Creativity Runs Wild

At TAD Town we often take breaks in our homeschool schedule when it is needed. Whether it is for an illness or just a mental break, I try not to stress if our schedule does not match a typical school schedule. After all a flexible schedule is one of the many benefits to homeschooling.

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This kid here was in need of a break from academics after a hard year of working. We called it a year in April, and he has been doing his own thing ever since. His days have been consisting of writing, audiobooks, cooking, mini-fig making, drawing, and song writing. Basically he has been using all his free time to be creative.

This is one of his songs that he wrote last month. Somehow the twins and I have gotten it stuck in our head, and we are all walking around the house singing “I Googled it. ” It has been very entertaining to us.

And this is a sped up video of one of his digital art works he did. The boy is starting to become very interested in working on his drawing skills especially on the computer.

Here is another picture he did.

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The boy has also discovered the world of custom Lego minifig making. This, along with baking, has been his primary area of pursuit these last 6 weeks. He has been watching how-to videos on the process and then perfecting it on his own. The only thing he needed for this was Sculpey, acrylic paints, different sizes of paint brushes, and toothpicks. The process of him learning how to do this has been very interesting to see. Boiling Sculpey mini-figs in my kitchen was not something I ever envisioned doing, but it has been fun to see the boy work so hard on a project.

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We have also been baking quite a bit together. I will admit every time he sends me a complex recipe online I am not exactly thrilled about it. I don’t find the joy in baking that he does, but once we start cooking in the kitchen I do find joy in being with him in the moment. Baking brings him so much joy, and it is wonderful to see that.

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Basically he has been having a wonderful mental break these last six weeks or so. We will most likely start up with academics again sometime in June. I know when we get back to it he will be ready for our routine and excited to be back in the swing of things. But in the meantime the boy is also enjoying his free time, time where he can follow his passions and work on all things creative.

Model Magic Fun

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The youngest boy discovered Model Magic earlier this year and has amassed quite a collection of figures. If you are looking for something fun to do with your creative child, Model Magic might be just the thing. Children can work with it for a while before it hardens, and once it hardens, their projects never get damaged. This is what my son loved about it. He loves collecting his creations.

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Art Class for Teens

Today I have a guest post by my mom who is teaching the twins an art class at her studio in Laguna Beach. She is having so much fun with it that she is thinking about offering it to more teens in the future which I think would be a great idea.

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I have decided to teach an art class for teens this new year. I have started with my twin 14-year-old grandchildren to see how it goes. One is very creative, loves to draw, and indeed outshines me at her age. Her brother is creative in math and science and CAN NOT DRAW! and has told me so many times. Which is why I have put together a class I think they both will love, at least they get up in the morning without grumbling and that’s always a good sign. Just in case though, we take a short walk to my favorite coffee shop, order some coffee or hot chocolate, and walk back to my studio in Laguna Beach armed with our hot drinks before tackling an hour of art in my studio.

photo 3 (12)My loose schedule for the semester is this: we start each class with line drawings–blind contour, gestural lines, continuous lines. Right now we are doing blind contour sketches which is drawing an object with a continuous line and without looking at your paper. As they have found, it’s hard not to look at your sketch to see where you are and how you are doing. I have found this is a bit more difficult for someone who does a lot of drawing than it is for the one that doesn’t. This exercise loosens them up plus they’re fun; even for the math/science teens out there.

Here are some of their blind contour drawings.

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Autry takes her sketch book wherever she goes and has drawn a sketch of Tru. This is also a blind contour sketch but drawn in the car; a continuous line and I think, a wonderful, fluid pen and ink drawing:

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The next project we are working on is self-portraits (the selfies of the old days). I have shown them self-portraits of artists from the past as well as more modern artists–to show them different painting styles and let them know that there is never a right way or wrong way in doing this:

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We’re in the middle of this project. I am having them do one quickly and then spend a little more time with another one. We will use several mediums in completing these.

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During each class I try to introduce them briefly to a bit of art history (while they’re drinking their coffee or tea) as it relates to what we are doing at the moment and by showing some of the artists works and perhaps a bit about the artist that they may find interesting; for instance, Henri Matisse. When he couldn’t paint anymore he became successful doing cutouts. He called it scissor art.

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We are trying our hand at this process. First we chose colors similar to what Matisse chose and painted heavy paper with these colors.

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Next, we will cut pieces out and put them together and see what happens!

I also have planned a trip to the Laguna Art Museum where we will see an exhibit of Wayne Thiebaud. He is a working artist living in California. A sample of his work:

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This is just some of the things I have planned. I want them to focus on creativity and invention. What I don’t want is to spend time on laborious projects in this first class. My goal is to have fun, look forward to getting together, and learn a little bit along the way.

This post is part of the February 2014 Let’s Homeschool High School Blog Hop.

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Outdoor Sketching

Decca is studying Monet and Impressionism right now, so I decided to take him outside to do some sketching. Tru decided to tag along with us, and so I loaded the boys up with their paper and water-color pencils. I grabbed Kingsley (we can’t ever leave him behind), and off we went.

We walked for a while trying to find the perfect scene to sketch. Every time I suggested something one of the boys would object. Apparently my ideas, such as a grassy field or wildflowers, were not what they had in mind. They finally agreed to sketch this wonderful area (yes I am being sarcastic).

Apparently something about the rocks and dead grass attracted them to this. Not to be one to judge, especially if it is a creative difference of opinion, we stopped, and the boys began to sketch. I thought they would get bored with this fairly quickly, but to my surprise, they worked on their drawings for almost twenty minutes.

Sketching outdoors is a great way to spend a day. Decca, who usually has very little patience, enjoyed it the most. I am going to try to carve time into our days for sketching/drawing/painting  “en plein aire”.

It made for a great day.