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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Homeschool Crew Review: ArtAchieve

Last year, we had an opportunity to review Entire Level I of ArtAchieve.  For the first time in years I sat down and did some art projects with my children, and to my amazement I had fun doing it and they turned out really good!  I was excited this year to have an opportunity to review Entire Level II from ArtAchieve.


ArtAchieve believes that drawing is not just a special talent for certain people, but instead is a skill that can be learned by anyone.  They have created lessons that use a variety of objects from around the world that when drawn will look like the object they are supposed to, but still allow children to be creative and make it their own.  There are five different levels of lessons with each level building on the skills you have learned previously.  Projects in Level I are appropriate for children as young as five.

The lessons are presented using either a streaming video or powerpoint presentation.  There are drawing warm up exercises and images that need to be printed out for each lesson.  You will need a variety of art supplies to complete the lessons, but most of the supplies you will need are common, ordinary supplies that you can find and purchase easily.  You can find a list of needed supplies for each lesson on the product description page. The amount of time each lesson takes will vary but you should plan on an hour or so from start to finish.  You can break up the lessons into more then one sitting if you choose, by doing the drawing in one session and the decorating in another.

For each of the lessons, you will find a list of suggestions for Cross-Curricular Connections.  This list gives you ideas for furthering your study in the areas of social studies, literature, science, writing, history, geography, and more.  If for instance, you decide to do Lesson 6 of Level II, The German Nutcracker, you will find a link to read an article about a town in Germany that is famous for making nutcrackers.  You will also find links to articles about the history of the nutcracker and those who invented them.  You can visit (via a link) a nutcracker  museum and also watch a video of a nutcracker ballet. There is also a suggested writing assignment, literature suggestions, links to learn more about levers, and a link to a German recipe you can make.

You can purchase each lesson separately or an entire level at once.  There are also options to bundle certain lessons together or buy access to all 5 Levels. You have access to the lessons for one year.  There are free lessons you can try to give you an idea of what the lessons are like.  You can visit this page for pricing information.

I have been using ArtAchieve Entire Level II with my 5,7,10, and 11 year olds.  We have been completing one lesson per week.  We did not complete the lessons in order, I let the children pick which lessons they wanted to do. There is a great variety of projects to complete in Level II with 15 different projects to choose from.

We love ArtAchieve!  If you ask my children what they love about it one of the things they will say is that when John does the drawings they are able to see what he is drawing easily and follow along.  Most of the drawings are done with a sharpie so it really stands out.  That is so helpful!  They also enjoy doing the drawing warm up exercises first so that they will have some practice with the types of lines they will be drawing in the finished product.  They think that the lessons are interesting and fun!

Japanese Goldfish

I love that even though it is a guided drawing, children are encouraged to make it their own and there is so much room for creativity.  They are also encouraged to not give up on their drawings, but to finish it before deciding whether or not they like it.  When we were doing the Japanese Goldfish, my son thought his looked really bad when he first started but I reminded him he needed to keep working and when he was finished he really liked his drawing.  He has since then drawn goldfish every chance he gets!

Swedish Dala Horse

You do not need a lot of expensive supplies to complete the lessons in ArtAchieve.  You definitely will need paper, sharpies makers, and pencils.  The other supplies vary depending on the project but I have not bought anything special, just used supplies we already had like paint, chalks, and markers. 

Korean Wedding Duck

The Cross Curricular Suggestions are a great way to enhance your studies.  By using those you really could turn each art lesson into a mini unit study.  Or if you are studying geography you could choose your art project based on the area you are studying and complete the Cross Curricular Suggestions to go along with it.

The Elephant from Ghana

I am so impressed with how all of our finished projects have turned out.  My children have been proud of every assignment they have done.  My 10 year old told me "Wow, I didn't know that I could draw like that!"  I enjoy sitting down with them each week and doing an art project, and that is still amazing to me.  Before I tried ArtAchieve last year, I didn't like to draw at all and didn't think I could do it.  Now it's one of my favorite activities of the week.

The Sri Lankan Landscape with an Elephant (this one was my favorite!)

Read my review of Entire Level I.

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

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