Tuesday, May 2, 2017

ArtAchieve (A Homeschool Crew Review)

Creative work such as drawing and painting is always a huge hit in our house and seems to be one subject that brings the entire family together.  For the last few weeks, we have been reviewing the Entire Level II art curriculum from ArtAchieve, an online streaming website for different levels of art instruction for homeschool families. 

About ArtAchieve 

ArtAchieve provides a series of online art instruction classes that draws inspiration from other works of art from around the world.  Using these pieces of art as launching pad to inspire, the lessons walk students through creating their own pieces of art.  Each class gives students the options of viewing the lesson via a Powerpoint presentation or a video that provides step by step instructions on how to draw the current project as well as suggestions as to how to make it their own. A drop down menu provides access to all lessons purchased.
The lessons are taught by John Hofland who studied with the late Josef Svoboda, the famous Czech artist. Hofland went on to develop University level drawing courses before developing the ArtAchieve online lessons for homeschool students.  

Sample Project from Level II 
Lessons start using very simple materials that most homeschool families already have in their home:  white paper, a pencil, a sharpie marker, and washable colored markers.  Later lessons introduce more advanced materials such as watercolor pencils, oil pastels, and acrylic paints.  

More than just a "how to draw" lesson, one of the great things about each project is that they can also be used as unit studies.  Each lesson provides some general information about the country of origin as well as the people, culture and artwork of that country.    Also included are Cross Curricular Connections - suggestions for extra reading and coursework beyond just the drawing such as social studies, science, language arts and geography.  For example, while completing the lesson on the Japanese Goldfish, suggestions such as learning about and writing a haiku poem,  facts about Japan, facts about iron and steel and about how cast iron pots are made are all recommended.  Some of these recommendations include links to outside resources while others link to places to purchase a suggested reading book. 

Parents have the option of purchasing a one year license either for each individual class or as a bundle for one entire level.  

How We Used It:

Ashleigh's Ukrainian Cat Project
ArtAchieve was generous and gave us full access to the Entire Level II art lessons for a period of one year.  The Entire Level II lesson offers a total of fifteen various lessons ranging from simple paper and marker drawings to more complicated lessons involving tessellations and water color techniques.  

Previously, Ashleigh and I have worked through many of the Level I lessons and comparing the two levels, it's easy to see the progression in skill between the two.  Level I consisted much more of simple line drawings where as Level II begins to rely more on discovering and creating patterns within the artwork to give the piece more movement and life. 

Each lesson should take roughly an hour, maybe more or less, depending on the intricacies of the piece.  Tessellations and pointillism projects will take much more time to complete than other projects.  We tend to take a week, roughly, per assignment. This allows for us to take a day to do the warm up, a day to watch the video and have the kids draw along with the instructor, and the rest of the week to finish their work along with looking up information about each country.  

Ashleigh and Alyssa have been doing lessons together.  We would load up the video presentation on the laptop so that the girls could work together on their art lesson while my son (who isn't interested in art at all) works with me on his typing lessons.  Since the lessons are done through video format, it worked really well for the girls since both Alyssa and Ashleigh work at a different pace and level - they were able to pause or rewind the video as needed. 

Alyssa's Ukrainian Cat Project
The hardest part for the girls was agreeing on which project they would do each week.  Some projects interest Ashleigh much more than they do her older sister and vice versa.  

While they have both done a handful of different projects separately, I have to admit, I really like the ones that they worked together. 

The first of these was the Ukrainian Cat.  Ashleigh had been wanting to since the beginning of the review but was waiting on her sister to do it with her.   Needless to say, the first few projects she created while waiting to work on this project weren't nearly the same as when she finally got to do this particular one.  

The original project is based off a panting of a batik cat painted by a theater student in Odessa, Ukraine.  

Ashleigh, however, turned this into something completely original and fresh.  I absolutely love her final picture, even if it doesn't look much like the original design.  LOL

Alyssa's final looked more like the intended project. This is one of the things I like about this program, Mr Hofland encourages your own originality or you can follow him exactly.  My girls showed what a difference the  outcome can be with the exact same instruction.  

One of the projects that Alyssa picked out was the Mexican Mask project.  This turned out to be a bit more complicated that originally planned - the girls thought it was a simply drawing but it turned out to be a multi-step project where the girls actually designed and made a mask for themselves.  Alyssa opted just to design a mask but did not want to cut it out and instead helped her younger sister to follow the directions and turn her work into a mask. 

ArtAchieve offers five different levels of online art instruction, each slightly more advanced than the previous level.  Individual lessons can be purchased for a one year license from $4 to $11, depending on the level, or you can purchase all the lessons for each level bundled together for a discounted price.

#hsreviews  #artachieve, #artlessonsforkids, #homeschool #artclassesforkids, #drawinglessonsforkids

To learn more about ArtAchieve and to try a free Level 1 lesson, be sure to visit their website or one of their social media sites.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Artachieve   @ArtAchieve

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/johnahofland   @johnahofland
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ArtAchieve   @ArtAchieve
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/artachieve   artachieve

Art Lessons Inspired From Around the World {ArtAchieve Reviews}


  1. I always think it's neat to see the contrast between the work that two siblings can do.

    1. Same here.. Same project, working together.. Interpreted two different ways :)

  2. I agree - it's so fun to see how the same project gets a unique touch from each kid that does it. Great art projects!



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