Tuesday, May 2, 2017

ArtAchieve Fun and Homeschool Review Crew Review

I love reviewing art programs for the sole reason that it forces me to do art with my kids.  Sad, but true.  I am not a natural artist and therefore feel quite under-qualified to teach my kids anything art related.  Thankfully, John Hofland, creator and teacher of ArtAchieve, is an artist and is quite qualified to teach.

If the program sounds familiar to you it may be because we had the opportunity to review ArtAchieve last year, trying out level one.  With the addition of the newest level 4, and because working for the Homeschool Review Crew has its perks, we were able to try out all the levels- including the Entire Level IV!


How does it work?
With a subscription to ArtAchieve you are given access to the level you choose.  You can choose to purchase individual lessons, or save money by purchasing the level bundles which gives you a 1 year subscription.

Level I- Appropriate for ages 5 and up
Level II- Appropriate for ages 7 and up
Level III- Appropriate for ages 9 and up
Level IV- Appropriate for ages 10 and up

Within each level are multiple lessons you can choose from, each using different art mediums, from colored pencils to markers to chalk pastels.  Each lesson lasts about 20-30 minutes, but can take a bit longer depending on how often you pause the video to work on your own creation.  Each project is based off an original piece of art which John Hofland introduces, giving details about its history and composition.  Because John has worked under many master teachers in Eastern Europe,  you will see a strong influence of those teachers in his work and his knowledge of the pieces he talks about.

For each lesson, John includes an Cross Curriculum Connections page that gives great historical information, includes other related art to look at, and links you can follow to related literature, geography, and more.  After an overview of what the project is, you begin with a warm up exercise and a relaxation exercise to get you started.  The step by step instruction follows with plenty of places you can pause to work on a particular section.  It's that easy!

Each lesson ends with a Time For Reflection exercise.  There are questions to ask about what you learned, how you feel about your project, and more.

There are also power points for all the lessons if you work better from reading instruction, as well as print outs of the warm up exercises and art inspirations.

Relaxing before starting
Warm up exercise

Our experiences-
Since this is our second time using ArtAchieve, we decided to jump to Level 2 and Colby, age 9, chose to do the Japanese Goldfish project.  This project uses a permanent pen and washable markers.  We worked on the project for about 45 minutes, but mostly because mom is slow!  Other projects we have done average between 30-45 minutes depending on the level.

The model for the Japanese Goldfish is a cast iron goldfish found in Spokane, Washington.  On the lesson description page you can learn more about Japan and even how to take care of fish as well as access links to numerous related books, making this a great jumping off point for you unit study lovers.  My only complaint is that the information pages are a bit tricky to locate at first on the site and I would love to see them linked at the beginning of each lesson for parent ease.

Level 2 project
For our second project we decided to get brave and take on a level 3 project that used soft pastels- The Eastern European Firebird.   Ummm, fun, but yes, a harder and more detailed project.  Colby did get frustrated a few times with the details, but he is well under the recommended age group so that was expected. We also learned that if you are new to pastels they can be tricky to use with fine details and a little messy!  Colby LOVED them, of course!  Let's just say for now we are sticking to the level 1 and 2s!  That being said, I am in love with a few of the level 4 lessons and hoping to talk my college freshman into trying them out when she comes home next week!

Firebird project - level 3 project

 Our thoughts-
As before, I really like ArtAchieve!  Creator and teacher John Hofland presents projects in a non-threatening way that makes you feel relaxed while working.  The soft music playing in the background and John's gentle voice help as well!  Hey, whatever it takes for we art-fearing students!  I love how he tells students there is no wrong way to do things and encourages individuals to use their own creativity.  He shows you several ways his projects can be done and encourages the student to finish things the way they want.  Just knowing that not all projects have to look identical takes the pressure off certain people.  I love how John says there are NO mistakes and that you can use something you don't like and make it into something you do.

I also love that history, literature, science, and more are incorporated into the lessons.  We have enjoyed following the links to learn more about the history of the art and explore literature of other cultures. That additional educational information is allowing us to count the hours of study as part of our Art Appreciation credit for school.  Bonus!

One of my favorite things is that the supplies needed are pretty basic and are ones many homeschoolers have on hand.  The supplies are easily found on the website so you can see what you will need in advance.

You can try a FREE lesson for ArtAchieve if you are interested in seeing how you do!  It' a fun one!

Art Lessons Inspired From Around the World {ArtAchieve Reviews}
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