Thursday, June 23, 2011

Art and Other Things

Before my children were even school-aged (lo, those many years ago), I bought two Pocketful of Memories books from Hearthsong. The books have nine envelopes spiral-bound together, one envelope each for kindergarten to grade 8. The outside of each envelope has a place to write memories and attach the child's photo.

It's been a tradition at the end of each school year for the children to fill out their envelopes, and for me to sort through all the paperwork and choose what to store in the envelope. Report cards always go in the envelopes, as do some photos, participation certificates, ribbons, and the like. This is one thing I am SO glad I started right at kindergarten, and that we've kept up every year. The kids enjoy filling in their information and reading back on years past. My son's book is now complete. I'll have to come up with a similar plan for his high school things!

My daughter brought home all her art work for the year. This is her family crest:
Notice how her shield is in the shape of an open book! She decorated it with things that are important to her: her violin, a baseball, chocolate, and her cat.

She also made this beautiful clay tile:
I love her impressionistic field of flowers behind the tree.

Finally, she made a mask this year. My son also made one in 5th grade. It is a plaster mold of her own face, which she painted to look like the ocean.
All of the fifth-graders' masks decorated the hallway of the school during their promotion ceremony, and after the ceremony the parents were instructed to find their child's mask and take it home. Looking at the masks in profile down the hallway, my daughter's was immediately recognizable to me.
That is definitely her sweet face!

Budget cuts and all that fun stuff have made art in middle school almost an impossibility. The middle schoolers are limited to two electives every year, and if you take music and a foreign language, that eats up your electives. Gym class is squeezed into 6th grade by alternating it every other day with music. She might get to take art for one quarter in 7th grade, but it's not a given. Art has always been one of her favorite things about school, so if she really wants to keep it up, we will have to look at the art classes offered by various art centers in town (which is much less convenient than if she could just do it at school!).


Lynn said...

M took art in middle school. His art teacher let him know that things would change in the future so he changed his plans mid year so that he could take more art. At the time he was thinking of going to art school. Then in high school he only had time for ONE semester of art. Grrrrr. It angers me to think that they went from six classes a day to five. That cut out so many choices.

besomom said...

Not that I am trying to hurry time along, because it moves fast enough all on its own, but I am eager/anxious to get my kids through school while there is still school to go to. Every year more things get pared away.

Tricia said...

The friend we just visited in CA is an art teacher. The schools in Oakland were forced to choose to keep just 1 of art, music, computers, PE (and maybe library) - at the elementary level! So she actually works for the PTA, not the school district - the parents raise the money to pay her salary. Unfortunately, there are way more schools which don't have the means to do that. Sad.