Monday, May 1, 2017

Enjoy Art Lessons Inspired by Art Around the World! {An ArtAchieve Review}

Since diving into art lessons with ArtAchieve's Entire Level II, my family has started a fun, little tradition: 

The children sit down and complete an art lesson on their own or with me.  Then, when everyone has completed the lesson, we show Daddy all our artworks and have him guess whose creation is whose.  Often, the guesswork is easy for him since each of us seems to have developed our own style of drawing and preferred choices of color.  However, sometimes, we manage to  "trick" Daddy, which always gives my children a good giggle.

ArtAchieve Has Become a Favorite
Of course, using ArtAchieve is not something we do only to try to stump Daddy.  Rather, it is something we immerse ourselves in because we enjoy it - and can fit it into our super eclectic and busy lifestyle.

Our family was introduced to ArtAchieve last summer when we reviewed the Entire Level 1 program
Immediately upon beginning the program, we came to appreciate how its creator,  John Hofland (who is an experienced homeschooler, art teacher, and world traveler) made art accessible to even the most novice among us, creating success for each of us right away.

Lessons brought:

  • clear instructions via video or powerpoint formats.
  • encouragement to embrace mistakes and not to judge your own artwork until it is complete.
  • inspiration to explore and expand skills.

Better still, because
the art lessons required only an internet connected device, a printer, and basic art supplies (such as pencils, paper, watercolor markers, acrylics, a Sharpie, and oil pastels), they proved super easy to facilitate.  Assembling supplies did not break the bank or have me running here, there, and everywhere to specialty stores.  So, I could quickly and easily get my children and I creating when we had time to do so at home.

And create we did!

And, create we continued to do.  In fact, we completed all of the Level 1 lessons, which amazed me!

Why?  Not because the lessons were difficult to complete.  (They were easy and fun to do!) Rather, my surprise at creating the final
Level 1 came because our track record for completing any online programs is not great!

For good or for bad, life is busy, and as I often say, homeschooling is a bit of a misnomer for us, since we tend to spend more time outside our home than in it. That makes time to dive into home-based pursuits- especially online ones - a bit challenging for us.  We like diving into them, but find that we sometimes end up pushing one thing aside to focus on another, and, then, by the time we circle back the initial thing, if it a subscription-based thing, we are out of luck.  Our subscription ends before our focus to complete the program does. 

Such was not the case with
ArtAchieve's  Level 1 for us.  In less than a year's time, we were able to take breaks from the program here and there, yet still happily finish all the projects within it, and, thus, feel ready and enthusiastically willing to say "Pick us, please!" when the opportunity to review Level II came up, confident we would love it and complete it in the next year!My children and I are delighted to be well into Level II's projects now and are eager to complete the rest of them!  We also want to take a bit more advantage of the awesome extras John Hofland offers as a part of ArtAchieve.

Because the art projects in the program connect to art from around the world, Mr. Hofland has collected shares related images, maps, and tidbits of information in video and powerpoint lessons.  He also has collected and shared more images, maps, links, etc. online so students can expand their knowledge in:

  • art appreciation
  • geography
  • history
  • writing
  • science
  • cooking
  • music
  • literature

...and more!  Whether you want to hop a quick bunny trail out of curiosity or dive ino a full-on cross-curricula unit study centered on one of the ArtAchieve projects, Mr. Hofland makes it easy to do so!

Yep, John Hofland makes creating art and opening the door to other learning easy and fun!

Level II Lessons

Level II lessons pick up comfortably just where Level I lessons leave off in terms of skills and techniques, but, honestly, could be used as first lessons for any child ages 7 and up (or even younger) who has some drawing background. 

Level II, you'll find 15 art lessons inspired by art around the world for the current price of $56.78 (which is a discount of $17 off the $75 price of these lessons when purchased separately.)  The lessons are entitled:
  1. The Swedish Dala Horse
  2. The Korean Wedding Duck
  3. The Japanese Goldfish
  4. The Elephant from Ghana
  5. The Ukrainian Cat
  6. The German Nutcracker
  7. The Sri Lankan Landscape With An Elephant
  8. Tessellations: Repeating A Pattern To Create Original Art
  9. The Ukrainian Rooster
  10. Hiding Butterflies
  11. The Mexican Mask
  12. The Russian Fortress — Color Value and Analogous Colors
  13. The Polish Szopka
  14. The Mermaid from Denmark
  15. The Weaving from Thailand

Each lesson typically starts with a printable warm-up to help students focus on drawing specific types of lines while working fine motor control.  Then, via powerpoint or video, there is a brief cultural/background introduction before the main project is presented. 

The powerpoint lessons tend to give more particulars in the way of step-by-step drawing, using red and black details and giving notes on how to size or place specific details, while the video lessons offer students a chance to see sample artwork being created with verbal instruction and background music.

Notes for other background music as well as a plethora of cross-curicula links are also provided on the website.

On the website, you also see exactly what materials are needed for each lesson and how long the project is projected to take, o you can better plan when to immerse yourself in art on any given day (and, if life gets crazy, but the kids still want to do art before bed, quickly decide which project you can swap out materials for, as we did for the horse project, swapping markers for acrylic paint so as to have less mess before bed, while still experiencing much of the same fun and creativity.

The Children's Words

When I asked my youngest what his favorite Level II project was so far, he said:

The horse, because it was simple to draw and you did not need to color the main part of the horse at all if you didn't want to.  You just colored the saddle, the straps, and whatever decorations you make. 

It was fun to look at other people's drawings and to think, "I think that is good," and "I think another one is good," and, then try to combine them to make my own ideas.  I liked horse's head.

He also added about ArtAchieve in general:

I like (the way ArtAchieve uses) planning dots.  Sometimes they are annoying, but it helps me know where I am going to draw, so my pictures are more even. Sometimes, I make a dot in the wrong place, so I make it into a decoration.

I want to keep using it and think people who like drawing should use it.

When I asked my nine-year-old (who has taken to doing a mini of every Level II project so far after we complete our initial works), what her favorite was, she said:
The fish.  I liked it because you just had to draw the basic outline all the same, and, then, you could do whatever you wanted with it. 

I explored using different color combinations and designs with the fish.  The teacher online gave us a certain number of markers we should use, and I used that number to try to make different designs. 

I also liked designing the horse.  The horse was my favorite actual design that I did so far, because, although it was a simple design, it was kind of cool how I was able to use just three colors to make the horsey kind of pop!  Most of the picture was just white, but it still looked cool.
What I like about this art program is that the teacher tells you what to do for the basics.  The he tells you, "I will show you what I am going to do, but if you have a better idea that you prefer, you can use yours." 

I also like how he says if you make a mistake, it is okay.  It may come out as the best part of your artwork.  It was funny once when I made a mistake on the same part of the cat that he did.  We both put a line in the wrong place.  I decided to do what he did with his mistake my mistake, because it looked cool.

People who like to do non-realistic art and explore shapes, color, and designs should use this program.

My oldest, at eleven, said:

I really liked Level 1, so I wanted to do Level 2.

My favorite project so far was probably the fish.  I did it by myself and thought it was a fun project.  I just really enjoyed it.  I did it with the video, because I like the videos more than the powerpoints. Since I have done a lot of lessons, I skipped the relaxing thing and the warm ups.  I just like to get right to the art.

I admit, we all tend to skip the warm ups now that we are on Level II, simply because the children want to jump right into the main projects, but we don't all skip the relaxation part!)

Also, as I mentioned before, we have tended to give only cursory notice to the cross-curricula connections provided by Mr. Hofland so far,, but that will be changing.  My oldest said:

I want to learn about the Swedish horse and other things.  I want to look through the links.  I'd like to start doing more of these things after we do the art - learning about the world.
My reaction when he said this was, of course, "Then, let's do it!"  Granted, we already do a fair amount of learning about the world through an existing geography club, read alouds, and more, but who am I to knock a double-gift horse in the mouth?  My boy has requested to use the links and information on the
ArtAchieve site to expand his knowledge and skill and the links are all there - so easy use in conjunction with the lessons.  My oldest son concluded his comments about ArtAchieve by saying:
I like this art program because it is mostly drawing and coloring.  I like the coloring in part.  It's different than coloring books, because you draw the things, plus it's artistic, not realistic colors. 

I have improved at doing artistic stuff using colors and patterns.  Like, whoever thought of cat with patterns on it?  Have you ever seen one?  Well, neither have I, except in art!

I want to keep using this!  Those who are not very skilled at art can easily this to learn new things and those who are good at art can try new things.  I also think those who want to learn more about the world can learn new things.  So many people can use this program.
Learn More

If you're looking for a well-presented drawing program that won't break your bank or have you searching for specialty supplies, then ArtAchieve is well worth a gander!  Most likely, you'll also appreciate the cross-curricula tie-ins and the fact that even with a busy out-of-home schedule, it is possible to comfortably complete all the lessons in a single level within the time frame of a one-year subscription.  (We did it!) 
  Read about ArtAchieve's mission - which I can attest comes to fruition as you use the program!

See a list of the supplies you'll need for ArtAchieve lessons.

Try five basic lessons FREE!  Mind you, most of these are introductory lessons and only the Czech Cat one is in the style of the lessons you pay for.

Lessons can be purchased with one-year access on a per lesson basis or bundled at a discount.

You can get social with
ArtAchieve on:
Art Lessons Inspired From Around the World {ArtAchieve Reviews}

Want to see what 100 different families have created with

ArtAchieve's Entire Level I, Entire Level II, Entire Level III, and Entire Level IV?  Click through the banner to see all of our reviews.
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