Thursday, May 1, 2014

Artistic Pursuits Review Early Elementary K-3 Book 1 (Schoolhouse Review Crew)

ARTistic Pursuits Review

I don't know about you but art here sometimes gets put on the back burner. It's not that I don't like it, I do but sometimes it feels like something we have to make time for - or we squeeze in at the last moment.  I was given the opportunity to review another book from ARTistic Pursuits. I reviewed one of their older books with Jam last year so when they offered the Early Elementary K-3 Book One ($47.95) I was really excited.

ARTistic Pursuits Review

The book itself is softcover and spiral bound so it opens nice and flat while working Little J loved this. The book is broken down into three main sections.

What Artists Do
Lessons 1-5 Think like an Artist
Lessons 6-9 Handling Materials of the Artist
Lessons 10-13 The Subject Matter of the Artist
Lesson 14 - Show it Like an Artist

What Artists See
Lessons 15-21 Seeing and Using the Elements of Art

Where we Find Art
Lessons 22-36

Little J has loved having he own art curriculum. He has asked to do this everyday (although we haven't). We have been doing one lesson a week so with 36 lessons the book is a full years home-school art curriculum. There is a list of basic supplies that you need. I found it easier to gather these before we started. They are listed on the website and also at the front of the book. The items are listed in groups this makes it easier to purchase supplies gradually but still have what you need for the set of lessons you are working on.

Group 1 Drawing
1-Ebony Pencil
1- Vinyl Eraser
1- Small set of soft pastels
1- Small set of oil pastels
1-Sketch or drawing paper pad

Group 2 Painting
1- Set of 10-15 Watercolor Crayons
1-#8 round watercolor brush that comes to a point
1- Watercolor paper pad

Group 3 Paper Art
1- Heavy weight construction paper, assorted colors including black
1- package tissue paper, assorted colors
1- scissors

Group 4 Clay
1- 4 or 5lb gray self hardening clay (Red clay could be used for one project. White self-hardening clay or flour dough recipe can be used too)

There is then a list of which lesson fits into which group.

The lessons are split into two sections the first part is an interactive time that Little J and I worked together. I read the lesson then we do a observation activity together or discuss art works by the masters. After this period of 'together' time I get out the art supplies needed and then Little J gets on with the project. The book recommends five to ten minutes for the lesson and then thirty to sixty minutes for the project. It's never taken us more than thirty minutes though as Little J never stays on task for longer than that.

The first few lessons we did used the watercolor crayons. The first lesson we did my crayons hadn't arrived yet but Little J didn't want to wait. So as you can tell in the pictures we used some watercolor pencils that we already had. They worked OK but the crayons worked a lot better.

Little J sometimes gets a little frustrated because he wants to do things perfectly all the time. I have had to keep reminding him that he just needs to use his imagination and enjoy it instead of getting stressed about it. As I was about to finish up this review my recent order arrived on my doorstep. This always makes Little J excited and he was convinced their was something in their for him...and there was, our terracotta clay I bought for one of the later lessons. I told him today was not an art day, however have you ever tried telling that to an excited five year old. Anyway he was having nothing of it and insisted we do it today. So instead of finishing this up I started a new art project - boys - got to love them. My problem during the lesson was to actually have him stay on focus and make the pot that we were assigned. He wanted to play with the clay like it was play-doh and he took a bit convincing that it would start to dry up, which of course it did. I did manage to convince him though and he made a cute pot, and even put a pattern on the side. Of course I had to bribe him with his own little bit of clay that he could do what ever he wanted with - and he made a clay marble :)

We have had such a fun with this book. I like the way that it is split up between teacher instruction, introduction to real art pieces, and a child project.

Even the big kids got in on the fun. There is something about art that speaks to all levels. Boo always ends up gravitating to where ever Little J and I are doing art and wants to join in. I really don't think it's a problem and neither does Little J in fact I think it helps him relax.

The only negative thing I can think of about this book is the cost at $47.95 it's not cheap and so if you had children in different levels the cost could add up. The book is also made in a way that I could put together at home if you have a comb punch. However saying that it really saves a lot of time and effort in putting a solid curriculum together.

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