Wednesday, March 4, 2009

ARTistic Pursuits: A TOS Homeschool Crew Review

An art instruction curriculum was not on my list of homeschooling considerations when I began. I was concerned with how I'd teach the three R's. I don't feel competent when I think about teaching art (I need an art class, myself!). I even read a lot about what Charlotte Mason calls, "picture studies", and still, I didn't make the connection between "picture studies" and an art curriculum.

I am learning to think about ART in new ways. Art is all around us. Art is more than a craft at a table, making a drawing or painting. Art is perspective taking, sharing something from me to you, connecting with others. ARTistic Pursuits captures what art is, how to recognize it and appreciate it all around us, and helps us to create our own.

ARTistic Pursuits
produces curricula for teaching art to students from the pre-school level through high school.
We were allowed to choose the book we'd like to review, based upon the needs of our student(s), and after reviewing the descriptions at the ARTistic Pursuits web site, I was torn between the pre-school book and the K-3 book for my 9 year old with autism. I sense that we missed some pre-school skills in a developmental fashion, and going back to experience those is important. Even if your child is well beyond the pre-school years, you may want to consider beginning here. (See the web site for examples from each book.)

We are using the K-3 BOOK ONE, An Introduction to the Visual Arts ($42.95) , at home.

Right away, I was impressed with the book. Brenda Ellis has produced an absolutely BEAUTIFUL book!

As I began to read the lessons, I was more impressed, as Ellis's program is aimed to hit the areas in which individuals on the autism spectrum are often delayed. Right off the bat, Lesson 1, Ellis begins a journey of perspective taking, seeing what artists see, hearing what they hear. Ellis walks us through what art is, where to look for it, and how to be an artist, too!

This is another resource that scaffolds the process for ME, to show me what to show my children, as we look for art when we're out and about, going through our day, (very "guided participation" and RDI-able) and this resource gives me do-able projects for us to experience together at home, as well! I learned that I don't have to be an accomplished art teacher to teach art at home--I can learn alongside my child.

The full color reproductions of works of art are spectacular (gorgeous!), and according to the ARTistic Pursuits web sites, are new for 2008:

"NEW in 2008!
You'll love our new SECOND EDITIONS. All books now include art works by Master artists printed in each book in full color. There are no more separate print packets to handle. Because of this new format, we've been able to include more artwork and more historical information. Now, with an extra page in each unit, students in 4-12 grades get a better look at American art, World art, and European art. Biographies of the artists have been expanded and students still get to look at a work of art in each unit to see how an artist used the idea presented in that unit - the feature that makes ARTistic Pursuits unique and loved by so many students. These are the books you love, plus more! "

One other aspect that I like (but haven't used, yet), is the option to purchase all of your materials from ARTistic Pursuits in one package. Yes, the book includes a materials list, and yes, you can go to the craft store and purchase all the items (we have a lot of the items already because we use crafts a lot at home), but I love the option of the short cut they offer in their packages!

I love this one!



argsmommy said...

Hi, I'm on the HS-RDI list, and made a mental note to look into this program after you posted about it months ago. I was able to get a great deal on a used copy, so now I'm looking at how to incorporate it into our schooling. How often do you use it? How long do you take to complete a unit? Are you spreading the book out over multiple years? Sorry for all the questions. : )


Penny said...

Kellie, we take everything we do very slowly (think snail's pace). I bought everything on the supply list at a craft store so that we are ready for anything. And I try to fit it in when I can. I have no goal for finishing -- we'll finish when we finish. My daughter has been sick quite a bit, and when she is sick, she is quite dysregulated, so keeping a strict schedule does not work for us. I like the way it spotlights for ME the things to spotlight about the perspectives of an artist. The activities are background activities for RDI -- it's not about making her cut or color do anything or even answer the questions about the paintings -- you can cover the material in a way that allows the child to make a discovery that the child is an artist, too, without always trying to "get" something from them. Does that help?

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