We REALLY REALLY REALLY love art in this house! Maybe the mess stresses me out a bit sometimes; trying to find new and fun ways to create for all three can be a challenge at times but my kids love art. They are always eager to make something! So, when I was given the opportunity to review An Introduction to the Visual Arts by ARTistic Pursuits, And are we all ever SO glad that we did too!
ARTistic Pursuits is, THE curriculum for Creativity. An Introduction to the Visual Arts is a thick softcover book, geared towards early elementary children (K-3). My three are 3, 5 and 9 and all had a great time with this program. This is so perfect for a homeschool!
There are 36 lessons in this book, along with fun projects to do. Each lesson consists of three parts. The supplies needed are quite common; we had most of them lying about the house ourselves. From watercolors to pastels, tissue paper and clay this was a wonderful experience for my three little artists. The lessons in this book ranged from teaching what artists do, to what artists see and where we can find art (this was my oldest son’s favorite part!). They include not only projects to complete but also lots of great opportunities for discussion and creative thinking.
In lesson one we began by reading a bit about how artists compose. This was a great introduction for all three children about the visual arts in general and what it really means to be an artist. It also encourages art appreciation as we discuss the various forms of art that are out there. As we progressed we talked about how what we see and hear and feel and the way we act can all be a part of the creation that we put together. This really helps to engage the children at their various ages and levels, encouraging discussion about what their experiences have been. My daughter, who is three, loved being told that she is an artist too~ This is also a great chance to talk about art classes they have taken, play dough creations, making music on the keyboard and guitar; my oldest reminisced a bit with us about how he reenacted the story of Mulan for his speech and debate tournament this past fall and how that was art too.
The second part of the lesson is entitled: Look at Composition. In this case we viewed and then talked about a painting in the 17th century Netherlands. I loved how there were questions listed, to really encourage children to think and look carefully at the painting. This is truly a great addition to the curriculum; it encourages focus, attention to detail. And again the opportunity to discuss what we think items could have been used for or how someone in the piece seems to be feeling.
Then there is the section: Project – You Compose! This lists the materials needed and gives tips (for example how to properly paint with a brush) while also relating the project itself to the piece of art that was just discussed previously. These range from painting a picture of what you see today to nature hunts and sketches, arranging and drawing still life pictures and even the creation of collages that they make from various shapes by cutting and pasting.
You can see several examples of the lessons in this curriculum here. An Introduction to the Visual Arts sells for $47.95. Full of 36 lessons ranging from art history to technique, this can easily be used for a full year of homeschool art lessons if you complete one lesson each week. In our home, art tends to be a more regular activity but even using this 2-3 times a week, we still have plenty of amazing projects to try out and some we may go back and do again even!
These are just a few of the projects that my children created as we completed some of the lessons too. :-)
My oldest son really liked the idea of still life drawings; he decided to do an image of himself while his younger brother chose to make a truck out of different shapes (with some help from his older brother too).
Then there was the collage robot that all three created, together, from cutting various scraps of paper and pasting them together on a cardboard base.
My kids really enjoyed the variety of projects that were in this program. It was nice to see a balance of instruction while also plenty of room for imagination and exploration. I love that there are several different mediums used for these projects too. This was a great way for my older son to experience using things like Water Color Crayons as well as oil and soft pastels. A new favorite of his now! He is also looking forward to more projects using clay, especially with the flour dough recipe included. We do love to make our own when we can.
The ARTistic Pursuits art curriculum features Drawing, Painting, and Sculpting instruction for children from preschool to grade 12 :-)
There really are so many wonderful benefits to regularly making time for art in your home school. In fact, in many cases this is a fun way to teach those tougher topics (should I call some of them boring even?) There is so much history within art; there are stories to be told, songs to be sung. In some cases it is a great way to really see and understand different periods of time and cultures. Plus, if you have learners that like to be hands-on, the many ways in which they learn and grow from studying and creating art themselves – It’s endless. We truly love Artistic Pursuits and have plans to continue using these materials in the years to come.
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