Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Review: Gryphon House Global Art

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One aspect of homeschooling that I really love is learning about other cultures from around the world. We regularly have missionaries come in at church to present their works and show slide presentations of their respective fields, and the children just love learning about the differences in food, customs, and languages. I was very excited to review Global Art from Gryphon House through The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Global Art is a 190 page book that is divided into seven sections, representing all the continents. Each continent is further subdivided into countries, to make it easy to find a very specific project for the culture or country you are studying.  There are about 130 actual project ideas included. This book is meant as a resource to enhance learning, whether it is history, social studies, geography, current events, art, or cooking. The possibilities really are endless! There is also a bibliography section for each continent, that lists suggested materials to further develop your studies.
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So I want to pick a project...now what? All the continents and their countries are listed in the Table of Contents. It is easy to find the country you are looking for, and turn to that section of the book. Each project has three different sets of icons shown at the top of the page, to help you select the project that is just right for you:
  1. Experience Level - Each project is assigned 1-3 stars to show it's difficulty level.
  2. Art techniques - Each project includes a picture icon to show what it's primary art medium is, including painting, sculpture, construction, drawing, collage, or printing.
  3. Planning & Preparation - Each project is assigned a number value to indicate what type of materials you will need to complete the project. 1 means that you would likely have all the materials already at home, 2 means that the materials required are common art supplies, that you might have, but may need to plan ahead and purchase at an arts and crafts store. 3 indicates materials that are probably familiar but would take some strategic planning to purchase ahead of time (such as a piece of window screen from a hardware store).
Why are these icons a big deal? It allows the children to look through the book and pick out projects that they can easily accomplish on their own. They know that a project with a #1 and 1 star will be something that they can go ahead and do without mom's help, or without needing a special trip to the store for supplies!

What age group is this book targeting? While it is intended for grades K-5, I really think Global Art doesn't really have an age limit. I found myself, as an adult, fascinated by some of the projects. My high schoolers also had fun with the projects in this book.

How much does it cost? Global Art currently sells for $16.95.

How did we use this book? When I first received Global Art, the kids immediately began perusing the pages, and came up with a list of page numbers containing projects that they wanted to try. Since we are on summer break, and don't have regularly scheduled history lessons to match the projects with, the kids were able to explore and creatively pursue the projects that interested them the most. They were most interested in studying about Antarctica, so they chose projects associated with that continent first.

First I will show a sample project page - notice the step by step instructions, the extra "did you know" fact, and the icons at the top of the page.

Here is a photo collage of our igloo building!

And the project went a creative route when one of the girls built an 'ice castle' instead!

This was just one example of a wonderful afternoon spent completing a project from this book. I love it when the kids are having so much fun that they don't realize they are learning!

My recommendation: I am absolutely thrilled by this book. I have so many thoughts and ideas of ways I would like to incorporate it into our studies. It is an excellent and thorough resource that I highly recommend. I am looking forward to using it to enhance our studies of global missions as well.

To see some of the other art projects created by Crew Members who reviewed this book, click this banner below!

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