Monday 5 October 2020

Meet the Artists Curriculum Review

I am a very creative person so I love to do arts and crafts with my children but one thing that was missing from my own education was an appreciation and knowledge of great works of art. I know of a few artists, but not many, and I don't know much about their lives and inspiration. Because of my lack of knowledge, I wasn't sure how to start teaching my own children about this subject. Therefore, I was delighted to be sent a copy of this brand new art curriculum, Meet the Artists, to review.

Meet the Artists is a 20 week curriculum that teaches children about a wide variety of art and artists. The author, Rebecca Jemmet, is a history of art graduate who wanted to create a curriculum for families to get to know and enjoy art.


The thing that struck me as soon as I picked up this curriculum is the great variety of artists and genres. Not only are there artists from different periods in time, there are also artists from different backgrounds, cultures and races. I believe it is so important to study a diverse range of artists and this curriculum really helped me do this. 

I also love the great variety of art styles included. For example, the first week looks at self-portraits and the final week looks at chiaroscuro. I didn't even know what chiaroscuro was before I looked at this curriculum! Do you?

Easy and simple to follow

It is very easy to follow this curriculum. Each week starts with a short biography of the artist and a suggestion of a piece of art to study by that particular artist. Then there are a number of starter questions that will help you think about that particular picture. Next, there is an art project for your children to do each week but the author suggests that you do this project alongside your children if you can. I really enjoyed trying some of the art projects with my kids. Finally, there are suggestions for further study. For example, when studying Frida Kahlo, you could plan and host a Mexican feast, learn about the Mexican revolution etc. I really like how these ideas encompassed many different subjects such as history, music, culture and geography. It made me realise how one piece of art can lead to so much learning!

Don't need fancy supplies

I love how the author has made this curriculum so easy to use that you need very few supplies and you don't need anything fancy. You don't need to splash out on expensive equipment, instead, you can use some simple supplies you have around the house. Near the beginning of the curriculum there is a page which details the general equipment you will need each week as well as something specific you will need to for each art project e.g. a mirror for week 1 and sunflowers for week 2.

Starter questions to get you thinking

Before starting this curriculum I didn't realise a picture could represent so much! The starter questions helped us explore each piece of art more fully than I have ever done before. It helped me think about what I need to ask myself when I look at different pieces of art and I definitely feel more confident to explore art more fully when I visit a museum or art gallery.

Lots of activity ideas

The main activity each week is the art project. However, there is also a section each week called 'down the rabbit hole'. I really like this section as it just goes to show how much further you can take your studies. As mentioned, this helps you to see how one picture can take you on a journey to discover and learn about so many things. Ideas on how to study culture, geography, history, nature study, food, creative projects etc. are included in this section. There is also a section at the end of each weekly study with suggestions of further reading or videos to watch.

Good value for money

This curriculum is a really good price. I think it is affordable for many homeschool families. It is the kind of curriculum that can be used again and again and this makes it even better value for money! To purchase the curriculum, click HERE.

How we use this curriculum

I decided to take more time over this curriculum so we dedicated a whole month to the art of Frida Kahlo. This is more in line with the Charlotte Mason philosophy of homeschooling we follow where a different artist is studied each term. We added an entry about her into our Book of Centuries, a book we use to write down all the famous people throughout history who we come across.

We started off by reading some books about Frida Kahlo, a Mexican artist who spent some of her life in America. The children were very interested by her story and I found that knowing the artists background helped us to understand the paintings.

We studied the picture above and decided to try to recreate the image using our bodies and things we had around the house, as suggested in the curriculum.

This was the outcome! We had a lot of fun trying to recreate the picture. It definitely sparked our imaginations as we tried to come up with creative solutions.

Next we tried self-portraits. We watched a YouTube video tutorial and followed along. Here are the children's pictures.

Finally, we had a lot of fun learning about Mexico. We watched documentaries and researched online. I found this great free printable workbook for younger children.

Our last task will be to enjoy a Mexican meal. I can't wait to get stuck in to some delicious Mexican food.

We are now starting week/month two and I'm excited to learn about Van Gogh, explore his artwork and discover his story.

We are loving this curriculum and I would recommend it for everyone! If you would like to purchase a copy of the Meet the Artists Curriculum, CLICK HERE.

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