It seems like it was just a few weeks ago when we were reviewing Book 1 An Introduction to the Visual Arts from the ARTistic Pursuits art curriculum books and we gladly invested in the Preschool book The Way They See It as well. When an opportunity came up to review Early Elementary K-3, Book 2: Stories of Artists and Their Art I knew I wanted that opportunity!
Several years ago through a homeschool conference I discovered ARTistic Pursuits and the program was recommended by my SisterL as well. Last year through our own experiences we knew this was a program that we wanted to continue.
What is ARTistic Pursuits?
ARTistic Pursuits is written by a homeschooling family, for homeschoolers, but could easily adapt to a classroom or co-op setting. It is a program full of hands-on experience and art appreciation from famous works of art. Each segment or lesson provides historical information, a piece of art image to view (of varying mediums), and instructions on creating your own art using various techniques. Oh! And if you’re already familiar with ARTistic Pursuits living on the shelves of homeschoolers for years, be sure not to miss the fact that all the editions have been updated as of 2013 and there is a fairly new series for ages 11 & up on Sculpture!
What is the Creative Madness Blossom school doing?
Last year I read the text to my artist-want-to-be four year old child and this year at five years old (almost done with First Grade curricula) she is partner reading with me only for the spare words she is unfamiliar with (like Giotto). 😉
The Early Elementary K-3, Book 2 book (third edition) is composed of parental notes and 36 lessons and projects. For the K-3 books, each lesson is intended to be completed in a week. Each lesson is a history and art appreciation lesson followed by a hands-on skills related to the artist’s medium art lesson. The book is written for students of ages 5 & up, we are having a great experience with my five year old daughter loving the information and lessons. Even her three year old sister enjoys some of it and participates in the activity as well. It is amusing to watch the older instruct the younger.
Just as we have developed a routine, about twice a week we read, discuss and jump into an activity. This year we’re set up on the back porch or patio depending on the bugs and weather permitting. And while I’m involved in these 2-3 times per week occasions, AppleBlossom likes to paint every day if she gets her way and this year she is even drawing as well. As I said last year it was the ARTistic Pursuits samples I printed from The Old Schoolhouse SchoolhouseTeachers website which guided me toward the idea of a lesson once per week. Previously we had been venturing to a local artist’s house for lessons once a month (She even loved the ARTistic Pursuits books after I showed them to her!). So now trying for once a week was a welcome change. If it were up to AppleBlossom’s discretion we would do multiple lessons daily! For the time of this review period we did 2-3 lessons per week on mixed days.
I love the printed media of this book and while comb binding is not my favorite (I prefer spiral) I have no complaints about this book with the size and quality of the one-side printed full-color pages. The lessons are brief, however this led to an open-ended time frame for child creativity. And has even influenced us on recommendations provided in the ARTistic Pursuits book: Stories of Artists and Their Art to read other books on art and arts and we’ve even ventured on a field trip or two with more in our future.
This year has been an artistic one for my eldest child as she is stretching her artistic abilities and learn more about what art is and what it means to people. She has started a little into textile arts, specifically cross stitching which you might see in our Sew-n-Tell archives, but painting is where her heart is at it’s fullest and made possible by the instruction in ARTistic Pursuits as I wouldn’t know much of where to begin with encouraging her. We are learning so much together about the artists, their histories, and the art media choices they made and then emulating them. We haven’t yet, but I think with the encouragement from our experiences in the lessons with ARTistic Pursuits we may be able to make these skills span the curriculum to truly experience something in league with the artists and time periods we study.
After last year I was concerned about where to order my supplies, but knew I wanted to go the on-line route. However, I was pleased that almost everything was included in items we had been repurchasing for ourselves (originally influenced by AP) minus a few things the Enginerd had readily available in his woodshop workspace in the garage. In the beginning getting supplies was interesting in experience. For convenience one can order directly from ARTisticPursuits.com. I attempted to bargain shop locally but could not find what I needed in full. A good bargain could be found at Dick Blick and RainbowResource.com. Either for sets or individual items, depending on the item and shipping costs both are close in price. I felt the price of the books and supplies was a bit much to start, but THIS YEAR was almost nothing because of dividing it over the year or years, and multiple children as well as not settling for the first cheap brand I see, is truly a huge difference on ease of use and the quality of a final project.
Last year we learned about watercolor and what it truly meant and this year we have learned about making a fresco and including precious metal materials like gold in a painting. What artists were able to do in their time when daily life was not a leisurely as it is now is truly impressive and showing my children how their productions have changed the world we live in is inspiring. Discussing artists from the Gothic, Renaissance, and 18th century in a way to make my primary student feel included in the discovery of knowledge and involved in the creative process using her own observational skills has been thrilling for us all. Reading about Giotto and then creating our own fresco was a peg in her history and artistic mindset. Discussing Rembrandt and remembering he was an artist highlighted for Titus as a Monk from our other curriculum this year was exciting as we discussed his live in Holland and Europe and then attempted to make our own relief prints as he might have when drawing book illustrations on metal plates to be printed in the books. Watching a classic movie from my childhood as a current re-make with artist names pulled the knowledge out as she realized she recognized Leonardo and Raphael. Looking at the painting of Saint George and the Dragon and reading the picture story book of the same title made her want to look at more images of Christeo art and discuss what the artist is trying to tell us. After this discussion heading to the art museum and staring at a canvas that was more then fifteen feet wide was to provide an enthusiastic response as she was truly able to use her own observations to discuss what she saw and what she knew certain imagery meant (such as the halos found in Giotto’s fresco paitings).
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