Mommy, It's a Renoir! was the title of a book about art appreciation for children that I fell in love with many years ago. To my chagrin, by the time I decided we could afford to buy the set, it was no longer available.
Thus I was thrilled to discover that the program is back in print. Once a homeschooler, always a homeschooler, especially when one has nephews and grandchildren to consider. For reasons I can't imagine, the exciting title has been changed to How to Use Child-Size Masterpieces. Could they have tried to make it sound more boring?
It is the same book, however, and the "Child-Size Masterpieces" booklets that provide materials for the program are also available, from Parent Child Press. Perhaps I find it easier to spend money for grandchildren than children; perhaps I fear they will go out of print again; perhaps I'm looking forward to learning more about art myself as I try it out. Mostly likely all three. In any case, I ordered the whole set!
I also ordered the DVD that explains how to use the program. (The website says it's a videotape, but it's actually a DVD and less expensive than the tape.) The information on the DVD is covered better in the book, so I can't recommend spending the additional $20; on the other hand, it is helpful to see the program in use, so I can recommend watching the DVD once, if you <ahem> happen to know someone who already owns it.
Another thing not to spend money on turns out to be the folders. The program is very Montessori-like, with a specific, color-coded folder setup designed, as are most Montessori materials, to give the child as much independence as possible in his work. I'm not saying this is a bad idea; I think it's great. But it's probably worth making them yourself—the book includes instructions. I chose to purchase the materials "with vinyl storage folders" for an additional cost, expecting that the work would be done for me: cutting the folders down to size, pasting the "representative" picture on the outside, adding the color-coding dots for the pockets, gluing folders together to make the four- and six-pocket folders needed for some of the steps in the program, cutting apart the pictures and sorting them appropriately amongst the folders. Wrong. The folders are of the right color and dimensions, but the rest of the work remains. We'll see what I think about my decision when I've done the work.
Those are the negatives. For the rest, I'm excited! Janet and I are going to enjoy working through the program ourselves before passing it on. I hope to gain, not only a better appreciation for art, but sufficient knowledge of the program to be able to expand it ad infinitum using other art postcards.