Art is Just as Important as Math and Science

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Cure for Mondays 

Balance is everything. I believe it is especially important to remember why learning and fun are both essential when it comes to education. By balance I mean making space for academics, sports, meditation and art in your child’s learning process. I’m sure you have heard about the right-brain/left-brain theory, which, thankfully, has long been debunked by scientists. I was never quite sure which category I fell into, but I was very sure about not wanting to be labeled. School had a way of making me feel inadequate or curtly glorified {would happen rarely, like when I would be assigned to watch the class and list on the board the names of students who were misbehaving} because in school you’re either smart or not smart, creative or not creative, helpful or not very helpful. I first read about theories of the brain in grade school while leafing through Reader’s Digest. I thought, if left-brained people were logical and right-brained people were creative, then which brained person on earth was I?

I never made it to any honors list because I never paid attention to my school books, but I was such a bookworm that I could stay in my room and finish reading three books in a row, or write a unicorn-inspired story in my DIY notebook. I’m bringing this up because as a child I felt like my interests were of no importance to the world. So I loved to write or sketch or do several homemade projects, but my grades in Math were always hanging by the hair and my other grades were just a-okay, so I was not a Section A-worthy student. No matter how the school would explain that the sections didn’t necessarily reflect the not-smart and far-from-smart labeling so as not to upset parents, I don’t think it was any coincidence either that those who flunked in some subjects were all in Section C and those were a bit better than that were in Section B. I was never upset about jumping back and forth between Section A and B, but what bothered me was how much importance was especially given to Math, Science, other academic subjects and the study of religion, plus how grades were treated like the Holy Grail of our existence as students.

I was, at one point, told by a teacher that unless I improved my grades first, then I should refrain from doing “other things” because these stopped me from becoming smart. I could not, for the life of me, become the smart student that I ought to be, so I continued writing. When I graduated from high school, I was given the Creative Writing Award. I was the only one who got that award, so I left my alma mater with a toothy smile nonetheless.

I’m very happy that the world now has a fresh perspective on learning especially where homeschooling is concerned. Homeschooling in the Philippines is something that a lot of parents are still afraid to try for fear of not having enough patience, not having enough time or not being knowledgeable enough to teach. I talked about this in my article, “20 Reasons Why You Should Not Homeschool” and you might want to check that out on your next tea break.
Since there is always a brighter side, the brighter side says the numbers are growing. More and more parents are homeschooling knowing how it’s benefiting the children and the entire family. 

Why is art good for all of us?

In the words of Dana Gioia, American poet, writer and former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, “There are some truths about life that can be expressed only as stories, or songs, or images. Art delights, instructs, consoles. It educates our emotions.” He also described art as an irreplaceable way of expressing and understanding the world. We know this to be true because in our personal lives we’ve been through times when we’ve depended on art, in its diverse forms, like it was our mother. People write poems to express all kinds of emotions; painting, drawing, sketching and also dancing are considered therapeutic; the benefits of music and/or creating it are multitudinous.

In his book Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness of Well-Being, father of positive psychology, Martin Seligman, said that the five critical elements of psychological well-being include engagement, positive emotion, accomplishment, meaning and positive relationships. This was also discussed by Michael Friedman in his article “Art Can be Good for Mental Health” in Huffpost Healthy Living. It’s obvious, but I’ll say it anyway: Art lays out a foundation for all of these elements. Art gives us the chance to reap benefits from doing things we truly enjoy.

What benefits kids get from doing art

  • They are encouraged to think creatively and do not feel limited because an analytical problem is too difficult and there’s too much pressure to get to a correct answer
  • Art has no right or wrong, so it helps build confidence
  • Doing artwork is fun, so learning is fun
  • They become better at analysis and interpretation
  • It’s easier {and again more fun} learning about different cultures around the world through art
  • Feelings and emotions can be expressed not just through words
  • Problem-solving skills and critical-thinking skills are practiced whether they are aware of it or not
  • It doesn’t feel like a task to connect with others
  • They become more profound and vivid with descriptions
  • It gives them enough time to discover their own strengths and styles
  • Studies have shown that kids who are encouraged to do visual art have higher chances of creating patent-worthy materials later on in life
  • They develop originality
  • They become better observers

Honoring Your Kids’ Artwork

Kids naturally have less inhibitions when it comes to self expression. They don’t need a profound reason to do art, they just love it and it makes them feel good. It is important that we honor their artwork because it is to them what your job is to you {provided that it is a job you love}. Most of the time, and especially with younger children, they draw, paint, create artwork to give them as gifts to their parents. So don’t fret about the mountains of paper that you have to put away on your free time or the drawings of stick people on your newly painted wall. It’s just their way of saying, “Look, I made something really beautiful for you!”

Today, I would like to honor my four-year-old daughter’s drawings.

The Little Prince. Drawn from memory

The Flower Lion

The Family. I see me in this drawing!

Piglet Chrysanthemum. I bet you all know who Piglet is. Chrysanthemum is from one of her current favorite reads.

Papa: The Greatest, Most Handsome Papa

Nathan and Me (Nathan is her two-month-old cousin)

CURE FOR MONDAYS IS A WOMEN'S BLOG, BEST HOMESCHOOL WEBSITE, FAMILY ISSUES BLOG, HOMESCHOOL PROBLEMS, SOCIALIZATION, INSPIRATION, MANILA MOMMY BLOGGER, SAHM, ASIAN HOMESCHOOLER, BLOGGYS 2015 WINNER, DEALING WITH STRESS, STRESS RELIEVER,  HOW TO DEAL WITH DEPRESSION, therapeutic art, benefits of art on children, importance of art, how to help kids become creative, positive effects of art, how music helps children, dana gioia, art for kids, artistic children, art therapy, children painting, children art, children drawing, philippine art, filipino art, asian art, positive psychology, martin seligman, math and art

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