Thursday, June 28, 2018

Art History from a Christian Perspective {A Review}

{This post contains affiliate links to a vendor we have been enjoying:The Master and His Apprentices.}

Are you looking for a faith-connected homeschool art history curriculum

The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective created by The Master and His Apprentices might be just what you are looking for.

The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective would work well for:

  • adults who want to read about art appreciation with a Biblical worldview.
  • parents who to better understand art history in order to teach their children about it, or who are looking for specifically Christian material to supplement other art, history, and faith studies.
  • high school students that desire a full credit art history course that can be used independently, with a co-op, or with a private school.
  • artists who desire to better understand what makes art great.

The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective is particularly wonderful for Christian families because it eliminates some of the problems of secular art history curricula which present materials from a humanistic perspective, failing to view God as the original, ultimate Creator, make no connections between art, artists, and Biblical timelines, and do not present Jesus' life, death, and resurrection as truth, but rather as a myth.  In other words, 
The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective  focuses on what is true and beautiful, leaving out what is questionable!

What Is Included in This Homeschool Art History Curriculum

The Master and His Apprentices

The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective is a 380-page textbook course with a teacher guide that was written by a former homeschool student, Gena Ferguson, who has been teaching art, English, history and the Bible for over 12 years. Gena used her experience to create a comprehensive Art History course aimed at Christian highschoolers that provides a full credit of Art History when used with the materials from the teacher guide. 

Of course, Gena also made the book friendly for whole families that want to browse beautiful art or learn more about how art fits in with faith and history, ince she specifically designed 
The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective as a resource:

  • that contains no nudity nor material that may be objectionable to most Christian families.
  • helps readers create a "visual" timeline of Biblical and world events.
  • includes beautiful images.
  • has helpful materials to help families talk about art and know where to find specific art pieces.

The curriculum covers art all the way from Mesopotamia to today and contains over 600 photos, detailed timelines, and a plethora of information about major time periods, artists, styles, mediums, and techniques.

Sculpture, painting, architecture, and more are included.

The text helps students "see" history by connecting art, history, and the Bible while it dives into such periods as:

  • Ancient Cultures: Ancient Near East, Egyptian and Aegean
  • Classical Antiquity: Early Greek, Etruscan and Roman
  • Middle Ages: Medieval & Islamic, Early Christian & Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic
  • Renaissance: Proto-Renaissance, Early and High Italian Renaissance and Northern Renaissance
  • Baroque and Beyond: Baroque, Rococo to Today (modern art) and Global Highlights (non-Western art)

The book covers all periods of art.

Each chapter of the text typically begins with an introduction that gives important background information about a period.  Then, you are introduces to art and artists from the period through text, inviting images, helpful timelines, etc.

Throughout the book you will learn about a variety of mediums from painting, to sculpture, to architecture, and, of course, will be able to make connections between these works, the periods of history they were created in, and the influence of faith on it all.

In the teacher guide you will find:

  • weekly worksheets for self study 
  • discussion questions for classroom settings
  • 4 exams
  • instructions for 4 papers
  • a grading chart
  • answer keys
  • a syllabus

I browsed these and used some mentally for my own learning and look forward to using them "as intended" with my children when they are a bit older and ready to take the credit course.  

I can definitely see how the text provides plenty of "meat" and engagement and the materials in the teacher guide provide the tools for "chewing" on the meat, learning independently with minimal planning or guidance from a parent-teacher or, if preferred, learning through dynamic parent-child or classroom discussions.  That makes 
The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective flexible to different homeschool styles: independent learners can use the materials as written, families and co-ops can mix and match written and oral work alongside reading and viewing the text, and those that prefer to dip into curriculum as a resource rather than a start-to-finish thing can easily do.

How We've Been Using This Homeschool Art History Resource

When I was offered the chance to review this Christian art history program I was excited.  As anyone who has been following our family's homeschool journey for any length of time knows, we are history lovers who also like art and enjoy integrating faith into our studies and fun.  Thus, I thought The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective might be an ideal resource for my children and I to read together as well as a lovely book to browse and use in connection to our eclectic studies.

Unfortunately, I was wrong about the The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective working for us a read aloud.  For, when I sat down to read a digital copy of the book with my children (who are between seven and twelve years of age), it just did not hold their attention.  They found it too difficult  to all enjoy the pictures together on our small laptop screen and felt that the text, although well-written, was just not quite right for snuggly reading time.  Thus, we decided to read our digital copy of the text individually when they get a bit older and, instead of reading it together now as a consecutive read together study, to have me use it as a resource for prepping our current lessons and clubs and for learning myself.

This portion of the book was helpful when I was preparing recent club activities.

This decided, The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective has worked well for us as a ready resource for preparing the art portion of future Art, Music, and Poetry club lessons as well as for me to learn more about art history.  The kids have also enjoyed clicking through its pages on our computer to see the beautiful artwork they include.

Oh, and can I just say, I appreciate so much the way 
The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective presents timelines that make placing art in history - including Biblical history - easy!

Further, I love the fact that it includes:

  • a list of the Pieces by Location (which tells where each piece pictured in the book can be viewed around the world)
  • explanations of terms to describe art (which are so helpful for this art appreciating mama that leads Art, Poetry, and Music club but lacks a formal background in art myself)
  • and, a full listing of Consulted Resources that tells where each photograph, drawing, and map in the book came from.

Such lists make the book even more user-friendly!

Timelines throughout the book help us place art, history, and the Bible together.

So, obviously, we are happy to have received The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective and have been finding it interesting and helpful.

We all agree that, as a family resource, The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective would be better to own in a printed and bound version that would allow us to cuddle up together and pour over.  However, we also have noted how well the digital version we have works as a resource for self-study, research, and review, especially since we can quickly search terms, artist names, artist periods, etc. and ge right to the sections of the book which include them!

Learn More 

If you'd like to learn more about The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective, click on over to see what seventy Homeschool Review Crew families thought of the curriculum.

You can also find The Master and His Apprentices on social media on Facebook and Pinterest.


The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective textbook is available in hardcover for $149.99, digitally for $34.99. A softcover teacher guide is available for $24.99 or digitally for $19.99 with photocopy or print right available at a $2 per additional student rate.

We'd love to hear how The Master and His Apprentices works for you and yours if you choose to use it!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Our Newest Altar Server!

Who served on the altar for the first time ever on his Name Day?

This young man did!

And, who trained him?

Big Brother, of course.

When Children Play

Well, really, Big Brother and Big Sister have been training him at home for years... playing Mass periodically in our living room.

However, once Jack received his First Holy Communion, Big Brother, another veteran altar server, and one of our wonderful parish priests offered him and the other altar server's little brother two sessions of formal training.  Then, today, they all served together at Mass.

It was beautiful! Or, in our newest altar server's words,
"That was super, super, super, super, super, super fun!"

Yes, folks, FUN!  Jack said it.  Luke agreed.

So, take heart!  If you've ever had a child that made getting through Mass with peace and prayer challenging, trust that child can change.  Miracles can happen! The opportunity to serve God through being an altar boy can make such a difference in a young child's life.  And, then, that child can grow from this:

Miracles Do Happen

A novice altar server who makes Mom and Dad equally happy and nervous.

To this:

A veteran altar server that was delighted to train his younger brother!

Our Lord invites us to love and to serve.  May we all have as much joy in doing so as our newest altar server does!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Learn About American History and Holidays with Fabulous. Flexible Self-Contained Unit Studies {A Silverdale Press LLC Review}

{This post contains affiliate links to a vendor we highly recommend: Silverdale Press LLC.}

Do you ever crave a break from your regular history studies but still want to engage your children in memorable learning? 

Then, I suggest you look at 
White House Holidays Unit Studies by Silverdale Press LLC!

Before being offered an opportunity to review these self-contained unit studies, our family had never heard of them.  Now, we are big fans!

I appreciate how flexible, yet complete the 
White House Holidays Unit Studies, while each of my children has already asked to do more of them!

Why White House Holiday Unit Studies Are Fabulous and Flexible

Have you ever begun a unit study only to realize you need to order or access a bunch of different books, resources, and supplies?

I have, too, and, to be honest, sometimes that just becomes too cumbersome and prevents my on-the-go, eclectic-homeschool style family from completing a study even when we like it.

White House Holidays Unit Studies don't present that problem!  They are self-contained studies that require no more than the pdf file they come as and basic supplies that most homeschoolers already have. 

Further, the studies are succinct, yet complete!  Each study is only 3-5 lessons long, meaning that they can be dug into over the course of a day or week, or spread out as engaging breaks from other history studies.

I so appreciate that the brevity of these 
Unit Studies allows us to start AND finish them before getting derailed, but the depth of their content makes our efforts meaningful.

The author of the studies, Professor Jill A. Hummer, Ph.D, is a nationally known presidential scholar and professor of government and history, so she knows her stuff.  She is also a homeschool mom, so she is well aware of how best to present that stuff.

She has written the studies so that families can do them together, offering activities meant for children in grades K-6, and corollary materials for those in grades 7-12.  The two different levels of materials - complete with varied activities and primary source materials -  encourage everyone in the family to access and understand holidays and the historical forces that created them at their own levels.

Unit Studies also, of course have a unique twist: they use the American presidency as a window into holidays and history.

Replete with easy-to-read history stories, fun and creative activities, primary sources (such as speeches, posters, letters, and documents), and complete objectives, lessons plans, and enrichment, White House Holidays Unit Studies allow families to dig into history with ease!

Currently, the series of studies includes:

Our Experience

Life's been a little loony in our household this spring, so we were delighted to have White House Holidays Unit Studies to enjoy and learn from without having to do any prep work for.

The first unit we chose to do was the 
Labor Day one.  For, although Labor Day has yet to arrive this year, the time seemed ripe for learning the history behind the topic.

My husband was recently without work for three months, and as he interviewed for and landed his new job, my children became more and more aware of what our current job market is like and also began asking why they could not get regular jobs at their ages.

We also have read several books in the past year that references child labor, labor unions, and more.  So, the children were ready to learn more and connect more dots, so to speak.

Labor Day  study was perfect for that!  We used the grades K-6 portions of it, with easy, informative text and engaging activities.

My children found themselves drawn in with the photographs of families at work in tenements, naturally falling into debate as we read about labor unions...

... enjoying creating signs and presenting their grievances...

... and getting into making comics.

They all liked the study and want to do the grades 7-12 version at a later point!
My oldest also dug into the Veterans Day with me at the grades 7-12 level.  

He does not typically love crossword puzzles, but happily referenced readings to complete the one in this study.

He also had some great discussions with me, enjoyed connecting what he already knew about WWI history with Veterans Day, and came away asking if he can do all of the studies and their activities at both the lower and upper level.

From My Children's Mouths...

When I asked my 11-year-old for her thoughts, she said :
I liked this unit study because we got to do crafts, look at pictures, and chat. 
I learned about Labor Day.  I don't agree with everything unions said, but a lot of it seems reasonable.  I understand the history of Labor Day more. 
I want to do more unit studies like this if I can!

When I asked my almost 8-year-old for his thoughts, he said:

I liked this unit study, because it was fun.  I liked how you got to make things.  You got to write your own thing - like the comic strip!

I learned that they used to just hang clothes all over in New York tenements.  Many of the people were poor and lived in dirty homes where the kids and adults worked.

People worked at factories, too, and got paid very little and it was very unhealthy... for pennies!  So, some people died.

Things changed unions and Labor Day.

When we talked, we shared our own ideas.  My idea is that people are stupid when they had the parade, because hey were saying, 'no rent", which is selfish.  What about the people with the business who need rents?  Workers and business owners need to make good pay, health for people, but not overpay and not do barely any work.

I also asked my 12-year-old for his thoughts.  He said:

These studies are interesting.  So far, I've done the Labor Day and the Veterans Day ones.

I did the Labor Day one with my brother and sister, so we did the younger kids' version.  I did the Veterans Day one by myself with my mom, so we did the older kids' one.

Th e older kids' readings are better, because they are longer and more informative.  The activities for both ages were pretty good.  The ones for the younger ages were more crafty and the ones for the older ages were more "writey".

I'd like to do all of the activities and readings - older and younger  for each holiday unit we have, because I like the way the author writes, and I also like the projects.  They are not like lapbooks.  You don;t have to do silly booklets, but can learn more from fun activities!

We all agree that the White House Holidays Unit Studies that we've done so far have been great - no fussing, plenty of learning and engagement.  We look forward to completing the rest of the series and recommend them to other families looking for ease, flexibility, and happy homeschool history.

Learn More

Enjoy FREE SAMPLE LESSONS from Silverdale Press LLC.

Also, check our their Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers for ages 14-18, which I hear from other Crew Review families is great!  

Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers & White House Holidays Unit Studies {Silverdale Press LLC Reviews}

In fact, you can read reviews about 
 Silverdale Press LLC's products written by 75 Homeschool Review Crew families.

Visit Silverdale Press LLC on social media:

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Monday, June 18, 2018

A Father's Day Prayer

Several different church bulletins from today, I know, had this prayer in them:

God and Father of all creation, we come before you today with humble hearts. 
You are our model of a loving father. 
When we fail and fall short of your expectations, you are always there at the end of the day with open arms, ready to heal the cuts and scrapes of the day and to encourage us to try again and not to give up. 
We hold up these men in our midst who act in the world as fathers to their children or models of fathers for others. 
Bless them in their moments of doubt and frustration with their children. Give them warm and open hearts to forgive failures. Provide them with the words needed for encouragement and perseverance. 
We ask all this in the name of Jesus. Amen. 

I have to say, I love this prayer! 

I also love how my husband loves our children.

Indeed, today, he wanted nothing more for Father' Day than to have each child spend an hour of 1:1 time with him doing whatever they wished and, then, all of us spending some time at a beach.

Witnessing my husband's true desire to follow the passions of his children - and to fumble and fail, as well as laugh and love alongside them - made me so appreciative. It also made me think of how our Father in Heaven must love when we invite Him into our days, spending focused time with Him.

I am so grateful for my husband's love for our children and, more so, for Our Father's love for us.

Our Father in Heaven, thank you!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Create (and Study!) Art Based with Inspiration from the Italian Renaissance! {A Review}

Our family had never heard of 
ARTistic Pursuits Inc. until we were offered a chance to review one of their fantastic homeschool art curriculum books a few years ago, whereupon we became big fans of how author Brenda Ellis presents art for children and have since recommended ARTistic Pursuits Inc. to many folks in person and online.  Thus, we were delighted with an opportunity to review one of the books in ARTistic Pursuits Inc. new series: ARTistic Pursuits Art Instruction Books with DVD and Blu-RayVolume 4: Artists that Shaped the Italian Renaissance.

What is Artists that Shaped the Italian Renaissance? 

Artists that Shaped the Italian Renaissance
is Volume 4 of a grades K-3 art curriculum that comes as a beautiful 64-page, hardcover book with two pockets in the inside front cover to house a DVD and a Blu-Ray disc with video lessons on them.  

The book contains 18 projects that feature master works in 12 text lessons and 6 video lessons.  It also includes:
  • a list of all materials you will need for included projects (all of which many homschoolers already have at home or can easily get at an arts-n-crafts store)
  • some words about "Teaching Simply", which this book truly allows parents - even parents without an art background - to do
  • a brief introduction of the Italian Renaissance
  • clearly written objectives for each lesson
  • a bibliograpy and art credits for those who would like to dig deeper

Artists featured in the book are:

  • Cimabue
  • Giotti
  • Limbourg
  • Van Eyck
  • Ghirlandaio
  • Leonardo da Vinci
  • Botticelli
  • Michelangelo
  • Raphael
  • Sofonisba
  • Bachiacca
  • Parmigianino

Art skills practiced include:

  • handling a watercolor brush and paint
  • using elements of gold in paintings
  • featuring physical gestures in art
  • communicating through symbols
  • using wash and lift techniques
  • using of foreground and background
  • making resists with oil pastels and watercolor washes
  • creating an a fresco painting
  • using the rubbing technique to explore textures
  • creating collagraphs
  • making scratch art
  • creating portraits and landscapes
  • engraving

Throughout Artists that Shaped the Italian Renaissance, teacher Brenda Ellis guides children (and parents!) in both text and video lessons to handle art media, study art masters and their artworks, and get creative making original artworks.  

In the video lessons, Ariel Holcomb, an engaging video host, helps draw students into projects, while Brenda Ellis' hands are shown demonstrating how to create art.

Together, the text and video serve as a complete art curriculum which includes:

  • art history
  • picture study
  • colorful illutations
  • artworks by great Italian Masters
  • visual instruction for projects - either on the DVD/Blue-Ray discs or with text and images in the book
  • and, best of all, ease and engagement!  

Seriously, I am not art-gifted and this curriculum makes teaching and learning art alongside my children so easy!

How We Used Artists that Shaped the Italian Renaissance

Because the format of Artists that Shaped the Italian Renaissance is so inviting, before I even presented any of the lessons in it to my children, I found them paging through the beautiful hardcover book, browsing illustrations and artwork in it, doing informal picture studies, and even "reading ahead".  This became one of the ways we continued to use the book - as pleasure reading and informal study - a perfect dovetail to prior history lessons and invitation to focus on beauty!

The second way we used the curriculum, of course, as as intended: by gathering together to read, watch the DVD, complete readings and picture studies, and create art.

As we have an existing Art-Music-Poetry club, we also invited friends to join us in doing some of the introductory projects since my children asked if they could tart the book with friends, and these projects became our favorites - because, of course, everything is better with friends (in my children's minds, at least.)

Our friends told me they enjoyed the lessons they did with us, too, and, after talking about them with another local homeschool mom, I saw her Facebook post online about her curriculum for next year and guess what is included?  
ARTistic Pursuits!  People that I know who have used or just seen the ARTistic Pursuits curriculum agree it is of high quality!

What My Children Thought

My daughter, at almost 11, is above the intended age group for Artists that Shaped the Italian Renaissance, still quite enjoys it.   She said:

I like how big the picture study pictures are, because you can really get a feel for the art work in them.  I also like how the author tells a story before asking questions.  It helps me understand the pictures better.
I also liked the video lessons. They are not too long, but not too short.  They give you tips.
I also like the projects.  They are not too similar, but not too different.  Each one helps me focus on specific skill.
I would recommend this book for family classes.

I agree with everything my daughter said and would like to highlight how wonderful the picture studies in this book are.  Prior curricula we've reviewed for ARTistic Pursuits Inc. had wonderful picture study, too, but, the format of these books makes picture study even better - the large reproductions are so inviting!

My youngest son, at almost 8 and "ideal age" for this K-3 curriculum, is not as much of an art lover as his sister and I am, but still likes 
Artists that Shaped the Italian Renaissance.  He said:

We have been using Artists that Shaped the Italian Renaissance.  We have not done the fresco yet, but I like the picture of the plane on page 38 and want to do it.

I also like the picture study on page 47.  It is of St. George killing the dragon. 

So far, I liked the "gold leaf" project the best.  I liked using the metallic colors in my artwork.  It was easy to do. 
I remember that the artist tilted head in the picture study to make the figures look more lifelike. 
I would recommend this book to young artists!

I just love how 
Artists that Shaped the Italian Renaissance has invited him in with engaging picture studies and illustrations and has him looking forward to more projects!

My oldest, at 12, is obviously "old" for Artists that Shaped the Italian Renaissance, but still happily joined us in lessons.  He said:

I liked this book and video lesson set, especially when we used it with our friends at our Art, Music, and Poetry club.  The book includes art projects, stories about Renaissance artists, and examples of fine art and children's projects.  The DVD contains video art lessons, but not of every project. 

My favorite project so far was the "gold leaf" one.  I liked how the artwork came out - especially my sister's!
During the first lesson, I practiced taking off color when painting with water colors.  That was interesting. 
I also like the picture studies on pages 31, 32, and 34.  They look realistic. 

I would recommend this book to people who want to learn about the Italian Renaissance artwork.

Obviously, all three of my children and I like Artists that Shaped the Italian Renaissance quite well.  So far, in using the book and video lessons I have had no complaints save one: The way the plastic disc pockets on the inside cover are designed, we often find when we are carrying the book from one place to another, the top disc falls out. Worried that the falling disc would be ruined, we finally just made sure the top disc is the Blu-ray one since we have no way to play that, keeping our DVD disc safe and sound for use!

Overall, we are quite pleased with Artists that Shaped the Italian Renaissance and have and will continue to recommend it to others as a stand-alone art curriculum or as an excellent, hands-on supplement to history studies!

We would also love to see the rest of this 8 volume 
ARTistic Pursuits Art Instruction Books with DVD and Blu-Ray which includes four volumes that were reviewed by 60 Homeschool Crew Review families:

Find all the reviews!

Learn More

 ARTistic Pursuits

You can learn more about:

  • Art for Children, Building a Visual Vocabulary
  • Art of the Ancients
  • Art of the Middle Ages
  • Artists that Shaped the Italian Renaissance

in the Crew’s reviews and follow ARTistic Pursuits Inc. on Facebook.

You might also enjoy our prior reviews:

An Open-and-Go Art Curriculum We're Thoroughly Enjoying {A Review}

One Resource that Will Help You Enjoy Art Anywhere {A Review}

Sculpture Made Easy

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Get FREE Printable St. Anthony of Padua Copywork!

St. Anthony of Padua's feast day is on June 13, so today, I put together a simple FREE copywork printable for my children and yours!

It includes this brief quote for children still gaining confidence with copywork:

Actions speak louder than words; let your words teach and your actions speak. 
St. Anthony of Padua

Then, it has this longer quote for children who like to copy passages with a bit more length:

Christians must lean on the Cross of Christ just as travelers lean on a staff when they begin a long journey. They must have the Passion of Christ deeply embedded in their minds and hearts, because only from it can they derive peace, grace, and truth.

St. Anthony of Padua
Finally, it contains St. Anthony's Prayer for the Help of the Holy Spirit:

O God, send forth your Holy Spirit into my heart that I may perceive, into my mind that I may remember, and into my soul that I may meditate. Inspire me to speak with piety, holiness, tenderness and mercy. Teach, guide and direct my thoughts and senses from beginning to end. May your grace ever help and correct me, and may I be strengthened now with wisdom from on high, for the sake of your infinite mercy. Amen

All of these wonderful words, attributed to Saint Anthony of Padua, are offered in both cursive and printing.

I hope you and yours enjoy using this FREE St. Anthony of Padua Copywork printable!

You might also like:

St. Anthony's Nature Scavenger Hunt

8 Sensory-Smart Ways to Celebrate St. Anthony of Padua's Feast Day

St. Anthony of Padua, Pray for us!


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