Certified art educator Lindsey Volin presents art lessons specifically for homeschoolers on the HomeArtStudio DVDs for grades K through 5, demonstrating step-by-step as she walks through each lesson. Students work with many art media and complete arts-and-crafts type projects that include drawing, painting, and sculpting rather than focusing primarily on drawing skills as in some programs.
Lessons also make cross-curricular connections from time to time. For example, a children’s story serves as the inspiration for a lesson on drawing and painting a blue dog. In another lesson, students use salt and watercolors to create a batik-like painting. The instructions include an optional science experiment with salt that follows the art lesson.
Students work with pencils, crayons, markers, watercolors, oil pastels, tempera paints (younger students), acrylic paints (older students), Sculpey clay, construction paper, tissue paper, Bristol board, paintbrushes, scissors, glue, and glitter, along with a few other resources and tools. Some art appreciation is included but it is not a major part of the program.
Instructions and lesson plans are in PDF files on each DVD-ROM in a file titled “content.” These are easy to miss if you just play the DVD and forget to pull up the file. Nothing prompts you to do so. The instructions and lesson plans provide a brief introduction. Then each lesson plan lists the national art standards covered in that lesson, materials needed, tips for parents, vocabulary words and definitions, and step-by-step procedures with illustrations from the video. You might want to print out these pages for easy reference. Each DVD includes a gallery of completed projects you might want to view in advance to get a clear idea of what you will be doing for the year.
Most lessons should be completed in one day, although some projects might need to dry between one step and another, probably requiring more than one day to complete. Volin’s presentation is very good although she does move rather quickly on some projects. She chats while she works, sometimes sharing personal stories intermixed with instruction. Rather than this being a distraction, I think this helps children feel like they are learning from a real person. You might preview each lesson so you understand how each project is to be completed, then watch it with children, stopping periodically so they can work through each step before continuing.
With 14 to 18 projects per course, lessons can be completed about one per week for a semester or one every two weeks for a year. Some of these lessons will take quite a bit of time to complete, so allotting a few-hour block of time every two weeks might work well. Alternatively, you might focus on art for a semester with once-a-week lessons then music for the other half of the school year.
One of the distinctives of this program is that parents are encouraged to take digital photos of their child’s completed project and upload it onto the website. Volin then makes individualized comments on their work. This encourages young artists and, again, gives them the experience of having a personal art teacher.
DVDs are all the same price, but they vary in running time, gradually decreasing from 218 minutes for kindergarten to 90+ minutes each for the fourth and fifth grades. Free samples for a few of the PDF lesson plans are available on the website. Promotional videos on the website that describe each level give you an idea of the DVD content.
Volin has arranged for Jerry’s Artarama to carry sets of the supplies required for each level. Under the FAQs on the publisher’s website, you will find a reference to Jerry’s Artarama with keywords to enter to come up with a list of all the products needed. These will also come up if you click on “supplies list” on the page for any individual grade-level program. You may select only those supplies you need if you already have some items. Resources add up to about$ 70 for kindergarten with a high of about $143 for fourth-grade level. Many resources will be used again at subsequent levels, so the cost for materials will actually be less in the following years if you use this program for more than one year.