Sunday, May 2, 2010

Artistic Pursuits

After posting our 6 upcoming art projects I was asked a few questions about our Art curriculum from a few readers. I've tried to answer them all here to the best of my ability.. 

Why Did You Choose Artistic Pursuits?
 We chose the program after having tried another art program and not “clicking” with it. I’m sure it was a lovely program, but it wasn’t a good fit for our family. Which sent me back to the drawing board. We wanted something that was going to expand our mediums beyond the typical markers, crayons, and pencils that we use all the time. I also needed something that I could use without having much artistic knowledge. I’ll be the first to admit that while I do many crafts I’m not exactly artistic. Which meant I needed something I could use and not feel frustrated with.
I honestly wanted to sign my boys up for art lessons. It was my first idea, but despite living in a very artsy part of Tasmania no one was willing to teach my children. Those who knew art, specifically watercolor, were too intimidated to teach any children at all. I’m grateful they were up front about it, but I was also disappointed. I did have a friend give me information on two people who are willing to work with children, but we’d all ready purchased Artistic Pursuits and thus never followed through on those leads.
Do you need anything special to use the books?
Yes, and no. You need normal things like scissors and construction paper, but you also need water color crayons and pastels. There’s a full list here of the items you need. If you live in America you can easily order them, I don’t live in America and the cost of shipping would have been insane.
Instead, I went to a local art store and picked up the supplies needed. The only thing I was truly worried about was the water color crayons, but my shop had the very brand called for and sold the crayons individually so I could get the exact colors I wanted. I suspect we’ll be enjoying this medium a lot.
Monetarily wise I didn’t find the supplies that expensive. The crayons were the most expensive, and I did buy top of the line there. However, if you picked up your art supplies on sale or with coupons you’d probably spend less then I did. My store doesn’t do coupons and I did manage to get my pastels and oil crayons on special. Truthfully we didn’t need new oil pastels, but we really enjoy the bright and vivid colors so I did splurge and pick up another pack of them.
The simpler items like scissors and tissue paper I did not pick up. I didn’t feel the need as I all ready have them on hand or can readily obtain them. Because I have a lefty in the house I just have to make sure that we have at least one pair of scissors that are not picky about which side you cut with.

Is this a step-by-step Art program? 
No, not really. In fact, if I’m not mistaken Artistic Pursuits actually states that they aren’t and are quite proud of it. They do tell the children how to use the item/medium, but they don’t tell them specifically what they must draw. Thus they can’t tell them exactly HOW to draw it or paint it, etc. 

Which Book(s) do you own?
We own Book One for Grades K-3. There are 32 lessons in my book on a variety of different things. My kids are 2 years apart and I felt this was the best fit for our family. I also figure that if we use this weekly we’ll progress quickly with it and it will give us room to grow. There are the options (should we desire) to swap, sell, or borrow other volumes from other homeschoolers. That’s a bridge we’ll cross when we get there. 
Did you buy Artistic Pursuits in Australia?
I did purchase it while we’ve been living here, but not from an Aussie provider. I did see it up for grabs here & here, but after much thought and investigation I found that having it shipped directly from America was actually going the best deal for us at the time.
Do you have any reservations about the program?
No. I must be honest here though, and say that while I’ve read through many lessons in the manual we’ve yet to actually do one. Terrible isn’t it? 
One of the items you need is an Ebony Pencil. When I went to purchase one, with the rest of our art supplies, the normal art crew wasn’t in and the people working couldn’t help me. They presumed I was just after a black pencil. I disagreed.
I’m finding it quite difficult to obtain a pencil actually referred to as “ebony” in Australia. Thanks to the help of some other Aussie Homeschooling Mum’s I think I’ve found what I’m looking for. It’s quite a bit more expensive then the typical ebony pencil in America, but we’re REALLY tired of waiting to get charging with our program!
Again, we did try another art program, but we weren’t fond of it. I do know that CurrClick is now offering (or was) live art classes. It was an option I considered, but with the massive time difference between Australia & America, it wasn’t a good option for us. After all, I didn’t think my guys were going to be up for a 12 am art class! 
You can read the reviews of homeschoolers who’ve actually used the program here. In fact, it was this review here that helped me consider the program. That and a fellow homeschooling Mum, who happened to be a former art teacher, assured me that this program was made to be used even by “laymen”. 


Heather said...

Thanks Kendra!

Renelle said...

Another great post Kendra, you have such a wealth of knowledge. I've awarded you the Sunshine Award for being one of the most inspiring blogging families. Go to to claim your award or just to see. I'll be back to visit soon. Blessings Renelle