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Should I have my more practical son do MTMM’s drawing and nature study?

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Dear Carrie

Should I have my more practical son do MTMM’s drawing and nature study?

We are looking ahead to homeschooling next year using Heart of Dakota Missions to Modern Marvels looks like a great fit for my 13 year-old son. He is actually quite excited. However, he tells me he does not want to do the nature study and Draw and Write Through History. Being a practical kid, he prefers to build and take things apart. I am on the fence about this. I’ve heard there is a reason for everything in Heart of Dakota. Can you tell me a little bit more about the drawing and the Nature study in MTMM? Thank you in advance.


“Ms. Please Help Me Decide About the Drawing and the Nature Study for My Practical Kid”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me Decide About the Drawing and the Nature Study for My Practical Kid,”

Your question brought to mind a comment my husband made the other day which I found vastly interesting. He said that it is such a blessing our boys are learning to sketch and draw through Draw and Write Through History and their nature journals. When I asked him to explain, he said our sons will need this skill more in their lives than they think. He said that when doing his lighting layouts (my hubby did lighting layouts for hospitals, parking ramps, commercial office buildings, banks, etc. before moving to run HOD full-time), he always felt challenged to accurately draw what he was seeing. He would have found it so much easier had he been taught to sketch well.

People often need to draw as a part of their day-to-day work within their profession.

His comment led me to think of how often people need to draw as a part of their profession or as a part of their day-to-day work. The more I thought about it, the more amazed I was at how often I could think of people (in all different professions) doing this! For example, through the years various medical doctors (and just recently my vestibular rehabilitation therapist who drew a picture of my inner ear to explain its function to me) have sketched organs or parts of the body to show medical conditions or problems they were addressing within my kiddos (or myself). Then, I was thinking about when we first met with our building contractor. As we were brainstorming, he began to draw rough sketches of the building plans for our new warehouse for an architect to interpret.

Our sons often put their drawing and sketching skills from HOD to practical use.

When we met with the man from whom we were buying our land for our warehouse, he drew out a quick sketch of the lot for us and labeled its general dimensions (as we were looking). As we were planning how we wanted our warehouse to look, we had my second oldest son draw a sketch of it to show to the building contractor. Our son could do this quickly (and better than my husband or I could do), as he has gone through HOD’s entire guide line-up and can actually sketch because of it!

When I went to redo my bedroom (for the first time in over 15 years), I brought a sketch of the room, labeled with dimensions of my existing pieces of furniture. We had my boys make a sketch of this, with measurements, and text it to me on my phone, so I’d have it with me as I was shopping.

I use drawing and sketching in planning our guides’ covers, layouts, and notebooking pages.

When I plan the way I want a guide to lay out, I sketch it out on paper and hand write in the boxes general notes and formatting. I keep this sample layout of a day as a ready reference the entire time I write the guide, so I can see at a glance what each box includes and any rotational items. When I send my graphic designer the layout of the cover for each new guide, I draw a sketch of where I want each item I desire on the cover to go. I do the same when I lay out the notebooking pages for him! My sketching skills are not fabulous, yet my graphic designer can tell what I’m thinking and even the mood I’m wanting to create based on my sketches.

For many kiddos, drawing can be thought of as a practical life skill instead of an art skill.

Anyway, these are just a few random ways that drawing has been used in my life lately. So, before you skip the drawing lessons, do your kiddos a favor and look at it as a life skill instead of an art skill. Think of it as an opportunity they may never have again to hone a skill that is much more useful than it appears at first glance. No, we won’t all be artists, but yes, we will all need the sketching skill at various times in our lives!

In Closing

P.S. I had to smile as I was just ready to click “submit” on this post! My older son just arrived in my room with a sketch of a box with partitions. He drew this out to see what he needs to buy to hold electric cars. One of his brothers accidentally broke a few of the cars by shoving them in a box to store them. My son desires a solution for this problem (since the cars are his)! So, he found a storage container that will work with the sketch and is off to purchase it. He was just showing me to be sure I was alright with buying this storage container (I’d told him if he came up with a solution, I would fund it if it wasn’t very expensive). Anyway, just another quick 3-D sketching moment put to practical use!



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