Dec 6, 2011

TOS Review: Artistic Pursuits

I have two kids who are ardently artistic, one child who lives and breathes art and creating, and one child who enjoys art if everyone else is doing it, it is on his own terms, and he happens to be in the mood. I, however, know nothing about art or how to teach it. This is why I like Artistic Pursuits. It mixes art instruction with art history, shows the kids pictures of real art by "real" artists as well as pictures of art drawn by kids their own age; and it does all of this in a spiral bound book of 32 lessons. Each lesson comes with an art project that is clearly and simply explained using both text and graphics. I'm a visual learner, so the graphics are priceless!
We were sent a copy of K-3 Book Two: Stories of Artists and Their Art to review, and in this book, the lessons cover such artists as Cimabue, Van Eyck, Leonardo da Vinci, Bruegel, Vermeer, Millet, and many more. The projects are various types of painting, drawing, printmaking, modeling, and mixed media.
There are three books in the K-3 series, there is also a book for Preschool, plus additional series for grades 4-6, Jr. high, and Sr. high.
For a family with a lot of interest and not much knowledge or experience in art, this is the perfect program! Let me tell what we like about it...

  1. the book is easy to follow and implement: I don't have to do a lot of prep or planning, I don't have to read ahead or hunt up any additional information ( I did have to gather supplies, but this was simple enough, and a one-time project for me)
  2. the information in the lesson is short and engaging but informative and worthwhile, we all felt like we had learned something when I finished reading each lesson, yet I didn't have to tie the kids to their chairs to get through the material
  3. on page three of the book is a master list of ALL the art materials you need, divided by lesson, so you not only know what to buy, but when you need it. So if you want/need to spread out buying the materials, this is easily done
  4. the projects are well explained so it is easy enough for the kids to know what to do
  5. the projects are open-ended enough that the kids are relying on their own creativity and are able to do their own thing... this is good both for my loves-to-create child, who would be stifled by a cut and dried project as well as my not-to-interested child, who hates to be micromanaged, and also for the two in the middle who need the nudging to think outside the box
  6. this book is non-consumable
  7. I can easily and without tweaking use this book for all of my kids. I admit I don't have a wide age-spread, but all four kids benefited and enjoyed the lessons with no extra work on my part... they simply worked at their own ability level
  8. pictures of real art for them to look at and be inspired by
  9. it wasn't just art, but art history and art appreciation as well
  10. the format of teaching and then implementing. It cemented in their minds the information presented.
  11. the kids had fun!

Again, this was simple and easy to use. Once or twice a week, I gathered the children up, read them a lesson (3-5 minutes), explained the project, and let them have at it. We love this program and will continue to use it in our school. We now own books 1 and 2 and will purchase 3 when we need it.
If you are interested in the opinions of the children, here they are:
I like it because I can do art projects and I really like art. The lesson was interesting.

I liked the water painting. I am not much of an art person, but the lesson was ok. I like to paint.

I liked the projects. The story was good.

It was great! I liked it! I liked the painting the we did. I love love LOVE to paint.

You can also go to the Crew Blog to read other Crew Member's opinions and experiences.

As members of the TOS Crew, this product was sent to us free for the purpose of this review. The opinions are honest and totally our own.

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