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The Phonics of Drawing Review by Dawn King

Karine Bauch
Masterpiece Art Instruction

The Phonics of Drawing, named because it teaches the fundamental principles of drawing in a basic way, contains 30 art lessons in three levels that correspond to the stages of the Trivium. The Grammar Stage (Beginner) is for students in first through fourth grades, and they learn basic shapes and lines, basic color theory, basic shading and shadowing techniques as they imitate styles from classic artists. The Logic Stage (Intermediate) is for fifth through eighth grades, and the Rhetoric Stage (Advanced) is for ninth through twelfth grades.

Because each lesson is multilevel, the entire family could learn together. However, if you, Mom, do not want to teach, why not hand off the job to a high schooler? The lessons are easy to follow and kids from fifth grade on up could do them independently. Each lesson should take about an hour.

The CD contains everything you need to teach 30 weeks of art, except the supplies of course. Needed supplies, which are listed on the first screen of each lesson, include colored pencils, oil pastels, willow and compressed charcoal, charcoal pencil, white pastel, tinted charcoal paper, white drawing paper, newsprint paper, kneaded eraser, and a blending stump.

OK, so what are the lessons like? Well, insert the CD and the homepage comes up on your screen. You'll want to make sure that the screen is maximized for best viewing. Click on Lessons on the bar at the top of the screen. Then click on the picture of the lesson you'd like to do. For example, Lesson 7 is about Color Theory and the color wheel. So first I click on the student handout for that lesson and print it out. (Student handouts contain samples to go along with the lesson or something for the student to use while working on the lesson.) Then I click on the picture of the color wheel, and the lesson appears on the screen. It first gives a basic introduction to the lesson and a list of the supplies you'll need. You read the lesson (this is not a video-type lesson) and work as you follow along with each step. The lesson is not lecture-based; students learn by doing. In order to teach a class, just print out the lesson and read it almost verbatim. The lessons are easy to understand and teach and are fun to do.

This looks like a wonderful reusable art program to add to your homeschool. The lessons don't take a lot of time, and they teach art fundamentals that every student needs to learn. At $29.99, The Phonics of Drawing is a bargain as well!

Product review by: Dawn King, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2006.