When I think of a homeschool art curriculum, I always think of ARTistic Pursuits Inc. We were recently sent a review copy of their book Art in America, K-3 Vol. 8 which is part of their K-3rd Grade Level, Volumes 1-8 series of instructional books and DVD/Blu-rays.
ARTistic Pursuits Inc. Art in America, K-3 Vol. 8 Review
Each book in the series represents a one semester art course. There are 6 video lessons (found in the front of the book on Blu-ray and DVD) teaching technique and the proper way to use the art materials and 12 text lessons introducing students to the styles and techniques of interesting artists who lived and made amazing art during the time period covered in that particular book.
Ours covered Art in America from the 18th-20th centuries in 18 lessons, which is perfect for a once a week art lesson for students. The artists featured are George Bellows, John Singleton Copley, Arthur Davies, Rembrandt Peale, John James Audubon, Winslow Homer, Robert Henri, Max Weber, Walter Ufer, John Frederick Peto, Charles Demuth, and Charles Burchfield. The technique lessons covered are Drawing is Moving, Drawing a Good Line, Identifying Light and Dark, Colored Pencils, Layered Colors, and using a Ruler and Compass.
The great thing about this volume is that it can be used by children or adults well above the K-3 recommendation on the book. Anyone wishing to work on technique and learn about great artists and how they used such techniques would benefit from these short, practical, hands-on lessons. The book itself is a full-color, 64 page hardback book. We watched the Blu-ray version of the lessons, though it is identical in content to the DVD version that is also included.
Our lessons were weekly, and I had my 1st and 3rd graders working on them. My older kids were also watching the videos with us and eavesdropping on the book lessons.
To watch a sample video lesson, check this out:
Even when there was a video lesson, there was a corresponding page in the book as well. That page indicated that the lesson was a video lesson (in the top right corner of the page), told what supplies were needed, and gave step by step directions for that week’s assignment.
Even for the non-video lessons, students learn about the artist that is covered that week and are treated to an example of their artwork and what the artist looked like. The technique used by the artist is explained and there are questions about the artwork for students to use in order to better notice the use of that technique. Finally, there are instructions for the student’s own art lesson, including a supply list and step by step instructions. There are also examples of each step so visual learners are able to follow the instructions better.
My Take on the Book
I am not a very talented artist myself, so teaching it to my children is not on the top of my to-do list. I love the ease of the format of these lessons. My kids have enjoyed being able to make their own artwork and to learn about artists. They are starting to notice more subtle details in art they are exposed to, even outside of this art class!
I love that this volume doesn’t require a ton of supplies. I’ll admit that is what drew me to it, because I didn’t want to invest in a lot of supplies, only to find that my boys didn’t want to participate. I should have known better, because getting them to participate wasn’t a problem at all! They happily come to the kitchen table or living room around the TV for lessons each week with no problem.
The art materials needed for Volume 8 include: Prismacolor colored pencils, Ebony pencils, eraser, pencil sharpener, drawing paper pad, ruler, compass with pencil, and construction paper.
I highly recommend the ARTistic Pursuits, Inc. books, and this series takes what feels like should be complicated art techniques and art history and turns them into these easy and fun to use bite sized weekly lessons for elementary students. It would be perfect for groups or for single students to use. They recommend that users BEGIN with Volume 1 in the series and then choose subsequent books based on the historical period that you prefer.
For those of you that are interested in the technical aspect of what your child learned in the lessons, there is a 2 page section in the back of the book detailing the objectives for each of the 18 lessons. This can be useful for people trying to align the lessons to state or national standards or who need to share such information for a portfolio or transcript.
Check Out More of the Series
There are SO many different programs out by ARTistic Pursuits Inc. While this series is aimed at K-3 students, you will find that children of a wide ranges of ages were able to use and enjoy them. Click the banner below to see what other homeschooling families on the Homeschool Review Crew used and how their kids did with them!