Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Artistic Pursuits Review

I was thrilled to get this one!  Artistic Pursuits is a name that has been on my mind and praised from the mouths of so many fellow homeschoolers.  I almost bought it at the last homeschool convention.  Glad I waited, because it is up for review this week by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.  Woot!

We were able to choose our own level that we would like to use with our children.  I chose "Grades 4-6 Book One:  The Elements of Art and Composition" by Brenda Ellis.

Artistic Pursuits is an art curriculum that is based on the concept that if you spend one hour, twice per week using the lessons in the book, your chlid will 1). Build a Visual Vocabulary, 2) Develop an appreciation for Art History, 3) Learn how to use art materials using various techniques. and 4). Incorporate all of these lessons to produce original artwork of their own!

For example, the first unit is about "Space".  How does an artist use space in his/her compositions?  First, the student views a full-color (thank you) version of "Washington Crossing the Deleware" by Emmanuel Leutze (1816-1868).  History of the time period is given in the margins.  Little cartoons showing good and poor use of artistic space are given.  Sketchy examples show students how to accomplish a final project.  And we are also given a little interesting background on the artist.  Each lesson tells you what materials you will need (rarely anything unusual or expensive).  Artistic terms such as "media" and "value" are explained in easy terms.  I also like that student works are used, not just those of the professionals.  There is nothing more intimidating than feeling like your art stinks compared to the pros. 

There are 16 Units in this volume and each is split into 4 lessons.  Lesson One is always "Vocabulary and Creative Exercise", Lesson Two is "Art Appreciation/History", Leson Three is "Techniques" and Lesson Four is "Application". You could easily do 2 lessons per week and finish in a natural school year.  In the end, students will feel like they can do more than just draw stick figures.  They can actually give their drawing dimension, shading, contour, texture and movement.  I even felt confident in myself after two lessons that I could draw a recognizable horse! Students will learn drawing, painting, sculpture and other techniques with Artistic Pursuits.

 The curriculum books come in spiral bound form, but all pages are colorful and of the upmost quality.  They sell for $42.95, plus shipping.  That's your entire art curriculum right there! The company also sells kits of supplies for everything you need.  There is a book for preschool, three volumes of books for Grades K-3, two books for Grades 4-6, two Middle School books and two High School books.  The K-3 books dig deep into art periods (the Ancients, MiddleAges and 1800/1900's).  The older books cover drawing basics and color theory. 

If you are intimidated by art intruction or art history, this is the program for you!  There is very little teacher preparation and the lessons are written to the student.  I would venture to say you probably have most of the materials you'll ever need right there in your supply closet!

Artistic Pursuits has won awards and accolades too numerous to mention.  I am happy to report that we will be using Artistic Pursuits as our formal art program for many years to come! 

**Disclaimer:  I was given a copy of this curriculum in exchange for an honest review, which I've provided here.

**Don't just take my word for it--check out the opinions of my friends at the Old Schoolhouse Magazine Homeschool Review!  Click here.


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