This post was sponsored by the Invisalign® brand and all opinions expressed are my own. Last updated on 1/27/2022 to reflect how music and art continue to enhance our daughters’ education.
One would think homeschool art curriculum and music curriculum would be easy to find, yeah… not so much so. Fortunately, we’ve experienced a ton and have our favorites to share with you.
We are Pro Homeschooling Parents.
And when I say we’re Pro… I mean it, we have homeschooling down.
I’m sharing this with you not to brag, instead to show you we actually know what we’re talking about when it comes to homeschooling and to hopefully inspire you as a homeschooling parent.
We, as a family, have excelled at homeschooling and our girls are thriving beyond belief.
Zoë (13) skipped 7th grade, crushed 8th grade and is now doing concurrent enrollment in both high school and college.
Zoë will graduate high school about a month after her 15th birthday with about 30 college credits. She’s not taking easy college classes and she’s acing them. In English 1A she got a 100%, English 1B 102%, American History 98%… this semester she has English 1C and World History.
She’s got straight As in her 1st semester high school core classes, Algebra 1 and Biology, and straight As in her electives, Jewelry Making, Physical Education and Keyboarding & Applications. This semester she adds Instrumental Music as an elective (in place of keyboarding).
Zoë started taking college classes the summer before she started high school.
Kaylee (11) is following along the same path. Kaylee skipped 5th grade, did amazing in 6th grade and now she’s crushing 7th grade.
Both girls are National Junior Honor Society members.
It’s taken a lot of work and sacrifice on the part of the whole family to make sure our girls get the best education possible.
How We Started Homeschooling!
First off, we don’t reject education. We wholeheartedly believe in education.
We never expected to homeschool our girls because Zoë really thrived in her Kindergarten and 1st grade classrooms. However, when 2nd grade rolled around, Zoë ended up with a bad teacher who was absolutely crushing her love of learning, and that led us down this path.
We started Zoë with “home study” halfway through second grade. Basically, she was given all of her work for the rest of the year, we helped her with her work at home and met with a teacher at her school once a week to turn in the work. Kaylee was in Kindergarten at the time so we had her finish out the year (I mean, you can’t really mess up kinder, can you?).
By the end of Zoë’s first semester of home study, it was beyond clear that homeschooling was the right choice for us.
The next year, we decided to homeschool both girls through a Charter School. Zoë was starting 3rd grade and Kaylee was starting 1st grade.
We were a bit nervous about our ability to deliver the best education for our daughters when we first started out. And we knew we could do better than their school, so we decided to jump in.
When we first started homeschooling, we were amazed by how fast Zoë and Kaylee could complete their core subjects in the homeschool environment. It didn’t take much more time than we spent in the car driving them back and forth to school every day (high school is a whole other beast when you’re trying to graduate in 2 years, though).
They both move through subjects very fast, much faster than in a traditional classroom setting. In a traditional classroom, they’re bored… through homeschooling, they’re able to be challenged. The best thing about homeschooling is we are able to move at the speeds each of our daughters need.
They’ve both tested well above grade level from the beginning too, which gives us a lot of flexibility in their homeschool curriculum. That means after they finish their core subject work, they get to focus on music, art and other interests. Both girls have really been blossoming with all of their passions!
Picking curriculum can hands down be the hardest part of homeschooling, though, which is why we’ve tried a ton over the years. And though the core subjects tend to be very similar, finding good art and music curriculum has been much more challenging. There are more options today than there were a few years ago though!
Music and Art are the Secret!
We feel teaching our kids art and music is one of the most important things we can do to help develop everything from their creativity (by forming new neural connections in their brains) to developing their hand-eye coordination, along with a myriad of other benefits… and because they really enjoy it.
I can’t stress how important art and music have been for the growth and development of our girls. We feel expanding their creative minds and always encouraging them to be creative is what has helped them thrive in every other area of life.
Brian plays guitar and would play music and sing to our girls when I was pregnant. He played music to them every single day for years; the only time he wasn’t able to play for them is when he was out of town for work.
As soon as our girls could strum a guitar, Brian had them strumming his. As soon as they could beat on a drum, they had drums to beat on. Both girls have really taken to playing the ukulele and percussion like the djembe and cajon.
As soon as our girls could grasp a crayon, they were coloring. Although there were a few times in their younger years, the colors didn’t quite make it where they were supposed to… On the bright side we got some colorful walls, cabinets and even Zoë’s face.
Creativity doesn’t just play a role in music and art… it plays a role in every other subject too. Every other subject requires creativity. In History, for example, you have to be creative in social studies when trying to imagine how historical events played out. Math requires tons of creativity, especially when you get to more complex problems.
The Evolution of Online Courses.
When we started homeschooling 8+ years ago, there weren’t the number of resources available then there are now. Art skills and music skills don’t just happen on their own… and online courses were very limited.
We had to create our own lesson plans, unit studies, art projects, craft projects and so on. In fact, in the DIY & Craft Category, my girls helped me create the vast majority of those crafts or were at least there watching me create them.
Brian knows a lot about musical composers, music history, music theory, composition and has taught music appreciation from day one with the girls. We like to let the girls hear all types of music, including classical music like Mozart & Bach, modern rock, top 40 and everything in between. Brian also plays a lot of stringed instruments, percussion and keys, and has a lot of musicians in his family.
He also knows a lot about art, modern art history, art appreciation and the art industry as he formerly managed artists. And not only does he have several family members who are artists, he’s a novice artist himself with around 50 or 60 original paintings.
We have many reasons why we chose to homeschool. That said, I’m going to share with you what has worked for us when teaching our girls art and music.
Ever since Zoë & Kaylee were little girls, they have been passionate about art. They love drawing and, as Zoë puts it, “Creating abstract art that incorporates everyday things.”
Jewelry making is the latest of Zoë’s artistic pursuits. She has been making so much wire-wrapped jewelry that we’ve talked about helping her start an online business. These are just a handful of the many pieces she has created.
Kaylee has really gotten into creating crafts and sculptures. She started with kids crafts, progressed to origami and now she’s working with clay sculpting and creating unique sculptures by hot gluing decorative rocks and shells together.
Over the past few years our whole family got into pour art (here’s a simple pour art kit if you want to try it) and doing many different styles of painting. Painting together is one of our favorite family past times.
Though free art lessons on YouTube are great, free worksheets off the Internet are great… and from our experience, actual paid art classes tend to be a much better value.
3 of our favorite online art class providers are:
1. Craftsy. Craftsy is great because you can pay for individual classes, or take unlimited classes for a flat monthly fee. They have classes on all sorts of art and craft related topics, and they have a great selection of painting classes on Craftsy.
2. Udemy. Udemy is another website that has classes on tons of topics. Most of them are on-demand, so you can take them at your own pace. They have a really amazing selection of drawing classes on Udemy or you can browse around for more ideas.
3. Masterclass. If your kids are a bit older or want higher level conceptual art courses in fine art topics, Masterclass has some great options:
Both girls have had a tremendous amount of interest in music since day 1.
They both play the djembe (an African drum) and cajon (box drum), Brian gave them some piano lessons and so far the keys aren’t their jam. Where they have a real interest is in learning to sing, play the guitar and ukulele.
Lately, both girls have really gotten into singing and playing the ukulele. I hear them strumming around the house all the time.
For Zoë’s dental care, one reason we went with Invisalign® clear aligners over braces is because she can take them out when she practices singing. It gives her more flexibility to sing with her natural smile without any obstructions in her mouth.
Though we’ve been through several online music courses… there’s 1 course that’s been leaps and bounds better than the rest… and that’s Fender Play Music. We have been using Fender Play since 2017 and it’s helped the girls become proficient guitar and ukulele players.
Fender Play starts off very basic and covers every single aspect of playing the guitar and ukulele. It’s very slow and very basic… and that’s a good thing. With the videos being slow, the kids can keep up and they don’t feel like they’re falling behind.
Fender Play covers absolutely every single aspect of playing a guitar/ ukulele. From how to hold a pick to how to how to strum a single string to playing complex riffs from songs to learning how to read sheet music.
We were introduced to Fender Play when they reached out to sponsor us. Though this blog post is not sponsored by Fender (it’s sponsored by Invisalign)… we still promote Fender Play because it’s such a great product.
You can read our previous sponsored posts from Fender:
We credit art and music for our girls being able to advance in their homeschooling. We really promote creativity in our home and that bleeds over to every other aspect of their lives.
We feel making sure your child has access to quality art classes and music lessons is paramount.