~~~ BOOK LOOK ~~~
Review & Reflections
Free Range Learning:
How Homeschooling Changes Everything
by Laura Grace Weldon
If you were to only have one homeschool, unschooling, life learning book on your shelf this would be my top pick. It is absolutely worth having this volume on your shelf to revisit again and again.
This book encompasses so many of my core beliefs on life learning and how to raise children (and yourself!) in a mindful and wholehearted way that I just had to write a series of reviews covering the chapters in this book and encouraging other folks to try out this lifestyle.
Revisit reviews of previous chapters by clicking on the Categories- Book Look/Resource Book Reviews search tab on the right side of this page.
In Chapter 13 – The Arts Laura covers more of what some folks would view as the “core subjects” of homeschooling. From learning to play an instrument, finger painting to clay pot making, acting in a local theater performance or singing in a church choir, the opportunities for artistic expression are endless, available, and they are necessary for healthy growth, learning, and as a means to express yourself.
Be sure to try out the wide variety of options Laura offers with both activities and resources and see my reflections below on our own families lived experience and the resources we used on our journey.
P.L.A.Y. and the ARTS
Our work as life learners is to engage with topics of interest, explore curiosities, express ourselves creatively, and quite simply build a life of purpose and meaning through our daily adventures. And although creativity is evident in every facet of our lives, never more so then when exploring the realm of the arts.
Connecting to the arts and your creativity begins as early as dipping your finger in your dinner plate and doodling in your mashed potatoes or applesauce. Expressing through that first rhythmic banging and clanging of a pot with a spoon. The endless circles danced again and again to music in the living room. Dressing up in costumes pieced together from various odds and ends: old scarves, strings of beads from an auntie, ties no longer used by dad, skirts that twirl found at a second hand store from recitals gone by, and endless hats to top it all off. Making marching music from a collection of hand-held instruments and parading around the house, costumed (or not).
These are the first of what could be many naturally creative P.L.A.Y. moments as long as we as parents take a step back, let the kiddos express themselves, and provide a safe place for them to explore their likes and dislikes without any judgment or “shoulding”. If your family of origin always insisted that drawings of roses be red with green stems, or you had teachers that expected the same, then it will take a bit of courage to step back and let your child simply BE. It is worth it though as they will flourish and truly thrive under these nurturing conditions.
To help remind me to give space while supporting each of my kiddos to be their authentic selves I created the phrase: U-be-U (read more here). And there is no more important place than in the arts arena to simply let each person, kiddos and adults alike, to create, imagine, inspire, and immerse in their own moments without judgment. That is a simple gift that keeps on giving with a beautiful ripple effect out into our communities and then circling back again.
From practicing recorders, to singing in a chorus up on a symphony stage, visiting numerous concerts at the local university, to crafting jewelry and immersing in the fine art of photography, and sketching while visiting local greenhouses, our kiddos and family have always made creative expression a priority in our P.L.A.Y..
I hope you will be encouraged to keep the arts and creative expression as a priority throughout your learning adventures as it is a fabulously fun way to engage with P.L.A.Y. daily.
Mom Note: One of my favorite photos of my kiddos when they were young was of them painting watercolors out on the picnic table trying to capture how they saw the old 80 year oak tree in our backyard. The look on their faces was of pure joy and contentment as it didn’t matter what the paintings looked like (or what subject they actually painted), it was the process that lit them up knowing it was all truly good enough (especially for mom’s prized refrigerator art!)
Time to P.L.A.Y.!
Chapter 14 in this series can be found HERE.
Visit your local library to compliment this reading with the authors and resources listed below.
~ Recommended Authors + Resources ~
Julia Cameron –
The Artist’s Way for Parents: Raising Creative Children
❤ ❤ ❤
Betty Edwards –
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
❤ ❤ ❤
Andy Goldsworthy – [Landscape Artist]
A Collaboration With Nature
❤ ❤ ❤
Abigail Wheatley –
The Story of Painting
❤ ❤ ❤
Margaret Peot –
Inkblot: Drip, Splat, and Squish Your Way to Creativity
❤ ❤ ❤
Note: See Chapter 14 – Language Arts for more of the arts like Poetry/Shakespeare Theater/etc.
Purchase Here- P.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books
and encourage the arts today!