Wednesday, March 6, 2013

REVIEW: Early Elementary Book One: An Introduction to the Visual Arts by ARTistic Pursuits

Haylee and I were so excited to have the chance to review the Early Elementary K-3 Book One:  An Introduction to the Visual Arts by ARTistic Pursuits.

 

WHAT IS IT?:

The ARTIstic Pursuits program includes a whole series of newly revised, comprehensive art instruction books for students in Preschool-12th grade. 

The approach of the program is a gentle introduction to various aspects of art so that children can express themselves freely and are not held to rigid standards that force them to draw like an adult, for instance.  It takes children through exposure to the elements of art and composition, art history, media, and techniques.

The Preschool through 3rd grade books include 36 lessons each, and books for all grades from 4th through 12th include 68 lessons.

PRICE:  $47.95

 

OUR EXPERIENCE:

For grades K-3, ARTistic Pursuits offers a series of 3 books where each one focuses on a different genre. Book One, which we used for this review, provides an introduction to visual arts and includes 4 groupings of activities involving drawing, painting, paper art, and clay.

Each lesson consists of 2-3 pages:

    • a simple one-page topical discussion and an exploratory exercise to get kids exploring and thinking creatively
    • a one-page focused discussion on a classic work of art that gets the child observing more closely and noticing elements in the composition
    • a one-page project page that gives a simple art assignment, gives tips, and shows a sample of a completed assignment from an early elementary student

I was pleased that there was a materials list provided in the front of the book that detailed all of the supplies we needed for completing all 36 projects in the book.  That made it super easy for me to take that list to the art supply store and get everything I needed in one trip, which was exactly what I did.  I wanted to keep the materials organized and together in one place, so I also got a small plastic storage tub with a handle on top that held everything inside.  This made it easy for us to store and to pull out our “kit” whenever we were ready to complete a lesson.

It was so very simple for me to sit down together with Haylee and go over the introductory page for the lesson, discuss the master work of art using the discussion questions provided, and then set her to work on her very own art project!  She was so excited to go over a concept, observe it in a master work, and then get to try it out on her own right away! 

I absolutely loved how the project assignments allowed and even encouraged her to express herDSCF0172 own creativity while exploring the various mediums.  She had never before used “real” art supplies beyond the typical Crayola-type children’s basic crafting materials.  She was very excited to try out things like sketching pencils and watercolor crayons (her favorite).  The lessons did a great job of planting seeds for ideas for her artwork and teaching her techniques for using the materials, but then allowing her own imagination to take over.  The clear message I received was that there is no right or wrong way to create art…it comes from inside each person and is an expression of themselves.  No wonder Haylee enjoyed this program so much!

Truly, Haylee was inspired by this book.  I saw her repeatedly motivated to complete her other schoolwork in a timely manner just so she could have time to spend on ARTistic Pursuits!  She couldn’t wait for the opportunity to get to the next assignment, and she showed so much joy with each and every one.

While I initially thought it was a bit expensive for just an art book, I now realize it’s so much more valuable than that.  It’s non-consumable, so you can use it with each of your children without having to buy additional copies down the road.  It’s undoubtedly a no-frustration program for both parent and child.  And it exposes children to a variety of mediums and pieces of classic artwork.

We enjoyed it so much that I’d like to continue using it with Haylee, because she has a real passion and talent for art, and I feel this program will help cultivate her interest and skill in this area.  But since she is at the end of 3rd grade and this is her first exposure to real art instruction, I was unsure how to proceed through the program from here.  I contacted ARTistic Pursuits for advice, and they were so helpful!  I asked permission to share their response in case it may help others who are just starting this program sort of mid-stream with their children, and they said I could share it here:

“When selecting which book to use within the ARTistic Pursuits art curriculum we generally suggest that you start at the child's grade level, however there other considerations to keep in mind that are also valid. Your child's comfort level is very important for continued success in the fine arts. There is no reason to jump ahead of their skill level and discourage a child. The biggest jump is from the K-3 level to the 4-5 books. Since your daughter is enjoying the first book at the K-3 level I would encourage you to go on to the other two books at that level. You can certainly do art twice a week rather than the suggested one. You are right in that way she will experience a larger variety of materials and processes, which are a great start to learning about art. There will be plenty of time to focus on drawing skills in the other levels. Parents also choose to use the lower levels for older children when they want to do one art class for all of there children and some are beyond grade three. Families report that this has worked well for them. Also if a family wants to focus on art history in a chronological way, the K-3 series does just that. Since our curriculum has students work on assignments at their own skill levels and is not a copy-what-you-see-on-the-page type of curriculum, there is a lot of flexibility that can occur when selecting which book to use.”

Sincerely,
Brenda Ellis, President, Owner
Artistic Pursuits Inc.

I would certainly recommend this program to others, and I have a feeling it has found its way permanently into our school curriculum!

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Here are some samples of
Haylee’s work with the program
during the review period, which
included 3 watercolors and 1 sketch.






Check out what other Crew members had to say about this and other products from ARTistic Pursuits by clicking the banner below.

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Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew 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 expressed are mine or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC Regulations.