Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Artistic Pursuits - a review

My kiddos, like most kids, love anything art related. They love drawing, coloring, crafts, and especially painting. I have always encouraged their exploration in this area. We have an art area set up in one portion of our "library" and all their supplies are there to use as they would like. Zach and Molly will spend an hour or two at a time drawing, coloring, cutting and pasting. Zach is my most creative one. He will often come downstairs and show me some cut-and-paste creation of his that is amazing. Molly is 4 so her creations are often quite abstract. Paul, well, he's your typical first-born perfectionist, so he either stays away from the art table or works on something for hours. He is quite good and has his own art supplies the little ones aren't allowed to touch but he takes forever and he is never satisfied! So, they were very excited to review Artistic Pursuits.

Artistic Pursuits has several books available from preschool through high school. And there are several different books available at each level. We chose the K-3 level and we started with Book 1. This level worked great, even with Paul who is in 5th grade. Paul would have enjoyed the older book as well, but it worked great for me to combine them for this one. You can see more about this particular book "An Introduction to the Visual Arts"here The book has 32 lessons and is divided into three sections:

What Artists Do
What Artists See
Exploring Ancient Art

The supplies needed for the book are all given in a list at the beginning of the book. You can purchase supply packs on their website here. We chose to purchase supplies for a few lessons at a time at our local craft store. It would be great to order the complete supply pack but it just wasn't feasible, cost wise, for us.

Each lesson gives a short bit of information for the parent/teacher to read to the child as well as a famous work of art to "study". The lessons are short but very well written. My kids enjoy them and they are learning a little about how an artist works. As we move in to the "Exploring Ancient Art" section of the book we will also learn about history through art, I am very excited about that section. Later books get more in to specific artists, which will be very fun to explore after we complete this book. After the written lesson the student is given an assignment of something to "create" using a specific medium. I love the idea of combining art history, art appreciation, and art instruction all into one curriculum. Artistic Pursuits does a wonderful job of combining these three aspects.

The kids all really enjoyed it. They love the special ebony pencils that we only get out for art class. The water color crayons were also a big hit. I love the fact that they are being introduced to different mediums at a young age. We have used soft pastels, oil pastels, water color crayons, and more.

Paul adores the structure of the curriculum. He likes being given specific instructions such as "draw something you can see right now using your ebony pencil".  This is the view he chose: my kitchen sink with the window and the ceramic pig that is beside my sink.

Zach, being my creative child, is the one most in love with the idea of having an actual art curriculum. However, because he is creative he doesn't necessarily like to go with the exact lesson. To keep him from having a complete meltdown I let him choose what he wants to draw as long as he uses the medium choice for the day.

Molly is happy just doing any kind of art, and she especially loves the idea of new paints and crayons and special paper that is only for art time with Mommy.

When I have looked at various art curriculums I just never found anything that really caught my eye. Adding another subject to research and decide what was best was just not something I wanted to do. So, I am incredibly thankful and feel abundantly blessed that I was able to review Artistic Pursuits. I didn't have to do any research to find the best program, it was handed to me! Artistic Pursuits is definitely phenomenal and so easy to use. There is very little preparation needed from me, except making sure there are the correct supplies on hand. From now on we will be purchasing these books and working through them each year. They are very reasonably priced at $42.95. And since they are non-consumable I can use them again and again. You can purchase them here.

Disclosure: I was given this product for free in exchange for an honest review. There was no other compensation given for this review. All opinions stated above are my own, honest opinions.

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