Finding that teachable art curriculum that has everything can be very difficult. Especially if you feel art is not your strength. But I truly feel I found what I was looking for in Meet the Masters. I have many homeschooling friends who feel that they can not teach art. But whether you feel you are gifted in art or not, Meet the Masters is perfect for parents who want to expose their children to a well rounded art program.
What makes Meet the Masters so well planned and complete is it’s 3 part art program:
- Appreciation- Through the master artists’ lives and works children develop an “eye” for art.
- Skills Practice- Before asking children to complete a project, it guides them (and you) through practice exercises.
- Skills Application- Every project is well planned, tested, and explained applying what was learned during both the appreciation and skills practice.
This program is user friendly. The artist slide show and lesson plans are computer based. It is a big plus not having another binder on the homeschool bookshelf. You simply sign in and download the PDF file for the lessons you purchased. ( See image below- you click the “download and print” button.)
The PDF includes :
- Step 1: Instructions for teaching about the artist and his work. This gives you word for word instructions for teaching about the artist and directs you through the online slide show presentation. In the image above, you can see that you would enter the the slide show through the “Start Lesson” button.
- Step 2: Worksheets for the skill practice and technique. You will print out worksheets for skill practice. They are self explanatory as you work through them with your child and prepare you for the project/activity.
- Step 3: Art activity instructions. This is a complete “how to” for teaching the project. The first page is a concise overview summarizing the artist, media, vocabulary, technique, and supplies used in the lesson which is handy during preparation.
The program requires some preparation- becoming familiar with the content and preparing materials. Preparation time is approximately 30 minutes plus purchasing art supplies. Actual instruction time from beginning to end is 2-3 hours. A lesson can be taught over several weeks or all at once. I like teaching it all at once, highlighting an artist each month or so.
Homeschoolers can choose from 7 tracks . Each one contains lessons on 5 Master Artists. They are as follows:
- Track A: Van Gogh, Cassatt, Mondrian, Picasso, Monet
- Track B: Homer, Remington, O’Keeffe, Hokusai, Matisse
- Track C: Degas, Kahlo, Miro, Rembrandt, Bonheur
- Track D: Lawrence, Calder, Gauguin, Lautrec, Escher
- Track E: Wood, Chagall, Klee, Seurat, Ringgold
- Track F: Cezanne, DaVinci, Renoir, Rockwell, Warhol
- Track G: Rousseau, Hopper, Martinez, Klimt, Michelangelo
Though the program introduces advanced techniques, it meets children at their level:
- Beginner: Grades K-2
- Intermediate: Grades 3-4, or
- Advanced: Grades 5-8.
For large families the middle age group can be adapted for your younger or older children so that only one program need be purchased. But if you don’t want to make any adaptations or are not confident what they would be, you can also buy two single tracks at two different levels,or if you need it, three levels in Bundle 2 for the same price.
Meet the Masters Online Edition for homeschools is available at Meet the Masters.com. The single track, reviewed here, is $29.95. This expires after 3 years. Based on the quality of the content, the depth of the lesson plans, and the dependability of the website, the online version is very affordable. (*note: The online edition contains everything previously available in “binder style”.) Having used Meet the Masters once before as a hard copy, I wasn’t sure how much I would like it all accessed through the computer. I was very happy that their online format was so easy to navigate and ready for me at my convenience. To get a feel for what using the website is like you can view a free preview lesson.
They also offer the program in three different bundles:
- Bundle 1: 35 artists for one age level- $157.99
- Bundle 2: 5 artists for all three ages levels-$59.95
- Bundle 3: Everything! 7 tracks, 35 artist, for all 3 age levels- $377.37
When using Meet the Masters in a co-op setting you must purchase additional license for use with other families. I chose this option when I hosted a summer art co-op in my home. Each additional family is $5 and for larger groups it comes to even less.
What I like most about Meet the Masters is the quality of the program :
- You always walk away with portfolio worthy art.
- Instead of doing the same thing over and over, your child will be exposed to a variety of art styles, techniques, skills, and mediums.
- Your child will not only be exposed to the artist’s works but will learn a great deal about their lives and what contributions they made to art history.
- Children won’t simply be shown each art piece but will be taught how to analyze the works and develop, through example, how to see art from an artist’s point of view. I was very pleased at the way in which this was accomplished.
- As a homeschool mom, I liked that it is a planned for me. I spent a little time getting to know the material, but all the hard work was done for me.
I also enjoy the flexibility with which I can use Meet the Masters. As I said, over the summer I used it in co-op setting, but next spring I plan to use the DaVinci lesson for the art portion of a Venice unit study. For more information on how you can use and enjoy Meet the Masters, see Meet the Masters for Homeschools 3 Ways to Use. Another thing that very much impresses me is the completeness of the program. It offers both teaching art skills and appreciation and presents them in a way that children love. It is often that I find art programs that are focused on one or the other, but not both.
Visit Stephanie @ Harrington Harmonies where she writes about her homeschool, recipes, and military lifestyle.