Question from “the audience:”

I was thinking about standard art projects in elementary school where you do lines, symmetry, etc. Would you say the art lessons in the manuals cover most to all of the basic art techniques? We’ve done shadow and Matisse style stuff.  I’d like to make sure the kids receive a basic art education, and I’d like to think FIAR has it covered as long as I choose to do the lessons! Will there be lessons on form and space and other art concepts as we work through the volumes?

shutterstock_97182773From Steve: Jane is a very talented artist in her own right. But beyond that, when she was doing the art lessons for FIAR she had two different close friends who are art teachers with Master’s degrees in fine art education sit down with her for many months, looking over all the art lessons and offering suggestions and constructive criticism on the lessons to make sure they were absolutely top-quality. Jane even took a full-year of high-school art classes through an area Christian high school that was taught by another friend with an advanced art degree. She sat in the class every week, doing the same assignments as the classroom full of high school students and allowing her own work to be critiqued by the other students as if she were one of them. Again- it gave her lots of real world experience with what was being taught in high school art to make sure her lessons reflected the best of the best.
It’s funny, because Jane and I were just talking about this subject yesterday. We often hear parents say, “I don’t like art so I don’t really do any of the art lessons!”
Jane said, “But what if your children are gifted in art- how will their talents and gifts ever be developed if you don’t expose them to the materials!?” SoI love the fact that the original question included, “… as long as I choose to do the lessons.”
FIAR is intended to make sure your children receive a top-quality, well-rounded education that gives them a chance to explore their gifts and talents in so many areas. Some of these may not be areas that are of interest to the teacher– but it’s the teacher’s responsibility to make sure each child is given the opportunity to nurture their own gifts.

From Jane Claire: It’s good Steve did some answering…I wouldn’t have told all that! Bit I did work diligently on the art lessons trying to present to young ones many of the details of art appreciation and techniques that students don’t usually receive at such an early age.
It seemed to me that the fantastic artwork of the book illustrations provided a rich tapestry of ideas upon which to build quality lessons. And I believed if the material was presented in a brief, “Oh look at that–did you notice what the illustrator did? Let’s try some of…” type of way–many young children would happily be observing and trying lessons that they might not have received until high school.
One rower suggested looking at the art index in each volume and that will help you see what is included. Also in Five in a Row Volume 2 there is a two page list called Dictionary of Art Terms including Principles of Design and Elements of Design and two more pages of Drawing for Depth and Perspective.
In each of the manuals, I suggested beginning a list of these principles and adding to it as you go through the art lessons–Choices an Artist Can Make. If you do this you will end up with the same list as the one in the back of Volume 2. If you make a growing list, as you do each art lesson, it will be good for review.
The eight or so paragraphs on Art (in the How to Use Five in a Row section at the beginning of your manual) contain important tips and information, as well–don’t miss that section!
Enjoy the vast beauty of the art, the colors, the lines and design and open up for your children the incredible gift of art!

From Four Experienced Rowers:

I personally think art is one of the best represented of the subjects in the manuals. I don’t think too many 1st graders would have perspective, view, etc pointed out to them or that the artist makes the fence posts smaller to show distance, etc.

In my opinion, Jane certainly accomplished her goal of having FIAR art reflect the best of the best.  My high school was very big on art and had a fine art department w/ award-winning students & teachers. I took several classes…I’m no award winning artist; but, I do know a thing or two about art.  I find that FIAR covers much of what I did/learned in high school. I’d say that FIAR exceeds what one would find in a typical elementary curriculum/school by far.

My very best friend in this wide world has an art degree, and when I was sharing FIAR with her, she was so impressed with the art lessons. She was happy to see a curriculum that gave art as much ground as it did other subjects, and she’s been very happy with the art opportunities she’s shared with her children because of FIAR.

Do you own all the volumes? You can check the index in each volume to see what’s covered. In my humble opinion, I think FIAR provides much MUCH more ‘real’ art than a child would be exposed to in a school environment.


There you have it! Five in a Row will certainly provide your children with a very strong foundation in art… as long as you choose to do the art lessons!

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