My twelve-year-old daughter, Kaytie, loves art. She loves art of any kind, but one of her favorites right now is drawing and painting. And one of her favorite resources for learning how to draw/ paint is ARTistic Pursuits. We have reviewed many of their books in the past so she was delighted when we were asked to review for them again and absolutely thrilled when she realized she was old enough to use Middle School 6-8, Book 1: The Elements of Art and Composition. She's been waiting for this one a long time!
The curriculum is all in one, soft-cover, comb-bound, book. It contains 16 Units which are divided into Lessons. There are a total of 68 lessons and they follow the same basic pattern:
Lesson 1 = be creative
Lesson 2 = look (at the Unit topic) and a challenge
Lesson 3 = how to and a new technique to try
Lesson 4 = the project
There is an assignment for each lesson, and it is printed in a different color to stand out for the student. The book is full of illustrations so the student has plenty of examples to work off of. There are also many Student Galleries scattered throughout the book, so the child has peer examples, full of imperfections, to examine. This helps keeps the child (at least my child) from thinking she has to draw like an adult.
The book talks directly to the student. So I can hand it straight to Kaytie and she can do it on her own. She loves not having me get in between her and her creativity. She also loves that she can do it whenever she likes, not "just" for school. She frequently pulls the book out and works on it in her free time in the afternoons.
The suggested schedule is to have "art class" twice a week for an hour each class, this will take your student through the material in a 36 week school year. Kaytie will probably work her merry way through it in the next four or five months and be ready for the next one in the fall. You can use the book any way you want.
I love that the lessons stretch her talents. I love that she learns new things in a step-by-step, low-pressure process that expects her to explore, discover and create on her own. She draws what she wants to draw. This is no "follow our method and wind up with carbon copy results" book. This is a "do it, try it, see if you like it, erase and do it again," book. And that's another thing. I love that text tells her not to worry about perfection. She tends to get hung up on doing it right, the first time, and ARTistic Pursuits has been wonderful at getting her to loosen up and play around.
Mixed in with each lesson is art appreciation and art history. Kaytie enjoys seeing "real" art pieces by "real" artists, some of which she knows, and some of which is brand new to her. I just like having one more subject eased off my plate as she enters Middle School.
And speaking of Middle School, in the back of the book is an evaluation sheet that will help you assign your child a grade if you need one.
Since she does art all the time, we had almost all of the supplies she needed to do the lessons, but in case you need to purchase something, there is a complete list right in the front of the book, or you can look online as well. That link also has the complete Table of Contents.
I like the way it is separated into Units. This makes the lessons short enough that I can do one a day. I like how I can see how I'm improving, because every lesson gives me a project. I like being able to look back on those and see how I get better all the time. I like how it goes back on what I already know but gives me a new take on things. I like how every few lessons it combines what I learned in previous lessons with the new lesson.
One of my favorite things about ARTistic Pursuits is that they are all 100% non-consumable. I can use them with all of my kids simultaneously. Or Kaytie can use them, reuse them (Yes! She has done this! She loves them so much that she has gone back and worked her way through the books again after a few years. They are so creative and open-ended that she can easily do this and still learn a ton the second time around!) and then the younger kids can use them when they are ready. Just something to keep in mind as you are looking at the price tag. :)
ARTistic Pursuits offers a wide range of curriculum from Preschool to Highschool. As I said before, we have reviewed several ARTistic Pursuits products before and you can read those by clicking on the links below:
Early Elementary K-3: Stories of Artists and Their Art
Elementary 4-5 Book 1: The Elements of Art and Composition
Elementary 4-5 Book 2: Color and Composition
You can also read other Crew Reviews for other ARTistic Pursuits' products by clicking on the banner.
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