I admit art is one of those subjects that I struggle with. I struggle doing it. I struggle teaching it. It is one of the first subjects that I will outsource. I do believe it is important; I just don’t feel adequate enough to teach it. However, I have been unable to find art lessons where we moved nine years ago so unfortunately, my kids are seriously lacking in art. That was before ARTistic Pursuits.
When we received the opportunity to review ARTistic Pursuits for Middle School 6-8 Book One, The Elements of Art and Composition, my son and I were very excited. He likes to draw and I cannot really instruct him in that area. I also have been wanting to learn a few things so I figured we would do the lessons together.
All of the needed art supplies are listed on the very first page. For this text, it mostly consisted of drawing pencils, a metal pencil sharpener, a sandblock, and of course, a drawing pad. When we are ready to start the second semester, we only need to add supplies so we can do ink drawings.
This text is intended for those in middle school. However, I am an adult and did not feel like it was toned down too much for me to use. The book focuses on the basics and composition as you can see with the topics covered:
- Elements of Art
- Line Values
- Balance (Symmetry, and Asymmetry)
- Space with and without Depth
How We Used It
In the beginning of the book, there is a page “What Parents Want to Know”. This clearly explains how the lessons are laid out and also gives ideas for scheduling art into your day. We started off using it twice a week as suggested but when we went on a week long road trip, we worked through more lessons to cure our boredom of being in the van for hours on end.
Each unit contains four lessons – Building a Visual Vocabulary, Art Appreciation and Art History, Techniques and Application. There is a cute comic on many of the pages, “Creative Cory”. It was fun to see a little humor included in a textbook. After we learned some basics (prior to this book, I never knew why there were different pencils just for drawing and what those letters and numbers on the pencil meant. I also didn’t know why you would use a sandpaper block.)
First, we would start the unit. The lessons were fun and informative and always had us do something to help improve the way we looked at things.I like to refer to it as developing our creativity. We typically did one lesson before lunch and another after lunch, twice a week. It would work out that after lunch the lesson would either be learning some art history and doing a sketch or do the art project. The “project” is putting into practice what you’ve learned so far in the unit and doing your very best.
Our Final Thoughts
We really liked this program. It was interesting and I loved that it included some art history. There’s an Evaluation Sheet at the end of the book so I knew what to look for and be able to accurately grade my son’s work. I’ve never really graded art before but this clearly showed me the objectives he should have been working on and what to precisely look for in his artwork. I loved that this book is non-consumable! For a family that has homeschooled five kids, that’s always a big factor.
ARTistic Pursuits kindly offered several of their products for TOS Review Crew. Please click the graphic below to read reviews of all the different products.