Saturday, January 30, 2010

Atelier Art - Curriculum Review

One of my goals for my blog is to post curriculum reviews for all of the curriculum that we are using. Making curriculum choices is quite difficult for new and experienced homeschoolers, so hopefully, sharing detailed information about what we are using will help somebody else make decisions about curriculum. The following is a slightly altered version of a review for Atelier Art that I wrote for Curriculum Choice - a fabulous site for learning about all different types of curriculum.

I have been homeschooling for almost 7 years now and for most of those years, I felt guilty about the lack of a structured art program within our homeschool. Now, we did lots of art projects and the children took art classes outside our home but I always wanted a structured art program that we could do at home on a regular basis. I wanted an art program that would be easy for a non-artist to teach (me) and I could use with all three of my children together (13, 11, and 8). I also wanted a program that would not require me to scour the edges of the art supply store every week to find the obscure materials needed for that week’s lesson. Finally, I wanted integration of art appreciation within the art program.

Last year at the Cincinnati Homeschool Convention, I found exactly what I was looking for with Atelier Art, The Video-Based Art Program. We have been using Level 5 in this program since August and absolutely love it!
After talking with the representative at the company extensively at the conference, I decided to purchase Level 5 originally for my children. There is a very helpful chart to help determine which level would be most appropriate for the age span of the children you are teaching on their website. Having used the program for several months, I would agree that Level 5 was a good choice. My youngest child (8) has only struggled with one of the projects which was a drawing project. So, while all three of my children are working to their individual abilities, they have been able to complete all of the projects at a level that was satisfactory to them.

I purchased the complete kit for Level 5 which includes the DVDs for all three Level 5 modules (A, B, and C), the Parents’ Manual (one time purchase), the lesson plans for all three Level 5 modules, and GA-M1 Art Print Guides and Art Prints. I did not purchase the art supplies kit as I already had the majority of the art supplies that were included in the kit.

One of the things I love about Atelier Art is that even though a wide variety of art media are used, most of the supplies are items that I already had purchased. The Parents’ Manual includes a full list of all of the art supplies required for each level and module. I always preview the DVD lesson the week before to make sure that we have everything we need – usually we do.
The Parents’ Manual contains a wealth of information including the art concepts taught in Atelier Art (line, color, shape/form, pattern, texture, space, and composition), artists studied, how to visit an art museum, a complete scope and sequence for all 8 levels, how to teach the program, how to use the art appreciation program, how to evaluate art projects, how to give an art show, lesson objectives for every lesson in every level, and a glossary of terms. The Parents’ Manual is a one-time purchase as it is used for every level.

The lesson plans for each module are quite detailed and correspond exactly with the DVD lesson. I especially like the DVD portion of the lessons. At the beginning, the teacher goes over exactly what art supplies will be needed for the lesson. After that, she teaches the lesson in a slow, clear manner. Then, various children of different ages are shown working on the art project. Finally, the teacher highlights a few of the completed art projects. We usually watch the entire video before starting our own art projects. The videos usually run about 15 minutes. I particularly appreciate seeing a wide variety of completed art projects of various abilities.

Each module has 6 lessons but some of the lessons are quite long and are completed over a two to three week period. So, the first module in Level 5 took us 8 weeks to complete. All of the children have been particularly pleased with the art projects they have completed thus far. To end this review, I will share some examples of the projects my children have completed, using both Levels 4 and 5.

Lessons on Color with Horizon Line and Expressionism…
Lessons using Media Techniques and Perspective...
Lessons on Composition with Still Life paintings and Charles Wysocki style paintings...
Lessons on the Color Wheel, Primary and Secondary Colors with a hot air balloon painting...and lessons on Color Value with a fabulous Wild Things Collage…If you would like to see detailed pictures of this art project, go here.
After working through the first module of Level 5, and doing further investigation on the Atelier Art website, I decided that I also wanted my children to complete the projects from Level 4. The projects all looked really interesting to me and I thought my children would enjoy them. So, we have been working back and forth between Level 4 and Level 5 projects. When we are completely done with both levels, I do plan to purchase Level 6.

The Atelier Art website contains a treasure trove of information with lots of examples of children’s art from all of the different levels. If you are interested in learning more about Atelier Art, I would encourage you to spend some time on their website. For us, the program has been a great fit – I just wish I had discovered Atelier Art 7 years ago!


CrisisMaven said...

What a nice page & pictures!
btw, I have started a blog which will comprise study literature in a more entertaining form than standard textbooks, see
CrisisMaven’s Economics Study Guide. It also contains a Reference List which aspires to eventually become the "one stop shop" for all economic data seriies, history, bibliographies etc.

{ jamie } said...

Love those paintings!