ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Build Your Own Homeschool Art Curriculum

Updated on January 6, 2013

Drawing With Children, The Story of Painting, Monet and The Impressionists....Plus Two More

I love art appreciation and helping other families get started with art appreciation. I spend lots of time reading art books and viewing websites that feature art and I have built up a whole library of great resources over the years. I am often asked what my favorite picks are for staring an art resource library because it can be confusing and most of us don't have a fortune to invest on all the great stuff out there to chose from.

Building a shelf of books that will last you throughout your homeschooling years is tricky but if you plan right and budget a little each year you will soon have a library of books to pull from for your children.

Looking for books to view great art? Trying to narrow down the art appreciation choices to a select few? Read on....

You could build an entire art curriculum from just these five books!

#1 The Usborne Art Treasury - Perfect Start to Art Appreciation

This book is an overview of art history aimed at younger children but can be used with children up through middle school if you want to offer exposure to major artists and their paintings. The twenty-two artists included are familiar names to most of us and included in the book are large images of famous works of art that are child appropriate. Each artist has a short biography with interesting facts and then a follow-up activity with common art materials you probably have on hand.

The Usborne Art Treasury
The Usborne Art Treasury
This hardcover book will be a great start for your family to learn a little about some famous artists and then have a way to make a piece of artwork using their own creativity, inspired by the artist. Any parent can pick this book up and feel confident that they can help teach art appreciation to their own children. You can see how I incorporate this book into my Harmony Fine Arts Grade One curriculum in this blog entry on Edgar Degas.
Usborne Art Treasury Degas Project
Usborne Art Treasury Degas Project

Art Projects for Every Artist in the Usborne Art Treasury

The follow up projects in this book are easy to complete even if you are beginner artists. The instructions are easy to follow and the materials are inexpensive and you probably have many of them on hand.

You can view the artwork in the book, read the biography, and then offer the project to your children.

#2 Art Masterpieces to Color - Sixty Paintings to Color for Art Appreciation

This is a staple of our art appreciation program and it is the perfect coloring book to go along with any art plans you are using with your children. It matches up with the Usborne Art Treasury with blackline drawings of famous artwork. We use colored pencils, thin markers, or watercolors with our Art Masterpieces coloring book.

Art Masterpieces to Color: 60 Great Paintings from Botticelli to Picasso (Dover Art Coloring Book)
Art Masterpieces to Color: 60 Great Paintings from Botticelli to Picasso (Dover Art Coloring Book)
The pages are printed on one side and blank on the other so you do not need to worry about your markers bleeding through. With sixty pages, this coloring book will last a long time and gives great value for your money. To learn more about how we use coloring books in your art appreciation, you can read my Dover Coloring Book page. If you would like to view the table of contents, you can click HERE. This coloring book is also used in my Harmony Fine Arts Grade One art plans.
Monet Sunflowers with colored pencils
Monet Sunflowers with colored pencils

Coloring Pages to Use With a Variety of Art Supplies

This coloring book can be used with colored pencils, crayons, watercolor pencils, watercolors (if you remove the pages from the book), or markers. My children like to use these pages as a follow up to an artist study and they then may later wish to draw the painting out for themselves to paint. I think of the coloring books as stepping stones to doing their own copies of artwork.

You can read more about how we use Dover Coloring Books in our family on my Squidoo lens Dover Coloring Books.

Millet copy with oil pastels
Millet copy with oil pastels

Copying Art is Part of Learning About Art

Mona Brookes - From Drawing With Children

"We need to stop mystifying the drawing process and explain to students how artists actually achieve the results they do. For instance, Picasso and Michelangelo both copied other artists' work for at least two years as part of their initial art training. When Picasso began to express himself in what were considered "unique" styles he was actually copying many of his images from African masks. Painters such as Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec worked from photographs of their subjects, and many famous painters have used each other's paintings for inspiration."

Drawing with Children by Mona Brookes,

page 11 in the section, Changing Your Attitudes and Abilities

You can read more about this idea of copying art as part of your art appreciation in my blog entry Drawing With Children - Think Of It As Copywork

#3 Drawing With Children - Help for The Parent in Teaching How To Draw

Learning to draw is a process like learning a new language or playing an instrument. It progresses in spurts and you never know how it happens. Offering a program like Drawing With Children helped me to learn how to help my kids with their drawing skills. In the process, I found that sketching is a relaxing hobby and try to fit it in every week. I know that many of us grew up thinking that we had no talent in art but if you can spare a few minutes a may surprise yourself. Helping them learn to draw is a gift that you can give your child that will last a life time..

Drawing With Children: A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too
Drawing With Children: A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too
Something most people don't realize is that this book really is for the parent and not for the child. It helps the parent learn how to set up an environment that promotes creativity in their children and then step-by-step how to help your child learn to see shapes and elements in everyday objects. I found it inspiring as an adult and this book is really what started my journey into offering art within our family and then helping other children as well. Drawing With Children sparks something that you forgot you had inside....the artist living deep within each of us I have written thorough lesson plans to go along with this book and also shown exactly how to use each of the art supplies introduced in this book here on my Squidoo page Drawing With Children Nature Journal Style with Printable Lesson Plans. This book is also a part of my Harmony Fine Arts Grade 4 plans. If you would like to see some sketches from our work with this book, you can click over to my blog entry, Drawing With Children-At What Age?

#4 Monet and the Impressionists

For many of us the Impressionists are some of our favorite artists and they are very appealing to children of all ages as well. This book has it all with biographies and information about the Impressionist time period of art. There are suggested follow-up activities for each artist covered in the book. The materials used are common items you will have on hand. The biographies are a little more in-depth and would be more appropriate for middle schoolers to read or for the parent to read aloud.

Monet and the Impressionists for Kids: Their Lives and Ideas, 21 Activities (6) (For Kids series)
Monet and the Impressionists for Kids: Their Lives and Ideas, 21 Activities (6) (For Kids series)
Monet, Renoir, Degas, Cassatt, Cezanne, Gauguin, and Seurat are all featured in this book. There is also a helpful timeline, large prints to view in color, a glossary of art terms, and a list of where to find and view the artwork featured in this book. Couple this book with the Art Masterpieces to Color book and you have a complete art program for the Impressionists. I would not hesitate to use this book with younger children to view the paintings or with older children as a jumping off spot for a more thorough study of the Impressionist time period.

#5 The Story of Painting by Sister Wendy

Once you hit high school, our children are ready for a more in-depth study of the artists they have become familiar with during the proceeding years. They are ready to put the artists together by time period and art periods. They are ready for more mature themes in art. The Story of Painting is the best choice in my opinion because of the large colored images and also nice close-ups of the details in some paintings.

If you click over to you can look inside the book and get an idea of the quality of this book.

I suggest planning on purchasing this book during the middle school years, using it to supplement your artist study and online viewing. We have used our copy of this book since 5th grade and my boys still use it just about every week as part of their art appreciation study.

Sister Wendy's Story of Painting (Enhanced and Expanded Edition)
Sister Wendy's Story of Painting (Enhanced and Expanded Edition)
This large book gives you a overview of European art and with Sister Wendy's unique voice you will learn from her enthusiasm and spark. In our family we have taken over four years to work our way through this huge hardcover book. The paper quality is excellent and can stand up to years of page turning. This book has more colored illustrations and covers more ground than any other book that we have found at a reasonable price. Of course there are a few artists missing from the book but it does cover the major art time periods with lots of examples. Art of the Ancient World Gothic Painting Italian Renaissance Northern Renaissance Baroque and Rococo Neoclassicism and Romanticism The Age of Impressionism Post-Impressionism The Twentieth Century The Story of Painting is the basis for my art appreciation plans for Harmony Fine Arts Grades 9-12.

If you have another pick for a review, please leave a comment.

I would love to hear your comments.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Blackspaniel1 profile image


      9 years ago

      Nice lens

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      These are excellent choices. I think the coloring books from the masters are awesome. Kids get great exposure and are fun to color for themselves. Wish I had these when I was growing up.

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 

      10 years ago from UK

      well chosen collection of books, I know the Dover Books via their free on-line newlsletter which always offers example pages from their books. I have a copy of the one by Sister Wendy and have found it very, very good. The others seem to complement the subject well. NIce lens

    • LabKittyDesign profile image


      10 years ago

      Don't have a specific book recommendation per se, rather just a note that most art museums offer a guidebook (in the gift shop) that specifically covers their collection. We've found these are usually quite reasonably-priced, and make any visit to the museum much more rewarding - in many cases being better than a general art textbook because they focus on works that you are sure to see.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 

      10 years ago from UK

      It's never too early to learn about art, in fact it's great to learn young as children haven't yet developed inhibitions or fixed ideas about what art has to look like in order to be of value. Actually, I wouldn't mind a couple of these books for myself! Great recommendations and a valuable topic -- thanks!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Art is an important part of a child's education.

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Quick 

      10 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      Great list, Barb. I think that one could devise an entire art curriculum with these five books plus some online resources (art prints).


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)