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Behold the Beauty, Art Curriculum for grades 2-3 Review by Megan Russell

Connie L. Meyer
Reformed Free Publishing Association
1894 Georgetown Center Drive
Jenison, Michigan 49428

Behold the Beauty is a three-volume art curriculum written to teachers and homeschooling parents with little to no training in art. There are three grade levels available: kindergarten and first grade; second and third grade; and fourth through sixth grade. My family had the opportunity to review the second and third grade level with our second grade and first grade children.

Behold the Beauty is a spiral bound book with thick, colorful pages. There are twelve art lessons for each grade level in the book. Each art lesson includes several portions: an objective, a supply list, vocabulary, an introduction, directions, and variations. At the beginning of each grade level, there is a master list of objectives, supplies needed, and vocabulary words. The objective simply states the main concept or idea of each lesson. An example of the objective for a lesson titled "Texture Rubbing" is this: "Students will observe various textures in creation, see that some textures form patterns, and experiment with texture in artwork." The objective really gives you a good overview of what your child should be familiar with when the lesson is completed and the guidance to see that the concepts are understood. The supply list is very detailed and thorough, giving several different ideas for some of the things listed. For example, in the "Texture Rubbing" lesson, it lists, "purchased plastic texture rubbing sheets or other suitable materials for texture rubbing such as corrugated cardboard, flat woven basket, rug or plastic canvas, vegetable/onion bag, etc." This is nice, because it gives you the freedom to use what you have on hand or what you can easily obtain. The vocabulary section alerts you to key words that will be used in the lesson.

The introduction is written to be either read aloud or used as a guide for introducing the concepts in the lesson and the project the child will be completing. The directions are numbered and explain each step of the project. There are also illustrations for many of the steps, which can be very helpful for the child to look at. The last section, variations, is my favorite section. It gives several ideas for alternate projects or supplies. The variations can be used instead of the main project or in addition to it. Some of the variations expand on the lesson, and some of them just switch the art medium. For example, in the "Texture Rubbing" lesson, some of the variations are, "Instead of fish, make other animals or geometric designs out of texture rubbings." and "Use kitchen aluminum foil instead of fingerprint paper to make textured fish."

I used Behold the Beauty with my first grade and second grade sons. They love it! They ask to do an art lesson all the time. We are working our way through the second-grade lessons right now. I like to find a children's book that will fit well with one of the lessons as a springboard for the art lesson. We recently read "Mouse Shapes" and completed the lesson titled "Combining Basic Shapes: Construction Paper Collage". We used our own variation of the lesson by making mice with shapes cut from paper, just like the book we read. We also used a lesson on clay sculptures with another book we read on salamanders, and we made clay salamanders. 

The introduction is a great part of the lesson. I read it aloud, asking the questions and discussing with my children. Then, we look through the directions together before we start the project. I usually read through the variations first, too, to see if we need to change anything up or if something sounds like it will be a better option for us or even if there is something I would like to add! Sometimes, there are so many variations listed, I want to do them all another day. Twelve lessons per grade level may not sound like many lessons, but with the variations, it can make many, many more projects! References to God and scriptures are sprinkled throughout each lesson, reminding us that we have a very creative God, with art being seen throughout his Creation.

I really love this art curriculum! It makes art easy to teach and demonstrate. Behold the Beauty volumes sell for $49.95 each. Each book contains twelve lessons for each grade level, so the second and third grade level contains twenty-four lessons. You can buy all three volumes for $129.95. 

-Product review by Megan Russell, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, March, 2018