Not only is this the only American art history course that I have ever seen for homeschool use, but it may be one of the most original approaches to art history that I have seen.

Rainbow Resource Center

Kids like to have fun. If something is fun they’ll want to do it. If they did not have fun doing it the first time, they’ll not want to do it next time.

Now, we all know as parents there are many things that kids don’t like to do that they should do even if they do not want to. Cleaning their room is a good idea. Brushing their teeth. Eating a healthy diet. Hey, we have enough things that we have to tell our kids to do or explain to them why they must do them and in some instances discipline them if they don’t do them. It would be nice if educating them was not one of those things. It doesn’t have to be.

Learning Can be Fun!

We (whoever that is) tell kids that learning is fun. Then in a traditional school (and sometimes in homeschool settings) teachers or parents sit students down in front of a worksheet and ask them to answer questions they should know the answers to from that spellbinding textbook chapter they just read. You remember. Or if you’re lucky, you don’t.

Bug [her son] has hijacked the books completely, and instead of living on my curriculum shelf, they have been living on his desk. Because, what do you know, these books really are fun.

Only Passionate Curiosity

Art History Disguised as Fun

ARTK12’s American Art History curriculum is fun. It’s also academic. It approaches art in a way that is not often approached in schools and colleges. Your students will not only learn facts about the art and the artist, but they will also learn how to interpret art. They will learn to ask the questions, “What does this piece of art mean?” and “What is the artist trying to say?” We’ve lost that in recent decades.

The main books are filled with forgeries, faux newspaper articles and advertisements, color examples of the art and funny talk bubbles throughout. This curriculum grew out of the author’s (Kristin’s) art history classes for homeschoolers, classes that expanded until she had a waiting list and even had some kids from public schools attending her afternoon classes.

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Art History Bingo Games

The favorite activity for students in Kristin’s art classes was the art bingo game. This is played like traditional bingo, only it uses the art studied in the main art history book (note I am not calling it a textbook). Every week students review the art and become familiar with over 30 pieces of great American art each semester.

Drawing American Art

Art can sometimes be intimidating for parents. It’s often not something studied in school and drawing can be particularly intimidating. ARTK12’s curriculum makes drawing easy for kids. Students draw a simple rendition of the art studied using a step-by-step approach. If you don’t know how to draw…don’t worry about it. The drawing books will take care of that for you.

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The Details

The two Semesters of American Art History have 32 Lessons in all covering over 60 pieces of American art.

The full set includes six books:

The art history curriculum is academic, substantial and fun! It is designed to be used once a week for a 16 week semester; each week’s lesson takes about 2 hours and is very easy to teach – very little preparation needed. There are three books for each semester. You simply:

  • Play the bingo game
  • Read the chapter in American Art History (includes games, faux newspaper articles/advertisements and much more)
  • Draw the piece of art.

Only one set is needed per family.

Semester One Artists Covered

  • Prehistoric Art
  • Mound Builder Art
  • Native Southwestern Art
  • Iroquois Art
  • Taino Art
  • John White
  • Early Virginian Art
  • Colonial Portraiture
  • Matthew Pratt
  • Spanish Colonial Architecture
  • Benjamin West
  • John Singleton Copley
  • Paul Revere
  • Charles Wilson Peale
  • Raphael Peale
  • Gilbert Stuart

Semester Two Artists Covered

  • Joshua Johnson
  • John James Audubon
  • Thomas Cole
  • Edward Hicks
  • George Catlin
  • Ammi Phillips
  • George Caleb Bingham
  • James Abbott McNeil Whistler
  • Winslow Homer
  • Mary Cassatt
  • Thomas Eakins
  • John Singer Sargent
  • Frederic Remington
  • Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Georgia O’Keeffe.

Comedy is sprinkled throughout the lessons. At first, I was a bit put off by the silliness. But then I realized it had two benefits – 1) my kids enjoyed it! It cracked them up and often lead to them asking me to reread certain parts (hello repetition!). And 2) because they enjoyed looking at the pictures and listening to the silly stories, they look forward to our next lesson. That in and of itself is a huge feat.

Thou Shalt Not Whine

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