Elementary school is typically a time when young children’s field trips involve visits to butterfly gardens, museums and zoos. The Beach Museum of Art is on that list of field trip destinations, but not only for Manhattan public school students. Instead, twice a month, the museum opens its doors for home-schooled students.
Home School Tuesdays, which are the first and last Tuesday of each month, offer home-schooled kids and their families the opportunity to learn more about art and create projects.
“We wanted to provide the same resources that we provide for the schools,” said Kathrine Walker Schlageck, senior educator at the Beach Museum. “This is just one other aspect of providing programming for area youth.”
For this program, which takes place from 1-2:30 p.m., children come in with their families or parents and participate in hands-on activities like coloring, using a microscope, looking through art displays and learning about different historical artifacts. After seeing the art exhibits, the children get to create art projects that reflect the artifacts or displays they learned about.
This Tuesday, young visitors to the Beach Museum created playing cards with pictures of artifacts or animal fossils, which they then played with in the hands-on activity.
Kim Richards, staff assistant at the Beach Museum and education assistant for Home School Tuesdays, said the students get the opportunity to learn leadership within the program.
“Its all about self-expression,” Richards said. “These particular tours or exhibitions are very student-led.”
The students who visit the museum for Home School Tuesdays are of various ages, from preschool to high school. Children are not required to attend every session and the attendance often varies. The museum holds two events per month to work with every family’s schedules and so more students can participate.
Abbey Pomeroy, volunteer for Home School Tuesdays and junior in interior design, said that her favorite part of the program is watching the kids interact with the artwork and exhibits at the museum.
“I really enjoy when we go into a new room just watching them, and they always pick up things that we don’t normally pick up,” Pomeroy said. “They are so intrigued by the funniest things because they are just kids.”
Since the Home School Tuesdays program began in 2006, members of the Disberger family have been regular attendees of the program. Tonya Disberger, mother of four home-schooled children who attended Tuesday’s event, said these workshops give her kids the chance to learn more about art.
“It gives them a very well-rounded approach to art, and it not only helps them to learn about it, but also to appreciate all of its different aspects,” Disberger said.
Her 4-year-old son Grant Disberger talked about his favorite part of the program on Tuesday.
“I like looking at the artifacts,” Grant said.
The program provides opportunities to home-schooled students to leave their classroom and see various artwork and displays that are less accessible in home-school environments.
“The Beach Museum and this program is a great opportunity for our two main audiences to mingle and mix, between the community and the university,” Schlageck said.