Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Spears Art Studio K-8 Christian Art Curriculum

Looking for a good, solid art curriculum that will last through the elementary years?

Diane Shields Spears has created a wonderful curriculum that answers that need, with art instruction from a Christian World-view!

As one of the TOS Crew members, I was given the opportunity to try it out.... here are my thoughts, and some basic information for you.

You can check out the table of contents and overview, as well as download some sample lessons for free, Spears Art Studio K-8 Christian Art Curriculum. (note.. these are all PDF files, so you will need Adobe AR)

The 35 lessons are presented with monthly/seasonal “themes” as well as specific Art Skill Themes

This curriculum is very detailed, and well thought-out.
The weekly themes include scriptures to read and suggested art work to look at for all students.
From there they are broken down into projects for everyone, and lessons by grade. Sometimes there are individual lessons for each grade, and sometimes they are grouped together K-2, 3-5, 6-8, etc…

Each Lesson includes:
The project objective
Scripture references
Teacher Prep
Motivation and Focus
Materials necessary to gather for project
And, finally, the detailed instructions for the Activity

Diane has included Teacher Rubrics for ease in “grading” the artwork, and instructions on how to go about a “Class Critique”, if using this for more than a couple of students, or in a co-op setting.

My kids were extremely excited to learn how to draw trees, and have them look fairly realistic. They both tried each other’s “Grade” lesson, which made it even more fun! Unless the projects seemed terribly difficult, or too easy, I used my discretion, and let them each choose which project they wanted to do for a specific week. I’m figuring that eventually we will hit them all to some degree or another. I have to honestly say that I was less excited about the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentines projects(they were more "Traditional" , and less innovative than I had hoped for), but I think that’s OK, because many families choose to slow down their schooling around those times, and do “other” projects anyway. ☺ And… my kids enjoyed them anyway, which is a major concern in any art curriculum.

So… what is the cost of this curriculum, you ask?
Well, in my opinion, for what is being provided, it is very economical
$39.95 (Shipping included) CDrom with the entire manual broken down into smaller PDF files that you can easily access from your computer, or print up as you desire.

If you have more money than time and inclination to check it out on your computer and print,
$ 134.95 will give you a Black and White hard copy in a three ring binder, along with the CD Rom (Which has MANY color illustrations (a cost of $14.99 per grade level for an entire year)

Now, I must also mention the High School Art Survey which is a full 1-2 year course for the high school student. Diane graciously sent me this on CD-rom as well, so that I could preview it for my 11 year old, who has done a lot of drawing and painting. True to Diane’s thought, there is a lot more “meat” in this curriculum than my “middle-school” DD could digest. The actual art instruction could be useful to advanced “young” students(and I may utilize some of it right now), but there is a lot of research, art appreciation and journaling that are beyond the scope of the average, or even above average “Tween”. I could highly recommend this for anyone that is looking for a hefty 1-2 year course for their high school student!

Here is the breakdown in cost for this course
$29.95 for Full Color CDrom version of the High School Art Survey Teacher’s Manual
$69.95 for a hard copy, 3-ring bound Manual with both black and white as well as 52 coloe illustration
$84.95 for a combo hard copy and Cd-rom pack
and finally,
$69.90 for a CD-rom combo pack that includes the K-8 CD, the high School Survey CD, and a Beginning Calligraphy Workbook, for grade 5-adult

Don’t forget to check out the free lessons, and if you like what you see, I’m sure that you will be pleased with the rest of the program! I am! ☺

Final note:
My kids do enjoy creating artwork, and the Spears Art Studio is a blessing, because it doesn’t require expensive and/or difficult-to-locate materials. However, if you hate to shop for those items that you don't have, Diane has made it easy, by teaming up with Dick Blick Art Supplies. Here's a link to a page that has reduced the DB catalog to most of what you might need for the Spears Art Studio(Keep in mind that the list is for the materials needed for all 9 years, K-8, and need not be purchased all at once).


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