Please Note: A Beka does not sell their materials to Exodus Books. The following overview is meant to help you evaluate A Beka as a curriculum, and give you some other options to consider as well.
With the popularity of classical education, art instruction has grown in popularity. Most of this, however, takes the form of identification and analysis of existing works of art, not teaching students to create their own. A Beka’s Art Projects series aims to guide kids through paper crafts, drawing, painting and other basic art skills.
How Do These Work?
There is one consumable book each for grades pre-6, though for the pre-K5 grades these are closely integrated to the total curriculum (there are a number of available art books for preschoolers). For grades 7-12 there is a single available watercolor instruction text. Each volume covers around 50-60 lessons/projects, all of them hands-on, enough for an entire school year.
In the earliest grades, projects are centered on development of children’s motor and kinesthetic skills. Most of them involve coloring, cut and paste, and drawing. Projects at this stage aren’t so much art as they are crafts, and most of them involve either Bible verses or specific holidays and occasions.
For the later elementary grades, as well as in Watercolor Step-By-Step, students learn more of the theory of art and how to put those concepts to work in the assignments. Lessons include discussions of perspective, the color spectrum, texture, etc. Again, many of the projects relate to Christian holidays or are even mildly educational about other subjects.
Many of the projects will require teacher supervision, especially in the younger grades, but on the upside you don’t need to complete each lesson as most stand alone. This is not an art history or analysis course, these are simply instructional texts guiding students through the basics of making art themselves.
As ways to keep your kids occupied, these are great. The younger-grade texts are useful for teaching basic motor skills, but your kids would probably learn more about perspective, etc. from an art history text than the sporadic coverage these books provide. If you want a good drawing/painting course we recommend How Great Thou Art; for art history and analysis, The Usborne Introduction to Art is a good choice for older students.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.
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