Over the summer my very techie kid had the sudden urge to take art lessons. Video games, filming YouTube videos and sports have always been her forté. Yet instead of spending her free time on her iPad, she asked for a sketch book and new pencils.
We’ve always loved art in our homeschool, however until now, we’ve focused most of our attention on artist study, picture study and art appreciation. Practicing art as a skill however, is something we only do occasionally.
I’m not an artist, so teaching art has not been easy, and despite the greatest intentions, I haven’t made it a priority. I purchased wonderful books a few years ago. The illustrations were beautiful, and the step by step instructions were easy to follow, yet the material was dry. And as I’ve been teaching my girls during our art appreciation lessons: art is often emotional. However conveying “feelings” through a textbook is not always easy.
When I had the opportunity to check out Sparketh, and the courses offer, my 11-year-old was eager to try it herself. She started watching “how-to” videos on YouTube, when the unexpected interest in art begun. She wanted to give something a little more structured a try (her words not mine).
Online Art Lessons That Work
I’m a very hands on type of homeschooler, which means I’m not always open to online classes. I like to be in control, and know exactly what my children will be seeing, hearing, and learning. I’m a control freak, and online courses scare me, but I agreed with reservations.
As I sat and watched the Sparketh videos with her, I slowly let a little.
Every video, is hosted right on the Sparketh website, which means our kids won’t be lead on to another site. The video lessons are short and to the point, yet allow just the right amount of time to complete the work.
The student gallery keeps kids motivated to keep going.
The Student Gallery
One of the things I’m enjoying the most, is the student gallery. Kids are encouraged to upload their completed works onto a shared gallery. Here are a couple of hers:
She currently has at least 4 sketchbooks floating around the house. It’s been fun to watch her desire to improve her skills grow. Just months ago, she avoided anything remotely artsy, and after taking online art lessons via Sparketh, her video game time has been cut in half, and sketching has become one of her favorite things to do.
This semester, she’s even taking an in person art class on top of the current online class.
Sparketh Courses and Tracks
Sparketh currently offers 111 courses, and 6 tracks.
Courses focus on subjects, like drawing textures, drawing a cat or perspectives. Tracks are groupings of videos with a common thread, like portraits, animals or nature.
We’ve chosen to spend some time on the art style portrait track for now. This track contains 14 courses, and 100 videos. It focuses on facial proportions, minimalism portraits, Fauvism portraits, pop art portraits, cubism portraits, abstract portraits and more.
The course library is constantly growing. We just saw some courses on Manga, and we’ll be moving on to those next!
Honest and Prompt Customer Service
Since the Sparketh course offering and community has grown, the website went through a recent upgrade. The upgrade prompted a little downtime on our account, and the staff was fantastic at getting it resolved. I was able to get a live response and resolution via their chat interface.