Two Art Masterpieces courses make use of beautiful art prints as the centerpieces of lessons for Catholic homeschoolers. Art Masterpieces: ABC Collection is recommended for ages four through six. Art Masterpieces: Rhyme-Time Collection is suggested for ages five through seven.
Art Masterpieces: ABC Collection consists of a collection of 26 8.5 x 5.5” art cards plus a 58-page teaching booklet. Each of the 26 art cards features an image that connects to a letter of the alphabet. The painting “Muddy Alligators” illustrates the letter “a.” The painting “The King Watches” features a lion and illustrates the letter “l.” “The Martyrdom of St. Andrew” shows St. Andrew tied to poles in the form of an “x” to illustrate that letter. Parents challenge children to match cards with the letters of the alphabet.
In addition, when each card is first presented, the parent can share brief information about the artist from the teaching booklet then lead a discussion with information and questions from the booklet. Questions are designed to teach children to observe details, especially paying attention to colors, shapes, and numbers of items. Some questions have children compare two art cards looking at a particular feature. Parents can use all or some of these activities as works best for each child.
Art Masterpieces: Rhyme-Time Collection has a set of 15 full-page (8.5 x 11”) prints plus a 65-page booklet that serves as both a teaching tool and activity book. Additional pages in the packet of art prints have small images of the same 15 art works plus others by the same artists—four images per page—that are to be cut out and pasted into the booklet.
A new art masterpiece is introduced every two weeks, with four sessions in each two-week period for each art work. Nursery rhymes are taught in conjunction with the art.
For example, on the first day of the lesson for the painting, “The Potato Harvest,” you show the art print to the child; read the nursery rhyme “One potato, two potato,….”; read brief information about the artist; and discuss the art work using information and questions under “Art Story.” Children also begin working on memorizing the nursery rhyme.
The second session teaches very basic art theory. For example, on page 16 it says, “Use your finger to trace over the line that marks where the sea meets the sky. This is called the horizon. Trace the line that marks where the sea meets the land. The artist made the lines smooth and straight to make the painting seem calm and peaceful.”
In the third session you will use “Discussion Ideas” plus “Extension Activities” if they are included. Occasionally the activities include some sort of art work.
On the fourth day students will identify the art work they have been studying from the sheet of four smaller images. They can cut out then paste that art work image into the booklet. Then on sheets 5 through 8 in the packet, they will search for a similar painting by the same artist to also cut out and paste into the booklet. Children should be able to recite the nursery rhyme in this session as well. Small, decorated cards with the nursery rhymes (included in the packet with the art prints) can also be cut out and pasted into the booklet.
The beautiful images should be kept on display while you are studying each art work. Lessons are intended to help children enjoy art, so you can adapt lessons to suit your situation. Both of these courses help parents introduce the beauty of art to young children with minimal planning and effort.