By Leah Courtney
Art is a subject that I’ve often found difficult to teach. I don’t know that much about it myself. I know that some art isn’t presented in a way that that I want to teach my children, so I was really impressed when I found God and the History of Art from How Great Thou ART.
This art curriculum comes in two volumes and contains postcards with art reproductions as well as paint and marker cards for student projects. The books are not consumable and so can be used over and over within your family. The paint and marker cards are consumable, but additional sets can be purchased very reasonably. There is also a teacher’s guide available. The age recommendation is 10 and up. I used it as a part of our curriculum when my girls were 8 and 10 and my son was 13. I didn’t have any problem adapting activities for my younger child, making this a great, family friendly art curriculum.
The curriculum is set up in a very easy to understand way that flows well. Although considered primarily an art history curriculum, the books also provide opportunities for the children to practice the art styles they read about. The book begins with an overview of art and drawing and especially draws attention to the idea of using art to glorify God. It then begins to cover art and artists through periods of history, starting with the ancient Greeks and Romans and continuing through the Renaissance in the first book. The second book picks up with the Renaissance and continues on through the modern 20th century.
The book is arranged with reading that covers the artist, period, or concept. Then there are numbered lessons that have the child practice some type of art process using the information they just read in the book. Although the student book is very complete, the teacher’s manual can be added (also at a reasonable price) to provide an outline for using the reading and lessons in the book. When we used the curriculum, I read the reading material aloud because we were using it as a family. The reading level should be appropriate for most children ten and up if they were to read it independently.
This art curriculum was a very good fit for us. There are several things that I particularly like about it.
- It follows history. Because it’s an art history curriculum following along through history, it makes a great accompaniment to a curriculum based on history cycles. You can use it in order, or you can pick up on the sections you happen to be covering in history at the moment and go from there.
- It is written from a Christian worldview. Continually, art is related to glorifying God. And when art periods or artists wander from that, the book points that out and stimulates some good discussions. We had opportunity to look at art in light of Scripture and to see how worship of God and religious art has influenced art throughout history.
- The book teaches art history but also gives the children opportunity to practice different art forms and processes. My children really liked using some of the techniques that we were reading about. And the paint and marker cards that are a part of the curriculum are a good resource. (The company also sells an art supply kit of sorts if you wish to purchase everything in one place.)
God and the History of Art was a good find for our family. I love that the art is presented in the flow of history and the Christian worldview on which to base our learning and discussions. The ability to use the curriculum for the whole family makes it a very affordable choice as well.
Leah Courtney is a homeschooling mom of four. Her days are filled with being a mom, homemaker, and teacher. In her (very rare) free time, she enjoys blogging, reading, and reviewing books and curricula. These days she’s learning the joys of being a mom of teens. You can read about her family and homeschooling life at As We Walk Along the Road.