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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)