Are you looking for an art curriculum that emphasizes creativity and the process of art over perfection of a finished product or copying irrelevant shapes and lines? Would you like for your children to learn the joy of creating for the sake of creating while exploring their world? I am so excited to introduce you to ARTistic Pursuits: The Curriculum for Creativity, an art curriculum by a homeschool mom for homeschool families.
Here is a little bit about the curriculum, spanning preschool through high school, from the website.
"This comprehensive art program, designed to involve the child in the creative process while developing observational skills, just got better. NEW revised and expanded 3rd editions offer additional art instruction specific to art materials and techniques used by artists. The ARTistic Pursuits approach to teaching art is a welcome departure from typical art instruction books. The award winning homeschool art program meets the specific needs of homeschoolers at home. A variety of fun art lessons teach both the expressive and technical aspects of art while allowing children to make choices about what and how they will draw, paint, and sculpt. "
We had the great opportunity to review the newly expanded preschool edition of ARTistic Pursuits titled, The Way They See It: A Book For Every Parent About the Art Children Make.
The Way They See It by Barbara Ellis was written for the parents of young children ages 3-5. I have been using the lessons with all three girls. Hannah is almost 3, Amelia is 4 1/2 and Tabitha just turned 6, so they were all at an appropriate age for it. The author emphasizes the importance of children seeing and observing. Not only are they observing the world around them, but they are given the opportunity to enjoy works of art from the masters.
This is how the book is organized. After the Introduction and the Table of Contents, the author has given a recommended art supply list. She explains why she prefers specific brands. For this Preschool level, all of the materials are easy to find in your local store or you can purchase their Art Supply Kit from the site. She then moves on to the focus of the book, the lessosn.
The Nature of Children's Artistic Development
- Each lesson starts with a "Grown-up Talk" to help the parent understand the children's art and their artistic development.
- This is followed by a "Picture Talk" where a copy of a Master's work is carefully observed, after which the children can answer some questions to really get to know it.
- Finally the children are to complete a "Project" related to what they have learned in the Picture Talk.
(In this section the author emphasizes the importance of teaching children the correct way to use art tools and materials. If your child has not yet had experience with these are materials, it may be a good idea to start with the skill lessons in this section. I have to say, I learned some interesting little tidbits and there are some cute projects to help develop these skills.)
Here is what you will teach your children about in the First Skills Section:
- Scissors (holding and using correctly and safely)
- Pencil, Crayon, and Marker (again with proper holding advice and safety tips)
- Adhesives (and the importance of choosing the right kind)
- Brushes and Paint (setting up paints, choosing paints, and the importance of a quality brush
We did skip the First Skills section as the girls have been creating art for a while using all the materials noted above. Though I may want to go back and have the girls make some of the cute projects to improve their skills (or just because).
Here is an example of the first "Picture Talk" page.
The girls checked out the details in Bouquet of Flowers on a Ledge by Ambrosius Bosschaert. Then we gathered some similar materials for the girls to explore and color. As it is the middle of winter, fresh flowers aren't that easy to come by, so we used some of our artificial flowers.
The girls tried to find colors close to what they observed on the box. They drew what they saw and then embellished with rainbows and hills (as were seen outside the window in the original painting) and whatever their imaginations dreamed up.
We skipped the next lesson or should I say postponed. I did not want the girls going out in freezing weather to draw pictures of the gray sky. Instead we moved on to our Mark-making project, using the fun tactile paint: finger paint. They swirled and they made lines and they tapped on the paper to make texture. This activity was one where mommy really had to keep her mouth shut and let the girls continue on with their exploration. They would have such cute marks and then they would wipe it and start over.
This finger painting was so popular we extended it into our Colors of the Rainbow collages (our projects leading up to St. Patrick's Day). They have finger painted all the colors now and will be adding matching colored objects to the painting.
Here are their green paintings.
Another project the girls loved was the Dough Project. We made our own playdough on the stove. The book comes with a recipe, but we used the recipe I have been using for years. We colored it green because it was the color we were focusing on that day. While they have been using playdough for a while now, they enjoyed being able to do different things with the dough that I hadn't really thought about before.
They squeezed and pinched...
Even Harold wanted to be involved.
The playdough made many transformations (we made dinosaurs and wormies/snakes and fish) and since that day they have been playing with it daily.
These are just a few of the fun lessons in art that your children will discover with ARTistic Pursuits: The Way They See It Preschool Curriculum. I am really enjoying the addition of an artist study in our weekly art lesson. Additionally, the focus on the process and observation are very important to me. It is such a great way to explore God's world which is all around us, which the girls love to do.
You can purchase The Way They See It for $47.95 and the Art Supply Kit for $69.00.
Members of the TOS Review Crew were able to review all different levels of the ARTistic Pursuits curriculum. You may check out the reviews here.