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TOS Review ~ ARTistic Pursuits Senior High Book One (the Elements of Art and Composition)

The first book for senior high art instruction by ARTistic Pursuits (written by Brenda Ellis) is an 88-page art resource that teaches application, techniques, art appreciation, art history and a "visual vocabulary" (my favorite aspect of this curriculum - more about that later in the review). By teaching twice weekly, homeschoolers can complete the book in 32 weeks (an average school year). This schedule can easily be modified, however; I have used ARTistic Pursuits more than twice in a week and found it very easy to adapt to my family's homeschool schedule. All of the books in this series sell for $42.95 each at, whether you are looking for an early or mid-elementary, middle school or high school art curriculum.

The table of contents page has a list of art supplies needed for each semester. Art supplies are also available at the website, with cute tote bags to hold the supplies in. (Most everyone who knows me knows I really like tote bags ... really, really like them!) Having the option to purchase all the needed supplies for the entire year's course (with a tote bag!!) is a plus for the busy homeschool mom who doesn't want to search out each item on the supply list. (The price of the Senior High Book One Supply Kit is $57) However, the handy supply list in the book also allows for mom's to buy only the exact items they need, as many of us have loads of "school stuff" lying around from our many years of homeschooling (hmmm, can you tell I'm describing myself?!).

This is a two-semester course and can count as one credit of art for the year; OR it can count as 1/2 a credit in art and 1/2 a credit in art history/art appreciation. Some of you reading this may not be homeschooling any high school students yet (or you may be afraid to homeschool through high school - let me say to those of you with that fear, YOU CAN DO IT!!) For those of you who are homeschooling high school age students, I am sure you already know all about credits and credit hours and Carnegie units, etc. Not every curriculum clearly tells you how to give credit for the completed course (BTW, in the traditional high school, once a textbook is 80% finished it is considered "complete" and full credit can be given). And oftentimes, one child might be "heavy" in art credits - in which case, it's nice to know that the credit can be given as art history or art appreciation. Let me also add this ~ DO NOT let any of the above intimidate you about homeschooling through high school. If I can do it, anyone can do it - really!! My oldest child was just accepted to Wheaton College (in Wheaton, Illinois, not the one in Mass.) which is one of the best schools in the nation, often classed with Duke, Cambridge, Brown, and the like. It's hard but rewarding work, and you really can homeschool all the way through high school.

The "Getting Started" section of the book explains how to schedule and teach each lesson. Students also learn to build a "Visual Vocabulary", which basically means they read a paragraph or so in the beginning of each lesson and then are given an assignment ~ the end result is a piece of work based on what they read, not what they saw drawn out for them in the book. My words do not do this aspect of ARTistic Pursuits justice; believe me when I say it is a unique and wonderful feature!! Art appreciation and art history are also studied, along with techniques and application in every lesson. The assignments (labeled "To Do" or "Try This") are in red print, making it easy to see what the student actually needs to do for each lesson. The elements of art students work with in Senior High Book One are Space, Line, Texture, Shape, Form and Value. This is a thorough curriculum and I appreciate the attention to detail the author put into this book.

Student work is featured throughout the book; I find this to be very encouraging! The homeschooled child can see what other teens have drawn and realize this is something they can do, too. It also helps them to understand that their finished assignment doesn't have to look just like the European pieces featured in each lesson.

Each unit contains 4 lessons. Some of the assignments are relatively easy, especially for the high schooler who has taken are courses before. The more challenging assignments take more time but they really do "grow" the student as an artist. Many art curriculums fail to truly challenge and improve the budding artist. ARTistic Pursuits is truly an excellent art program.

I had my 7th grade daughter and 10th grade daughter use ARTistic Pursuits Senior High Book One in order to give a thorough review. Below are their comments.

7th grade daughter: "This curriculum expects me to draw without giving me really simple step-by-step instructions. It has great extra features that have taught me a lot. I feel like I am learning new information with ARTistic Pursuits. The projects are challenging but they're also fun. Art is one of my favorite subjects, so I've enjoyed using this book."

10th grade daughter: "This is a good art program. It stretches beyond art books I've used in the past, many of which can be described as the 'same old, same old'. ARTistic Pursuits gives you a passage; you read it and then draw what you get out of the reading. It's self-taught, but in a good way (kids who've been homeschooled for a while know what I mean by this!). It has solid information about art itself, much of which I didn't know. The art history is also interesting, and it isn't written in a boring manner. I really like this curriculum."

So there you have it from my girls' point of view. If you are looking for an art curriculum for high school, check out ARTistic Pursuits.

Have an artistic homeschool day!!

Day 85 done :)

Jan L. Burt


  1. This sounds like it's PERFECT for your family as creative and artistic as they are. AND it comes with a cute tote bag for Momma -- what more could you ask for, right? HA!! :)


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