Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Homeschooling and the Fine Arts Center

One of my favorite educational resources is our local fine arts center. The Glema Mahr Center for the Arts in Madisonville, Kentucky, offers "school day matinees" throughout the academic year with ticket prices at a fraction of a typical performance rate (this past season, they were $6 per seat). They welcome homeschool families, and we regularly join in the fun.

In addition to enjoying shows from the audience, Pip has experienced the magic of sitting onstage during several small-cast performances. Many productions, particularly those put on by traveling children's theatres, have study guides that teachers and parents can obtain in advance to help plan related lessons for before and after the field trip.

The Anne P. Baker Gallery, located inside the fine arts center, almost always has visual art on display as well. Each new collection is very different--from photography exhibits to student displays to juried art shows--and admission is free. It's a low-pressure way to experience a small taste of an art museum, and a chance for Pip and me to see a variety of beautiful work. It always sparks conversation and often inspires a new art project. She loves going so much that when her cousin came to visit last fall, Pip insisted we stop by to show her our local gallery.

This past season, the GMCA hosted two community choir performances that were free and open to the public. There were also a variety of family performances--like acrobats and musicals--available throughout the year. Although ticket prices are higher than the school day matinees, several of them were clearly worth the investment for us.

Our fine arts center offers an annual Summer Arts Academy for students from kindergarten through high school. There is a small tuition fee, like most day camps. Pip has attended the past two years and loved it! Participants sing, dance, act, and create visual art.

No matter what region you're living in, I encourage you to find your nearest Fine Arts Center. It can be a wonderful place to start when planning low-cost extracurricular activities for your homeschool.

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