Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Artistic Pursuits-One Year on

I'm no artist but I do have a child who loves art. My inclination would be to be rather light on art but this would be unkind to this particular child. We try to provide plenty of art materials and some local lessons but also use Artistic Pursuits. 

We use Artistic Pursuits about once a week although we had a gap, part way through the year, when mainly self designed art happened.

Artistic Pursuits is a curriculum from the US designed for home educators. We used the Early Elementary book 1 which covers K-3 which in UK terms is year 1 to 4. The spiral bound book contains 36 lessons. Each lesson has a theme. In this book the first 14 lessons were around What artists do, the next seven were about What artists see and the final 15 were about Where we find art.

Each lesson consists of an introductory page which might include an exercise for the child, perhaps around observation or could be an introduction to where art is found and the culture where a particular art form is found.


 The second page of the lesson is looking at art. A wide variety is included from cave paintings and stained glass from a Medieval cathedral to twentieth century art from around the world.

The final, and usually longest part of the lesson is practical art. This draws on techniques from the art in the second part of the lesson. This is well laid out and makes clear what resources are needed.  There is also a resource list at the front of the book. The techniques cover clay, to pastels and watercolour and construction using tissue paper and card. 

An example chapter could the around art in streets. The introduction was around Roman statues and their purpose. The looking at art page shows a photograph of a statue of Marcus Aurelius on a horse with some background about his reign. The activity is making clay animal sculptures.

So how did Artistic Pursuits work for us?

Pros
  • This book is easy to use at home.
  • The third part of the book which looked at historical art was very well received and part of this linked in well with our history.
  • There are clear equipment lists.
Cons
  • Some of the illustrations of children's art were by quite young children. My eight year old found this off putting.
  • We found that we needed a break to allow some self-designed art to take place but that we then went back to the book refreshed.
Will we use Artistic Pursuits again? Probably but as part of a programme which hopefully, will include books about art history, art classes and gallery trips. The next book in the series is based around artists and I am sure that this format will be very successful here.

This is a resource that I would recommend, particularly for home educators who don't have an art background.

I purchased this book for the use of my family. The opinions are mine and those of my children.


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