I colored furiously, my crayon going back and forth and way out of the lines. I looked at my neighbor’s perfectly colored picture and broke down in tears. The teacher came back and knelt down next to me. “Kathleen, do you know how to color?” How to color? What?
I was four years old. I didn’t know there were instructions in how to color. My parents were both educated people with Masters and Doctorates between them. Our home was full of music, books and lots of discussion. Not much coloring. I had started school early at the finagling of my mama to stay with my sister (and Irish twin) eleven months my senior. My fine motor skills had not caught up with the five and six year olds in my class.
After a quick tutorial on how to color, kind teacher had another student proficient in the art give me a practice session in the hallway. I was amazed. Turns out, it was all about coloring in circles and outlining. I was hooked on coloring.
Fast Forward to adulthood and homeschooling my children:
When I began reading aloud to my children, I discovered a wonderful coloring resource- Dover Coloring books– which range from coloring wild flowers, Shakespeare scenes, history, nature, flags….you name it!
Adult coloring books are all the rage right now! The Guire family isn’t following suit, but continuing on the path of coloring while we learn. Why should you color? Daughter Ania has been using her adult coloring book while listening to college lectures “so I can think,” she says.
Why should children/adults color while listening to school lessons?
- Coloring gives the body something to do while the brain listens and relieves the stress of trying to pay attention.
“A lot of my fellow graduate classmates bring these coloring books into the classroom setting as a tool to focus more on lectures,” Citerella said, explaining that more professors are beginning to welcome this behavior. “For my internship, I find the clients who are fidgeting and cannot sit still ask for coloring the books in order to concentrate on group discussions”- Theresa Citerella, an art therapy student at Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass. (via The Therapeutic Science of Adult Coloring Books How This Childhood Pastime Helps Adult Relieve Stress)
2. Coloring, given the right materials, reinforces what the student is learning.
Whatever you are studying, you can find a coloring book that relates to it. Studying the Civil War? Order some Dover coloring books on the subject. My girls love the fashions of the time while the boys appreciated the battle related books. Introducing your children to Shakespeare? Let them color some scenes from the well known plays while you read to them (I suggest starting with Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children for an introduction to plot lines, I read from this to my high school Shakespeare book club before we read the actual play aloud). Here is a great coloring book to accompany the reading:
3. You (the teacher) do not have to keep stopping to tell your children/teens to stop fidgeting while you are reading.
If kids are coloring while you read, you probably won’t have to stop and tell them to sit still as often. This ties in with reason number one, but I think it needs its own point. We adults often expect children to sit still for long periods. I can’t. Right now, while typing this, I am getting fidgety. I want to go outside and walk because I have been working in a chair for far too long. I schedule my days to include many moving around and getting the blood circulating times. Kids don’t know how to verbalize this need so they fidget.
Just a warning- make sure all of your colored pencils are sharpened before you start your lessons or you will be in competition with a pencil sharpener.
*Today The Whole House is giving away an adult coloring book to relieve some of your stress!
How do you enter? It’s simple. Share this post on Facebook and tag TheWholeHouse. If you don’t do Facebook, just comment on this post to enter. Drawing a name from all who share at 9pm.
Make sure you join us tomorrow for a new series on feminism!