Monday, March 11, 2013

Review of ARTistic Pursuits' Elementary 4-5 Book One


Art is one of those subjects that causes a lot of homeschool moms to feel very, very nervous.  I am one of them.  I dreaded it in school.  I still dread it.  My stick people are crooked and I can't cut in straight lines.  I love art history, but the actual "arting" part of art -- please don't make me draw, paint, sculpt, or anything remotely like it! I'm not good at it! Fortunately, ARTistic Pursuits is.

What is ARTistic Pursuits?

ARTistic Pursuits is, quite likely, the first art curriculum that comes to mind when you consider homeschool art programs, and for good reason.  Never content to rest on its laurels, ARTistic Pursuits just keeps getting better and better.  Now in its 3rd edition since 1999, ARTistic Pursuits teaches art in a unique way.  My children got to experience this approach in Elementary 4-5 Book One: The Elements of Art and Composition, recommended for ages 9 and up.


Rather than focusing exclusively on artists, periods of art history, elements of composition, or picture study, ARTistic Pursuits addresses all aspects of the study of art, each at an age appropriate level, such that when a child has completed the ARTistic Pursuits curriculum, she will truly be able to say that she has studied art.  At the elementary, middle, and high school levels, Book One focuses on the Elements of Art and Composition and Book Two focuses on Color and Composition, but Book One is not a prerequisite for Book Two.  None of the books is consumable, so when you purchase one book, you are getting an art curriculum for the whole family.

Elementary 4-5 Book One: The Elements of Art and Composition 

92 Pages, 68 Lessons, Comb Bound, 230 Illustrations, $47.95

This book is described on the website as the answer for the child who wants to draw more realistically but doesn't know how.  Clearly, Brenda Ellis, the brain behind ARTistic Pursuits, knows artistic children.  There are some children who are naturally gifted artists without instruction, but there are far more children who need some help translating their talent onto the page.  That is what ARTistic Pursuits excels at.  Best of all, with 16 units and four assignments within each (64 lessons) unit, if you do art twice a week (which is pretty standard for homeschoolers), this one ARTistic Pursuits book will last for an entire year! Given that my 8 year-old son (who has a twin and a 9 year-old brother!) wants to draw more realistically and has a mother that can't draw her way out of a paper bag, a year of art for $47.95 (a wonderful price, even had I not gotten the book free for review - see disclaimer below) from a company as respected as ARTistic Pursuits is nothing less than a dream come true!

Let The Art Begin! What The Munchkins Thought

My kids were really excited to begin ARTistic Pursuits.  While I bought supplies for all four of them, only two of them left their supplies intact for this picture.  The others got a hold of the book early.  Impetuous homeschoolers.

Although ARTistic Pursuits is written at the child's level (and it really is - that's not an empty claim), we chose to have my husband work with the kids on this curriculum.  First, it's rare that he gets to work with a review product, and second, he really enjoys art.  He sketches very well and he really loved the look of this product! To that end, he worked with the kids instead of them working alone or under my direction.

Ordinarily, we would probably only do art once or twice a week, but the kids were so excited both about working with Daddy and about doing art (not that I've neglected this subject, ahem, cough) that they actually did art every day.  They completed the ARTistic Pursuits unit over the weekend and then practiced what they had learned all week.  In fact, it was all I could do to get their sketch pads out of their hands sometimes -- which is a good thing!

 This is an example of my 9 year-old son's completion of the above exercise - a drawing of fruit.  Nicky is not my natural artist.  In fact, he doesn't even really like to draw all that much.  He would rather write.  At first I will admit that I was a little ho-hum about his work...until I realized that he had done exactly what he was supposed to regarding using lines - which was the whole point of the exercise! The bananas on the far left of the picture really do look like curvy bananas!

My 11 year-old daughter really enjoyed playing with the shading lessons she learned in Unit 6.  In fact, she is shading everything and everywhere now! She also employed what she learned about space, even if she didn't realize it at the time (which is when you really know that your child learned something!).

Ironically, the child I really had in mind when we started ARTistic Pursuits is not the one who has enjoyed it the most, perhaps because he was the one who needed it the least.  My two least confident (artwise) kids were the ones who really took to this program the most.  As an art-challenged mom, that makes it a super-successful program.  If you love art, you will probably love just about any art program, but an art program that can engage a kid who doesn't really love art is a gem.

To give you a better idea of what is covered in this book, a list of the topics covered, along with the necessary supplies, is shown here:

My family loves ARTistic Pursuits.  To see how other Crew families liked other BRAND NEW 3rd edition levels, make sure to click the banner below!

Disclaimer: I received ARTistic Pursuits Elementary Book One free through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review.  I received no other compensation. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

Laus Deo,

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