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Fine arts for a STEM kid


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Looking at admissions requirements for colleges that my oldest might attend, two semesters of fine arts are often included. My STEM focused student is not interested in the typical things like an instrument, drawing, photography, history of ___, etc. What fine arts course would be good to look into or suggest to this kid? 

Edited by silver
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DS16 is not interested in any fine arts in particular as well. He did one quarter of photography and is doing one quarter of music theory to just check that box. Photography was easy since it was an intro course. DS16 does not like history or biology either but it sometimes come down to the child picking the most tolerable choices. He is doing genetics for the biological science requirement, something that he does not mind as much.

ETA: those are dual enrollment so a quarter is approximately 2/3 high school credit. Two quarters satisfy a year of fine arts. He has three high school science credits so biology doesn’t need to be a full year credit. 

Edited by Arcadia
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15 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

DS16 is not interested in any fine arts in particular as well. He did one quarter of photography and is doing one quarter of music theory to just check that box. Photography was easy since it was an intro course. DS16 does not like history or biology either but it sometimes come down to the child picking the most tolerable choices. He is doing genetics for the biological science requirement, something that he does not mind as much.

Yeah, I'm getting the feeling that no matter what we do, it'll be the least bad option in his mind. Not looking forward to forcing 120 hours of fine art on this kid, but you do what you have to do.

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1 minute ago, silver said:

Not looking forward to forcing 120 hours of fine art on this kid, but you do what you have to do.

Would he be open to dual enrollment? My DS16 definitely clock in less than 60 hours for his summer class. He used his Android phone for the assignments even though we have a Nikon SLR. 
For him, the carrot was completing an associate degree in high school. 

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7 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

Would he be open to dual enrollment? My DS16 definitely clock in less than 60 hours for his summer class.

We had the same experience depending on the class. One (art history) took a lot more time than the other (art appreciation).  Both were online but art appreciation had a requirement to visit a specific art museum and that was a bit of a hassle.  

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36 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

Would he be open to dual enrollment? My DS16 definitely clock in less than 60 hours for his summer class. He used his Android phone for the assignments even though we have a Nikon SLR. 
For him, the carrot was completing an associate degree in high school. 

I'll have to look into that. I know the local community college offers art courses, they may all be 3-credit, semester long ones, though. Maybe I'll see if I can find one with quarter long courses.

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13 hours ago, silver said:

Yeah, I'm getting the feeling that no matter what we do, it'll be the least bad option in his mind. Not looking forward to forcing 120 hours of fine art on this kid, but you do what you have to do.

Wow, is 120 hours really a thing?  I never counted hours of any school work.  Do movies or screenwriting count?  Can he spend the year watching films and maybe writing a paper or two?  

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1 hour ago, daijobu said:

Can he spend the year watching films and maybe writing a paper or two?  

Or even documentaries?  He could write about why science and tech documentaries work or don't.

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Would something like architectural drawing or CAD design count as a fine art? What about creating designs for use on a 3D printer?

 

 

2 hours ago, daijobu said:

Wow, is 120 hours really a thing?  I never counted hours of any school work. 

I've heard that one credit can either be from covering standard topics for a course (for subjects such as math or science), finishing a standard textbook, or by hours (for things like electives). Since I don't remember ever using a textbook in any of my high school fine arts courses, I figured hours was the way to do it.

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1 hour ago, silver said:

Would something like architectural drawing or CAD design count as a fine art? What about creating designs for use on a 3D printer?

 

 

I've heard that one credit can either be from covering standard topics for a course (for subjects such as math or science), finishing a standard textbook, or by hours (for things like electives). Since I don't remember ever using a textbook in any of my high school fine arts courses, I figured hours was the way to do it.

DS14 is taking a year long "engineering design" class at public school that counts as his required fine arts requirement for graduation.  They are going to be doing a lot of that sort of thing - CAD, engineering/architectural drawing, 3D printing, etc.    

This is the curriculum they use: https://www.pltw.org/our-programs/pltw-engineering-curriculum#curriculum-2

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1 hour ago, kirstenhill said:

DS14 is taking a year long "engineering design" class at public school that counts as his required fine arts requirement for graduation.  They are going to be doing a lot of that sort of thing - CAD, engineering/architectural drawing, 3D printing, etc.    

This is the curriculum they use: https://www.pltw.org/our-programs/pltw-engineering-curriculum#curriculum-2

Project Lead The Way!! I helped expand access to this in rural Arkansas. 🙂

Edited by Sneezyone
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3 hours ago, kirstenhill said:

DS14 is taking a year long "engineering design" class at public school that counts as his required fine arts requirement for graduation.  They are going to be doing a lot of that sort of thing - CAD, engineering/architectural drawing, 3D printing, etc.    

This is the curriculum they use: https://www.pltw.org/our-programs/pltw-engineering-curriculum#curriculum-2

It looks like our local high school offers this, but they don't count it as a fine art. 😜 I'll have to look into this further, as I think homeschoolers are allowed to take a few classes at the high school.

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If intended colleges require fine arts gen Ed courses then taking it de might be a benefit. My current college freshman who is a business analytics and statistics major was happy to get his humanities gen eds out of the way through de. 
 

If de isn’t an option I would very likely be very generous in counting that 120 hours and be creating a course that was as painless as possible. Not everything has to be intense. 
 

I suspect you are looking at competitive schools but I will just mention that the state flagship my ds is attending has a fine arts credit listed in their recommended core courses. But the fine print is that it is not actually required for admission. I felt confident enough in his application to let him skip it. He is attending on a full ride scholarship so it didn’t hurt him. But if you are looking at more competitive admissions schools I wouldn’t recommend that approach. 

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Acoustics/Instrument building. Lots of awesome math calculations. It's sometimes used as a science class for music majors, but you could easily do a homegrown course, possibly with a final project of building a xylophone (wood or PVC), dulcimer, ukelele, or other instrument and count it as fine arts. 

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We also tracked hours for our STEM kid.  We ended up with a co-op music theory class for 1/2 credit.  Kid was philosophical about the need to take it, but, unexpectedly, ended up really enjoying it.  They listened to all sorts of music and wrote a weekly response or analysis, and in class they talked about what to listen for in the upcoming assignment.  For the remainder of the required full credit, we're doing a mix.  Kid took a ballroom dance co-op class, which is 1/4 credit.  We had planned on 1/4 credit (around 30 hrs) of DIY drawing using a 'learn how to draw' book.  Kid recently decided to ring handbells with the church youth handbell choir, and we'll count those hours towards fine arts instead of extracurriculars so kid will probably only need 15 hrs of drawing and 15 hours of bells (they will likely practice more than that, but with time off for other church activities and possible covid issues, I don't want to be reliant on them meeting every week).  Would your kid be more interested if they could do a smattering of several different things?  Most things are reasonably interesting on a surface level, so maybe 6-9 weeks each of 4-6 different things?  Or maybe a semester where they draw one day, do music listening exercises another, etc, and then the second semester they pick their 1-2 most enjoyable to continue with?  Ultimately, though, it may just be 'pick the least bad option' - it's how a lot of non-STEM kids get through the sciences.  🙂  

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2 hours ago, Dmmetler said:

Acoustics/Instrument building. Lots of awesome math calculations. It's sometimes used as a science class for music majors, but you could easily do a homegrown course, possibly with a final project of building a xylophone (wood or PVC), dulcimer, ukelele, or other instrument and count it as fine arts. 

He'd probably really like that, as he does wood shop type stuff already. 

These are all great suggestions, everyone, and I'm sure we can find something for him--even if we're piecemealing together several topics into a "survey of the arts" type of course. I'll also have to look into fine arts requirements at the schools he may go to--he'd probably like the "two birds with one stone" approach of DE arts courses if it is required for his degree.

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28 minutes ago, silver said:

He'd probably really like that, as he does wood shop type stuff already. 

... I'll also have to look into fine arts requirements at the schools he may go to--he'd probably like the "two birds with one stone" approach of DE arts courses if it is required for his degree.

The student ambassador who did the walking tour of the state university was asked about gen ed requirements from one of the parents. My kids had higher motivation to get it done in dual enrollment classes after that. Hearing that general education classes are typically more than 200 students was not appealing when my kids were used to around 25 per class. 
The community college that my kids and I take classes at have a lovely makerspace area. That was a high incentive for me.

”students with a half-time or greater unit load, staff and faculty and students taking classes in the Makerspace can use the space for FREE during open lab hours.”

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My oldest ended up STEM degrees (electrical engineering, math, comp sci).  Did not want to do anything performance based.  Barely wanted anything. I assigned her to do this https://www.professorcarol.com/discovering-music/

She wasn't "interested" but at least did it.  I had this idea that we could try "technical drawing" or something like graphic design, but we never did that. I think we may have done a lesson or two out of some art book.  I always admire those who can really do the everything STEM approach and maybe I should have done that for oldest.   Well, ok what she would have liked to have done would have been LARP and/or D&D and have that count, but she didn't get into that until college.  But if she had been... oh yeah, I would have counted it.  I even once found a college syllabus in some fine arts section that used D&D as creative class.  I know that not all STEM people are into that culture. but ....

in addition to the ideas already shared, maybe looking at a list of ideas in the fine arts listings of NARHS might spark an idea.  I think it's page 18 of this pdf https://www.narhs.com/sites/default/files/NARHS Handbook_0.pdf

this will be controversial.....  what if you gave high school credit for Visual Communications for completing the sophia.org course by that name (Visual Communication)? There are colleges that give that course 3 credits according to ACE Credit guidelines (media arts) .  In fact, my middle daughter did after high school.  If I did that in high school, I'd call it regular level course (not honors) and it would be a check the box thing.  But 3 college credits = 1 high school year credit.  may not be a solution for all styles.

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I've run a 1.0 credit Fine Arts: Film Appreciation course for the local homeschool co-op for high school students. We watch a film a week, discuss, and I assign some reading each week about some aspect of film history, or about a film genre, or about a cinematic element (i.e how lighting or editing or framing works to add to thematic content or to the filmmaker's vision/worldview).

Perhaps the Movies as Literature homeschool program, and go bare-minimum on the essay writing portion of the program, and instead watch/discuss together? Or put together your own "Film Appreciation" credit, using lesson plans or ideas from the Teach With Movies website?

Edited by Lori D.
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Woodworking: Build a Boat? (wasn't it @Nan in Mass who had a DS do this?)
Metal working? (I've seen students at the community college make beautiful knives as their projects)
Work as stage crew/building sets and props for a community youth theater?
Use "Garage Band" or other software and have fun composing electronic music tracks?
Digital Arts of some sort -- working with Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, for example?

One family I know in real life, and another here on these forums, has done forging/blacksmithing as Fine Arts. (One of them forged a pair of candlesticks as his project.)
 

Edited by Lori D.
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On 9/20/2021 at 6:14 PM, Lori D. said:

...

Perhaps the Movies as Literature homeschool program, and go bare-minimum on the essay writing portion of the program, and instead watch/discuss together? Or put together your own "Film Appreciation" credit, using lesson plans or ideas from the Teach With Movies website?

I have & really like the Movies as Literature, though we haven't run through it yet.  Along those lines: Bravewriter often has film discussion groups going.  I've had a hard time getting to them before they're booked up, but then I'm not desperate yet! 

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