Stepping up Art to 8th Grade

Artistic Pursuits

I firmly believe and have experienced, that when you have a passion – and you include your child in that passion – they will come to at least have an appreciation or understanding for that activity. Chances are, if given freedom, they will catch that passion as well. On the particular day above, 2 of my friends came over to have some stampin’ therapy. We had the whole kitchen table and an extra card table decked out with supplies. We were able to stamp, watercolor, use chalks, and markers. Jon set himself up a little station complete with a lamp and a radio station on Pandora on his iPod.

Art – creativity – drawing – in our home, has been a daily part of our living. However, Art appreciation, developing observational skills, becoming knowledgeable about artistic elements – has been new to us this year.

What makes one drawing easier on the eye than another? Is it color? Perspective? Composition? Is the object up close?

P1010379Honestly, at the beginning of the school year, if we went to look at photographs or painting, I didn’t quite understand what “good composition” meant. Either I liked the subject in the drawing or not. I didn’t have enough artistic knowledge to know if the skill in the drawing was something of itself to be appreciated.

Through our time with Harmony Art Mom, going through the grade 4 curriculum, we are learning about the great artists and composers, learning how they approached their work.

This has sparked a desire in all of us, to learn more, an introduction – which has led us to wanting to bring the learning up to an older level.

We looked at her Grade 7 and 8 curriculum, but saw that it included a new to us book called Artistic Pursuits.  Since we had the 4th level book and a learning to draw book, I didn’t look further into it. Just introduce this year.

P1010382However, God had other plans!  The Crew this year was given the opportunity to use Artistic pursuits in the home for free in exchange for sharing it with you all!  We were able to choose a level – and I choose the Junior High Book 2, which goes with the Harmony Art Mom grade 8. I thought it would fit well between both of my boys.

One thing I’d like to share – this is not a Learning How to Draw book. It is not another Learn how to Do art. It is a What Is Artistic – Learn to train your eye, learn what to observe. With our love of nature observation and our bent towards Charlotte Mason, I have been giddy with joy over this Artistic Pursuits Junior High Book Two Color and Composition Book.

Let me make it clear, you do not NOT not need to purchase any other program to help you implement this one! You do not need to purchase Harmony Art Mom’s program, in fact, if you have Artistic Pursuits, their work replaces the entire  Art History portion of the Music and Art program. Harmony Art Mom will just bring in a composer into your studies as well.

Back to Artistic Pursuits – it is child led. The print is large on the page, easy to read, and simple small paragraphs. Everything is taught layer by layer. There are 16 units in the book, each with four lessons. 1. Building a vocabulary, 2. Art Appreciation and Art History, 3, Techniques and then 4. Application.  Each unit gives the student a project to complete, simple but direct, and includes an evaluation sheet at the end of the book to help the parent/teacher give perspective to how the child did on the topic.

P1010381This has been one of the biggest struggles, not a great struggle, but some – during this Artistic Art Appreciation time. We have plenty of time of free creativity in drawing zombies, skateboards, robots, and fish. We have plenty of time to explore many types of mediums with paint, pencils, and markers. But I have made it clear, that in this hour of the day, the goal is to learn from the book. To take in the learned knowledge of Color and Composition.


The result? Their drawings are improving during their free time. Their conversation of observations during our nature study has been enriched. I hear them talk of how the birds are balanced in the field, how the light blends and changes in the spectrum, how the scene has a monotone green flavor – seriously. It has not been very long. The lessons have been simple and enjoyable. Nothing has been forced or coerced.

Math is important. Good Grammar to be coveted. We were going to spend this year on the US Presidents, and that just didn’t work out, we seem to have needed a year in Art History. If you can’t find the justification for 2 hours of “art” per day in the upper grades, I urge you to think differently of all that we will be sharing with you this winter. History, Culture, Geography, Biographies, and really great Art examples.

The Business –

Artistic Pursuits has plans from Preschool through High School. You can find their book selection on their website here:

Jr High and High School each have two books. You do not need to do them in order, in my opinion. We are starting with Jr High Book Two.

For those that are able, they have collected all of the supplies needed to easily go through the project challenges for you to purchase here:

However, in the front of the book, they give you a very clear list of supplies needed. In our arts and crafts loving house, the only thing we needed to purchase was a new kneaded eraser.

They have PayPal, Credit Card or Check/Money order for options to purchase. Each book is $42.95 plus shipping.  They also have a 30 day guarantee!  Here is a link to the order form: which also lists prices for the supply packs and shipping costs.

I can say with confidence, that will will continue through this book, and on to the High School level books. I can not express how amazingly rich and full our art appreciation time has become during the week. So far it has only been on Weds, but I think we will approach a shorter time two times a week now that Lego League is coming to a close. We have gone through Unit 3 in the book.

This is a sharing of our actual learning, with or without the crew we were looking to purchase this book. However, thanks to The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew, we were able to receive one copy of this book to use and keep for free for the purpose of sharing our honest experience with you on our blog. I hope the company, and my writings have inspired you to include Art Color and Composition in your priorities of academics.

If you still have time to read – Ha! – Hop on over and see how Artistic Pursuits, the Curriculum for Creativity – worked with other Crew Families! Go!

About +Angie Wright

The Transparent Thoughts of an Unschooling Family of Boys - Answering the question - What DO you DO all day?
This entry was posted in Some Schooling and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Stepping up Art to 8th Grade

  1. Another great review and reflection and encouragement to all of us. I have experienced the transformation that you are talking about…it is somewhat like learning a new language. We can give our children (and ourselves) a new way to express themselves. I remember when Benny was little and we were first starting to study art. We were learning about looking for the vanishing point in a painting. He was maybe around 5 or 6. We were sitting in our doctor’s waiting room when he jumped up on the back of the chair to get a closer look at the artwork. He shouted out, “There is the vanishing point!” I swear the other people in the waiting room just about fell off their chairs. It was so funny to see this little guy talking about art and using the proper terminology. Love it. It is a great journey which if you can ever go to an art museum to look at art up close…your boys are going to experience art on a whole new level. Can I come? 🙂

I love to hear from my readers, I appreciate comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s