Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Artistic Pursuits-The Way They See It

I really love the idea of completing big, messy art projects with my children. However, there is nothing I let slide off the radar at my house more than completing big, messy art projects with my children. Artistic Pursuits may very well be the stimulus I need to launch into regular art projects and lessons especially with my little ones. Offering art curriculum for ages pre-school - high school, Artistic Pursuits promises to "meet the specific needs of homeschoolers at home".

Our family received Artistic Pursuits latest release The Way They See It: A book for Every Parent about the Art Chidren Make. The art course is written to the teacher of children aged 3-5 and offers insight and encouragement for guiding young children through a variety of artistic processes. From the first page of, The Way They See It, parents recieve great insight into the artistic development of young children. According to author Brenda Ellis, "Children become quite focused mentally by the process of creating. For the child, it's about the process not the results. This is old news in children's art education, but not many art teachers or parents grasp the importance of allowing children to experiment and enjoy the process of working with materials. I hope you begin to ponder the idea now."

Included with each "Grown Up Talk" lesson is a simple art activity for young children. Divided into 18 different projects plus a section titled "First Skills", focused on teaching children to properly handle art supplies like scissors, crayons, etc., this 73 page spiral bound text is filled with color, creative font type, simple easy direction and instruction, and adorable sample artwork from pre-school students. In addition Ellis offers practical sound advice in regards to art supplies including some great recipes for home-made products.

My four year old son Aidan and I dove into The Way They See It on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Aidan loves creating art in any form and as I read through the philosophy of Artistic Pursuits, pre-school curriculum I knew we had a great match. We completed the first art activity together which included studying a full color print of a famous work of art included on the project page. I read the script below the print and we discussed the work of art by identifying colors and objects in the art work. Following our brief discussion it was Aidan’s turn to create a colorful picture with crayons on paper. A simple reminder to me, his teacher, was included to check his grip on his crayons as he drew and correct any issues he might display. Below is a photo of Aidan’s enthusiastic rendering. He titled it “Aidan Space Artist” and eagerly narrated a very detailed story of his work. I was thrilled by Aidan’s passion for this very simple project and noted how confident I felt in having a successful artistic learning experience for my son.

Choosing a different medium on another day, Aidan and his 7 year old sister Sierra completed activity 3, “A Mark-Making Project” with fingerpaint. We had some old fingerpaint in our closet, but a basic recipe was included for fingerpaint in case our cupboards were bare. Aidan spent only a few minutes “making marks” completing his artwork in record time. Sierra, always the consumate artist, spent nearly 45 mins. adding and subtracting paint, swirling it to many hues and thoroughly enjoying her artistic experience. Comparing my student's experiences helped me realize the beauty of the flexibility of the Artistic Pursuits projects. Whether you have a speedy artist or a child who wishes to create art for hours on end the projects are easily adapted to satisfy each personality.

Artistic Pursuits curriculum texts are offered for preschool, K-3, 4-6, Jr. High and Senior High levels for $42.95 each. All volumes can be purchased at the Artistic Pursuits website, along with art supply kits for each of the volumes and direct links to other art supply on-line stores. Sample pages from each of the volumes can be viewed at the website along with helpful articles regarding home education art instruction. A list of convention stops for this year is posted for those wishing to see Artistic Pursuits, up close and personal.

With beautifully designed affordable texts, encouraging and simple information to help me become a better teacher and easy to implement projects, Artistic Pursuits has earned a spot in our homeschool journey. My budding artists are excited there will be many more days filled with color, design and learning to see the world through the eyes of an artist.

1 comment:

Hayley said...

Thank you so much for this review. My daughter (4) shows a great interest in art, much more than my older son. I have been looking for an art curriculum and this sounds great!