July 12, 2016

ArtAchieve~ Art Lessons Inspired by Art Around the World {Curriculum Review}

We have always enjoyed art in our home. Both boys have sketchbooks and regularly fill the pages with their drawings. Sadly, I don't always find time to teach art in our homeschool for one reason or another. Usually, I am just responsible for too much of the lesson, or it's too time consuming. When I learned about ArtAchieve and their video lessons, I was very interested. After trying out a sample lesson, I couldn't wait to review the Entire Level I with my art loving boys.

ArtAchieve~ Online Art Lessons: Level 1 (A review)
Product Information

ArtAchieve designed their art lessons for children in order to help them be inspired by art around the world, and to enable teachers without art backgrounds to still be able to teach exciting art classes. ArtAchieve isn't just focused on art--they also include mini social studies lessons with their lesson as they explore the part of the world the inspiration came from, dabbling in social studies, science and language arts!

ArtAchieve believes that drawing is a skill just like math or science and that by honing skills, anyone can draw! Their lessons build on the previous themes and always include warmup pages to break the skills down into bite size pieces again.

ArtAchieve provides online art lessons with a couple downloadable components (just the drawing samples and warmups) and provides the complete supplies lists ahead of time. 

ArtAchieve currently has five levels of lessons available that range from grades elementary to adult. They also have some free lessons which you can snag to try them out for yourself. The lessons can be purchased individually or bundled by level. The bundles range from $27-$66 for the 1 year license to any of the five bundles.

We reviewed the ArtAchieve Entire Level I with both of my boys (age 10 and 5).

How Did We Use the Product?

ArtAchieve is very easy to get started with. You will need to have access to the internet and a printer. To begin, you log into the program and it pulls up your list of lessons. Each of these is clickable. When you click on it, a new mini menu drops down allowing you to choose from the following:
You will find in each lesson the exact same four things:
1. Powerpoint version of the art lesson
2. Video Version of the art lesson
3. PRINTABLE warm-up page
4. PRINTABLE drawing sample for the lesson.
I always started by printing the two pages that went with the lesson, and then we always chose to use the video version of each lesson that has a teacher walking you through each step of the drawing.
At this point, I always gave each person a warmup page, their fine line black marker, and white paper. The teacher on the lesson suggests using slick photo paper, but we never did. We just used plain white printer paper. 
And we started the video...
working on the warm up pages
The teacher begins with a mini lesson over whatever the character we are drawing is. Maybe a science lesson if it's an animal. Or a cultural lesson regarding how the character is used in the country of the art image's origin. We are shown real life samples of the thing our drawing is taken from. The teacher next shares the artistic side of the lesson by showcasing the colors or styles of lines that were used to make the image. 
At this point, they give you an inventory of all the supplies that you will need to complete the lesson (also available for each lesson on the supplies tab on the website) including the warm up sheet. Then the teacher runs through an exercise to relax and then a list of things to remember when creating. Things like "mistakes are normal and are just opportunities for new lines" or "every person is unique so every creation will be unique and no two pictures will look the same". 
NOW the lesson begins. We kick it off with the teacher going through the warmup page and encouraging everyone to complete it. Talking about the different types of lines that are found from angels to curves to straight lines. Once this is complete, the actual lesson begins.
The lesson is always very straight forward and simple to follow. The instructor takes it in bite size steps so even the youngest can follow along. He makes suggestions along the way for how you can change it to make it your own. Once it is drawn, he then talks about the coloring options for the image. Maybe teaching about warm hues vs cold hues. How you can use different lines to make different coloring marks. Then he colors and encourages the student to do the same. 
This same routine is repeated for every lesson making it great for independent work. 
Here are some of our creations:

As of this week we are lesson 8 of 11. We have been completing one lesson per week.

What Are Our Thoughts?

Our thoughts are very simple.
We love it. 

The lessons are so easy to do. I love that we can choose to use the lesson or the power point. We have always chosen the lessons because my boys do better with someone guiding them through and seeing it in action. The routine is the same for each lesson, so as soon as they know it's art time, they ask for their warm-up paper. At first, Baby Britches asked for help on it, but now he just grabs it and goes for it. 
Baby Britches loves the routine of warming your hands up and putting them on your face. He gets highly irate if Little Britches doesn't do it too. Little Britches likes the freedom to turn the drawing into his own creation. Baby Britches appreciate the ability to pause the lesson so he can catch up without having to hurry.
I love the addition of the mini lesson relating to whatever we are drawing. Not only do we get a cultural lesson of how the character is used in other countries art, but if it's an animal, we also get a mini science lesson about it. I think one of my favorites was the dragon where the boys learned about how important the dragon is to the Chinese culture. 
I am only sorry that level 1 has just 11 lessons. But I love that we can reference these art lessons at any time, and the boys could go back and re-do some of them if they desire. I discovered them drawing dragonflies from our Dragonfly from Ecuador lesson on their church notes--so I know they are retaining the skills they are learning. 
In regards to the supplies, we already had on hand all the supplies--including the oil pastels. For the most part, you are using plain old washable markers. We used some extra art supplies for a few lessons which is great because it's so easy to expand the lesson being given.
Using Oil Pastels and Watercolors for our Dragonflies
The lessons always suggested we put on our favorite music as we did our art, but because we did our lesson along with the teacher, we didn't have the need to do so. And while there is the opportunity and links to explore the subject (dragonflies, dragon, frog, etc) further at the end of the lesson, we never did that. it would be so easy to turn an art lesson into a unit study from it though.
One of my favorite things is the reminder every lesson that EVERYONE is unique so no two drawings will look alike AND that mistakes are just new lines. Also that when you are finished, it's okay to not like what you did. Having these reminders were great for us--as there were regularly "new lines" added to a design. 
Are there any cons?
Well I guess the only con I have is that the teacher can be a bit dull at times. And that there are only 11 lessons! LOL Minor things indeed.
Will we continue to use this product?
Absolutely. We will be starting lesson 8 (out of 11) this week. I plan on reviewing these lessons over the course of the upcoming year, and possibly purchase the next level because we enjoy these so much.

Would We Recommend This Program?

Absolutely. The things that are cons are so minor, they don't even matter. This is a very simple art curriculum that will produce highly satisfying results over and over again. With the additional aspect of cultural/science studies it takes the art curriculum even further. The online video lessons are so easy to follow and the warmup lessons really break down the whole drawing allowing great practice of minor skills before putting it all together. The programs work well for the whole family to use, though there are a few that are a bit more complicated than the others---but we only ran into one lesson so far that was a bit too challenging for my 5 year old, but it was more of a case he needed to go more slowly rather than just not being able to do it.
Who might not enjoy it? Someone wanting to go beyond drawing and exploring mediums. None of the lessons in our set had anything except drawing and using some coloring mediums. So if you want some sculpting and painting, you might need to check out something different because this program from level 1-5 is all about drawing.

Want to Know More?

We have enjoyed using ArtAchieve and their Entire Level I curriculum in our home over the last few weeks. Make sure you check out the other two levels our team was given to review to see what else their is to explore with this great program!
Art Lessons for Children ArtAchieve Review
You can stay up to date on the lastest from ArtAchieve by connection to them on these social networks:

We have been very impressed with our ArtAchieve experience and I plan on continuing to use the program throughout the summer and check into the next level for our next year. The boys have done very well and just love trying out new designs and art materials. I highly recommend this program to anyone who is looking to give their art loving child high quality yet simple and affordable lessons.

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