Self-taught art: observational drawings

Most Fridays we don’t do much regular school.  That means – no math.  Instead, we catch up on our projects that we haven’t had much time for all week long.  After looking at the wonderful art lessons on this blog, and noticing that we didn’t have any paper plates to try out blind contour drawings, I decided to get the little kids started on some observational drawings.

This happened at the same time I was cleaning out my cupboard and found a bag of nuts in their shells.  I bought the bag last year at this time, right after my dad gave me a beautiful hand carved nutcracker.  I had used it a little, but cracking nuts is really messy when children are involved (think sweeping up nut shells for days.)  So I saved the nuts, and now they are really getting old and rancid – I think.  So what better way to do observational drawing than look at the details on the nuts, and perhaps the nutcracker?  And eating the nuts is a bribe for working longer on our drawings.  (Lulu called it a celebratory nut.)


Lucy amazed me at once by her drawing of an almond.  She captured the shape and texture excellently.  Max, meanwhile, worked on drawing a walnut, and really observed the lines and shape as unique.  We set a time limit of five minutes, so that they could really concentrate on their drawings with no talking.  When the five minutes were up, they wanted to keep going, so they did. Then Lucy drew an orange, while Max worked on a banana, and for a final project, Lucy did a wonderful drawing of a teapot, and Max tried to draw the whole nutcracker, including the nuts.

It was wonderfully relaxing to be working in the kitchen while they were talking calmly but happily and working on their projects.  They both have the potential to be fine little artists.  Lucy especially has the patience to work forever on any kind of art or craft project.  Today was a reminder to me to provide her the time she needs, and a tiny bit of direction, so that she can pursue her interests.

Sometimes beginning homeschoolers feel they have to schedule every minute of every day with planned activities, or their children won’t learn.  Fortunately for us, God made children as learning machines.  All we need to do is provide the tools and get out of the way.  Having the confidence to let them learn is one of the best things years of homeschooling has given me.  Modeling self-teaching is also important – and lots of fun.  When I pursue my own interests, and learn new things, I am showing my children how to become interesting adults.  Which is part of the reason I am going to share a book review with you in a day or two:  I am trying to expand my horizons and continue learning.


Now – if I can only remember to buy some paper plates!  I may have to do some blind contour drawings with them (kids can’t have all the fun!)


How do you convince yourself to let go of your plan and let your children follow their own interests?  Please leave me a comment.  Hope you’re enjoying your day