The adventures of a homeschooling family

Howard and Rachel
Annie, Emma, Sarah, Laura and Adam

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

TOS review: Artistic Pursuits

We were asked to review Artistic Pursuits by The Old Schoolhouse Crew.  There were many books to choose from:  
  • Preschool
  • K-3 Book One
  • K-3 Book Two
  • K-3 Book Three
  • 4-6 grade, Book One
  • 4-6 grade, Book Two
  • Jr. High Book One
  • Jr. High Book Two
  • Sr. High Book One
  • Sr. High Book Two
We chose K-3 book 2, since Sarah is in K and Emma is in 3.  Emma did book 1 in Kindergarten.

Phew, that was a lot of numbers.  Hopefully it wasn't too confusing.  Book 2 is set up as "Stories of Artists and Their Art."  It features the Gothic, Renaissance, and Academy Art of the 18th Century. Each lesson begins with a short historical fiction story about each artist. It teaches about each artist's vision.  Next is a project that allows the child to create their own work of art, applying that vision.  There are two projects per lesson, and 32 lessons in the book.  Each lesson also has at least one beautiful Master work featured. 

The text is written to the student, so eager kids can blast through it, if they desire.  The projects include drawing, painting, paper craft, clay, printmaking, sculpture and more.  I usually read the background on the artist with my kids, and help them set up their area.  There is a list of materials at the beginning of the book, so you know what you will need.  You don't need to buy it all at once, but if you want, you can order an Art Supplies kit on the Artistic Pursuits website.  I personally picked up items here and there, and we made our own papier mache.  We also had plenty of supplies from when we stocked up when Emma was in Kindergarten. 

 What I love about this product:  pretty much everything!  One of my kids was in an art program where the kids were told to copy the works of the Masters and were graded on how well they copied.  Totally killed the budding artist.  In Artistic Pursuits, kids are given the tools, then encouraged to do their own thing with each technique.  I love this quote from their website," We expect a child to be a child and we value what they produce from their own hands. Projects do not try to force young children to draw like adults. Our projects do not require patience and discipline on the part of the child, which leads to frustration. Children don't need patience when their own interests and motivations are guiding them."  There are samples of work done by other children, so kids can aren't intimidated at all.  I even learned to sketch, which is amazing, considering how bad I always thought I was at art. 

This is a project page, with a sample work of art.  Our scratch art was all mermaids, the inspiration/obsession at the time
While this product was designed for homeschoolers, it can also be used in a traditional classroom.  There is a section on the website directed toward classroom educators with links on how to use it in the classroom. 

Here are some pictures of how we use it in our classroom:

Even though this was for Emma and Sarah, Laura had to join in

They loved painting with watercolors, so much that they used up two cheap-o sets
pardon my terrible photography skills
We have had a lot of fun with this book.  I keep Emma's art each year and it is amazing to see the skills she has developed.   She has been learning to observe something before she paints it.  She had our dog come and sit before she painted this.  She also painted 2 frescoes, but there is a limit to how much of her art she is willing to share. 

Artistic Pursuits is available online on their website.  This book is $42.95.  It is non-consumable, so it can be re-used and enjoyed over and over.  It can also be purchased by contacting the company at:               

Artistic Pursuits Inc.  
2626 East 109th Ave.
Northglenn, CO 80233
Ph (303) 467-0504

Artistic Pursuits has won many awards, including the Homeschool Crew Seaworthy Award, Excellence in Education Award and Practical Homeschooling Reader award. 

I will admit that I totally loved this curriculum before the review.  The company is based in Northglenn, CO, so it was a local product when we began homeschooling.  I would love to have the whole set some day.  Don't just take my word for it though.  See what other reviewers are saying at The Old Schoolhouse Crew

disclaimer:  I was given Artistic Pursuits K-3 book 2, free of charge, in exchange for my honest review. 


Deila said...

Thanks for the review, I love hearing about ideas and products. Nice blog too.

HillaryM said...

We reviewed Book 1 from K-3. I love how the series covers art chronologically as well. I am going to have to add Book 2 to our list of must haves. Oh, who are we kidding, I want them all. We'll get there eventually. :) Visiting from the Crew--I like your blog!

Jennifer said...

We love Artistic Pursuits, too.