Fast forward a few years. I now have boys in 7th, 5th, 3rd and kindergarten, plus a 4 year old. And as part of the Review Crew, I had the chance to review an Artistic Pursuits product. I looked the new materials over, and chose the 4th-6th grade level, Book 1.
I was worried. A lot. Worried that it would turn out that I am simply inept at teaching art. I know other people use the program successfully, so clearly I was about to discover that it is me, and I'm incompetent.
I made sure I had the supplies necessary for the first 7 units -- each unit is broken down into 4 lessons, meant to be done twice a week. In the case of this book, that means ebony pencils, a vinyl eraser, a metal pencil sharpener, and a sketch pad. Later units require a few other supplies (scratch-art paper, white pencil, black construction paper, and a couple of drawing pens).
So we got started. And... surprise, surprise... we're still going. It's working. It is fairly painless for me. I read the lesson. I tell the kids what they are to try. They do it. I'm not a failure.
Let's look at Unit Two for a minute. (You can see samples here) Unit two has to do with line and shape.
- The first lesson teaches a new concept -- in this case lines, and has the student think about things that happen in their life, and draw something from memory.
- The second lesson is art appreciation -- in this case, a painting by George Catlin, and it is used to illustrate the concepts introduced in the first lesson, plus there is a bunch of biographical information about the artist, and historical information about the subject of the painting. The student is to observe things outdoors, looking for line and shape.
- The third lesson is a technique lesson, introducing some basic steps to follow in drawing. The student is to draw an subject from his collection of toys or models, really studying it before drawing to see the lines and shapes.
- The fourth lesson is the application lesson, pulling things together into a final project.
Each unit is similar, so even after only two units, I feel like I have an idea as to what to expect going forward through the sixteen units in this book. The best part is that this level is working perfectly for my three older boys, although only one is actually in the grade range indicated (they are in 3rd, 5th and 7th -- so one is a year 'too old' and one a year 'too young'). Combining my kids is essential for me to make art work, I know that.
I am impressed enough that I am seriously considering purchasing the 4th-6th grade book 2 for when we complete this one, and having all three big boys continue on. And I am also seriously considering pulling out my K-3 Book 1 and doing it with Richard and Trina, probably starting next January (Richard will be in 1st, Trina will be almost 5, halfway through her K4 year). Because without newborns and toddlers, and with the confidence gained from working with the 4th-6th grade book, I think I can teach art.
And you can check out what my fellow crewmates have to say about various Artistic Pursuits products at:
Any questions? I'd love to know what you would want to know in deciding whether or not this is something you want to purchase.
Disclaimer: As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I did receive this book for free from Artistic Pursuits. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review. It does guarantee a review. A fair review. But I am not going to praise something unless I think it deserves the praise. If I don't like it, you'll hear that. And hopefully with enough detail as to why so you can decide for yourself if what I hate about it makes it perfect for your family. For more about my take on reviews, visit my blog post here.