Thursday, May 12, 2016

Early Elementary Art Curriculum: An ARTistic Pursuits Inc. Review

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. Review
Last year about this time, my husband and I attended our first homeschool convention here in Oklahoma and one of the booths we came back to a couple of times was ARTistic Pursuits, Inc. When I was given the chance to review it, I knew it would be a good fit!  From Preschool to High School, ARTistic Pursuits offers a comprehensive art education.  You can choose from their 10 age level curriculum books and 3 Sculpture Technique books.  For this review we received Early Elementary K-3 Book One: An Introduction to the Visual Arts.
ARTistic Pursuits Inc. Review
This book contains 36 lessons with at least one project per lesson.  At the front of the book, after the table of contents, is a materials page that provides a list of everything you will need throughout the duration of the lessons.  Their website does offer art supply packs for each book so that you can purchase all of them at once or recommends Blick Art Materials for buying individual supplies at a discount.  We had a few things already on hand like drawing paper, construction paper and scissors, and the rest we found on Amazon pretty easily.  Once we had everything we needed, getting started was easy.  I don't know about your kids, but mine LOVE the idea of creating anything and when I said something about art lessons they would beg for it!  With new to them supplies like watercolor crayons or the oil pastels, it took a little extra work to slow them down.  They had no clue what to do but they wanted to do it in fast forward.  

The book is divided into three sections: What Artists Do, What Artists See and Where We Find Art.  Each lesson can stand on it's own and skipping around is certainly an option, depending on your needs and purpose.  Since we had yet to begin any official art curriculum I chose to start at the beginning and work through it.  Each lesson has a couple of pages of text to read to the students with some observation exercises or discussion of some master art works.  This takes about 5-10 minutes usually.  Since we are starting on the low end of the grade level my son could only touch the surface of some of the exercises, like observing certain details about an object but it was still very engaging.  Then a project follows where the student can work on their own (mostly, depending on the age) for about 30 minutes.  While each lesson can be related to other ones, all the information needed to teach each one is provided.  My husband is particularly good at drawing and the visual arts so whenever he had the chance to teach a lesson, we were all happy!  It's hard to be the teacher, housekeeper, cook and part-time anything else (writer, piano teacher, assistant) sometimes so subbing Mr. Butler in is always a good thing.  While you could add this in up to two or three times a week to a regular curriculum, because of Mr. Butler's involvement, this was a great evening activity before or after dinner.  

J's baseball field with watercolor crayons
Since we only used the first book of early elementary, I can only speak about it, but overall none of us had any complaints.  The lessons were brief enough, but left open many possibilities for extending them.  Each lesson was independent but also perfect to combine with other curriculum especially when it came to history and cultures.  All of the actual art content did not seem watered down, but straight forward while also being age appropriate.  I had never worked with watercolor crayons before, but now my 5 year old and almost 3 year old know how they work!  Since the content of the book is not consumable, we can use these books over again with other kids, or just again to see how we can improve or gain another layer of understanding.  In my mind it is a very productive investment.

Miss Z can never be left out!
Do you have kids at a different grade level than mine? Several of the different books were reviewed so feel free to look around for reviews of the books more age appropriate at the link below.

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. Review

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