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Homeschool Art

Homeschool art can be a challenge. This article provides first steps in planning your homeschool art curriculum, including information on using the national standards in planning homeschool art curriculum. Keep reading for more homeschool art.

If you’ve been wondering how to go about teaching homeschool, this article will provide information to get you on your way.

First Steps for Planning Your Homeschool Art Curriculum

The first step to take in planning your homeschool art curriculum is to ascertain any requirements in your local area, usually your state, if you live in the United States. This page on the United States Department of Education site will help you locate your home state’s education website: See the article “Getting Started with Homeschool Curriculum” for overall guidance.

Besides specific homeschool information, you will be able to find the state’s standards and curriculum framework, including details about the curriculum for art used in the public school. You can also find state art standards linked here:

In addition to finding your own state standard, using this site will allow you to find other material from both your own state and other states. You may find resources, bibliographies, and curricula that you can use - within the guidelines your own state provides. All these materials are free. 

In addition to these materials and resources, you may find that your state has one or more specialists in the arts whose job at the state department of education is to support educators. They may also have a home education specialist. Both of these experts may be able to answer questions and provide assistance and suggestions.

Using the National Standards for Planning Homeschool Art Curriculum

Another early step you should take is checking the National Standards for Art. You can find these at the site for The Kennedy Center: Artsedge I will treat the national standards in more detail because they are common to all states. You can then apply what I say to your state standards, as appropriate.

First, notice that the standards are divided into four areas of fine art: dance, music, theater, and visual arts. Your state’s curriculum will indicate which of these may be mandatory for your homeschool art curriculum.

Second, notice that the standards are divided into three levels: Kindergarten through Grade 4, Grades 5 through 8, and Grades 9 through 12. This allows you to focus on the standards you need for the students you are instructing. Also, having different standards at different levels helps clarify how the discipline of art is matched to chidren’s developmental stages.

Third, notice that in each arts discipline, each level has the same number of standards, but the wording for the same standard number may change across levels to reflect how the students advance in knowledge and skills. For example, Music Standard 4 for K-4 is “Reading and notating music” whereas Standard 4 for 5-8 is “Composing and arranging music within specified guidelines.”

Fourth, look for words in the standards that show that students are:

  • doing art, alone and in groups
  • evaluating art - both their own artwork and the artwork of others’
  • integrating their understanding of art with their understanding of other disciplines, including both other arts and history and culture
  • Fifth, look for a glossary. This can help you with any art discipline words that you don’t know the meanings of.

Beyond Standards

Standards assume some knowledge of the discipline. So besides the standards, you will want to find material - probably a book - that lays out the basics for each art discipline you’ll be teaching. You may be able to find books at a local library, purchase them from a bookseller, or reference them online, for example, through Google Books.

Depending on the art form, you will need to know about media, elements, tools, techniques, and principles of the art form. For example,

  • in the visual arts, you need to understand the elements of color, form, line, shape, texture, as well as the principles of design - balance, proportion, rhythm, emphasis, and unity - and media.
  • in music, you need to understand the elements such as meter, tempo, rhythm, melody, harmony, dynamics, and timbre or tone color; as well as forms and genres.
  • in dance, you need to understand different dance forms - such as ballet, contradance, aerobic dance, tap, jazz, etc. - movement principles, choreographic principles - such as space, time, force, relationships, weight, and flow, and aesthetic principles - unity, balance, variety, repetition, and contrast.
  • in theater, it’s important to understand acting elements such as movement, voice, sensory/emotional recall, characterization, ensemble skills; script elements, such as plot, character, setting; etc.

So look for references that talk about these elements and others. The national standards sites has pages of lessons, weblinks, and how-tos. All of these are free and can support your homeschool art teaching.


Google Books: Dance Teaching Methods and Curriculum Design

By Gayle Kassing, Danielle Mary Jay -

Americans for the Arts -

The Kennedy Center: ArtsEdge -

US Department of Education -