Art History for Homeschoolers

Van Dyck was a Dutch Baroque period painter.

If you've been pondering classes in art history for homeschoolers, take comfort in knowing that there are a variety of curriculums and resources that won't break the bank!

Art History: A Part of History

One of the best ways to teach art history is to teach it alongside history. Approaching art history this way make sense for several reasons:

  1. Art is generally reflective of the culture that it represents. When you introduce your child to the brightly decorated Egyptian sarcophagi or to French impressionism -- you are giving your child a more complete picture of what it was like during that time period.
  2. Hands-on activities naturally lend themselves towards art history. Combining appropriate period art with your history studies can make your history lessons come alive as kids make frescos or work on other art projects.
  3. Studying art history helps kids evaluate current pieces of art. It encourages critical thinking, and appreciation for the fine arts.

Making Your Own Plan for Art History

It's actually not that hard to make your own plan for art history. You can follow a basic pattern of studying a time period and then looking up information on artists or the type of art that can be found during that time period.

Colonial Period and Western Expansion

Studying the colonial period and Western Expansion leads easily into studying Native American art. In addition, there are a slew of resources for studying colonial American art which often includes handicrafts like furniture and pottery. For further study you can see:

  • DIA's collection on colonial art, which offers interactive images.
  • Native Languages offers an art page with several links to varying types of art. You will see pottery, weaving, paintings, and clothing as some examples of beautiful art work.


So much was happening during the Renaissance and so many artists were multi-talented that studying the Renaissance leads easily into art history. In fact, it is difficult to separate the two.

  • The Web Museum offers a host of interactive galleries all on Leonardo da Vinci who was much more than just a painter.
  • is a website just for studying Michelangelo. Painter, sculptor, and artist extraordinaire, you can find out about this fascinating man and learn more about the Renaissance time period.

The Great Depression and Modern America

Norman Rockell is synonymous with Early Americana. His pictures graced the Saturday evening post for decades.

General History Timelines

On resource that's very helpful in putting your own art history program together is Hyper History. Hyper history has taken all the guess work out and is akin to a giant, all encompassing but interactive timeline. You can see what is going on in respective countries as well as find famous people, events, etc. of a particular time period. Using this can help you build your own timeline of great art history!

Curriculum in Art History for Homeschoolers

If you're not up for making your own plan, you can always purchase a curriculum to help teach art history. There are a variety of resources available including full art history curriculums along with period or artist studies.

Artistic Pursuits

Artistic Pursuits is probably one of the best known art history programs for homeschoolers. It uses famous paintings to teach students how to critique art. Those same paintings serve as a springboard for the student's next art lesson.

Come Look With Me Series

The Come Look With Me Series offers a page to a famous piece of art according to the theme of the book. Themes include art that depicts children, art that depicts animals, American Indian art. . . and the list could go on. While this is not a "hands-on" curriculum, it is something that is short, and doable on a busy afternoon. Each piece of artwork is shown with a list of questions designed to get the child talking about the artwork.

Getting To Know the World's Greatest Artists

Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists is a series that focuses on one individual artist at the time. Written in an engaging and interesting way, these are great additions to your homeschool library.

Resources Online

There are a variety of resources online that you can use with your kids or to learn more yourself.

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Art History for Homeschoolers