September 25, 2019

Art History Comes Alive with HiGASFY! {Curriculum Review}

HiGASFY~ An Art History Video Series {Curriculum Review}I love art. I love history. I don't necessarily love art history. We have found that most art history is either too teacher dependent, or it's rather boring. We've tried a variety of programs and books. Some of the top named curriculums. Yet we've never "loved" it enough to keep doing it. Enter the HiGASFY Art History Video Series and their online art history lessons and curriculum bundles. For the last several weeks, we've been reviewing a 3-month subscription to the HiGASFY Art History Video Series and the boys are eager to share their thoughts on the new (to us) program.

About The Product

HiGASFY is an art history program with a “real” teacher via video lessons, hands-on activities, and much more that is designed to introduce students to the world of art history. The teacher (Mrs. Beth) and her assistant (a drop of paint named Gasfy), help the students explore the world of art through personable and interesting lectures that are shared like stories--hence the name "Have I Got A Story For You!".

Mrs. Beth (the teacher) introduces the topics for the day beginning with a review from previous videos. She will recap new vocabulary words, and touch on several of the critical thinking topics. She shows photos of her own, work of her own, and more in the course of teaching if applicable.

Writing right to left like one of the artists
She always shows the artwork of the artists or era being discussed
The background of her studio always features artwork by the current artist or period. There is also always a picture of the artist in the frame of the videos. This changes with each artist and series.
Mrs. Beth interacts with her little drop of paint Gasfy throughout the lesson

Gasfy is her little friend--an animated drop of paint who sits in on the lessons with Mrs. Beth. He asks questions (usually those that a student would also have) about the lessons or artists. And helps keeps the lecture fun and flowing.
Each series/semester consists of 16 lessons, of which 12 have a corresponding video that runs 20-30 minutes each. Once the video is over, the educator can use coordinating lesson plans to provide additional activities to enhance the retention of the student. Some of these are critical thinking questions. Other activities include a study in other curricula like geography, history, writing, vocabulary, science, and biblical study. Every lesson also includes an art-related assignment of some sort relating to the lesson being taught.

There are currently four series/semesters available through HiGASFY: Baroque, Renaissance, Impressionist, and Post-Impressionist. It is possible to have a year’s worth of art history if you complete two series per year (each one is 16 lessons). This provides one lesson per week of material to explore.

Each semester focuses on three artists as well as the time period itself.

Our family reviewed this program for a 9-year-old and a 13-year-old.

Our Thoughts on the Program

Making their Portfolio
First off, this was one of the most open-and-go art curriculums ever. The lessons were laid out clearly in the downloadable guide/lesson plans. There are notes for the educator with each lesson, as well as overall objectives. There are activities of various styles available to go with the lessons with notes regarding supplies. There are additional activities for older students that incorporate writing activities. Each set of lesson plans is designed to be a buffet for the teacher to best reach the learning styles for the students.

After I examined the lesson plans, I knew that we were always going to do at least one of the hands-on art activities. I also would review the vocabulary words and we would discuss the critical thinking questions. I chose to NOT do all the 13-year-old—like the writing ones for our review period.

One of my most favorite artist’s is Monet, so I made sure that we spent our time reviewing the Impressionist Period series. There are 16 lessons (weeks) of work in the series. Of the 16 9-year-old, there are 12 video lessons, an introduction lesson, a couple free draw days and a final review day.

Because they were easily available, I went ahead and printed the first 7 lessons from the series for my reference. I put them into a binder for reference and highlighted the activities that I knew I wanted to do.
The printable lesson guide I operated from

If this was a regular curriculum purchase, I could simply log into the website and access my online videos, but because of the special circumstances for our 3-month review, we were given just a list with all the video links we needed for our series. They are clearly labeled, so after we set up our portfolios according to lesson one, we started with Lesson 2 (episode 1) and our first video lesson.

Over the 6 weeks we’ve completed, we’ve learned a lot about the Impressionist era and were able to complete the study on Claude Monet. The boys can talk about” The Studio” and what types of artwork was approved and why. Additionally, they can tell you a little about how Monet got started and what led him to the style he enjoyed painting so much. They can identify his artwork and tell you about some of the things he painted the most and his favorite aspect he liked to capture in his painting. They tried their hand at caricature and copying Monet’s Impression: Sunrise painting, as well as trying their hand at capturing the same scene in different seasons.
Caricature of Papaw

Caricature of Mommy

Finger Painting an Impression of Monet's work with minimal colors

Mixing Paint colors was his favorite

Of course, I did my own. :)
Watercolor capture of the same tree two seasons

Watercolor photo of one tree in two seasons

I did the same cluster of trees for four seasons.
These lessons are geared for grades 1-8, so my boys are in the ideal range for the studies and that was made obvious by how much they eagerly asked to do the lessons. BOTH boys have declared that Mrs. Beth and Gasfy are their favorite art teachers ever. We never had a single complaint about art throughout this review. They both have asked that we finish out our series on Impressionism, even though our review is over.

The reasons they gave me for enjoying the curriculum include that it was interesting, fun, silly, had a not-boring teacher, and cool stories. They really liked the addition of Gasfy—especially my 9-year-old. It was possible to just let them watch the videos are work on everything alone, but I love art too! I found the program to be just as engaging myself and I learned a lot too.
Here are the projects we worked on…

As we were walking home one day from my inlaws farm, my youngest son noticed how the sunset was coming down over the pasture. He told me that he thought Monet would probably like to paint it because it was all misty foggy, reflecting the sun, and changing colors. That it would be fun to mix up colors and paint our “impressions” of the scene just like Monet. I managed to capture the idea on my phone---it doesn’t do it justice, but if you have ever studied Monet, you can see why my son thought that.

Because we focused on the Impressionist series, I peaked at a couple of the other series. They are all done identically to this one. They are given real works to look at, given photos of the artists for recognition, and have stories and displays. Mrs. Beth and Gasfy are always working together to teach about art history. At the end of each series, there is a "quiz" of sorts where you show them the artwork they learned about in the series and have to name the piece and the artist. There are cards that you can print (and laminate!) for review. This is part of the curriculum bundle that you receive with your purchase.
a Pdf of the cards for printing
I think it would be a nice option to have these cards available for purchase PRE-printed. This is because they are all large and full color which puts a strain on home printing. If I print these off, I think I will send them off and pay for someone else to print them for me. Then all I have to do is cut them and laminate them.

There is additionally a powerpoint "name that artist", yet my computer couldn't open it and said it was "corrupted". I will contact the company about that because it would be a great resource to use at the end of the series as designed.

I highly recommend this program and love that it can be accessed multiple ways—there is a DVD version, a flash drive version, and an online subscription version (including a homeschooling/individual version!). Three ways for you to decide the best option (and pricing!). I will definitely be sending friends to this program if they want to explore art history engagingly with their students!

Want to Know More?

For the last several weeks, we have been reviewing a three-month subscription of one of the art history video series from HiGASFY Art History Video Series. You have seen that our family gives this program three thumbs up--but I encourage you to visit other crew members to see what they explored!
Have I Got A Story For You Art History Video Series {HiGASFY Art History Video Series Reviews}


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