The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Jenny Higgins and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

Spears Art Studio K-8 Christian Art Curriculum: A Teacher's Manual DVD Review by Melanie Schemanski

Diane Shields Spears
Spears Art Studio, Inc.
264 Mountain Drive
Lakehills, TX 78063

Spears Art Studio is a Christian Art Curriculum that teaches art from a biblical perspective. The curriculum is all contained on one CD for a complete K-8 art program. The art program is divided down by weekly, thematic units. These units are based on the month and season from September through May. Some of the themes include Noah’s Ark, Creation, harvest/seeds, names of Jesus, Easter and more. Several of the themes are character based like loyalty, righteousness, thankfulness, and godly imagination. For each theme, there is a specific type of art concept that is taught as well. Some of these include color studies, three dimension, abstract, and design and layout. The themes are similar for each grade level, which works great for use in a homeschool family with multiple grade levels. You will be studying the same theme at the same time, but with varying degrees of difficulty. Each study has several scripture references to go along with the art, which is a great way to tie in art with God’s creation.

The Spears Art Studio CD has a complete teacher manual as well as two pdfs that can be printed for the posters, patterns, and worksheets. You do have permission to copy these for classroom use, which lends itself well for a homeschool co-op situation. It also works well for a homeschool family to print as they go and display the posters. Adobe is needed to open and read the CD. In addition to the Teacher Manual on the CD, you will need specific supplies for each lesson, most of which are typical supplies in a schoolroom such as paper, markers, and paint. You do not need to print the entire manual, it is quite easy to use directly from the PC. The CD sells for $39.95.

Utilizing the same theme for a variety of ages works wonderfully for a homeschool family with multiple ages. I was able to use the same program for my 3rd, 6th and 8th grade student, each at their own level of learning. Each lesson has theme objectives as well as a theme scripture verse. Each lesson also has suggestions for art work to look up on the internet or at your local library. This along with a Teacher Inspiration section help you get ready ahead of time for your class. Each lesson is meant for a week study. You can choose to do it several days a week, or carve out an hour or two, and complete it in one day. We tend to have Art Class on Friday afternoons, so we chose to just complete the entire lesson in one sitting.

Having art on Friday afternoons gives us the freedom to spread out and get our hands dirty, so to say! We started our Spears Art Studio with September week1, right from the beginning. Our very first lesson was on Noah’s Ark. The kids were a little hesitant to be honest with this one as it tends to be ‘over-used’ in our curriculums. They did draw the animals as suggested. This first week was also having us make a bulletin board display with the Ark and the animals. We don’t have any place to display this so chose to skip that part. Week 2 we learned how our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit from 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. We discussed the dwelling places of God, and the dwelling places of men. This week had an Extra for the younger grades to color a pioneer log cabin and a tipi and place appropriate objects in the background and foreground.

My 3rd grader really liked that idea so I printed those out for him to use. He also had to draw a picture of our house, using the horizon, to have objects closer be larger than those in the background.

My 6th grade daughter had to make a picture of her room, using perspective in the drawing. I love how the author drew on the idea that your bedroom can be like your prayer closet! Always interjecting ideas to keep the kids thinking about God in their drawings.

My 8th grade son worked with graph paper on a floor plan. This was perfect for him as he is very engineer minded, and the measuring and choosing where to put rooms was really up his alley. I don’t think drawing the layout of his room, would have been his favorite. Another great thing about this program, that if that had been his assignment, I could have easily chosen a different assignment from the grade on either side of his to have him work on.

We are currently over a month ahead in the study, so we may revisit some of September and have the kids do a variety of the different art projects that we didn’t have a child in that grade for. There is a template for a really cool medieval castle that Mom wants to make!

Spears Art Studio worked wonderfully for our homeschool to help incorporate scripture and God’s design into our art. Having the lesson plans laid out for the various grade levels made it very easy for me to clearly see what supplies we needed ahead of time, as well as the variety of art work the kids would be doing. I don’t see us using it for more than a year, as I don’t think the kids would want to re-do the same theme, even with a slightly varied art project. I may be wrong though, as they do seem to want to do one another’s art projects even when they enjoy their own! I find the price very reasonable for art instruction for three of my children and I think even if you are home educating only one child it is well worth the price.

-Product review by Melanie Schemanski, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October, 2016