We started using ARTistic Pursits’s Pre-K curriculum a few months ago, and have really enjoyed it. When offered the chance to review the next level of their curriculum, Early Elementary K-3, Book 1: Introduction to the Visual Arts ($47.95), through The Crew, we jumped on it! ARTistic Pursuits is an art curriculum developed by Brenda Ellis for homeschool or independent study. These are wonderfully written books that teach the expressive and technical aspects of art in an age appropriate way (this particular book is probably best for children working on kindergarten to third grade levels, but anyone older could do it as well!).
While in college to be a teacher, I learned one of the most important aspects of teaching is teaching at a developmentally appropriate level, and these books do just that!
About ARTistic Pursuits Curriculum
The book itself is very nice; it is comb-bound with a clear plastic cover. The masters’ works are printed in bold, colorful inks on nice, heavy weight paper. There are 36 lessons total, each lesson containing colorful illustrations, full demonstrations, and artists’ works for picture talks/studies.
Each book comes with a thorough introduction for parents, and a list of needed art supplies. The art materials needed are grouped into 4 color coded groups; each project is given a group number so you can easily see which materials you will need for that project (genius!). The author gives great recommendations for brands and specific items, so if you are unfamiliar with some of the materials (like me), it takes all the guess work out! We already had many of the supplies, but I did need to purchase a few things. It was definitely worth it to have everything on hand and so far we are really enjoying the materials.
Next, the book gives the parent guidelines for teaching each lesson. The parent reads the lesson aloud, then you get to do a sort of picture study of a professional artist’s work with your child! This is our favorite part. =) Then your child gets to do their own work of art, just like the masterpiece they observed with you! Lessons take maybe 5-10 minutes, of course you can stretch them out longer and we usually do. Just follow your child’s lead, and let them enjoy the process. The projects have taken my 4.5 year old about 30 minutes at the most, so far. I can imagine some of the other projects would take a bit longer.
The lessons are broken down into three sections: What Artisits Do, What Artist See, and Where We Find Art. What Artists Do is all about what artists engage in while making art, What Artists See is all about the elements used to make art- paper, clay, paint, water, etc- and Where We Find Art looks at art all around the world and through history. Each section is fun, interesting, and the activities are engaging. This is definitely hands on learning in every sense of the word!
What We Thought About ARTistic Pursuits
Since we began ARTistic Pursuits Introduction to the Visual Arts, Lexie’s art in general has grown drastically. I can tell it has taught her to look more critically at details around her and she put a lot of thought and effort into her creations-even the ones she does during her down time. She was already a very detail oriented child, but now that is coming out in all her doodles, drawings, and more focused art. We did not include little brother (2.5 years old) in the activities, just because I don’t think he is quite ready for some of the art materials (we are still working on NOT eating crayons and markers-ha). But it was great for Lexie, who is an advanced 4.5 year old. It would be ideal for students in early education, kindergarten through third grade, just as the book suggests.
I *love* this curriculum! It is a fun, engaging, yet simple way to teach your child about art. I love that my children are learning about not only how to make art, but also who has made art- from early cave paintings to the great masters like Chagall, and Van Gogh- and the history that goes with it all. This particular level also teaches how artists plan their art, and use up all the space they have; things I have tried to get Lexie to do but now she is doing on her own because we have talked about it, observed it in our picture study, and applied it through the ARTistic Pursuits lessons. *It has definitely helped her creativity blossom, and given her more confidence to be creative* I wish that I had learned art this way; I was always afraid to try art because I thought I just wasn’t creative or good at it. This curriculum definitely fosters a love for art! I especially like that these lessons can be tied into history if you’d like, and don’t take a long time to complete. They are perfect for home art instruction!
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