Visual Manna's Complete Art Curriculum
What if you had a good friend, who happened to be a wonderful art teacher, come into your home and help you teach art? That's the flavor of Visual Manna. It incorporates art concepts, techniques, and appreciation all in one curriculum, uses a wide variety of media, and lets you teach all your children at the same time. The Jeffus' obviously not only understand art and how to teach it - they understand children as well. There's nothing dry or boring here. Even when presenting new concepts or instruction, the narration is captivating - filled with interesting tidbits drawn from science, history, or about people or events. Throughout the lessons, it's as though the author is conversing informally with you. There's an awful lot of "good stuff" packed into these 45 lessons - and so many extra ideas that you can use this curriculum and reuse it! Because of the breadth of concepts, materials and types of art here, there isn't a lot of depth - rather, it's more of a wonderful introduction to the many facets of art. Each of the 45 lessons begins with a materials list and a stated objective. There is heavy emphasis on use of recycled materials, and the authors devote a full page in the beginning to ideas for obtaining inexpensive or free supplies from local sources. The lesson narrative explains the new concepts being presented. Then, an art project is suggested for children in grades 1-6 and another for older children, grades 7-12 (usually several ideas for each range). These have the students putting into immediate practice the concepts they've just learned. (The lessons devoted to drawing people and faces in proportion are done particularly well, in a format for even younger children to use.) After every 5 lessons is a "test" to review what's been covered in that section. 31 different colored art prints of works by major artists are also included, mounted on pages with very short biographical sketches and a discussion of the art style on the reverse side. Most of these are correlated to topics in adjoining lessons. They are not part of the lessons, but more like "asides" scattered throughout the curriculum. A unit study is also included in this curriculum. Finally, a list of 55 additional ideas for art projects are included at the end. It sure looks to me like the Jeffus' could have written several volumes of curriculum with all this material! This year, authors plan to include a "complete art history time line" in this curriculum. In a nutshell, this curriculum is complete, "user-friendly," and has lots of variety. While you can use it for all ages, the presentation is decidedly geared toward the younger half of that range, since it's more of an introduction to art concepts and formats. This curriculum comes in two formats: perfectbound softcover with a PDF copy of the unit study on CD-ROM or entirely in PDF format on CD-ROM.