I was recently given an opportunity to review the new Beyond the Stick Figure Drawing Course in exchange for free access to the course for the next year. This was a perfect opportunity because I had been thinking recently that despite all the fun the boys have had with art projects over the years, they really needed to improve their drawing skills! We were able to review the first couple weeks of the 36 week course and share our thoughts below.
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What is the Beyond the Stick Figure Drawing Course?
The Beyond the Stick Figure Drawing Course is a daily, video-based drawing class hosted on the Teachable platform. It is taught by Sally Stansfield, a homeschool mom and art teacher.
The videos start with the elements of shape: circle, dot, curved line and straight line. Children are encouraged to first have a scavenger hunt finding the shapes in their environment and then practice drawing the shapes. Multiple opportunities are given to practice drawing the shapes while adding new skills to the activity such as coloring in the negative space and learning how to draw shapes behind other shapes.
Then, Ms. Stansfield starts to pull all this learning together to create a first real project. At the end of each unit, there is a rubric where children can grade themselves. It asks them to use a 1-3 scale to assess how happy they are with their work, how much they practiced, and how much work they completed.
Top 4 Reasons Why We Love this Drawing Course
- Children can work independently! My 10 year old was able to watch the videos independently with just a little oversight from me. You may also choose to sit and complete the lessons with your child. Whatever works for you!
- It covers all the basics. Up until now we have used a variety of curricula, books, and online lessons for art. They have been fun and we have learned lots, but I always felt that there were basic skills and concepts the boys were missing. Beyond the Stick Figure is great because it starts with the basics and builds upon them so children have well rounded drawing skills.
- Novelty is added while practicing more basic skills. Novelty is important for my guys to keep them engaged. They often don’t practice something as much as they really should because they get bored and want to move ahead before mastering the fundamentals. This course did a good job of teaching a new idea while still practicing the fundamentals.
- Creates an environment for experimenting and learning. My oldest likes to get things “right” the first time, which has caused some art anxiety in the past. However, he was very relaxed with these lessons and played around with the ideas after watching the videos. He did not mind making art that was not as he intended and then trying again.
Materials That You Will Need
There are a few high qualities materials that you will need to purchase, but not too many. They are all easily available from Amazon.
- White copy paper. Ms. Stansfield has you cut the pieces into quarters to start with to encourage the children to use the whole space with their designs. Genius! This has always been a challenge with our boys!
- Prismacolor 12 Marker Set. We have been a huge fan of the Prismacolor Colored Pencils for the last couple years, but had yet to discover their markers! We love them, too! They have a thin end and a thick end in each color and make beautiful colors on the paper.
- Strathmore Sketch Pad. We have used these pads for years. I encourage our children to make their drawings in them instead of scraps of paper so that I can save them for years to come. (Of course, they still insist on making most of their drawings on scrap paper-ha!)
We will definitely be using this drawing curriculum through our upcoming homeschool year and will update this post as we get further into it!