Could Art Help My Child with Academics?

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When I arrived at painting class yesterday, Miss Judy had my station set up as usual. My rose drawing was on the easel. In front was my palette tablet. Beside it were a disposable plate with a folded paper towel and an ice cream bucket with water for rinsing brushes.

Before I gathered paint and brushes from the plastic chest of drawers, Miss Judy told me that I needed to paint my background. She had an art book of floral still life paintings waiting for me. She suggested that I sit down and look through it for ideas. As I flipped from page to page, looking at pretty vases of roses and other flowers, I suddenly stopped at a painting of blue daisies in a caramel colored vase. “I have this painting hanging in my house!” I exclaimed.

My mother took painting lessons about thirty years ago. Several of her paintings decorate our home, but the first of Mother’s paintings that ever lived at our house was this one which now hangs in our bedroom. It is almost identical to the vase of blue daisies I saw in Miss Judy’s book today—only prettier.

Mother must have given the painting to me in the late 1970s or early 1980s, because I think she gave it to us while Ray was serving as a campus minister to students at the University of Mississippi. Obviously Mother’s teacher had that same book, and Mother had copied that painting from it! What a surprise and a precious moment that was!

Three students were missing from class today, so that left only three of us—a homeschooling mother, a homeschool graduate, and me, homeschooling mother emeritus. When someone finishes a painting, Miss Judy has everyone stop, admire, and applaud. Today both of the other students finished their paintings, a beautiful lighthouse with a pretty pastel background and a giant monarch butterfly atop a giant pink zinnia. Both were beautiful.

I was still trying to get my background covered when Ray came in to say hello to Miss Judy and to let me know he was there to pick me up. He told Miss Judy how much joy the painting class gives to me. It is such a healing and refreshing hour and a half for me.

Miss Judy teaches late afternoon classes on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. By far most of her students are children and teenagers, and most concentrate on drawing. Yesterday she told us about positive benefits that parents have noticed in her students. One mother told her that her child’s grades improved after beginning art classes. That mother or another one told her that art class was a calm experience for her child, unlike the other extracurricular activities he or she did, which were loud.

When I heard Miss Judy tell of the improved grades, I decided I should pass that along to you mamas. Sometimes we think that the solution to a child’s struggles with academics is to add more academics or at least to spend more time on academics. Perhaps that’s not the solution at all. Perhaps the child simply needs to spend more time being creative, focusing on a calm activity, or soaking in encouragement.

Do you see a person skilled in his work?
He will stand before kings;
He will not stand before obscure people.
Proverbs 22:29

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