Quite some time ago over at Latter-day Homeschooling there was a blog post about art. Specifically, what do people do to teach art? There were several helpful comments, but one comment--by Birrd of Tales From Toad Hall--has proven especially helpful for our family. In her comment she said that she used Artistic Pursuits with her children and loved it.
Being completely and totally art handicapped, I looked up every suggestion given in the comments to that post and eventually decided to buy Artistic Pursuits for my family. I'm so glad I did! Here's a link to their website in case you want to learn more about the product from the source.
Basically what I love about this program is that I don't do anything and my kids are still creating all this fabulous art. The "textbook" is set up into three-page lessons. The first page introduces the topic, the second page showcases a famous painting that demonstrates what the lesson is talking about, and the third page has the student assignment plus examples of the assignment done by kids.
In our family it works like this: when the kids get their regular work done in a timely manner I tell Miriam to get down the art textbook. She pulls it out, reads the lesson to everyone, they all study the famous painting, Miriam reads them the assignment and gets out all the materials needed. Then the kids sit around the table and do the assignment.
I have a very important job in this process! I am the official ooher and aaher. When the kids show me their completed assignment I ooh and aah and tell them how wonderful they are. And I mean it! All of my kids produce better art than I could and I am impressed.
Another thing I like about this program besides how straight-forward it is and how well organized is that all the materials needed for every single assignment in the book is listed in the front. You can buy a pre-put together bag with everything you need for 1-2 students from the website and I think I will do that next time, but I was able to take my list to the store and buy what I needed for 4 kids. Now I don't worry about whether or not I have the supplies on hand. I do! And Miriam knows where they are!
Here is a small sampling of the artwork my children have created this year in conjunction to this art program:
Miriam's "House": Lesson 3, Artists Look.
In short, I really, really, really love this curriculum. I love that there is a famous painting for the children to examine with each lesson. I love how short and focused each lesson is. I love that art history is also incorporated (we bought this book out of the series because it has lessons on ancient art so it fits in beautifully with what we're doing in history). I'm a very satisfied customer. And so far, my kids seem pretty thrilled with the program as well.