling mom or educator to share it with, we all need an idea buddy to bounce things off of! Or visit me on FB, I know the Moms from my classes would love to share tips & tricks. 

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