One of my children has been an artist virtually since birth. She is never without her sketchbook and pencil, constantly practicing and refining her skills – largely in the area of anime and imaginative cartoon drawing.
I wanted to give her a more complete art education, but I’m no artist. I’m an art appreciator – but that’s not too helpful when you’re trying to give three-dimensional shading to a basket of fruit. Enter ARTistic Pursuits! This curriculum has been just the thing for her stage of learning, and I’m learning a lot too. Artistic Pursuits Middle School Book 1~The Elements of Art and Composition is an excellent guide for the grade 6-8 set, and recommended for ages 11 and up.
We’ve enjoyed visiting art museums, and studying prints through a mail-order “Masterpieces” series. We had an easy romp through a Thomas Kincaid “Drawing Basics” unit. But it’s time for the meat and potatoes, and this intelligent program with multiple awards (Cathy Duffy’s 101 Top Picks, Old Schoolhouse EE Award, Practical Homeschooling Reader Award, and more) was just what we needed.
The program recommends two classes per week, about one hour each, that focus on four areas: Building a Visual Vocabulary, Art Appreciation and Art History, Techniques, and Application.
I’m most impressed with the easy flow and complete coverage each lesson provides. Unit 3, on Texture, is a good example. A brief introduction helps students think creatively (and the cartoons add a bit of fun and humor). Next comes my favorite segment – examining art masterpieces for specific content, in this case, a look at Hokusai’s Swimming Turtles, 1832-33, with illustrated examples of how textural techniques were achieved in the piece. The following segment deals with the culture and artist relative to the artwork, and then a challenge is made to the student to apply some of the learned material.
The nuts and bolts of the drawing method are then covered, in this case, How to Draw Texture, with lots of sample images and step-by-step illustrations. Lastly is The Project – an opportunity to put it all together and create a finished work of art.
Most inspiring to my daughter was the chance to see other students’ artwork, as well as the recognized masterpieces. All levels of ability are illustrated throughout the book, and the additional cultural, historical, and biographical sidebars offer lots of chances to integrate with other school subjects.
Just a few of the highlights in ARTistic Pursuits for Grades 4-12:
- Comprehensive volumes written to the student for self-directed learning
- No teacher prep required
- Multiple media utilized for ultimate mastery skills
- Full color text and images
- World art by the Great Masters shown along with targeted techniques
- Learn art history and artist biographies
- 68 projects in each book to produce original artwork
- $47.95 each 92-page book
I wish we had begun this program years ago, but I’m thrilled that it isn’t too late to have a good foundation in art. While we’re enjoying Book 1 – The Elements of Art and Composition, I’m already planning to order Book 2 – Color and Composition. And the best part is… I don’t have to be an artist to teach it!
You can read more experiences right HERE, at SchoolhouseReviewCrew.com, and in the words of Reading Rainbow’s Levar Burton, “Don’t just take my word for it!” Read these other great reviews by parent educators like me!
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for
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