I like to introduce my kids to the fine arts, and I especially love it when I can give some art history lessons to several of my kids at the same time! The HiGASFY Art History Video Series fits the bill, because it is designed to teach students in grades 1st through 8th about a specific period of art history: Baroque, Renaissance, Impressionist, and Post-Impressionist.
Each of the 4 HiGASFY Art History Video Series courses presents lessons in 12 videos and include 16 lesson plans. You also receive access to flashcards and a “Name that Artist” Powerpoint slideshow to help challenge your students’ eye and memory about the artists that they’ve learned about once they have completed the lessons.
In the series, you join Mrs. Beth and her little animated drop of paint, Gasfy, and learn an enormous amount of information about the artists, the time period, the culture of the art world at the time, and so much more.
The lessons range from about 20-30 minutes each. I was given 3 months access to the entire video series (so all 4 art history periods), as well as the lesson plans, flashcards, and slideshows for each of them.
Here is an excerpt from one of the Parent/Teacher guides, below. As you can see, it would be easy to fit these lessons into your homeschool schedule however you would like. Complete it in a semester by completing a lesson a week, or you could even accelerate or slow down the pace to make it last a shorter or longer time. There are plenty of activities included to keep older and younger kids busy for quite some time!
We completed one lesson per week. I chose to start my kids in the Impressionist period. This semester, they are learning about Money, Pissarro, and Degas. They are also creating their own portfolio or art work so they can keep up with all of their creations throughout the lessons.
For a full overview of what the program is all about, check out the video below:
We’ve loved the video lessons. Mrs. Beth is engaging and fun, plus she has a Southern accent, which my kids are used to being from Texas! 🙂 I adore the way the instructor talks to the kids. She doesn’t talk down to them like they’re young, and she isn’t afraid to introduce and explain more difficult terminology.
She thoroughly paints a verbal picture of what life was like back when the artist was alive, and explains why things were done the way they were and why and how the culture was shaped by and actually changed the landscape of art of the time. She talks about the techniques, the materials used, how society viewed art and artists, and more.
Students are able to view many wonderful pieces of artwork in the videos, as well. These come up again with the other materials included with the course, such as the “Name that Artist” presentation. This game gets scheduled into the last lesson, so students can really try their best to be able to name which artist created which piece of art.
Something that makes this curriculum unique, for me, is that it limits the artists that it teaches in each semester to three. I love this, because they are able to delve deeper into each artist’s lives and work. The “Name that Artist” game isn’t so bad when you have a 1 in 3 chance of getting it right, and if they’ve been paying even a little bit of attention during the semester, they’re bound to do very well!
The lesson plans are awesome! The PDF file I received for the Impressionist Period had 77 pages in it to cover 16 weeks. Each lesson has an objective and mentions whether or not students will have a video to watch. It also gives the title of the video and its duration if it is assigned for that day.
There are suggested activities that are appropriate for the entire elementary and middle school age range. The suggested activities might be an art project. Some of them are more of a language arts exercise, with retelling stories or describing things. Still, others are more involved projects such as the flower garden you see suggested in the example pictured below.
Critical thinking questions are included to get students thinking. Vocabulary is introduced and defined for each lesson.
There are writing assignments for every lessons. Most times, there are options for more advanced students as well.
There are many cross-curricular activities and questions included. These cover things like geography, history, and science. I love that there are several things to choose from so you can decide how you want to teach the lessons. Include them all for a really unique unit study, or focus on just a few things if you are pressed for time.
There are also several puzzle pages! My oldest son enjoyed working on the word search assignment, while my daughter (technically 9th grade and older than the age the program suggests, but we have her working alongside anyway!) liked the crosswords more.
For each art history period, you have access to printable flashcards, as well. These have full color copies of art from the three artists you’re studying on one side, and then the title and artist name on the back. We don’t have a color printer right now, so I quizzed my kids from the computer screen, but I would definitely consider getting these professionally printed or printed by a friend to use in the future! They would look gorgeous laminated. There are 2 per page.
I used this program with all four of my oldest kids. They’re in 9th, 7th, 4th, and 2nd grades. My pre-k kiddo enjoyed watching the videos and joining in to do some of the art, too.
I love being able to “do” art history once and know that they are all getting the information at once. It’s a huge time-saver for me as a mom of many homeschooling kids. You can see what my kids chose to do as their still life art projects by browsing the pictures below. These creations went in their portfolio, which I’m sure they’ll love to look at sometime in the future and see how far they’ve come!
As a family, we’ve enjoyed doing this together. I highly recommend it, especially if you have multiple children working on it together. With the videos and the suggested and optional activities, art is taking us about an hour each time we work on it. They’re loving the various activities and the entertaining video, and I love learning right alongside them. I’ve already learned more through this course than I did in a college course I took! I think that it is sticking more because the information is focused on one time period and just a few artists, and Mrs. Beth is so thorough with her information that you really feel like you know and understand the place, time, and artists.
You can access the HiGASFY Art History program through a monthly subscription, or you could even purchase it on DVD. Either way, you will receive access to the videos, lesson plans, Name that Artist game, and the flashcards.
I think these would also make a terrific co-op class! I’m thinking it would be awesome for my current 9 and 10 year olds, but it would be excellent for a wide range of kids well beyond that, too. There is a subscription plan for using it in a co-op, so be sure to check that out if you’re wanting to use it in that way.
Many other families were able to review the HiGASFY Art History Video Series with their families, and jumped in at different points than we did. Be sure to click the banner below to find out more about how the HiGASFY lessons for Baroque, Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and Renaissance periods of art worked for others: