Is art history a portion of your homeschooling routine? I’ll be honest, until recently, I never gave it much thought. I can just imagine the collective gasp, but hear me out. I never taught ‘Art History’ as a school subject because… well… we LIVE art. Literally.
My husband is an artist by profession. Our children have been encouraged in this area since birth. Our home library is overflowing with reference books, art studies, and reproductions by favorite masters. We visit galleries on a regular basis. It’s just a way of life.
However, the teacher in me was intrigued. Perhaps we had missed something, maybe our kids would benefit from a more formal art education study. Always up for another learning adventure, we determined to take a closer look at what HiGASFY Art History Video Series has to offer. What we discovered was a world of fun!
Have I Got A Story For You!
HiGASFY Art History Video Series is a subscription based video series which takes viewers on an art history adventure discovering four artistic eras: Renaissance, Baroque, Impressionist, and Post-Impressionist Periods. In each of the four series, our host, Miss Beth, along with her friend GASFY, an animated green drop of paint, introduces three artists of the era and the paths their lives took in making them the greatest masters of their time. Through storytelling and engaging conversation Miss Beth shares key pieces of art created by each, as we get a closer look at their work. Each of the four series includes twelve YouTube videos for viewing, each approximately twenty minutes in length; a lesson plan; flash cards; and a “Name that Artist” Power Point assessment.
Ready to embark on a new adventure, our family was given a three-month subscription to the entirety of the HiGASFY Art History Video Series, along with access to all curriculum bundles. For our purposes we chose to begin with The Renaissance, which was afterwards followed by Baroque and the Impressionist Period; in that order.
To ensure we would be using the curriculum in a manner which best fit our family’s needs, I spent time reviewing the Renaissance bundle and what was included. The Renaissance introduced us to three artists: Leonardo da Vinci, Michaelangelo, and Raphael. In addition to the twelve videos in the series, more educational opportunities awaited us.
Within each curriculum bundle, we received access to sixteen corresponding lesson plans. Lessons Plans offered the ability to explore learning adventures in Study Objectives, Hands-On Activities, Critical Thinking, Vocabulary, Geography, and Group Activities.
Some suggested activities included resources listed on the HiGASFY Pinterest boards; including hands-on creations and art projects. Lesson Plans had scheduled breaks throughout allowing for opportunities in personal sketching, catchup on projects, and group activities.
HiGASFY Flash Cards were available for download via the website. Each set of flashcards reflected major pieces of artwork discussed in the chosen video series. The flashcards are intended to be double sided; with full-color illustrations portrayed on the front, the artists’ names and titles of the pieces listed on the back.
Ideally, the flashcards might be printed on cardstock and laminated; allowing for extended use and creating a more professional look to the cards. However, these could easily be adapted by printing each page singly; placing them in plastic page protectors, back to back. Either method would work well.
The “Name that Artist” assessment was a Power Point presentation; a review of the same pieces of art included in the flash cards. The assessment is full-color, with no sound.
Should printing full-color flash cards be an issue, or for those preferring an interactive learning experience, the assessment might be an alternative to using the flash cards.
Our family determined the best place to begin was with The Renaissance, given that it was the oldest era available for study. We would then work our way forward in time. After looking over the lesson plans for this bundle, we chose to focus our attention on the video series itself and the critical thinking portions of each section. As our students are mainly in high school, this would best meet our family’s needs.
Over the course of the month, we viewed one video per day. The exception was the first two videos in the series, which we watched in one sitting. While progressing through each video, brief pauses in viewing were taken to discuss critical thinking questions and embark on short geography lessons. At the end of the series, an assessment using the “Name that Arist” presentation helped us wrap up our lessons.
Following this routine, we were able to complete The Renaissance within a two week period of time. We followed this series up, as planned, with Baroque and then the Impressionist period. We applied the same routine to each of the series.
HiGASFY proved to be a fun adventure in learning! Miss Beth was engaging and clearly has a passion for art. GASFY was a cute addition to each video lesson, asking questions one would expect from a typical young person learning art history for the first time. The art lessons themselves were thorough and never boring.
We enjoyed being introduced to many pieces of art; Miss Beth pointing out various aspects of each painting one might miss if viewed too quickly. As particular pieces of art corresponded to Bible stories, we appreciated Miss Beth taking a few moments to review the Bible passages before moving forward. All artwork consisting of nude figures were carefully manipulated so parents need not be concerned with inappropriate material. Miss Beth introduced art styles such as Chiaroscuro and Etching. Students learn art concepts including landscapes, portraits, and still life. She did a fanatic job of continually reviewing lessons learned throughout each series.
We learned a great deal about each of the chosen artists. – Who knew they could be so temperamental? – We found we preferred Michelangelo to other Renaissance artists. In regard to Impressionists, Monet’s earlier work was appreciated more highly than later projects, especially his caricatures. We loved Monet’s garden and all the work he put into it. We really liked Pissarro’s works; they have a great mood. When studying Degas, we preferred his sculpts to his paintings; Little Dancer is incredible. Mr. van Gogh? He was… an unusual man.
While we did not choose to make use of every aspect of the lesson plans, we did research each option thoroughly. While viewing the helpful HiGASFY Pinterest projects, we noted listings are not titled according to lesson plans and we look forward to this organization perhaps being put into place in the future. All other aspects of the bundles flowed beautifully. The lesson plans are very well organized and include a great deal of learning opportunities.
We should note we did have issues with accessing lesson plans on our iPads. Apple devices have issues with Flash files, and thus all lesson plans needed to be viewed on my desktop or via printing. Not a major issue, but something to consider all the same.
For the purpose of our review, and because of our family’s current needs, we progressed through HiGASFY at a much quicker speed than I would honestly recommend. There is truly a wealth of information and possibility available using this curriculum. Ideally, I would recommend using one curriculum bundle per quarter of the learning year; covering all four eras over the course of a single year. You could easily stretch each course to a sixteen week study, using one lesson plan per week. Whichever best meets your students’ needs.
All-in-all, HiGASFY has been a fascinating aspect of our routine. I feel like we’ve learned a great deal. As we write this review, we are currently in the middle of the Post-Impressionist series and loving every moment. We will be sorry to finish the last of the series, but hope there might be more to come! And… we can always start over and slow down!
To read additional reviews like this one, and gain more insight into this series, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew.
We’d love to know… Is art history a portion of your family’s learning adventure?