Monday, July 11, 2016

{Review} ArtAchieve - Level II

How do you include art classes in your homeschool? Do you keep things informal by encouraging artistic endeavors as the mood strikes, send your children to outside art classes, or teach them yourself? We have struggled with this over the years by trying a multitude of options including expensive art classes at several locations, co-op art classes, at-home books, and self-directed projects. All have worked to some degree, while all have also lacked something Amber desperately wanted: guided instructions for drawing that make sense to her.

I am entirely inept in the art fields while my husband is rather gifted but short on time to teach Amber. Recently we were given a full year access to the Entire Level II from ArtAchieve, and Amber could not have been happier!

ArtAchieve online drawing lessons!

How Does ArtAchieve Work?

ArtAchieve provides unique online art classes that take the student through the steps of the lesson with both an array of instruction types. Each lesson begins with a brief history from the culture the project is based on. These are not simply lessons in drawing still life, yet projects inspired by art of a wide array of world cultures.

The ArtAchieve website begins with an About section that links introductory videos which explain how to use the site and lessons, along with tips for teachers. For those who still have questions there is also an FAQ that easily answers any other concerns. The site is very easy to navigate and understand, but going through the About section will allow for a more enjoyable experience.

The Entire Level II that we received has fourteen separate lessons including the Swedish Dala Horse, a Korean Wedding Duck, the Polish Szopka, a Mermaid from Denmark, and various Ukrainian inspired lessons. 

All fourteen lessons are available in two different formats:
  1. A video lesson where the student is guided through the lesson by an instructor who demonstrates every step of the project along with the presenting the history portion of the lesson. The teacher is quite personable and gives clear explanations that are easy for the user to understand.
  2. A Powerpoint lesson with detailed written descriptions and instructions along with clear images of the project stages. Although you can pause the video lessons, the Powerpoint option gives you the ability to move ahead when you are ready and to use written instructions if that is your preference.
The majority of the lessons also come with a warm-up PDF download for the student to use prior to beginning the lesson. Any needed pages for the lesson will also be linked as PDF files to be downloaded and printed.

Every lesson has an information page with:
  • A detailed description of the lesson with finished project image.
  • A complete list of all supplies needed to finish the lesson as shown.
  • Suggestions for cross-curricular connections with applicable links to turn the art lesson into a complete unit study.
  • Lesson length broken down by sections.
  • Sample projects from actual students.
ArtAchieve online drawing lessons!
After several times through the lesson, she was pretty happy with this final product.

How Did We Use ArtAchieve?

Amber was the intended user of these lessons since I am utterly hopeless and unteachable in this area, while she has great interest in drawing. Over the years Amber has received a smattering of drawing instructions, but she has trouble putting everything she learned together since the knowledge was acquired so disjointedly.

Honestly, she was fairly excited to possibly have a complete set of drawing instructions right at her finger tips. She logged in to our ArtAchieve account through her iPad and familiarized herself with the workings of the site. After sampling both the Powerpoint lessons and the video lessons, she decided the video lessons were the method for her.

Amber opted to not start with lesson 1 in the set, but to find one that worked on an aspect of drawing she struggles with: proportions. The lesson descriptions helped her easily pinpoint the German Nutcracker lesson as her first choice. Off she went with the video lesson. Immediately when the instructor began listing off the supplies needed, which Amber had already read on the description page, she asked me if it was all necessary. For this lesson she wanted to focus on her drawing skills and not on finishing the project. I told her for now that would be alright.

ArtAchieve online drawing lessons!
Amber had been afraid to try this lesson that she wouldn't be able to draw the mermaid, but in the end she's rather proud of it
I have not seen Amber concentrate on drawing as much as she did on this first lesson. She was totally engrossed while working with the video, pausing occasionally to finish her portion.  In the end she said her proportions were still a little off, but she improved.

One would expect that Amber would move on to another lesson during her next art time, but she did not. Instead she repeated the German Nutcracker a total of three times! She found the lesson informative and wanted to improve her skill in this area.

Amber actually did not fully complete any project in the lessons, since she wanted to concentrate on her drawing skills. While this is not all that exciting to those of you wanting to see her finished products, it was how she needed to work on these lessons. Eventually, she will go back through and work on the techniques for finishing the projects. But for now the drawing was her main focus.

ArtAchieve online drawing lessons!
Tessellations! This one took several days of work to complete

What Did We Think?

ArtAchieve is the artistic product we've been looking for all these years. This is exactly how Amber prefers to study art - with demonstrations and verbal instructions. She is not terribly fond of the Powerpoint lesson option, but for those students who need written instructions it will be perfect. Thankfully, all of the lessons come with either the video or Powerpoint choice. 

The wide array of artistic techniques and projects helps ArtAchieve appeal to a larger audience and keep the attention of those want to do more than simply draw. We were highly impressed with ArtAchieve and plan to use it for the remainder of our year!

Be sure to check out the free lessons available from ArtAchieve to get your feet wet with this fun program.

Connect with ArtAchieve on social media:
Twitter @artachieve

Visit other members of the Review Crew to read their experiences with ArtAchieve!

Art Lessons for Children ArtAchieve Review

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  1. She did a great job on her mermaid!

  2. We enjoyed the lessons. Amber's projects look great.
    Blessings, Dawn

  3. I love Amber's projects, especially the mermaid. Good job!