The first 2-3 years of homeschooling, I was dedicated to having Fine Arts Fridays. Each week we would listen to classical music while we learned about the artist-of-the-week. I would print out paintings from various time periods of an artist, say Picasso. We would all try our hand at painting/drawing in that artist's style, and then I'd display the artist's work as well as the kids' work until the next Fine Arts Friday. Sometimes we worked on a style rather than a particular artist--Impressionism, Modern, etc. This was a wonderful way to introduce the kids to artists and classical music and to incorporate the fine arts into our lives.
Sigh. I think it's been 2 or 3 years since we had our last Fine Arts Friday. I don't even remember Duncan being part of the scenario, so he must have been napping or in a highchair.
And mystery folders! Jesse and Laurel each had a folder, labeled "Mystery Folder." I'd put something new in the folder each day: a brain teaser or crossword puzzle for Jesse, a paper doll or coloring sheet for Laurel. When I needed alone time with Jesse, I'd tell Laurel that it was time to do her Mystery Folder, and vice-versa. They loved their folders, and this definitely helped them to be more indepedent. But I haven't stuffed those folders once this year, and I don't think I ever did it last year....
And "Order of the Queen" edicts! Occasionally I would surprise the kids by typing up an official notice, such as: By Order of the Queen! Today has been officially decreed a Day of Games! No workbook shall be opened! There shall be no math, no grammar, and no spelling allowed! All citizens of the estate must participate in Board Games and other such frivolity!
I think that the main reason I've let all these creative moments slip is because Jesse has entered the more serious academic years. Devoting a whole day to board games makes me slightly nervous, thinking about all the algebra and grammar that Jesse should be doing. Those are the times when I feel that balance wavering. It's those voices in my head saying: "We're homeschooling! We have the freedom to play Yahtzee all day if we want!" vs. "What would possess you to play Scrabble when he should be doing algebra?" And yet the younger children need that kind of unstructured structure. They need some of those non-academic learning opportunities--the ones that involve lots of "This is school?" moments. And Jesse may not need those kinds of activities, but I'm sure he'd appreciate a break now and then.
Another reason that I've let these slip is sheer laziness...and forgetfulness. It takes time to download and print out paintings and research artists...a little time...and, well, I forget my good intentions. And then I reassure myself that my children are gifted with a totally amazing art teacher, who has introduced them to dozens of artists over the past six years, and I do feel better. But it sure would be fun to have a Fine Arts Friday every now and then. And I do know exactly where the empty Mystery Folders are. And maybe the Queen needs to issue a few decrees.