Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Schoolhouse Review: ARTistic Pursuits


I cannot say enough how much I enjoy listening to and seeing the differences that GOD designed when HE created male and female.  It always amazes me to hear how my children react so differently to the exact same things.  When our copy of the newly revised ARTistic Pursuits curriculum for 6th - 8th graders, Middle School 6 - 8 Book One:  The Elements of Art and Composition arrived, I was excited to see what my younger kids would think about it.  {My older girls had the opportunity to use the High School curriculum a few years ago -- and they loved it.  So, you can understand why I was happy for the Princess and the Boy Scout to get started as well.}  AND here's how the conversation went with each of the children when I introduced them to THE curriculum for creativity.

The Princess (age 11, 6th grade)  "Oh, cool.  Art?  I LOVE art, Mom." 
Me:  Yay.  I thought you'd be happy with this.
"Oh, YES.  You KNOW how much I have been wanting to take art lessons."

The Boy Scout (age 13, 8th grade)  "Is this an art class?"  
Me:  Yes.
"UGH.  No one likes art, Mom."
Me:  Okay, well, you need to do it anyway.  Get started.

Isn't that atypical?  I reminded them both that GOD created and I challenged them to get busy doing the same.  My daughter has the creative gene -- she seems to always be drawing and coloring something -- but my son . . . well, he may have gotten more of my genes than I realized.  So, I encouraged them to get started so we could just see what GOD would do through their hands and it has been more fun than I even imagined.

Written directly to the student with NO teacher preparation necessary, ARTistic Pursuits is a favorite of homeschoolers everywhere.  For Middle School Book One, we had all of the needed art supplies on hand (a set of drawing pencils, a vinyl eraser, a metal pencil sharpener, a sandpaper block, and a drawing pad for each child) so we were ready to begin as soon as our text arrived.  [As you can see, these basic supplies are easy to find.]  It was super-easy to open the book and begin.

PhotobucketThe 92-page spiral-bound, softcover book is perfect for a year's worth of study at the recommended pace of two lessons per week for about an hour each lesson.  Divided into 16 units, Middle School Book One:  The Elements of Art and Composition focuses on two groups of topics -- the elements of art and the principles of design.  Students learn all about drawing and are given ample opportunities to practice the craft as they work through 4 lessons in each unit.  The lessons are taught as follows:

  1. Lesson One:  Building a Visual Vocabulary  (Students learn new words and practice observing their environment.)
  2. Lesson Two:  Art Appreciation and Art History  (Students learn about famous artists and the history of the artist's art.)
  3. Lesson Three:  Techniques  (Students apply what they have learned and create an original masterpiece.)
  4. Lesson Four:  Application  (Students do a final project for the unit applying all they have learned.)

And how did all of this work at Long Leaf Academy?  As we work through Middle School Book One, we are focusing on three main things as outlined in the beginning of the textbook.  I want my children to appreciate (or learn to appreciate, in the case of my son) art and to recognize that art in its truest form exists all around us.  To do that, we are focusing on:

  1. Learning to OBSERVE the world around us and REALLY see it.
  2. Learning WHAT to look for as we check out GOD's world.
  3. Learning to FOCUS on just ONE element of art at a time and BLOCKING out other elements so that there is no distraction as you create.

I made sure that the Princess and the Boy Scout had everything they needed and plenty of space and time to CREATE.  Unit 1 is all about S P A C E -- the area of the paper that you draw into.  It is all about HOW we use space when we CREATE.  (Of course, Fritz the Cat thought the space was really all about him.)

This is where it really gets interesting.  Boys and Girls "see" the world in such different ways sometimes.  I had the Princess and the Boy Scout sit down and do this lesson separately -- and although they both started it out exactly the same way, you'll see how differently they ended it.  From reading the exact same words, they came up with totally different ways to do the assignment.  How's that for creativity?  

Here's what they are so diligently working on:

And here's their artistic take on it:


Isn't it neat how their brains work?   Here's another example of the differences in boys and girls -- Unit 2 explains that LINES are drawn within your S P A C E  to create your images.  Students use different size lines (thick and thin) to draw and are encouraged to choose interesting objects that appeal to them.  When the  Princess and my Boy Scout spent some time outdoors searching out the perfect subject matter, this is what they were each inspired by:


Genesis 1:27 says "Male and female, created HE them" and I know that GOD's plan of design is simply perfect.  It's wonderful to see first-hand how we all appreciate different things about this world and it will be fun to watch how the artist in each of my children comes out.  With 68 projects of original artwork and a full year of art curriculum, Middle School 6 - 8 Book One:  The Elements of Art and Composition is well worth the $47.95 that it costs.  You can see the entire Table of Contents and Art Supply List for Book One and get an understanding of all that is covered.  I would encourage you to order the book that best meets the needs of your family (books are available for Preschool through 12th Grade) and begin teaching art and art history now.  The full-color text of each book will certainly grab and keep your student's attention as they begin to create their very own masterpieces.


~Disclaimer:  I was given the opportunity to use and review Middle School Book One:  The Elements of Art and Composition by ARTistic Pursuits as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  The opinions stated are mine and mine alone.  I was not paid to share my thoughts and feelings with you.  I received a copy book in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any way.  You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought as well.   I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.~ 

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  1. Emily started with Joseph but then changed to doing this book (that Heather had used before) on her own. Of course I thought of you when she drew her elephant. :)

  2. Elephants make me smile. And giggle a little, too. Goodness knows I could use that extra JOY in my life. I'm so glad you were along for the ride. GREAT memories forever etched on my heart.


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your heart with me!