Review: Artistic Pursuits

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Brianna has always been very artistic.  She even won first place for her age group in the state finals for the National Junior Duck Stamp contest several years ago when she was taking a formal art class.  She took the class for a full year and the first semester of the second year.

Unfortunately, the assignments started to feel more like work than the fun hobby that she’d always enjoyed, so she didn’t continue the class.  Since then, we’ve been looking for some type of art instruction that she would really enjoy.  Enter:  Artistic Pursuits.

Artistic Pursuits is an award-winning art instruction program designed specifically for homeschoolers and independent study.  With curriculum for students in preschool through high school, Artistic Pursuits is designed to be student-led, independent art instruction.  Once a student can read independently, she can work through Artistic Pursuits independently.

We were given the choice in which book we wanted to review.  After looking over the high school level and middle school level books — which actually teach the same concepts, though the high school level goes a bit more in-depth — we decided on Junior High Book 1, which focuses on the elements of art and composition.

Each unit, while looking at different topics under the main headings of elements of art and composition, is laid out in a similar way.  Here’s a brief synopsis of the parents’ “getting started” page.  The first lesson of each unit works on building a visual vocabulary.  The topic is explained in words on pictures and “guides students to observe the topic in their own environment.

The second lesson of each unit focuses on art history and art appreciation.  Students get to see how the unit’s topic is used in a work of art, then, they can apply what they’ve learned to create their own work of art.

The third lesson of each unit focuses on technique as students use different artistic tools to create an original work.  Finally, the fourth lesson focuses on application.  Students create a final project using the tools and techniques studied and learned throughout the unit.  It is suggested that students work through one lesson a day, which will take approximately one hour, twice a week.

Each book contains a supply list (much of which, you may already have if your child has pursued art in the past — things like good art pencils and a sketch pad).  You can also purchase supplies through the Artistic Pursuits website.  Also included, and very helpful if you have to keep letter or number grades for state records or high school transcripts, is an evaluation sheet to help you assign an objective grade based on objectives met, rather than a subjective look at skill or artistic ability.

Because Artistic Pursuits is designed to be used independently by the student, I basically just added the lessons to Brianna’s daily schedule and turned her loose with it.  Not surprisingly, Artistic Pursuits was one subject that she didn’t complain about.

She was able to work through several lessons during our review time and I was impressed with some of her work, including this, one of the first assignments she did, a line study of an Indian painting by an unknown artist:


When I asked Brianna what she thought of Artistic Pursuits, she said she felt that it helped her grow in her artistic abilities (yes, that is exactly what she said) and that she enjoyed the projects because they were fun and taught her things she didn’t know.  She also felt that it was easy to work through on her own.

Overall, based on our experience with a formal art class, I think Artistic Pursuits provides solid and affordable art instruction for the homeschool student or independent learner (read:  Mom, you might enjoy this, too).  The way the books are laid out, they could also be easily adapted for a classroom or co-op setting.  These non-consumable texts can be used for each of your children for a one-time investment of only $42.95 per book.  Be sure to visit Artistic Pursuits to see sample lessons and pictures for any of the books that you may be interested in.

I received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it.  I received no other compensation for this review.  The opinions expressed in this review are my personal, honest opinions.  Your experience may vary.

Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. We've used the second elementary grade book, plus the first grade 4-6 book, and really enjoyed the lessons. Very inviting and easy to use. 🙂

    Thank you, Kris, for your review of the upper level.

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