The Artist and the Scientist

March 13, 2014

Pensive Winter-Snow2 Emma-Jeane-Love-you Winter-Snow Observation9 Observation8 Observation1 The River Observation5 Observation4 Observation3 Observation6 Observation2 Observation7

Emma Jeanne turned 8 months old yesterday. 8 months, where did the time go? We celebrated as we have every month, with more snuggles, and cuddles and smiles. She holds her own in this crazy life of ours. She isn’t one for riding quietly on mama’s back, or sitting and playing with a small toy. Oh no, she wants to be where the action is. I suppose that is a normal part of having three older brothers, and having them always by her side. I can tell she has a beautifully wild nature, and she is not going to let any of this life pass her by.

 The snow is still coming and going in these final days of winter. A beautiful snow shower here, followed by golden light and a warm breeze. I can’t complain, this winter has treated everyone in these parts beautifully. My older boys continually inform me that the snow in the high country is “epic mom, seriously epic!”, and they have gotten more days skiing than any other year since they began. I know that as much as they love their winter adventures, they are so excited to break free and get their legs moving. Reading books in the trees, that is where they want to be.

The other day we found our way down to the river, in search of mud. If there is even a small patch of mud anywhere near by, my kids will find it. On this particular visit, it wasn’t just mud that they were searching for, but river water as well. We have a new science lesson coming up that focuses on different organisms in the water, and our river is certainly full enough to be home to a lot of life. The field trip sparked some interesting conversation, as I asked the boys to please bring their field journals and sketch materials with them. This was, as so often happens, met with a strange look.

I ask my children to sketch, a lot. Some teachers make their kiddos write a certain sentence over and over, I make my kids draw the same insect, or flower, or tree over and over. Up until now we haven’t discussed why in detail. Both of my older boys are simply convinced that they will be scientists when they grow up, and there has always been the attitude of “why would I need to draw if I am going to outer space?”. Fair question.

While we were collecting river water, taking photos of the growth of certain plants, etc. I asked them what the similarity was between the artist and the scientist. For once, there weren’t a lot of answers. They gave me their best guesses, and thought that perhaps it was a trick question, but there was nothing concrete that they could think of. “They are both observers of their environment”, I replied.

If you think about it, there is so much similarity between the artist and the scientist. Both are fascinated with the world around them, and both seek to explain it’s complexity, beauty, and function. I have an engineer and physicist for a father, and I can promise you that he sees the world as an artist would. Having the ability to artistically render what is in front of you; the shapes, forms, lines, and color, those are imperative for a scientist to be able to do. Yes, understanding math and scientific principles is clearly necessary as well, but art should not be over looked. Our schools, our society increasingly tell us that art and music are not important, that they do not give our children anything of value in today’s science and math focused world. I beg to differ. Art gives everyone, but especially scientists, a medium to explain what they see, what they are trying to prove, and what is happening in the world that they are studying. When we look at the scientific journals of some of the world’s most renowned scientists, art is everywhere.

Art and science are two incredible fields of study, and sometimes letting them dance together brings about a whole new way to look at the world of education. Children need to know that life is not singular. They need to be good at many different things in order to be great at one thing. They need to understand the way that things work, move, function, appear, and live.  They need to take apart, and piece back together, get dirty, experiment, explore, and create. Through it all, they need to find a way to convey what they are observing, and art is as great as a medium as any.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrea March 13, 2014 at 6:54 am

Lovely! I couldn’t agree more! And how nice to be out there collecting river water and drawing and reading in trees! We’re still very much in the deep freeze.


Heather March 21, 2014 at 1:56 pm

It is so nice! Our winter here has been mild, with a lot of warm days to explore what the earth is dong during this time.


Anna March 13, 2014 at 7:19 am

Oh, bravo! Love how you describe this. Yes, indeed observers of the world.


Kim March 13, 2014 at 7:20 am

YES!!! Totally agree with you 🙂 Reading in trees….love it!


MamaAshGrove March 13, 2014 at 7:36 am

YES! Nodding my head vigorously here. It seems there are many similarities in our homes. 🙂


Heather March 21, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Which is always so fun to see :).


KC March 13, 2014 at 10:49 am

I totally agree. I just love hearing about how you learn in your home. I really like the idea of drawing the same thing over and over! I think I will adopt that. 🙂


Heather March 21, 2014 at 1:59 pm

It is fun to read about how we all approach learning with our kids. Fascinating topic (in my opinion :).


Shara March 15, 2014 at 9:58 pm

I really love this Heather! And I wanted you to know that I’ve printed it out and stuck it in my journal. As we embark on our homeschool adventure, I’m sure there will be many moments when I falter and get fearful that we’ve taken a wrong path, this will remind me exactly why we made this decision! Thankyou for putting into words exactly what I am feeling. X


Heather March 21, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Thank you. I wish you so much joy as you take on this journey. It is a challenging path, but I suppose that can be said for parenting in general. 🙂


Amanda March 19, 2014 at 7:27 am

I love this! I encourage my kids to draw and I love doing field journals. I have always felt that this is important somehow, but your post really clarified that concept for me. Thanks for sharing.


Adrie March 21, 2014 at 11:28 am

Stunningly beautiful Heather, thank you!


Heather March 21, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Thank you my friend.


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