We've not officially started school work yet, but we're trying to draw a little bit each day. The idea is to increase observational skills, and more importantly, to slow down and really spend some time working on producing something. We try to go to a different place each day. Brennan finishes very quickly because he'd rather explore, but Rich usually gets somewhere by himself and works for about ten or fifteen minutes uninterrupted. The quiet time is like a "reset" button for the day.
We're starting with simple paper and pencil but once we're in the habit we'll introduce colored pencils, textured paper, heavier lead pencils, etc. and eventually different kinds of paint. The idea is not to be graphic artists, but explore these tools and learn their differences. Heavy lead works differently from a No. 2 pencil, just as watercolor behaves differently from tempra paint. Change the type of paper and you get a completely different look. Here's the key: these principles can be applied to a wide variety of disciplines. We learn to use the correct tool in the correct way to express ourselves or solve problems, and to change tools when we're not achieving the desired result. These concepts are invaluable in math and writing, and essential in science.