Monday, May 1, 2017

ArtAchieve Review

Do you have a child who thrives by doing art? That's why I love ArtAchieve as a unit study type approach to art. We received the Entire Level III curriculum to review. There are 13 lessons available in Level III. This has been an excellent follow-up to the Entire Level II curriculum, which we had the privilege to review last year. While there are general grade level guidelines for each level, it is suggested that all students begin in Level I. Last year I felt comfortable putting all 4 of my kids in Level II simply because they have all had lots of formal art experiences.
My favorite thing about this curriculum is that every lesson is rooted in geography from all over the world. You can work the lessons in any order that you choose. It's fun to pick and choose based on what your current studies are. Or to go in there and let your kids choose which art project they want to complete and then tack on the extra activities making it a truly cross-curricular curriculum!
Here's how to navigate the website. First log in. Then hover over the button at the top of the main website that says Art Lessons. A drop down screen will appear so you can select the level of art lessons. In my case, I choose Level III. This opens to a page where all of the lessons are displayed for that level. This is the page that I show my kids. I like that the finished picture is shown so they can choose which one they want to work on. Each lesson is also titled with a clue that tells you what country or region would also be covered. Once you click on the lesson that you want to complete, the lesson materials are listed as well as other cross curricular links and ideas. This information is available to anyone whether or not you have a subscription.
In order to access the actual lesson materials, you do need to have a paid subscription. If you are already logged in, click on the view your lessons button at the very top right of the page. Here you will see all of the lessons that you have a subscription for. Click on the lesson number that you have chosen to work on, and links will expand for you to follow. Things like printable warm up pages and templates will be available to you here as well as a power point version of the lesson or a video version of the lesson. Whichever way you choose to follow along in the lesson will give the same end result. My kids prefer the video lesson. We can watch, rewind, or pause the teacher as we work right along with the video.
I love the rules that are included with each lesson. They are always the same but such great reminders. Things like don't talk while working, play some relaxing music in the background, and most importantly if you draw a line that you don't like, turn it into one that you do like. The students are encouraged not to compare their artwork with anyone else. They are also encouraged not to say that they don't like their artwork. They are encouraged to finish the project and if they are not satisfied with the end result, they can always try again.
Most projects use simple and easily obtained art materials. We happen to have a decent art making collection of real art supplies, so I haven't needed to go out and buy anything. There is a project or two that I will need to make a quick trip to the local craft or hobby store to purchase a few things. So definitely preview the project supplies and make plans to either order supplies offline or pick them up while you are out and about. Personally I prefer to use what we have, and I feel comfortable substituting supplies as needed knowing that my kids final projects might have a different result than what is shown in the lesson. That's truly the beauty of art though!
Level III projects include:

  1. The Hawaiian Frog
  2. The African Crowned Crane
  3. The Chinese Horse: Drawing the Head
  4. The Face from the Gambia
  5. The Pacific Northwest Totem Pole (This is the one that you see pictured throughout this review.)
  6. The Eastern European Firebird
  7. The Wood Carving from Kenya
  8. Kandinsky and Color Mixing
  9. The Nine-Banded Armadillo
  10. The Russian Matryoshka
  11. The Canada Goose
  12. Da Vinci's Clock
  13. Let's Make a Movie
Lessons can be purchased individually or in different sets. Choose a project to try or choose a group of projects related to your current studies. I like being able to have access to an entire level at one time. It gives my kids some choices, but doesn't overwhelm us with too many options. Whether you purchase a single lesson or a series of lessons, they all expire in one year. You have one year to access the materials before needing to re-purchase access. I personally wish there was an option for lifetime access. That way if my younger students wanted to access some of these lessons in the future, I wouldn't need to re-purchase them. The instruction is excellent and definitely worth it, but I would prefer to have lifetime access to certain online curriculum and this happens to be one of them.

Curious what other reviewers had to say about this product? Head on over to the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read all the reviews.

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