It has been such a blessing to receive the Entire Level III from ArtAchieve this month for our high school homeschool art curriculum! The makers of ArtAchieve pull from their world travels to introduce your student to other cultures through art.
We can choose from any lesson in the Entire Level III, Level 3 assuming that your child has had a history in art lessons. These are the type that you are focused on a project to reproduce, and learn about the artist, and his culture and history. We have been doing these types of lessons for over 10 years now, so the boys are familiar with this intentional art seatwork.
We start by choosing a project on their list. For example, this week we choose the Totem Pole.
My son can choose to watch a full video lesson or follow along while reading a slide presentation. We watched a couple of the videos – really enjoyed the Frog one, and then started choosing the slides. It makes it easier to pause and break up the lesson throughout the day, or use one lesson over the week. The Totem Pole has 127 detailed slides – which takes about 45 minutes to complete.
Gather the supplies listed, including a printed PDF warm up PDF. We have used pastels, oil pastels, water colors, fine and thick black sharpies, markers, pencils, etc.
Like our favorite art programs, he starts us off learning about what we are going to reproduce. Today it is Totem Pole that was presented in Redmond, Washington by Dean Fredrickson. He draws the eyes asking several questions helping the student to focus on the details of the work.
Teacher’s Note: He offers a full sheet of National Standards that will be met during the lesson. Now that I am teaching at a Private School, this wording is very helpful to me. If you live in a state or with an IEP that requires you to show what you are incorporating, this is a huge help!
After reviewing the animals on the art piece, he introduces the goals for the lesson to the student. It is important, especially for older art students to know.
Next is a review of the supplies to have on hand for the lesson. Although we broke our lesson into small fragments over the week, we did finish one in one setting. Either way it is good to have it all. We’ve been stopped by the missing sharpie.
Relax to focus. Here is a favorite part, that I have used with my students this month at school. Rub your hands together until you feel heat, now apply soft pressure to your eyes with your hands. In a household that is moving 90 miles an hour, this has been a fantastic relaxation technique! He also gives links to relaxing music to play while doing your lesson. For my long time blog readers, you know that combining music and art is our habit. He reminds the students not to talk during the lesson. Just relax and focus on your art.
We pick up pen to paper with the warm-up sheet. Small blocks with sections of the drawing that you reproduce in a blank box below. He urges you to focus and say, “I am drawing a curve, I am drawing a straight line”. Since we are older and all, this felt silly. We were finally obedient later on in the review period when we were goofing off and said, “I am drawing a straight line.” I’m not sure why we were so shocked when all of a sudden we drew the straightest line we’ve ever drawn. Everyone did. Then the next person said, “I am drawing a curve.” and Swoosh – the cleanest curve ever. We lost to the ‘no talking rule’ that day.
He reviews the rules for drawing, reminding us that we do not have to like everything we draw, but pledge to follow the project all the way through. If we don’t get a line just right, to move on and realize that we can incorporate it into our drawing later. Keep Quiet and Focused! And that the student is only drawing for their own learning and pleasure. Reminding them that they are not drawing for others or their teacher. There are several reassuring guidelines that help your student focus on the lesson, not the visual result.
I hope I haven’t lost you with all of the lead up parts. I assure you that this goes very quickly. The excellent part is two fold. If you’ve never done real artist studies / art lessons, you have a detailed guided tour on video. You can (I always do) take the class with your students and learn at the same time. OR – In our case, with older students, I can go to work and assign a project and know that he has detailed step by step instructions. The voice of the author is easy to follow on the video, and the instructions typed on the slides are very conversational. The level 3 student should not have any problems following along to the slides. He will learn about the artist, the history, the geography, the culture, even the science / biology, music, – of the artist – and or of the object being drawn. Other than gathering supplies, the teacher / parent has ZERO planning for these projects. The graphic to the left is given in the lesson, you can refer to it while drawing.
Let’s Draw! The lesson moves along in the step by step style. Very tiny details – one or two lines at a time, and building on it. I like that he gives planning dots as a focus starting point. You can move through the slides or video focused on just the next drawing step, which I’m sure my son often did. However, if you slow down and really read all of the information between drawing steps, for the Totem Pole, you’ll have a lesson with the Tlingit tribe and the information on Totem Poles in Haines, Alaska – which is cool, because the boys and I are registered Tlingit tribal members, and we are Raven, which was in our drawing!
The drawing continues step by simple step through to completion. Mixed in are some lessons, this one Plain vs Form lines. He asks you, in the end, to compare your drawing to several student drawings giving examples in the slides. He’ll ask you to tell your neighbor what you like about your drawing and theirs. Oh – After each small chunk of the lesson, he gives a Congratulations Page. We did use these as stopping points some times. At the end, he gives a super large Congratulations page and offers a request to reflect on your drawing time.
Tips – Make sure your sharpies work ahead of time!
As I started out saying – this is a huge super blessing to our home this year. We will continue to use the program once a week in the fall for our 10th grade son. We are heavily relying on strong video instruction for his high school curriculum. The author has such a heart for history, geography, art and music that it makes ArtAchieve a perfect fit for our family!
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