Review: Elementary 4-5, Book 1 by ARTistic Pursuits


I get to share with you today a new review of one of my favorite curriculums.  I’ve had the priviledge to review ARTistic Pursuits art curriculums before and if you’d like to read those reviews please click HERE. This time I was given Elementary 4-5, Book 1: The Elements of Art and Composition. If it isn’t clear in the title this is a book geared toward the upper elementary age, about grades 4-5.  I used it with my Noah who is in 4th grade, but his younger brother Ezra who is of 2nd grade age gave it try too. 

ARTistic Pursuits has a whole line of art curriculums for preschoolers through high schoolers.  You can see the full ARTistic Pursuits Book List at this link.  ARTistic Pursuits is a company that strives to make art accessible and understandable to anyone.  Children can feel successful and gain a deep understanding of an unbelievable number of artistic concepts just by moving through all of these books.  Children explore the world as they see it not just how they THINK they should be seeing it. The entire experience is more about the process and seeing than it is about creating the perfect product. Does anyone have a child who strives for perfection but may not have quite the skills to achieve it.  This program is for them.


Elementary 4-5, Book 1: The Elements of Art and Composition is a book designed to help children begin to create realistic and lifelike drawings. Principles such as space, shadows, shading, balance, light sources, and texture are all covered in this book. While completing these projects my children began to really see the details of what they drew, the highlights and shadows, the light source, how to use their drawing pencils to create texture, how to plan their drawings so they make sense on the paper.  They started to notice shape and contrast too.


The beginning of the book lays out the topics to be studied and how each lesson functions.  Everything is laid out in an easy to follow format.  While working through the book in order can be helpful as you can use skills acquired early on to enhance later projects… it isn’t necessary.  Sometimes it is fun to skip around just to try new mediums of art.


Preparation is pretty limited.  There is a materials list that you can use to purchase supplies commonly find in any craft or arts supply store.  Of course you can make life even easier on yourself by purchasing the Grade 4-5 Art Pack on the ARTistic Pursuits website.  Once you have those on hand the book is pretty open and go.  As every homeschool mom is busy and while I absolutely value arts education it does tend to me the one thing that I plan last after all else is covered.  With this book I can randomly decide on days that we need to change direction or when we find ourselves with extra time on our hands (it does happen) to pull this off the shelf and just go with it.  ARTistic Pursuits recommends you complete about a lesson a week.  We often completed two during this review time.  One lesson takes us just 20-30 minutes of reading through the learning the material.  How long they spent on their projects varied depending on how much the got into them.  I liked leaving the time open for them to take as long as they liked.


Each lesson is broken into three parts and we always completed them in one sitting.  Part one is a discussion of what artists actually do. Part two brings in the art appreciation.  This book focuses on American Art History.  I have a couple of huge American History fans in my house so they were just enthralled with art here.  The last part where the project comes in.  This is where the children apply what they’ve learned to their work.


Lessons are taught using famous works of art and real-world examples of the concept being taught.  I think the most helpful aspect are the examples done by children.  They help my children get a good handle on the expectations and we avoid some heartache over an inability to be PERFECT.

Overall this was another really positive experience with ARTistic Pursuits.  My boys CHEER when Mommy pulls these books out.  They area always asking me when we can make time for another lesson.  We will keep working through this program throughout the summer.

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