As our children move from the preschool and early elementary school years, art is one of those subjects that gets left behind. I love and appreciate art and would love for my children to do the same. The problem is, my knowledge of art does not go past stick figures and abstract painting. Plus, I do not have the time to teach it. That sounds bad, but it is the truth. That is why I love Mrs. Beth. She loves both art and history and has taught both for over 12 years. As a result, Mrs. Beth has created a unique art and history curriculum that she now offers to students in first through eighth grades. The learning begins with just one statement, “Have I Got A Story For You!”
We received online access to the HiGASFY Art History Video Series. HiGASFY stands for “Have I Got A Story For You!”, and Mrs. Beth does. She has several stories to share in her HiGASFY program, which walks students through different art periods in history. HiGASFY is a program that teaches art history to kids. Mrs. Beth and her sidekick, a little drop of paint named Gasfy, take students on an exciting adventure through four different art periods in history. We visit the Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Renaissance and the Baroque periods. Both Mrs. Beth and Gasfy are engaging. Along with the seriousness in the presentation of the material, there is also a lot of humor mixed in. The presentation is elementary enough for younger children, but no too young where middle school students will become bored or feel like they are watching a kids program. The videos are high quality and you can tell a lot of work went into producing them. They include about 30 minutes of screen time, but all the while, your child is learning. I did not mind Canyon watching the videos, which we watched together. Parents can learn a lot from the study too.
You can learn a lot from just watching the HiGASFY Art History Video Series, but the Curriculum Bundle makes the program full and complete. We were given access to the Curriculum Bundle, which has material that enhances the art history experience. Each art history period includes a lesson plan, flashcards with artists pieces and has flashcards. You can print them or opt to view online. I really like the flashcards and the artists pieces are beautiful. The only issue I had with printing is the amount of ink required to print the flashcards in color. If you are not going to print them in color, do not bother. The pictures must (to truly appreciate and study) be viewed in color, so we viewed them online.
The lesson plans are well organized and thorough. It was great being able to see what was scheduled for upcoming lessons as well as read the objective. Some of the work includes a suggested independent and group activities, critical thinking, vocabulary, science, writing and geography. Mrs. Beth brings all of those work ideas to show how art and history, as well as those other areas of study, really work together. Lesson reviews are also included to reinforce what we learned.
Mrs. Beth uses the artwork to tell a story. As she narrates through the pictures, we connect with the characters and also make a connection with the artwork. While she tells the story, Mrs. Beth teaches students how to look beyond the surface of a painting and to also study the details in the art piece. An example from the Impressionists study was when we looked at a painting, we were encouraged to not only look at the surface of a painting. Along with studying the detail of a painting (ex: color, wrinkles, etc.) she prompted us to study the person in the portrait. Looking at what he was wearing and the condition of his hands gave us a clue as to his status in life and what he may have done for a living.
We meet a number of artists throughout the four periods. Some include Matisee, van Gogh and Picasso from the Post-Impressionist period. There are daVinci, Michalangelo and Rangel from the Renaissance period. Caravaggio, Vermeer and Rembrandt from the Baroque period and Monet, Pissarro and Degas from the Impressionist period.
We learn so many things (other than art) about the artists. Lesson 6 for the Post-Impresisonist period include artwork and a study that addresses mental illness and suicide. Those may be sensitive topics for some people, but I think Mrs. Beth did a wonderful job including both issues in the study. The content was appropriate for the target audience. I appreciate her explanation of mental illness as a brain disease and not just about person with “crazy behavior”. Vincent van Gogh suffered from mental illnes, but was a talented artist.
I would love it if the videos were able to be viewed from the HiGASFY website instead of through YouTube. The videos played fine, but the sidebar and upcoming videos included videos on alcoholism, the Columbine shooters and The Other Woman. I would rather those not be available while my child is supposed to be learning about art history.
Some of the things I like about the videos are seeing Mrs. Beth’s art studio; it is neat to see all of the art supplies and a dedicated room for creativity (says me the seamstress).
I really love HiGASFY. Mrs. Beth is engaging with her story telling and does a wonderful job of weaving art and history together. Gasfy is cute and a great addition to the program. If you have an art lover or a child who does not like art, have them watch a sample video and see what they think. Mrs. Beth’s art lessons go beyond the average art class and we learned a lot from just the bit of study we completed.
Art has just returned to our homeschool! Thank you Mrs. Beth and Gasfy.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
The HiGASFY Art History Video Series is available as a subscription.
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