Any time I can work art into our learning, my children are happy as clams! My art-inclined oldest son has been enjoying drawing lessons from the Entire Level II bundle from ArtAchieve as I review this culturally-based art curriculum. I have to admit, I was so intrigued, I did a few lessons myself!
Culture and Context – Art Lessons for Kids
I love the slogan of ArtAchieve – “Draw the World!” because it really sums up what this online art lesson program is about. The lessons give solid instruction in basic art shapes and techniques, and they also put the lessons into a cultural context.
The goal behind ArtAchieve is to make art lessons anybody could instruct. I’ve got zippo in the way of drawing talent – and yet I had a wonderful time trying out the lessons myself and leading my kids through several of them as well!
Through PowerPoints, videos, and printable worksheets, the lessons are step-by-step and easy to follow. You can add in extra items as you desire from the resource section, or simply focus on the drawing lesson presented in the multi-media portion.
There are tips for teachers, a musical connection (links to music downloads for warming up and relaxing during art time), and the projects are delightful and interesting!
Every lesson uses a culturally appropriate piece of art to inspire the concept being taught. For instance, in the Tessellation lesson I took, thePowerPoint showed Roman “tessera” art work and discussed where our word “Tessellation” even comes from! Love that linguistic tie-in.
The lesson offers study and practice: In this lesson, I studied the “true” form of tessellation and did a practice design before trying our hand at creating our own. I felt like I was quickly but firmly grounded in the concept of tessellations before trying to make my own. It was a challenge, but fun to experiment with.
Cross curricular connections galore: I already mentioned the historical and linguistic connection. The Tessellation lesson ended with images of tessellation art from Turkey, providing a geographical context for the artwork that we had learned about and created. The lesson page itself offers a deep selection of links and resources for many other subject areas (social studies, science, math, literature, geography, religion, art), so you could build a full unit off each lesson.
After a lesson like that, I will never forget the whole big picture of tessellation in the everyday world, and have a new awareness for seeing patterns all around me.
How we used ArtAchieve in our homeschool program
My oldest son completed the Swedish Dala Horse and the Japanese Goldfish lessons from the Entire Level II set of lessons. Level I would’ve been a good fit for teaching both the boys together. However, because my youngest is not that into drawing but my oldest is very artistic, I jumped up a level. The lessons were challenging for him, but still reachable.
The way the lessons are broken up, we took about 10-15 minutes from our mornings before swim lessons to either learn about the history of the art lesson, do a practice warm-up sheet, or work on our drawings.
It was super cute to see the boys getting relaxed with their “hands-over-the-eyes” warm up activity and begging me to play music scores while they drew their work. Here’s some examples of their work on the Swedish Dala Horse:
We used a mix of the powerpoint and video lessons. The PowerPoints allow you to proceed at your own pace, because you don’t click ahead until you’re ready. The video can be paused for practice or review, and it has the added advantage of the artist narrating his process and explaining a bit more of the project and his technique. I think in the future, we’ll watch the video first, then do the project as we click through thePowerPoint.
My boys both love to draw, but they do that kid-thing where everything they draw gets squished into a corner of the paper. Through the tutorial, we learned to create dots that show how to draw the line from one point to another on the page. This one tip has dramatically improved my oldest son’s drawings. I notice that his pictures have better proportions because of this planning-ahead strategy. The instructional videos and PowerPoints include these sort of tidbits along the way, making it easy to “teach” art even if you’re not an artist (like me!).
Here’s more from my oldest son’s Japanese Goldfish project:
There is so much to love about ArtAcheive, from the full-fledged lessons chock-full of resources for extension activities, to the detailed, step-by-step instruction. But what I love most about this program is how they show real artwork from various time periods and geographic locations. So ArtAchieve functions as both drawing and art lessons, but also art appreciation is integrated alongside technique.
Plus, these lessons are so very affordable. A one-year license for a single lesson is just $4-7. So if you had a special unit and wanted to incorporate an art experience, this would be a great idea. Or buy an entire level with multiple lessons for $27-66, depending on level. ArtAchieve also bundles levels and lessons for greater savings.
Want to hear what other people are saying about different levels and lessons from ArtAchieve? Check out all the reviews here.