About ARTistic Pursuits Inc. & Early Elementary K-3 Book One
ARTistic Pursuits Inc. is a company that has often been recommended to us by other families. They offer homeschool art programs for preschool through high school, through a variety of general art books that guide students in using various art mediums, as well as texts that focus on sculpture technique too! The projects throughout the books provide the child with a chance to learn about art (history, appreciation, famous examples, etc.), increase their observational skills and art awareness, be exposed to art technique and terminology, and then use what they've learned to express themselves by creating their own projects and masterpieces.
The book that we've been using so far, Early Elementary K-3 Book One, includes projects involving drawing, painting, paper art, and clay. The book is divided into three primary sections: What Artists Do, What Artists See, and Where We Find Art, wherein they expose a student to how artists approach art and some types of subjects they might use, teaching elements of art and basic technique, giving them experience in handling different art materials, and looking to art from ancient times through the Middle Ages as inspiration for the included projects, while giving the student a chance to use different art media.
The lessons themselves are short and simple. They usually start with a brief discussion of the topic, idea, or technique to be learned - or in the case of the art history, then some quick historical points of interest. Then there is a real life, professional, or famous example of art, accompanied by a few questions to help guide the child's attention to the aspect being taught and helping them increase their observation and thinking skills. They usually also include a picture of another child's art, which I think brings the project to a realistic level for kids, making it something achievable and giving more examples to get inspiration from. Finally, the project is clearly presented using directions and sometimes reminders of what to focus on. Each project page has a little box near the top that lists all the necessary materials for the lesson, but there is also a page near the beginning of the book that lists all art supplies and additional items needed for the entire course. There was also a lesson midway through the book in which the child prepares to have an art show and a page explaining how to plan an opening art show (as simple or elaborate as desired) and "frame" their artwork they've been creating so far (using construction paper mattes, for example).
ARTistic Pursuits Inc. actually made homeschool art instruction achievable for my family and me. It is simple and easy to incorporate the lessons into our day, but not boring. It has us doing things we otherwise probably wouldn't have done, but nothing I feel is too overwhelming to make time for. It has variety yet structure, providing clear guidance and instruction but still always seems open-ended enough that my kids felt the freedom to be creative and never that they are just replicating someone else's design. The lessons are short enough that I can fit them into our weekly schedule and feel good that I am giving my kids an art experience. Art now has the place in our homeschool life that we wanted it to have, and that it deserves! And I must say I'm thrilled this doesn't cost nearly as much as recurring art classes did, yet we are getting many of the same benefits!
My kids, ages 6 & 8, are loving this program, look forward to it, and ask to do another art lesson (or two, or three...) everyday. I think the lessons are pretty basic for my 3rd (soon-to-be-4th) grader - Big Sis - and she could use even more advanced instruction in art technique, but I've had both girls working together through this book and am glad that Big Sis is getting the refresher and reinforcing foundational ideas and skills. I imagine that she will continue to benefit as we move into the other available ARTistic Pursuits books and levels, where I hope she will be more challenged. Until then, she is having a lot of fun and being quite creative... both of which are precious benefits that we cherish in our homeschooling.
Both girls have enjoyed the variety of art projects included in the book and they've been spending a lot of time immersed in creative projects. This is especially easy for us to do now that we've finished some other subjects for their current grade level and are preparing to move on to the next grade soon. I think ARTistic Pursuits Inc. would be a fun summer subject, in addition to incorporating it year round!
One paper crafting project they did had a goal of identifying shapes in what they observe around them. They used construction paper, cut out a background, then added large shapes, smaller ones, and then drew on a few little details. Both girls decided to represent a sun setting behind a mountain. Big Sis showed the different colors of the sunset, a hut, and ducks in a pond, while Lil sis has a tree, houses, and a bird in the sky.
Another project they enjoyed was working with clay. They created a koala, and monkey, a pot with an engraving along the outside, a palm tree, and more. This project took a few days because they first formed the clay and then allowed it to dry before painting it. They learned a lot about how clay was used in the past and the different ways they could use it to create art. This was one of their favorite lessons in the book.
Their ultimate favorite art medium to use thus far has been oil pastels. Big Sis has had limited exposure to them in the past, but it was a new adventure for Lil' Sis (who loved their bold, bright colors). Perhaps because we live in Hawai'i, the lesson that involved choosing an underwater subject or sea creature particularly caught their attention and interest. We have several books about the ocean and marine life. Upon hearing the lesson, they ran over to the bookshelf and began digging through the books to find inspiration for this fun project. Added bonus: during all this self-guided research, they learned even more about a variety of animals, plants, and coral in the sea! One of the great things about ARTistic Pursuits Inc., for our family, has been that it has drawn them into seeing even more beauty in the world around them and learning more about about the subject of their artistic designs. (Such as was the case with another lesson that involved drawing a picture where people work, with suggestions to visit the site of a community worker... cue the fire station field trip!)
It has been said before that the best homeschool curriculum is the one you will use (and the child enjoys, of course). I've found this to be particularly true with subjects like art, music, or many electives. If it is too hard to figure out, not a good fit for a child's learning style, is too complicated or has too many parts, requires excessive prep, or involves massive amounts of time - especially the parent's time, it might end up only being partly used or even just sitting on a shelf collecting dust. On the other hand, if a program is easy to use and enjoyable for both parent and child, it is more likely you'll stick with it and get the full benefit it was designed to provide. This was the case for us with ARTistic Pursuits Inc.
Both girls have shown improvements in how they think about art and gained experience with different media along the way. Based on our use of this product so far, I would recommend the ARTistic Pursuits Inc. books to others (in fact, I just did so today when chatting with a friend). If you're looking for complex and detailed instruction, the Early Elementary K-3 Book One might not be suitable. But if you have a young child that hasn't had a lot of formal art education and you're looking for an introduction to art and gentle guided instructional, yet creative program, then this could be a great option!
If you'd like to see what other families think about ARTistic Pursuits Inc., Early Elementary K-3 Book One OR the other levels/books available (including the upper grades and sculpture too!), simply click on the banner below to find more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew! Or you can visit them at their website and on Facebook to find out more about the company and what they have to offer!
I'm a homeschooling mom of three, enjoying our time in Hawaii and hoping to share some of that experience with you, including ideas, reviews, resources, and information.