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Art History: Indigenous Americas

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Art History – Indigenous Americas

This class is part of the full year Art History series.
You do not have to take the classes in this series in any specific order, but it is recommended that students at least take the Intro to Art course before beginning the Art History series.

Other classes in this series include:
Art History: Ancient Civilizations
Art History: Middle Ages
Art History: Renaissance Masters

Art History of the Indigenous American Peoples is a focused course in the Next Level Homeschool Art History Series. This course will act as an introductory course into the art and architecture of the first civilizations of the Americas. This course will teach students how to identify the trademarks of the art of early American cultures, interpret those works of art using art historical methods of observation, comparison, and inductive reasoning, and then relate those aspects to their distinct cultural, economic, and political contexts. Even though historians and archaeologists are still continuously uncovering new information about ancient indigenous American history, we can study these works of early art and architecture of these civilizations to help us understand the cultures that laid the foundations for American human history.

This four week class will begin with the first civilizations of the Americas—ancient Mesoamerica. Then we will spend a full week studying the great Maya and Aztec civilizations before moving on to South America and the Central Andes, including the Inca Empire. We will wrap up the class with an exploration into the indigenous tribes and very early civilizations of North America.

This class serves as a base for students to build future explorations into western, as well as more modern civilizations’ artistic practices and styles. Students will gain a better understanding for how to discuss art through the perspective of an art historian.

No live classesview lessons on YOUR schedule. In general, expect 1.5-2.5 hours to work through the lesson plan each week, and an additional 2-5 hours working on assignments (it really depends what assignment your child chooses to do and how they manage their time). For classes with two levels, the material is the same for boththe depth of the assignments differs. Younger students should usually be placed in Level 1. Older students, or younger students who want more of a challenge, should be placed in Level 2.

Each lesson consists of a fully narrated PowerPoint presentation with images and videos to enhance the topics. Students will have access to our learning management system, Canvas, for viewing their lesson, printing worksheets, taking quizzes, viewing/submitting assignments, participating in discussions, and viewing grades/feedback. Read more details about class format.

Week 1: Rise of Indigenous American Civilization
This week will introduce the earliest known civilizations of the Americas. We will examine the art and architecture of peoples like the Olmec and Teotihuacan of Mesoamerica to better understand the cultures that laid the foundations for early life in the Americas.

Week 2: The Maya & The Aztec
We will explore how the grand Mayan civilization, with its hundreds of kingdoms, holds a unique visual identity in their art and architecture. We study the cities of Tikal and Palenque, and study the art and architecture commissioned under rulers such as Pakal the Great. Mayans developed their cities as works of art, and so we will study their artistic culture in order to better understand the historical significance of this once flourishing civilization.

Week 3: South America
In the third week of the class we will focus on South America, primarily the Central Andes, including present day Peru. Prior to European invasion, South America was the home to many highly developed civilizations. We will explore early civilizations, including the Paracas and Nazca cultures, and we will make our way to studying the Inca Empire, which was the dominant civilization at the time of Spanish conquest.

Week 4: North America
In the final week of the class we will focus on the art and artistic cultures of various indigenous tribes around early North America. We will start in the east and will move west as we discuss different periods classified by art historians based on the specific styles of art and architecture that were popular in certain regions at certain times. Finally, we will explore the art, architecture, and artistic cultures of the American Southwest.

Next Level Homeschool is a firm believer that not all learning should happen from behind a screen! That's why we give students the freedom to submit their assignments in the way THEY want to! We don't want regurgitation learning here. By allowing students to use their own talents, skills, and passions to complete assignments, they become even more engaged and retain the information. Why? Because now it's literally in their hands! We receive thousands of projects every year from our students: written reports, videos, models, posters, Scratch, Minecraft, Roblox, songs, poems, skits, drawings, sculptures, craftswe've seen it ALL! And WE LOVE IT!!

Click here to view just a few projects we've received from students who have taken this class and see what YOUR kid could be learning with Next Level Homeschool!

Course Features

  • Schedule Nov 7 - Dec 12
  • Activities History
  • Lessons 4
  • Suggested Ages 10-17 One Level