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Historical Snapshots
Volume 115, Program 24
3/21/2013
Originally aired on 9/23/2004
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How can I give my students a better feel for the daily lives of Americans in the 19th century? Join host Mike Farris as he discusses one possibility on today’s Home School Heartbeat.


Explore art history with the Drawing on History high school curriculum! Order a copy at the link below.
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Mike Farris:
Have you considered using art to help strengthen your study of American history? If so, you’ll want to join us today as we look at one of America’s most celebrated artists, Winslow Homer. He began his career as an illustrator for Harper’s Weekly, crafting sketches of soldiers in the battles and camps of the Civil War. But once the war ended he focused more on painting the daily life of rural Americans, capturing images of people going about their work and play.

Well-documented American values of hard work and industry jump off the canvas in Homer’s depiction of women working in the fields in The Cotton Pickers and carrying the nets in The Fisher Girl or preparing to milk in The Milkmaid. Young boys play with their model boats in the foreground of The Boat Builders, mimicking the industry of their elders, whose ingenuity is captured in the background as a sailing vessel skims across the waves.

Homer’s paintings were a breath of fresh air after the ravages of war. His very famous painting, Breezing Up, transports you into a world of salt spray and exuberance. And in Snap the Whip, he catches schoolboys roughhousing in a rowdy game. Life is good again.

American ideals of robust work and energetic play come forth with vitality in Winslow Homer’s paintings. Studying his work will help your student capture the spirit of renewal that epitomized this time of our nation’s history. I’m Mike Farris.


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Teaching History with Art

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Home School Legal Defense Association

Looking for ways to incorporate art into your history curriculum? Our resource sheet lists a variety of helpful publications, from art prints to curriculum options. Request your free copy today.

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