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Atelier Art Review

I’ve mentioned previously that I’m not a big fan of doing art. Between gathering supplies and the mess it makes, art was frequently put on the back burner. But perhaps the biggest hindrance to doing a formal art program was that I had the kids working at their own level. While a leveled art curriculum sounds good in theory, it means unique materials and assistance required for each child. The biggest problem was my children aren’t motivated to do art on their own. I got lots of whining about not being able to do the project or just having no idea what to make when choices were given. This, despite using what I consider to be excellent materials.

Atelier came to my rescue. A DVD-based curriculum, Atelier’s greatest strengths addressed my family’s weaknesses:

  • One level can be used by multiples ages (I’ve had 5-13yos working together)
  • The video clearly demonstrates what to do
  • The video shows children’s imperfect approaches to the project, reducing the I-can’t-do-it’s
  • Uses mostly easy to obtain, inexpensive materials that can be bought at the beginning of the year
  • The guidebook even shows you how to set up the materials for each student
  • If you show the video, the kids will hound you until you do the art 🙂

I’ve been delighted by what my children have achieved. Working together really gets their creativity (and okay, competitiveness) going.

There are some drawbacks, but I’ve been able to address them, so you could, too:

  • Some projects are a little on the childish side for the older set. My 13yo hasn’t minded, adding humor to his work.
  • It’s not inexpensive. The Level 3 package (one year’s worth) which we purchased, retails for $155. I purchased mine from eBay for less. You may be able to purchase used. If you have multiple children like I do, the price is much more reasonable.
  • The videos are dated. I’m not sure when they were produced, but it was more than a few years ago. My kids haven’t complained and the quality of the instruction more than makes up for it.
  • It could be tougher to use with one child. Consider creating a co-op for art with other families. You can split the cost and the work and you’ll all have more fun.
  • The over-sized paper can be hard to find. I purchased mine on Amazon.

The best way I’ve found to motivate myself to use an art curriculum like Atelier is to schedule it. We do art on Tuesday afternoons, unless we have a conflict. I should note that Atelier’s program also includes teaching on the great artists and artwork of history. We just haven’t used that part yet. I’m working on getting the tougher stuff (for me) out of the way first.

Here’s a link to a blog post describing their use of Atelier using the same Level (and even the same project) I’ve displayed here.

What do you do to get art into the school day?


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