Wednesday, June 10, 2015

An Invitation

Yesterday's post has me ruminating about the ways in which allowing the boys such control over their education has been successful.  And that rumination led me to thinking about "invitations to learn" and how those invitations lead to invigorated learning, lead to a successful education.  Let me see if I can take you down the path of my ruminations.

Bishop has a significant creative streak and he is very adept with his hands.  Any artistic endeavor he has undertaken has always involved a very clear artistic vision.  So I have always tried to make sure that he has opportunities available to him in the area of the visual arts.  
Of course, when I opened a pinterest account I began collecting ideas.  Two years ago I decided to use pinterest to create an art "curriculum" for Bishop.  It was detailed and involved studying particular artists and creating our own art inspired by their work.  We never utilized it.  Last year I decided to simplify the "curriculum" and picked a handful of techniques and projects that I just knew Bishop (and I) would love - pyrography, papier mache, mask making, sculpture, and printmaking.  As exciting as the plan was we never utilized it because Bishop had his own ideas about how to spend his time and which skills and techniques he would like to acquire in the area of visual arts.
Of his own accord he did this photography...

and these drawings...

and this pottery...

He blows me away!
And he gets me to thinking, he doesn't need me to create a curriculum and provide him with instruction.  He simply needs me to come alongside him and aid him in getting the education that he wants.
This, however, does not mean that the only part I play in his artistic education is to provide him with requested supplies, pay pottery tuition, and drive him to lessons.  I recollect some of our most invigorating artistic learning experiences and I realize that they were moments when I was excited about acquiring a new skill or testing a new technique.  Like the time I was exploring all of the painting techniques offered up in a book that I owned.  He observed for a bit and became curious about what I was doing.  I extended an invitation to him.  He accepted and he came up alongside me and created the most exquisitely colored tags I had ever seen.  He even painted a paper towel with the same technique.  These pieces of art were mounted on foam board and entered in the fair where they took a blue ribbon.  We have tried our hand at jewelry making and needle felting in much the same way.
He has made invitations to me as well.  A while back I accepted his invite to draw routinely alongside him.  We would pull out our sketch books each evening and draw something, anything.  We got distracted and this ritual slowly gave way to something else.  Bishop returned to drawing this year.  He has issued another invitation to me, "Mama, I think you should start drawing again."
I think I shall have to accept this invitation
and I think that "curriculum" I developed on pinterest is for my educational purposes but if Bishop looks intrigued I will extend an invitation.

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