Cornerstone Curriculum’s Adventures in Art is one of the best resources to use for art instruction with a Christian perspective, but it is particularly useful for those teaching a biblical Christian worldview. Those familiar with Francis Schaeffer’s book How Should We Then Live? will spot his teaching about how philosophy and ideas are reflected in art. Charlotte Mason’s ideas (popularized in the book For the Children’s Sake) also are foundational. As does Schaeffer, the Quines present a biblical Christian worldview from a Reformed Protestant perspective.
Cornerstone has selected representative famous art works that illustrate how art reflects ideas. Thumbnails of each artwork (as well as some related artworks) are included in each lesson along with internet links to larger images students will need to view. (Thumbnails are too small to see the details.)
There are three levels (or galleries) contained in a single ebook—these used to be published as three separate items. The introduction to the book starts with a scenario depicting art observers with conflicting world views to help students and parents understand the underlying premise of this course. This is followed by instructions for using the course, and two possible schedules that might be used with younger and older students since the course is appropriate for children about age eight and older.
This course relies on guided discussions as parent and child study each art work together. Lessons include leading questions to begin the discussion. These questions address qualities of the art work and what the viewer might observe. A set of questions is then used (likely on another day) to delve further into art appreciation and especially into worldview aspects. These include questions such as “What is the artist saying about the nature and character of God?”
Information for each artist and artwork is provided in lessons under the headings “The Principle” and “The Painter.” While you can usually just read these sections aloud, younger children might not understand all of the vocabulary and ideas, so you might have to explain further or use your own words to convey the ideas. In addition, younger children are not likely to fully understand the philosophical implications of the study that older children can comprehend, so adjust your lessons accordingly. If you use these with children in the early elementary grades, plan to go back through the lessons again in high school.
Adventures in Art does not include nude images, but they caution you to monitor students as they access the internet sites which might have other images that you might not want students to explore.
There are seven artists studied in the first two galleries and eight in the third. For many of the artists, there are two or more lessons, each focusing on a different artwork. Timeline activities in some lessons help students understand the development of art over time. Navigation links in the ebook make it fairly easy to find your way between lessons, which might be especially helpful if students are trying to compare the work of two or more artists.
The two different proposed schedules I mentioned previously actually have you progress through the lessons in a very different order with younger students while you follow the lessons in the order presented with older students. Younger students might take up to four weeks studying a single artist while older students should complete lessons in about half the time.
Adventures in Art is a great companion to Cornerstone's worldview curriculum. You might want to complete your worldview study of the fine arts with Cornerstone’s Music & Moments with the Masters.
Pricing is very interesting. The list price given is $125. However, it is offered free to those purchasing $75 or more worth of products from Cornerstone Curriculum. At the time I am posting this review, the site shows Adventures in Art on sale for only $25.