Thursday, December 1, 2011

Review: ARTistic Pursuits

We were recently given the opportunity to review Artistic Pursuits.  I was excited for many reasons.   The program was created with homeschooler in mind.  I've actually heard of it as it's recommended by some pretty big names in the homeschooling community.   Art is something that I tend to push aside because I'm not good at it.  I was crossing my fingers that I'd get to try it out.  Yay me!  I got to choose the level I wanted to try and I decided to go with the preschool book since my three year old doesn't get many opportunities to help with reviews.  

About Artistic Pursuits

From the creators:  The Artistic Pursuits program presents both the expressive and the technical aspects of art in an age-appropriate manner. Children are curious and expressive from the start. We work with those interests to teach them to observe more closely. Skills develop as each child observes nature and enjoys the process of creating. Using ARTistic Pursuits, a child carries art tools to locations which both inspire and are chosen by the child. Creating truly personal work gives a child a sense of accomplishment that cannot be attained by copying from a book or watching an adult do it for him. They learn because direct observation is the best teacher when accompanied by an understanding of the foundational elements of art and compositional ideas. Children examine and explore these key ideas by seeing them in their own world, in art works by the masters, through pages demonstrating techniques, and through art of their own and of others. Childhood development studies were foundational to the layout of the program. ARTistic Pursuits lessons offer children the right kinds of information at the right time. 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.

That being said the preschool book, The Way They See It, is a little different from the rest of the series. It's more of a parent training book than an art text for the student.  And boy did I need it.  It covers:

   *Understanding your child's art
   *Helping your child gain skills without drawing for him/her
   *Informative parent pages show how to encourage creativity
   *Art assignments designed for preschool exploration
   *Markers, watercolor, finger paint, crayons, and more!
   *Learning how to help children gain skills without drawing for them.
   *Offer age-appropriate suggestions in ways that will encourage your child to continue to be creative.
   *Encouraging use of fine motor and sharper thinking skills in project ideas that can be used again and    
   *32 projects for the child.

In a nutshell, it is teaching me to let go of my need to control my child's art and let them create what they see.  I have to admit that I've, on more than one occasion, cringed when my daughter didn't clue a craft together exactly as I'd imagined it.  I might have even re-glued a few pieces now and again.  The shame!!!

Our Experience

The book contains three sections filled with lessons: The Nature of Children's Artistic Development, Use Real World Examples to Point out Artistic Ideas, and First Skills.  Each lesson consists of three parts: Grown Up Talk, Picture Talk, and a project.   

Grown Up Talk is meant for the parent.  This is where we are taught about how children see art, common mistakes adults make when teaching art, how we should stop nagging children to create what we want.  It's filled with good stuff!   

The Picture Talk exposes the student to real artwork from "professionals."  It includes things to discuss to help the child look at the details.  This was one of our favorite parts of the curriculum as my little daughter LOVES looking at art.  She has tons of art books and we look at them daily.  It's amazing how much children get from this kind of exposure to art.  They soak it up and remember.  She impressed a few employees at the MET in NYC with her ability to spot Matisse, Cassatt, and Monet.  And that was a  year ago.

The project is, well, a project.  These were based on what I learned from the Grown Up Talk and involved me modeling and then stepping back.  Which is great because, like I said, I'm not great at art.  She used markers, finger paint, crayons, play doh, drew a "still life", observed texture and that's all we had time to get to before I had to write this review.  But every project was fun.  She was in control.  And I didn't freak about any mess.  Check her out in action.

 Observing a still life and drawing what SHE saw.   Apparently she saw the little pumpkins in the air. Awesome!

Working with play doh to make a "form" that stands up.  Kayleigh made a dog.

Finger paint fun!!!

Final Thoughts

This is a great program.  I am using the most "parent intensive" book and it was so easy to use.  I don't like a lot of prep and this barely had any.  The pre-k level uses the basic supplies that anyone with a child would have lying around the house.  And there are even kits available for purchase if you'd like.

This book is teaching me how to help my child see the world and how to turn what she sees into a work of art.  It's teaching me the importance about letting her make her own decisions about her art.   I absolutely love that it's not another book filled with cookie cutter project that require the adult to do most of the "creating."

I was very impressed with the program and will continue to use it.  Even my older daughter enjoys doing the projects with us because she gets to create her vision, not mine.  This program totally takes away the pressure of teaching, and creating, art.   Finally!   If you want to include art in your homeschool but don't feel qualified, check out this program.  If I can do it, anyone can.


Ages: 3-Highschool  (Our book was 3-5)
Cost:  Books are $42.95 and kits run from $45-$92 depending on the level
And bonus, they ship internationally!!!

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Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of Artistic Pursuits for review purposes.  All opinions are my own.

1 comment:

Rockabye Butterfly said...

Hi, I came to check out your blog, your girls are so cute! :)

Will you enter my latest giveaway? Your girls would love the K5 Learning online fun, Butterfly had so much fun with it! Come check it out and sign up!

Rockabye Butterfly :)


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