You’ve seen the look. It’s that moment when you know you’ve lost your student. Look at the boy in the left of the above photo. I do realize he’s acting, but he’s doing a great job. I’ve seen that look. I was a high school teacher for 4 years. I know the look. You probably do too. The dad is overacting a bit…but just a bit. I know that feeling too. I have hunch if you’ve been homeschooling for any length of time, so do you.
ARTK12 is a result of Kristin’s art history classes. For about 10 years Kristin taught art history classes in the San Diego area. The classes were a big hit with the homeschooling community there.
One of the things Kristin heard from parents is that they were kind of intimidated by art and art history. How can you teach someone to draw when you don’t know how? How can you teach your students art appreciation when all you can remember is taking an art history course. That’s right…remembering only taking the art history course, not anything that you actually learned in the art history course.
Art History: The Wrong Way
Back in my late twenties I decided to take an art history course at a community college because I wanted to learn about art and it just sounded fun (this was before I met Kristin). It was a general art history course. It sounded fun. I lasted about 4 or 5 classes. One of the most boring classes I’ve ever had. Big thick text book with lots of text and lots of black-and-white photographs of art. Did I say, lots of text?
One of Kristin’s main criticisms of courses like this is that try to teach you everything about art that you really don’t care about.
- What label can we put on this art: Modern? Ancient? Representational? Abstract?
- What kind of paint did they use?
- What was the process used in producing this art?
- Who influenced this artist?
- What was this artist like?
- Where does this art fit in the history of art?
Can You Find the Art?
Do you see what’s missing? What about the painting? What about the art itself?
Kristin’s approach is different: learn how to interpret art and learn how to think about what it means. And make it fun. Kristin’s American Art History Curriculum does all that and more. Please check it out if you have not already. But there are also lots of other fun art history books out there. Below are some of them. Even more titles can be found in ARTK12’s Serious Fun: Homeschooling with Real Books. Enjoy!