Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Art, part 1

Art, part 1

What is art and why is it important that we include it in home education?
By one definition, art is the product of human creativity. Wow, that is an incredible definition. Another definition says that art is what gives form to the imagination of man. By both of those definitions it is possible to see how important art can be to education. Beyond the nebulous definitions of art, it is possible to see that art and music are both associated with higher scores on standardized tests. If you just take that much information it is easy to see why art should be included in homeschool education.

In a time when society is putting increased emphasis on the scores of standardized tests, and schools are responding to the emphasis by “teaching to the test”, art and music are two types of courses that tend to be downsized. Some parents have pulled their children from institutional school settings as a response to the de-emphasis on art and music. And among those students who remain in schools, parents increasingly argue that art and music not be deleted from their children’s course of study. They quote the statistics that show higher test scores among students who study art and music as reasons to continue funding of those programs.

One question to ask here is whether the art and music actually cause the higher scores. Some people would argue that the study of art and music does not, in and of itself, make students smarter, resulting in the higher scores. Those people would argue that maybe the study of art and music actually teach skills that are not taught in other subjects. It is possible that new skills are not taught, but that skills taught in other subjects are reinforced in a different way. Next time, we will look at some of those skills.

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