Art. Class.

Art. Class.

My mom’s latest adventure: Teaching art to the kids at our local charter school

I have written before about coming from a large family. I am the second oldest of ten kids. What I don’t think I’ve mentioned before in this newsletter is that my mom homeschooled all of us.

That’s right; my amazing mother not only raised us, but she taught us at home. Of course, she got plenty of help from my dad, but when he was out earning enough money to keep us clothed and fed, it was my mom who stayed home and taught us—all ten of us—reading, writing, arithmetic… and art.

If you can judge someone’s effectiveness by the results they get, I’d say she did an excellent job. All of my brothers and sisters are successful in their careers.

After devoting the best years of her life to a task that ended a few years ago when my youngest sister went on to high school, you’d think this home schooling mama would look forward to a leisurely coast into her golden years, surrounded by an army of doting grandchildren. Not my mom! She’s already involved herself in her latest adventure— teaching art to the kids at our local charter school!

The school, Belmont Academy, is a public charter school that just finished its first year of operation. Many HUB families have children enrolled there, including mine. We are all very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish in just one year, but that’s a story for another day.

In the early, chaotic weeks leading up to the school’s opening, the administration expressed a goal of having an art and a music program in addition to the required classes. My mother and a handful of others volunteered their time to fulfill that goal. Art education is something that has interested my mother all her life, and she even taught classes as a volunteer when she was still in high school. She wound up being in charge of 6 classes of kids in kindergarten through second grade. The classes met once a week for 45 minutes each.

Since the art program was essentially an afterthought, they had to improvise a space to hold classes. There were plenty of distractions, and a lot of cooperation was required between all the teachers, students and volunteers to set up and clean up afterwards so the other classes in need of the space would have the use of it at their scheduled time. Other niggling details such as procuring art supplies and all the recordkeeping required to get reimbursed for expenses further added to the burden placed on her shoulders, but she gladly put up with it all for the chance to broaden the creative horizons of her pupils.

“You’ve got to have a real passion for the subject and a love for the kids, or you’re not going to succeed,” she says. I have no doubt that she knows what she’s talking about. The results speak for themselves. Before the year was out, her kids had become introduced to a variety of techniques while tackling their assignments. She even gave them a taste of her own favorite media: Japanese watercolor painting. Additionally, her pupils learned the pride of accomplishment when a local business offered to publicly display their best work on the walls of a popular restaurant.

“I love teaching the younger grades,” she says. “They are so open minded and uninhibited.”

She’s already making plans for the upcoming school year. I think it’s given her a new sense of purpose to dedicate herself to this task. Good for you, mom!

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