Ever since this summer when my kids had the chance to do some amazing outdoor art classes, they have been all about art. Whatever they can draw, paint, sculpt – I love seeing them excited to create. So it only made sense to jump on the opportunity to review an amazing art history video series, as we go along. We received a three month subscription to HiGASFY Art History Video Series – wonder what’s with the name? HiGASFY is short for “Have I Got a Story For You.” And so many wonderful stories there are, told by Mrs. Beth, and her silly side-kick Gasfy, children in grades 1-8 can learn some really neat things about 4 different artistic eras: Renaissance, Baroque, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist. For this one, we received access to the lessons as on online subscription.
HiGASFY is an amazing resource! Your subscription to this online art history program includes downloadable curriculum bundle that includes activities, critical thinking questions, vocabulary exercises, geography, history, science, downloadable flash cards and so much more! Each era of study includes three artists for study and twelve episodes to enjoy. Remember, this isn’t just about the artist but about the world and the time they lived in. There are so many amazing things we can learn as we go through this program! If you prefer not to work online, there are DVD’s available too. Since we are always on the go thanks to my son’s travel hockey team, materials like this that entertain and educate at the same time are simply priceless!
So how do you even begin to use something that is full of so much goodness? My kids wanted to learn more about Van Gogh because they heard he cut off his own ear once. I guess we have to start somewhere right? 😛 But we did bounce around a bit after we initially began. Because some of the videos listed, my kids loved the title so much they had to see it right away. For example, “Who Needs a Flea Collar?” Then there was “Painting with Scissors” and “Just Hold your Horses.” . Right now anything that has the word “horse” in it is a guaranteed winner with three of my four kids.
Each video is so entertaining; all four of mine were on the edge of their seat as they watched and that says a lot because the videos are about 20-30 minutes each and two of my four typically really struggle to stay focused when it comes to anything beyond that 10 minute mark, but Mrs Beth is so enthusiastic and engaging as she and Gafsy guide our students on an amazing journey! The stories they tell are so exciting – this is one of those things we can all enjoy and learn from. I always made sure to go over the lesson plan for whatever we were working on as my kids were watching the video but some days that didn’t work out because, these videos are just so fun I would have to stop and watch along with my kids!
The lesson plans are about 60+ pages in length. In the beginning she really focuses on the kids developing a portfolio to keep all of their great work in once place and safe. From there she would teach on the time period before introducing any of the artists. Since we skipped around a bit when it came to the lessons and projects there was some confusion but that can easily be resolved with the creation of a little timeline. We are big fans of the timeline! Plus it makes our hallway so much more interesting when kids are visiting or even when we are just going up and down stairs – What a great way to start a conversation!
Now, twelve of the sixteen lessons are taught via video. The other four lessons involve creation and development of a portfolio, free drawing and an assessment. We always love free draw! When we don’t know what to draw? We make a couple lines and then challenge each other to see what we can make with them. It’s lots of fun! Back to the portfolio – my kids already had one from their summer art classes so we pulled that out (although it is huge) for them to continue storing their art in. We also made sure they each have their own sketch books because free draw is something they really enjoy doing. Later. Like, when they should be sleeping. 🙂
With my younger two (they are 4 and 8) we enjoyed looking at the flashcards on the computer (we just don’t print in color). It was fun seeing what they could get out of just observing and studying the images. Like Charlotte Mason picture study but not as intense just yet. We would also talk about some of the different vocabulary used, so they understood what it means. We also enjoyed studying our map so we could locate some of the places mentioned (Egypt, China, Sicily). For my older boys I sent them on a mission to determine how long it would take to travel by boat in the Dark Ages from China to Sicily.
Some of the other activities include making your own fresco to paint on; create a relief sculpture (we are actually waiting to do this until our trip to the actual pottery studio that’s coming up). There are even questions to encourage testing comprehension and critical thinking abilities. Some of these we really enjoyed – I love getting a good conversation going like this with my kids.
I have to say I have been so impressed with all of the information she shared and how she presented it in such a way that our kids were excited to learn and know more. Since I just love history AND I love art, anything that can get my kids excited about something like this is a real winner in my book! My kids are learning, I am learning too! I do believe this is also helping them to see the real value of storytelling. How much fun we can have as we share what we know (it doesn’t have to be dry and boring facts) Personally I think we should teach everything in a way similar to this. Don’t take my word for it though, click the image below and read the reviews other Crew members wrote. Better yet, check out a free lesson for yourself! I am pretty sure you will just love it!
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