Emily’s Art and the Neatness of Visuals

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASince my daughter has attended public school, with her brothers continuing to homeschool, I have missed her presence during the days. I also miss her art. Emily’s art has always been a large part of our home. There are always unfinished projects laying around and her bedroom walls are covered with her art. But with Emily gone during the days, and the afternoons and evenings filled with softball and homework, it is challenging to fine the time she wants to create.

At school she has an art class once a week and I rarely see her work. I’m assuming it’s displayed at the school – I often see walls covered in the artwork of various classes. But somehow they all look very much the same. I’m afraid that art in grammar school has become an assignment with specific guidelines and it makes me pine for the time when Emily would make art with only her imagination and materials laying around the house.

An language arts assignment she is working on right now, due at the end of the week, is to complete two book reports in which she will be answering specific questions, and creating a visual project such as a poster, a diorama or a clay model. The instructions clearly state that the students will be graded on inclusion of required materials, spelling and grammar, and on the neatness of the their visuals. That last phrase tears at my artist’s heart. The one part about this big project she is working on that involves creativity, must be neat?

Emily enjoys school and her art class, and her art teacher is lovely and comes up with amazing ideas for the students. But something deep inside of me cringes when I hear of art assignments resembling something other than a little girl’s way to express her imagination.



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