A Review of ARTistic Pursuits – Elementary (K-3) Book 2, Stories of Artists and their Art

We have been using ARTistic Pursuits for the past several years in our homeschool.  I really love this program and would recommend it to any homeschooler looking for an easy to follow, comprehensive, and fun art curriculum.

We started with ARTistic Pursuits Early Elementary K-3 Book 1 and took our time working through it.   Our kids truly enjoy it – when I say we’re going to do ARTistic Pursuits, they are thrilled.  It is a great starting place for children in this age bracket and even a bit older.

Early Elementary K-3, Book 2 is quite similar in the level of difficulty.  It really depends on what you put into the projects – I think many of them could work for children up to grade 5.  Many of the projects in Book 2 work quite well for our 10 year old.

ARTistic Pursuits has books for all ages and skill levels.  You can see the full list of everything they offer right here.  The programs range from preschool all the way through highschool~!  There are easy to view previews on the ARTistic Pursuits site.

The Basics:

Book Two’s subtitle is: Stories of Artists and Their Art.  This includes beautiful color prints (in the text pages) of famous works including Gothic, Renaissance, and 18th Century art. 

There are 36 Lessons with Projects included in Book 2.  Although there truly are 36 Lessons, its the Projects that make the curriculum seem so full!  There is so much in these books because each Lesson is unique and includes many parts.  There is first a short biography and introduction to the artist and his/her time period and art style (this is written in a very readable, living-book style, which I love!), then there are projects corresponding to the readings and artist as well as more readings about style, art history, and a short picture study with questions to work through.

Some of the artists covered in Book 2 include, Giotto, Limbourg, Van Eyck, Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Bruegel, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Turner, Millet… and more.  It’s a very full and rich curriculum for artist study, picture study, AND visual arts.

Our study of Lesson 3 and 4, which I’m showing in this review, took us two weeks to work through.  We added a living book about Giotto to really reinforce what we were learning and reading in ARTistic Pursuits.

We find the ARTistic Pursuits books to be a wonderful compliment to our Charlotte Mason philosophy of home education.

A Peak at the Lessons:

I chose to highlight our work with Lesson 3 and 4 because we really enjoyed these projects and learning about Giotto.  I also had a wonderful living book about the artist which was a perfect fit.
Here are some snapshots of a walk through the lessons –

First part – an engaging written narrative about Giotto as a boy and growing up.  He started experimenting with art by scratching drawing into the rocks while he tended sheep.  This leads into our first project – scratch art!

The next page continues with further narratives about how Giotto became inspired and started working with fresco paintings.

An explanation of the scratch art project.  I love the way ARTistic Pursuits presents the lessons and projects.  Very thorough, very easy to follow.

Next we read about the Gothic Period and more about Giotto’s art, talking specifically about the piece called, Lamentation of Christ. (Shown above).  This is the picture study portion, you can see the beautiful color print and the questions to accompany it.

Next page is a project challenge – Fresco!  We had fun creating fresco ‘just like Giotto’ using simple plaster we had on hand in the basement. 

A living book we added to our study of Giotto.

Snapshots of the fun: 

Having a blast creating scratch art!

This is easy to do but gives a beautiful and exciting result.  We colored in pastels on a cardstock paper, creating a bright pattern.  We then covered our colored pastel with black pastel.  Once it was covered completely, we used tooth picks to draw pictures, write words, whatever the children felt like doing.  They loved it!

Working on our ‘fresco’ paintings – spreading plaster on cardboard and waiting for it to dry.  After it was about 1/2 way dry, we added watercolor paints to create beautiful paintings!

A Look at Lesson 6 and 7:

I will definitely continue to use ARTistic Pursuits in our home.  It is such a well written, well presented, easy to use program.  The content is interesting, challenging, but age-appropriate and doable for kids of all skill levels.  I have a daughter who absolutely LOVES art and will love pretty much any ‘art’ I put before her – she adores ARTistic Pursuits. 

I also have a 10 year old son who is quite reluctant to art – but he loves this program as well.  The projects and interesting, unique, varied, and come alive, thanks to the connections to artists and art history.

All in all, I think ARTistic Pursuits is a wonderful art curriculum for homeschool families.  By following along and working through these books, I am confident that our children will have a well-rounded, rich exposure to art, and art appreciation.  They will also be building many valuable skills that will help them not only to develop their artistic abilities, but to also excel in many other areas of academics and life!
This video gives a really good overview of ARTistic Pursuits:

One Comment

  • Matt

    Hello, thank you for this review. I found the link on Pinterest. I know a bit of time has passed, but I am hoping you can help me with a question I have about the program. I am a homeschooling mom living in Tanzania. I have ordered Artistic Pursuits book 2, which will be our first time using this curriculum. I have also ordered the art supplies pack that comes with the program. I will be using the supplies for two children. My question is this, are there any items that were not included in the supplies kit? Are the items that I will need more of for two children? I have to get all my art supplies carried over from the states, so I try to be as prepared as possible. If you can think of anything that might help me be successful in using this program, especially where art supplies is concerned, could yo please email me at kelly@tzorphan.com. Thanks so much!

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