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Meaningful Homeschool Décor: Story and Tutorial

The new (home)school year is about to begin and many of us are not only thinking about curriculum, but we are also thinking about room setups and decorations. This can be exciting and cumbersome at the same time. 
I personally love to change things around every once in a while, but I am also happy when a big project is done. I am sure you know what I mean. Well, this post is about one piece of decoration for our homeschool that I decided to make myself. I hope you enjoy it and get inspired to make your own, too.
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When I was thinking about redecorating our homeschool walls, I was giving it a lot of thought because I don’t want to put something up that is meaningless, useless or distracting. At the same time, I realized that not because we have a homeschool room, we HAVE TO HAVE child-oriented only decorations. After all, we are NOT in a school; we are in a home, with a family and everyone is involved in their education. Why not include a few things that I, the mom-teacher, enjoy, too?
 
Recently, I heard someone recount a story that touched me and made my wheels turn and my heart get inspired to make these pieces of art for our homeschool. Disclaimer: I am NOT an artist. I am creative, but I am NOT very gifted in the art of freehand drawing. Hence, the amateur result. But I love it! It is such a great goal to keep visible and to keep in mind constantly. This painting will be a great reminder.
 
The story goes like this (I will try my best to recount it):
There was once a curious man that saw there was some construction going on and approached the first man working and asked him, “What are you doing?”
The first man, who was sitting down, tired-looking and not applying himself much, replied in an annoyed and lackluster tone, “I am just laying bricks.”
The curious man wasn’t satisfied with that response, so he approached a second man that was busy working farther down the street and posed the same question, “What are you doing?”
The second man, standing and making sure the bricks aligned properly, without giving him much attention, replied in an indifferent tone, “I am just building a wall.”
Still, not satisfied with that answer, the curious man proceeded to walk farther down the street to approach a third man working at this construction site. He posed the same exact question to him, “What are you doing?”
The third man, whistling and working with a bouncy step to him, smiled a great, big smile and responded with enthusiasm, 

“I am building a cathedral!”

 
See, it is not enough to do your job and to do it right, but it is so important to check our attitudes and to keep the end in mind.
As homeschooling moms, we can sometimes get so lost in the day-to-day of teaching and keeping the household afloat that we forget why we do what we do.
 

And now, to the craft!

You will need: 
an idea, a pencil, canvases, acrylic paint (one shade), paintbrush, permanent markers in different shades (I loved using the metallic permanent markers)
 

I found this set of four 3D stretched canvases on clearance last year and had never figured out what to do with them. So when the idea came up, I knew these were the perfect canvases to use. They are a great size, too (6″x6″). The story only mentions the three responses, but I wanted to use the fourth canvas for the moral of the story.

         
I chose teal acrylic paint because it matches with other things we have in our homeschool. I gave them one coat and let them dry. Then I turned them over and gave them another coat. This gave the canvases more coverage and a nice effect. 
The pictures below show the first coat.

    

           
Once the canvases were dry, I proceeded to make an internet search for:
1. bricks and mortar
2. a brick wall
3. a cathedral
I drew the rough pictures and wording with pencil. 
And then, to my next question: What should I use to color the images and trace the wording? Sharpies! I know, they are the most reliable and most used among amateur “painters” like me. So I got all of my Sharpies out, especially my metallic ones.
I traced the pictures with a thicker black Sharpie and let them dry.
 
I then retouched all the black with a thinner black Sharpie to smooth out the edges and make everything look a bit more decent. After that, I colored the pictures in. 
I know it isn’t perfect or professional at all, but it has a special meaning for me and I will be encouraged whenever I see these in our homeschool room, especially on those hard days when I start questioning things.
We haven’t put them up on the wall yet because we have to get some more canvases for other ideas I have, so we have to wait until everything is done and then we can find the best place for these. Take a look at the bottom of this post so you can see which canvases we will be getting next.
What do you think? Would you venture out and “paint” something that is meaningful to you? It doesn’t have to be perfect and it doesn’t have to be for your homeschool room.
You can make anything that is special and meaningful to you.
Share your ideas and pictures of your projects in the comments below.

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