This post, Bring Art Instruction into Your Home with ARTistic Pursuits, was made possible with the chance to review The Way They See It (preK level book) from ARTistic Pursuits as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.
I am not what I consider an artist, yet I recognize that it is a subject my boys have all loved. This is especially true when they are in the preschool years. They just adore creating art of all kinds whether it is constructing interesting shapes from dough or doodling on a piece of paper. (I am assuming it is not just me who will go into their supply cabinet to find notebooks missing and left scattered with doodles covering almost every single page.)
As I had little training in the creation of art, I often feel inadequate at teaching it to my boys. Yet, I’ve also hesitated at signing them up for art classes which can get expensive quick and require us to GO somewhere at a set time which doesn’t always work well for our family. Some of the art programs we’ve tried in the past have had a focus upon duplicating a specific process for a given project rather than having a more open ended end result while learning about the tools of the trade. We did have a good experience with ARTistic Pursuits in the past (reviewing an older edition of Early Elementary K-3, Book 1: Introduction to the Visual Arts) and purchased other levels for my older boys.
Even though J can be advanced in some things, I really did not want to start him in the K-3 books quite yet. So, it was perfect timing to be selected to review the newly revised book, The Way They See It (Preschool level), which provides parents with information about the development of children in regard to the skills needed in the artistic process. I also figured it would afford me the opportunity to have some creative, fun time with my youngest and try my own hand at the processes introduced in the book.
More About ARTistic Pursuits
ARTistic Pursuits, currently in their third edition of program materials, is an art curriculum which allows parents to easily bring this subject into the home. Brenda Ellis, an artist and homeschool parent, has authored each of the 13 books available for purchase to teach art in the home. The courses all include four components: The Elements of Art, Composition, Art History, and Media. The books are comb-bound so that pages lay flat when open. Also, the books are non-consumable so that all the kids in your home can enjoy the courses.
After providing background for the parent, each lesson then includes a color image of a Masters work which illustrates a particular concept or skill. Using easily obtained materials, the child then experiences the art process. While older ages have the book meant to be used by the student, The Way They See It addresses the parent or educator at the start of each lesson to give that background needed to know how to approach the material with the child or group of children. She also has included samples from children of that age range which will help parents see what might be considered ‘typical’ for a child of this age group.
Something that I really appreciated when I had ordered other books for my older boys a few years back was the materials list for each course which are aligned to Blick Art for easy ordering at once. While I might have been able to save a few dollars scavenging here and there for the materials, there was a definite value to having it all delivered to the house in one fell swoop.
Our Experience with ARTistic Pursuits
Knowing my older boys had enjoyed the blending of art history and hands on projects found in ARTistic Pursuits, I had high expectations going into the review period with J. I was not disappointed. While he might have grumbled once or twice when I would pull him away from play to do art with me, within a short while he was fully involved in the process and did not want to just ‘stop’ after making one drawing or project.
Matter of fact, we clustered some lessons together when I was making this homemade finger paint and playdough per instructions in the book. J declared it to be the BEST DAY EVER. The finger paint did not come out exactly as planned as Mr. Anxious lacked the patience to let the liquid starch fully thicken. But that didn’t stop him from having fun sitting outside using the still slightly warm paint on freezer paper.
The homemade playdough continues to be a hit. After forming an X, he asked me to make a P and a ‘90’ for the exercise program our family has been doing for a while.
As I said, this mom got in on the action and really enjoyed an excuse to spend part of my time being more creative and off the computer. Check out my ‘still life’ drawing along with our subject matter and J’s own work:
How do you bring art instruction into your home?
Do you find that preschool aged children are more willing to embrace exploration?
Don’t just take my word for how we found this to be. Visit the ARTistic Pursuits Review post on the Schoolhouse Review Crew website to see what other homeschooling parents thought about this and other self-paced courses.