The 10 Best Things about Teaching an Artist

Ten Best Things about Teaching an Artist

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

Living with an artist makes life interesting! They approach life from a different point of view and being science people, it keeps my husband and I on our toes. I wouldn’t trade it for the world! Here are The 10 Best Things about Teaching an Artist.

Artists are Creative People

The 10 Best Things about Teaching an Artist

Maybe that goes without saying, but what are some benefits of knowing creative people?

  • They are Makers. There is always something in progress and artists are ingenious about working with what’s available.
  • Artists make beautiful things out of their imagination and experience.
  • They are willing to take risks. I have a saying on the wall in of my studio, “Creativity is having the courage to make mistakes.” Truth.
  • Artists love to experiment with new media. Maybe that’s part of the risk taking quality, but I love to see her try something new.

Benefits of Teaching Creative Students

10 Best Things about Teaching an Artist

Sometimes it’s difficult to teach creative souls. If you have a creative student, then you might know what I’m talking about. There are messes and lots of risk taking! There’s always something in progress and a creative person is fulfilled by creating and maybe not as much by mundane tasks like math or cleaning up rooms. But, there is a silver lining. Here are a few examples:

  • They bring peace by taking the time notice the everyday- and sketch it.
  • I can order up hand drawn maps for any occasion. Such as for an atlas for our Narnian Adventure co-op class we teach together.
  • Our home gets filled with beautiful artwork. Right now I have a seasonal gallery of trees on canvas in our powder room. I’m only waiting on summer. Also, I commissioned Rebecca to make an Americana quilt which we had a local artist print an image of onto tile. Dan finished installing our new backsplash above the stove which turned out gorgeous. In every way.
  • Learning is self-motivated and Rebecca finds ways to educate herself and try new things. Her art abilities grow as a result.
  • She builds on her passion for creativity and finds new outlets all the time. Homeschooling gives her the time to experiment and pour in. The results are so satisfying.
  • Rebecca finds creative ways to do work. She is often working on commissioned projects and even teaches a group of girls to sew. We are working on putting together a beginner level class. She plans and implements lessons and she’s a very patient encourager.

Resources for Teaching Creative Students

Springtime-Splendor-Collage-600How do you nurture your creative students? Listed below are some ways we work with our creative students.

  • New Art Classes- We are enrolled in Springtime Splendor by Alisha Gratehouse. We’ve been following along with her mixed media seasonal classes. This one begins Monday, April 6th. Early registration is still going on at $48. Regular price is $60. There will be 20 projects in all. Join us!
  • Crafty Math- Knowing how to incorporate math into creative endeavors has gone a long way to our daughter having the endurance and knowledge to tackle her regular math studies. The power of math in creativity cannot be underestimated.
  • High School Art Plans- Some of our plans for art credits
  • Resources for High School Art- Rebecca is a high school freshman and will have 4 credits of art in addition to her sewing and design credits for high school.
  • Sewing & Design- A look at Rebecca’s projects. This is an ongoing page so it isn’t complete as is.

It’s challenging to mentor an artist, but it’s also very rewarding. What are your favorite things about teaching and artist?

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather

Should My Homeschooled Teen Get a Part Time Job?

Blog, She Wrote Should My Homeschooled Teen Get a Part Time Job?

Last year our oldest wanted to get his first job so he could earn the money for a writing conference he wanted to attend. NY is a long way from Kansas, so even outside of the conference cost, transportation in getting there was not insignificant. My husband made a deal with Ethan. He said if Ethan could earn the money for the workshop itself, including room and board for the week, he would make sure Ethan got to Kansas.

Ethan accepted the challenge and began his search for paid work. He reached out to a family friend for continued yard work. He offered his services to a local MOPS group for their paid childcare. And he applied to a local grocery store about a mile away from our home. All three contacted him at once and he took them all on. Aside from the two smaller jobs, he began working as a cashier at a grocery store.

He had to learn quickly how to balance three jobs and his school work! But, in the end, he earned the money he needed (along with a gift from his grandparents which he was allowed to accept after earning a certain amount on his own) with in a few months- in time to sign up for the workshop. In turn, Dan took the week off from work, rented a car, and drove Ethan out to Kansas for a great week.

How do you answer the question, Should My Homeschooled Teen Get a Part Time Job?

Benefits of a Part Time Job

There are so many benefits to a teen having a part time job. Some of them are obvious like having the opportunity to make money! Some may not be so obvious or some may not see them as benefits. With a job, a teen can learn:

  • Skills of a part time job
  • How to work with the public- this is a skill which goes a long way. I could do a whole post just on the stories he brings home. It was quite entertaining those first few months. He even had a marriage proposal in his checkout line!
  • Work with others who are not like you- the homeschooling community can be fairly homogenous. He’s met all kinds of people both as coworkers and customers.
  • How to work with all kinds of bosses
  • Practices interview skills- we made Ethan practice counting back change to prepare for his interview at the grocery store!
  • Independence
  • Work with personal finances- let’s face it, they will earn a lot of money! (for a teen with no other real expenses)
  • Balance work with academics and fun
  • Allows teens to make a goal and meet it
  • Gives work experience in general- which looks great on college applications, particularly from a homeschooler

Challenges of a Part Time Job

There are some challenges which come with a teen having a regular job. Make sure to consider his situation before deciding together whether or not it’s a good idea at any particular time. For example,

  • Everyone isn’t like you and learning to work together can be difficult.
  • Bosses are not always easy to work for…or nice
  • Adjusting to a work schedule
  • Balancing other pursuits with a work schedule- learning when to ask off and when to know not to
  • Building physical stamina for the job- being on your feet all day or for several hours takes time to get used to. Even as a teacher, I was always so tired the first week back to school.
  • Transportation- which needs to be a factor in choosing where you will apply for a job. We chose a store about a mile away in a small strip mall so that getting him there and back would not always need to be done by us.

Should My Homeschooled Teen Get a Part Time Job?

How Do I Know If It’s The Right Thing for My Teen?

A job isn’t right for every teen and not every job is right for every teen. You have to know your teen and have a decent guess that the job they would do. Does your teen fit any of these descriptions?

  • Does your teen want to meet a financial goal?
  • Ready for a step up in independence
  • Could use some practice at fulfilling responsibility- Our son could use some tightening up of his schedule in order to help use his time better.
  • Has an interest in a field where there is an opportunity to work- even volunteer work at a place of interest can lead to employment later on.

Our Experience with The Part Time Job

So, once Ethan was working for a time and he began meeting his goals how was it going?

  • Reached his financial goal- He wanted to earn money for a writing workshop many miles away and the job helped him to meet the goal quickly.
  • Achieved his academic goal- Being successful with the financial goal meant reaching his academic goal and he attended the summer writing workshop.
  • Learned to work for difficult people- There’s a lot of turnover in this store and it’s not always easy, but he stuck with it.
  • Experience first hand that people aren’t always the same as you are- he knew this in his head, but it’s been a good experience for him to see that not everyone is like us and our family. It’s given him a whole new appreciation for us!
  • Given him independence- this job is his thing. Based on his proximity to the store, he can walk, ride a bike, or take the bus. All of these mean he doesn’t have to rely on us (though he does like door to door service).
  • Taught some good financial lessons- He’s able to make his own decisions regarding spending as we help him to practice saving, tithing, and spending. However, outside of engaging/purchasing something off limits, we let him choose how he spends it. Lots of lessons here!
  • Practiced responsibility and maturity- He’s stepped it up to be at work and to keep track of his schedule. He’s grown a lot from having the job.

What Have We Learned As Parents of a Teen with a Job?

We learned a lot from this experience as parents. Some of them took me by surprise.

  • This job is our son’s- It’s not ours. It’s his gig and his responsibility.
  • We helped him to navigate difficult situations- From home. Since it is his job, it is important not to run interference which is a new thing for us as parents of teens, right?
  • Make sure you know the labor laws for teens- Does your state require “working papers”? In the 80s, working papers were not a thing. Find out how often and how many hours they can work at 15-17 years old. In NY, one set of laws covers 14-15 year olds and there’s another for 16-17 year olds. We had to provide a physical form from our doctor and other proof of age and register him as a working teen with the school nurse at our local high school. Once your teen turns 16, they get a new form and that very day must report for a new set of working papers before they can work another shift at work.
  • Homeschooled teens can only work when public schooled teens can work- Resist the urge to have them work during school hours because it’s against the law. This was actually one issue we worked very closely with Ethan on because he was being scheduled during school hours. He was successful in making sure he was schedule during non-school hours, but just remember, the employer will not always pay attention to this piece of the law.
  • Not everyone thought it was a good idea- to have our son work. This is the one that surprised me. We actually got a lot of comments from our peers questioning us on the decision to allow him to work. When we were teens, many of us had jobs. Have you noticed that not as many teens work in high school? Academic pursuits have favor over part time work and I had so many people ask me why he was working. Because he likes money was my regular answer, but I often want to ask back, “Why not?” And, as one commenter pointed out, activities are an issue as well. But, I’ll save that discussion for another post!

In the end, Ethan was proud to have met his goal last year and we were proud of him as well. He worked at the store until mid-September, when I did break the interference rule and took his series of medical leave papers to his bosses. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with Lyme Disease which he’d had for six months before a diagnosis. He spent several months this fall as a very sick teen, unable to work.

He is excited for the chance to return, but he is still recovering and is experiencing significant Post Treatment Lyme Syndrome. Perhaps I will blog about it one day, but for now just know that it is a long road back to feeling normal. He’s a good sport and we are still very proud of him!

So, do your homeschool teens work at part time jobs?

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather

Sewing & Design Project Based Learning

Blog, She Wrote: Sewing & Design Project Based Learning

Last spring Rebecca participated in a local contest sponsored by a reuse sewing shop to create something out of recycled materials. The creation had to include denim. What started as a creative endeavor grew into an opportunity for many new authentic experiences.

The Original Design Project

The original project, called Denim Plus, required participants to refashion old denim into something new. Rebecca took the challenge head on and came up with a dress which was nearly entirely made from reused or recycled materials.

  • Eco-Fashion Design Project – This is the story behind the making of the dress. There are layers upon layers of tulle in a skirt attached to a denim bodice. Cyndi Lauper would have paid for this garment!
  • Eco-Fashion Runway Show – The story of how the designer got to be a model in the fashion show which featured the finished pieces from the Denim Plus contest along with the results of the contest. The show featured how to have a nominal number of clothing items in your closet to pair and wear over and over. The emphasis was on less is better and letting go of “throw away” fashion we’ve all become accustomed to.

Blog, She Wrote: Sewing & Design Project Based LearningThe Invitation to a Curated Exhibit

At the end of the runway show, the director of the show told us that a local gallery curator was interested in having her dress for an upcoming show last summer. We worked with the curator to prepare the curated display of Rebecca’s dress.

  • The show was called, The Common Thread: To Sew or Not to Sew, and was a collection of garments and fabrics which highlight change in the fashion industry.
  • Rebecca’s dress was chosen to represent the reuse and refashion of many materials into one garment.
  • The show was all about change in the fashion world, moving from one-at-a-time garments made with scissors, needles and thread, to unlimited quantities produced by industries that cut with laser beams and held together with seamless seams.
  • The question for us is: do they have anything in common?
  • Rebecca brought the dress in and helped to set up her exhibit.
  • Her dress was in a great spot between the adult & children’s sections of the library within the gallery and had great traffic potential!
  • The documentation she provided for the fashion contest was included in the exhibit.
  • She was the youngest exhibitor, chosen to be among well known local designers and Cornell Fiber Science & Apparel Design students.

Blog, She Wrote: Sewing & Design Project Based Learning

 

Blog, She Wrote: Sewing & Design Project Based Learning

 

Blog, She Wrote: Sewing & Design Project Based Learning

Going More In Depth with Project Based Learning

Lots of homeschoolers talk about project based learning, but what does it really mean? To me, it means involving our students in authentic learning experiences that go beyond traditional schooling activities. Part of this is moving past the superficial parts of learning a topic or skill and going to the next layer and the next so that a student uncovers new meaning and applies new knowledge in a meaningful way. What does that look like?

  • Share Work with Others- Find ways for your student to engage others with his or her work. It could be as simple as showing off for neighbors and friends to setting up a community gathering.
  • Help Your Student to Set Goals- The project belongs to the student. The best ones have the student in the driver’s seat on the leading edge of where to go next.
  • Make Plans- Have your student make plans to reach his or her goals.
  • Compile Resources- Can your student identify what he or she will need to meet these goals?
  • Make Decisions- Along the way there will be decisions to make. Help your student to get past any bumps in the road while leaving them to be the one in charge on the project.
  • Take Time to Discuss the Work- Find out how it’s going. Check in on progress. If something seems stalled remind your student of his goals.
  • Make Time for Project Work- This is essential to being successful. Often as our children get older, we think their time is better spent doing more traditional academic work. Fight the urge to regard project time as less important! Large amount of uninterrupted time for doing project work is necessary for going deeper into projects.

Blog, She Wrote: Sewing & Design Project Based Learning

High School Credit with Project Based Learning

As our homeschooled students approach high school many of us who have always done unit studies & other, more relaxed forms of learning begin to think it’s time to “get serious” about academic work and we believe that “nose to the grindstone” is more appropriate. How can a student obtain high school credit for project based learning? I think this topic deserves a whole post, but here are a few thoughts for now.

  • Determine the Course- Based on your student’s area of interest.
  • Discuss Goals- Meet with your student and talk about the skills & concepts they would like to cover during the class.
  • Remember Skills & Concepts- Which will be necessary to learn in order to achieve the goal. Make a list of the areas your student will need to cover.
  • Consider Resources- What resources do you have available to begin working toward the goals the student has set for himself?
  • Start Making Plans- Where does the student want to start?
  • Time- Once again, large quantities of time to explore are best for moving toward an authentic & independent learning experience.
  • Record Keeping- Students will want to keep track of goals met and different avenues traveled based on decisions made. Remember that a 1 credit high school course is roughly three hours of work per week.

Blog, She Wrote: Sewing & Design Project Based Learning

Lessons Learned with the Eco-Fashion Project

In the end, what lessons did Rebecca learn doing the Eco-Fashion Project? The dress took her about 8 weeks from just a thought in her head all the way to the finished dress (considering she did work on other school work during this time). The process was invaluable.

  • Design Work- Especially design for the human form rather than a doll
  • Construction- Sewing new fabrics together like denim with tulle. She had to push through some obstacles to complete her vision.
  • Sharing- Through the contest judging, the fashion show, and the curated exhibit. Sharing also happened in mentoring moments when she needed to discuss her work along the way.
  • New Experiences- Like fashion show culture & being an artist featured in an exhibit
  • Preparing Work for Exhibition- It’s not always about what you like or who you make the garment for. There are other factors and criteria. This was true for both the contest and exhibit.
  • Exhibition- When the time came for the opening night of the gallery, she was on hand to talk with visitors and answer questions about her work.

One of the things Rebecca enjoyed the most about the curated exhibit at the library was the chance to talk with others about her work. They were interested in hearing about her design and the process. She spoke with an art reviewer (see review here) from the local paper for about 20 minutes and she loved every minute of talking with another artist and learning about his work.

As a homeschool teacher, this project took a lot of her time but it was worth every moment to see her solve problems on her own and come up with a design that was whimsical and met all the requirements. Rebecca loved the chance to have her work displayed alongside well known local designers and Cornell Fiber Science & Apparel Design students. Would she do it again? Absolutely! This project experience was a win in every way!

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather