Topic: Homeschool Product Review
OK, I'm going to be honest with you. Even though I feel confident that God wants us to homeschool, there are still some things that I feel inadequate to teach. Most academic subjects are fine. Either Sarah and I can cover even the advanced subjects because of our strengths. I have always been involved with music, so that's covered. Sports is Sarah's talent, so she deals with that. What's left that neither of us is good at? Art! Don't get me wrong, I love arts and crafts, but it is not something that I am confident in teaching. That's why I was so glad to hear that I was receiving Artistic Pursuits to review.
Artistic Pursuits is a great all around homeschool art program that doesn't just teach art, it teaches about art. I jumped at the chance to get the Junior High Book 1 for John Allen to try out. This was something that we have not delved into with him and I was anxious to see how he took to it. We bought all of the suggested materials and he was on his way. HE LOVES IT. I can't wait to scan some of his drawings in to show you all. They are definitely better than anything that I can do. And, like I said, he is learning about art while he is learning to do art. Let me tell you all about it.
The first part of the book discusses "The Elements of Art", while the second half has to do with "Composition". Artistic Pursuits uses a wonderful five step process in order to teach drawing. For example, Unit One talks about space. Not outer space, but how to use the drawing space that you are given wisely. In order to teach about space, they first talk about what it is. They do this in the "Be Creative" section that always introduces the new art vocabulary and gives you a creative exercise to help you understand the new concept that is going to be learned. For example - when they were learning about space, the creative exercise was to write your name so that it stretched across the page from the left edge to the right edge. You were to do this until you actually were able to judge how big to make the letters. For added fun, there is always a cute cartoon on the very first page that has something to do with the aspect being taught in that lesson.
The second part of the unit shows an actual piece of art and teaches you how the artist creatively used the technique being taught. In the Space Unit, they showed a picture of an elephant "Dal Badal" chasing his attendant (Portrait of the Elephant, Dal Badal, Chasing His Attendent ~ Artist Unknown). They talked about how the creative use of space, where the elephant was positioned on the page, etc., made the picture more appealing. It also teaches how to look at art and appreciate it more. Again, you are given a creative art assignment to complete.
Section three is always the art history section. It usually takes the painting from the previous day and gives you a little bit of art history from where the picture is from. Since the picture of "Dal Badal" is from India, they talk about the history of art in India and the differences between art in Western countries and art in Eastern cultures. A short challenge is again given for the student to work on.
Learning and trying a new technique is always taught in the fourth section. The first unit taught John Allen how to make a rough sketch.
The final, fifth, part of the unit is the project/application section. This is where they actually give you a project to work on. In this case, they gave a story about six blind men and a friendly elephant. John Allen was to read the story, use his imagination, and draw a picture of what he read.
I was amazed at everything John Allen learned just in this one unit. I believe it is much more than I ever recall learning in a whole semester of art in school. I really love this series and John Allen does to. This is a keeper in my book! I am so pleased that John Allen is learning a love for art and a love for creating art.
Artistic Pursuits has several levels of books to choose from including Preschool, K-3, 4-6, Junior High, and High School Levels. Most levels have at least two books for each level. Each book is $42.95 with materials costing extra. The materials for our book, however, only cost us approximately $15 though, and some materials are used for more than one level, so you wouldn't have to purchase them twice.
To find out more about Artistic Pursuits, just click here or on any of the hi-lighted links above. Different TOS Homeschool Crew members reviewed different levels, so if you are interested in hearing about another level, click here. Again, this is a wonderful program, and I would recommend it for anyone. I don't know how the art programs are in public schools these days, but I know with all of the proposed school cuts in some areas, the arts are some of the fist things to go. This curriculum would be great for even non-homeschoolers who just want to give their children a step up in the area of art. Happy Home Educating.
As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was sent a free copy of Artistic Pursuits - Junior High Book One - art curriculum in order to try out and review on my blog.
Updated: Sunday, 28 March 2010 10:52 PM CDT
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