How important is art in home tuition?

How important is art in home tuition?

Art is a broad subject that encompasses everything from painting to modelling to art history. It is, however, often seen as secondary to academic subjects and less useful than core subjects like maths, English, and science.

It is often the first subject to be dropped in home-schooling if time pressures mean study has to concentrate on ‘core’ subjects. On the flip side, it is often the simplest way to engage non-academically minded pupils, especially younger pupils, which can lead to a very obvious and unwelcome divide as they get older between the ‘fun’ subjects and ‘boring’ ones.

There are some families who are more scientifically minded who aren’t that interested about art as a subject. So then we look to the pupil – do they have an artistic temperament? Do they have a special educational need that would benefit from incorporating drawing or clay modelling, for example, into their day? How old is the pupil and what curriculum are they following – is there a requirement to study art and design as part of that curriculum?

Even in those situations where art is a curriculum requirement, but the student doesn’t show aptitude or enthusiasm for art, the unique benefit of home tuition is how we can adapt the curriculum to suit the pupil. We can focus on subjects that the child enjoys and will do well in, we can defer exams until the child has attained greater skill in a particular area, and we can introduce elements of other subjects into art lessons to make it more appealing.

When I first visit a future client’s home I always take a look around at the walls, the bookshelves, the coffee table… Some clients don’t specifically mention how they want art and design to be incorporated into their child’s education, but it’s often easy to tell if they themselves are interested in art, and what style of art, and whether they would in fact appreciate being able to converse with their children about art over dinner.

 

The beauty of full-time home schooling is in the unique opportunity to blend subjects and incorporate elements from all academic fields into one project.

The real world is not neatly divided into subjects, and it’s a false construct in schools that we are taught art separately from maths, from science, that geography is taught separately from history, and even, in the case of UK GCSEs, 15-year old pupils have to choose between history and geography, or between art and drama.

Home-schooling enables all subjects to be blended and studied as part of a given topic, and in this way, art is incorporated into everyday study. How can you study Ancient Egypt without looking at hieroglyphs or painted sarcophagi? How can you study technical drawing without understanding maths and geometry?

Without the constraints and inter-lesson shuffling of the school day, home-tutored children are more productive – usually achieving more in 20 minutes than school children do in an hour.  This leaves more time for exploring a given subject and incorporating music, art, drama and other non-‘core’ subjects into the day.

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