Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How I Use the Internet to Teach My Children Art/Piano for Free

Some of you may or may not know that I am a homeschooling mom.  I have a kindergartner and a second grader who both keep me on my toes all day long!  They are so much fun and so eager at this age to learn new things.  That makes it is such a joy to teach them.

However, there are some things that I cannot teach them and therefore I have to look to outside sources to fill this need.  However, the cost of lessons for ANYTHING these days would be out of most people's budgets.  I'm thinking of two specific activities that I know my girls would love to be involved in.  These two activities are piano lessons and art classes.  I took piano for about a year as a child, but I cannot play.  I have taught them some basic things, but they are hungry for more.  I love to draw, but that does not mean I can teach it. 

So, what does a mom do in situations like this?  I have decided to turn to free on-line services.  (THIS IS NOT AN ADVERTISEMENT FOR ANY OF OF THESE WEB SITES.)

For piano lessons I have decided to try Hoffman Academy (formerly known as freepianolessons4kids.com).  I had my girls take the first few lessons from Joseph Hoffman and I really liked him!  However life happened and we never got back to it.  I'm going to try again this winter and I'll keep you updated on our progress.

Their new website just opened a few days ago and it looks nice.  The videos are very clear and he teaches in nice short lessons.  What's great about computer lessons is that the girls can sit right in front of the computer with our piano keyboard.  Of course, if you have an iPad, and a real piano you can just sit Mr. Hoffman on your piano stand and start your lessons!   

The best part is that you do not ever have to pay for a lesson.  However, there are extra materials, practice sheets etc..., that you can download for a minimal fee.  I did this for the first lessons and my girls really like the handouts.   If you are looking for something that does not cost you anything to try, maybe Hoffman Academy is for you.

For art lessons I have decided to turn to YouTube.  Yesterday, I was trying to help my daughter with how to shade a picture.  So, I turned to the internet for help and found some good video tutorials.  We instantly were hooked!  I have always loved to draw and have tried to teach myself through books, but I still cannot draw anything.  We had such a blast watching tutorials and drawing together.  We learned how to draw an eye, a baby, a person, a castle and a tree.  She may not be able to have personal instruction, but with art, practice really does make perfect.

Here are some samples of our fun day of drawing yesterday. 

My Drawing
My person has some issues (look at those calves!) and my baby scares me, but those are the best lips and nose that I've ever drawn!

Husband's Drawing

My husband got in on the art marathon as well.  Notice how he's showing off with his genus and species terminology!  He's an entomologist, but he also knows a lot about plants.  :)  

Now, here are the important pictures.  My daughter just turned 7 and I think these pictures are great for a 7 year old.  Of course I'm a little biased! :)

Realistic Drawing of an Eye

Drawing of a Person
 Isn't she cute?!!  I love the high heels! :)

Drawing of a Baby
 Baby's are very difficult.  Their faces are chubbier and their lips are fuller.  It's just hard to get everything proportional. 
Drawing of Teenager

Palm Tree
 I am IN LOVE with this palm tree.  I think I'll frame it and hang it up somewhere in our home.  My daughter also pointed out that because the paper is wrinkly in the picture above it looks like white clouds.  She's right!

Walnut Tree


Didn't she do great?!  I'm so proud of her.  She is drawing more today and taking what she has learned and expanding on it.  Here is her latest...

Walking the Dog
In a few months from now I'll post back with updates on the piano lessons and I'll have another art show for you to see how my girls (and I!) have improved.  By then I will also probably have some names of YouTube artist that we prefer to use for our art class.

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