Worldschooling and our Family Art Movement.

I’m not sure where to start with this one. There is no beginning, no inception of an idea. There is no magic realization of it. It just is. But I guess I could start with how I followed my heart and dissolved an “ok” life with pretty much successful work, to just leave it all and “make art with my kids anywhere else in the world but here”.  The idea was a good one, I have to admit it made sense. Back then, I made art every day, just not art for me. Makeup Art on demand was food on the table (and the availability of credit cards) but it was really an idea of art.

“I never went to Art School and for many years I saw this as a fraudulent way of belittling myself”

I grew up surrounded by artists and even if I was destined to go to Art School, the rebelling years took me elsewhere and I tried to study Philosophy instead. That sure blew my brain into relative oblivion, specially since I was trying to do that while also raving every weekend. But if someone asks me why I didn’t go to Art School I answer that I didn’t want to do the color theory gradient square compositions that the first year students had to do.

So, if I didn’t go to Art School, could I still be an artist? I found that through makeup and hairdressing I could try. For a while I felt like I had found the answer to the problem. I worked on plenty of really awesome shoots, theater and film, doing not only beautiful makeup but also gory and bloody work that would usually give me quite a high. But it wasn’t enough, too much monotonous touchup work killed the passion for me. But I still love the art of makeup and love looking at it, I now run a Different Makeup Gallery full of beautiful and wonderful works of makeup art that still inspire me. Either way, I still can’t bring myself to freely call myself an artist. So I have no “Arts” degree, who cares right? Maybe I do? I’m not sure anymore.

Towards the end of our 7 year stint in Peru I decided that I would rent a room outside of the house to use as a studio.  The idea of it was perfect, but in practicality it was more than complicated.  I was basically trying to recreate my journaling years that I had lost with all the work that had taken over. I did some doodles, smoked lots of weed (like usual) and created some pretty memorable little pieces. But that was the last straw of how thin things were spreading, and so we decided it was time to leave. And I abandoned my makeup artist world to make art in the world, with the kids. We packed a couple bags and this crazy little family was off to Asia.

And so here I am, two and a half years later, just now feeling that I am finally doing it. Finally “making art with the kids”. It wasn’t overnight and it wasn’t easy. In an entire year I think I picked up the watercolors only two or three times and the pencils just sat there. Once I tried to start a Children’s Book and that didn’t really go anywhere although the idea is still floating around. At the beginning there was lots of traveling and I was quite pregnant and then laden with a newborn so I guess I can say I had no time.  But time is relative isn’t it? I can also say that Big Kiddo was too small for doing art, and that’s just crap. It’s a lame excuse, and I have a nice notebook of doodles.

After some months in Laos and almost a year in Bangkok, we came to Phuket and pretty much settled here for a while. That took some getting used to, and after some months, the empty room next to the kitchen was converted into a “school” room but we didn’t really do school, we started doing art. Finally the paints came out and the temperas got bought, and the markers, and the crayons and the watercolors and the glue….

The walls started to get covered in painted letters, and numbers and then it blew up and we started a Fruit and Vegetable series. We spent a year just hanging out and doing art sometimes. During that year we talked about the fact that Big Kiddo was big enough to go to PreK and what should we do about it. Every time we talked to him he would refuse and say that he wanted me to teach him and for the school to be at home. Not until this year, in fact not until a month ago did we really decide that ok, I will school him at home at around a PreK or Kindergarten level.

I had already been investigating the entire year about homeschooling and unschooling. Who hasn’t seen that video of the 14 year old unschooled kid giving a TED talk right? So I just needed the push, the incentive to get started. It took my husband asking if we had been doing much stuff in the “school” room downstairs. He was right, I had been slacking even with the art. And so I started schooling. It’s really only been a month and I began with a child led approach which seems to work pretty well. I decided we would pick a theme and do a week of it. We started off with volcanos and the first thing we did was create a model volcano and that’s when I saw it. I had been schooling them through art the entire time that I was not consciously “schooling”.

“Then real life set in after a few days and the routine got harder to keep up with the cooking and the cleaning up and the laundry…”

….so then I realized that our family was better suited for unschooling rather than homeschooling. But could I really label it radically in any direction? No, I couldn’t. So what am I doing? I am schooling through art. And they are learning new stuff and they are enjoying themselves. Do children that are homeschooled/unschooled through art get into college? Sure if they want to, right? But the kiddos are small, let’s just go one colorful step at a time.

This is our new life, our Family Art Movement

UPDATE April 2015
We have moved to Bali a couple of months ago, I have put the kids in preschool to learn English and the family art has stagnated. I made the mistake of putting the art supplies in the moving box instead of my backpack and its been too long. This week I will go buy supplies so we can start up again. The difference will be that now it´ll be an After School affair. We have a long term dream of making multilingual children´s picture books. I would say that now we are Worldschooling, it makes more sense with all the moving all the different kinds of things we do.

UPDATE December 2015
The Family Art Movement Etsy Store is live and you can visit it HERE!

UPDATE July 2017
We are currently in Sri Lanka. The Etsy Store was a flop. The kids went to a Cambridge school for a year and a half and hated it. This year we start homeschooling again! I hope to enroll in some online courses myself so that we can all study together.

 But really, who need labels