Confessions of a Homeschooler World’s Greatest Artists Review

This year and last year we have been learning about artists using Confessions of a Homeschooler World’s Greatest Artists. We took it slow last year and are going much faster through the artists this year in order to finish them all by the end of this school year. Usually music and art kind of get ignored in our house, but this curriculum is making it easy for us to remember to do it.

Over the course of the two years we will have learned about the following artists: Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Jackson Pollock, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Georgia O’Keeffe, Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci (we just finished this one), Norman Rockwell, Rembrandt, Paul Cezanne, Andy Warhol, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Paul Gauguin, and Edgar Degas. The digital downloads were cheap ($5.50 for each of the two volumes), but then I had to get the books about the artists (I got most of them used which saved on costs considerably; they might be available for free at your public library) and also print several very colorful pages for the lapbooks. The total cost for two years of artist study for three boys was about $100.

Learning about each artist begins with reading the book about that artist from the Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists series by Mike Venezia. Because we are going through the artists faster than the included lesson plan calls for this year, we read the entire book in one sitting.
Confessions of a Homeschooler World's Greatest Artists Review

Several times over the course of studying the artists, we look at and talk about one of the artist’s works. This time we focused on The Last Supper and instead of using the picture in the book like we normally do, for this one we looked at and discussed the cross stitch of The Last Supper I made.
Confessions of a Homeschooler World's Greatest Artists Review

Then the boys use a medium similar to one the artist worked with and create their own work, two for each artist studied, based (usually very, very loosely) on the artist’s work. This time, and really most of the time, the boys used tempera paint. While studying Michelangelo, they carved soap.
Confessions of a Homeschooler World's Greatest Artists Review

Confessions of a Homeschooler World's Greatest Artists Review

We create minibooks of the artist’s main works to add to the lapbooks. We cut out the pages and pictures for the minibooks, glue the pictures on the appropriate work’s page, and write what medium was used for each piece (we get that information from the book about the artist). Then we staple the minibook together and glue it in the lapbook.
Confessions of a Homeschooler World's Greatest Artists Review

We make trading cards for each artist. We cut out the card, fold it in half, and glue it so it stays folded. On the back, we fill in specific information about the artist (movement, style/technique, medium used, famous works, and which of the artist’s works is their personal favorite). We get this information from the book about the artist. Then we add the trading card to a folder in the lapbook. We’ve got quite a collection of artist trading cards in there now.
Confessions of a Homeschooler World's Greatest Artists Review

We do a puzzle of one of the artist’s famous works. The puzzles are all squares (3 columns and 4 rows) and much harder than you might think. Cameron and Fritz always race putting theirs together. Once we’ve assembled the puzzles (or tried our hardest and failed – sometimes they are just impossible!), we make a pocket and glue it on the flap next to the minibook in the lapbook. The puzzle pieces go inside the pocket.
Confessions of a Homeschooler World's Greatest Artists Review

I really like Confessions of a Homeschooler World’s Greatest Artists and highly recommend it for people struggling to find an art curriculum that is interesting and easy to implement. It is not perfect. I would very much like to have a suggested schedule or two. Answers for the minibooks and trading cards would be useful as would a picture showing the completed layout of the lapbook. Printing the required pages for the lapbooks takes quite a lot of printer ink which is really a positive and a negative. It means the cost of printing is not low, but it also means the pages are very beautiful and full color. Minor complaints, but drawbacks nonetheless.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

(Note: I was not compensated in any way for this review. I bought everything required to use this curriculum myself.)

First Quarter Wrap-up

It seems crazy, but the first quarter of the 2015-16 school year is over. That’s nine whole weeks completed. It just doesn’t seem like that much time has passed since not back to school day, but it has so here’s where we are at the end of this quarter.

We learned some modern history in Africa, Japan, China, Korea, and western Europe. We learned a little about Reconstruction. We learned a bunch of Latin words. We’re taking Latin very slow to make sure the vocabulary is well committed to memory. We learned about Georgia O’Keeffe, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci. We learned about Isaac Newton and his three laws of motion, about states of matter, and simple machines. We learned about Handel, Mozart, and Beethoven.

Cameron read Kidnapped and Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Man Without a Country by Edward E. Hale, several poems, and he’s currently reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. He’s reviewed nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and more grammar concepts. He’s practiced both one and two level outlining. He has completed 9 lessons of Algebra I. He has written several short papers and practiced taking notes. He’s learned some basic logic, how to write several letters in cursive, and has completed four lessons of vocabulary.

Fritz has read Homer Price, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and is almost done reading The Moffatts. He has completed 8 lessons of Math-U-See Delta (division). He’s done lots of dictation and narration. He’s learning how to diagram more complicated sentences. He’s learned lots of new vocabulary words and how to write in cursive.

Adrian has progressed in learning to read to the point he can read Magic Tree House books. He’s completed 8 lessons of Math-U-See Beta (multi-digit addition and subtraction). He’s about halfway through the second Explode the Code book. He’s learning how to properly spell four letter words. He’s learned about nouns, verbs, pronouns, and adjectives. He’s learning to write letters in cursive. He has started narrating stories and learned how to properly complete copywork assignments.

As for grades, I only assign percentage grades in a few subjects. Mostly, they get pass/fail or just a letter grade based on how well they participate and understand what they are learning.
Cameron
History – A
Science – A
Art – Pass
Music – Pass
PE – Pass (I should hope so since today he got first in sparring at the ATA Fall Nationals!)
Religion – Pass
Math – B (80%)
English – B (83%)
Logic – B (80%)
Latin – A (98%)

Fritz
History – A
Science – A
Art – Pass
Music – Pass
PE – Pass
Religion – Pass
Math – A (96%)
English – A (92%)
Latin – A (98%)

Adrian
History – A
Science – A
English – A
Art – Pass
Music – Pass
PE – Pass
Latin – Pass
Religion – Pass
Math – A (98%)

Homeschooling has Benefits

The other day Cameron told me he has come up with a nicely rehearsed answer to the question he is getting more and more often: Why do you like being homeschooled? There are three or four quick things on his list like he gets to work at his own pace and if he finishes early he gets to do whatever he wants for the rest of the day. Kids who are in public school, especially, are usually a bit jealous when they hear that.

Because of homeschooling, Ani and Cameron get to attend instructor training each week, training with several high-degree black belts. Because of homeschooling, Ani gets to start working with her beloved little Tigers about 45 minutes before the local public high schools let out for the day. Because of homeschooling, Cameron gets to earn a few extra dollars each week doing a regular dog-sitting job. Because of homeschooling, Ani and Cameron get to spend next week in Florida at ATA Fall Nationals competing, testing, and training. Because of homeschooling, we get time to spend together as a family in spite of our crazy taekwondo schedule.

Yes, homeschooling has so many benefits. I don’t blame the kids who feel a little jealous when they hear Cameron’s answer.

Even More Science Experiments

We spent a week reading a book about Isaac Newton. Then we got back to doing several experiments a week. Here’s what we did over the last two weeks.

We made an Inertia Zoom Ball. We cut the tops off two 1-liter soda bottles and taped them together. Then we threaded two 12′ long strings through the two-headed bottle. We attached cut up 6-pack rings for handles. With the Zoom Ball at one end, the person at that end spread their hands apart to make the Ball rush to the other end. We took turns letting the Ball zoom back and forth. This demonstrated Newton’s First Law of Motion.
Even More Science Experiments

A video:

We made a fan using a K’Nex kit.
Even More Science Experiments

We stacked a coin pyramid of a quarter, nickel, penny, and dime on a strip of paper. We positioned the paper to be half hanging off the table. Then we took turns quickly pulling the paper out from under the coins. The paper came out from under the coins and the coin pyramid stayed where it was.
Even More Science Experiments

We stacked 20 nickels and tried flicking a quarter at the bottom nickel. The bottom one was supposed to fly out from under the stack, but it didn’t quite work that way. Our nickel stack collapsed instead.
Even More Science Experiments

We put an index card on top of an olive jar and placed a nickel on top of that. Then we quickly pulled the index card out so the nickel fell straight down into the jar.
Even More Science Experiments

We made a launcher out of a pencil and a rubber band. It made the paper airplane fly pretty far distances.
Even More Science Experiments

We made a window that rolls up and down using a K’Nex Gears Kit.
Even More Science Experiments

We demonstrated Newton’s Second Law of Motion by rolling a ball into a second ball.
Even More Science Experiments

We made a Ping Pong Popper using two toilet paper tubes, paper clips, a rubber band, and plastic wrap. By pulling back and quickly pressing forward with one of the tubes we made a ping ball inside fly out the other end.
Even More Science Experiments