Friday, April 22, 2011

An Artist Who Comes to Your House - A New TOS Review!!

I have been trying to get art incorporated on a regular basis into our homeschool, but haven't had much luck at the 'regular' part.  Then we were given the opportunity to review Art Class, by See the Light.

The Product:
Art Class is an art curriculum from See the Light that has Master Artist Pat Kneply as your personal art instructor.  Pat has been drawing since a child and has a passion not only for art, but also for children.  In this series, she is able to combine her passions and allow children everywhere to benefit from it.

The series was created for children age 6 and up (although I did this with my 5 yo too ... and she LOVED it).  It covers a wide variety of techniques within each volume.  Here is a list of what will be covered in each volume:

Volume 1:  The Basics
Volume 2:  Shape and Space 
Volume 3:  Value and Color
Volume 4:  Color Blending Techniques
Volume 5:  Proportions for Composition
Volume 6:  Texture and Form
Volume 7:  Perspective for Landscape
Volume 8:  Balance and Foreshortening
Volume 9:  The Portrait

You can learn more about the curriculum by clicking on each individual disk picture or download this pdf with all the details. 

There are two ways to purchase - either with a monthly subscription or a set of 9 DVD's.  The price of the DVD set is $99.00, which may sound HUGE to some.  However, if you break the price down, you are only paying $2.75 per lesson (which on a DVD you have the option to watch as many times as needed from now until forever.) And since it's on DVD, if you have younger children (say babies to 6years old) you can use it over and over again.  The monthly subscription is just $10 per month.  You can watch those multiple times, too. ;)

If you'd like to check out some online free samples, I think that would help you see what you will get with this program.  And for right now you can get the first DVD for free!  That's a great way to see in person which you'd rather buy. (There is also a Year 2 program in the works. That to me, is exciting!!)

Our Experiences:
We were given the first DVD to review.  My girls were VERY excited, to say the least to have an art program as a review.  Audrie is my little artist and loves to create and color and draw.  Arianna does too, but not quite as much as Audrie.  The first DVD has 4 lessons and one Bonus lesson.

The 4 lessons include "Tools of the Trade" where you learn the different tools that you will need; "It All Starts With a Line" tells all about contour drawing and the importance of the 'line,' a fundamental element for an artist; "Contours & Composition" teaches the student that you need to train you eye to connect with your hand as well as helping you placing your items into your drawing; and lastly "Draw What you See" the hardest lesson, especially for younger children, because you have to remember to ONLY draw what you ACTUALLY see, not what you KNOW is there.

Once I found out what supplies we would need, I gathered what I had already and we purchased some things new, including very special individualized "toolkits" for each child to have.  The girls were beside themselves with joy when they were given these at their very first lesson.

We decided to watch each lesson twice.  First, we would watch the lesson and just listen to the instruction.  The next day we watched the lesson we would then go ahead and participate with the lesson.  After the lesson we would spend the next few days practicing what was learned.

Here are some of the drawing my girls created from their lessons.

Personally, I think they are great.  They really worked on following Pat's instructions by not looking at the paper when they were working on contour drawings, yet looking back and forth when working on composition with 2 apples.  They both asked to watch the lessons many times and I know they would LOVE to continue.  But I think for now, we will continue to practice the lessons we have until they become more polished.

My Thoughts:

I (and my husband) felt the Bible lessons at the end of each lesson a little off.  Not that having the Bible within the program was wrong, it just didn't seem to mesh or click.  I do however, greatly appreciate that the Bible lessons were there.  I just wish they had flowed more.  They did not have the feel of integration that I was hoping for.

I also felt the lessons were very short.  If I had not 'rationed' my children's lessons we would have completed the whole DVD we were given as a review in a few days, a week at most.  I had wished there was more "meat" within the lesson, whether that be introduction to particular artists as a support to the particular lesson or art history.  I do think from what I have read on further lessons that they have potential to become more 'meatier', but that was just not seen in this first volume.

I felt the passion that Pat has both for teaching children about art as well as art itself in each and every lesson that she presented.  That was a great find.  I also loved her simple approach to explaining certain somewhat complicated terms.  
Overall, I liked the product.  I love that Bible was a part of the program.  I love the simplicity of the program. (By that I mean, that you do not need to know art in order to 'teach' art to your children.  The trained artists do that for you.)

I wanted to let you know that See the Light also offers other Christ-centered Art programs.  These include the Crossmaker (for Easter) and the Gift of Love (Christmas centered).  I actually just won a giveaway and the prize was the Crossmaker DVD!  My girls (and I) are super excited to get started with this DVD, since they have already completed our review DVD. And it's quite timely. ;)

They are also working on other Bible stories which will include Moses (God's Special Surprise), Paul (Shipwrecked), and Jonah (God's Runaway) all to be available soon.  These lessons will include teachings on a creative lettering lesson, a chalk pastel lesson, and a mixed media lesson.

Don't rely on just what I'm telling you. Go and read what my Crewmates thought about this product, by visit the TOS Crew page for See the Light.

*** I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and receive free products and services in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of money for any of my reviews. My reviews will always reflect my honest opinions, findings, beliefs and experiences with the products and services that I receive.***

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