Questions about 3rd Edition Curriculum

The new 3rd editions, published in 2013, have additional lessons that will instruct and expand on methods for using art materials. The preschool book now contains an art appreciation lesson featuring a Master work prior to each project. The K-3 books have four additional lessons that focus on the materials used in the books, for greater understanding. All 4-12 books contain four feature pages on using the elements of art together. Master works and art history pages have been updated and modified within all the books.

Can a non-artistic Mom teach this?

We think you'd like to hear what non-artistic Moms have to say on this subject. "It is a colorful, user-friendly, varied, and thorough art program - perfect for the artistically challenged me." J. Wilcox, The Book Peddler. "Finally, an art program that doesn't require artistic talent from the teacher and allows you to confidently teach multiple aspects of art, including techniques, history, and art appreciation. Overall an excellent option for exploring art with young students." M. Marshall. "They have done all the work for you. Even if you haven't any artistic bone in your body, you can handle this curriculum and learn as a family. It has also been used in many homeschool art classes! Relax and let the book do the teaching!" R. Miller, Miller Pads and Paper.

Books written by educational experts tend to be written to the teacher, and require too much time and energy from the teaching parent while offering little in the way of practical application. This series was written by homeschool parents with an educational background in the fine arts who believe that when children are given rich information, colorful pictures, and motivational projects, they will not only learn, but will come back eagerly to learn more! Parents are then free to participate with their children in learning, only as desired. Here's another Mom's experience. "I'm not artistically inclined in the least bit, yet I was able to participate and enjoy the time we spent together that day. Any program that can bring an 18-year-old girl, a 9-year-old (boy) that majors in skateboarding, and a 4-year-old together for a whole afternoon is worth a good hard look. I did, and I will never look elsewhere. Artistic Pursuits covers everything I could ever want my children to experience in a fine arts program and it does it better than I ever dreamed possible." H. Shaw.

Will my child see the results he wants?

Most children want an art course that will allow them to express their own ideas and they want to see progress in their artistic skills. One of the reasons ARTistic Pursuits works for so many children is that we guide them to seeing the types of things they should be focusing on and we offer many opportunities for practice. Skills progress only when students MAKE art. Many Video art programs currently available are high on talking about art, but offer few opportunities for the child to then use those ideas by making art with their own hands. When comparing curricula ask, "How many complete, full scale pictures will my child produce with this curriculum?" Artistic skills do not come through our brains (mere knowledge) but by actually using our hands to create it. So students presented with an art course that merely asks them to finish pictures begun by someone else, make tiny 2 by 2 inch sketches, make a total of 8 pictures per video or none at all, will see very little progress in their skills as an artist. ARTistic Pursuits will have students in K-3 grades complete 36 pictures per book and in 4-12 grade levels complete 68 pictures per book. As a result, students are happy with what they can accomplish. This testimony is just one of many like it that we receive, "We tried (another art program) but it constantly wound up on the bottom of the priority heap. It didn't inspire us, didn't require any creativity, and really didn't lead to the kind of drawing that my daughter wants to be able to do. But it made me sad to hear my daughter saying more and more often, 'I can't draw'. In the week since our supplies arrived we have already completed Unit One (Artistic Pursuits Elementary 4-5 Book One, Elements of Art and Composition). She has produced art that neither she nor I knew she was capable of and had a GREAT time doing it. She has produced, not one, but several drawings for each of the later assignments in the unit... and is taking her sketch pad to the museum this weekend. Your program is, in a word, brilliant, inspiring, encouraging, fun, easy to implement , and a source of a much needed enthusiasm on the part of both the teacher and student in our homeschool that is spilling over to everything we do..." Wittine, Florida. We believe your child like many others will see the results he wants.

Can students work on their own?

Yes! Art concepts are clear and easy to understand. On this web site an entire unit from each book is included so that you can look at the pages. Grades K-3 books are designed for a parent to read to the student (5-10 minutes) and then allow the student to create on their own. Grades 4-12 books are completely independent, however many parents tell us they love reading the (5-10 minute) lesson with their children. Do what you prefer!

Are the books non-consumable?

Yes. The unit pages are filled with information and students work on their own paper to create their artwork. You can pass this book down!

How long does it take to go through a book, a lesson, and how many days per week should we work on art?

K-3 books are designed to be used once per week. Each book lasts approximately a year. Each lesson is about 10 minutes long and then you set them free to make their own art. Students usually work from 30 minutes to an hour depending on age and personality. Grades 4-12 books are designed so that each book has 16 units and four assignments within each unit for a total of 64 projects. Plan two art sessions per week for a year of study/ one lesson per week for 2 years of study. High schoolers wishing to go through the entire program in one year can schedule 4 sessions per week. We do not suggest this rushed pace for younger students. The projects within the books are not simple half-hour sessions where students copy from the book. Older students will be asked to explore something, observe, or set up their own still life, and then to draw from that. Younger students usually take 45 minutes to an hour to complete an assignment. High School students may take longer. Remember that students are working independently and this reflects student time, not parent time!

Could this art curriculum possibly be a good fit with what I'm currently using in other subjects?

Customers come back every year telling us about the successes their children are having from using these simple books, and some are extremely pleased to find that the art history in K-3 series and art appreciation in the 4-12 series dovetail nicely with what they are already studying. Sonlight users say the books seemed to be designed for them - Artistic Pursuits Early Elementary K-3 Book One fitting Core 1, Artistic Pursuits Early Elementary K-3 Book 2 fitting Core 2, Artistic Pursuits Elementary 4-5 (focusing on American Art) fit Core 3 and 4. Middle School (World Art) fitting Cores 5 and 6 and so on. ARTistic Pursuits can now be purchased through Sonlight. Those who love Charlotte M. Mason's homeschooling model will find Artistic Pursuits a wonderful way to apply her ideas of creativity and freedom as children are encouraged to observe and ponder such things as a "leaf or twig", and in her words "deal with it as he chooses" and by "picture talk", observing real works of art. Those using the Core Knowledge Series find Artistic Pursuits lines up with the ideas of offering "specific knowledge", with the added benefit of applying that knowledge by making art. Tapestry of Grace (history program) and others using the Classical Approach are delighted with Artistic Pursuits - putting practical application to those ideas in the subject of art. Unschoolers have said its the perfect thing, when their children want more art.

I want to work from only one book, but my kids are not all K-3. What can I do?

Many parents with children in the K-3 grades and others in the 4-5 grades choose to use K-3 Book One as an introduction to the arts. Older students learn a lot about art history, are not talked down to, and really enjoy the projects. Once you know how easy the program is to use, you can then choose the following year whether to continue in the K-3 series with all students or to give the older student instruction in drawing and color principles as well, using the 4-5 books. Many parents have the older students do both, going through the K-3 series together as a family and working on their own in the 4-5 books.

If each set of books cover the same elements of art and composition, how do they vary?

The books vary on many levels. Each element and compositional term is examined in a different work of art as the Elementary 4-5 look at American Art, Middle School look at art around the world, and High School look at European art. The How To page varies as each level is working with different mediums and technical aspects of making art. Elementary 4-5 covers some very basic information that most students this age miss until pointed out. High School deals with techniques that would be more difficult for the Elementary 4-5 student to understand. Elementary 4-5 books devote more units to the study of balance, while High School books devote more units to the study of depth. Creativity exercises found at the bottom of the first page of each unit are different in every book, offering a vast variety of experiences through all three levels. Subject matter changes so that Elementary 4-5 look at the element of shape in a figure of a Native American farmer and the project assignment is to draw from real objects like a collection of robots, car models, or doll figures. Middle School students explore shape in a seascape by Hokusai and the project assignment is to draw a picture of an animal from a photograph. High School students explore shape in a plant sketch and the project assignment is to draw a tree from direct observation. So the subject of shape is given variety and is explored in more depth as the age level increases.

I find grading art difficult. How do I evaluate the work and judge the work fairly?

An evaluation sheet is provided at the end of each book in the 4-12 grade levels. Simply choose the description that best fits the students' work when compared to the color coded boxes on the unit pages. Each description contains a number that can be turned into a letter grade. You will be evaluating the work by the concepts taught and personal feelings won't keep you wondering if you've been too harsh or too easy.

Why do you use student artwork in the book?

Student work is shown on the project page of each unit because the goal is to encourage all students that they can be successful while enjoying art. There is no reason that a 5th grader should look at work in a book done by a professional and decide that he is no good. He has not had time to develop the technical skills. Would we compare the math skills of a typical 5th grader to those of a high school trigonometry student? No. Nor should we do this in art. Work is shown by students within the grade level of each book, who have varying degrees of technical skill, but who successfully used the elements of art and composition within their picture. We talk about how these elements are used successfully so that the display of student work becomes another teaching tool. Students learn. We discourage the comparison of technical skills which can dishearten to the point that some students quit making art.

I'm tired of disappointing art books. I can't see the book and I'm still not sure this is right for me. What can I do?

We hope you find the full page layout helpful as you browse our web site. You can read a lesson or two from each book and decide what you think of the books. If you need more than that we encourage you to purchase the book and get it in your hands. If you find it is not for you, you can return the unused book to us and we will refund your money. We are not a huge corporation, just real people. Return it. Get your money back. It's that simple. See our No Risk Money Back Guarantee, at "purchase" on the navigation bar.

Is there any nudity?

There is no nudity in our books. This is for two reasons. I believe, even though the public accepts nudity in artworks, and you will certainly not be able to go to an art gallery and not see it, that it is up to the parent to decide when, at what age, and how much, they want to expose their child to. Since I am not the parent, I do not express my views on the subject to other people's children. I decide for my own children, not yours. And secondly, as I have taught art for many years I found that even the slightest hint of any kind is so distracting to students that they are not able to concentrate on the topic I wish to teach them about. So leaving nudity out of our program seemed to be the best route to good focused teaching. Our nearest exception is in Senior High Book One, where we use The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo and it is cropped. I felt this was a very important work that students should be familiar with and while I would never crop a painting, the work on the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo is always cropped in some way in order to show a single portion of this massive work which takes up the whole ceiling. It is also easy to find reproductions of various sections of the complete work on-line so students wishing to see it, can find it.

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