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Art for High School

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For studying visual art, I recommend The Annotated Mona Lisa, supplementing where necessary or interested with library books that go into more detail for particular artists or artistic periods. The Annotated Arch, which is the architecture version of the above, is also excellent.


As for "the arts" in general, my 14yo dd is strong in this area, so I am counting all she does in music involvement (many, many hours a week between being on the church worship team, several bands thru a homeschool music program, plus practice), graphic arts (newsletters and such), and photography.

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For appreciation, we use The Annotated Mona Lisa (recommended in TWTM) with additional reading and picture study from other books. We also watch DVDs about art and artists of the historical period we're studying that year and go to museums.


We've never done a whole lot of hands-on fine art at the high school stage. My daughter did a drawing curriculum from Walch one year, and she did some projects inspired by her reading. But that was about it.


Most of her "art" study was in theatre and music.

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We haven't picked an art appreciation book yet, but for the practical side in her freshman year, dd is going to combine the Masterpiece Art Instruction water colour course with a couple of water colour books we have that cover theory, technique, history, etc. Dd doesn't want to become an artist, but she is talented, so she's going to do art as an elective at least a couple of semesters (my choice, partly, as she doesn't like to spend oodles of time on one picture right now. I said she has to do art, she chose painting. She wants to do Acrilyc, but I have to see if Masterpiece Art Instruction has something in that before I let her switch.)

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Another vote for Annotated Mona Lisa for appreciation. We have also enjoyed Sister Wendy- both her books and videos.


This year for hands-on we are using Art Adventures at Home Vol.3. I chose projects from all three years making sure to stay balanced. I have also added in some additional projects. Most recently water color from a book on my shelf. We also discuss artists where applicable.


Last year middle ds did a spring break art camp at the local art college.


Next year I am toying with the idea of having middle ds take art appreciation at the CC.




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Okay, so, for example, when we're studying the middle ages and Renaissance, the student would read pages 24-65 of the Annotated Mona Lisa (AML). In our house, the student would also read another 48 pages of the history of art book with pictures and text about specific pieces of art. So, that's a total of 89 pages.


At this point, there are a couple of choices. One option would be to put the readings in order (interweaving the history of art pages at the appropriate points with the AML readings) and just distribute those pages evenly across the weeks of my academic year. In other words, 89 pages divided by 36 weeks is a total of about 2.5 pages per week. And I could just assign those pages in order each week across the year.


Or, I can skim through the pages, see what each reading is about and then coordinate those pages with the history readings that align most closely. So, for example, pp. 24-25 in AML are about "The Golden Age of Byzantine Art." In the history text we're using, there is a chapter called "The Rise of the Byzantine Empire." So, I will probably assign those two AML pages in the week in which my son reads that chapter. Similarly, there is a two-page spread in the history of art book about "Calligraphy in Islamic Art," which would align nicely with the chapter in his text, "The Empire of Islam: The Golden Age." Some weeks, my student might have no art readings, while others he/she might have four or five.


I tend to take the second approach, because I like helping my students to see the connections between art and history. But I think either way is valid.

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And if you're "doing" art, you can also assign a project - maybe one a week or every 2 weeks - in imitation of an artist or using a theme or media highlighted in the readings.


Yes, we do some of that, too. And the last time I had a high schooler doing this, I required some kind of written output, as well. That varied from year to year. One year, I made up weekly quizzes. Another year, she did a bigger final project.


WHat is a good history of art book?


Oh, there are many, many choices out there. I happened to find one on a bargain table at Borders several years ago for a price I couldn't resist.


This is the one we use: http://www.alibris.com/search/books/qwork/2935262/


But you could absolutely use any of a number of good books for the same purpose. I know a lot of people like Sister Wendy's books. Basically, anything that has good, color photos of the artwork with interesting text will do the trick.

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