As we approached high school, I needed to find courses that would resonate with my creative daughter who loves both history and art. I had looked at The Master and His Apprentices for some time and chose it for our art history curriculum.
Caroline and I were both very happy with this choice. Although it is a course that can be used in high school or college, I took a chance that she would be able to handle it as a freshman because I knew she would be very interested in the topic. We had done almost no textbook work to that point, but I did want her to learn how to do such things if she was interested in college in the future. She definitely found the first few chapters challenging. But once we personalized a strategy for our situation, she moved forward with little difficulty after that. Caroline still pulls the book off the shelf for reference and often connects things we are currently studying to things we learned in this Art History.
So let’s take a look at some of the features and a few ways that it worked for us.
The Master and His Apprentices
First, it is Art History from a Christian Perspective. As the author, Gina Ferguson, writes on her website:
The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective textbook contains 600+ images across nearly 400 pages. Covering art history from Creation to today, this award-winning course brings art and history to life in a memorable visual context.
The Master and His Apprentices is designed for parents to easily and effectively teach a high school-level homeschool art history class.
The Master and His Apprentices is a FULL CREDIT elective written from a Christian perspective. Even with 600+ images, there is NO nudity.
This homeschool art history class systematically highlights art from the first day of Creation. Yes, it features GOD as the first and preeminent artist. Moreover, it covers all of the major artists and periods found in a college-level course. Nevertheless, it contains a reader-friendly layout that makes the information accessible and memorable.
If you’ve never considered Art History for your homeschool, the author has four strong reasons you should add it to your child’s experience: Why is Art History Important for Christians?
Homeschool Art History
I especially appreciated the fact that the first two chapters of the book set the tone for thinking about art from a Christian perspective. Chapter 1 focuses on God as the Master artist. This includes discussions about art in the Bible and tying art into the Biblical timeline. The second chapter highlights each day of creation and what the Master creator did each day.
The rest of the book looks at various time periods. The main sections include:
- Ancient Cultures
- Classical Antiquity
- Middle Ages
- Baroque Era & Beyond
These sections include the following topics:
- Ancient Near East
- Early Greek
- Early Christian & Byzantine
- Medieval & Islamic
- Early Italian Renaissance
- High Italian Renaissance
- Northern Renaissance
- Rococo to Today
- Global Highlights
There were things we enjoyed about all of the topics except the Etruscan. Not a favorite! LOL!
Here are a few photos that Caroline took from the hardcover book for this review. She selected a few different sample topics.
After some trial and error, we found it worked best if we completed the opening section of the chapters together. The first few pages often introduced new concepts and were written at a fairly high level. I read them aloud and we discussed them as we went.
The early part of each chapter also includes a timeline.
Caroline then completed the subsequent days featuring a different artist or topic on her own.
Each chapter has a one- or two-sided worksheet that comes in the Softcover Teacher’s Guide.
There are also four exams provided in the Teacher’s Guide. I opted to make them open book exams.
If there is one thing we wish was different it is the layout of the worksheets. They are compact and the lines are small. There is often extra blank space on the back of the sheet that could have been used to provide more room for writing. Caroline adapted, but a more generous layout would make this great curriculum even better.
The student book is available in both hardcover and digital format. I opted to purchase the physical book for a few reasons. One, we use computers and devices a lot already. I strongly preferred Caroline working from a book rather than spending more time on a device. I also thought that it would make a valuable reference book for the rest of our homeschooling time.
You can see more sample pages here on the website: Sample Pages.
The physical book is not cheap. If cost is an issue, there are sometimes dented books available at a substantial discount. Normally I like everything new and pristine, but I purchased a book with a dented cover which you can see here. It made a big difference in being able to afford the curriculum. I am very glad I purchased the hardcover book and would encourage others to do the same.
Overall, I highly recommend The Master and His Apprentices if you are looking for a Christian Art History curriculum for your homeschool. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer it. (A comment below is much more likely to get a response as opposed to an email so that’s why I invite you to leave a comment!)