Christian Heritage Art Program

Book cover: 'Christian Heritage Art Program'
Sr. Marie Vianney Hamilton, O.P.
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When my friend came back from a Catholic homeschooling conference she was excited to present this set of DVDs to me, since I teach art at our local co-op. I shared in her excitement even before previewing it: a complete elementary school art curriculum, written by a Nashville Dominican sister? Wow.

The Christian Heritage Art Program, as far as this reviewer knows, is the only complete elementary school art program available that teaches art from a Catholic perspective. It is a set of 8 DVDs, one for each grade, all following the same set of six lessons: Prehistoric, Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, 17th and 18th centuries, and Modern.

A very professional couple of narrators takes viewers into the world of art history and art appreciation. This is the strong point of this curriculum: the narration is pleasant and the presentation excellent, and religion elements are often brought up, as opposed to secular programs. As every lesson depicts many beautiful, famous works of art, this program could be used simply for art history and appreciation and would still be worth owning!

A teacher manual CD offers step-by-step directions, extra lecture and discussion content for each lesson, and include lists of materials, tips on class preparation and enrichment.

Eight DVDs for grades 1-8 and one instruction CD, able to be purchased separately or as a set.

Catholic Heritage Curricula is the only Catholic catalog offering this program at this time as far as I know. I quote from their site:

It is different. The Christian Heritage Art Program is the only art curriculum which integrates art appreciation, art activities, and Christian culture. The author does not hesitate to credit a French abbot with promoting the preservation of the prehistoric art of the Lascaux Caves, discussing the importance of Medieval Madonnas, or telling of Henri Matisse's great pride in the windows he designed for a chapel in Vence, France.

Although the set is in DVD format, it is important to note that the frames are all still. Also, the samples of student work are not very attractive in most cases. I chose, many times, to stop the DVD after the narration was over and tell students myself about the project in question. These were sometimes similar, sometimes very different from the ones suggested in the DVDs.

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