6 Ways To Connect Art & Academics

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Accentuate Art’s Calming Effect

Understanding that the calming effect of realistic, representational drawing can help settle the nervous system is key for parents who want to encourage their kids. Art classes help students practice what it feels like to calm down.  You can help by remembering to be calm and encouraging to them both before and after art class, and by creating a safe, relaxing environment to draw at home.

 

Connect Art Time with Homework Time

If your child finishes homework early, allow drawing time.  Some children like to take art breaks between homework assignments.  By incorporating art into homework time, you’ll encourage practice while making art a sort of reward, reminding your kiddo that while drawing is not screen time, it is a fun and engaging part of the day.  Of course, there is a benefit to using more areas of the brain.  Where possible, provide your child with plenty of art supplies so that drawing-related homework can be a truly rewarding experience.

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Allow for Focus

Taylor Gee, a long-time former art student diagnosed with A.D.D., first developed the ability to focus in art class during junior high.  Six months later, she found herself focusing one subject at school, then in another, until she became proficient in all subjects and excelled by the end of high school.  She credits classes with her transformation.  I have heard this sort of account more than once.  In The Brain That Changes Itself, Norman Doige points to research that links the repetitive acts of tracing and drawing lines slowly, to significant repair of the brain. Choose classes that allow slow, meditative concentration, preferably through representational drawing.  To help students focus, be sure that at home, there are no distractions, so art students can practice in peace.

 

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Provide Regular Attendance

Nothing helps prepare a student to be at their best like a clearcut routine and the reliable presence of trustworthy adults.  Attending a well-managed class at a regular time helps children manage their week, overall. Kind teachers can become a touchstone mentor for a child’s overall wellbeing.  These days, kids’ schedules are increasingly hectic.  We have heard countless times from kids and parents alike that a relaxing art class once a week helps ground and center students enough to provide mental and emotional energy for their week.

Have Kids Draw Before Bed

A good night’s sleep is key for success.  Of course, we know that a bedtime routine helps kids to settle, and putting pencil to paper in a cozy spot before reading a book provides some some screen-free time, helping kids process their day, while winding down to rest.

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Stay Positive!

Art is a child’s sanctuary.  When you view their work, speak about specific qualities you notice in their art, without judgment. Since grades don’t apply to art, focusing on a drawing provides the ultimate opportunity to feel immersed in a task without worrying about pleasing someone else. That ability to delve deeply into a project can transfer into the classroom, which, of course, leads to more permanent and meaningful learning experiences overall.  Let your child know you are pleased with their effort, and are glad they are enjoying the ride.

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If you have your child in any form of the arts, bravo!  You are providing the balance and joy necessary to a productive and – most importantly – happy student.

Have a wonderful school year!

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