Child's History of Art Courses

I have to start by saying that I actually read all three of these texts! Now, I really like all of the topics, and they are written to about a 5th grader or so, but still, they are really good! Each Calvert School course has three components: a textbook, a spiral-bound lesson manual and a spiral-bound art card portfolio. These are all small-format books, about 5.5 x 8." Textbooks are divided into chapters that are engaging and interesting to read. You can read these aloud with a group or one-on-one. I think an older student could easily do this program independently. Black & white pictures and illustrations are scattered throughout, with more color photos found in the art card portfolio. Authors Hillyer and Huey start out the chapters with a cute anecdote from their childhood regarding art. I quite enjoyed the tone that these set. It is not like reading a children's storybook, but the language is not intimidating either. This is important for a student who may not be keen on learning art history! The lesson manual corresponds to the textbook and includes an art activity using common household materials and basic art/craft supplies. Some lessons will only have an activity, but some have comprehension questions as well. These could provide an opportunity for group discussion or for an independent student to answer in writing as an assessment of their learning. Lessons also include a link for further exploration online. An answer key in the back has answers to the comprehension questions and notes on what to prep for the next lesson (like collecting 3 cardboard paper rolls). I find this helpful! The art card portfolio includes color post cards of paintings, photos, sketches, illustrations, & maps. They are all identified clearly with notes on where they can now be found. This could lead to a great discussion on how art gets moved from its country of origin!

Architecture: Text has 274pp and 29 chapters. Topics include: pyramids, temples, ancient cultures, arches, columns, domes, decoration, cathedrals, mosques, homes, chateaus, tombs, symmetry, eras, bridges, & skyscrapers. The lesson manual has 54 projects such as creating a trilithon (a la Stonehenge) or designing a rose window (a la Notre Dame in Paris.) Art card folio has 44 images including a mud hut in Kenya, St. Basil's in Moscow, Reims cathedral in France and the U.S. Capitol.

Painting: Text has 242pp & 33 chapters. Topics include: caves, Egypt, palaces, vessels, Christian art, Renaissance, Rome, Flemish artists, portraits, the poor, impressionists, post-impressionism, Early Americans, & modern painters. There is some nudity, but the images seem to be intentionally blurred. Lesson manual has 60 lessons including projects such as drawing people in profile as seen in Egyptian painting and on Greek vases, or practice drawing people in motion using tornado-like strokes. Art card folio has 40 images including an Assyrian tile, the Birth of Venus (blurred for modesty,) several Cathedral paintings of the Madonna and Child, Charles I at the Hunt by Van Dyck, the Death of General Wolfe by West, & The Parley by Remington.

Sculpture: Text 187pp &29 chapters. Topics include: Egyptian sphinxes, Assyrian cherubs, athletic looking Greeks (blurred for modesty,) natural human poses, miniatures, medals, busts, carved columns, reliefs, gargoyles, doors/gates, churches, animals, tombs, myths, Gods, heroes, symbolism, American Presidents, memorials & modern sculptures. Lesson manual has 54 activities such as creating a composite animal from salt dough, and cutting out silhouettes of family members. Art card folio has 25 images including the Colossi of Memnon, a bust of Emperor Hadrian, an ivory tablet from Syria, the Pieta by Michelangelo, Statue of Liberty and Winged Victory. ~ Sara

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