Studying the Arts: a K5 survey

HFA Grade 1 ButtonAfter completing this summer’s art and music study of Van Gogh and Handel with plans from Harmony Fine Arts, I decided to tackle a whole year of the subject. What I love about her plans is that, starting in the second grade, she has the artists and musicians arranged chronologically in a way that follows the format of classical education. For first grade, her plans include a survey of the greats, since the first year of the classical cycle is intended to study the ancients, and there’s not much ancient art (and even less music) to study.

What I decided was to take her first grade and break it up into two years, so instead of four weeks per artist, we’ll be taking 6 weeks. I loved how well we got to know Van Gogh this summer over a 12 week period, and I wanted to maintain that pace through the year.

So first up is Renoir and Vivaldi. I’m only planning six weeks at a time (with a week off in between), so that’s all I have currently in the works. But I’m thrilled with what we’re doing. My texts for the year are Usborne Art Treasury and Usborne First Book of Art. The artists rarely match up with her plans, but the concepts (faces, families, animals, etc.) will match up enough to provide us with alternative projects to complete. Also, I’ll be using Child Size Masterpieces and a variety of Dover coloring books. For music, I’ll be using Lives of the Musicians and a playlist of music from the different composers.

Coloring a Van Gogh replica

What Harmony provides: HFA plans provide a barebones structure of art pieces and music pieces, a few project recommendations, and a few helpful internet links for viewing art online—and not much else. What intimidates me is the extra research I have to do to fill in the holes. No artist/music bios or background information is provided and very little arts and crafts suggestions. But I’m a Google-fanatic and do pretty well at finding what I need. What I love about the barebones structure is the flexibility it provides, which allows me to curtail it to my kids’ ages and interests. I also love that it is affordable ($20, and I’ll be using it for 2 years—you just can’t beat that for art curriculum!) And I’ve found I’m much more motivated and involved in the material when it’s not scripted. So far, it’s been a match for us.

Painting Van Gogh Sunflowers

You can catch-up on our summer HFA study here, or stay tuned this fall for the next installment as we launch into Renoir, Cassatt, Manet, and more!

4 thoughts on “Studying the Arts: a K5 survey

  1. I’m so glad you posted on this! I’ve been eyeing this curriculum myself…but I’m a year away from needing it. I’ll have to check back in to see how you like it. I’m gonna check your link to your summer study now. Thanks! (Found you through the blog hop)

    • Post Author Tracy

      Tiffany, let me know if you have any questions. I think the smaller studies are an inexpensive way to try this out. That’s what we did this summer. Van Gogh/Handel was around $4. It’s not exactly the same, but it will give you a good idea.

  2. Thanks! I didn’t realize that she also had the smaller studies. We might have to try one out this year – I think that my boys would love it (And I would to! Art is not my forte). It looks like y’all had a lot of fun.

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