Fewer elementary schools are offering visual arts, dance and drama classes than in the 80’s and 90’s. More than 1.3 million elementary students fail today to get any music instruction — and the same is true for about 800,000 secondary school students. Nearly four million elementary school students do not get any visual arts instruction at school. {According to National Center for Education Statistics}

As parents, Jen and I can manage to help the boys with a good portion of the homework and school assignments. Sure we have forgotten stuff-math formulas/equations/definitions, books we may not have read that the boys have to, historic references we may not remember. By and large, I feel like we do a nice job.

Except for…art stuff.

Even this little sketch took me multiple attempts.

I can’t draw a straight line. I appreciate art-but can’t do it. My mind isn’t wired in that way. My mind can do words, express feelings, argue a point or write an opinion piece or talking points for candidate. My mind though can’t take pencil to paper and make anything (recognizable).

The Happy Tree Guy, Bob Ross pisses me off. I see him and throw thing at the T.V. He does not make me happy!


Ask me to describe or write about something-that I can do. That I love to do.

The frustration though goes beyond my inability to draw and be artistic-I struggle with how to help the boys with art related projects. Even non art projects that require some drawing or sketching.

Here is an example. Cade had to write a story- Fair enough. He has the imagination and is learning the skills to tell a story (beginning-middle-end), he is learning to incorporate dialogue. He did a nice job.

Then WHAM-O. It needs to have 4–5 pictures to accompany the story. This part of the assignment caused more angst, a million times more frustration the writing part.

Cade doesn’t enjoy drawing-at least drawing for realism (is that even a thing or did I make that up? See talking about drawing gets me flustered). He didn’t learn to draw real things, you know-people, things, real objects. When he was younger he didn’t practice (perhaps we should have had him practice, I don’t know.) Parental fail?

It got me thinking. In school we are taught strategies for working through difficult subject areas. Tricks-ideas to help manage those subject areas we struggle with. Unfortunately, largely due to the fact our kids don’t have enough art education we don’t realize when they are uncomfortable with doing even the most basic of art related projects.

Maddox and Cade have had wonderful opportunities to do some pottery, computer aided drafting and a host of other great art projects. Learn to draw? Nope.

Heck, do you even learn to draw? I don’t know. Is it a matter of having the skill or not having it? See-I don’t know.

This is a thing people. Yes, some would argue if one of our biggest homework angst is about drawing then we don’t have it too bad. That frustration though is a real thing. We can help Cade with math strategies on topics and math theories he will never use again. We don’t though have a drawing strategy.

Go Google “My Kid Can’t Draw”-the results are fascinating. Not helpful, but fascinating. Thanks for listening.