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Drawn To Discover Review by Jennifer Ladewig and Crystal McCleanWendy Anderson Halperin
Drawn To Discover
1 (415) 323-0695
Drawn To Discover is a unique online video drawing program that helps students develop fine motor skills and cognitive skills. This research-based curriculum also promotes language development. Drawn To Discover gives students confidence in their ability to succeed in art, handwriting, math, and so much more. The program provides a way for parents to interact with their children as they work their way through the program. There are multiple courses within the Drawn To Discover program that is available to users. The core of the program features the course, Drawn To Connections, which has Ten Blocks within the course. Each Block has on average ten lessons. The two other courses, Drawing Cursive and Drawn To Peace, are more supplemental courses. I will explain each of these in greater detail further on in my review. You can purchase a Drawn To Discover Monthly Membership for $11.99/month or you can purchase a Drawn To Discover Annual Membership for $119.88/year.
As homeschoolers, Drawn To Discover has worked great for us. This program is geared for the homeschool setting. For children in the school setting, this would also be a great enrichment program. The intended age for using Drawn To Discover is 4-11 years old. After speaking with the people at Drawn To Discover I learned that children with autism have had great success with the program.
My 11-year-old daughter has fallen in love with Drawn To Discover! She is working through the Drawn To Connections course. She loves to draw but isn’t all that confident in her ability. She has used many different art curriculums and programs and this one CLICKED! She cannot get enough of it. She will sit for hours doing lesson after lesson. She has shocked herself by what she has been able to accomplish artistically. Even though some of the concepts along the way are meant for younger students, it is easy to work around. While we are talking about elementary skills such as the handwriting let me let you in on a bit of a secret. My daughter is a bit sloppy when it comes to her handwriting. I was a bit giddy when I saw her meticulously copying a handwritten sentence out below her artwork. After hours of working through Drawn To Connections I began to see an improvement in her handwriting! I have been shocked at the amazing artwork she has completed. She has learned about interesting facts relating to science too.
Each lesson in the Drawn To Connections lists:
- Subject Matter to be Drawn
- Lesson Warm Up
- Subjects Highlighted
- Tools & Tips
- Final Image
Some of the fun drawings that my daughter has drawn include mice crawling across a pencil. She drew a dragon with fire coming out of its mouth while a mouse is at the dragon’s feet scurrying to get its cheese. In yet another picture she drew a botanical picture capturing a radish growing in the ground. Blast off!! NASA watch out, my daughter just drew a space ship. Meow, such adorable cat pictures including pictures displaying diagrams such as the iris of a cat’s eye. How about mouth-watering watermelon showing how to show shading in your artwork. Or, how about an up and close depiction of a bee, and parts labeled. Wow, was I impressed with this work of art! So detailed. My daughter drew an impressive goldfish swimming in the water. There was even shading! The fish looked like it was looking at you. Loved my daughter’s picture of a branch with blooming apple blossoms in various degrees of bloom. Off to the side there was a tiny apple on a branch. It looks so delicious! I could go on and on about her drawing but you get the picture. This program is amazing. I look forward to seeing her pictures after each and every lesson. She is proud and so am I.
My 11-year-old daughter said,
“Unlike other drawing programs, Drawn To Discover, helps you to draw step-by-step so that you know what your drawing is supposed to look like along the way. If what you are drawing doesn’t look right, you can pause the video, work on the drawing, and then restart the video when you are ready to begin again. My favorite drawing so far was the bee. When I drew the bee, I was amazed at how real it looked! Some of my other favorites have been the flower, goldfish, and dog. Another thing that I like about Drawn To Discover is that each lesson lists all of the things that you will need. I loved that I got to have my very own HUGE box of crayons of my very own. One lesson called for the following crayons: Orange, Dandelion Yellow, Asparagus, and Wisteria. Aren’t those just fun colors!”
In one particular lesson, students learn about fractions, counting by 4’s, adding, multiplying, etc. by using graph paper, various crayons such as Goldenrod, Orchid, Aquamarine, Melon, and Pine Green and then creating a fun drawing. Their final drawing is a circle divided into four parts with dice, with a flower pattern in the middle, and a colorful jagged pattern in the bottom two sectors. It really is a creative way of teaching math!
In Block Two of Drawn To Connections your student will create something called a “Framed Art Present” which is basically a full-page collaboration of pictures containing artwork that your child has learned up until this point. They will draw the artwork on a smaller scale in a beautiful framed work of art. What a treasure. Each Block builds upon the last Block. There is a total of Ten Blocks.
In Block Seven your student will again use graph paper and learn about States of Matter. They will learn how to draw a three-dimensional box. Their final drawing will be of three separate boxes in which they will place a solid, a liquid, and a gas and label each one. Remember, the graph paper is something that the student will print out from the website.
For the younger student, there is plenty of work on proper writing of each letter of the alphabet and each numeral. Basics are very important in Drawn to Discover. The color wheel, patterns, shading, pressure, all colors, outlining, holding the pencil, and so much more is covered in Drawn To Discover.
My 9-year-old daughter is working on learning cursive this year. She had fun working through the Drawing Cursive. The lessons were engaging and fun. Imagine the lowercase “i” being drawn into the shape of a hot summer sun, or the lowercase letter “c” being the waves of the deep blue ocean. If you loop the lowercase letter “e” in a line just right you just may find yourself getting bugged out! My daughter says, “This is the fun part of cursive.”
My 9-year-old has also enjoyed working through some of the lessons in the Drawn To Connections course. She is my youngest of six children and tends to not have a lot of confidence in her abilities overall. She tends to shy away from anything that looks too hard. Well, she shocked herself when after the first lesson her artwork actually looked like the teacher’s! This gave her the confidence to do some more.
Drawn To Peace explores people throughout history who have shared and promoted peace. Some of the people and subjects featured in this course are:
- Mother Teresa
- Mark Twain
- Greek Proverb
- Abraham Lincoln
- Winston Churchill
- Maya Angelou
- Ms. Wendy
An example of one of the lessons is a saying by Mark Twain that says, “When in doubt, tell the truth.” The picture that the student then draws is of two life-like mice dressed like girls. One of the mice looks worried and has question marks drawn all around her highlighted in yellow. The other is happy.
I absolutely loved everything about Drawn To Discover. This program has been a great fit for our family and we will definitely continue to use it. I was very excited when speaking to the people at Drawn to Discover to hear that they will be expanding their program both in the preschool area as well as in the upper grades in the future. I would highly recommend this program to others looking for a fun way to educate and/or supplement their child’s current curriculum. Drawn To Discover is truly a gem that I am grateful to have had the privilege to use.
-Product review by Jennifer Ladewig, The Old Schoolhouse ® Magazine, LLC, April, 2018
Drawn To Discover
205 Herrick Rd,
Riverside, IL 60546
Drawn To Discover is a drawing program aimed at children aged four to eleven and there are currently three courses available: Drawing Cursive, Drawn To Peace, and Level 1: Drawn to Connections. The goal of these courses is for children to improve their fine motor skills while also increasing their creativity and learning drawing techniques.
Why are fine motor skills so important? It isn’t only to have tidy penmanship, although that is also a great skill to have. Research has found a link between fine motor skills, language development, reading, creativity, and critical thinking. It’s upon this research that Drawn To Discover is based.
The course lessons consist of one or two video lessons presented by Wendy Anderson Halperin. Each lesson has links to specific papers that can be downloaded and printed for each lesson if needed; but you may find that you have similar paper already on hand. Other than that, all you will need are some crayons to get started.
At about thirty minutes total for the videos the classes are a good length; although by the time my children stop the video to draw each element before starting it again, it does take them more time to complete a lesson. After each lesson is done there is a “complete” button to press so you can earn points and watch your progress through each of the courses.
Drawn To Peace was the course that first caught my attention as we’re currently living in Northern Ireland and I want my children to grow up to be a part of the peace process, not part of the aggravation. Both of my children found this course to be their favourite as well. There are sixty lessons in this course, with most of them concentrating on short quotes from famous peace activists such as Gandhi, Buddha, Mother Theresa, as well Japanese proverbs and many more.
The quote or phrase is on the bottom half of the paper and then Wendy teaches the children to draw a picture to go along with it. While she does this in a step-by-step fashion, she also talks more about what peace means and how children can learn to be more peaceful for a better world. This course has the most commentary within it. Cute little stick-figured mice are the featured characters in the pictures that accompany each of the phrases.
Drawing Cursive gives a fun spin on dry handwriting practice. There may be some cursive practice on the lined bottom half of a page, while the blank top half is reserved for drawing. Then it gets interesting by using the target letters right within the picture such as turning the letter c into the treads of a tractor tire; or using a whole line of the letter m joined up over several rows to create ocean ripples. Other lessons may teach a little about geography or science along the way, too.
Level 1: Drawn To Connections is perhaps the most elementary of the courses as there are only a few words to print; the concentration is on drawing. There are ten blocks in this course with each block containing several lessons from shapes to sea life to dragons; there are even a few short story books to be created. Each lesson builds off the one before, but it is possible to work out of order and follow your interests. These videos are mostly about the pictures and following the instructions and techniques to form them. Children learn about using pressure to change the shade of a crayon, how to clean a crayon after it’s used over a pencil line, etc.
My seven-year-old daughter enjoyed these courses more than my ten-year-old son; but it may be that some of the drawing techniques are new to her whereas with experience, older children may already have some of the knowledge or have moved beyond cute pictures. Part of this may also be that older children may feel too mature to be using crayons for coloring; I wish I had thought of it earlier and told my children they could use oil pastels for when I suggested they try that next time, my son was more enthusiastic and suggested that by using pastels he would be better able to blend the colors. There are still two additional levels to come; Level 2: Drawn To Explore, and Level 3: Drawn To Create which may be of a higher level to hold his interest more. My daughter, however, loves the little mice characters and giving them their own personalities. Of course, there are many characters in the courses to draw, but the mice seem to be a favourite.
I think that we may have thought there would be a little more to this course; but if you remember that it isn’t really about science, math, and other subjects; that its main purpose is to strengthen those fine motor skills and to have a little fun with creativity, then it hits the mark. If your child is already very good with their fine motor skills and knows a little about creating art, then this program may not be the best fit for them. However, if your child is struggling to write or color, then learning to hold a crayon correctly, learning how to form lines, and then ending a lesson with a fun picture rather than just simply printing the same letters over and over again could very well appeal to them. That being said, my daughter doesn’t struggle with fine motor control; she just enjoys learning how to draw better than she does.
Drawn To Discover’s annual membership is $119.99, a monthly membership is $11.99, or you can purchase an individual course for $24.99.
-Product review by Crystal McClean, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May, 2018