If you follow me on social media than you already know that I enter my kid's into a lot of contests surrounding their interests. Visual Art, writing, singing, and coding contests are usually our area of focus. Although--I would really love it if one of them picked up an interest in film. I'd love for them to create a short film or commercial--but right now no one is biting the bait! 🤣
Anyway, my kids are so busy at home working. learning new skills, and doing all kinds of creative things (some require and some during their free time) and once I realized other people, groups, organizations were interested in their work--I began to have my antennae out for contests for a few of the following reasons:
In the picture above, is my eldest daughter Jayda who I had enter into the New York Times "Coming of Age" Teen contest. Over 5, 500 submissions were entered, and her art piece was selected along with 29 other students for the online and print edition of the newspaper.
She has won other national awards, but this is by far the most prestigious award won in our family and Jayda in particular felt so honored to have her work picked as a memorial of when the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a world-wide pandemic.
So I encourage all parents--research contests in your child's specific area of interests--the benefits are pretty amazing!
Click here if you would like to purchase a print of her artwork, "2020 Thoughts" (New York Times Winner) or click the Shop Tab and select Merchandise. All proceeds will go toward her college fund!
P.S. Feel free to check out my Pinterest Board for Contests
What do you get when you add Valentine's Day + Black History Month + a Homeschool Student? Well last month I decided that I wanted to do something special for Valentine's Day and Black History Month, so I partnered with homeschooled artist Keala Venema (one of Jayda's friends). Keala is a senior in high school and together we produced the "Love Knows No Color" product series in my gift shop.
I wanted to bring awareness and acknowledgment in particular to inter-racial couples because at one point in our country's history this type of union was illegal.
The art piece "Loving" and "Love is Love" is to honor the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, the plaintiffs in the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court (the Warren Court) decision Loving v. Virginia, which invalidated state laws prohibiting interracial marriage.
We all owe so much to those who fought for the rights that we have today!
And if you haven't seen the movie, "Loving" check it out on Netflix--it's so good!
Since releasing the "Bear Learns to Share" series, my daughters and I are learning so much about entrepreneurship. When I released the journals last month with my daughter Jayda---I expected people to love the art for the cover, but I did NOT expect people to ask for prints. I thought that was such a fantastic idea because although I absolutely love to write in journals there are a lot of people who do not.
So because Jayda's art was so well received--prints of all the journal covers can be purchased in my gift shop!
There are some additional goodies in the store so click the "Shop" link in the tab, click the "Shop Merchandise" button and you'll enter the store.
This has been such a wonderful journey---my girls and I are definitely engrossed in "business school!" Anyway, I'd love to hear what you think so please leave a comment below.
African Women's Empowerment Journals (Designed by Ayanna Murray/Cover Art by Jayda Murray)
I have been homeschooling for over a decade and let me tell you---schooling definitely merges with home life so that oftentimes it's hard to distinguish between the two. This year as a homeschool high school course, Jayda and Anaya are both receiving high school credit for publishing their writing and art work. They are learning so much about the entire publishing process--something I never dreamed of learning at their age!
I love how they are able to learn the practical uses of their creative writing and art skills. In the picture above you can see the new journal series that Jayda and I created together. The artwork is just stunning and reflects the beauty of black women everywhere.
I am hoping to partner with Jayda in the New Year to create a multi-ethnic journal line because representation is so important!
P.S. Listen to this podcast if you are interested in learning about some of my creative writing resources that I recommend for homeschool.
I am so lucky to have a very talented and gifted teenage daughter who absolutely loves to draw. Years ago I wrote a post about what got Jayda started towards her love of art and I owe a ton to children's illustrator Brian Pinkney.
After she met him at a children's program held in Mount Vernon, NY she hasn't stopped drawing. That moment literally changed her life.
Take a look at one of her speed drawings:
Jayda has literally been making art non-stop for the last 5 years. It's been amazing to see her progression--just check out her portfolio and you'll be able to see the growth.
As a homeschool mom, I’ve taught so many classes, from science, choir, literature and art being one of my favorite subjects. I loved using techniques from Mark Kistler--he actually has a great YouTube channel for kids that I highly recommend.
As Jayda’s first art teacher, I was the first person to introduce art to her but I never imagined that it would become one of her passions.
So when it came to hiring an illustrator for my first children's book, Jayda was a no-brainer! She took my story “Bear Learns to Share” and look at some of the pictures she developed:
Murray Homeschool Academy
I have been a homeschool educator since 2008. Here I blog about our educational experience and hope you can learn something from our journey.