Embracing a Healthy Family: Techie Homeschool Mom's Famous Artists Online Unit Study (Vol. 1) Review

Techie Homeschool Mom's Famous Artists Online Unit Study (Vol. 1) Review

I really enjoy art and have been able to get my girls interested in it too. I had to begrudgingly take Art 101 in college and I have to say, it ended up being one of my favorite courses.  This is one of the reasons why I was happy to have a chance to review Famous Artists Online Unit Study (Vol. 1) by Techie Homeschool Mom. This is a digital course and I know some people and children, dislike online courses but I think the set up of this is a little different. It's a one stop resource for teaching your children. As soon as I logged in, I could tell it was going to be an easy set-up. The website has such a user-friendly aesthetically pleasing look. I like clean and crisp and the opening course website is just that. The entire course is broken into sections that are easy to navigate with the following as the introduction material when starting out:

  • As I noted, signing up was a breeze. There is a very nice introduction if you are new to online courses that explains all the necessary details with handy built-in links to perform the suggested actions such as liking Techie Homeschool Mom on Pinterest or creating an "Online Unit Studies Project" board. She even addresses the controversy unfounded claim that homeschool children lack socialization opportunities which I liked. 
  • The next section is for any comments or to report links. I like this as often times, you might want to inquire about something or to report an error and it's not so easy to find who to contact.
  • The next section is for project supplies and they aren't complicated where you have to rush out to Hobby Lobby with a bank loan to prepare. I did have to purchase some supplies but at least it wasn't a lot.
  • Next is a forewarning about nudity. Let's face it, it is art and one cannot escape art, art history and nudity as that was a permissible and common attribute to many works of art in the past. I, myself, am not a fan of showing my children nudity but in the course of teaching art, I think it's a necessity. We've watched many historical shows and other period drama type movies that often display works of art that shows nudity. It was one of those things I just had to explain to them. She recommends also discussing with your children ahead of time if this would be new territory for them.

Getting Started: Creating a Virtual Art Gallery

Our next section was titled, "Unit Study Project: Virtual Art Gallery." I had a bit of problem setting Emaze up as I kept getting an unsafe site message. I ended up ignoring it and proceeded with creating an account for my daughter. My daughter thought it was pretty cool to have her own virtual art gallery based on the artists we learned about. Emaze is a website for creating presentations, websites, eCards and much more. Emaze is utilized throughout the course to see the lessons. Here is an example from the tutorial:

I will tell you that it's best to listen to the tutorial instead of trying to figure it out on your own. The tutorial explained everything you needed to know on setting up your own gallery. It can be customized and for creative kids like mine, they will have a great deal of fun working on their gallery! Here is the cover of my daughter's gallery: 

Beginning the Lessons

After creating her gallery, we started on the lessons. I'm going to jump into the lesson for Leonardo DaVinci for the review, as after we completed each of the lessons, this was my daughter's favorite artist next to Monet. All the lessons and activities are set in an order that are repeated across each artist such as:

  • Introduction videos on the art movement and then the famous artist associated with that movement are found with each artist. They include:
    • Renaissance: Leonardo DaVinci
    • Realism: John James Audubon
    • Impressionism: Claude Monet
    • Post-Impressionism: Paul Cezanne
    • Pointillism: Georges Seurat
    • Art Nouveau: Gustav Klimt
    • Fauvism: Henri Matisse
    • Expressionism: Wassily Kandinsky
    • Cubism: Pablo Picasso
    • Surrealism: Salvador Dali

Video on Leonardo DaVinci.

In between the particular art movement introductions, there are mini-lessons to complete such as:

  • Utilizing Grammarly or Google Docs, the student(s) are instructed to record information that will be utilized in their gallery that was created at the beginning of the course. Topics may include information about the movement and/or the facts about the particular artist:

She recorded facts about the movement and DaVinci in her Google Docs document.

  • Some of the lessons require interaction as well. Upon proceeding with the lesson, there are tasks that require the student to respond in the comments section with their answers. Also, in the screen image below, the student can track his or her progress that is automatically updated.

  • One of the other abilities of the curriculum is to be able to see famous works of art up close. For instance, the DaVinci lesson continued with viewing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre website. Since I actually viewed the Mona Lisa in person at the Louvre many years ago, it was exciting to tell my daughter that I saw the very same painting up close as she is now. She thought that was pretty cool! When we were covering Monet, as luck would have it, I reached down and pulled up my Monet print that I just removed from the wall since we are getting ready to move. 
  • Throughout the various lessons are other small videos that provide additional facts and fun information about the artists.
  • There are also fun art projects that the students can complete, and they have the option to pin it on Pinterest post on Instagram. The one for DaVinci interested both my girls mostly due to the examples provided in the lesson. The project was to create a parody 'work of art' using the supplied Mona Lisa template. Needless to say, both had fun with this one as when my middle one saw the younger one creating her masterpiece, she had to join in. The other nice thing about this was it required no special supplies as we had all that we needed.

No parody is complete without a Queen Amidala Lisa!

  • The final exercise for the lessons includes creating an artist exhibit in the student's Emaze gallery. This lesson provides the student with research skills to be able to complete the specific artist's gallery. It does take a little time to learn Emaze but it's worth it as it's pretty cool to see what the student created with what they learned and captured about each artists and which paintings appealed to their interest.

Final Thoughts

Overall, we really enjoyed the course from Techie Homeschool Mom and thought the amount of information was just right. It covered the lives and the style of art of 10 famous artists which was not too much to teach. The recommended ages are for children mid-elementary to middle school which seemed very appropriate. I think for those not exposed to art history, even an older student could learn and benefit. The videos weren't too long and the one's selected for each of the artists weren't dry or boring. One of our favorites were the two kids telling us about Dali. 

The projects were also fun and didn't require a lot of material making it not too challenging but rather fun which learning about art should be. The need to research, write facts and learn more about the particular paintings helped to reinforce what was learned as well as increased skill sets when it came to research, searching the internet and writing. You also don't have to be a techie whiz to be able to guide your students through the lesson. It's not like any art class I have taken or taught to my children and found it be a great introduction to some of the world's most famous artists. I would recommend this course.

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Check out what others on the Crew thought about Famous Artists Online Unit Study (Vol. 1) and other courses available:

Solar, Ancients and Famous People Unit Studies {Techie Homeschool Mom Reviews}

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