We are using the Annotated Mona Lisa as a textbook for this class, and we began with Prehistoric Art. In an attempt to make this class not just lecture (and I'm glad I decided on this because it would be really hard to lecture every day to ONE student), we are incorporating a historical art project every few cultures. As part of the project requirements, my student can create whatever she wants, as long as she displays the characteristics of that culture AND uses an artistic technique by the culture, such as making her own brushes and paints, or using a paint technique or a material specific to that culture.
We started with prehistoric art, of course, and when we got to the project, she decided (and I thought it was a GREAT idea) to make a diorama for each culture! So, as we progress through the year, she will have a pretty awesome, 3-D timeline made! Along with each project, I ask her to write a two page essay that discusses her project in terms of the techniques and materials she used, how those might reflect the ancient culture, and how her project and decisions as a whole represents that culture. In a college art history class, you usually have to write some sort of term paper, usually 10 pages minimum (at least I had to!). The cooperating professor approved my plan of multiple 2 page essays, and as we progress through the year, I will teach her how to properly cite using the Chicago format of footnotes/end notes.
My current student taking the class is a senior and is potentially going to college for art, whether she majors or minors in it. She loves writing, so I've sort of tailored this class with her in mind. Here is her first completed project and her first short essay, written completely by her without an edits from me: