Artistic Pursuits - thorough Homeschool Art Curriculum

I had seen Artistic Pursuits by Brenda Ellis at one Homeschool Conference and was very impressed by the content and layout of the books, but at that time, we were working through another homeschool art curriculum, alongside our history studies. However, since I have been exploring art curriculum and art resources for my website, I have realized that I should have bought these earlier. It looks like I have missed out on using a real gem, until now.

The books are so well laid out and systematic in their approach.  There are three Books at the K-3 level. These introduce the students to the visual arts and view art through history. There are colourful illustrations, and projects which are designed for young children.

In Grades 4-6, Junior High, and Senior High there are two books. Book One provides an overview of drawing, covering the elements of art and composition. Book Two at each higher level provides an overview of colour theory and composition.

Teaching Elements of Art and Principles of Design

If you have read, Art Overview, you will see how I describe the Elements of Art and Principles of design. In the Elements of Art, Page, I give some examples and practical art activities and ideas. Well, Artistic Pursuits just puts it all together.

Each of the elements is covered in a unit (8 units) in the Book One of Grades 4-6, Jnr High and Snr High.
Read this excerpt from their website....

The study of art should include THE ELEMENTS OF ART, COMPOSITION (also known as the Principles of Design), MEDIA, ART APPRECIATION, and at some point, ART HISTORY.

Look at any art course and you will see some of these things. Unfortunately they are not always complete or presented in any order so that students know what they are learning or how it all fits together. Artistic Pursuits makes the subject of art clear by ordering the elements into units, so that each is easy to understand, complete, and separated from issues of composition. (Used with permission.)

Art Techniques 

I love the way in which Angie Beeson provides step-by-step lessons to help homeschool students explore a variety of art mediums. For example, in the video of lesson 4, she shows the student how to begin using watercolours - firstly by sketching in pencil, then adding colour and finally in lesson 3, the final details. Each video lesson is between 20-30 minutes is detailed and shows the complete progression to reach the final product.

The other units are as follows:

Unit 1: Colored pencil drawing – Animals

Unit 2: Pencil drawing and water colors – Human figure

Unit 3: 3-D Cardboard sculptures

Unit 4: Watercolors – Food

Unit 5: Pencils – Faces

Unit 6: Monochrome (oil) pastel – Jungle scene

Unit 7: White colored pencil on black paper – Flowers

Unit 8: Acrylics and watercolors – Pointillism technique – Large animals

Unit 9: Oil pastels – Landscapes and sunsets

Unit 10: Paper art – Patterned silhouette

Unit 11: Paper art – Geometrics – Fruit

Unit 12: Paper art – Mosaics

 Artistic Pursuits : How does Artistic Pursuits teach art history?

How does Artistic Pursuits teach Art History? In their words,
A true art history course should be sequenced by time. It should begin at one point in time and progress through time to another point so that students see how one period influenced the next. This type of course could be presented at any time during a student's first 12 years in school. Art history is used as a springboard for the creative assignments in Grades K-3 Books.

  • Artistic Pursuits Grades K-3 Book 1, An Introduction to the Visual Arts covers ancient art history.
  • Grades K-3 Book 2, Stories of Artists and their Art covers artists of the Late Gothic period through the academies of the 18th century, including all those wonderful Renaissance artists.
  • Grades K-3 Book 3, Modern Painting and Sculpture covers art of the Impressionists through Modern Art.

(Used with Permission.)

Artistic Pursuits and Art Appreciation

In Grades 4-12, the students learn to see the elements at work in the works of artists. In their words.... 

Art appreciation helps students see the topic of each unit in a work of art by the masters. When they can see the elements used in the work of others, they are more able to understand how to use the element in their own work. They will also be more informed when visiting an art museum or evaluating the art on your walls! Included on each art appreciation page is a paragraph on the artist so that the student begins to get a picture of the lives of artists of the past. Art appreciation is covered on the second page within each unit. (Grades 4 - 12)

Of course this really inspires me because this is also how I view the teaching of Art, and if someone has gone before me to make my job easier, I don't need to re-invent the wheel. 

How to use Artistic Pusuits as a Curriculum

Artistic Pursuits is non-consumable and students can work on their own after a short reading (5mins) for the K-3 age group. The content, scope and the projects contained in each book would provide art lessons for one year for each book for the K-3 level, and one year, with 2 art sessions a week for the older ages. 

This curriculum is a way in which children are taught the skills of drawing and painting by explaining foundational concepts;by encouraging observation in the world around them; by looking at art and the artists; by teaching techniques and skills to apply materials; and to bring together the main idea of the unit in an original work. 

How have you used this curriculum?

Sometimes it is really hard to work out what is the best homeschooling curriculum for your family.

Tell us how you used this curriculum.

Show us an example of a project you created using this curriculum. How did you mould and integrate this curriculum in your family? Will you continue to use it?.... Your answers will help another homeschooling family make a curriculum choice!

Homeschoolers Curriculum Reviews

Click below to see curriculum reviews written by home educators on this page...

Gets repetitive... Not rated yet
At first glance I was really impressed with this program. We started with K-3 Book One and by the time we got half way through we were all bored and unispired. …

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