Picturing America

Course Instructions: 

We are very excited that you are interested in our semester long Picturing America Course.  It is our goal that by completing the work in this course, students will have a strong working knowledge of great American art, and more importantly, how to look at art in general as a Christian. 
There is so much we can learn from this collection of art put together by the National Endowment for the Humanities.  This set of 40 works of art encompasses everything from the early missionary settlements in America to the Revolutionary War.  It speaks of the bloody turmoil of the Civil War, of the peace afterwards, of American ingenuity and industry, of victory in a world war, of the Great Depression, and the fight for civil rights.  From the simple, blue collar beauty of a Norman Rockwell painting to the bright, vivid colors of a Tiffany window pane, this collection of art is America, and this course is designed to teach students and teachers alike how to see the beauty of God’s creation in every work of art.  We also hope that this course will teach students how to view art objectively, and how to use their faith to determine what is truth and what is not, all while recognizing that God is Lord of all, and that every piece of art, whether through design or accident, speaks of His majesty.
Suggested Credits per semester:  1—the schedule below is designed to be completed in one semester, but the teacher can adjust assignments to fit the needs of the students.  The Edsitement lessons can be found on www.picturingamerica.neh.gov , by clicking on the image you are interested in and looking at the additional resources.

You can read more about the three men involved in the Picturing America DVD hereBefore begining the course, please read this letter from Dr. Joshua Drake, Assistant Professor at Grove City College, encouraging the students in their  studies.

Teaching Schedule

Each lesson is designed to be completed in one week; however, parents may wish to take longer to complete each lesson.  We recommend that parents have their children use the following schedule for completing each of the eleven lessons:

  • Read Inspiration and Artist Bio
  • Complete one Edsitement lesson
  • Write one essay per image
  • Suggested Reading

Suggested hours: This estimate is high; many students will be able to complete the material much faster:

  • Reading: 1-2 hours
  • Edsitement Lesson: 1-2 hours
  • Write 3-7 page essay: approximately 8 hours
Total/week: 13-14 hrs
Total/semester: 210 hrs

Essay assignments

Write one 1-3 page essay per image
Note: This schedule is designed for high school students, but the material can also be used by younger learners.  We recommend that parents of middle school students cut the material in half, allowing two weeks for each lesson.   
Suggested Course Instructions:  
1. It may be a good idea to make notes as you read and examine the images  
2. Complete essay assignments as directed by instructor.  
Software Requirements: Most of our courses require Adobe Reader to open PDF files. You can download the latest version for free by clicking here. Also, since most files open in a new window, you may need to disable your pop-up blocker for www.generationjoshua.org.
Completion Certificates are available for each course. Please email generationjoshua@hslda.org to request one after completing a course.


Art © Estate of Grant Wood/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Course Stats

Total Lessons: 11  

Lesson 1: Images 1a and 1b 2 pages

Lesson 2: Images 2a-3a 3 pages

Lesson 3: Images 3b-4b 3 pages

Lesson 4: Images 5a-6b 4 pages

Lesson 5: Images 7a-8b 4 pages

Lesson 6: Images 9a-10b 4 pages

Lesson 7: Images 11a-12b 4 pages

Lesson 8: Images 13a-14b 4 pages

Lesson 9: Images 15a-16b 4 pages

Lesson 10: Images 17a-18b 4 pages

Lesson 11: Images 19a-20b 4 pages