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How to Teach Homeschool High School Art in a Homeschool Co-op

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[Today’s post “How to Teach Homeschool High School Art in a Homeschool Co-op” was written by guest contributor Michelle Habrych.]

How to Teach Homeschool High School Art in a Homeschool Co-op

Disclosure: I get commissions for purchases made through affiliate links in this post.

My Background for Teaching Homeschool High School Art

My very artistic daughter entered her high school years last fall. In the past, I have written about how to teach art in a homeschool co-op. The purpose of that class was to get the students into art, to learn about the artists, and to try new things.

High school would be a different ballgame. I never felt confident about teaching this subject, despite taking art classes in my high school years. But my daughter really wanted an art class, so I plunged in and yet again created a new art class at my homeschool group, this time for high school students. Here’s how I did it.

Multi-media project for Homeschool High School Art Class
This multi-media project was to paint a dark shape and then fill in the background with pastels.

Make a plan for Teaching Homeschool High School Art

First, I had to decide where to begin. I decided to start at the beginning and not assume the students had any prior instruction. I scoured Pinterest for ideas and then wrote this class description:

“In High School Art, we will start with the basics of drawing. We learn about perspective, proportion and scale, and light and shadow, as well as different types of shading. We will be drawing faces, bodies, animals, landscapes, and still life. We will draw with different types of pencils, as well as charcoal. We will create optical illusions and other unique projects. We will talk about color and how to use it. We will learn new blending techniques for colored pencils and paints. We will explore printmaking using linoleum blocks.”

From that description, I planned a loose outline for the year.

Art Supplies for the Homeschool High School Art Class

To keep costs minimal, I asked parents to provide their own supplies. That way they could use what they already had at home, share between siblings in the class, or shop with coupons to get the best deals. I had them get a basic sketch/drawing pencil set with graphite pencils, charcoal pencils, erasers, and a sharpener. We spent the first weeks using this and their sketchbooks to learn the basics.

Get Ready for Class

Do your research and get ready for class. I had access to a projector so I often created presentations on my computer with photos of the techniques from books or websites. Having them enlarged enabled all of the students to follow along (I had 15 kids in the class!).

Watching an art technique video in homeschool co-op class
The students watch a video on blending acrylic paints and try the techniques as they watch.

Occasionally I would find a video for them to watch and follow along, such as the ones I found on mixing acrylic paints from William Kemp Art School  It was very helpful for subjects I did not feel confident in teaching, and the students liked them too.

Tests in Art Class?

Tests in art class? Yes, I did some tests that first year, to make sure students understood the concepts, vocabulary, and techniques. I only did it during first semester. Looking back, I probably would have tried to reinforce the concepts a little more before testing.

Bird paintings for final projects of the year
Here are the “final” projects. Each student was asked to paint something of his or her choice and given a couple of weeks to complete it. These three students chose birds.

Finish the Projects

One thing I learned from the class is that the students work at greatly varying speeds. In this 90-minute class, I moved on when a majority of the students finished, leaving some students to finish at home. I know my daughter never finished those projects. This year, I am teaching half of those students in High School Art 2 and have decided that the students will be given as much time as needed to complete the project, even if that means missing the chance to do the next project with the rest of the class.

Rainforect creature snake drawing in Homeschool High School Art Class
I printed out pictures of rainforest creatures for the students to use as models. This is my daughter’s snake drawing.

Insist on the Good Stuff

At the high school level, students really should be learning about higher technique. Crayola colored pencils that you get on the back-to-school sale really don’t cut it. I required Prismacolor or another quality brand which blend well. I did the same for many of the other supplies because I did not want frustrated artists!

Action drawing of snowboarder.
An action drawing of the Winter Olympics, which took place during the school year.

Try New Things

I tried to incorporate media the students may not have had a chance to use outside of the class, such as watercolor pencils, acrylic paints, and block printing kits. I had them bring in table easels to prop up their canvas or paper and paint like a professional artist.

Close-up drawings of fruits with watercolor pencils
We tried close-up drawing of fruits and vegetables. This is the start of my watercolor pencil fruit bowl.

Be Flexible

When the weather was nice, we would sometimes go outside and draw in nature. This year I am hoping to take day to be like the Impressionists and use colors (pastels or watercolor pencils) outdoor with our easels.

Where to Find Inspiration for What to Teach

Inspiration can come from anywhere. Look at Pinterest boards, art instruction books, and even museums to get ideas for projects. In this year’s High School Art 2, I have asked the students to share ideas for projects they would like to try as well. Be creative and have fun!

Do you have any other suggestions for great ideas for teaching Homeschool High School Art in a Homeschool Co-op? Please share in a comment below!

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One Comment

  1. Homeschool Parenting Summit 2.0 October 16-21, 2023

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