Teaching Art Appreciation without a Curriculum

If you’re like me and have never considered yourself to be terribly artsy, the thought of teaching art appreciation seems downright intimidating.  It’s tempting to think the most logical choices seem to be to outsource art appreciation and leave it to the professionals or spend tons of money and time on a comprehensive curriculum.  The good news is that there’s another option: teaching art appreciation without a curriculum.

Teaching Art Appreciation without a Curriculum

(This post contains affiliate links; see disclosure for details.)

The key to teaching art appreciation without a curriculum comes down to rounding up the right resources.  With those resources, even not-so artsy homeschool parents like myself can easily incorporate an art appreciation into the homeschool lesson plans.

Rounding up resources for art appreciation sounds like a huge hassle, right? No worries, I’ve done the work for you!  The resources below are all you need for teaching art appreciation without a curriculum:

Teaching Art Appreciation
without Curriculum

Books are great for teaching art appreciation without a formal curriculum.  In fact, the right books can completely eliminate the need for art appreciation curriculum altogether.  We found this to be true when we used Mike Venezia’s Getting to Know the World’s Famous Artists series as the spine of our first art appreciation experience.

I went through the series book by book with my son when we was younger and we found this to be a great foundation for art appreciation.  We spent a week or two in each book meeting a new famous artist and finished our time with him recreating masterpieces from the artist.

Now that he’s older, we could add notebooking pages, biographies about the artists, historical relevance, and other dimensions to the study where appropriate.  Just like our first art appreciation study, the books could easily serve as our foundation, allowing us to add the other elements as desired.  Regardless of how in depth you’re looking to go, books are the perfect starting point for teaching art appreciation.

Other Books That Teach Art Appreciation

Art Appreciation Around the Web

I love using books to introduce my kids to art, but they aren’t the only place I turn for teaching art appreciation.  These sites make it easy to teach art appreciation without a curriculum:

Art Appreciation in Person

A field trip to an art museum is great for bringing art to life and teaching art appreciation without a curriculum.  I realize a field trip like that has potential to be stressful.  Let’s face it: priceless works of art and energetic little humans don’t usually mix well.  

Thankfully, my kiddos love a trip to an art museum and these trips are nothing but fun for us.  Our favorite museum even has a fantastic kids area that encourages hands-on art exploration, art-themed scavenger hunts in the museum, and monthly family days.

Teaching Art Appreciation without a Curriculum

The key to teaching art appreciation in person is looking for museums or venues that advertise kid-friendly activities and family-oriented programs.  If you stick to these kinds of places, you’re more likely to enjoy your trip more and stress less as you explore the art around you.

Hands-on Art Appreciation

Another way to teach art appreciation in your homeschool is to give your kids hands-on art opportunities.  This part might seem tough to pull off if you’re not artsy, but don’t fear!  It can still be easy and fun for you and your kids.  Several of the books and websites mentioned above have fantastic suggestions for recreating famous pieces of art for kids of all ages.

Teaching Art Appreciation without a Curriculum

Not interested in buying a plethora of art supplies and or searching for the most manageable project idea? Stick with easy art ideas like this Jackson Pollock-inspired painting and others from the Masterpiece Society blog.

Hands-on art appreciation doesn’t have to end with creating art.  Spot the Difference books, card games, and puzzles are also good hands-on art appreciation activities.

What to Watch

TV shows and movies can be a great resource for teaching art appreciation at home, but it can be tough to find the right things to watch.  For whatever reason, I’ve found that there’s considerably more viewing options available for younger children.  Here are some of our favorites that encourage a love for art from an early age.

Artist Study Printable Pack
*Free Download*

Lastly, you’ll need a place to document all of this artist study. That’s where these Artist Study Pages come into the picture. You can use them to help with your reading, watching, art gallery visits, or however you wish.

You can find them in the Subscriber Resource Library if you’re an email friend. If you’re not an email subscriber, you can get yours by subscribing through the button below. Enjoy! :)

Get Your Artist Study Pages!

Sign up here to become an email subscriber, receive your Artist Study Pages, and to have full access to the Subscriber Resource Library. (View my privacy policy here.)

Free Download: Artist Study Printable Pack (How to Teach Art Appreciation Without a Curriculum)

Have you tried teaching art appreciation without a curriculum? If so, I’d love for you to share your favorite tips and resources in the comments!

4 thoughts on “Teaching Art Appreciation without a Curriculum”

  1. I truly believe that a set and purchased curriculum isn’t always necessary! These resources are helpful, thank you! This might sound strange, but I’ve found Wikipedia to be a good source for art appreciation. I look up the individual titles of paintings, and can get so much background information that I might have otherwise missed!

    1. That’s a great tip, Leah. You’re right about Wikipedia. It’s usually a solid resource for art appreciation! :)

  2. Those Master Kits look great! Have you used them?

    We have the Spot The Difference books, but we haven’t gotten into them yet.

    My favorite art resource is Home Art Studio DVDs. We reviewed the second grade one a couple years back, and we’re going to end up buying the rest of the series one at a time. They’re that good. We’ve also enjoyed ARTistic Pursuits.

    1. We haven’t yet; I came across them a few weeks after we finished our artists focus for the year. I noticed they get great reviews so I included them anyway. I’m planning to check them out in the coming months though!

Comments are closed.