Category Archives: art

ARTistic Pursuits: Art for Children, Building a Visual Vocabulary ~ a Crew review

K-3 art book cover

Creating is always a welcome activity and when I heard about the new video lessons from ARTistic Pursuits Inc. for their K-3 level books, I was very intrigued. The series is ARTistic Pursuits Art Instruction Books with DVD and Blu-Ray; we received Volume 1 of the series – Art for Children, Building a Visual Vocabulary. When all of the books are released, there will be a total of eight (8) books.

instructional discs for K-3 art

Art for Children works with the student to teach them variety of words related to art creation. The book is a hardback book that is printed in full color. There are 18 lessons total. Six (6) of the lessons are video only lessons and 12 of them are text only lessons. The book comes with two discs for the video lessons – one is a DVD only disc and one is a Blu-ray. Both discs contain the exact same information and the video quality is the same.

Through the book, students will explore several different areas of art and discover how artists see the world. They will experience composition, imagination, oberservation,  and communication. They will work with shape, form, and texture while studying landscapes, still life, animals, and portraits.

The book begins with a page letting you know what materials you will need for all of the projects. There is also a short explanation of the teaching philosophy for ARTistic Pursuits.

video and book

Each of the video lessons have a single page in the book so that you know where they belong. There is materials information and a couple of steps to follow but there is no instruction written for these lessons. I think this is a shortcoming of this book. You must watch the video in order to complete the video lessons so if you don’t have access to a video player or your disc gets broken, you no longer can complete this lesson.

The video starts with an introduction by hostess Ariel Holcomb. The introduction is followed by instruction and examples by art teacher Brenda Ellis. All you see of the instruction is a video of the artist’s hands with a voice over for the instruction. It is very good instruction on how to use the materials for the lesson and the steps to follow for the project in the lesson. It is concluded with a review of the information and steps to take. Then you are to go create the project on your own. This is where having written instructions would be really helpful. For the paper folding lesson, I had to stand there with the remote control in my hand, pausing every few seconds after each instruction on how to fold the animal’s head. It worked but it was not simple.

working on a special day painting

The text lessons are fantastic. Each text lesson includes an introduction to the idea covered and is then followed by a reproduction of a work of art by a master. For example, in the texture lesson the work is The Sunflower 1906-07 by Klimt. This master work is studied and some questions are asked to help the student really focus on the art. Then the student’s project is set out for them to complete with images to help guide the student.

Each text lesson includes some preparation notes for the teacher/parent. The materials tend to be found in the midst of the lesson, rather than clearly at the front, but they are there.

Each lesson, whether video or text, can be done in about 30 minutes, depending on how much effort the student desires to put into the project creation. The lessons are designed to do approximately one lesson per week. We were able to make it through most of this book, as it was a joy to do more than one lesson a week. We often did one lesson a day and I had to stop her to get other work done.

Miss J just finished up her 3rd grade year; she is 9 years old. I chose this book for her in order to get the instructional videos of the use of materials. It was good to have some instruction on how to use the specific materials. Sometimes Miss J felt they were fine and other times she felt as though she were too old for the instruction.

 

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We have used ARTistic Pursuits Inc. in the past and I like the instruction that is included. I like the fact that master works are included and that students have freedom in how they apply the concept to their own work. This is not a program where they study line and then everyone draws the same thing. They might study line but then the student is encouraged to find a new place where they see the ideas of line used and create their art from that new thing. This is great for solidifying the concepts for the students.

working on her artwork

Final Thoughts:

Overall, I have mixed feelings about this ARTistic Pursuits Inc. program. I like the format but it could use some tweaking. I don’t know that I would purchase the program because to get the entire series would take a commitment, though I am interested in the idea behind the focus on culture in the other volumes of the series.

Blessings,
At Home.

Read more about ARTistic Pursuits and their K-3 art program by clicking the banner below. Other families used volumes 2-4.

ARTistic-Pursuits-Art-for-Children-Homeschool-Reviews3-Crew-Disclaimer-2016

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Art with Let’s Go Geography

We are still enjoying working through Let’s Go Geography. We don’t stress over our pacing. Some weeks we do three countries; some weeks, it gets left off. It is always interesting and fun, though, and we are really enjoying it a lot still. I hope Year 2 is out when we are ready for it.

I just thought I would show you some of the art pieces that have been completed in relation to Let’s Go. Miss J absolutely enjoys the art part of this and it is good for her to have this time. I sometimes forget that she is still young and doesn’t need to have all the book time that her older sisters do. Besides the fact that she is a hands-on learner All. The. Way. It sticks with her when it is hands-on so these projects are great for her.

If you are looking for a simple geography program that has lots of skill, take a look at Let’s Go Geography. It is a great curriculum that is simple yet very effective.

Blessings,
At Home.

Magic Stix markers ~ a Crew review

butterflies

We had an opportunity to review Magic Stix Washable Markers from The Pencil Grip, Inc. If you remember back in December, we had a chance to try out their set of 12 markers. This time, we were able to try out their set of 24 markers.

We have enjoyed having these Magic Stix Washable Markers. They are vibrant and bright. They are smooth to write and color with. And they bring artwork to life. Okay – I guess that is a bit boastful but they do really show it off well because of the intensity of color.

Magic Stix 24 set markers

The Pencil Grip, Inc. created these markers with children in mind. There are several features that show that to be true.

  • They are non-toxic. I know, most things for children are these days but it doesn’t go without saying. It needs to be said and the Magic Stix say it right on the front of the package.flowers colored with Magic Stix
  • They have a cap that is vented. It took me a bit to figure out what this meant. Basically, the cap that cover the marker tip is solid and keeps the air out. But around that, there are open spaces that allow the air to flow. This is important for children because we all know that one child who puts everything in their mouth. Well, if this ends up in their mouth or worse – in their airway – the air can still pass through while medical attention is sought. That is quite a safety feature!
  • There is no odor. I am not one that is bothered by odors but some people, and particularly some children, are. The no odor factor is huge if your child is sensitive.
  • Magic Stix are washable. This is important. When it got on our table cloth, it took a couple of washes to get it out but it did come out. When it got on a melamine table top, it took some scrubbing and it came off. Mostly – I knew where it was but when someone else who didn’t know was asked, they couldn’t find the spot, so that counts as coming off, right?
  • The plastic case is wonderful! It has a handle that is easy to grip and the plastic latches are easy to lock and unlock, even for little hands. The case is rigid and study. It has a slot for each of the markers and they snap into place. I don’t need a case for markers but this is one of those things that is just a step above other companies. It brings just a tad bit of a smile to my face to have everything neat and organized in a solid case.Magic Stix washable markers
  • They don’t dry out. This claim is one that I have mixed feelings about. Our first experience, we felt like the markers dried out so that is one of the big reasons we wanted to try them again. This time, we feel like they have done much better. However, we still have experienced the warm colors (red, orange, yellow) not working as well as when we first received them.  And definitely not as well as the cooler colors – blues and greens. We did not do a cap-off test. (Some other families did so make sure you check out the other Crew reviews.)

When you get this set of Magic Stix Washable Markers, you get 24 vibrant, bright, bold colors. There are multiple shades of blue and green. The red, orange, yellow, pink, purple, and brown each have a couple of shades. There is a gray and a black in this set, also. There are plenty of colors to make every picture you are coloring come to life with bright colors. And, if you are familiar with how to layer light colors on the bottom and darker ones on top, there is a lot you can do with these colors.

Miss J absolutely adores these markers and uses them often. Several times a week, I find her using them to color her geography page or decorate a card for someone. She has used them to color while someone reads to her. They stay out constantly and are definitely a favorite.

coloring geography pictures

Overall, I do like the Magic Stix Washable Markers better than other markers we have had or used. I do wish the warm colors worked better for us but I enjoy having them and using them regardless. They still make bright marks with a bit of effort and the other colors are all working fantastic. Besides, coloring is good for our spirits, so a little extra time with a few of the colors is not a problem.

coloring together

Check out The Pencil Grip, Inc. and their selection of products for creative minds, including the Magic Stix (previous review), Kwik Stix (review of 12 pack, metallic colors), and Thin Stix (creativity pack review, six pack review).

Blessings,
At Home.

Read reviews by other families who used the Magic Stix Washable Markers, some of whom did the 7-day cap off test. Find out how it went!

Magic Stix Washable Markers {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Creative Fashion Design

For a gift, one of the giggly girls got her sister this fashion design set based on the recent live-action Beauty and the Beast. It has been a terrifically fantastic hit. It is getting used for hours on end and all the giggly girls are sitting around together, listening to music,and designing outfits.

encouraging creativity

I thought I would show you some of the outfits they have each designed, with more to come, I’m sure. Miss L is working on a series that are all related and since they aren’t all done, she wasn’t ready to share them with you. Maybe soon. Something to look forward to, right?

 

With hours invested, I am thrilled that a purchase I was hesitant about has provided hour after hour of quality time together as sisters. This has been a fantastic gift that all of them have benefited from.

Blessings,
At Home.

Linking up with the Homeschool Review Crew.

Homeschool Review Crew Weekly Link Up

Magic Stix ~ a review

frames done with Magic Stix

Coloring with markers is something that every kid (and adult, I think) enjoys. But markers?!? As a parent, I hesitate when it comes to markers.

2017-12-13 13.27.36

What if you could have a marker that

  • doesn’t dry out when the cap is left off, even for a whole week?
  • is odorless?
  • is washable?
  • is non-toxic?

AND

  • provides bold, beautiful colors?

2017-12-13 13.26.48

Magic Stix from The Pencil Grip, Inc. provides a marker that does just that. We have been using them for a bit over a week with tons of intricate Christmas coloring pages and color-it-yourself frames. And they are beautiful. The coverage is smooth and I can get into those tiny little details with these markers. Even though the tip is one I would classify as a bold tip, it is small enough at the point that very fine details can be created.

We have had an issue with these getting a bit harder to use over the course of time BUT we have used them for hours and hours. Miss J has fallen in love with these and wanted to sit and color with Mom for hours on end. It is holiday time, so we did. These markers have been USED! And most of them are still going strong.

Magic Stix coloring pages

When I contacted The Pencil Grip about the issue, they jumped on the chance to fix it (offering to send us a replacement set) and to use the experience we have had to make their product even better. I took the time to answer some questions for the company so that they can use our experience to improve. What an awesome thing!

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I cannot recommend products from The Pencil Grip highly enough.

Purchase Magic Stix Washable Markers from Amazon. They make a fantastic addition to your art supplies.

And if you haven’t read about Quik Stix and Thin Stix, dry tempera paint sticks, please go read our reviews and look at some of the activities we have done. These are an amazing product that we give as gifts often.

Happy creating!

Blessings,
At Home.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of these product from The Pencil Grip, Inc. in exchange for my honest opinion. I was asked to share about them only if I enjoyed them. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

Creating with The Thin Stix Creativity Pack from The Pencil Grip, Inc. ~ a Crew review

Thin Stix Creativity Pack

Kiwk Stix and their thinner friends, the Thin Stix, are favorites of our family to use, providing hours of endless creativity. Recently, we received the Thin Stix Creativity Pack, a set of 24 Thin Stix, from The Pencil Grip, Inc. to use for this review. We have had hours and hours of fun with lots of friends using these wonderful tools!

Thin Stix Creativity Pack

Thin Stix are a thinner version of the Kwik Stix. All are a quick drying tempera paint that is dry within just a few seconds of laying it onto your project. The website says 90 seconds but we have found it to actually be much, much faster drying than that, which is wonderful with younger kiddos using the product. Because this is a stick form of the paint, there is no need for water, cups, brushes, or smocks. You would do well to still protect your working area, just in case, but we have found these to clean up very well on all sorts of table tops. The bright, cheerful, energizing colors are non-toxic and washable. This makes them a wonderful product to explore with younger kids.

ghost pumpkin

The Thin Stix Creativity Pack is a set of 24 colors. Included in this pack are the basic colors, such as red, blue, green, brown, black, and yellow. You also get white, pink, and purple. But – and this is where the girls got REALLY excited – there are also metallics and neons in this pack! Metallics include shiny blue, purple, pink, green, gold and silver. The neons include super bright pink, yellow, two blues, green, and orange. What combinations and opportunities lie within these color combinations!

Thin Stix Creativity PackThin Stix Creativity PackThin Stix Creativity Pack

When these first arrived on our doorstep, the girls squealed (literally squealed!) with delight about the huge pack. They immediately begged to use them and do art first for school that day. I agreed and the day started happily with a couple of hours of drawing, experimenting, and trying out all sorts of ideas and uses.

coloring party

One of the evenings, we had several girls over for a sleepover. When they got up the next morning, the girls and their friends really wanted to do something but they weren’t terribly energetic. Out came the Thin Stix Creativity Pack and a pile of papers. The next two hours were filled with exclamations of how much fun these were and showing off drawings that were made. My favorite moment was when I was asked “how long until I can turn this over to sign my name?” I answered “now.” With a puzzled look, she tried it to see if I was kidding with her and then exclaimed “It’s dry!!”

One of the girls’ mommas is a drama teacher and when she picked up her daughter, she commented on the colors. I showed her what they were and how they worked and she was super pleased. Her comment? “I think it is budget spending time.” A good endorsement, I do believe.

friend's pictures

Another time we used these was when we were babysitting a 7 year old, a 4 year old and a 2 year old. They are a creative family so had used lots of art products before. We pulled out the Thin Stix Creativity Pack and the papers. They were excited. Something new for them!! They spent at least an hour drawing and creating. Even the 2 year old! She just loved drawing and coloring and showing off her pictures. All of them had so much fun and they really enjoyed getting to use a product that was new to them.

a bat

We have used products from The Pencil Grip, Inc. quite often and have always enjoyed them. They can be used on just about anything regular tempera paint works on, though for now the girls still prefer paper. We have used them for Christmas drawings,  backgrounds on Santa projects, regular creations, and trying out black paper with the metallics, just to name a few times we have used them.

These are definitely something to try!

At Home.

Thin Stix Creativity Pack {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Weekly Science Lesson

simple weekly science lessons

We have had a lot of fun recently using a weekly science lesson from a company called Mystery Doug. Each week we get an email with a link to a video answering a question. We watch the video and then, if even one of the girls is interested in learning more, we do the extension activities when they are offered.

This week the question was about the skeleton – why do our skeletons have so many bones? The short, five minute video was a neat illustration of the human skeleton and its function. It doesn’t take long for the video and we have really learned a lot of interesting things from these videos.

company name

Sometimes, there is an accompanying hands-on activity. This week, it was making an artistic rendition of your own hand so that it looks like an x-ray. It was lots of fun and Miss J did a great job with hers.

We have found that the video do so well that the topics pop up in conversations often. For example, the other night, we were talking with grandparents about the trees changing colors. Miss J popped out the explanation for the change in colors and shocked everyone at the table (the other two girls had missed that particular video lesson). She was quite proud of the fact that she knew something no one else did. Great way to increase self-esteem, as well.

If you are looking for a short and simple addition of science to your week, check out Mystery Doug.

At Home.

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