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!

ARTistic Pursuits (Grades K-3 Program) Review by Katie Seppanen

Brenda Ellis
Artistic Pursuits Inc.
Northglenn, Colorado 80233

We were looking forward to trying out the K-3 art program from ARTistic Pursuits Inc.; it did not disappoint! The entire program consists of eight volumes, covering a basic introduction to art and seven different periods of history. Each volume can be ordered separately and comes with an instruction book, a DVD, and a Blu-Ray disc. A single book and corresponding videos are available for $39.99. In addition, there is an option to add lifetime access to online video instruction for another $20. There is also an option to purchase all the art supplies students will need to complete the projects. For example, the pack for Volume One has supplies that will be used in subsequent volumes and is available for $108. Other art packs range from $79-$114 each. It Is also possible to purchase all eight books with lifetime online video instructions for $399.92.

ARTistic Pursuits recommends starting with Volume One, Art for Children- Building a Visual Vocabulary, as it establishes the concepts and vocabulary that will be expanded upon and reused in the subsequent volumes. The additional books are in chronological order according to the historical period; however, students can skip to any period of their choice and complete volumes 2-8 in any order. There are a variety of projects within each book that cover a range of different art materials. After finishing all eight volumes, a student will have worked with watercolor crayons, modeling clay, oil pastels, gouache paint, and more. They will also have created projects by drawing, modeling, sculpting, and weaving. 

The books open with a materials list and an introduction to the ARTistic Pursuits art curriculum. Each volume has eighteen lessons, six on video and twelve in text. The video lessons consist of preparing for the project and watching the video before letting the student start. The text lessons may have background material to read to the students before starting the project. Some lessons have a famous work of art depicted to study and suggestions for questions to ask the students. These are followed by an assignment for the student to use the technique employed by the master. A family could work through two volumes a school year at a one-lesson-per-week pace. 

ARTistic Pursuits designed these books for homeschool families. However, they work well also for families wishing to pursue art in their spare time with their young children. The K-3 age range is perfect for these lessons. While older and younger students can follow along, the vocal instruction in the videos targets the younger elementary age group. An experienced art student may be able to use the projects as a starting point, while younger students will find some lessons to be more challenging until they have practiced the techniques shown.

We started with the first volume. I watched all the videos to understand what to expect from the DVDs. My first-grade and third-grade daughters joined me for the art lessons, and it was not long before my fifth-grader and preschooler came to join the fun. My fifth-grade son did not say much about the lessons, but I noticed changes in his later free time drawings that corresponded to the instruction given that day. My daughters loved the lessons and were disappointed if we did not get the chance to complete one on the planned day. 

We skipped around the volumes a little bit to get a feel for each book. The variety of projects impressed me. I am confident that I could go through two volumes a year with my children for the elementary years and finally feel like I did not miss teaching them something about art that I should have. From learning how to mix colors to making a clay pot, there is a lot to experience in the art world through these volumes.

I imagine that each family would have their own way of using the lessons, whether doing the projects from a specific historical era to correspond with other studies or choosing the projects by volume or individual lesson according to their children's interests. For example, perhaps one would pick the lesson on Francois Pompon in Volume Six, Art of the Impressionists, and read about Pompon before looking at a picture of a Polar Bear in Stride. The child would then have the opportunity to carve an animal out of a soap bar. The entire teaching portion would take about ten to fifteen minutes with discussion. 

I recommend this program from ARTistic Pursuits to any family looking for a comprehensive art program to complete during the elementary school years. While the materials differ from other programs, the variety sets the K-3 program apart. Because this program covers so much, there would be no need for additional art instruction while using these books. The projects use a good mix of standard materials and unique supplies that expose the students to new art forms. We are incredibly excited about continuing to expand our art knowledge through the K-3 art program by ARTistic Pursuits Inc

-Product review by Katie Seppanen, The Old Schoolhouse®​ ​November 2022