When it comes to the topic of homeschooling, one of the questions I'm often asked is how I choose the curriculum materials for our school, and which resources are my favorite. I always hesitate to give a direct answer to that question, because I've used so many different resources over the years, some with success and some without. Another reason for my hesitation is because when it comes to selecting a curriculum for your kiddos, it really boils down to a matter of personal preference, your style and method of teaching, and the educational goals you have set for your students.
There are a few books, however, that I have enjoyed using consistently for several years, with great results and I'm always happy to suggest the use of those. I like to be sure that whatever text I recommend is well-tested and successfully applied before I sing it's praises to others.
Today I'm excited to share a curriculum for art that I came across last fall and have thoroughly enjoyed implementing in our classroom this year, and will use for years to come. It's called Meet the Masters.
In the past, I've relied upon the Child Size Masterpieces as the basis of the art portion of our curriculum, and while the boys have gained a good perspective on the various periods of art, names of artists and can recognize a number of famous works, the application, the tactile, the "fun" part of the lesson was always missing. I would try to come up with my own little art projects from time to time, but consistency was always a difficult discipline for me with our full schedule of activities, and thus, art was often sidelined from week to week.
Thankfully, the discovery and implementation of the the Meet the Masters program into our curriculum has brought the beauty of art back into our weekly lessons in a way that we all look forward to and enjoy very much!
The reasons why I have become so fond of the Meet the Masters series is:1. It is simple and very easy to implement in your classroom (just gather your supplies!*).
2. The depth of biographical detail of each artist is perfect - informative, but not overwhelming.
3. The lessons can be subscribed to via the internet, and that is the medium through which all lessons are accessed (no more cumbersome books!).
4. Lessons can be subscribed to based on age/grade (however, since we have multiple grades, I selected the advanced level and modified it for the younger ones).
5. At the end of the computer tutorial, a complete application with detailed instructions are ready to be printed out and applied in the classroom, focusing on the form and technique of the artist you've just studied.
This semester, we've enjoyed learning about Mary Cassatt, Pier Mondrian, Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Pablo Picasso, just 5 of the 35 artists that can be studied in the program!
To enrich the lesson, I have the boys research the following:1. Famous musical artists who composed and performed at the time of the art master we're studying.
2. Major historical events (here in the U.S. and in the country of the artists origin as well) that took place during the period in which the artist was working .
Finally, the boys assemble their notes into a brief biographical report on the artist, along with photocopies of a few of his/her most famous works. Their artist portfolios are then placed in in a three ring binder that we have designated just for art. I like to print out a few photos of the boys enjoying their own art creations that they may tuck inside their notebooks as well. The notebooks make a nice representation of what the boys have learned over the year and can be easily filed away in case you ever have to prove that you actually did educate your children while they were at home *wink*!
* If you don't live near a major art supply store, many of the materials can be found on Amazon or Rainbow Resources.