Aug 27, 2014

Introducing Free Art History Curriculum for Kids

When I was a girl, the grocery store my mother shopped at sometimes sold oddball items - including, for a time, lovely oversized books about famous artists. Fortunately for me, my mother was happy to buy me one of these books each time she shopped, and soon I had most of them. I used to pour over them and dream - and my life is richer for it.

There are a number of reasons I've wanted to include art history in our homeschool. Certainly I want to expose my children to lots of different types of art in order to spur their own creativity. But art is also an important piece of history. Every kid should be able to recognize famous works of art and know who painted them - and at least a little bit about the artist and the time period in which he or she created.

The great thing is, you don't need to buy curriculum in order to supplement your child's education with art! You'll want to have access to the artist's work; your library will probably have some books to help here - and it's also easy to find famous works of art online. (For example, to find famous paintings by Van Gogh, just Google "Van Gogh paintings" and click on the "images" link at the top of the page.)

There are also free videos, coloring pages, and other resources online that can be helpful. But mostly, you'll want to learn a bit about the artist, observe his or her style, and then let your kids try their hand at painting or drawing something similar. Let your children experiment - and don't be concerned if they decide to go off on their own creative tangent. For this, of course, you'll want a few art supplies - paper, crayons, and water colors will do, but also consider having pastels, colored pencils, finger paints, acrylic paints, and colored markers on hand.

Each week, I'll share with you great free resources for adding art history to your children's lives. For young kids, consider keeping their coloring pages/art projects in a folder, then staple them all together into a book at the end of the year. For older kids, consider having the student keep a notebook; each page would have the artist's name, some basic information about him or her, plus a sample of artwork. By the end of the year, your children will have an excellent "book" to browse through and be inspired by.

Currently Available Lessons (more coming every week!):

Vincent Van Gogh
Leonardo Da Vinci
Claude Monet
Pablo Picasso
Rembrandt 
Henri Matisse 
Michelangelo  
George Seurat 
Andy Warhol 
Thomas Gainsborough
Mary Cassatt
Grant Wood
Edgar Degas 
Grandma Moses
Georgia O'Keeffe

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