SmartHistory – Is the Collosseum a giant kitty litter box?

February 13, 2012

Have you ever thought of the Collosseum being compared to a giant kitty litter box?

Well, that’s just what one of the SmartHistory historians does as she explains how the sandy arena in the Collosseum worked in Roman times:

“…imagine the colloseum as a gigantic donut.  You have the inside, that’s the arena.  Arena, originally in latin meant sand.  On the floor where gladiators were fighting, they used sand to absorb blood and body fluids, you know like a gigantic cat litter, if you think about it.”

A bit gory, I know, but right up the alley of my Percy Jackson-loving boys.

SmARTHistory (now merged with one of our favorites: KhanAcademy) really gets students engaged in learning art history.

One thing I really enjoyed is how the site gets historians together and has them talking excitedly about their favorite areas of expertise, with videos, rotating models, images, etc., to demonstrate their points.

Some great parts of the SmartHistory website:

  • A rich, multimedia, art history course offered for free.
  • Learn by Artist – Like this page on Leonardo Da Vinci
  • Also study by ‘Time Period‘ or a specific ‘Style‘ of art.
  • Many themed articles about art history from the Introduction to Art History, to overviews of time periods, and explanations of art media.
  • Great unit-study resource.
  • Much of the content offered as free SmartHistory Podcasts you can take with you, listen on the road, or even while you’re in a museum looking at the artwork itself.
  • They are publishing some nice travel apps like Rome: A First Look ($2.99) and Rome: A Closer Look ($4.99) that will walk you through Rome’s historical sites as you travel and visit them.

How do you teach art in your homeschool day?  I’d love to hear ideas and suggestions.  Take a moment to make a comment, if you would.


Posted under Art Websites

KinderArt and More Thanksgiving Fun!

November 27, 2008

Check out Kinder Art, which has one of the largest collections of FREE art lessons on the internet!  This mother-daughter team love art and have spent the last 10 years developing this awesome resource to share with all of us. 

The site has art lessons, crafts, teaching kits, printables, preschool art, holiday activities, and much more. For a sample, check out this whole page of fun Thanksgiving Art Activities:

Here are a few of them:

Other great pages on the site:

  • Kinder Littles – a whole section devoted to early childhood art education.
  • Drawing – Do you know someone who thinks he or she can’t draw?  Start here and enjoy!
  • Printables – Find lots of coloring pages and printable activities here.

Enjoy exploring Kinder Art’s website.  I sure have.

Posted under Art Websites

Can Art Skills Be Taught? Try “Learn to Draw with Billy Bear”

November 20, 2008

Of course they can be taught.  Still, how many time have you heard kids and adults say, “I’m not an artist,” or “I can’t draw.” 

(And for the grammar teachers out there, where does the “?” go in the previous sentence?)

Well, I think much of artistic ability is a learned skill, like anything else.  I can at least progress past the boxy stick figures of my childhood, even if I’ll never be a Michelangelo.

Here’s a really fun starter website for the kids:  Learn to Draw with Billy Bear.

There are drawing sheets and step-by-step drawing lessons for lots of kid friendly characters.  And the drawing lessons even include instructions to draw the images in popular paint computer programs for the kids who want to dip their toes into beginning computer graphics.

Try a lesson on drawing cartoon faces, one on how to draw eyes using Paint Shop Pro, or the weekly Grid Art showcasing a black and white drawing with an overlying grid to help the novice artists.

The pros?  It’s full of resources that are once again, free 🙂  Enjoy! 

The cons?  The site is a bit advertising heavy with pop-ups (my browser is set to block those, so I don’t notice so much.

Do you have some favorite art and drawing sites?  Please share in the comment section.  Thanks!

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Posted under Art Websites