December 9, 2008

Spears Art Studio

Well, I have to tell you...I have been procrastinating over this review. It has been so hectic lately, and with the trip to Mexico thrown into the mix, I still feel like I'm playing catch-up on everything! At least I have most of my Christmas shopping done.
So, I have just begun looking over the Spears Art Studio CD-ROM that's been in my drawer for a while. And now I am sad. We've gone through the whole semester without using this WONDERFUL program! But, that's ok, because I have 9 more years to use the CD-ROM. Yeah! The curriculum is for K-8th grade and while the same themes are used each year, the plans for each grade level differ according to the abilities of children at each age. My budding artist is truly going to love these lessons! I consider myself to be pretty artistic, but I have found it difficult to constantly come up with some type of project for Ella to work on each day. Even when I do have something planned, I can't say that I'm "teaching" her anything about art. I usually just show her how to do a certain craft, then she does it...end of lesson! :) The thing is that she has become very interested lately in art and talks about it all the time. I really want to foster this love for art and help her develop her talent (which, of course, I think is incredible!). I believe that Spears Art Studio will be the perfect resource to help both of us.

One thing that is especially appealing about Spears Art is that all of the lessons are written with a Christian perspective. In fact, the creator of the program, Dr. Diane Spears, gives all the honor she might receive to the Lord. Dr. Spears is a distinguished artist in her own right and has been an educator off and on for the past 30 years. As a teacher, I appreciate the skill needed to put together such a comprehensive program (along with benchmarks and objectives!). If she had used a secular backdrop, Dr. Spears could have reached a much broader market, but the fact that she chose to center her curriculum around the cross means alot to me! It tells me that she stands on her convictions! Art is truly a gift from God and Dr. Spears encourages us all to find our artistic sides in order to glorify Him.

The Spears Art Studio for K-8 is a complete art curriculum in PDF form with illustrations in full color. You can get the CD-ROM for $39.95 (included shipping). This is a great value for 9 years of curriculum!! If you need a book in your hands, you can order the hard copy (printed in black and white) along with the CD-ROM for $134.95. The curriculum for high school students is $29.95, but if you order it in combination with the K-8 Art Studio, you will receive the Beginning Calligraphy Workbook (grade 5 through adult) for FREE!

**Edited to add that Ella and I did one of the lessons today. The lesson is entitled "Mother and Child". It centers around the relationship between Mary and baby Jesus. We looked for some paintings online that showed them together. We found some that didn't look at all how we imagined that night to be! :) But, we did manage to find a few that seemed to accurately portray the nativity. I showed Ella some different ways she could draw a mother and child together. She then got to her assignment of sketching her own depiction of mother and child. She drew a happy family (including a daddy) walking along a road next to their house. She seemed to really enjoy this lesson, though it took a bit of encouraging to get her to look at the paintings and listen to me talk about art! We'll work on that!**

There are lots of free samples available at the Spears Art Studio website. I encourage you to go check out a few lessons to get a feel for the curriculum and decide for yourself. And, as always, please go read some of the other reviews posted by members of the TOS Crew, HERE!

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