April 18, 2016
The benefits of studying arts-related subjects at home
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, however, arts subjects in school are often viewed as hobbies or additions to the core curriculum, where, in fact, they should not only be celebrated but also given serious weight and encouraged as valid, useful choices for both A-Level and GCSE.
Creative subjects are excluded from the five core subject areas of the Ebacc. This means that children may feel pressured into avoiding them 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.
With George Osborne announcing plans to extend school hours to allow more time for “high quality” extra-curricular activities, the fear is that arts subjects will be given even less worth, seen as simply hobbies, and this move will potentially create pressure for schools to remove arts subjects from the curriculum altogether.
With a huge drop in the number of students taking creative GCSE’s since 2000, and a similar decline in those choosing a craft-related subject at A-Level, is it time to re-think how schools support the creative subjects, and indeed creativity in general?
Topic choices in the creative arts have massively expanded in the past decade, and now students can chose from a huge range of options, concentrating on what interests and excites them the most.
Take GCSE Art and Design, for example, students can now study anything from photojournalism to soft furnishings under this header.
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, have a higher EI 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, to make decisions about their own learning, to problem solve, to use their initiative, be brave and innovative, develop excellent communication skills, be self-critical and use all of these to develop their skills and master their craft.
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, in fact, some research shows that allowing time for the more creative subjects actually improves students’ performance in more traditionally ‘academic’ subjects as well.
Arts subjects rather than being superfluous 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 easier and more 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. Hiring a private tutor to help with homeschooling can also help your child get the most out of pursuing these subjects.
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 students understanding of the history of art too.
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 musiclessons.com.
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.
Physical Education is an important part of any child’s development, and homeschooled 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.
Some useful resources include Games Kids Play and some tips for cardio exercises.
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.
Find out more about how our tutors can help homeschool your child here!