Friday, August 2, 2013

Schoolhouse Review: Global Art

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I think there's an artist hidden deep inside my heart that just begs to come out.  My great-grandmother was an artist and I remember visiting her home and having free reign to create.  We were allowed to paint on crystal vases and goblets, plaster walls, and art canvases.  She always had several works of art in progress and I remember well the palettes of paint as she mixed the colors to find the perfect shade.  She would cut out long strands of paper dolls -- all attached at their arms -- with just a fold of paper and snip of scissors and then give us glue to paste them to the walls.  Visits with her embodied  an atmosphere of  creativity and we were encouraged to use our imaginations when we were with her.  I've struggled throughout the years with creating that same atmosphere in my own home.  I have made paints, markers, clay, glue, and paper readily available to my children and have offered opportunities for art lessons and instruction when I can, but I'm always looking for another avenue to allow my children to CREATE.

I've found a great resource for just this CREATIVITY with Gryphon House and we have been using their book Global Art:  Activities, Projects, and Inventions from Around the World this summer to help release our inner artists.  This 190-page paperback book ($16.95) contains a multitude of hands-on CREATIVITY representing the artwork and ingenuity from different countries throughout the world.  But don't let the Gryphon House tagline confuse you -- they offer MUCH more than just early childhood resources.  We're successfully using Global Art at Long Leaf Academy with my 12, 14, and 17-year-olds PLUS this mom is enjoying it, too.  AND we used a very special project at Camp ShadyRest last week with a roomful of 4 to 10-year-olds.
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Written by MaryAnn Kohl and Jean Potter, Global Art is divided into 7 Chapters -- each representing one Continent.  The chapters [Continents] are further divided by country or cultural group and contain projects and art activities based on customs, celebrations, discoveries, inventions, and native materials for each of the countries or cultural groups represented within a continent.  As children {and moms} create through the pages of Global Art, they are not only learning about art and art history, but they are also learning about the geography and history that connect our great big world together.

Each art project or activity is coded so that you can easily choose the best projects for your family.  On the top of each project page, icons are used to express which students would most benefit from any given activity based on their experience level.  Beginning artists with little experience, artists with some art experience, and the more experienced artists will all find something special to create.

Further markings show which art mediums will be utilized so that parents can make sure to have needed supplies on hand.  Students will paint, sculpt, construct, draw, and make collages.  Some projects require more than one art medium.  There is even an icon used to show just how much preparation must be done before your child begins a project.  I appreciate being able to glance quickly at a page to determine when to schedule an activity.  There's nothing worse than finding yourself in the middle of a project needing an obscure material to complete it.  It's great to know if an art project will use things that are most likely to be in our supply box or if I'm going to need to make a trip to a local store for beeswax before we begin.

Each art activity or project includes a brief description of the history behind it explaining who created things like it and what they would have used it for.  There is a materials list and a step by step guide for students to easily follow the process of creating.  These are all wonderful, but one of my favorite parts of the Global Art book is the map showing the exact location of the county or culture each project represents.  There's even a "Did You Know?" section that gives historical background.  I have found the entire book a fascinating read and have enjoyed watching my children pick it up to read the stories included with the art activities.

Our theme at Camp ShadyRest this year was "Christmas in July" and I asked my daughter to choose an activity from Global Art that would complement the theme so that we could share it with the children.    My 17-year-old serves as Art Director for Camp ShadyRest and she thought the children would most enjoy pretending to ice skate on the frozen canals of the Netherlands since it was 90+ degrees each day here in Mississippi.  She chose to use the Ice Skating Painting activity from the Netherlands (Holland) in the chapter based on countries/cultures from the continent of Europe.  The picture to the left is her demonstration sample so that she could lead the children at camp through the process.  She does a great job on the shadowing and I knew the campers would find it delightfully fun -- especially on a hot summer's day in July.  

The pictures below were taken of some the campers in deep concentration as they created their very own ice skating venue.  The multi-step project used heavy white construction paper, blue crayons in varying shades, a scratching tool to etch ice skating designs, a paintbrush, and frosty blue tempera paint.  The kids LOVED the project and my leaders LOVED that it was fairly simple to gather supplies AND clean up once completed.  I enjoyed sharing the history of ice skating and ice skates with Mississippi kids who have only seen the sport/fun on television. It's nice to be able to introduce children to parts of the world they've never seen -- especially since we never know where GOD may take them.  Global Art makes it easy to bridge the gap.


Global Art has been a very welcome addition to Long Leaf Academy {and Camp ShadyRest, too} and I  know you'll be able to find the perfect projects to add creativity to your homeschool day.  We are looking forward to trying many more activities together.  You can glean some very neat ideas from the Free Activities listed on the Gryphon House website and check out the other resources offered.  I'm eyeing the Art with Anything book for home and The Big Messy Art Book for Camp next year -- bring on the messy fun -- but they have resources for math, science, and literacy as well.  Check them out and see what would be perfect for your family.

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 I was given the opportunity to use and review Global Art from Gryphon House as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

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1 comment:

  1. What lovely childhood memories. My mom turned my old bedroom into an art studio, and the kids absolutely love going to paint with Grandmommie. We had fun using this book with our countries and cultures studies. It looks like your daughter did a great job with the kids at camp.


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