If you have read some of my previous posts especially the 'Out of your comfort zone' and 'Challenge' posts you will already know that I struggle with doing arts & crafts with my children, I love these activities for myself but have issues when doing them with children.
The whole setting up, mess, cleaning up and the control freak in me that wants the finished product to look like the picture in the book or online did! These are some of my struggles, throw a toddler into the mix and for me it seems like a recipe for my house and the children to look as if a paint, glitter or glue bomb exploded. I have however been making an effort to put myself out of my comfort zone more but feel as if I am missing the mark for my eldest (Book Worm). I feel he is at an age now to go beyond that level of art & craft and do some more structured art learning, so I have for some time now been on the search for something that meets our requirements.
There are a lot of art instruction books but I ruled them out as they seemed dry and I didn't have the knowledge or the time to teach Book Worm away from the other two, getting a tutor at this stage and age just seemed like an unnecessary expense.
I looked at children's art groups but they are a bit of a distance away which would involve some driving and waiting in the car with the others plus the classes seemed like the crafts I am trying to do at home, not the type of instruction I was looking for.
I also looked at DVD tutorials for home educators most of which seemed to come from the USA therefore once you factored in shipping and import costs it made them very expensive for what we needed, by chance I found my answer on a Facebook page I follow it was a link to an online art programme form Australia:
After accidentally signing up using a discount code only meant for Australian home educators I have been communicating with the site owner, creator and teacher Kirsty Shadiac and explaining the need/ plight of home educators especially within the UK to access products and services like hers. Kirsty has her site open to users from the UK and US, she has also very kindly put on a special offer for home educators which is available till the end of April and I get to be part of sharing the great offer. (see the end of my review for offer)
The Online Programme Review - Artventure
Artventure is an online programme available for schools, classes and home educators for an annual fee, you can visit the site (link above) and watch the introduction and also try a couple of the lessons for free. As a home educator when you are budgeting for all the curriculum elements you require for each child I love it when free trials of products are available. Free trials help you to see if the product or service fulfils your requirements before parting with part of your budget just to discover it wasn't what you thought it was!
The site is simply laid out and easy to navigate, once logged in you can use the search part to select a lesson or lessons are divid by degree of difficulty, grade level and also by subject so you can use them as part of a cross curriculum project. I feel that these different ways of selecting an art lesson for your child gives greater flexibility, with home education your child can have differing degrees of ability depending on the subject matter therefore if they are more or less capable at art you can choose the lessons to suit your child.
The online video lessons give clear step by step instruction, each element is shown clearly and terms used are easy to understand. Through out the lesson you will see a pause button logo this facility allows the student or parent to know when to pause as you following along. The materials for Book Worms level are things that as a home educating family you would probably have, so it won't break the bank with needing lots of specialist equipment. There is also an 'extras' feature that contains video lessons giving hints and explaining some techniques so your child will benefit more from the lessons. I plan for Book Worm to use these lessons independently with some assistance when required.
Here are some of what he has done so far:
|This is my favourite because until we started this programme |
Book Worm was still drawing stick people!
As a member there is also a gallery area where your child can upload a photo of their master piece, it reminds me of the the gallery from a childhood TV show I loved called Hartbeat with Tony Hart, one rule for the gallery is that it must only be a photo of the art piece which as a parent gives me more peace of mind.
As a younger child Book Worm struggled when something he had drawn didn't look exactly like the item - a dinosaur, a fish etc. A bit like his mum! I remember one time he came and asked me to draw him a dinosaur, he said he couldn't (not like the book) so I scribbled a few bits and bobs down and gave it to him. When he looked at my scribbles he said "That's not a dinosaur!" to which I replied "That is my impression of a dinosaur and if I say it's a dinosaur then it is and I think it is lovely". So often we can be over critical of our own and others work, that it puts us off from even trying and I don't want that to be the case for any of my children. Book Worm is enjoying the lessons at Artventure and the independence he has, I feel in time it will increase his ability in art and his confidence which in return might spark his own creativity.
If I could be granted just one wish from Artventure it would be that it include some art appreciation tutorials too. Kirsty seem so enthusiastic, engaging and child friendly in what she is doing with the lesson that it would be great to have someone like that guide my children (and I) through some art history, an art gallery or an artists studio so we had a better understanding and view of art as a whole.
From now untill the end of April Kirsty at Artventure is offering 40% discount on the Home price which is normally $99 AUS per household per year so the discount would make this $59 AUS. This offer is open to UK and USA home educators (please select the correct link for your country) and is subject to the Artventures normal terms and conditions of membership. If you encounter any difficulties once at the site please contact Kirsty directly, her contact details are on the site.
Hope you enjoy it as much as we are.