Spears Art Studio: A Teacher’s Manual Grades K-8 (CD ROM in PDF) http://www.spearsartstudio.com/

I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t have an art curriculum. Art around my house happens sporadically, whenever we “get around to it”. That might happen every other week as drawing sessions with daddy or making collages or sculpting with play dough. We did Gee-guides last year, but mostly watched the videos and rarely did the hands on art. As weeks go on like this I’d start to feel guilty and run to the library, and get some mediocre craft book. Again, we’d do one or two of the activities and then ditch the book. It’s not that we don’t want to teach art, the problem is we’ve not found a curriculum we though was worthy of our investment. So, when the chance to review Spears Art Studio K-8 Art curriculum I jumped at the chance. Would this be the holy grail of art instruction we were looking for?

To start, I was pleased to find that Spears Art is presented from a Biblical worldview, with an emphasis on inspiration from God to create delightful works of art. The author clearly states she could not have created this CD/PDF curriculum had it not been the Lord who had guided her. She also ties in scripture to each of the weekly themes. I believe God is the finest example of an artist one can find, and it is important to me that my children learn that as they do art.

The next thing that encouraged me was I could use this curriculum without having to buy costly art materials, and she does such an excellent job explaining what art is and how to use the different mediums, this is perfect for the average non-art background classroom teacher or homeschooling family. Most of the lessons can be completed with what is found around the house – construction paper, markers, sharpies, oil pastels, beans, and glue.

The lessons are arranged by month with holidays/seasons tied in, and can be chosen according to your child’s grade (K-8) – suggestions on how to tailor themes to each grade are provided, so you could teach to multi-level grades. She does have art projects listed for each grade. For me, I can see however how it may be hard to pick a separate project for each grade; I had all my boys doing the same lesson, and allowed them to complete it within their individualized ability. For example, I chose Oct. week#1 for our first lesson entitled “Pointillism Fruit” which was an extra lesson for grades 3-8. It was well received from my boys (grades 2/6/8). We also looked at Seurat’s “Sunday Afternoon” and discussed the technique of pointillism. That method worked fine for us, as that’s the way I tend to do things in our homeschool – except for Math and English, I often teach most of the other subjects to the higher grades and the youngers follow along at their pace. We also tried an individual project for each child, we pulled it off, but it just required a little more effort to print out each lesson and direct each child a little differently.

Because this is on a CD, you will have to either read on the screen or print out what you need. Some people may prefer to have an actual book in their hands, but a plus for PDF format is it saves bookshelf space.

Overall this is a very comprehensive, professional package, and I am glad it came along when it did. We will be using it over the course of the year, and I’m sure for years to come as there’s such a nice variety of projects to choose from. I think I just may have found my Holy Grail.

Spears Art Studio site

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