At the beginning of the school year I shared with you how I was determined to add more fine arts to our school day. So when the call when out to review Middle School 6-8, Book One: The Elements of Art and Composition – 3rd Edition by ARTistic Pursuits, I was all over that. Secretly, I would rather pine over studying anything related to history or geography than to teach my kids fine arts.
I have often wondered why I dread teaching art and I think I have figured it out. It is all related to having the right tools. Also, because Mr. Senior 2013 and Mr. Awesome had a private art teacher that was so inspirational when they were younger, I really felt the need to be sure that Tiny gets the best art instruction possible too.
All of this swirled around in my head as I anticipated receiving Middle School 6-8, Book One: The Elements of Art and Composition – 3rd Edition.
My test for ARTistic Pursuits was to see if they could deliver an art teacher in a book. I wanted something that didn’t just tell me to focus on the process and not the product. That may be fine if you are artfully inclined but for the rest of that are artfully challenged we wonder what the process is and where to start.
Tiny wasn’t convinced either if learning about art and drawing was for him. His arms went inside his shirt as I showed him what we were going to attempt. Poor thing, he has his momma’s apptitude for art. ARTistic Pursuits, I feared met their match with Tiny.
When I got the book, I was first impressed with its appearance. I knew the book was quality because I had seen it before at homeschool conventions. It has comb binding so it lays flat which is always a huge deal to me when teaching. Each page is filled with drawing and sketching examples in pencil as well as color art when I flipped through it. I was not disappointed. Then did I mention this is a BRAND SPANKING new edition – the 3rd edition? Things started off good and they just got better.
I focused on allowing the book to do the teaching. The getting started section to the students named:What Students Want to Know perked up Tiny. Out came one arm and then
the other arm as the book literally explained in a 1, 2, 3 approach about art. He figured out this may actually be an enjoyable and delightful process, and not the gut wrenching agonizing tortuous event he had conjured up in his head. He went from not wanting to do any lessons in the first week to spending several hours in one day doing multiple lessons.
Right away, I saw in the unit there was a lesson for geography or history. Oh Yipppee for me. Give me some background so I can connect it to something I know too. For example, Lesson 2 explains about art in India. Some of the other cultures are Japan, China and Europe. I could see this book being used for a geography co-op. Discovering or exploring geography through studying world art would make a wonderful title for your co-op.
Here is a peek at the table of contents. It has 16 units with each unit having 4 lesson plans. You are encouraged to not rush each step as you learn and we didn’t. We savored each step.
Besides having our rapt attention with the background information and learning the elements of art, another favorite part about the book is that it has such a warm conversational tone. The explanations about each element of art are detailed in bite sized pieces but it also inspired Tiny to not compare his work with others. To explore his own creativity is encouraged. There are just enough guidelines to not overwhelm him but to give him clear instructions on what to expect. That was another concern of mine because of his non-art background. He needed some guidance. Receiving guidance instead of being told to just create this or draw something in your imagination rates this as an A+1 program. He needs models and examples and that is what ARTistic Pursuits did in each lesson. Afterward, the freedom to choose something he loved and then to draw it made for a very happy beginning artist
If you need to assign grades, it comes with an evaluation sheet too. For me, because we had such mental hurdles to overcome and because Tiny has set a standard of near perfection for his art, we didn’t focus on grades. We do need to focus on the process now that we know what it is. Now, it takes even longer to observe and look closely at each object he wants to draw.
I wasn’t sure when I started this review if Tiny would let me share any pictures with you. However, he is so proud of himself and hand-picked these masterpieces to share with you.
I am so pleased with this book and I just can’t think of anything that needs to be changed. From the way I received the book with shipping care to the timely arrival of it and presentation of the material, I would highly recommend any book in this series. My art teacher in a book is a keeper. Thanks to ARTtistic Pursuits for this excellent product to serve the homeschool community.
Here are some facts for you in one spot so you can find them easily.
Website: ARTistic Pursuits:The Curriculum for Creativity
List Price: $47.95
Grades/Ages to use it for: Ages 11 and up.
Type of Product: Comb-binding book, 92 pages, 68 lessons, 176 illustrations. ISBN: 978-1-939394-06-4, January 1, 2013 3rd Edition
Art Supply Packs: The art supply packs are a nice plus when you don’t know enough about top notch art supplies to purchase them on your own but you know using the right art materials makes an immense difference in the end product. ARTistic Pursuits art supply packs come with all the art supplies you need for each book.
Customer Service: My book arrived in secure shipping order and was received at the time it was promised.
Hugs and love ya,
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.
All product information is correct and accurate as of the date of this review.