Homeschool Art Class


I was homeschooled all the way until high school. This was 100% no question the right choice for me–I was a super weird kid, and being able to explore my education on my own time is probably the only reason I got any education at all. I would have been a stubborn, bored, tantrum-throwing nightmare if I’d been trapped in a classroom and told we are doing this thing now whether you’re interested or not.

It was full of holes, of course–when I wasn’t interested in a topic, I wasn’t going to learn it. American History was particularly boring. I was in high school before I figured out that the civil war and the civil rights movement happened a hundred years apart from each other.

To be fair to my parents, they did try to teach me. I just ignored them and did my own thing instead.

I stand by the fact that a few holes are a fair tradeoff for the incredible breadth of what I did get to learn, though. My literature, natural sciences, and world history education was top-notch.

Art, too.

The neat thing about homeschooling is, if your kid shows interest in something, you can throw them into it feet-first and let them swim around until they either get bored or get good. I got thrown into a lot of things, but the one that really stuck was art (and horseback riding, but I had to give that up when we started jumping and I realized I was never going to be good at this. Horses are very large, and I was very small and easily frightened.)

The art teacher my mom found for me worked out of her converted garage, which was absolutely freezing most of the time, but the windows looked out at her squirrel-feeder, so I didn’t mind too much. She worked in trimesters, each with a medium and a theme. Clay was especially exciting, because you have to throw the clay with great prejudice before you use it. Chalk pastels were an actual nightmare; they go wherever they feel like, and are not interested in your opinion about it. Paint was fun at the beginning of the trimester and terrible by the end, because color and I are not friends.

The project I remember best was basically an animation. We shuffled out to the garden with sketch pads and pencils, found a cool plant or rock or animal, and drew some sketches of it–and then, back inside the studio, used six frames to transform the thing into something else. We didn’t actually animate it, but I’d done enough post-it flip-books to know that we could.

Since my actual piece is lost to time, I have partially recreated it for you. I tried to animate it, but I tell you, making a .gif long enough to not burn your eyes out required more frames that I was willing to draw, so here we are.