Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Master and His Apprentices - A New TOS Review!!

I believe that both music and art are much needed in our homeschool as well as in yours.  I was so pleased to be able to review this homeschool art history curriculum called The Master and His Apprentices:  Art History from a Christian Perspective by The Master and His Apprentices, especially since art and art history are not really my strengths so to speak. I also was glad to hear that this would be able to count as the fine arts credit my eldest will need for high school.

Over the years I have increased my own abilities and knowledge of art. Mainly because my youngest daughter is very artsy and wanted to learn ... so I started teaching myself. But art history is a little different. We have studied a few (I stress a few) famous artists or paintings over the years, but the longer we homeschool the more I realize that we need to be spending more time on learning from the great thinkers - artists, musicians, architects, sculptors, and the like - to really learn about the culture and time that once was.

And what would be even better is to see them in person. We visited a museum last summer in southern Indiana and I remember grabbing my children to show them a REAL Rembrandt! It was somewhat magical to see in person. There was also a picture of Van Gogh himself - a self portrait as well as one of his most famous Starry Night. It was so different to see in person. The texture and depth. As good as a curriculum you may have, it's always great to see them in real life. That is one HUGE difference in The Master and His Apprentices:  Art History from a Christian Perspective - it includes a list of stand alone pieces, architecture, and art museums from around the world and what you can find there. It is not a conclusive list, but the 7 page list is quite extensive and is organized by continent!

I also was floored (in a good way) that at the end of the 19 chapters there was a call to the student to marvel at all that they have studied and then walks them through the steps of Salvation. This is amazing! And as a homeschool graduate, who has spent over a decade teaching, you can see that Gina Ferguson has a passion for both art, history, and her Creator ... our Creator and Savior, whom she wants to share with the world!

The textbook is quite extensive at 380 pages in full color broken down into 19 chapters beginning with an Introduction to Art; then first to Creation followed by Ancient Art from the Near East, Egypt, Greek, Romans and others. It then moves on to the Middle Ages where we see the early Christian and Byzantines, Medieval & Islamic art, Romanesque, and Gothic. We then will hit the Renaissance (split into 4 distinct times) followed by the Baroque time period. Chapter 18 is a review of art history from the 1600's forward, while Chapter 19 tackles non-western art across the globe. There are many essays in the appendix as well as a complete timeline, a period chart, the pieces by location I mentioned earlier, and a description of art terms (which is also in the beginning of the teacher handbook). It is choc full of FULL COLOR pictures of art pieces.

After you read the introduction and then Chapter 2 on Creation you could explore the book in any order matching your own studies in history. But we chose to continue at the front and work our way systematically through the book. This homeschool art history curriculum will cover 36 weeks of curriculum throughout the year as suggested by the Teacher Handbook. There are 4 papers and 4 exams and a sample syllabus that can be modified to fit your student(s). The instructions on how to use The Master and His Apprentices are stated for both classroom and homeschool use. The Teacher Handbook is 116 pages long and also includes terms to describe art, grading rubric and recordkeeping and answer key to the discussion questions and exams. The exams are cumulative so exam 1 covers chapters 1-5 and exam 2 covers chapters 1- 10, and so on. Cumulative exams are much better since they continually show the students knowledge of the subject matter.

We received a download version of both the textbook and teacher handbook along with print and use instructions. You have a limited number of downloads as well as a limited number of times you can download it, but both were reasonable. We placed the documents on a USB so that Arianna would be able to use it on whatever computer she was using at the time. And since my printer broke in the middle of this review it allowed me to bring the books to her grandmother's house and print off her worksheets there. We began by following the course suggestions that each chapter would take about 2 weeks to cover the reading and discussion questions.  We are in the midst of chapter 4 this week and will complete the chapter and questions this week. I plan on us getting to at least the first exam (so through chapter 5) before we take a break that way she won't forget everything she's been learning.

Arianna was not happy when she heard there were papers as well as exams in addition to the weekly questions, but I reminded her that as we are entering high school school demands change. She says putting words down and having them be 'correct' are one of her hardest tasks. We saw this in another curriculum where she needed to write up 500 word essays weekly. She is really hard on herself and her writing and puts a lot of pressure that the first time the essay should be perfect. I know that having more essays to write will help her in the long run to get used to drafts, not being perfect the first time, and hone her writing skills. She has done very well so far on the discussion questions ... also a place she's had trouble with in the past.
Arianna has really enjoyed the reading and all of the interesting facts and information she has learned in just a few weeks. She was so amazed that sometimes she'd just start reading them aloud to her younger siblings - especially from the Creation chapter. Another plus is that the Bible, Creation, and our Creator are weaved seamlessly through the curriculum including the fact that there are no inappropriate or nudity in any of the art depicted in this book. I am looking forward to continuing using this curriculum and having this amazing resource for the future.

I also had Arianna skip ahead to read about some artists The Master and His Apprentices went into way more detail about the artists and their genre of art. She also liked that there were a lot of layout drawings for the cathedrals and basilicas.
that my younger children were studying (Cimabue and Giotto) so that they were all sort of on the same page. It made for some interesting discussion since

This is definitely a high school level curriculum, but there are ways you can use it with younger students as well as using it yourself as an adult. Although this is a digital copy if you are going to use it with multiple children there is a nominal $2 print fee per student for both families and co-ops, which is very reasonable. I would love to have a hard copy of this wonderful and beautiful resource to have as an art history book, but right now it is not in our budget. But I would certainly purchase one rather then trying to print the book myself.

Don't just take my word on how The Master and His Apprentices:  Art History from a Christian Perspective is, but be sure to check out how other reviewers on the Crew used this program. You can also find The Master and His Apprentices on Facebook and Pinterest so be sure to check them out!
The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective {The Master and His Apprentices Reviews}

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