February 27, 2011

book/make-up-your-own-curriculum review


the art book for children, book two.

i'd love to say that we tried book one of this series and that is was fabulous and we moved onto book two...but we didn't.

i ordered the wrong book and after thumbing through it and pondering the lack of obvious choices for kids to study, flipped to the cover and went "duh"...this is the secondary list.


this week we studied the unfinished painting, Happy Couple, by thomas gainsborough. I like how the book pointed out what made this painting different from other portrait work of its time. i'm a big believer in understanding historical context and precedent when it comes to studying art. (ie: the first canvas painted black was groundbreaking and said a lot - not just what our kid's grandfathers would call "that artsy-fartsy-mumbo-jumbo".


so, happy couple depicts a couple out of doors and surrounded by the things that define them, from their estate to their hobbies. after dialoguing about the painting for a few minutes, i had the kids set up their art easel and assigned them to both draw me a "happy family" portrait. and going along with the main elements of the book discussion, i told them to draw things that are relevant to their lives.


charlie drew our family and a bubblegum man. apparently, bubblegum is very important to her - not that she's ever had any.


luke decided to opt charlie out of the family and drew a "minion" in her place (which is relevant, in that he's on a "despicable me" kick). he also drew a dog with a trunk and his backyard play set on fire from a bomb. for those that do not know us, neither of those things nor "the naked man flying over us" are relevant.

anyhoo, we are really enjoying this book. it's goes into just enough detail to be interesting and informative, but not heavy and overwhelming. creating a curriculum from it is pretty straight forward. and bonus, your kids get to learn to recognize different elements of art, as well as renowned artists throughout history.

i highly recommend the art book for children, book two. i'll let you know about book one when i get around to ordering it.

over and out, becky

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