Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Art of the Middle Ages

My daughter was thrilled to review another book from ARTistic Pursuits, Inc.. She has enjoyed making crafts since she was little, but as she's gotten older, that every-now-and-then pastime has evolved into an infatuation. Now, she crafts daily. Whether she's sewing or knitting, drawing or paper quilling, folding origami or weaving on her loom, you can often find her sparking her creativity in one art form or another. 

I knew my girl would be excited to study the Art of the Middle Ages with the ARTistic Pursuits Art Instruction Book with DVD and Blu-Ray Not only does she (and the rest of the family) enjoy studying that time period, but she also thrives on learning new skills. The projects in this book combine old favorites with some new techniques.

ARTistic Pursuits was developed by Daniel and Brenda Ellis in 1999. What began as a single drawing book for high schoolers has evolved into full curricula from preschool all the way through high school. Their goal is to "develop experiences in the visual arts that allow children to create original works of art." Their program is designed to help students understand art concepts and enjoy the process of putting their own ideas and visual images on paper.

The Art of the Middle Ages book is the third volume in the kindergarten to third grade art program. This curriculum currently contains six volumes with another two projected for this summer. It is a four-year elementary course with one book for each semester and one lesson per week. Once your child finishes the first book, Art for Children, he can either work through the others chronologically or choose to study the various time periods of art in any order.

This specific book includes 18 projects. They are broken into 12 Master Works text lessons and 6 art material instruction video lessons.

One thing that I love is that each text lesson begins with a history of the particular project. These sections are bursting with information, not only the art aspects such as materials, types, purposes, and importance, but also facts about wars, church, people, animals, transportation, life, and more. The student is encouraged to examine the art works from the masters of the period and strengthen his observation skills as he answers a few questions designed to get him to see more within the picture.

After this brief history lesson, the student will recreate his own version of the project by practicing the art form. Detailed step-by-step direction are given, clearly numbered with accompanying pictures. Each lesson also includes a supply list and prep notes when needed.

The video lessons are given in both DVD and Blu-Ray versions. There is a single page in the book for each of these lessons. It shows the name, a picture of the project, a list of supplies, and a simple description.

The videos themselves begin with a brief introduction before moving on to the instructional portion. Then, the student can watch Brenda as she creates the projects in real time. The steps are easy-to-follow with audible directions. The video is zoomed in to show the hands close up, so the student can see exactly how each step is preformed.

The end of each video is a re-cap of the project. A portion of each step is shown with text instructions on the screen. 

My daughter is the craft queen in our home, but a couple of the boys enjoy creating projects, as well. As she's been working through the book, the boys join in on the crafts they find interesting. I've been letting the kids choose which projects to complete as they wish. They have stitched art into burlap, woven creations on a straw loom, made raised pictures with glue, assembled paper stained glass windows, and bound books with yarn. They worked with some supplies for the first time, such as gesso, watercolor crayons, and burlap. They watch the videos on the computer so they can create their projects while they watch and pause the instruction, as needed.

Not only are my kids learning new skills and bits of history, but they're having fun while doing it! The curriculum is easy to use. In fact, the older kids can make the projects completely on their own by following the instructions in both the text and the videos. Even my kindergartner is enjoying recreating the art.

It's difficult to find my kitchen table during the day as I often find it covered in tissue paper, glue, scissors, string, watercolors, and bits of odds and ends. Projects are covering my walls and windows. My kids hands are busy and their faces smiling. It's a beautiful thing.

Studying the Art of the Middle Ages with ARTistic Pursuits Art Instruction Book with DVD and Blu-Ray has been greatly enjoyed in our home.

You can connect with ARTistic Pursuits, Inc. on the following social media sites:

You can read more reviews of several of the curriculum books from ARTistic Pursuits on the Homeschool Review Crew blog.

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