Though I am a seasoned homeschooler, I must admit that I have been lacking in finding something that we loved for art education. We had some textbooks, but they were kind of dry. And we tried taking classes outside of our home, but they were costly, and I really longed for a something that wouldn’t disrupt our school day. The answer for us came in geeART16! This is an amazing Web-based curriculum complete with 16 interactive lessons, the equivalent of a full year’s worth of art classes.

You must have a high-speed Internet connection to utilize geeART16′s features. You will also need to purchase a license for each student so that they have individual portfolios and passwords. All completed activities are recorded, and the parent/teacher can access them to see each student’s progress.

GeeGuides has partnered with the Corel Corporation to provide a very exciting way to explore art/digital painting. When you register your students, you are given a key to download the Corel Painter Essentials 3 software program. Initially, I had some difficulty with the download process, so I contacted Corel’s customer service department. I was not pleased with the results, so I contacted GeeGuides. I was impressed with their friendly and knowledgeable staff and appreciated their help in resolving the problem. Once the software was downloaded, we realized just how worth the wait it was–it’s fantastic! We were amazed by the large selection of artistic media and the realistic brush strokes. You can choose from things like chalks, oils, pencil, acrylics, and even watercolors. There are also several types of brushes and tools as well as a vast color palette for your canvas. If you have never done digital painting, you are in for a real treat!

The curriculum is made up of three components: sayART, seeART, and doART. In sayART, an explanation of the concept is followed by a short animated piece about it. These “movies,” while educational, are also really cute and entertaining. Furnace the polar bear (as well as penguins Tickles and Ruby) will serve as your guides through each lesson. You’ll start with “The Language of Art” and continue through various subjects, such as Movement and Stillness, Warm and Cool Colors, Portraits, and more.

In seeART, there are examples of famous paintings as well interactive activites. And the student completes the lesson with the activities in doART. These activities will vary but are always fun and challenging. There is a blend of traditional hands-on art projects and digital media. You can also incorporate your own lesson plans into the doART section. My sons enjoyed using their Corel Painter Essential program to create “masterpieces” to import into their geeART portfolios. It’s so much fun to have your own “art gallery”! There are also quizzes, and each student can earn rewards.

A concern I have with any art program is inappropriate works of art. We have had to return many art books to the library because of unsuitable images. The creators of geeART16 have taken great care to make sure that the paintings used as examples are wholesome and fit for the viewing of children. Pricing is $64.95 for the first license and $34.95 for each thereafter. This is extremely reasonable considering the cost of a year’s worth of art lessons elsewhere. The lowest price for Corel Painter Essentials 3 that I found was around $80.00 when ordered separately. You can clearly see the value in the geeART16 package.

The website is definitely a good introduction into the world of geeART, and it offers a demo of a complete lesson. We have learned so much about famous artists, techniques, and art principles, all while having fun and strengthening our computer skills. The best part is that we never have to leave the house! This is truly an enjoyable, self-paced program that children and parents alike will enjoy. Our family loves it! We’re looking forward to learning with GeeGuides as they continue this series.

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