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TOS Crew Review — See the Light

April 22nd, 2011

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I am not an artist by any stretch of the imagination. I can sometimes appreciate fine art when walking through a gallery, but I cannot begin to draw much more than a stick figure. So, our art instruction for our kids must come from elsewhere. I can handle the macaroni frames of early elementary years, but after that they lose me.

Fortunately, I don’t have to do this on my own.

Product: See the Light Art instruction DVDs

Details: A 9 volume DVD set with a total of 36 lessons taught by Master Artist Pat Knepley. Each lesson takes about 15 minutes and are designed to be watched once a week with follow up activities engaging the student until the following lesson.

Price: $99.99

What we loved . . .

  • Great for beginners of all ages. As I mentioned, I am not an artist, but I enjoy doodling and attempting to make nicer looking stick figures. Well, this DVD series brought us well beyond that. Even just in the first four lessons, which include a lot of introductory material, we all learned some new techniques and perspectives that improved our sketches. We watched this as a group from my kindergartner through my eighth grader and myself as well. Her teaching style seemed  a little “young” for my eighth grader, but the content of the teaching itself was suitable for his level. It seemed perfect for my fourth and sixth graders especially.
  • Biblical integration. Pat Knepley did a beautiful job of bringing Scripture and scriptural concepts naturally into the lessons. Her passion for art meshes easily with her faith and she shares both in this video series.
  • Perfect for once a week use. The 15 minutes of instruction in each lesson teaches a new concept and then gives the students ways that they can practice mastering the technique until the next week’s lesson. My kids really developed a greater enthusiasm for drawing while watching these videos and  have spent quite a bit of time outside of what I required of them practicing what she has taught.
  • Not a lot of supplies needed. She sticks to the essentials early on. All we needed was pencil and paper. We did also pull out a couple apples and a shoe, and there were other supplies that she discussed, but most lessons all you need is a pencil and paper. I can do that. :)

Some considerations . . .

  • Full year is costly. For all 36 lessons it would set you back around a hundred dollars. That is a lot of money. However, I did really like this resource and it is probably worth that to actually have an artist in your home teaching for 15 minutes each week. You can’t ask her questions, but you can see her work and watch and re-watch the episodes as often as necessary.  And, when you compare the price to a local art class or co-op class you really can’t beat the price.
  • Sometimes I felt like she went a little too fast. While most of the time I felt her pace was right on, or even a little slow, when she was adding the finishing touches to her pictures I felt like I looked down to compare it to mine and hers went from a rough contour line drawing to gallery worthy material and I’m not quite sure how she did it with so little effort. I watched it again of course, but realized that good art requires an eye for it as well.  We need a lot more practice to get close to her level, and we need to realize that she has spent a lot of time and has a natural ability that allows her to see what she needs to create a great finished product. Some of that is learned, but I don’t know that all of it can be. So, maybe it was a matter of a skill gap not necessarily the speed of her teaching.
  • Short lessons. With only 15 minutes to cover the daily lesson, she doesn’t cover much in any one lesson. This is good because you can really take your time practicing one technique or habit at a time, but some kids might get bored having such a small task to work on for a whole week. I would almost like her to show each technique a couple times in each lesson using a different subject each time, but there is enough there to build from for the most part.
  • Uses mostly her own art samples. It was encouraging to see her great work as examples and know that we were learning from someone that knew what they were talking about, but we also like to incorporate art appreciation into our art lessons. If we continue with this I would need to continue to seek that out on my own.

See the Light has put together a great program that is really well suited for the beginning artist. If you have struggled to find an easy way to bring a great art program into your home, I would encourage you to check out these DVDs and maybe even take time to give their free samples a try.

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge through See the Light as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.



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