The Benefits of Teaching Creative Subjects at Home

December 8, 2020
Homeschooling

Why should we study creative subjects?

There are a huge number of benefits in choosing creative subjects to study for GCSE and A-Level.

Creative industries are in fact now one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK and are responsible for over 5% of all jobs.

Unfortunately arts subjects in school are often viewed as hobbies or additions to the core curriculum. Instead, they should not only be celebrated but given serious weight and encouraged as valid, useful choices for both A-Level and GCSE. Not to mention as career choices in the future.

Nowhere is this more clear than in the Ebacc (English Baccalaureate), which no longer includes a creative subject as part of its five core subject areas. This means that children may feel pressured into avoiding expressive arts when picking additional GCSE’s, either choosing only one arts subject, or none, due to the general feeling that greater academic credit will be given to more ‘traditional’ subjects.

Creative industries in the UK contribute £13 million to our economy every hour. That's a pretty impressive statistic and illustrates the huge value people who study and work in creative subjects add to the UK's economy and culture.

The number of students taking A-Levels in Art & Design, Music, Performing Arts and Film Studies has continued to decline. Is it time to re-think how schools support the creative subjects, and indeed creativity in general?

The declining focus on Arts in schools does not reflect the wide choice of topics, careers and interests that can flow from studying a creative subject.

For example, a student who studies Art & Design might find a passion for photojournalism or might become a soft furnishing designer.

Music can be taken to study anything from original composition to popular music. Drama now sees students focusing on set design, lighting, costume design and all aspects of production.

Employers now actively seek students who have achieved qualifications in arts-related subjects.

Why? Because research has shown arts students are better self-starters and are more well-equipped to accept and act on constructive criticism.

Those who study arts subjects are required to work individually as well as in a team, for example Drama students work together for hours to put on plays and thus develop excellent communication skills. The hours of dedication required for subjects like Art means that pupils learn to make decisions about their own learning, manage their time well and use their initiative. Creative subjects allow students the space to be brave and innovative, to be self-critical and to master their chosen craft's skillset.

Mastering the arts requires dedication, self-motivation and hard work.

A subject that requires practical skills such as organisation, for example, when putting on a play or concert, are highly sought after, and being able to demonstrate these when applying for jobs is both valuable and attractive to potential employers.

There is also merit in encouraging creativity in students in terms of their overall well-being and emotional development.

Arts subjects allow students to express themselves in ways that more academic subjects cannot and some research shows that allowing time for the more creative subjects actually improves students’ performance in more traditionally ‘academic’ subjects as well.

Arts subjects are not superfluous but can actually help students develop better self-awareness, reduce stress and anxiety and give them a deeper sense of fulfilment too.

Teaching the creative arts at home

One of the problems with learning creative subjects at school is that there is not enough weight placed on the importance of these subjects, or time dedicated to pursuing them.

Creative homeschooled children with an aptitude for the creative arts can realise their full potential more easily and thoroughly in a homeschooled environment.

Those responsible for homeschooling children can encourage them to continue with their creative pursuits and set aside time in the day to ensure that children are able to focus on them, and do what they love.

There are plenty of ways to include creative subjects into a homeschooled child’s curriculum, as well as ensuring they spend time advancing in the core academic subjects alongside this.

Art 🎨

There are plenty of online resources, which can help homeschoolers to follow a fantastic and varied arts programme. From lesson plans to ideas and activities, parents and educators will be able to easily find a programme that works for them – all they need to do is provide the materials!

Photography courses are also available all over the country and with a huge number or galleries and exhibitions there are plenty of opportunities to develop a student's understanding of the history of art too.

On YouTube, it's possible for students to access free art lessons from illustrators, oil painters and watercolour drawers.

Music 🎸 🎺 🎻

Again the web offers a wealth of resources, which are fantastic if your child wishes to pursue music at home.

Not only can you find lessons on how to play almost every instrument ever made, there are also helpful tutorials on how to read music, its history, how to compose music and much more.  For ideas and inspiration take a look at www.musiclessons.com.

When homeschooling children who have an aptitude for music, it gives them their own time to practice, play around with the instrument and create their own compositions. You can schedule in time with a Piano tutor - or whatever instrument they choose - but ultimately students are free to pursue their musical interests as much as they like.

Theatre 🎭

If your child is interested in theatre there are plenty of opportunities for them to learn in a homeschooled environment.

Finding an amateur dramatics group for them to join in their local area should be easy. If you can’t find one, why not start one yourself?

You may be surprised to find many other enthusiastic homeschooled students who are looking to join up, and with online scripts available, you simply need to source a suitable venue for rehearsals – a town hall, local sports centre or even your own living room!

Putting on a production in your town and city is something that students and other parents of homeschooled children can all get involved with.

The organisation and communication skills required to realise this are hugely valuable and will provide students with great insight into all the elements needed to create this type of event.

If students are hoping to gain qualification in the subject, the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art enables individual candidates to take examinations at one of their UK public centres and offers a huge range of topics to study.

Drama is also a fantastic creative subject for homeschoolers as it gives them an opportunity to socialise.

P.E. ⚽️ ⛹🏼 🧗🏾 🚵🏿

Whilst P.E. doesn't seem like a typical creative subject, there's plenty of opportunity for kids to express themselves through sport.

Physical Education is an important part of any child’s development, and homeschool parents should try to include this as part of their child’s learning.

Finding organised sports teams for your child to participate in should be easy. However, all exercise counts and is beneficial, so if you child prefers swimming, hiking, gymnastics, or dancing you can find classes for them to sign up to as well.

Homeschoolers can even put together their own PE- style lesson plans involving running, swimming, cycling or cardio workout programmes to encourage exercise and give children a refreshing break from academic learning too.

The great thing about homeschooling is there is no limit on the time available for exercise and activity. You can take a whole day to go hiking and exploring if you decide to, with no worries about having to pull your child out of school.

Architecture 🏛

Architecture has recently been introduced to the school curriculum and if your child is interested in the subject you can successfully teach them at home.

Architecture is a fascinating subject and requires students to gain knowledge in a range of topics including maths, engineering, history, social studies, geography, art, and even writing.

There are some fantastic resources available online to help structure and plan your lessons and allow your child to develop their skills. You can even organise ‘school trips’ to visit beautiful buildings and structures in nearby towns and cities to allow them to appreciate architecture and inspire their passion further.

Homeschooling a creative child has a huge number of benefits, the flexible scheduling tends to work well for creative minds and you can devise a timetable that can be adapted to help creative children develop and nurture their ideas.

You can give children the freedom to have more control and influence over how their lessons are devised, give them more free time for creating, come up with unique and effective ways to encourage children to demonstrate their learning and test their knowledge and skills, and allow them to specialise in subjects they are most passionate about, therefore nurturing their creative spirit.

Tutor House provides a huge range of highly qualified, knowledgeable and experienced Tutors across all subjects. If you are hoping to find a tutor to enhance your child’s learning in the creative arts we can provide tutors in Music, Architecture, Drama, Art, P.E and Theatre Studies.
Alex Dyer

Alex is the founder and director of Tutor House and has a degree in Psychology. He has worked in the educational industry for 14 years; teaching Psychology for 8 years at a school in London. He now runs Tutor House, after setting it up in 2012. Alex still tutors every week, he writes for the Huffington Post and has appeared on the BBC and ITV to discuss educational topics. Alex is an educational consultant and UCAS expert, he’s worked with hundreds of students over the years. He’s obsessed with squash, but is distinctly average.

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