I have a CRAZY BUSY life!! And I want to be INVOLVED! Maybe it’s a curse?But often times my stress of being involved has brought great blessings. I want the same for my children. I want them to be involved. Does that sound weird for a Home School mom to say? I’m reminded of the common stigma about homeschoolers and their “lack of socialization.” I’m still rather new to homeschooling and can tell you I feel quite the opposite. I’m BEAT physically and mentally trying to keep up with all that the Homeschooling community has to offer, at least in our area.
As you may know, I am the Art Teacher at our home school co-op. I have some great students with some amazing talent! Because we are not in the public schools where competition or art is graded, often times our kids do not receive recognition for the work they put in. It makes me sad some times (for my kids) when I hear family and friends rightfully brag about their children or grandkids receiving awards for a job well done in a school activity or competition, while I feel like my kids often miss out on that type of praise. I don’t want to interject and say “Uuhhh WELL… Clara wrote the best little short story the other day…and you really should have read how she used the best adjectives and similes to describe her story.” I know that my children know WE (mom and dad) are proud of them but they kind of expect that. I think it is nice to find venues which offer competition and/or a way to showcase our children’s hard work. I believe it helps mine to want to try harder. Of course ‘mommy and daddy will love what I do’ but they want that confirmation from outside sources that maybe what they create is REALLY worth celebrating. It only encourages more creative talent to be produced.
Going back to my Art Class…it is THAT time of year where county fairs, State Fairs, local Jamborees and festivals are taking place. Many of these festivals are desperately looking for participants and often times you do not have to pay an entry fee. They want arts, crafts, foods, etc. to have something…ANYTHING to entertain the public that WILL pay to come onto the grounds. I encouraged my Art Class and the co-op that we could enter as a “GROUP” in our Fair. It wasn’t really necessary for us to register as a group. It would have been a whole lot easier on me if I didn’t have to coordinate this but sometimes it helps to have someone to bring people together and encourage participation. They just need that person who tells them “When, Where? What? and How.” I was a little nervous about taking this on but I did and was very pleased to have a great turnout and participation! My children have created portfolios full of artwork they have drawn, painted, scribbled. I decided that we would use this opportunity to create something specific to enter in the fair instead of choosing something they had already done. The knowledge that they would be “turning this in” to someone other than mommy seemed to hype up their creative spirits and want to do a better job, hence proving that competition is a good thing.
What better place to be inspired than the outdoors. I set up a couple of tables outside and provided my kids with multi-media paper and water color pencils (BEST THING on the Planet–as far as kid art is concerned!) Water color pencils help them be more deliberate with their lines and more satisfied before grabbing a paint brush, dipping it in water and painting over the colored pencil. The colored pencil marks instantly smooth out filling in all of the white and taking on a look of a painted scene rather than a dry, chicken scratch surface,
I also used oil pastels that are water soluble. They are much like crayons but more waxy and heavier. Once colored you take a paint brush and apply water onto the brush and run it over the drawing. Same concept as the water color pencils. Very pretty and very satisfying for the artist!
Once we were finished I looked over the rules and regulations of the Art Exhibit at the fair. I probably should have done this part before to make sure there were not any rules against watercolor pencils and oil pastels that are water soluble :>) Thankfully, pretty much anything goes in art. I read the directions on how the judges wanted the art displayed; framing, matting, size, etc. As the “organizer” of this event with our co-op, I felt it necessary to communicate this information onto the parents as well. Who wants to read all of the fine print when you have someone who is supposed to do all of that for you? I don’t. But, I was that person, so I made sure to state several times through email and text how to have their artwork displayed. Didn’t want to have any hiccups when people arrived to the fair to drop off art work. Nothing like CRUSHING your heart when hearing the words, “Sorry, you didn’t follow the rules. You spent all of that time being ARTSY for NOTHING!”
Now fast forward to TODAY and back a day… It was DROP OFF day at the fair. I had all of my kids’ artwork ready to be displayed. We waited in line…yes…there may be lines…and yes it is probably old school..hand writing everything and checking off boxes on what category each piece of work falls into for judging purposes.
I looked around at all of the people and kids that were entering their work and it was satisfying to see people I knew who were walking in the door with their kids and the artwork that their children had created. Those little faces were so proud of what they had accomplished and happy to show it off to our community. Made it all worth it for me to spend a little extra time being an “encourager” and coordinating an activity that most people would not have participated in originally. Everyone was stepping out of their COMFORT BOX. And we’re all better for it!