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Masterpiece Collection CD Review by Heidi Strawser

Karine Bauch and Jan Ma
Masterpiece Art Instruction

I received a variety of products from Masterpiece Art Instruction for review. First is the Masterpiece Collection CD. This CD contains four complete art courses. The Phonics of Drawing is a 30-lesson, multi-level drawing course that makes learning to draw simple. Introduction to Watercolor Painting contains four beautiful projects that will help you master basic watercolor techniques. Multimedia will teach you how to create 12 stunning projects while learning to use soft pastels, watercolor pencils, and charcoal, Mutimedia Junior is designed for ages 6-10 and contains 4 easy projects using the same materials. This is a lot of art instruction packed into one CD! The CD contains a master art supplies list. It requires Windows 97 or higher to operate and is best viewed on a 15-inch or larger monitor. The price of this CD collection is $59.99 (which is 20% less than buying these courses individually); for the amount of art instruction contained on the CD, this is quite a value.

The Let's Draw Creation Workbook is a great drawing course for young children. It contains 12 drawing projects of animals, such as the toucan, koala bear, and giraffe. With paper, pencils, erasers, and some basic coloring tools, your child can follow the step-by-step simple instructions and learn to draw each animal. There are blank pages included for drawing. One of the things that I particularly enjoy about this book is that the animals included are all ones that defy evolution; the instruction pages include awesome facts about the animals that make you think "wow!" when you read them. God has truly created some amazing creatures, and your children will enjoy learning more about them while learning how to draw them.

This book is 29-pages, spiral bound, and recommended for ages 8 and up. My seven-year-old daughter has been using this book for several weeks now and has really been enjoying it. Her drawings are amazingly good. This book is also available as an e-book or as an e-book on CD. The CD is neat because it contains PowerPoint slideshows of the step-by-step drawing instructions, as well as printable .pdf lessons and the drawing pages with animal facts. The CD would be wonderful for teaching an art class, as you can print out as many pages as you need for classroom use. The CD requires Windows 97 or higher. (PowerPoint installation is not needed to view the slideshows.) The book sells for $14.99, the CD for $29.99. To me, they are worth this price for the fun factor alone; add the art instruction, and they are well worth the price.

The last two items I received are the Creative and Crafty Writing Student Workbook and Teacher's Manual. I really like this 12-week writing course. It is very versatile and can be used in co-op classes or in the home. Each of the 12 lessons is divided into three parts: Learning Time (for introducing new concepts and discussion), Writing Time (students work on writing assignments), and Craft Time (craft ideas to complement each lesson). During the first lesson, students will create a journal; each lesson will contain a journal assignment to put in this book. The lessons are grouped into three main topics: writing a fable, writing a news story, and writing a narrative. The Teacher's Manual has 67 pages and contains supply lists and teacher preparations for each lesson. It also contains ideas for "whiteboard discussions" and journaling homework. The Student Manual has 41 pages and contains worksheets to be filled out during each lesson, clipart and cut-outs to be used with the lessons, and a one-page list of the journal prompts for all the lessons. You will need both of these books in order to fully appreciate and teach this course.

Product review by Heidi Strawser, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May 2008