Wednesday, May 29, 2013

See the Light {Schoolhouse Crew Review}

I have a student who loves doing art projects, but I don't have a lot of expertise in teaching art. Even my stick figures aren't great. Inviting a credentialed art teacher into our home to help out with some art instruction seemed like a great idea, so I was excited to be able to review one of several Art Project DVDs from See The Light.
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Kennady and I took a long time choosing which of the Art Projects she most wanted to try. They all looked like so much fun! Finally we settled on Paper Jungle, which guides the student in creating a paper collage in the style of French artist Henri Rousseau. Kennady chose it because she has done a lot of drawing but couldn't remember doing any work in collage. So it was something new and different for her.

Each of the Art Project DVDs in this series teaches the student how to make their own work of art in a style similar to a famous artist. These include Tiffany Window in the style of Louis Comfort Tiffany, Poppy Collage in the style of Georgia O'Keefe, and Sunflowers in the style of Vincent Van Gogh. Together, the boxed set of Art Projects would provide a school year's worth of art lessons.

Paper Jungle includes an in-depth art history about Henri Rousseau, discusses Art Elements and Art Principles, and integrates Bible teaching into the lessons as well. It is presented in four separate lessons, taught by master artist Pat Knepley.
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How did we use it? Kennady was very excited to get going on this, and I had to remind her that she didn't need to (nor should she try to!) do the entire project in one day! The DVD lessons are in four parts. We found out it worked out best if Kennady watched a whole lesson without trying to do the project as she watched, then play the lesson over again as she worked, pausing it as she completed each step. 

Lesson One focused on the Background, cutting out the trees.

Lesson Two was about the Foreground, and creating the leaf and grass shapes.

Lesson Three taught about Focal Points, in this project those are the flora and fauna elements. In the DVD, Pat Knepley makes a tiger for her collage, but since the student could choose any animal, Kennady decided she wanted parrots in her collage.

Lesson Four was the Final Step of putting all the pieces together into a pleasing whole and overlapping and gluing everything in place. Here she is putting her 'lightning' in the background, instead of a sun or moon.

Kennady enjoyed every part of this project, but she did have to be reminded to take her time. I was impressed that Kennady spoke knowledgeably about the different elements of her design with me as she critiqued her own work, which proved that she had understood and internalized the concepts that the lesson taught; and that she was already thinking ahead to making her next piece even better. For example, she explained to me that she wasn't completely happy with the proportions of her parrots, and mentioned several other elements of the design that she thought she would do a little differently the next time around.  I told her she would be very welcome to create other collages with these techniques - after all, the materials for this one are basically construction paper and scrapbook paper, and we have plenty of those around for her to use creatively!

The DVD is a total of about one and a half hours, with each lesson being a little less than half an hour long. The suggested time spent working on the project is about three to four hours, and ideally it would be spread out over several days, at least. I didn't keep careful track of the time Kennady spent, but it was around four or five hours total. 

What we liked best:
  • these are quality projects, and any student should be able to produce something they are very proud to show off!
  • I loved the effortless way that art history, art appreciation, elements of design, and Bible lessons were woven into the DVD. Pat Knepley simply shared the information and her thoughts as she worked and demonstrated the project, and it was not forced or 'preachy', but done in a conversational style.
  • this project, in particular, didn't require expensive materials. 
What I need to mention:
  • some students may want to rush or feel the pressure to "keep up" with the instructor while the DVD plays. I suggest doing what we tried - watch the lesson all the way through, without trying to draw or cut at the same time, then watch again and pause at each step and encourage the student to take their time.
Our bottom line: Well, my young artist loved doing this project and it inspired more artistic ideas for her! She had such a hard time deciding which of the DVDs she wanted most, that I think it will be worthwhile for me to get one or two of the others for her to try. I think these DVD lessons would be a welcome addition in most homeschools, and would be great for small co-op classes as well.

Would you like to See the Light shine in your homeschool? Here's what you need to know:
Visit the website at
Learn more about the team of artists and musicians at See The Light on their About Us page.

Pricing: Each Art Project DVD is $14.99. The Boxed Set of all the Art Projects is $99.99. See the Light also offers a DVD of the Month Club. Visit the See The Light Store page for more details, and to see the other products available.

Recommended ages: Paper Jungle is recommended for ages 10 and up. Other titles have different age recommendations, but See The Light offers products for children aged 5-18.

You can find art tips and other information on the See The Light Shine blog; try out some of their Free Art Lessons; and check out the Downloads on the website too. You may also follow See the Light on Facebook; on Twitter; and on Pinterest.

Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog for more information and to read other Crew member reviews. Crew members reviewed 10 different DVDs, including some from the Bible Stories series - so be sure to check out their thoughts on other titles!

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Janis Cox said...

Hi Kym
Loved this. It has instructions but then lets the child's imagination flow. I will be using this idea one day when I make a scene for Tadeo Turtle - or maybe CAT in the bushes, from my children's book Tadeo Turtle.
I am following you from Virtual Refrigerator.

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