Artistic Pursuits

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  • Reviewed on Monday, March 30, 2009
  • Grades Used: K-1st
  • Dates used: 2008-2009
I am extremely pleased with Artistic Pursuits. I spent a lot of time looking for a true art curriculum for my young dc that wasn't just cut-and-paste type of activities. My daughter has always been, and wants to become, an artist.

We're just finishing book 1 and are ready to go with book 2. I like how the lessons give a background history lesson pertaining to art. There is discussion and observation about a work of art. Then there is the actual art lesson with examples done by children. I find these examples useful to show to my dc, as well as myself so I know about what to expect from my own dc. Book 2 concentrates each lesson on a particular artist. I like how we get exposed to different works of art from different periods.

I also like that we are get some experience with different art media. Sure, you could get by with fewer supplies probably, but we love learning how we can use the different art media. Sometimes, we will do a lesson the way it is written and then do it again using another of the media (oil pastels, watercolor crayons, chalk pastels, etc) just to see the different effects we can get.

Right now we are doing about 2 lessons per week. If my daughter had her way, we would do art first thing every morning! Even my son, who has absolutely NO intentions of being an artist, likes the projects and has made some very nice works. I also love to do the projects with them.

We look forward to more Artistic Pursuits and are very pleased with this true art education for art history, appreciation, and instruction.


Jess McC

  • Reviewed on Monday, December 1, 2008
  • Grades Used: !st grade
  • Dates used: 2008
We've been using this with our rising 6yo for the last few weeks. I did quite a lot of art in my pre-children days; dd is not as keen on art as I was at her age. I was looking for a textbook/workbook approach to art because minimal preparation is essential for us at the moment.

I've been delighted with this course. We're using the blue (first) book and it's just the right level - a year ago and I don't think she'd have been interested.

The lessons are in three parts; the first page talks about what artists do - eg, communicate, use photographs etc; the second page is art appreciation; the third is a project using simple media and using what the student has learnt from the previous 2 sections. There are even illustrations of pictures done by children; great for my dd who sometimes needs something to spark her own imagination.

My daughter's art - and confidence - has progressed by leaps and bounds just in a few weeks. This course is ideal for pretty much any child but perhaps especially one who doesn't want to spend ages doing art - the whole thing can take as little as 1/2 hour. A lot of courses get children from day one to sketch from life. That has never interested my dd and I was so pleased to see that the projects so far have been in some way from the imagination - guaranteed to appeal to small children!

Also, living in the UK, we were pleased to be able to buy the course here from Conquest Books.

Highly recommended!


  • Reviewed on Sunday, November 16, 2008
  • Grades Used: 7th
  • Dates used: 2008
We have just started with this curriculum about 10 weeks ago.

I have to say it is as brilliant as the last reviewer says it is. My daughter loves it and completes it independently. Some of the art she has produced using the techniques taught and inspirations provided by Artistic pursuits are brilliant.

I love that it is complete - teaching artistic techniques, art history and culture, and provides stimulus for unique artworks. Also, learning about artists and their works is built in.

After reading some reviews myself, we bought both the colour book and the black & white book, and are alternating between them, one week for each. I am very glad we did this as I am sure she would become quickly resistant to using only black & white.

Since my daughter is very artistic, and I am definitely not, this curriculum is a huge relief to me.

Shannon Allen

  • Reviewed on Friday, April 11, 2008
  • Grades Used: K-6
  • Dates used: 2007-2008
I have been a visual artist for over 30 years and almost have my BA in Fine Arts. --I am very familiar with visual arts and am accomplished, myself. However, teaching art is a whole different ballgame for me. -- I'm a good artist, but teaching art hasn't come very easily to me. Like many right-brained people, structure and organization aren't my strongest traits. I have used other art curriculums and have found that they required a great deal of preparation -- which, again, I'm not good at. I needed something that was all laid out for me, gave me the list of all the materials to have on hand, prior to the assignments. I wanted a curriculum that not only had art history (which makes learning about and how to use the different mediums, and about the actual individuals that created the different works of art much more interesting). I wanted a curriculum that was REAL art, not craft projects or cartoons. I wanted a curriculum that I could do, for the most part, at my dining room table without creating a disaster in my home. I wanted a curriculum with projects that weren't so complicated and huge that we couldn't complete them within an hour or so. I wanted a curriculum that wouldn't break my bank account (I paid around $45 for the book and another $40 or so for supplies -- not bad considering art supplies can get pretty pricey. This amount for the supplies was for the whole year and there will be some left over for next year.) And, I wanted a curriculum that various ages of kids could all sit together to work on these projects. ---I can't tell you how pleased I am with Artistic Pursuits! I really did my research before I purchased the first book at a homeschool convention. -- I got to meet the author's husband and he talked to me at great length, answering all my varied questions. Once I got into this curriculum, I appreciated it even more than what I expected. I actually bought Artistic Pursuits to just do with my 6 yr. old daughter. We did a few lessons and I realized that we could easily invite a few more homeschoolers around our table to do our weekly "Art Class". -- I have seen my beginner level kids greatly advance and spread their wings, all due to this curriculum. I will add that I had these same kids, previously, using a different curriculum (Mona Brooks) and they -- and I -- just had such a struggle. In short, I am WOWED by what my kids have accomplished. One of our last projects, we were doing some more sketching -- I sit at the table with them and do something quietly while they all work. -- I completely let them do their own thing and try to make as little an influence in their styles, choices, etc. **The whole idea of this curriculum (beginning level) is to get them used to the fact that there is no "one way" to do art. Many children, as young as 3 and 4, already have preconceived ideas that they "can't do art". --Once these negative mindsets develop, it's sometimes very difficult to help them get over this hurdle, where they can allow themselves to actually explore and have fun with art -- and discover that they really are capable of creating something beautiful or whimsical, or neat to look at, etc. Artistic Pursuits also provides an opportunity to use different mediums (art materials) so that they can experiment and get comfortable with them. -- I started looking at what my students were drawing and was just dumbstruck at how much they had advanced in just a matter of 4 months. I could hardly believe what I was seeing!! --I couldn't help the tears that came to my eyes. FRUIT!!! I have seen actual FRUIT, folks! I have kept all of my student's artwork and have contacted the local library of which they are thrilled to host our little group's "Homeschool Art Show" to display to the public. My kids are so excited about this, they can hardly wait. I am SO PROUD of them and, for once, feel like I have accomplished something as an art teacher. -- But all the credit is really due to this wonderful curriculum and the insightful and knowledgeable woman who put it all together. -- Now THERE is a great teacher! Thank you, Artistic Pursuits!! We will most certainly be purchasing the other books and continuing with this superb curriculum.